In the Caribbean, our generation grew up with the rituals and remedies that allowed our elders to live long lives free of disease. At the core of their philosophy was daily healing rituals that helped prevent illnesses – and at the heart of this philosophy was the ritual of herbal teas, lovingly called “bush tea”. There was a leaf for each specific ailments and purpose.
“My grandmother knew her herbs, but she revered bay leaves. She would always give us bay leaf tea to calm down and relax and to heal body aches. She once sent me to London with a packet of dried bay leaves for her daughter to help heal her muscle pains. Today we know that bay leaf is a main component in pain relieving pills.”
– T. Phillip, Trinidad
“As a child, my mother used to make us drink all types of herbs for different types of problems. The famous one was black sage. It was told to us that it was a form of blood cleanser. Another famous tea she used to give us was lemongrass. She said it was commonly used for lowering cholesterol levels, relieving bloating and relieving pain. Also, one of the teas we used to get quite frequently was ginger. As kids, we would get stomach aches quite often and she will give us ginger tea since it helps ease digestive issues and also acts as an anti-inflammatory.Furthermore, we used to drink hibiscus tea for colds and flu-like symptoms. Lastly, we used to drink turmeric tea for any bowel problems and also, for any internal bleeding from extremely hard knocks. We were given it mainly on mornings and at night sometimes.” – Kayon W, Grenada