Monday, June 18, 2007

The virtues of the chewing stick

The chewing stick known as the sothiou, popular in Senegal, has important health benefits over the plastic tooth brush. Click here to find out more. I've always wondered why it isn't more popular further east in Nigeria - in terms of being a chewing stick chewed all day long as opposed to just being an African tooth brush. Perhaps its partly to do with muslim cultures over non-muslim cultures, and availability of suitable flora? Senegalese women look so languidly stylish with chewing sticks in their mouth. Thanks NI for the link.


Barb,  2:53 pm  

Jeremy! Where you at? Chewing sticks are popular in Nigeria,


Funke,  3:19 pm  

My dad is 80 years old and has never used a toothbrush. Always a piece of coal and a chewing stick, guess what? he's never had a cavity, and his teeth are gleaming white and stronger than mine!!

Anonymous,  3:42 pm  

there is no reason for the story to be lodged under "Oddly Enough."

Anonymous,  4:22 pm  

Please come down east Jeremy. Chewing sticks are too popular if nything. Hwoever if you have not seen then it it might have something to do with the fact that they are considered 'bush' and 'uncivilised', like most things which actually benefit Africans to the detriment of western capitalism, as in the case of natural hair and the sale of relaxers. Topic for another day surely.

Who would 'they' have sold all their gleaming colgate toothbrushes to?


Jeremy 6:08 pm  

I wasn't clear enough. I'm aware that tooth brush sticks are found all over Nigeria. Its just in Senegal, people have them in their mouths all day long oftentimes - they are more like chewing sticks than brushes. So the question is why do the Senegalese use them like this, and why are they more hidden away in Nigeria?

Anonymous,  9:36 pm  

What do you mean 'hidden' away? People use them as often as they choose to. If the Senegalese want to use it 24/7, let them. If Nigerians prefer to use it in the morning, that's their cup of tea. Whoever said cultures or habits must be homogenous?

If you had made your observation without that word 'hidden' - an apparently biased language to perhaps suggest Nigerians use it with shame - I would not think you were just looking for a way to diss people. You just don't get it: "You know quite little about Nigerians". So, quit making over-generalised statements.

Jeremy 9:44 pm  

last anonymous: i think your projecting and being a weeny bit defensive. It was the post before mine that suggested a shame factor - something I had not considered.

In fact I think the difference comes in part from Senegal being more broadly a Muslim culture - there are directives on the use of chewing sticks in the Hadith. But there may also be a flora factor - the aromatic plants (several are used in Senegal) may not be available further east, so sticks are used for more functional cleaning purposes in Nigeria, whereas they have that plus a chewing-for-taste factor further west. This is all conjecture, not intended to 'diss' as you put it.

wienna,  2:08 am  

A lot of naijas use it, especially d older generation. U just ain't looking further enough. Maybe u should go to d ghetto areas a bit more. My mother chews it a lot. I've tried chewing it a few times but it just got a bit too bitter for me. Funnily enough, my mum still uses it, even here at jand.

Anonymous,  2:09 am  

looking for whole sale chewing sticks (not from licorice bush but from the tree, whose name begins with a P
Also searching for

Zanthoxylum Linn (zanthoxylumm xanthiolides)
which reverses sickling of cells as chewing stick or extract.

Any one know where I can purchase?

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