PATHOLOGY OF IBANS

CHAPTER XI.
PATHOLOGY/

Variety of diseases — Remedies — Love of strong measures — No knowledge of medicine — Cholera —
Massage —Water from sacred jars — Great distress — Treatment — Smallpox — Great fear of —
Fleeing from it — Inoculation — The forsaken sick — General treatment — Malay vaccination — Care
of the sick — Great losses — Malay inoculation — Fear makes peace — Panic-stricken people — A
” cannibal ” — Russian influenza — Malarial fever — Kurap — Very widespread — Leprosy —
Elephantiasis — Goitre— Consumption – Ophthalmia — Insanity— Albinos— Quick-healing wounds
— Bleeding and cupping — Cauterising — Spittle as a poultice — Other mixtures — Snake bites —
Leeches.

The diseases the people suffer from are : — The Fevers : Cholera, Smallpox,
Intermittent Fever, Russian Influenza, Anthrax ; and the Skin Diseases:
Ichthyosis, Elephantiasis, Tetter, Scab, Leprosy, and Scrofula. They have
also Ascites (dropsy), Goitre (Derbyshire neck). Threadworms, Consumption
(? pulmonary). Otitis (inflammation of the middle ear), Ophthalmia, and
Indolent Ulcers. But syphilis and gonorrhoea are never known. (Houghton
M.A.S. iii. 196.) ” Among those Upper Sarawak Dayas who do not come in
contact with Malays, the treatment of the sick is entirely in the hands of the
manangs. Those who have had intercourse with Malays often try their
remedies, after the attempts of their own priests have failed to produce a cure.
All remedies are external, either rubbing, or washing, or sprinkling. I have
never seen or known of a Daya doctor giving a drug or any internal medicine,
or interfering with the diet. If one excepts, therefore, such few cases where
rubbing or washing would rationally be of any use, the whole medical treatment
of the Dayas rests on their heathen system of superstition, in some cases
approaching sympathetic cures professing to transplant sickness.” {ibid.)

Speaking of the Land Dyaks, Sir Hugh Low says : ” The diseases which
are most common among them are those incident to their exposed manner

of life. Agues and diarrhoeas are the most prevalent Rheumatic

pains are very common. For the cure of internal diseases, turmeric and
spices, taken in monstrous quantities, are the favourite remedies ; but for
anything at all serious, recourse is had to the * Pamali,’ both in medical and
surgical cases.” (pp. 304, 307.) *’ They have not that antipathy to the use
of castor oil so frequently observed amongst other people ; but, on having
taken one dose, generally hold out the glass and ask for another, saying at the
same time that it is very good. European medicines have great effect upon
their constitutions, so that, in all cases, smaller doses than usual must be
prescribed for them.” {ibid, p. 309.)

1 This chapter has been placed after that on the Medicine Men as in the minds of the natives
there is no real distinction between the magic of their doctors and true medical knowledge.

U

290 H. Ling Roth. — Natives of Sarawak and Brit. N. Borneo,

“The Land Dyaks have little or no knowledge of medicine, though they
sometimes collect pepper and onions with which to make physic, a kind of
stomachic.” (St. John i. 198.)

Cholera.

** When cholera was in the country, the Sea Dayaks lost comparatively
few, as they healed those taken with it by rubbing and warmth …. The
most successful system practised by the natives appears to be to rub the
stomach and limbs with cajput oil {kayu putih oil), and administer a strong
dose of spirits immediately the first symptoms are perceived. It is said a few
drops of the oil are also given with success. When the cholera, after
committing great ravages in the capital, appeared among the Muruts and
Bisayas of Limbang, they all fled from their villages, retiring to the hills and
the depths of the forest ; their loss was very shght.” (St. John i. 74.)

** At Tamparuli when the cholera attacked the people the only remedy
they appeared to apply was water from the sacred jars, though they
endeavoured to drive away the evil spirits by beating gongs and drums all
night.” {ibid i. 346.)

