As Jamaicans, we have always heard from our parents or grandparents about the wonders of “bush tea”. Whether you had a headache, upset stomach, cold, flu, or any other ailment, they would brew some fever grass or bitter cerasee and give it to you as a miracle cure.
Well, their claims about “bush tea” were truer than you think or would have thought. Though they may not have been the remedy for any and everything like our relatives told us, scientific research has found that some of these “bushes” have amazing medicinal properties.
Today we look at the health benefits of some of these “bush teas” so that you can consider keeping up these traditions:
Due to the extremely bitter taste associated with cerasee, this tea is dreaded by many Jamaicans, especially kids, when offered to them as medicine. It is perfectly called “Bitter Melon” in other parts of the world. You can add sugar or sweeteners to reduce its bitter taste. Here are some remedial properties:
- Rich in natural antioxidants
- Reduces inflammation due to allergies
- Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
- It is a detoxifier, so, it is great for a “wash-out”
- Alleviates gastrointestinal problems like parasitic worms or constipation
- Fever Grass
More commonly known as “lemongrass” outside of Jamaican. The tea is widely brewed by Jamaicans to reduce fever, hence the name “fever grass”. Here are some benefits to drinking the tea or using the lemon grass essential oil extracted from the plant:
- Pain reliever
- Alleviates cold and flu symptoms
- Detoxifier that rids body of extra fluid and sodium
- Lowers blood pressure
- Rich in natural antioxidants
- Boosts skin health and strengthens hair follicles
- Guinea Hen Weed
This herb is referred to as Anamu in regions around the Amazon Rainforest where the plant originated from. Guinea hen weed has been studied intensely as a medicinal herb over the past few years; researchers found that the herb has beneficial biological compounds within it making it a strong medicinal herb that:
- Has cancer-killing properties
- Act as pain relief
- Aids in therapy for arthritis and rheumatism
- Strengthens immune system
- Has anti-bacterial properties fight against viruses and bacteria such as yeast
- Lowers blood sugar
There is an entire diG article about the benefits of Guinea Hen Weed here.
- Lime Leaf Tea
Although the small green citrus fruit of this plant is much more popular worldwide, its leaves have some remedial properties which may not be made known.
- Rich in vitamin C which boosts immune system
- Alleviation of respiratory conditions such as asthma
- Treatment of digestive problems
- Relief of nausea and upset stomach
- Lowers risk of heart disease
Please note that serious conditions should not be self-treated using these herbal teas. Find out from a doctor if these herbs can be used alongside any medication prescribed to you. They should not be used in place of any prescribed medication without approval from your doctor. Excessive consumption of these teas is not advised. It is better to use them for a few days then take a break before continuing further use. Pregnant woman should NOT use any of these teas as the major components of the herbs may cause complications with the pregnancy.
Written by Johan Gordon, student of Campion College. Edited by Kaeonna Walters. This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program.