Medicinal Animal Use ( Zootherapy ) amongst KhoeSan of
Namibia, South Africa and Botswana
Table 1 continued

Mammals, birds, snakes, scorpion
s. millipede, worms

Leopard, Lion, Lizard (Monitor, Snake Lizard, King Lizard), Millipede, Mongoose,
Ostrich, Pangolin, Polecat, Porcupine, Scorpion, Snake, Springbok, Steinbok
(Steenbok), Tortoise, Warthog, Wilderbeest, Worm, Zebra, Misc.
Part Used
Uses and Preparation
(D13) ancestors fire arrows of sickness, they come
sometimes as a
lion, leopard or snake
(J85) sees them when in ‘trance’ when dancing, along with
the lion
(H, Schatz) to the left of //Gamab ( divinity ) is a
to the right a big
snake; not eaten by medicine man
(H60) if young eat
giraffe front leg marrow they will be
hurt by a


Fat and mane

(D18) Herero use the mane and make cuts on each
scapular and rub in
lion fat. If you are in the veld you can
then feel if the lion is near;
Seru plant , squeeze into the
fire to keep
lions and other dangerous animals away

(D13) ancestors fire arrows of sickness, they come
sometimes as a
lion, leopard or snake
(!K76) he has the /gais of the lion along with 23 others. It
is a chief
/gais along with the rain and snake
(!K65) sees lions around the fire when dancing the
‘trance dance’
(Nh96) if someone angers me I change into a lion, also to
travel long distances
(Nh97) the lions you see in the healing dance are the
traditional healers walking around
(Nh2189) I work with the wind of animals, I can sleep
without trouble by
lions; lions usually come to the dance,
I change into a lion
(Nh2192) use smoke of a woody shrub, called xam to keep
lions away
(J82) the old could change into
(J93) use !Gai plant to keep lions away, used it at Gousha
(J94) he turns into a lion to stop
lions killing him; your
dead father might appear as a
lion to chase others away;
when sleeping his soul goes out as a lion’s body, he sees
lions walking and in the air
(J87, J85, J2141, J2154) use plant
Zow /o to keep lions
away, they smell the smoke
(J85) sees lions and leopards while in trance
(J2151) lions that come to the dance come with the
whirlwinds, dead people can pretend to be lions
lion plants are used to make a dog angry
(J2167) in old days when the moon seemed covered and it
seemed something bad was to happen medicine men
would trance and say lions are passing. They would tell
them to keep passing
(N37) plant
xam haib ( lion plant )for children’s running
diarrhoea and adult uterus problems
(H60) Hai//om in Namatoni eat lion and hyena but the
Hai//om here don’t; young cant eat
giraffe leg marrow or
will be hurt by a
leopard or lion
(H71) if you eat the meat of a lion, the one who cuts it will
be eaten by a
lion, it is soxa
(H72) if you eat lion when you die the lions will come and
dig up your grave
(H2215) mostly only healers change into animals like the
lion, /hauus (?) and steenbok, the lion, xam is soxa
(H2218) use tembah plant to keep lions away, put it in a
tin and burn it
(H2219) heard the !kung change into
lions, does not know
if it is true (H2240, H2241) elders told them but they have
never seen it
(H2228) in old days a special man trained in the field
would get feelings,
!gaigu, a tight cramp, when dangerous
clawed animals were around
(H2235) if a
lion makes a noise close to the house
everyday you know somebody is dead
(H2243) at Etosha recently a !kung man changed into a
(H2239) if a lion is crying it is a message of death
(H2244) if you want to go somewhere but you dream of a
lion or a snake you must not go; put plant, xam hais (lion
plant) on the fire so
lions do not come
(Kh2110) his step father’s people changed into
when he was 6 or 7 years old he saw a man change into a
blade of grass
(Kh2111) in 1970 saw a man change into a
lion; the lion
is good luck, use lion wood plant for good luck
(Kh2118) burn the mother wood plant if the smoke turns it
will tell you which way the lion is going
(Kh2120) the old people used to make cuts and put in
animal (
lion?) fat mixed with poison so the lions can’t
hurt you
(Kh2121) do not swear at a lion or he will come back at
night and kill all your
(Kh2121) an old Bushman at Kaka Kama used to change
into a lion
(Kh2124) this long grass is called  
lion’s beard
(Kh2126) uses
lion wood plant, //ha, found in the KTNP
(Kh2133) use grass wood, lion wood, luck wood plants in
necklace   for children, also with a pouch with porcupine
stomach and kidney (of
bat eared fox?), for children’s
(Khwe Dam2139) people change into lions in Zambia,

Gwarrho (?)

Snake lizard

King lizard






Unspecified /
ground whole?



(D18) for gonorrhoea take blood of male goat, insert it
into cuts and rub person with blood from the
goat and the
very big lizard, the
//nare or !nonab (monitor)

(D4) the big lizard
!nonab, or //nareb pour fat in for ear
problems (D5) for ear pain
(Nh2200) the fat of the monitor for ear problems
(H2208) rub monitor
lizard fat on your shins it makes the
snakes run – still uses
(H2213) cook, take the big
lizard fat, pour a teaspoon in
for sore ears. Massage leg pain with monitor fat
(H2216) unspecified medicinal use
(H2227) for ear problems (H22246) ear infection (H56) ear
pain, fat of
monitor (H59) use back fat of monitor for ear
pain, things come out
(D30) make cuts, wrist, hand, chest, C5 vertebra,
shoulders, knees, ankles, put monitor fat in to be strong, it
kills pregnant women’s babies if they meet them – done by
jealous infertile women
(J101) use
Lakavan fat, rub on body for heart attack, also
can drink, also pour in ear if something goes in
(Nh102) massage with
Lakavan fat for joint pain