About four years later at Kwap (Quop) ” Sixty-six died of cholera.
Heartrending scenes of human misery are related by those surviving ones,
who, frightened by the sudden ravages in their homes, fled into the jungle in
order to escape their enemy, but only to meet him in a more fearful shape
in the wilderness ; through exhaustion, fear and want of food, they were only
more open to his attack. I could tell you how whole families with their
children fled ; how they built small temporary huts, living on a little rice and
wild herbs only ; how, after a day or two, one of them being attacked by
cholera, the others fled again, leaving his corpse a prey to wild beasts ; then
building again, and leaving again and again, till at last perhaps only one or
two little children are left, watching lonely by the side of their dead parents,
unwilling to forsake their late protectors even then, and not knowing to the
full extent their dreadful misery ; weeping, weeping all day, crying aloud for
help, till at last some other stray sufferer and fugitive from the same fate,
attracted by the cries in the silent jungle, happens to come near, and,
throwing off all fear, takes the poor little bereaved ones to the nearest village
or house to be taken care of.’* (Rev. Ab6 Miss. Field, 1865, p. 216.)

In one case, when a Land Dyak man was dying of dysentery, those
attending him had prescribed the frequent use of plantains as his only food.
Honey enters largely into their medical practice, and to it they ascribe
healing qualities. (Low, p. 309.)

Smallpox.

Writing of the Smallpox on the Sakarang (?) in 1856 Sir Chas. Brooke
remarks : ** Indeed, near the mouths of small streams the stench was most
offensive from the decaying bodies. When first taken with the unmistakable
symptoms, they were left to look after themselves. The consequence was the
disease proved fatal in almost every case. The poor creatures had not the

Pathology. 291

remotest chance of recovery if delirium attacked them ; but where inoculation
was practised, the average amount of deaths did ‘not exceed one per cent.
The inhabitants (particularly the Dyaks) have an extraordinary fear of this
disease, and never speak of it without a shudder. On making inquiries after
a person’s health, the question is put in a whisper for fear the spirit might
hear, and it is termed by various names, the most usual being jungle flowers
or fruits, (i. 208.)

*’ The smallpox attacked six months ago (1856) the people up the main
river, the Batang Lupar. In some of the Dyak houses it made frightful
ravages, chiefly through the panic fear into which it threw the occupants,
who, in some cases, fled into the jungles, abandoning their sick friends and
carrying the infection in their own bodies. It is said there are long houses,
whose occupants having thus rushed away, not one of them has since made
his appearance. The Dyaks regard the smallpox as an evil spirit, with the
notion which induced our English peasantry to use the same caution in
reference to fairies — they never venture to name the smallpox, but designate
it politely by the titles Rajah and Buah-Kagu, I heard an old woman
yesterday, telling how that, during the time she was nursing her grandson,
she was continually begging, * Rajah, have compassion on him, and on me,
and spare his life — my only child.’ In the neighbourhood of Sakarran, the
Malays inoculated with success both ‘their own people and the Dyaks. By
inoculation the disease was gradually drawing near to Lingga. I wished the
Dyaks not to inoculate until the appearance of the disease in the country, but
they had an idea that the Rajah was more mild to those who thus made
submission to him. So the inoculators came to Banting. They certainly
have had great success. Out of hundreds who have been inoculated, only
three have died under the operation. This is independently of two deaths
from casual smallpox.” (Bishop Chambers, Miss. Field ii., Oct., 1857,
p. 236.)

In 1868 ** the Sakarang Dyaks behaved disgracefully. No sooner was
any one taken ill, than off they set, and ran into the jungle, leaving the sick
to live or die. Sometimes they carried the sick into the jungle and left them
there. One young man I heard of was carried to the edge of the graveyard,
and left there with his mother to take care of him. He died ; his mother
called to the people of her house to come and bury him, but not one would
perform the friendly office ; she was obliged to pay people from another house
to bury her son. I thought for some time that there was no one who had any
medicine, but I found at last that there is an old man I know well, who
professes to have a charm which causes the pox to subside. At this present
time he is driving a thriving trade on the credulous. I inoculated his grand-
children, yet he had this charm. There is nothing like assurance and utter
deceit for making way among this people. These medicine-men look wise,
chew some leaves, colour them, spit on the people who are sick, rub them up
and down, tie a piece of string round the neck, fasten a stone, bone, or piece
of stick to it, finally ask a high price for the charm, and so get on, and are
sent for from all parts. To be able to do this they must have a lot of dreams,
in which the antu tells them of a drug or plant, or stone, bone, pig’s, dog’s, or

