The bright red or dark brown/purplish seeds are Circassian Seeds (Adenanthera pavonina) that grow on large, ornamental trees of Nevis and many tropical areas. These seeds are an extremely uniform size and weight, so that in ancient Asia they were used to weigh gold. Four seeds weigh 1 gram and 109 seeds weigh 1 ounce.
There is folklore attached to the seeds in many countries: In the Caribbean, any red seeds are worn to ward off evil spirits -- or jumbies -- and are therefore re- ferred to as "jumbie beads." In India, in the sacred temple of Guruvayoor in the state of Kerala, Circassian seeds are known as "manjadikuru" (manjadi tree + kuru, or seed). A vessel filled with these seeds is placed near the entrance of the temple and it is believed that the devotee who places his hands in the vessel and ploughs through the seeds three times is cured of all diseases and attains prosperity. The origins of this tradition lie in folklore about a poor devo- tee who carried the seeds on her pilgrimage as a gift to Lord Krishna at this temple. To create a special good luck charm, one single seed is hollowed out and 12 very tiny carved elephants are placed inside. The tree is also known as Red Sandalwood, and its hard wood is used in furniture, boat building and to make a red dye. The raw seeds are toxic but can be eaten when cooked and are easily digestible by humans and livestock; they are rich in fats and proteins and considered a cure for many ailments. The leaves are edible when cooked and are also used as traditional medicine. These untreated seeds will retain their color and shine for many years, but should not be worn in water or eaten!