Matthew Mcconaughey turned witch doctor while preparing for his role in new film Sahara, by treating Malian villagers with "miracle medicines".

The movie star took himself off to deepest, darkest Africa to soak up the continent's culture so he'd be ready to play adventurer DIRK PITT.

But he never imagined he'd become a whole tribe's doctor.

He recalls, "There was this child crying all night and day for two full days. He was just about a year old and his testicles were just like a prune.

"We're not speaking the same language but the baby is in a lot of pain. I took some things over like aspirin and fungus cream and we just started rubbing him down and the baby's tears just stopped. His mother thought it was this magic cream. They don't have that stuff.

"You see these girls with insect bites and they're really infected so you put some antibacterial stuff on them with a bandaid."

The villagers who adopted the magical McConaughey had an odd way of paying for his medical services: "They would take an earring and put it into my beard. That's your trade. You don't have to speak the same vocabulary to communicate."

23/03/2005 09:11