What is Strong Back?

What is a ‘strong back’?

Well, on the surface, a strong back is exactly what the words suggest: a back (or spine) that is strong, firm, rigid, and capable of supporting tremendous and strenuous activity. However, in the Jamaican context, that meaning goes deeper. ‘Strong back’ is a term associated with sexuality and sexual expression – especially in males. When a Jamaican says ‘strongback’, they are usually referring to a concoction that assists men especially to achieve the ideal of the three Vs- vim, vigour and vitality, particularly in the bedroom. A ‘strong back’ drink is believed to help males achieve the ultimate symbol of stereotypical masculinity: virility and sexual prowess. There are men who will swear by some of these drinks, claiming that they help to boost stamina and durability to get the job done. Others say that ‘strong back’ has helped them to overcome impotence, and has restored youthful energy and enhanced their libidos.

What goes into ‘strong back’?

The strong back mixture varies from household to household. It can be a tea, a punch, a tonic, a drink, etc. There are several different ingredients that different persons will swear by. Generally, there is a mixture of herbs, with a generous serving of foods beleived to have medicinal properties, and something milky or sweet. Below, we have listed some of the most common ingredients.

  • Irish moss
  • Okra
  • Peanut
  • Oats
  • A tonic drink: Baba Roots, Magnum, Dragon Stout, Guinness
  • A milky additive: Lasco, Supligen, condensed milk
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla
  • Rum