Folk Medicine Of Jamaica

By | on Feb 11, 2013 | 0 Comment

By Rita Rizzo.

Rockfort Mineral Bath is one of several hot springs in Jamaica, believed to have great healing properties. Photo Credit:

Rockfort Mineral Bath is one of several hot springs in Jamaica, believed to have great healing properties. Photo Credit:

Yeh mon, today we travel to Jamaica, a land of sugar sand beaches, lush rain forests, towering waterfalls, and rushing rivers. If the overwhelming beauty of the country doesn’t win you over, the warmth and inclusiveness of the island’s people will definitely make you want to stay longer than planned. Jamaica is a healing place, rife with vegetation, and hot mineral springs touted to revitalize the body and keep the soul at peace.

Soak for a bit in the thermal mineral springs that are said to have healing powers. Three separate locations feature hot springs, Milk River Bath in Clarendon, Bath Fountain in St. Thomas, and Rockfort Mineral Bath, all of which promise to relieve stress, fatigue, back pain and muscle strain, headache, migraine, arthritis, circulatory problems, neck pain, and whiplash. Don’t stay too long however, because part of the curative powers of the waters are due to the fact that they are highly radioactive!

Most island natives can show you to a tree, bush, or plant that is believed to have healing properties. Traditional shamans and herbalists in Jamaica utilize the rich flora of this tropical island to produce natural medicines to treat common illnesses. Recently, modern medical studies on some of these remedies have been undertaken with some very promising results. Research at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, discovered that many of the healing plants of the island have antibacterial properties effective in addressing strep, staph, and e-coli infections.

Occupied by the Spanish in its early, African slaves were first brought to the island in 1513. The slaves brought with them a variety of African plants that have since flourished in the hot climate of the Caribbean. These plants, along with the indigenous vegetation make for a diverse mix of healing fruits, barks, roots, and leaves.

The fruit from the bitter melon plant is eaten as part of Jamaican cooking, while the juice from the melon and leaves is used medicinally. Bitter melon is a traditional treatment for eczema, menstrual cramps, colds, constipation, fevers, and upset stomachs. Scientists are studying the effects bitter melon has on serious illnesses such as HIV, cancer, and diabetes. Dogwood tea is taken to relieve migraines, treat insomnia, and ease anxiety. Herbalists suggest drinking dogwood tea to soothe muscle spasms, treat coughs, and reduce fever.

Quassia is used to treat digestive disorders, internal worms, and lice, as well as malaria. A 1999 study of Quassia extract on mice with malaria, found that it is effective against the parasite that causes malaria. Sarsaparilla is used for skin diseases and arthritis, and also as an energy-boosting tonic and an aphrodisiac. Please consult your physician before taking any of these remedies, but know that the old world cures of the island may provide the key to developing modern day medications for what ails us.

Article reprinted with permission of

Featured Photo Credit:


Author Description

No Responses to “Folk Medicine Of Jamaica”

You must be logged in to post a comment.