292 H. Ling Roth. — Natives of Sarawak and Brit. N. Borneo.

deer’s tooth, which is in a certain place and possesses certain properties.
Having first caught their hare, they skin it. They get the tooth, etc., narrate

their dream, which is the best part of their charm During the

last month I have inoculated about five hundred, just as I might have
vaccinated in England ; it does not suit the people far away. They like to
have the Malays, who practise pretty well upon the people, and make a fine
thing of it. Had I asked Malay prices, I should have made 180 dollars during
the month, and that is double my pay as a missionary ; as it is, I simply ask
a fowl or small quantity of rice as an acknowledgment. You may think the
people cannot pay : so I thought, till I found out how exorbitantly the Malays
charge, and how readily the people pay them.” (Crossland, Miss. Life
1868, p. 216.)

But the same missionary, writing three years later of the Undops, says:
” Nothing could exceed the great care the people took of their sick, and the
kind way in which they spoke to me. The generality of Dyaks run away and
leave their sick to live or die. Yesterday, some of my people came home from
the Lemanak country, where they have been for fruit. They told me the
Lemanaks left their sick where they died, at the foot of the fruit-trees, simply
wrapt up in their curtains. It is owing to this want of courage to bury their
dead that the wild pigs feed on the bodies and then die of the disease. All
the Undups were properly buried, and I never saw nurses in England take
more care of the sick.” (titrf, 1871, p. 86.)

** An epidemic of small-pox broke out at Balleh last year (1875) and
carried off hundreds of people during the ensuing four or five months.

” The Kayans, Dyaks, and other wild tribes fled into the jungle,
neglecting their farms, and thus paving the way to a famine. They did not,
however, escape from the disease, which followed them to their retreats, and
made an easy prey of the miserable half-starved wretches.

** Vaccination was proposed, but was at first viewed with more horror
than the small-pox itself. The natives believed it to be the same as the
inoculation practised by the Malays, of which they have just cause to be
afraid, as they say that during a similar epidemic some ten or twelve years
ago, 50 per cent, of those inoculated died.

** It was not until the beginning of October, when upwards of 400 deaths
had occurred, that any one could be persuaded to be operated upon. As
soon, however, as the efficacy of vaccination had ,been proved, the Fort was
inundated wnth people of all tribes : Dyaks, Kayans, Punans, Bakatans,
Skapans, Kajamans, &c., &c., who mingled fraternally together, forgetting
for a time their old enmities. The disease soon disappeared from the
district, but there is no doubt that a great deal of want will be felt before
next harvest.

** The total number vaccinated up to the present time is 10,489, 3,452
being by Europeans at Balleh, and 7,037 by a Malay who was sent into the
Kayan country for that purpose.” * (S. G. 125, pp. 4-5.)

• Bock (p. 71) referring to a portrait of a Poonan in his book, says : ” On the arm of the
younger girl will be seen the marks of a kind of vaccination practised by these people.” But is it
really such a mark, and on what authority is the statement made, he could not speak to them ?

Pathologv. 293

** Small-pox from time to time commits terrible havoc amongst them ;
numbers of Dusuns in Melangkap were deeply pitted by this disease/*
(Whitehead, p. 109.)

” When the small-pox was committing sad havoc among those Sea
Dyak villagers who would not allow themselves to be inoculated, they ran
into the jungle in every direction, caring for no one but themselves, leaving
the houses empty, and dwelling far away in the most silent spots, in partijps
of two and three, and sheltered only by a few leaves. When these calamities
come upon them, they utterly lose all command over themselves, and become
as most timid children. Those seized with the complaint are abandoned : all
they do is to take care that a bundle of firewood, a cooking-pot, and some
rice, are placed within their reach. On account of this practice, few recover,
as in the delirium they roll on the ground and die.

