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Title: A glimpse of the fire mummies of Kabayan, Benguet, Luzon, Philippines and the role of plants associated with the mummification process
Authors: Balangcod, Teodora D.
Keywords: Fire mummies;Herbs;Kabayan;Mummification;Preservation
Issue Date: Apr-2018
Publisher: NISCAIR-CSIR, India
IPC Code: Int. Cl.8: A61K 36/00, A61K 39/00, A61K 38/00, A23C, A23B
Abstract: The use of herbs was identified in the mummification process to preserve the dead body. In the Cordillera, mummification is unique. After the dead bodies are cleaned and applied with herbal extracts, these are exposed to smoke from a fire beneath the corpse seated on a death chair called sangadil. The process drains the fluids from the body. In the municipality of Kabayan in Benguet province, the preserved bodies are called fire mummies because fire was used in addition to the herbal extract application in the preservation. Thus, this study was conducted to identify the herbs used in the mummification process and test their antibacterial potential against selected bacteria to determine the contribution of the herbs in the preservation of the mummies. Based on the interviews and focused group discussions, four plants were mentioned to have been used in mummification namely; bayabas (Psidium guajava L.), diwdiw or tibig [Ficus nota (Blanco) Merr.], patani (Phaseolus lunatus L.), and besudak (Embelia philippinensis A. DC). Antibacterial assays of the ethanolic extracts of the plants showed that E. philippinensis and F. nota have antibacterial properties which suggest that these plants have contributed to the preservation of the Kabayan fire mummies.
Page(s): 307-313
ISSN: 0975-1068 (Online); 0972-5938 (Print)
Appears in Collections:IJTK Vol.17(2) [April 2018]

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