This tropical rain forest plant is found in West

Africa, where the Pygmies used it as an alternative

agent of pleasure and inebriant to bangi (Cannabis

sativa) and tava (Nicotiana tabacum):

In an emergency, when there is no tobacco or

hemp to be found, the Pygmies turn to the

leaves of a forest plant, medeaka, which they

smoke. The effects are said to be stronger than

those of bangi [= Cannabis sativa]. But it does

not seem correct that the leaves of the

poisonous tava tree are smoked as well.

(Schebesta 1941, 179)

The root, which was known as masili, was

chewed as an aphrodisiac (Schebesta 1941, 236).

This plant may be one of the many West African

Mitragyna species (cf. Mitragyna speciosa).

Schebesta, Paul. 1941. Die Bambuti-Pygmaen von

Ituri, vol. 2: Ethnographie der Ituri-Bambuti.

Brussels: George van Campenhout.

Top Contributors