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)

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Local couple markets old-time remedy - Lead Stories - Jamaica Gleaner - Saturday | January 21, 2012

Local couple markets old-time remedy - Lead Stories - Jamaica Gleaner - Saturday | January 21, 2012

Local couple markets old-time remedy

Published: Saturday | January 21, 2012 8 Comments
After it is extracted by a machine, the pulpy mass is then boiled for a long time and allowed to set, at which stage the castor oil rises to the top which is the 'mud settling'.
After it is extracted by a machine, the pulpy mass is then boiled for a long time and allowed to set, at which stage the castor oil rises to the top which is the 'mud settling'.
Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer
BERNARD LODGE, St Catherine:RICARDO THOMPSON and spouse Shirley Lindo produce castor oil using the cold-press system which sees the seed being crushed and the oil mechanically extracted and water added before boiling. This purification process is very important given that in its natural state the seed is highly toxic due to the presence of ricin, a deadly poison.
Thompson explained that with the water added, it must be allowed to boil properly and settle for some time, after which the oil rises on top of the "mud" and this is skimmed and placed in another container for further processing. "Done properly, it comes out the way you want it to be without the dark colour or offensive smell."
After many years of trial and error, they have the formula worked out, but many clients are still hooked on the castor oil of old and so raising public awareness is an ongoing process. This, according to Shirley, includes educating people to the value of castor oil being much more than just a laxative or hair product. In marketing their Palm of Christ brand, she shares the wide range of benefits from this anti-fungal, antiviral and anti-inflammatory product.
It has been a hard sell though, she explains: "They say castor oil no look so. Castor oil can't stay so, it nuh black? Why it nuh thick and smell strong. What we have done, though, is produce two shades of oil. Among people who are familiar with the old castor oil, the darker one will sell because them say it looks like the real one. The lighter colour one, they say is olive oil, we put in the bottle."
don't promote drinking
Despite its effectiveness as a laxative, the couple does not promote this use of their brand, as Shirley explains: "We do not put it on our bottles that you drink it because we cannot quantify how much of it you should drink. This, especially if it is not boiled properly, will really give you the runs, really. Our oil does not give you too much of that - it's a gentle laxative, much more so than the ones that are traditionally parched, beaten and then boiled."
Checks on a number of Internet sites confirm claims by Shirley and Ricardo as to the many everyday health benefits of castor oil such as the following:
Ringworm - undecylenic acid, which is one of the active compounds of castor oil, helps fight ringworm, a fungal infection.
Skin problems - castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, which delivers anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin. It provides treatment for minor cuts, burns, abrasions, sunburn and prevents skin disorders such as acne and eczema. Aside from these, one of the benefits of castor oil is in skin conditioning. It serves as a natural emollient, which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin that hydrates and moisturises the skin. It treats wrinkles, repairing and rejuvenating the skin to make it look flawless and smoother.
In addition, castor oil is a remedy for more serious health conditions, which include sciatic nerve pain. The oil relieves sciatia, a painful condition characterised by lower back pains and soreness in your lower limbs.
A therapeutic benefit of castor oil is hair growth treatment as it helps increase hair growth and makes it healthier, softer, shinier and fuller. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, castor oil is useful for massaging arthritic joints and sore, tired muscles.
In addition, castor oil is also believed to deliver medical benefits to certain neurological problems, such as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
With the many health benefits of castor oil, it is no wonder why it is one of the most beneficial oils available. Used properly, castor oil is truly a valuable, organic remedy that can help improve your body's physical fitness, vigour and overall wellness.

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