(D18) the
//nare or !nonab, the one some eat, use for
heart problems

(Kh2119) also the bag next to where he urinates, give to a
child to make them grow big and strong

(D30) wear around wrist and waist to be strong

(J2143) make cuts and put in the
gwarrho lizard to stop a
snake or scorpion hurting you
(N24) dry the ‘
snake lizard ’, grind it and put it in cuts for
snakebite. The medicine is called
Jod /ao !ga
(N27) rub in the king lizard to protect from snakebite
(D47) a lizard, he bites you, difficult to kill with six legs,
when the throat swells mix the lizard with fat and kidney of
bat eared fox ( //ab ) and rub on the throat and drink
– the lizard smells like the ‘duba’ in the shops. The lizard is
good for swelling,, even chest pain and intestine problems,
for intestine put a little bit in the mouth and nose and belch

Kojomander, when he climbs a pole and taps it
the clouds start coming
(Kh2115) the
gorgi / gorki / akerdis calls the rain; he lays
his eggs under the ground and calls the rain to wet them
so that they hatch
(J2161) if the
//goroo lizard climbs a tree and shouts at the
rain it will not come
(J2162) if he shoots a lizard (unspecified) there will be
clouds in the sky
(!Ko2174) if the
gohoonah lizard lifts its head it will rain (
kumkwatsee in Tswana )
(Nh2191) if the lizard with the blue throat is on a post when
you are visiting it means you will be given some meat;
(Nh2204) always see the blue necked one but does not
know the meaning (Nh2196) don’t know if it is true it didn’t
happen to me; the gecko is poisonous
(Nh2198) the lizard with stripes is poisonous, the
(H2208) a lizard looks at the clouds and makes rain
(H2229) if an
agama is looking at the clouds it will not rain

(J2167) the big one in the tree
tzaqan, rock monitor
(J2167) only the big one
(J2179, J2182) eats the
(Nh2197) the big one
(Nh2205) parents used to eat the
sorrobah monitor
(H2213) the monitor
(H/Na2214) the //nareh, the monitor
(D2249 ) praises: “the people kill the lizard and they don't
take out the fat and they put the lizard on the tree and
they play the /gaihe, he jump up and says "I don't want to
be with you" then he dances and the people start talking
about him and the lizard says “you can dance..I go”.

(D47 (Himba?) grind a dead one and put it in the eyes for
eye sickness
(J92) there is something like a
snake called Goru , a
worm (millipede??) you dry it, grind it, put it on bite and
then it takes back all the poison. In the old days the people
would use the worm, grind it and keep it by themselves

(Nh2188) don’t know if poisonous but it wounds you if it
comes into contact with you when sleeping
(Nh2198) if it licks you a wound forms that does not get
well quickly
(Kh2120) when lots of  the rain
worms come out we know
big rain is on its way
Various: tongue.
tail hair, fat,


(H56) into a container of goat fat add the tongue, small
black end of his tail (possibly hair, fat and dung of
mongoose?),  animal called the /eb or /amo /aereb. Give
it to a person bitten by a
snake, it makes them vomit.
Then cut and suck the wound.

(J2162) Large grey
mongoose, //how, gives bad luck

(J2144) banded










Ritual / belief
(D7) burn it rub on sores ( smallpox sores?)
(D15) grind, mix with Vaseline and rub on for swelling, eg,
of arms or feet
(N37) for children’s burns
(N/D31) unspecified
(N/D32) mix with sugar, give sick babies to eat, You can
also put some in your pocket for luck
(N/J100) unspecified
(J2141) mix with fat, light it and use the smoke to take out
sickness, maybe for chest problems; if you eat ostrich egg-
shell you might go crazy

