Kakkinkaya , African dream herb or Enteda rheedii
(RARE CREEPERS FOUND IN SNAKE GROVES OF VALLUVANAD NO 1 )
Subru ,my friend in the village lower primary school had a strange collection of articles at his home!!. Subru’s collection included strange things, Xancus , strange shells,Kakkikaya seed the big seed with dark brown cover, horns of animals, feathers of strange birds Subru revealed me a secret , which he ranked as Top secret. His father used to talk with his dead grandpa through dreams !!.His eyes were widened and a strange sense of pride and fear started to brim on his face!.He had witnessed this at pale bluish midnight when every body was s asleep!.His father would break the hard shell of Kakkinkaya seed and chop the fleshy parts.It is then dried and mixed with tobacco. His father used to smoke cigars made of this mixture whenever he wanted to see Subru’s dead grandfather father in dreams.
Subru always kept the seed in his pocket that conferred him protection and supernatural powers,He would have been beaten to death by Appukuttan master if he had not got this magical seed!. He once promised me to give his Kakkinkaya if he gets another one.
Kakkin valli, African dream herb or Entada rheedi is a large woody climber.the seeds of these creeper is large with a thick and durable coat.the seed is dream enhancer.The seed is almost ten cm diameter large bark brownish in colour with a waxy coating.Interior of the seed is a porcelien like solid. there is an air pocket inside the seed that allows to float long periods of time.The large seeds are often washed up on to the beech..Thus they have gained the name sea beans.The seeds are often worn or carried as Talisman and it is believed that the bearer will have supernatural powers or protection.It is sought after as pieces of jewellery.
Plants have been used for thousands of years to induce state of lucid dreaming by different tribes.These plants are often classified as oneirogenic oneiros meaning dreams The plants that produce dream like consciosness.examples. African dream root .(Salene capensis) ,Caleazacate chichi etc
.The fleshy part or the inner side of the Enteda Rheedii seed is taken out and its mixed with herbs like tobacco and smoked just before to induce a dream.Its believed that the smoker can contact his dead ancestors through dreams. This is not proven scientifically.It is reported that it is traditionally used by Shaman in south Africa to recall dreams. The pharmacological action of the seed is unknown, The plant naturally appears in Africa, ,Asia and Australia.it is not found in America. Kakkin vallies were abundant in the snake groves of Kerala. It was the largest seed available in the village among dicots.. Kakkin vallies have disappeared along with snake groves which were an integral part of village ecosystem.
A special vanibham or temporary marketing was held in connection with the no moon day (amavasi or karutha vavu ) at Ponnani.Stems of kakkin vallies were taken out from snake groves and then they are smashed with logs.These kakkin vallies were sold there .The people who lived along the coast would buy them used as a cleaning agent substituting bath soap.The wonderful quality of this creeper is it can lather or it can make foam even in hard water . Water available in the coastal region is mostly hard water which contains chlorides and Sulphates of Calcium and Magnesium.They prevent the formation of soap lather.Only detergents can make rich lather in hard water.It can be considered as the first detergent which was eco friendly. People who live along the coast use kakkin vallies to wash the dead bodies of their dear ones just before the cremation.how it is possible for it to form lather even in hard water is the striking thing in connection with the plant.
Entada is a genius of flowering plants in the pea family. it consists of thirty species of plants.bark turns woody when mature.the leaves are dark glossy green and grow in two rows on either side of the stem.The plant has become a rare variety among the villages of Kerala. We should take initiatives to preserve the rare plants and creepers of ancient snake groves.