Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Wax and Cannon: An Authentic Jamaican Treatment

This home remedy had me laughing when I learnt about it.

I depend a lot on my mom to pass on these remedies, whenever she remembers them. As she and I went through our bout of the Chikungunya virus, we were suffering gravely from wax and cannon in our groins. I heard her laugh out loudly and said "nuh wonda fuss time people used to tek stone outta de grung' an put pan dem wax and cannon..."

This was so new to me. She referred to our fore parents as (fuss time people which means first time people.) and what this remedy simply requires is digging a small stone from the earth and pressing the area that was faced downwards, hard on the area of the wax and cannon. When you remove the stone, it is planted back in its exact position from which and where it was dug. This was believed to bring down the swelling.

Does this really work? It still remains a mystery to me.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Donkey's Milk for Asthma

When I first heard that Jamaicans used this in folk medicine, I thought it was most bizarre. "Donkey Milk" was used (and is probably still used today) to cure asthmatic conditions. It is said that this is the only time that donkey's will would be consumed.

How it was done
The guardian or the parent who was going to administer the remedy would not utter a word upon waking up out of bed, they would then prepare the child, (who was also not supposed to talk to any one before consuming the remedy) and they both would go for a walk and then the child would be given the milk to drink.

Many boast that as a child, they were given donkey's milk to drink and it worked as they never got an attack of asthma thereafter.

Spirit Weed

The Spirit Weed is taken to cure the common cold.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Cocoon Beads in Jamaican Folklore

Model Kayodi Francis wearing a necklace made of cocoon and horse eye beads.

He explained that the cocoon bead was used in Jamaican Folklore. The cocoon bead was used to test if a body of water was poisonous or contaminated. It would be thrown into the water, if it floated the water was said to be safe; if it sank the water was poisonous or contaminated.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

How to Make Coconut Oil

One average size coconut will yield a small quantity of oil. The amount in this picture was the product of an average size coconut and was prepared by my Mom.

Get the dried coconut and remove the meat from the shell. Grate the coconut or you may cut the meat in small bits and blend (which ever is more convenient). Add 1/2 cup of water to the shreds of coconut and squeeze the juice. Strain to remove the trash. Having removed all the trash pour the coconut juice/ milk into a pot and boil until a creamy custard is formed. Remove the creamy custard from the top. The oil will be settle at the bottom. Cool and store in a clean container.

Coconut oil was used for many purposes in Jamaican folklore. It was popularly known for its moisturizing properties and was used from head to toe. Some of its uses included:
Hair Oil
Body Oil
used to heal a cracked heel
It would also be used with garlic for common colds
as well as for cooking

Coconut oil is versatile and still retains its use in Jamaican homes.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Callaloo Pineapple Juice

A Refreshing Glass of Pineapple and Callaloo Juice

It is often said that you should avoid mixing fruits and vegetables, as the combination is counterproductive. Fruits provide a cleansing effect since they are not stored in the body while vegetables nourish the body and repair cells. However, in my opinion, adding fruits to your green juices, which can be quite distasteful, is a creative way of enhancing the taste and making green juices more appealing. Furthermore, the sugar in fruits act as the sweetening agent and therefore means that you do not have to add complex sugars.

In Jamaica, Callaloo (a green leafy vegetable) is used in many different ways. It is a cheap source of iron and other essential vitamins and minerals, as it grows wildly and easily and does not need any extra attention. Many Jamaicans grow the shrub in their backyards. It grows very fast and can be reaped within a week and half to two weeks after planting. The plant has a lot of fine seeds, which can be sown, even without drying them.

The Callaloo Plant

Callaloo, as I previously stated, can be prepared in a variety of ways. In juices,one pot meals such as Polenta or Turned Cornmeal, seasoned rice(these are famous in the Caribbean), Callaloo Cups, Callaloo Rice; It can be Steamed and had with your choice of staple(s): Yams, Banana, Rice, Potatoes etc..., the possibilities are endless.

In this issue, I will share with you, the recipe of my very own Callaloo and Pineapple Juice.

Callalloo and Pineapple Juice Recipe
3 Stalks of freshly cut Callaloo
1 small Pineapple
1/2 Joint of Celery
1 Stalk of Parsley
1 1/2 cup of Water
a medium piece of Ginger (or according to your taste)
2 tbsp. Granulated sugar (optional)

First, cut pineapple into chunks as well as cut the callaloo and Parsley leaves and stems into shreds, Place in separate containers. Add Pineapple to blender and blend until smooth, (or extract pineapple juice using a Juice extractor). Next, add the Callaloo, Celery, Parsley and ginger and blend until smooth also. Strain the ingredients and sweeten to taste.
Decorate and Serve Chilled.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Itchy Scalp Remedy: Swivel/ Sour Orange

Sour or swivel orange was a major part of a hair wash/ cleansing routine. Before many poor Jamaicans who resided in rural Jamaica were exposed to the "luxury of Shampoos," the swivel orange was the shampoo of the day. It was said to have been effective in the treatment of itchy, dry scalp.

The juice from the fruit would be squeezed over the entire head and scrubbed using the finger pads. It would then be left on the head/ hair for a short period of time before rinsing and washing with just about any soap that was available.

Other natural ingredients that played a part in hair routine were tuna, aloe vera aka single bible, castor oil and coconut oil.

The Tuna Plant

Aloe Vera

The Oil Nut Tree (Castor Oil)

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