” When the fugitives become short of provisions, a few of the old men
who have already had the complaint creep back to the houses at night and
take a supply of rice. In the daytime they do not dare to stir or to speak
above a whisper for fear the spirits should see or hear them. They do not
call the small-pox by its name, but are in the habit of saying, * Has he yet
left you ?’ at other times, they call it jungle leaves or fruit ; and at other
places the datu or the chief. Those tribes who inoculate suffer very little.*’
(St. John i. 61.)

** In ordinary sickness the relatives are attentive, but not so, as I have
said, when there is a sweeping epidemic, as small-pox ; in such cases
they think it to be useless striving against so formidable a spirit.” (ibid
i. 74.)

” In many cases of sickness and death, on inquiring the cause, they
reply, * Pansa antUy’ or *A spirit has passed.’ This may be otherwise
interpreted * He possesses a devil.’ ” (Brooke i. 63.)

** I forgot to mention an old chief I met on the road during the day. He
told me there had been a man rushing about the country where I was going
to and who had been eating men and women. I asked him why they had not
killed him, but he said they were unable to catch him. I then asked if I
should have a chance of putting a ball into him, but he stated the man had
cleared out and gone in the direction of the Paitan river. I discovered next
day that cholera was what the old gentleman had been aiming at.”
(Von Donop Diary, October 6th.)

Russian Influenza.

On the Batang Lupar ” Ten Dyak children aged about one year have
succumbed to the influenza in the Saduku stream. These are the only deaths
from the influenza that have been reported. It seems that in nearly every
case of these Dyak children diarrhoea accompanied the influenza and the
combination was too much for these small mortals. It would appear,
therefore, that the influenza epidemic is not so bad in the Batang Lupar as
in other places.” (S. G. 1894, p. 68.)

294 H. Ling Roth. — Natives of Sarawak and Brit. N. Borneo.

Malarial Fever.

Mr. Von Donop had pointed out to him a small shrub called Lebullyboo,
the leaves of which are used as a substitute for quinine. (Diary, October 8th.)

** The Punans when suffering from fever swallow the poison which they
use for their arrows, and which is regarded by them as a valuable medicine
when taken internally.” (Hose J.A.I, xxiii. 158.)

KURAP.

** This is a disease which produces a repulsive appearance, causing the
skin to hang in ragged loose flakes or scales all over the body, excepting those
parts which are tightly bound round, e.g. the loins. But even here the
skin, though not scaly is of a very dark unhealthy brown. In some
subjects, instead of being scaly the appearance is as though a small parasite
had found its way beneath the surface of the skin, and had tunnelled his way
all over the body, producing a most beautiful pattern of intertwining spirals
and circles, like embroidery. The patient suffers very much from irritation
and itching at certain stages of the disease, which induces scratching and thus
the skin is torn and loosened. The disease is said to be hereditary, though
often a generation or tw^o may exhibit no symptoms of it. Still the poison
appears to be in the system, and it will probably break out again. It may
also be contracted by using the garments or sitting upon the mats of people
who suffer from the disease. A scale pr flake of skin may become attached to
the new subject and the disease may thus be transplanted upon their bodies.
A native cure consists of a mass of certain leaves all pulped together, with oil
and soot and then smeared and plastered over the affected parts, and at once
excluded from the air by various wrappings, first with leaves, then with cloth.
At certain intervals, these wrappings are taken off, the patient allowed to
bathe, and then new applications put on again. This process of cure takes
from one to three months, and even longer, and sometimes it fails altogether.’*
(F. W. Leggatt.) «