(D3) for //âutas (spasticity) cut marks, rub in egg-shell and
kudu skin “dirtiness”
(D4)  /gôaron //ob, heat and grind with
kudu skin, give to
drink, make cuts on the chest, rub in same with dirtiness
(D5) /gôaron //ob mix with
kudu skin, burn and grind, ru
into marks
(D7) stomach pain, (!nab?) mix with
kudu skin, burn and
grind, put in water and drink to clean the intestine
//âutas, ground with kudu skin, rub into cuts
(D16) old days, sniff ground with
kudu skin for a cold
(D18) for leg pain, knot it together with goat tendon, hang
goat metacarpals/tarsals on tendon, tie around the ankle
for leg pain,
≠hurub; for headache, grind, mix with ground
aardwolf dung, heat a person in a hole, pull them out and
rub them with the mixture
/gôaron //ob, (doctor says meningitis) //huribe //kha
plant, garlic, kudu horn, grind, mix give as medicine
(D20) children’s sickness, plus liver of
jackal, horse hoof,
anus of the
aardwolf, some sugar
(D21) for various children’s sicknesses, burn and grind the
shell, add sugar and plants
Kamagu, /otsama, /ami nubis, !
, !huxaro, give by mouth; for colds and fever in
children, grind and rub the whole body
(D25) child medicine, plus
jackal liver, stomach of bat
eared fox
, sugar
(D29) for cold or fever, roast until yellow or brown, rub the
whole body, wrap them in a blanket, let them sleep; for
child fever mix burnt shell and hyena dung, child then
sleeps like a
hyena. Sometimes add garlic and sugar
(D39) children medicine, dry, grind with
bat eared fox
/gôaron //ob, use with jackal liver, porcupine
//garas (?) and  bat eared fox kidney
(D73) child medicine, with
kai anis xaub, big bird dung,
aardwolf dung, rub the body of the child with mixture
(N9) Stuib, chest pain, make cuts on chest, rub in
skin, ostrich egg-shell, and a black stinky beetle,
gamabes ; to protect children from /gôaron //ob, make
cuts on anterior and posterior chest, rub in ground egg-
shell and
kudu skin, also as a drink for children’s
(N23) children’s sickness,
/gôaron //ob, plus dried kidney
and liver of
jackal; for heart problems eat ground shell
/gôaron //ob, Nama powder, rub on anterior
fontanel, anterior and posterior chest, give to drink: add
oryx horn, bat eared fox kidney, hyena dung
/gôaron //ob, add Dueba (commercial “Lennon”
aardwolf anus, kidney of the bat eared fox;
sick child who cannot talk,
!gome, make a necklace pouch
with egg-shell, kidney of
bat eared fox and the plants
≠khan, !guxa
(N27) /gôaron //ob, plus daggha, hyena dung, jackal liver
(N/D32) for child coughing and
/gôaron //ob, cook, give a
little on a teaspoon and, or, rub on forehead and back of
(N33) child colds, grind rub on anterior fontanel, if not
breathing well rub on whole body – call the medicine,
ostrich egg-shell, given to a new born, !huitsa, it means ,
when born he doesn’t know anything, that medicine given  
to that child is just to teach him, its the first thing that
comes to his mouth. For the ages , if he a month you use
the others, but if maybe six days you only use the shell of
the ostrich. When older add
jackal liver, dry /goa plant,
Bolmeister (commercial medicine), sugar – up to 6 months
years old
(!K/D61) child fever, wear as necklace, grind and give to
(!K65) gives the beads  to be worn to cool people down
and let the devils know they are there – use it as a
medicine because the ostrich walks like a person
(!K99) wear beads around waist for runny stomach,
around the neck for neck pain, drink ground egg-shell
powder for diarrhoea
(Nh96) old days, pound and rub on body, mixed with
//koreb plant, for people with a flu type cold
(Nh98) to stop foetus being “bewitched”, grind and rub on
pregnant women
(Nh102) for body pain, tie beads around waist or ankles
(Nh2188) tie beads around children to make neck and
spine strong
(Nh2192) roast, grind and give to children with a cough
(Nh2195) general children’s medicine of child flu, wear
beads around waist, neck, ankle
(Nh2200) children sickness, roast, grind, mix with fat, milk
fat or Vaseline, rub on, give some to drink; wear necklace
for a neck problem
(Nh2204) tie beads on waist and neck, for children
“although I have not been told yet how it helps”
(Nh2205) for child flu, burn, grind, mix with fat, rub on, also
makes them strong
(Nh2207) roast, grind feed to kids (unspecified illness),
add to
giraffe or eland fat and rub on chest of child with
flu. To help them grow strong tie beads around the waist
(H54) if child breathing is difficult, roast, grind and give to
(H55) for a cold in babies, grind and rub on chest and
under feet
(H56) for child chest problems, grind, cook and drink
(H59) child coughing, grind, mix with breast milk, drink
(H74) /gôaron //os, roast, grind with kidney of
bat eared
and part of !hui //hamsI (kori bustard)  bird, give to
drink and rub body
(H2210) children’s medicine, (with
aardwolf dung?),
kidney of
bat eared fox
(H2212) for children, grind, mix with bat eared fox kidney,
aardwolf anal gland, give to drink or rub into medicinal
(H2213) for babies, mix with kidney of bat eared fox, put on
anterior fontanel and rub on children
(H2215) for children’s sickness, mix with kidney of
eared fox
and the kori bustard’s stomach
(Kh2112) in a neck pouch for babies, alongside
!koohah (
bat eared fox ); can also drink if body not feeling nice
(Kh2114) children’s medicine, browned in fire, ground ,
mixed with sugar,
jackal’s wood plant, kidney of bat
eared fox
, also used for the people that “have the dirty
tracks – that walk with poison, now human and later
(Kh2118) in babies medicine with jackal’s liver,
bat eared fox), and plants kalmoos, garlic, harntskill
(Kh2119) in babies medicine, roast, grind add to baby
powder; for headache, roast, grind mix with fat or vaseline
and rub on head
(Kh2127) children’s medicine with
aardwolf anus gland,
jackal’s liver bat eared fox ( bakoor) kidneys
(Kh2128) grind for children’s medicine
(Kh2130) burn it, grind it, throw it on a baby’s burn
(Kh2132) burn, grind mix with plants for babies that have
fits (staeb)
(J101) tie beads around waist for back ache
(J2172) to make a baby strong give it a necklace of ostrich
(J2176) for a child with fluif  (?) burn, grind, mix powder
with fat; grind and sniff to help nose bleeding
(J2181) for child afflicted with bird shadow, Basarwa rub
egg-shell mixed with fat on the anterior fontanel. Used to
giraffe or eland fat, now Vaseline or milk fat
(J2182) if too much mucous coming out of  a child’s nose,
grind it and give it to drink; also for aching eyes, roast and
grind shell, mix with hot water, drop in eye
(J2186) children wear beads around waist to help protect
from things like the /
/Gauwa ha bird shadow that takes the
child’s shade; if child has flu or other problems, grind and
mix with water to drink or mix with fat and rub on the
anterior fontanel. You can use
cow’s milk fat

(Nh98) for massage
(J101) to drink if feeling tired or sick
(H2215) rub on dry and cracked feet

(N/D31) burn and rub in eyes

(D1) for ≠gurub, leg pain, bind tendon (male or female)
with rear goat leg tendon (male for male, female for
female), hang on male goat astragalus, 6 in all , tie around
ankle, back of knee, around waist, one posterior and one
anterior abdomen; for ≠gurub, leg pain (stiff with knotted
tendons) burn and grind with kudu skin, rub into cuts
(D43) ≠gurub, leg pain, tie the leg tendon, //apab, at
ankle, knee and waist
(Nh2200) wear for body ailments

