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Medicine Amongst the Maoris, in Ancient and Modern Times


page 72


Toothache was supposed to be caused by a "tunga" or grub which attacked the fang of the tooth. Incantations were repeated to expel this ancient microbe. In some cases a piece of "wiwi" (rush) was placed with the root end against the tooth, during the incantation, to provide a path of exit. Best mentions the heroic treatment of placing a piece of wood against the tooth and giving the other end a blow. He also mentions holding a mouthful of morning urine until the grub is killed.