I’m a tea addict. Tea drinking has always been a sacred ritual in my family. Every morning I’d wake up to its warm aroma and then proceed throughout the day brewing myself a cup to accompany my brunch or supper. In my family, tea was not just a source of drinking pleasure but medicine for a myriad of ailments!
As I sit here nurturing a tummy ache, you should know that I type whilst sipping some ginger tea. This prompted me to share what I’ve learned from my Jamaican Grandma. With no money required – these medicinal teas can be derived from plants, trees and roots found in many backyards within Jamaica and other tropical countries.
To this day my grandma continually gives me information about the healing properties of a myriad of brews. Clearly she knew what she was talking about. Not only did they do what she said they would, research has confirmed that she was right! My grandmother has so many tea remedies but for now I’ll share two (2) of my favourite. Bitter aftertaste NOT included…
Firstly, be sure to pick 3-5 the relatively mature leaves from the noted tree or plant. Wash thoroughly with soap and water or salt and water. I’m kind of a germaphobe so I do a double wash with either method. The next step is to brew in a pot of boiling water for about 3-5 minutes, or until the water changes from clear to a medium brown colour. You may sweeten with sugar or honey, but I recommend drinking it plain simply because I find that they taste better that way. Remember guys, I am not doctor so I recommend you do further research and/or check with your personal doctor before trying the teas out.
Leaf of Life
Every now and then, my Grandma would brew some leaf of life tea when I had a bad fever. Originating from Africa, it is often used as a remedy for colds, fever, sinusitis, high blood pressure, bronchial ailments such as asthma, the list is almost endless! Main constituents include beta-carotene and bryophillin A and C- anticarcinogenic (source).
I figure that it got its unique name not only due to the fact that it’s great for so many ailments, but because it seems to grow wherever you throw it. Pick a leaf and throw it on the earth and after a short while you’ll see roots and mini leaf of life trees sprout from that single leaf! You may dry the leaves and store for future drinking but picking the leaves, slightly crushing it then boiling it for drink can work well too. Used as a poultice, its also great for soothing insect bites.
According to JA Herbs this plant has antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, and even antihistamine properties. However, given its immunosuppressant properties it is NOT advised to be taken internally for extended periods and should NOT be consumed during pregnancy.
Most of us know its prickly fruit with its sweet fleshy innards, but did you know that you can also use the leaves for tea? I don’t sleep – I have severe insomnia. Not wanting me to have too much (as she said it would lower my blood pressure) my Grandma would boil the leaves for me every once in a while so I could sleep. It always worked like a charm!
The Soursop tree is indigenous from the rain forest regions but grows in abundance in tropical regions. The tea used as a sedative, it is even said to be an anti cancer agent, and cure ulcers. According to Herb Wisdom, laboratory research showed that the leaf, seed and fruit extracts act as “potential treatments to reduce or eliminate the spread of cancer cells in the body”. The leaves are said to be rich in iron and as such the teas are said to increase red blood cell count and thus treat anemia. It has a high nutrient content, with high levels of Vitamin A, C, B fiber, iron, potassium and calcium (see Viral Creek).
Beside from its internal benefits, externally it’s great for hair and skin problems such as dandruff and eczema when crushed and made into a paste. When crushed it is said to be also great for treating arthritis and gout.
Drugs.com states that information is lacking to determine its adverse reactions but notes that persons with Parkinson’s Disease should avoid consumption. Information is said to most likely be minimal as researchers will likely not do much testing due to its high annonacin level, which supposedly is a neurotoxin.
Are there any homegrown garden teas that you’d like to share? Let me know and leave a comment! I look forward to hearing from you. If you like this post, you might also like 3 Natural Beauty Hacks (Jamaican Grandma Edition) so don’t forget to check it out and subscribe.
Thanks for reading!!