Return to Roots: Medicinal Plants in Everyday Life Part II

Medicinal Plants for Wellness and Healing

Herbal medicine has been used by Jamaicans for generations to treat myriad ailments. Whether it is the leaf, flower, fruit or root of plants, or the bark (in the case of trees reputed for their health properties), medicinal plants are relied on for their accessible health benefits.

‘A single plant may, for example, contain bitter substances that stimulate digestion and possess anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce swellings and pain, phenolic compounds that can act as an antioxidant and venotonics, antibacterial antifungal tannins that act as natural antibiotics, diuretic substances that enhance the elimination of waste products and toxins, and alkaloids that enhance mood and give a sense of well-being.’(M. Fawzi Mahomoodally)

As such, medicinal plants, like the popular aloe vera and leaf of life, are used for wellness and healing. They are typically taken in two ways: internally and externally. Typical (internal) ways of consuming medicinal plants are via teas and tinctures; and popular (external) means of applying medicinal plants are via salves and baths.