The Sipora forest in Mentawai is disappearing due to massive logging. Medicinal plants are also disappearing.
In the garden beside his house, Gustaf Taikatubutoinan picked a white simakkainuk flower that was blooming. He also picked nine simakkainuk flower buds, also known as gandasuli flowers. In his medicinal plant garden, he also picked a bunch of galangal.
That morning he would concoct a headache medicine for himself. Gustaf Taikatubtoinan is a medicine man in Goiso Oinan Village, North Sipora, Mentawai Islands, West Sumatra. In his home, he grates the medicinal herbs with a gigiok, a grater made from a piece of thorny enau frond.
The galangal and flowers are mashed, and the fragrant aroma wafts up immediately. He poured a little coconut oil into the concoction. When it was finished, he squeezed it over her head, rubbing it into his forehead and hair. The rest of the herb was put into a cloth, then tied to his head, so that the herb was stuck to his forehead.
As a nonprofit journalism organization, we depend on your support to fund journalism covering underreported issues around the world. Donate any amount today to become a Pulitzer Center Champion and receive exclusive benefits!