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By Wilfred Pilo
THERE is a wild plant in the jungles of Borneo, dubbed the “Bulu Perindu”, which the old folks believe to have mystical and medicinal values that can boost one’s personality and health.
It is also said that the flower can act as a love charm, as it helps to boost your charisma with those of the opposite sex.
If you believe in this folklore and want to improve on your social cues, then this plant could be your ticket to win more friends, or even help you find a life partner, in addition to improving your health.
This local mystical flower actually belongs to a wild lesser tassel grass family scientifically known as Themeda arguens (L) Hack, which resembles a tiny hair root, thus the name “Bulu Perindu” – bulu as in hair and perindu, which means charm in Malay.
The plant is also known “Misai Adam” or “Misai Ali”, as the hairlike floret resembles a moustache (misai) for the locals.
“Old folks believe that the floret, mixed with traditional oil like coconut and rubbed on your stomach, can relieve or cure stomach ache. If you massage your head with the oil, it can relieve headache or stress.
“But what the flower is famously known among local folklore is of course the belief that it could make a person appear charming, beautiful and well-liked by people,” a trader who wants to be known as Mr Zee told DayakDaily when met at the recent timber expo at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).
He was selling the mystical grass floret, or Bulu Perindu, at his booth for RM20 per packet which contained 10 pieces of the hairlike floret.
Mr Zee said that olden belief had it that a person using the oil (mixed with the plant) could settle a quarrel in a family. As the mediator, the person could attract a feeling of remorse or forgiveness among the feuding parties.
“For a single person, man or woman, the mystical power of this plant is that it (the oil mixed with its flower) could charm people of the opposite gender. It has match-making qualities like cupid,” he added.
He claimed to have been told by old folks that they had used the plant as traditional herbs, as well as a charm potion, and that it had given them confidence and a feel-good effect.
Mr Zee, who works for a timber agency in the state, said the plant could be found in northern Sarawak, particularly Limbang and Lawas.
“These days, people who believe in its mystical values can even buy it online. If you need to know more about this plant and its folklore, you can always search for its information online,” he continued.
Mr Zee said the plant can be consumed by mixing the dried florets with water for a few minutes to drink. He said to have not heard or known of any complaints of side effects on the user.
“I am selling this, as there is demand and to make side income for me and my family,” he said.
On its alleged mystical qualities, Mr Zee said he had learned about its usage from traditional healers, hence the demand.
“There are many stories on the mystical value of the grass flower and people who applied them believed it had a result of some sort,” he said when asked on whether he believed in the mystic value.
Mr Zee personally thinks that the belief of the effect of using the mystical plant is to up to the individual.
He said that the plant can easily be planted at home. The plant can grow up to two meters in height and also be placed indoors as a decorative plant or to enhance the garden landscape.
“If the plant has medicinal values, then we need to research and develop this further,” he continued. — DayakDaily