(H, Schatz) medicine man holds ostrich feathers when
dancing, can’t eat ostrich
(H68) will not eat
(H2215) egg known as /ami -!ubis, when referred to as a
medicine this changes to abu !noro
(J83) will not eat
(Nh19) when we are going hunting people must not call the
name of the ostrich


Shell / scale

(D4) for nasal bleeding or a heart pumping too much,
roast some shell and sniff the smoke
(D14, D43) for heart problems, roast on fire, sniff the
smoke (D15) or wear as necklace
(D21) for a heart pumping too much and for headaches,
roast and sniff the smoke
(D22) for a heart pumping too much, roast , grind, give it
to eat. Then hang a piece of shell on a black thread to be
worn as a necklace with the shell over the heart. The
thread must be black because it stops the different kind of
(D25) for heart problems, roast, eat a little, put a little in a
cloth and wear as a necklace
(N24) wear on necklace for heart problems
(Kh2127) burn and grind, unspecified
(J/Na100) burn (unspecified)
(J101) for heart attack, dry on coals, grind and drink and
wear as necklace, can also use the
Lakavan (monitor) fat
(J2141) wear a scale on a necklace for a heart problem
(J2143) wear a scale on a necklace to protect your heart
(J2152) for children bleeding from the nose or with neck
pain they wear a piece of shell on a necklace, it must not
be long but tight
(J2167) if you cannot eat pangolin, the meat is not good
for you and blood is running from your nose, take the
scale, roast, grind and rub it into medicinal cuts made in
the lower cervicals
(J2171) for a heart problem
(J2181) stop nose bleeding by burning, grinding and
rubbing into cuts made on neck (cervico-dorsal area)
(J2182) if nose bleeding burn scale in fire, let blood drop
on it while it is hot and the bleeding stops; for headaches
roast, grind, mix with fat, make a cut in the temple and
smear it in. Used to use sour milk, now you can use
Vaseline. Never get a headache again. Black people use
the nose to make you rich
(J2186) burn it, bleed on it and nose bleeding stops, also
for heart problems
(!Ko2175) burn, grind and eat shell and wear around the
neck when sick
(Nh102) for heart attack, roast, grind, eat powder and
wear as necklace
(Nh2192) grind rub powder into cuts on the scalp
(unspecified illness)
(Nh2193) if a child is bleeding to much, grind its shell and
give to drink
(Nh2195) for children, wear as a necklace (unspecified)
(Nh2197) for neck pain or problems, wear a scale around
the neck
(Nh2198) wear a scale for heart disease
(Nh2199) grind and rub into cuts for back ache and
(Nh, 2207) use
//ami (pangolin) scale for nasal bleeding.
Make a hole in a scale and wear it on a necklace. It heals
the heart beat in mental disturbance or if you are scared
of stepping on bare cracked feet
(Nh98) for heart attack wear some on a necklace or roast,
grind and eat some
(H52, H54) for heart pumping too fast and collapse, roast
and sniff smoke – known as //homsoro ≠gaob , “pangolin
(H59) for heart pumping too much, roast and sniff or peel
and eat or put in warm water and eat
(H2219) for heart problems
(H2228) for heart problems, grind and sniff
(H2231, H2234) heat and sniff the smoke for heart
(H2235) if the heart is pumping too fast put it on the coals
and sniff its smoke
(H2236) if the heart is painful or pumping too much grind
and sniff it or eat it
(H2240) for heart problems and colds, wear the scale of
heat it and sniff the smoke
(!K/D61) excessive heart pumping, chew and swallow the

(J2165) if pangolin is not good for you [ te eat ] and you go
to the place where it is killed the blood will come out of
your nose
(J2185) if a pangolin makes a whistling sound it is going to
(H2219) only certain men can eat it.  If a child eats a
pangolin and dies, the body takes the shape of a pangolin
(curls forward, arms like a mantis)
(H2230) lucky people find the pangolin
(!K) when he sees it he feels sore in his body, he has the
/gais of the pangolin
Anus (anal

Belief (meat
(Kh2248) when dancing the polecat would come to the
dance and he would lift it up and smear his face with its
(J2176) in the old days traditional doctors used to use it,
the striped polecat (?)
dāh , in Nharo it is daāh ; take out
the anus.  Dry it, sniff the smell, the  smell went through
their bodies.  That gave him the strength to smell disease,
dance more and get into trance and heal the people.
(Nh2193, 2197) heard of its use but does not know why
(Nh2198) use to minimise the effect of a snakebite. Use it
maybe because of its smell. They also rub it into medicinal
(Nh2199) it can cure many kinds of illness. Make a
medicinal cut and rub it in. The power comes from the

(Nh2189) if the healer clicks his fingers at you then that
thing goes from him to you in the dance. You can dry part
of its meat and cut it into your body or just its smell can be
put into you.  The other doctor puts it into you, the one
who already has its power,  //'ow ( smell). Small and wind
are the things that go together.  It is the wind that we mean
by the smell because the wind brings the smell to you
(Nh2203) the polecat does not come to him in the dance,
he does not use it. But it does come to other dancing
(Nh2206) they don’t eat it because other people may use it
in medicine





(Nh2200) seen people boiling it and drinking as a medicine
(Nh2207) boil and drink to be healthy
(H2237) cook and drink for stomach pain

(J2168) general sickness (?) make medicinal cut over
lower cervical vertebrae, rub in mixed with plant

