Dec 22, 2011

Sedef or Sedefil

Another plant used specifically for protection against the evil eye was rue (Ruta graveolens) or Sedefil. Since newborn children were believed to be most susceptible to the evil eye, the Bosniaks used to put a branch of rue in the baby's clothes but and   associated it with birth as well as death (it was placed above the head of the deceased)

The most famous plant among the Bosniak people which is by tradition connected to the sacred and the mystic elements is rue (Ruta graveoles). The word rue (sadef) has its origin in the Arabic language and it is commonly called in Bosnia "sedefil", "sedefat" etc. It is commonly believed that this plant has strong apotropaic powers, the old Egyptians, Chinese, Romans and Celts were aware of this fact. In Arabia, Peganum Harmala is a plant that is credit for annulling negative effects, especially spellbound eyes, in Bosnia this role is performed by nacre. Its worth is perhaps best understood by the old adage of grandparents who say "one should cater for nacre more than its own child."
In alternative medicine in Bosnia and Herzegovina, nacre was mostly used for heart diseases. Tea was usually made from this plant or a dry mixture of it would be combined with honey and eaten as such. Prophylactic characteristic of nacre should be sought in its original form, namely one leaf had five smaller leaves which associate us to five fingers or Khamsa (Hand of Fatima). Except the fact that the plant was placed under children's pillows to protect them against spellbound eyes, girls usually wore a bundle of the plant in their hair for the exact same purpose. Besides being able to protect one from spellbound eyes, the plant possessed a characteristic which enabled it to annul any and every magical or hostile effect and therefore it was usually found in front of a house, a bush planted near the entrance door or perhaps from both sides to prevent evil from entering the premises. These are the reasons why this plant gained popularity amongst the Bosnian people who see nacre as their national amulet.
Also the practice of using nacre is common in Bosnian spiritual healers, especially "stravarka" (ocakli kadin). One of them, "stravarka" by the name of Bilka, puts a bundle of the plant on the Qur'an and a piece of led over it to annul evil as soon as she begins the ritual. Bilka explains the usage of this plant: nacre is a heavenly plant which wards off any and every evil.Nacre is successfully used to annul black magic, this is one of many Bosnian recipes. It is necessary to take nine flowers, nine leaves and nine branches of nacre and place them inside a bottle which was beforehand filled with clear spring water. After that one must repeat the following nine prayers: El-Fatiha, Ikhlas, Falaq, Nass and Tebetyeda. After this is completed the bottle is closed and left closed overnight. The following day a person which has problems with negative energy has to first take a bath, and then when the body is clean it needs to wash himself with the water from the bottle taking care that every part of the body is washed with this water. One should not dry his body with a towel, but wait for it to be dried by itself and after that the parts of the plant need to be thrown out in a place where people don't trot.

Natural order: Rutaceae. Other names: Herb of Grace, Herb of Repentance. French name: Rue. German name: Raute. Italian names: Ruta, Ruga. Spanish name: Ruda trago-amargo. Turkish name: Sedef otu. Chinese name: Yiin-haiang- ts'ao. Bosnian name: sedefil, sedefčić, etc.