This disease is mentioned by nearly all travellers. Mr. Denison speaks of
it at Jagni and Brang (ch. iii. p. 31, ch. vii. p. 80). Mr. Grant refers to it
(p. 78) and Sir Chas. Brooks calls it the ** offensive skin disease ” among the
Undups. (ii. 85.) Mr. Hornaday writes of it at Simunjan : ** Some had that
repulsive skin disease called ichthyosis, which causes the epidermis to crack and
loosen somewhat, and roll up in thousands of minute rolls, giving the otherwise
dark brown body a grayish appearance.” (p. 373.) Mr. Whitehead met with
it among the Muruts and the Dusuns. (pp. 70, log.) Lieut. De Crespigny
had previously mentioned it as prevalent with these peoples. (Proc. R. Geogr.
S. ii. 348 ; Berl. Zeit. p. 330.) He attributed it to bad food. In fact nearly all
writers agree in considering the unsanitary life and occasional food as largely
responsible for this disease. (Low, p. 304.) On the Sadong the popular belief
is that a decoction of leaves of the sulok plant will cure the sufferers, but it

^ Mr. Earl saw Dyaks with it and some also whom the disease had left with nearly white spots.
It was not considered infectious, (p. 296.) Mr. S. Muller also met with it (ii. 357), while Mr.
Bock says the Poonans are especially subject to skin diseases, (p. 213.)

Pathology^ 295

rarely succeeds ; again, the hot water cure is also resorted to and drunk at
nearly boiling pitch, but usually with poor results. (S. G. 1894, p. 121.)
Natives who have entered the European service have lost it, but the
disclouration of the skin remains. (Low, 304.) Madame Pfeiffer remarks
(p* 77) ‘ ** Besides outbreaks on the skin and ulcers I noticed few diseases
amongst them. Of the latter the men seem to suffer more than the women.’*

Leprosy.

At Sennah Sir Hugh Low saw a small hut erected in a tree far above the
ordinary houses of the village and though in sight of at some distance from
them. He was told it contained a man and a woman who were afflicted with
a loathsome disease which caused large pieces of their flesh, particularly from
the extremities, to drop away. They were debarred from all society, never
permitted to descend and well supplied with food. (p. 305.) Mr. Witti met
a Dusun whose foot was half rotted away. He adds (Diary, Nov. 25) they are
free from syphilis, but Sir Chas. Brooke on the Lingga remarks that scrofula
is prevalent. Leprosy also exists among the Muruts. (De Crespigny, Berl.
Zeit. p. 330.) ^

Elephantiasis.

This is common on the coast and particularly in the low countries. Many
Europeans including His Highness have suffered from it temporarily.
(Brooke i. 57.)

Goitre.

Mr. Denison (ch. vii. p. 90) observed goitre at Brang. Sir Hugh Low
met with it at Simpio. It grows very large but causes no pain, only
inconvenience. ” I have myself seen young women with them, so long as to
hang below the breasts, and was informed that amongst other tribes they were
frequently thrown over their shoulders by the people troubled with them.
They appear to me to be more frequent amongst the women than the men. I
did not see them exceed more than two in number on one individual/’ *
(p. 306.)

Consumption.

” On the Lingga consumption is not uncommon, and children are
especially subject to it, often with fatal consequences.*’ (Brooke i. 57.) The
Rajah also met with cases of wasting away for which he never could administer
any complete remedy. (ibid.) ” Cases of consumption also exist among
the Dusuns.” (De Crespigny, Proc. R. Geogr. S. ii. 348.)

Ophthalmia.

This is very frequent among the Land Dyaks, ” it occasions loss of sight
from cataract, though a weakening discharge is the most common appearance.”
(Low, p. 304.) Mr. Hornaday mentions sore’ eyes at Lake Padang. (p. 373.)

“* ‘* It is no exaggeration to say that every third woman is afflicted with a protuberance in the
throat, varying from the size of an apple to that of a child’s head.” (Bock. 213.)

296 H. Ling Roth. — Natives of Sarawak and Brit, N. Borneo.

On the Lingga the people sufifer most during the weeding of the padi farms
in September and October. ” When neglected, it deprives many of sight, but
taken in the first instance yields to the mildest remedies.” (Brooke i. 57.)
” The Kanowits suffer because they extract their eyelashes.” (St. John i. 39.)
** On the Limbang sore eyes are perhaps caused by the people crowding over
their fires at night.” {ibid ii. 133.) ” While the neighbouring Malays suffered
the Dusuns at Bongau were quite free from weak and inflamed eyes.” (De
Crespigny, Proc. R. Geogr. S. ii. 348.)