(H59) eats very poisonous plants like koreb - the arrow
tree - bitter things, therefore the liver is good, use
for malaria, stomach pain, when the whole body is unwell
(Kh2111) keep it for the women and children because it is
healthy for them as a medicine

(D2249) for children’s medicine because it eats a large
variety of plants, many with medicinal properties
(D21) unspecified
(D40) in children’s medicine
(N23) in  children’s medicine
(N33) grind for children’s medicine ( !noab //oms ?)
(N34) for the children’s medicine. Use the bitter dung in
the small stomach. He has two stomachs, a big and small
one. We use it because he eats medicinal plants (!noa
/hara  ‘contents of porcupine stomach’)
(N37) for children’s medicine
(N/D32) when child has the sickness with the head back
(drepples in Afrikaans), cook and pour some (of the
soup?) into a bottle. Give by the teaspoon. Can also cook
and grind it and add sugar for the child to eat.
(!K/D61) cook and drink for leg or stomach pain, or if not
feeling well (!noab //hom ‘porcupine rumen?’ )
(Kh2111) it is a medicine. He is a doctor (the porcupine).
He eats everything healthy. It is big medicine
(Kh2114) if a woman eats a springhare and gets unwell
she must take bitter medicine like porcupine stomach or
gama gu the grass wood plant. The
springhare is the
only animal that gets periods. That is why it makes the
woman unwell
(Kh2115) it cleans your stomach
(Kh2118) we can use his insides to make good medicine
(Kh2120) boil his stomach. He eats roots and that is very
good if you have a stomach ache
(Kh15) works for the stomach and headaches
(Kh2131) for pains in the body
(Kh2133) for babies, grind and drink or feed or stitch into
a neck pouch.
(Khwe2139) healers eat it
(J2143) mix with the plant
!Ghai for when children are sick
(J2146) for children’s sickness
(Nh2198) never eat it, boil and drink the stomach contents
for stomach problems
(Nh2207) boil and drink contents of stomach to be healthy
(H/Na2214) for the children medicine
(H2215) wash it before use, eat a little for colds and flu ( !
noab //hom or !noab //khom ‘porcupine rumen’); dry and
eat some for malaria, also for griep
(H2216) for /hawi /aob  ( high blood pressure )
(H2226) for stomach pain
(H2230) for AIDS, grind (mix  it in warm water  and drink?)

(!K76) when he meet with the porcupine he feels the
thorns stick in his chest. It is one of his
(J65) can’t eat the inside of a porcupine. It eats all sorts of
poisonous things
(J82) one of the healing dances
(J2159) you cannot use the stomach, it is a poison. What
he eats is poison, you will not see any animal eating that
food. (J2162) Even the birds cannot eat it (J2167) the old
people take it out  and throw it away (J2171) it has poison,
you must throw it away
(J2181) the stomach is bitter and doesn’t taste good
(J2182) if you eat the stomach you will die. You must throw
it high into a tree to stop the dogs eating it, it will kill them.
You can put it on your arrows
(H68) can’t eat porcupine meat
(Nh102) good for him to eat
(Nh2187) when a witchdoctor wants to bewitch you he
throws a
/ghainee  (like a porcupine, but small, maybe  
(Nh2192) the stomach is very bitter. It is a poison
(Nh2193) even dogs do not eat it
(Kh2124) he eats the plants long bookworm or goat horn
rings – it has a long stem and the
ka plant . You can dose
sheep with them and big animals. It treats the
worms in
the head
(H2208, H2212) you can eat all the porcupine
(H/Na2214) use the stomach to make beer


(D18) immunity from scorpion sting, take the top of the tail,
dry on fire, grind it, rub it into medicinal cuts ( middle wrist
anterior and posterior) or take the top of the tail and scrub
it on your tongue and you get stripes there – a Herero

(D11) for immunity, just heard, other people, maybe
(D21) for immunity, just heard some people make
medicinal cuts and rub it in; use petrol for the sting
(D29) for immunity saw people in the bush do it but not
here. They put
snake poison into cuts
(N27 D/Na28) for immunity just heard people rub things
into medicinal cuts
(J78) some people make cuts and rub things (
in for immunity
(J93) mix
scorpion with plant t/a and eat, then if a
scorpion crawls on him it will not hurt him, if it ‘bites’ you
do not feel it
(J2183) for immunity rub (unspecified) into cuts
(Nh98) rub things into cuts to make you immune
(Kh2116) for immunity cut yourself and rub in
poison ( the same type of poison to counteract the poison)
(Kh2120) for immunity, take head of the yellow snake, the
monkey spider, the
noba slang ( six legs, thin about ten
inches long with a tail ) and the scorpion, dry them, grind,
then you cut yourself in with that. It can't kill you because it
is not one poison but lots of poisons and they argue
against each other, so they fight each other. Cut on the
arm and between the shoulder blades. We still do it and
we do it to babies around five months old

(D6) healers can remove live
scorpions that are inside
you causing sickness [ common KhoiSan knowledge ]
(J78) If someone has been bitten before and it is not
painful  he will help someone who is hurt by the scorpion,
the scorpion is good for him, he will help take the pains
back to the place where he bites
(J2164) for immunity make cuts and rub in plant medicine
(!Ko2175) to protect from
snake or  scorpion they just  
use the medicines when going to hunt so they can be free
and nothing disturbs them, plant medicine





