Hydnora Abyssinica 

This is a remarkable herb traditionally used extensively in Somalia. I learnt it from my mother who is a nurse by profession, and always been into herbal medicine. Growing up, we rarely got sick and if we did she’d patch us up with the use of different herbs and oils like olive oil, xabbah sawda ( black seed) oil, garlic etc.

Diinsi is a potent antibiotic and painkiller, something I found out through use. Somalis have been using this traditionally for any infections/inflammation in the throat area, gut, and female reproductive organs. Any throat infection, stomach pain, diarrhoea, uterine infections, boils, pimples – name it, and it’d eradicate within days.

So 4 years ago, when I moved back to Sweden I decided to do thorough research to find out if this was known in the botanical world. I also interviewed an elder Somali woman who is an expert in traditional medicine.

For further reading, please refer to the links I provided in the end.


The whole plant is called Likke, but the root which is grounded and pulverized, is called diinsi. Most use the two names interchangeably.

You can get the roots in solid pieces or pulverized. It’s been my experience that the pulverized root isn’t as potent because the local herbalists usually add red dirt to the powder. But it’s still useful. If you can find a way to crush the roots by either mortar and pestle ( kal iyo mooyo) or a grinder, that’d be better.

For infections and inflammations,it’s important that you don’t use antibiotics concurrently, as that will have adverse effects.

It’s quite bitter so what you do is that you can make tea with cardemum and ginger and all the Somali shaah goods. And for 6 cups of tea, add a teaspoon of the powder to the tea, and bring it to boil. Make sure to taste it, as it’s supposed to be tasted to give off a rich taste with a vague hint of bitterness, like coffee. The sugar and spices in the tea will cancel out the bitterness, and you could add milk to boot!

Of course, you don’t have to add it to tea. If you’re a sadist, you can down it with a warm cup of water, adding a tiny pinch of the powder.

For superficial wounds and acne:

Take a few tablespoons worth of powder , and put it in a small bowl. Add like a teaspoon of water, just enough to give it the consistency of facial masks or yoghurt. Apply it on the wound or acne/pimple, and let it dry. It might sting slightly, which is a good indicator.

You could sleep with it overnight or wash it off after it has dried.

Keep in mind that it binds water, so could cause constipation after a couple of days.

Appetite suppressant

It’s also a very effective appetite suppressant! I tested it for a month, without changing my diet or exercise regimen, and I lost 15 lbs ( 7 kgs). I think most of it was loss of water retention caused by sugary stuff that causes swelling. And I’m assuming it’s because of the water-binding agent of the diinsi.

But this is all the hypothesis of a layman, for what it’s worth.


It’s safe to give to children btw. I’ve overseen the application to several children, amongst them was a 2 year old girl with acute ear infection and high fever. The doctor prescribed antibiotics and because I *hate* antibiotics ( I aint here for the second coming of the Black Death due to antibiotic resistant bacteria) I suggested we give her diinsi by adding the teeniest tiniest bit to her milk bottle, and watch what happens for the first 24 hours. Within an hour her fever came down, and a few hours later she was laughing and playing for the first time in days.
Obviously you have to use it with discretion because of its taste but also because it can suppress appetite and might be too strong.

I sound like I’m selling y’all something lol, but this could be made into a viable industry in Somalia, much like how Manuka honey is well sought after, and exclusive to Australia and New Zealand.
Maybe someone in the biomedical profession could take an interest to this.

Medicinal plants database

South African Journal of Botany

Herbal and Medical Plants in Somalia

9 responses to Hydnora Abyssinica 

  1. Abdirahman

    Thank you for sharing this.
    I can not believe that this poorly packaged poweder in almost every Somali shop in London can work wonders!!!
    I have been in pain for the last week due to toothache! My lovely wife made me a cup of tea with diinsi and 20 minutes am all over Google searching for its medical value.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous

    Hey, Im currently doing project on the benefits of diinsi and i was wondering if you knew what the active ingredient was.


  3. Saruuro

    Today I decide to Google benefits of dinsi just to see if people know about it and i found your fantastic article. Am actual drinking some black dinsi tea because I have some infection somewhere in my body.
    As a young Somali nomaadic child, I used to love eating roasted Likke/Lakka. The Dinsi is the root of the Likke/Lakka and it is round and has a tasty white rice like stuffing inside. The root is available at the beginning of the dry season. The ground would swell up and crack and we used to dig to find the dinsi wjich we called abboy/ayey meaning grandmother. We used to chew the bitter dinsi root and suck it’s juice. My grandmother always used to make dinsi tea with goats milk.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anonymous

    Abaayo how do we know if this stuff is safe and doesn’t cause any adverse effects down the line?


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