The Agikuyu in the Central Province of Kenya love for their Muratina is deep to the marrow. Kikuyu traditional ceremonies like Ruracios, Mugithi nights, just to mention but a few must be accentuated with this traditional booze making rounds in peoples ruhias (cow horns) as they drink, and merry-make. Muratina completes the occasion.
Brewing and drinking Muratina during traditional ceremonies is legal in Kenya. This came about a landmark ruling last year when the judge recognized the alcoholic beverage as part of the Kikuyu traditional customs in celebrating their traditional rites of passage through various ways.
For generations now, brewing Muratina has been a source of livelihood for the experts who work their magic in preparing this traditional wine. Here is how Kikuyus like their Muratina.
From Kigelia Africana better known as the sausage tree comes the main contents for Muratina which are its hanging fruits. The sausage tree is mostly a wild tree, though it’s sometimes planted in homesteads. Most often the sausage tree can be propagated by seeds, but communities tend to protect saplings that have grown in the wild to enable them to grow to maturity. In rare cases, the seeds are planted in nursery beds to make seedlings.
Fruits harvested from Muratina or sausage tree, water for boiling, natural honey or proportionate amounts of sugarcane juice for sweetening, firewood to heat up the contents and containers for heating and preservation purposes are the basics needed.
Once the fruits have been harvested, they are cleaned then chopped into small pieces, before being put in the sun to dry. The fruits cannot be eaten fresh because they have a strong laxative effect and can cause blisters in the mouth and on the skin.
The fruits are then added to some water heating up in a container on fire and left to boil for a while. Alternatively, the mixture can be left in the sun to warm up. They are then removed from the water and dried under the sun a second time. Sugarcane juice or honey and some water are added to these boiled, sun-dried fruits then are kept in a warm place and left to ferment for a couple of days.
Sometimes the roasted fruits are used to flavor the beer and aid fermentation. After fermentation, the beer is crudely filtered and the Muratina slices are removed and dried for use in the next batch. The beer is now ready for consumption.
Drinking from cow horns
To uphold the cultural ways passed down from generation to generation marking the undisputed role of Muratina almost in all social functions in the Gikuyu community, it drunk from cow horns. Muratina, when prepared by an expert has a crisp and moderately sour with a mild, residual sweetness and smooth aftertaste. A glass and half are enough to make your vocals go viral.
Nyamachoma, particularly goat meat goes in handy with a cow horn of Muratina, a delicacy that Kikuyus cannot do without in their social and cultural ceremonies.
Health benefits of Muratina
Study shows that moderate alcohol consumption has been long thought to have health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Drinking Muratina is stress-relieving therapy and a good way for people to bond socially.
Not only is the sausage tree a source fo Muratina but also a valuable herbal plant with all its parts of the tree, fruits, leaves, bark, and roots, widely used by traditional healers across different African cultures to treat several health conditions.
Traditional remedies prepared from crushed, dried or fresh fruits are used to deal with ulcers, sores, and syphilis – the fruit has antibacterial activity. The tree is also widely recognized for its remarkable effectiveness in improving the firmness and elasticity of the skin