Insanity.

An insane Dyak once attacked Mr. Everett at Marup on the Batang
Lupar. ” The Dyak, according to the custom of his people, is a privileged
person, being insane, and wanders about the jungle or near the houses without
molestation.” (S. G., No. 26, 1871.) ** Madness is supposed, amongst the
Singhie Dyaks, to be the punishment inflicted on the hardy offender against
the Pamalion deer’s flesh, and a man is now living in that tribe who committed
the horrid crime of parricide to save his family from the disgrace incurred by
his father running about the woods in a state of nudity, making the noises
and imitating the habits of a deer, of the flesh of which animal he was
supposed to have eaten.” (Low, p. 306.)

Albinos.

These are found among the Sea Dyaks, who are fond of such monstrosities.
They are not deficient in mental and physical capacity. ” The weakness of
their eyes produces a nervous trembling, as if the pupil could not bear the
light — the colour is of a faint pinkish tinge.” (Brooke i. 62.)

Healing Wounds.

A Sakarang youth was caught by the foot by an alligator. ** Fortunately
a boat approached, and the alligator then dropped his foot and made off. The
wounded man dragged himself up the bank and there lay exhausted, with his
foot merely attached to the leg by a small piece of flesh. The wound was
ghastly, with the bones protruding just above the ankle. Some of the nerves
must have still been unsevered, as he had some sensation in his toes. I could
do nothing but give him clean cloth, and recommend him to keep the limb
cool. A doctor, I suppose, would have at once amputated the foot. The
man did not appear to suffer any acute pain, but was in an exhausted
condition. Four years subsequently to this event the same individual walked
into my house, informed me he had quite recovered, was married, and had a
young family. On examining the limb, I found it was six inches short, and
he was walking on the end of his shin bone : the foot was drawn up and
useless. I feel sure no European would have recovered from such a wound
without medical treatment.” * (Brooke.)

” Wounds are always covered by a kind of paste, made of pounded

^ That the Dyaks [sic] are not as a rule unhealthy is proved by the rapidity with which
wounds and fractures heal. (Bock.)

Pathology. 297

turmeric roots and other herbs, which entering the sore, keep it in an
unclean state, and prevent rather than assist the cure. From the simple
nature of their food, and their way of life, inflammation in wounds or sores
is rare amongst them, and generally to a small extent.” (Low, p. 307.)

Bleeding and Cupping.

Among the Land Dyaks bleeding ” is performed very rudely, by cutting
large gashes in the limb which pains them. The cupping process is curious,
and, as far as I know, peculiar to the people. The wounds being made with
a sharp knife, or a piece of bamboo, a small tube of this cane is placed over
them, with fire on its upper end, so that the air of the tube being exhausted
by the action of the fire, the blood flows readily, and the operation is success-
fully carried on.” (Low, p. 307.)

** Two days ago I witnessed a surgical operation, performed by two Undop
women on a man ; it was cupping. The man lay on his side, and one woman
having a conical piece of wood, hollowed out with a base about the size of an
ordinary cupping glass, and a small hole at the top, applied it between the
shoulders of the man and by suction endeavoured to exhaust the air. Having
succeeded in attracting the blood to the part, she took off the wood ; and the
other woman, who had a very sharp knife, proceeded to incise the part freely ;
the wood was again applied, and a very fair quantity of blood extracted.”
(Crossland, Miss. Field i860, p. 92.)

On the Barum River, ** cupping is practised by the medicine men, small
joints of bamboo being used for the purpose. Blood-letting about the skin is
a very common practice, and I have often seen a man take a small knife and
make slight incisions in another’s leg till the whole limb was smothered in
blood.”” (Hose, J. A. L xxiii. 166.)

Cauterising.

The Sarebas people have a very barbarous method of cauterising wounds
made by fish spikes, viz., ** heating a wire till it is red hot, and then intro-
ducing it into the wound to cauterise it. But the poison has entered the
whole system before this operation can be effected.’* (Brooke i. 231.)