Poison /
Head / Body




(D13,D21,D28) heard that some people make cuts and put
medicine in (snake?) to confer immunity
(Da29) saw people on the farm make cuts and put in
snake poison to protect themselves
(N23) people living in the veld make the cuts and put in
things (snake?) so they cannot be bitten by the snake
(N24) to prevent snakebite make medicinal cuts and put in
snake poison, or if bitten make cuts and put in
jod /ao !ga  
( the medicine and?) dried snake lizard
(N27) just heard about people putting in snake poison or
king lizard into cuts to make themselves immune
(N37) she was bitten and treated with ‘blue shell.’
(commercial blue crystals), given red pepper to drink.
Wrapped her in a warm blanket to sweat, cut her and put
in a little ≠ao ≠as, snake poison
(H52) some Hai//om make cuts and put things (snake?)
into them to confer immunity but it is more a !Kung thing
(Kh7) immunity from snakebite: make cuts and rub in
(Kh2111) immunity: rub
nobo snake into cuts
(Kh2118) immunity: dry and grind the noba snake, either  
the blue or red ones we have here, mix with the plant
slangoustrap and rub into medicinal cuts
(Kh2120) for immunity, take head of the
yellow snake,
monkey spider, the noba slang ( six legs, thin about
ten inches long with a tail ) and the
scorpion, dry them,
grind then you cut yourself in with that. It won’t kill you
because it is not one poison but lots of poisons and they
argue against each other, so they fight each other. Cut on
the arm and between the shoulder blades. We still do it
and we do it to babies around five months old
(Kh2128) immunity from snake and
scorpion ‘bites’. Dry
and grind the
grass snake, rub into medicinal cuts. The
nobunaud, or !nob/aus, the ground snake protects you
against all poisonous bites.
(J2154) for snakebite take part of the snake, mix with
something and rub it into the bite

(!Xun2109) To confer immunity: take the sharp teeth of
any snake, grind, make cuts with a knife in posterior distal
wrist, under lateral malleolus, rub in the tooth powder.
When you go in the bush snakes run away and die. It is
the smell of the snake that you put in you, the //oh
(H2208) for snakebites take teeth of
puffadder (ground?)
mix with kidney fat of
kudu or oryx. Take it in a tin when
going to the veld

(J2183) the python is the chief of all the other snakes, and
so if you are bitten by the python the other snakes will not
bite you any more, or if you have rubbed the fat of the
python on your body, you will not get bitten by other
(J2185) rub
python fat on your body so you will not get
bitten, if you step on a snake it will die
(Nh2251) my grandfather and brother were smeared in fat
of the
mamba and it was rubbed into cuts made into them.
From then on they not afraid of the mamba. It just lies
down if it sees them and the bite does not harm them
(Nh2189) I rub python fat all over my body to be just like a
(Nh2193) if you put
python fat on a child’s body he does
not get sick easily
(H2213) people use the
leyslang fat to massage the legs
(H2227) rub
python fat on your legs so snakes do not
come near. When they smell it they run

(Nh2189) used the ≠khu (gallbladder) of the cobra, the
one that helps so that the poison of the snake will not
affect him – he will vomit out the poison. If a snake looks at
him it will die

(D4) rain men see snakes in people’s body’s
(D6) maybe if you are bitten by a snake that poison is
taken out as a snake. The snake is his chief /gais
(D14) heard it is the Himba who are immune to snakebite.
If a snake frightens you  then it goes into your body
(D22) the old people sucked snakes out of sick people
(H50) he takes snakes out of people’s body’s
(H68) in  the eland forehead, the centre, there is a hair in
which is a snake, a short one, about 6 inches long, and if
you shoot him that snake you can see him he goes into
the ground
(H56) it is the !Kung who make themselves immune to
(!Ku76) when he sucks if the /gais of the snake doesn’t
help he uses another. If the snake sees him it will lie down
and he can go through, not bitten.  When he sees a snake
track he draws a line across it, so he cannot meet the
snake again.
(Kh2110) if you have cuts with the
ground snake in, the !
nob/aus, and you punch someone in a fight, they will swell
(Kh2111) when they see the tracks of the snake and the
tortoise, even if it is winter there bodies become warm and
they know rain is coming
(Kh2124) there is a man with a snake in his stomach.
When the snake straightens up he can’t take it. It makes
him do things that he does not know about
(Khwe dam 2139)
python is a nice meat for him. The
people say the python is healthy and it’s also the belt of
the Lord.
The old people believed that snakes are from god, it is a
beautiful snake and when you kill the snake you must be
careful to kill the snake, and it is also very important when
you see the lightning, you  will never see that snake again
(J86) the eland gets the fat from the python, he gets it
from the wind of the python. That is why the eland and the
python are the same
(J2159) we used to eat
puffadder; for immunity some
people cut in a special plant, I don’t know it
(J2163) snake poison is n/um
(J2164) used to eat
(J2167) I don’t eat snake it it has a lot of bones in its body
and a lot of poison
(J2168) I do not eat snake, when god created snake he
didn’t create him for eating, he just created snakes to bite
a person
(J2176) the most poisonous part of the snake is the
(gallbladder). The smell of a snake can make you very sick
even the bones if you have killed it.  You should burn it, if
you step on the bones, even with shoes on, you will get
and you get sores and the skin peels off.
(J2179) eats
(J2182) some vomit who feel the smell of a snake
(!Ko2175) to protect from snake or
scorpion they just  
use the medicines when going to hunt so they can be free
and nothing disturbs them, plant medicine
(Nh2187) somebody who stands behind a person and tells
him to say or do bad things is like a snake,
because his tongue is forked
(Nh2196) if it is angry it will sting (
!kai ‘to pinch’ ) you with
the tongue, the tongue is the poison
(Nh2196)  I don't know which part of the snake is
poisonous because I have not slaughtered it. Maybe those
that have will know which bit. If a snake wants to bite it
goes back, doesn't just strike, so I think it might be
somewhere in the tail
(Nh2198) the  t'//gabi ( gallbladder) is the part of the snake
that is poisonous
(Nh2199) the poison is in the snake’s teeth
(Nh2200) the snake
!namchitsorro - it can show you that
you are going to find some meat
//Gauwa and the snake maybe work together.
The snake has a forked tongue maybe because it is evil,
//Gauwa, that is why they are the same. The poison is
in their blood then it goes through their teeth, like an
(Nh2251) the
qamcichoro (pron.line under q) is not
poisonous when small but becomes so when it grows up
(H2210) the
python was on his body.  It went over him and
sat on his head.  It was a message of death, his little mum,
his mother's sister, passed away
(H2211) if you dream of a snake then your girlfriend is
(H2212) if someone pregnant in the household you dream
of snakes.
(H2214) a man in Outjo was born as  a
soxa person. He
changed into a snake
(H2220) they heard in Himba land, in Kaokao, there is a
snake with a lamp.  He uses it to look for food.  He can go
far from here to Otjiwarongo. He just puts on the light and
he can go
(H2231) the
Eland is a soxa animal. In the front hair of the
Eland there is a snake.  When he is shot a snake falls out
and runs. The elders have seen it
(H2233) I have heard that in the mountains the far side of
the Otavi there is that snake with the light in his head
(H/Schatz) next to
//Gamab is a leopard on his right and a
big three eyed snake on his left

