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Bamboo Seed: Viagra and Food for Mizos

Aizawl, It can tweak the fertility of rats, believe many in Mizoram. Now nutrient-rich bamboo seeds are going straight from the jungle to the Mizo menu and even the bedroom!

In Mizoram, bamboo seeds that appear after a riotous flowering of the tall grass every 50 years are considered a harbinger of famine or mautam in the state's local language. The seeds trigger a phenomenal rodent population explosion as the rats eat them and multiply, taking advantage of the abundant food supply in the wild.

And people in Mizoram, in northeastern India, are taking the cue. A couple, Thara and Dawngi, had been married for nine years but had remained childless. Things, however, changed when they tried the seeds.

'The last thing we tried was bamboo seed,' Thara said. Today Thara, a grocer by occupation in Aizawl, is the proud father of a son.

The couple had tried general doctors, faith healers and fertilisation specialists in Kolkata, but in vain. 'We tried everything, spent about Rs.800,000. I was completely down and hopeless,' Thara said.

But one day a neighbour told the couple about the bamboo seed's qualities. Thara bought two pods, boiled them and the couple ate it together. The following month, in April 2005, his wife Dawngi was in the family way.

'It's difficult for me to say that bamboo seeds battled fate, but we were not under any treatment at that time. I was apprehensive, but after my wife bore a child, I have accepted the seed's virtues,' Thara said.

C. Rokhuma, a mautam or bamboo flowering expert who has been experimenting on bamboo seeds and its impact on animals that feed on it, is sure of the powers of the seed.

'My experience convinced me that the seeds enhanced the fertility of rats. I don't know if it works on humans but I am sure it acts as a sex stimulant for rats,' C. Rokhuma said.

Scientists are, however, yet to prove that thes
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