My parents growing up in Jamaica, the leaves, flowers, barks and roots were their first medicines. I remember them fondly recall different herbs and natural remedies their parents and grandparents would give them for an annual “wash out” or to help ward off an illness. Back then, people had a much stronger connection to the earth and what it yielded. Knowledge of when different plants and herbs were available throughout the seasons were commonplace. Brewing a cup of “bush” tea (a herbal tea made with various herbs), instilled nostalgia as my father would recount what herbal blends my grandparents would drink often.
(Soursop fruit and tree, St. Thomas, Jamaica)
This knowledge they passed down to me. I remember going to my Father’s bee farm and collecting buckthorn and hawthorn berries to make healing syrups. Buckthorn berries had a stimulant laxative effect and hawthorn berries were known to help with heart health. Wildcrafting and foraging for wild herbs with my Father helped me to learn how herbal teas could be incorporated in my daily life.
(Buckthorn Berries and tree)
Living in this industrial and technological era, we have lost connection with the earth’s cycle. We have lost touch with the signs nature gives us of the changes of times and seasons. We have lost the art of making herbal remedies for every and any ailment. I have sought to learn this art that our ancestors heavily relied on through consulting the aged men and women in my midst who were blessed with healing hands. This has led me to learn by experience how various herbs affect me and those in my midst. Because of this I am able to use them in my daily life. You must learn the herbs, use the herbs and share the herbs.
(Banana and ackee trees, St. Thomas, Jamaica)
I choose herbs to use based on my current mood and state. This has also helped to increase my knowledge of herbs as well as my self-awareness. When I feel stressed, I know I can turn to the Chamomile, Lavender and Mint blend for relaxation. If I need an energizing tea blend without caffeine, our Red Turmeric tea with turmeric, ginger and cardamom is very warming and energizing, giving me that pick-me-up when I need it. When it’s that time of the month and I’m feeling a little depleted, I know I can depend on nettle leaf infusion for it’s high iron content and red raspberry leaf for womb health.
Having a knowledge of herbal remedies has been a gift to me. Learning this art is a lifelong endeavor and journey of mine. As I continue to learn, I endeavor to share with all who are willing to learn.