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Gifbol - Poison or Panacea? Bedford Garden Club
18th September 2013

After the launch of Voices from the Forest in 2012 Tony and Michelle were invited by Mrs Barrie Pringle to give a talk to the Bedford Garden Club in Bedford.

The talk and slide show entitled "Gifbol - Poison or Panacea?" gave an overview of the history of the plant Boophone disticha, called Bushman poison bulb, gifbol in Afrikaans and ishwadi in isiXhosa.

First collected and documented by earlier travellers Beutler, Masson, Thunberg and Lichtenstein as a San arrow poison, the plant has a fascinating history of use and abuse. It is still used in traditional Xhosa medicine today.

An example of a boereraat (Afrikaans/Dutch farmers remedy) as follows:


A remedy for toothache requires the patient to scratch the gum near the painful tooth to cause bleeding in the mouth and then to spit the blood into a hole poked into the living gifbol, turn around and walk away without looking back! 


Thanks to Barrie Pringle and the Bedford Garden club for hosting us for the day!

                                          Gifbol (Boophone disticha)