Icacina senegalensis – Famine Foods

Icacina senegalensis


West Africa (Upper Shari region): yields tubers up to 18″ long and 12″ in diameter. The starchy tuber is cut up and leached in running water to remove the toxic element and to facilitate maceration. The pieces are afterwards dried, pounded, and strained to remove the fibers. They are either eaten without further processing or, more often, together with a starchy flour made from the seeds. They are also prepared into an edible paste by the addition of boiling water. Sénégal/Guinea [Bassari, Bedik and Konyagi peoples]: the pink pulp of the fruit is edible and the seeds as well, after processing. They are steeped in water for a week, which is changed every morning, to rid it of its bitter element; then left to dry, in the sun, for two days. Finally, the seeds are reduced to flour, by pounding. This meal can be mixed with millet or bean flour, to make enap (a thick paste); it is said this preparation quickly satisfies those who eat it.

Additional Information

Name Authority:
Ethnomedical uses: If the root is added to water, it is used as an abortifacient. Among the Konyagi, the warmed leaves are applied as a dressing against pain, particularly in cases of elephantiasis.

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