Monday, January 24, 2011

Smoke therapy (suob) – old folks’ aroma therapy.

Abe V Rotor

Basang, my auntie who took care of me when I was a child, was sick and dying. Doctor Catalino, our rural physician, gave her injection but her condition did not improve, and now she was in a pit of convulsion. As a last ditch Cousin Bistra who knew something about herbal cure gathered leaves of kamias (Averrhoa balimbi) and roasted it on charcoal until a characteristic aroma began to fill the room. Fanning it over the patient face, with prayers chanted, Basang began to calm down, the color of her skin improved, and soon fell into deep sleep.

Ms. Precila Delima who is taking her doctorate in biology in UST related in class a practice among the Ibanag of Cagayan of using suob by mothers who have just given birth. Garlic and shallot onion (sibuyas tagalog) are roasted on charcoal, and packed with cloth. While still warm the patient sits on the pack for several minutes, with her whole body covered with blanket. She perspires profusely, eliminating wastes and toxins from her body. The whole procedure is closely attended to by the “olds” in the family with the direction of the village manghihilot or homegrown midwife (comadrona or partera Ilk.). Old folks believe that this practice is important because it drives out evil spirits or wards them off in order to prepare the way the mother faces the crucial responsibility of motherhood – after child bearing follows the bigger task - child rearing.

Nausog (naan-annungan Ilk.) is when a spirit has chanced upon a person.
This is a case of a person who suddenly becomes indisposed, characterized by cold sweating and general weakness, often accompanied by stomach cramp, because “a spirit might have chanced on him.” This may be attributed to someone who has been dead, or a spirit guarding or roaming the home, field, along a stretch of road, and even the forest and wastelands. In fact you can be chanced upon wherever you are. But it could also be the work of a living person who has the power to mangan-annong.

The patient is given relief by brushing or slightly whipping his or her body with branches of malunggay (horse radish), atis sweetsop), guayabano (soursop), or dayap (sour orange) – or have him or her touched by the mangan-annong, or wiped with any clothing belonging to the dead person. ~

1 comment:

angelfish15 said...

I experienced this 'suob' last year. This was performed by a local 'hilot' a week or two after I gave birth to son. I think this is really effective as I haven't felt any body pains or the so called 'binat' after that. Women experiencing menstrual problems can also try that. =)