(Kh2123) for pains in the entire body, take out the
stomach and you rub yourself with it. It is very healthy. It is
because of the medicine that lies in the stomach

(Kh2135) I have heard Bushmen could point at a
springbok and it could fall
(Nh2189) //Gauwa can become a
kudu, duiker or
(Nh2194) healers should not eat springbok
(H2239) they are called
≠haxa in Hai//om


Hair and dung


(N/D31) children’s medicine, make a necklace and wear a
(H53) the
airib gives the children diarrhoea. Give children
a necklace of skin to wear to prevent this (?)

(J2182) some wear them on a necklace for luck

(H2228) if someone is unwell we cut them (zyphysternum
and lateral stomach) and put in the dung and hair mixed
together. It is called
âi ≠am
(H2240) !gairib steenbok make cuts  over L5, use hair and
dung for children. Make cut and put it there in front (
bilateral anterior inguinal) and back. It is a
soxa animal and
children cannot eat it without the cuts amongst the
Hai//om. It is a
sa-a animal
[ soxa = special animal to eat, must have marks on the
zyphysternum .
Sa = the animals that makes you sick . It "
sa-a's "]
(J2143) to see the animal before it sees you make a cut
between the eyebrows, take the meat mix it with a plant (?)
and rub it in

(J2146) they have n/um
(J2154) steenbok, if  young lady marries a man and they
do not get a baby they cannot eat steenbok until she has
a baby
(J2162) it gives you good luck
(J2164, J2165) a ‘trance dance’ song
(Nh2191) (re. ‘trance dancing’ the church people are
saying they are not doing a good thing but they tell them it
is their thing. If they have their dance and singing the rain
comes. They don’t also want them to take off their clothes
and wear the leather clothes [ steenbok aprons] and men
wear loincloths. If they sing for the rain it brings the rain
(Nh2198) an infant is not supposed to eat steenbok
(Nh2193) and wild pig
(Nh2201) an infant will become thin if they eat steenbok or
springhare (Nh2207) they will be sick and die immediately
(H2215) healers change into animals, like the /hâus (?),
lion, steenbok; The steenbok is
soxa because it can
change sex once dead and caught. Also many times they
tried to kill a steenbok but it is impossible so they throw it
(H2215, H2238) it is soxa
(Nh2193) ‘doctors’ should not eat it
(Nh2194) you shouldn't eat steenbok or
hartebeest or
springbok if you are a medicine man. Also you cannot just
eat any bit of the
kudu - you cannot eat the //gabbeh , eat
soft meat without sinew or our tsso won't work. You cannot
eat  fish





(D2) his great great grandfather used to use it for children
who were not urinating well. Heat the shell in the fire, take
a part of it and press either side of the abdomen
(D5) for children who cannot urinate, heat the bladder with
the heated shell, maybe one or two times
(D12) give the shell to drink for heart problems
(D16) give it to drink when a person is not urinating well
(D18) grind and give it to drink for stomach pain
(D19) if a newborn does not urinate well take the back of
the shell, heat it on the fire, grind it an give it to the baby
to drink
(D20, D25) as a container for Damara perfume, Sâi. We
used to call it urus
(D29) for a burn, heat tortoise shell, grind it and apply the
(N9) she has heard of using a heated shell for the kids
who are not urinating well
(N37) for a burn, heat tortoise shell, grind it and apply the
(!K65) for storing his healing powder
(!K99) for storing healing fat from the kidney of the
He wears two, one either side of his waist and puts a coal
in them (sniff the smoke)
(Nh96) for heart swelling up. Burn the shell, take a little,
grind into a powder, boil in water and drink; to tell who is
sick at a dance make everyone breathe the smoke from
the coal in his tortoise shell medicine container
(Nh102) have seen others put sah (powder) in it
(Nh2207) as a container for medicinal
eland and giraffe
(H56) used the shell to hold boiling water for a medicinal
steam bath
(H59) for a sore. Scrape the top of the shell, put it on the
fire, grind and pour it on the sore
(H2234) for a child who cannot urinate, put shell on the
coals, cool it, put in warm water and give it to the child to
(H2240) for people who stop urinating. Scrape the shell in
warm water and drink. Particularly for the elders
(Kh2119) toast the shell, let it get cold then you grind it,
rub it on a sick baby then roll a cloth around the baby’s
body and wait. When they wake up they are better
(Kh2135) as a container for the
sa  bush powder. It is like
buchu. Put in a hairy piece of
african wild cat  and keep
it in there. Dust the nostrils of a snore doctor when they
want to reconvert him (from animal form). They will also
bend him forwards and backwards so the winds can come
(J2141) for storing the
sah powder you smoke a sick
person with. You can also dust yourself with it if you get
lost and say “how can I get lost”
(J2152) to store
sah. Makes the women smell nice and the
men use it when sick
(J2156, J2161, J2168) to store sah
(Nh2195) if  a child is constipated and they can't urinate
put on the tortoise shell -
dum = tortoise - it can then
urinate, you can even boil the shell and give the water to
drink and every part inside ie the stomach, opens. It also
works on elders but it is mostly for children. You can use
all types of tortoise

