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Bag of Kamusowha, Uganda, 1919

Kamusowha is the name of a plant whose roots and leaves are pounded for juice by the indigenous people of Ankole, West Uganda. The juice is poured into the nose to treat headaches or inserted as an enema into organs affected by syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection. The bag was collected by the Mackie Ethnological Expedition to Central Africa in 1919-1920. The expedition aimed to learn about the social and religious customs of the area and was led by John Roscoe, whose name is written on to the side of the bag. It is typical of a large number of such specimens which were collected from local traditional healers in Africa, packaged up and sent to Britain.

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Glossary: enema

A liquid injected into the anus. Enemas can be carried out for medical reasons, as a treatment for constipation, or as a way to give drugs.

Glossary: bag - container

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