Vol. 3, Issue 9 (2017)
Traditional embalmment techniques using Mentha longifolia among the Igala people of north central Nigeria
Author(s): Akwu Bala Peter, Shaibu Gabriel Ocholi
Abstract: The significance of death and burial among the Igala people can never be over emphasized. It is the perceived morbid and mortal implications of improper burial rites that motivate embalmment towards ensuring that conditions necessary for effective burial is achieved. This is a qualitative study which investigated the perceived preservative properties of a traditional plant named Mentha longifolia (Acheifa) as well as the processes involved in the use of this plant for traditional embalmment among the Igala people. Focus Group Discussion and Indepth Interview methods were used to gather data for the study using qualitative instruments. Data analysed through content analysis methods reveals that Mentha longifolia has potent preservative properties such as sanctifying, antimicrobial, antioxidative, insecticidal and compounds required for effective embalmment. The process involved in the use of Mentha longifolia however requires a corpse attendant using incantation, touching and burning to achieve embalmment effects. Recommendations on the basis of these findings include integration, expansion and preservation.
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