(H2235) if you stop urinating, cook and drink the tail. Use
any type of tortoise

(Kh2130) if you are going deaf put the urine and a hair
(yours?) in the ears

(!K63) pieces of shell are pulled out of sick people by
(HSchatz) a medicine man must never eat the tortoise.
Only old people can
(Kh2111) when they see the tracks of the
snake and the
tortoise, even if it is winter there bodies become warm and
they know rain is coming
(Kh2118) when we go into the veld and the food becomes
little we would see the tortoise then we know it is time for
the rain dance
(J2157) young ladies don’t eat tortoise
(Nh2196) burn the shell of the tortoise for the rain to come
(H2217) in the past drank water from its shell


(!K/D61) give children who are crawling bones to wear tied
to their feet to get them walking
(H53) children wear the bones so they can run fast
(H2215) wear the metatarsals of the warthog (
gairib or
≠goras ) around the neck to enable you to run fast
(J2143) hang foot bones on a necklace to make a child

(Nh 15) Rub on to protect from any disease

(H53) only if a child has medicinal cuts with
eland rubbed
in can they safely eat the meat
(H2229) men, women and only some children can eat
(H2218) if you dream that you kill one it means someone
has died
(Nh2193) there are some that the doctors are not
supposed to eat like the warthog and
steinbok because
he has those
//gau ( //gao ?) and is not supposed to touch
those things

Horn and hair



(H57) used to use the horn for sucking blood, now use the
cow horn
(J89) use the horn for sucking out blood. You can also use
the cow horn

(Nh2197) people used to burn the horn or throw hairs in
the fire to make it rain

(D39) child medicine: put skin on coals, grind and give to
drink or soften on coals and give to eat
(H54) the wilderbeest is strong like the
eland. If you rub it
into cuts made on the children they cannot play together

(J2168) Some
n/um kao, healers, use the tail [to waft and
beat in the healing dance ]

(H60) young people cannot eat it
(J2145) you can cut yourself and put it in (unspecified)
(J2169) they lie down before it rains

(J92) there is something like a snake ,Goru,  a worm ??
you dry it, grind it, put it on bite and then it takes back all
the poison. In the old days the people would use the worm,
grind it and keep it by themselves [[
millipede ?]]

(D20) babies have liver worms from eating dirty things; a
worm that lives in the back of the head [ occiput ],
everyone has it. It is from God.
Goats have it in the nose
(D22) Body worms: found in sores; a worm we are all born
with in the head, a worm from God
(D29) it is because of that worm in the head that we are
still alive. That sickness of the nose it is that worm who
eats the person, if she saw something wrong then she eat
the person, that is why you get that nose sickness. Even
the livestock has got that worm in the head
(D30) in the head, intestines and looking after every joint
and in the arteries
(N33) sometimes the people say the ear hole is a worm
(N/D 36) we have a worm in the head that we are born
with. In the nose, the one that makes mucous and causes
itching. If you sneeze it is the worm moving
(N39) we have a worm (
≠uni ) in the head. That is why we
sneeze. (N37) It is she who makes
(!K62) sheep and goats have !go!go, the head worm (s?).
The people who are mad here are the people whose worm
has died. It lives in the forehead
(Kh2114) the
steinbok and all those wild animals, if they
have those worms on their hair, if they have
brunsik, they
can kill you [
brandsiekte ?]
(Kh2119) we have a worm in our head. This time when you
are walking around the worm is eating in your head and he
only comes out when you are dead. I have seen it, when
the doctor cut open my brother’s head I saw it
(Khwe dam 2139) people think we have a worm in our
head but it is not true. Some dead animals get a worm in
the head maybe for may days
(Nh2193 ) worms are not in a person’s head but I have
seen them in wild animal heads

(H2215) warm them up and put them on painful teeth

(!K65) you can’t eat
ostrich, zebra or (H2215) warm them
up and put them on painful teeth

(!K65) you can’t eat
ostrich, zebra or donkey because
of the smell
(J2176) the zebra and the
elephant and the warthog,
you can feel its smell. Like
kudus you can feel if it has
recently urinated here
(H2208) Kudu, Oryx, Zebra dreams are good. Lion,
elephant, rhino dreams are bad luck
because of the smell
(J2176) the zebra and the elephant and the warthog, you
can feel its smell. Like kudus you can feel if it has recently
urinated here
Kudu, Oryx, Zebra dreams are good. Lion,
elephant, rhino dreams are bad luck
  Hairs of any
(J94) from cervico-dorsal area, burn in fire, add root (
/nuar ) from
≠nae ≠nay tree also scorched put in cuts in
arm and wrist [ to improve hunting skill ? ]
Table 1, previous page
Table 2 Domestic Animals
© 2009 Chris Hewson Low, All Rights Reserved