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The Magic of Atar

Plant It is small but powerful. It can help you spice up a nice cup of tea or add personality to a gourmet dish. It can open the way to communicate with the Orisha and your Egn, it is the key ingredient in countless ebs prescribed by odd If and literally there is no major initiation that can proceed without having a bit of its ash. It can also be used for protection and even to set wrong doings. Its flavor is like no other, you can describe it as a blend of ginger, cardamom and pepper. It is hot but not terribly so. In the Orisha community atar is also known as pimienta de guinea, alligator pepper and grains of paradise; however its scientific name is Aframomun meleguetta. Being so widely use by oloshas it comes as no surprise that atar originated in the marshy coastal area of the Gulf of Guinea off Western Africa. Its flavor akin to ginger has a reason; it is part of the ginger family (Zingiberaceae). But the Lukum are not the only ones who cherish the pimienta de guinea, the Obro tribesmen have long known the meleguetta pepper as Yoruba; the Chitta call it Hausa. Other local names include efom wisa, and apoku. Its use is far and wide not limited to the people of Africa but extending to most African Traditional Religions arrived to the New World during the slave trade days. Other far places like Italy and the rest of the European continent learned about atar due to trade routes through the African desert dating from the 13th century. Those who are initiated as oloshas know that atar is vital in the process of consecration of a new priest and its implements and that it is a key ingredient of omiero. Its power helps us send messages to the Orisha and Olodumare during the process of feeding the Orisha in the Igbod and after Kariosha the iyaw is meant to wake up its senses every morning by ingesting atar. However, the meaning of its use is seldom explained to practitioners because few oloshas stop to ponder upon the uses of the various afefers (ceremonial items) at their disposition during a main ritual. Pod Atar is important because its energy makes our bodies awake spirit, it increases our ash semilen (literally the ash in our tongues/words), it makes our words carry the heat of creation and it opens doors to the realm of the Egn and the Orisha. However, the value of atar goes beyond the spiritual reasons our bright ancestors recognized centuries ago. Blessed be our Egn for being so in tune with Osan and harnessing the power of atar. Nowadays, the mystical Grains of Paradise are being studied because their chemical properties can be applied to drug development as a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain relieving agent to rival current medications out in the market. The cosmetic industry has recognized that atar extract can help reduce blemishes and injuries to the skin. Furthermore, there are pending patents based on Grains of Paradise intended for

treatment of Alzheimers disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, and cardiovascular diseases, all thought to be triggered by the immune systems response to inflammation.