Of the same people Sir James Brooke writes : ** I have seen them with a
smouldering fire under a bamboo grating, only a foot high, on which the
patient sits or sleeps, naked, enveloped in smoke, which would smother a
European.” (Mundy i. 237.)

Spittle as a Poultice.

The Sarawak Dyaks ** also bathe the sick with cocoa-nut water, mixed
with ginger and a yellow root. Often also they use spittle (saliva mixed in
their mouth with red sirih), and spit on his face, neck, and other parts of his

* ” One day one of the Poonans staying at Long Wai fell ill, and complained of a pain in his
back. Without hesitation the chief took his small knife from his mandu sheath, and taking a piece
of flesh firmly between his fingers made three incisions in the lower part of the back, in the region of
the kidneys. In each slit he inserted a bamboo cylinder, two inches long, which he first made very
hot, pressing them down firmly, and afterwards applying a little hot water to the wounds. I
felt this novel kind of seton, and found the three pieces of bamboo were fastened very securely into
the flesh.” (Bock, p. 75.)

2g8 H. Ling Roth. — Natives of Sarawak and Brit. N. Borneo,

body.” (Houghton, M. A. S., 197.) And Miss Combes reports being called at
Lundi to see a sick child “which was covered with filth, having been squirted
with betel juice, and daubed with a kind of red ochre.” (Gosp. Miss., ist Aug.,
1858, p. 120.)

“Other Dyaks use the same remedy for sprains, bruises, or cuts.”
(Hornaday, p. 473.) ” Some Sakarang wounded were once brought to Sir
Chas. Brooke to be spat upon. He declined, so his “people gave them a
volley of saliva over their wounds in my stead, and promised a speedy
recovery.” (Brooke i. 186.)

” On more than one occasion when in the interior I was presented by the
Murats with a sumpitan arrow with the request that it should be spat upon
by myself and my party ; this arrow it seems was used afterwards as a
charm in cases of fever.” (Ricketts, S. G. No. 348, p. 19.)

” The grated flesh of old cocoa-nut is occasionally applied to wounds
and bruises, but there is no general knowledge even of the powers of rice
poultices. Blue-stone they eagerly inquire for, and they have learnt its
properties. Their most common physic is to get a friend to chew up a
mass of sirih-leaves, areca and lime, until it is reduced to a thick red
juice, which is then squirted from the mouth over the part afifected. If
this physic be thus administered by a regular doctor it will be more
efficacious, but anyone may do it. This mess is used indiscriminately for
all diseases : stomach ache, sore eyes, ulcers, wounds, boils, rheumatism,
as well as fever. When it is squirted on to the forehead it is supposed
to be efficacious in relieving the accompanying headache.” ‘ (St. John i. 199.)

Snake Bites.

Among the Sea Dyaks ” old and dried Indian corn is kept for
medicinal purposes, particularly for the cure of snake bites; each man
carries a small quantity in jungle travelling.” (Brooke i. 189.)

A Punan being bitten in the foot by a large cobra, “some Dyaks at
Tatau took him in hand and applied some roots to the wounded foot,
and it was not long before he was able to walk about again.” (E. P. Gueritz,
S. G. No. 122, p. 6)

” Some Muruts have an anti snake bite anklet called glang antu, and
greenstone which is said to absorb the poison.” (De Crespigny ?)

Leeches.

” The coloured leeches of a bright green hue, the natives and especially
the Sea Dyaks hold in great horror, as they have an idea that they are
capable of entering the intestines, and eventually killing a person. One
man had this idea, and came with a pitiful story about his case. I gave
him everything I could think of, and he took, besides my medicine, some
tobacco and salt until he vomited profusely. He made himself very ill
before he was better, and then told me the Antus had promised that he
should recover his health.” (Brooke ii. 186)

” “The Dyaks and the Malays also, are very fond of the fat from the python as an ointment,
and apply it to all kinds of external wounds.” (Bock. p. 213.)

http://www.archive.org/stream/nativessarawaka01lowgoog/nativessarawaka01lowgoog_djvu.txt

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