Famous ‘Sex tree’ draws tourists to Great Zimbabwe

A famous tree, believed to have aphrodisiac properties have tourists flocking to the world heritage site, not just to see the ancient ruins, but to have a bit of its herb.
The herb has its origins from a tree perched atop the hill complex of the Great Zimbabwe, a few metres from where the rulers of the fallen empire sat presiding over their court, 250 metres above the ground.
The greyish tree, which has an astounding ability to break through and grow out of granite rock almost sky high, is unlike any of the ordinary species found in the African Savanna.
Great Zimbabwe officials say the mystery of the tree, dubbed Muchemedzambuya, whose dead root protrudes three metres above the ground, is as old as the monuments themselves.
“The story of the Great Zimbabwe is not complete without the mention of Muchemedzambuya,” said Tichatonga Nhutsve, an animated tour guide whose deep knowledge of Great Zimbabwe was evident as he spoke.
“The royal family was polygamous and that time having many children was a status symbol. So, as part of pledging their loyalty, provincial chiefs would send virgins to the king. But then, what use was it to have so many wives when you produced few children?”
Muchemedzambuya, translated to mean “make a grandmother cry in bed”, is the African equivalent of Viagra that helps to stimulate feeble men in bed so they can sexually satisfy their women. But there were no weak men residing atop the Great Zimbabwe that time; ruling as many as 20 000 people. The only issue was that the old king, as the Portuguese records show, had 200 faithful wives who looked up to him for sexual gratification.
Despite having such outrageous polygamy, by today’s standards, the king is said to have been able to satisfy them all, courtesy of the herb made from the bark of the Muchemedzambuya tree.
“The root of this tree made their seed very powerful; hence they could bear many children,” said Nhutsve.
But, as is always the case, no secret — no matter how ancient — lasts forever. Word leaked that the tree provided a remedy to men with erectile problems and tourists who climbed 250 metres above the ground over the years secretly cut the root and took its pieces away.
Although the National Monuments and Museums of Zimbabwe has since banned tourists from further laying their hands on about 45 centimetres of what is left of the dead wood, the damage has already been inflicted on the precious tree.
However, tourists who are now flocking to Great Zimbabwe can get Muchemedzambuya, which is now being officially extracted from similar trees found in the sprawling 800 hectare estate. A spoonful of the powder is sold for $1 at the Shona Village, which portrays the way of life of the indigenous people.