Wooden, earthen cookware provide human medicine – Bunyoro kingdom official

Ms Harriet Atuhuura, a resident of Kiganda Mpunda Cell in East Division, Hoima City pounds groundnuts using a wooden mortar and a pestle. (Image: Dinah Kembabazi/Kazi-njema News)

The Special Assistant in-charge of Culture in the Office of the Prime Minister of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Hajj Burhan Kyakuhaire, underscores the health importance of using wooden and earthen cookware.

In an exclusive interview with this website, Hajji Kyakuhaire says long before people resorted to using synthetic cookware and machines as in grinding and other food preparations, Banyoro used traditional wooden tools and earthenware that have healing properties enabling them to live a healthier life compared to contemporary world.

He says plants and earth have for centuries been used to treat diverse health conditions or strengthen the immune system due to the presence of their medicinal properties; revealing that this medicine was extracted from trees that are used in the food preparation processes.

The kingdom official continues that there are special trees used in making mortars and pestles used for pounding foods like groundnuts, sesame and cassava flour which have medicinal properties that either cure or guard against certain diseases once consumed.

As food is pounded using those two tools, there occurs depreciation of the pestles and mortars which causes tree compounds to mix with the food being prepared, ultimately ending up being consumed as medicine in food that either cures or immunises the person against certain diseases.

“While pounding cassava flour or groundnuts with a wooden pestle in a wooden mortar that food mixes through depreciation of the tools causing a concoction that eventually results in medicine that is consumed curing and immunising someone against a number of diseases,” Hajj Kyakuhaire says.

He mentions omubumbo and omukanaga used for making mortars and pestles respectively as good trees with healing properties for a number of ailments when consumed mixed with the pounded foods through wear and tear of the tools.

The kingdom official says even stirring sauce using wooden utensils is of great importance to human health because the wear and tear of the particles of wooden utensils results in a blend of medicine and soup which a person consumes both as food and medicine vital to their health.

“The people of Bunyoro should ensure that they at most times use traditional wooden utensils that have for myriads of years provided good bodily health due to the healing properties that are naturally embedded in them. These medicinal trees are known traditionally for being good at providing health benefits since the consumer of the food or sauce blended with such tree particles is treated of some diseases or provided with immunity against diseases,” he says.

However, these medicinal trees are currently at the risk of extinction due to the biting environmental degradation. Among the harmful elements to trees are agriculture activities and overexploitation from logging.

Mr Gerald Mutabaazi markets his wooden utensils in Hoima City in 2020. (Image: File)

“Protecting trees is of great value because they have medicinal properties. But when they are destroyed, it means that we are losing medicine. Let everybody take it upon themselves to conserve trees because they are a source of our medicine,” Hajj Kyakuhaire urges.

According to New Hampshire Bowl and Board, “bacteria and germs are not huge fans of wood . In fact, wooden spoons are much safer than any other spoon thanks to their natural germ-killing properties.”

Hajji Kyakuhaire reminisces the olden time when every household had earthenware for cooking and keeping water that traditionally is known for acting as good sources of nutrients.

He specifically mentions clay as healthy on indirect human consumption articulating that once food or sauce is prepared in them, the depreciation causes the particles that fall off to mix with the food and on consumption, more nutrients are consumed in the food, as to according to traditional healers.

The kingdom official cites cooking and water pots as good to use for better human health.

His statement is supported by newbasics.in that says “Whether you believe it or not, cooking in a clay frying pan can actually add more nutrients to your food. It is proven that when you cook in clay pots, it adds nutrients like iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium and Sulphur to food. So it gives you extra body nutrients while also making your food taste better. Since earthen pots like all clay utensils are porous in nature, it allows heat to evenly spread throughout the food while cooking making food retain its original taste, and you can taste the earthly flavour in your food.”

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