Corporal punishment is a horrible thing. But believe me, sometimes, a stick can do wonders to you, especially if its the stick of a monkey.
Puzzled? Well, I am talking about Indian Laburnum or the Amaltas - the beautiful yellow flower tree that also bears a meter long, bean-like pod. In my mother's village in the North East India, they call it the 'Monkey Stick".Now, have never seen a monkey walking with that, or any other stick :) But I love that name.
In my village, kids often get Mumps. Now Mumps, as we know, is nothing to romanticize about. It attacks your saliva glands, making your throat and mouth swell like balloons and the pain, especially when you try to swallow, is so severe, you cry every time.
But in my village, nobody is scared of Mumps, thanks to the monkey sticks. What you do is this: pluck the ripe (the outer shell will be dry, hard and wooden) pods. Crack them open. Inside, you find dry wax of dark brown color. Heat a handful of wax it a little until it melts and then apply a thick coat of that wax over the swollen glands.
I always saw people getting cured in 2-3days. In fact, I had Mumps once (when I was in 10th standard) and I got alright on the 3rd day.
Of course, the tree has other uses also, especially all those dazzling yellow chandeliers flowers. A thick paste of the flower petals can help enormously cure skin diseases like chapped, broken or itchy skin. The fruit pulp with milk can also be used as a cure for seriously infected skin and burns.
So next time you see an Amaltas tree, do a bit of monkeying around, collect a few seeds.They will help beat the Mumps blues away!