Adinkra are symbols from the West African nation of Ghana. Each symbol holds a meaning that represents important aspects of their knowledge system. Cloth stamped with Adinkra symbols can tell a story about which concepts are most important to you. It is worn during special occasions or ceremonies. The ink for Adinkra stamping is made from the bark of the Badie tree (Bridelia Ferrungia). First, the outside bark is cut away leaving a red fiber, using a long knife called a machete. Next, the red fiber is soaked in water over night to make it soft. The soaking makes the water lightly colored and is called 'adinkra aduru' (medicine), and can treat gastric illness.
The red fiber is then pounded to make it softer and placed back in the water to be boiled for two days. After cooking for two days, the bark is strained out of the water, and can be used to grow mushrooms.
With the bark removed, the liquid is boiled a final time, reducing in volume. This final boiling produces a thick black ink for stamping.
There is less deforestation in areas where the Badie tree grows because the bark is harvested from the trees in ways that keep the tree alive, allowing for regrowth. A single tree yields medicine, income, and environmental protection!