By: Rogia al-Shafee
KHARTOUM (Sudanow) - The Jummaiz (ficus sycomorus) is one of Sudan’s very important tress, with a history dating back to the days of the ancient Nubian civilization.
Because of its wide shade, it was a preferable place for wide congregations of the locals with chiefs, dignitaries and the clergy.
It is also publicly adored because of its sweet- smelling, highly-nutritional and curative fruits.
The Jummaiz (The Ficus sycomorus) is also called the sycamore fig or the fig-mulberry (because the leaves resemble those of the mulberry), sycamore, or sycamore.
The tree is native to Africa south of the Sahel and north of the Tropic of Capricorn also excluding the central-west rainforest areas. It also grows naturally in many parts of the Middle East.
In Sudan it flourishes along the River Nile in the North and in Darfur and Kordofan (in the West) and also where there is abundant water.
It grows to 20 m tall. The leaves are heart-shaped with a round apex, 14 cm long by 10 cm wide, and arranged spirally around the twig.
Says veteran journalist Abdalla Alhaj, who hails from the Nubian district of Northern Sudan, about the Jummaiz Fruit: The Jummaiz trees grow in abundance in Northern Sudan, on the River Nile Bank in particular. The birds of the region compete with the locals for the jummaiz tree fruits because of their sweet taste
Also remembers Mr. Alhaj: In our village we had a tree of this species known as the Jummaiza of Fatima Ali (the woman who grew it), that could accommodate a big gathering of men, women, young men and young women and children on happy occasions and as a resting place in the hot summer days. Local poets had composed a lot of poetry about this tree as a happy fishing and recreation place.
About the economic and health benefits of Jummaiz tree, says Botanist, Dr. Mohammad Adam Suleiman: The Jummaiz tree is a big long-living tree that grows much in South Darfur, South Kordofan, Northern Sudan and elsewhere around the country. Its fruit looks very much like that of the fig tree. It is called the fruit of the poor, and can suffice a person’s need of food for sometime.
The tree is also highly adaptable to any environment, given adequate irrigation and rich soil.
According to Dr. Suleiman, the Jummaiz fruit contains a lot of sugars, vitamins and medicinal and healing substances. It is a germ killer, laxative, antiseptic in case of diarrhea, a slimmer and also reduces blood cholesterol. It also energizes the immune system because of its content of zinc. It is also of help in kidney trouble and gum inflammation. It drives gasses out of the digestive system, reduces blood pressure and activates the nervous system.
Boiled Jummaiz leaves are believed to ease constipation, purify the human voice and mitigate breathing difficulties.
The Jummaiz milky substance removes skin spots and psoriasis.
The jummaiz leaves and its fruits recur very much in old traditional medicine, in the books of the Muslim doctors Avicenna, Alantaki and Ibn Albitar with each of them speaking about different treatments like the thinning of clotting blood, the healing of wounds and spleen inflammation, chronic coughs, chest pains, miscarriages, among others.
The Nubian kingdoms had used the jummaiz timber in the building of boats, as grave covers, the carving of gods’ statues, house furniture, musical instruments, kitchenware and farming tools.
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