These ripening fruits of Chironia baccifera, in Afrikaans aambeibossie (little haemorrhoids bush), include some red, ripe ones. A few of the fruits are already wrinkled and desiccating; one having dropped off shows the inside of a five-pointed calyx.
The wrinkled appearance of the overripe aambeibossie fruit brings a story:
Healers of ancient times developed a conviction that herbs resembling the various human body parts can be used in treating ailments involving those parts. This insight went by the name of the Doctrine of Signatures following a book in 1621 by one Jakob Böhme. The notion was theologically substantiated by arguing that God would have wanted to show people what specific plants are useful for.
Patients complaining of haemorrhoids thus had their medicine men conducting fundamental inspections and reaching an almost inevitable conclusion. The wrinkled, fleshy red appearance of Chironia baccifera fruits presented a sufficient resemblance to constitute a valid remedy for the condition. How much good and how much harm was done remain unknown; the plant is potentially toxic.
As nature finds ways of filling vacuums, human thinking manages to shape notions for filling every conceivable space among the elements of proven knowledge, irrespective of their merit (Manning, 2007; Wikipedia).