The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on November 10, 1968 · Page 20
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 20

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, November 10, 1968
Page 20
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B& Palm Beach Post-Times, Sunday, Nov. 10, 1968 Many Bahamians Still Use Bush Medicine NASSAU Hanlon, first proposed a study of bush medicine in the Bahamas in the hope that valuable new drugs might be discovered. Helen (Mrs. Leslie) Higgs, an energetic Nassau civic and charity worker whose speciality Is botany, undertook the Inquiry, starting about six years ago. Mrs. Higgs has spent countless hours in the study and has written a booklet on the subject. The 2,000-word work has some 60 photographs of her water color sketches of various "bush medicines." other recourse. Seeing a doctor meant traveling for many miles In a horse or donkey-drawn dray, or sailing many more miles to Nassau. Some 56 plants used as bush medicine are Indigenous to the Bahamas. Many that are common to the Out Islands are believed to have been carried by wind, ocean currents or migratory birds. They grow thick In uninhabited wooded areas, beaches, coppice land or along roadways. One of the founders of the Bahamas Society, the late Bob Despite her scientific training, Mrs. Higgs swears by bush medicine. She claims that White Sage (Lantana) "cured me of an itching on my hands and forearms which was due to an allergy to chem-ica.' fertilizer. Advice and medication of local doctors had been to no avail. Sage, steeped In boiling water, followed by an application of browned flour, relieved the intense itching in 10 minutes." Mrs. Higgs book describes Love vine or Dodder (Cuscuta Americana) as "a creeper plant is used extensively as a "tea" for colds and fever. But in the Out glands the people depend on bush medicine for everything from superficial wounds to high blood pressure sometimes with disconcerting results. Almost all bush medicine is prepared by boiling the leaves and straining the fluid, though some are parched, mostly for skin Incisions wounds, a cut or sores and a small portion bound to the body itself in some cases. For generations the people of the Bahamas have been using bush medicine, but it was not until recently that any systematic study was made in the hope of determining what bushes served what particular uses. Throughout the Islands, the Bahamas Government has been building up medical facilities In major settlements with doctors and nurses. But sel dom do these practitioners get to see cases before time-tested home remedies have been tried at home. First these people turn to nature's own apothecary. Some of the plants are grown in their own backyard. In some countries people grow flowers or aromatic balsam in window pots, but Bahamian housewives prefer to have aloes In their windows in case they suffer a bum while cooking. Whenever this happens they would quickly grab a leaf, silt It open and apply the jelly like substance to the affected area. Call it superstition, voodoo or obeah but these people have a firm belief in their "medicine," even though the "cure" Is sometimes worse than the malady. The use of these bushes evolved from the dire privation of peoples In the Out Islands who obviously had no without beginning or end . . . a parasitic twiner. . . used for an itch of the skin; as a cooling bath for prickly heat, against sex weakness. . . and If tied around the waist gives great easement for backache." Seaside Morning Glory or Bay Hop (Ipomoea Pesca prae) grows profusely on the beaches of the Bahamas and is used "for the relief of women's strain and tiredness." Skin cancer Is treated with nothing else but Cancer Bush or Horse Bush (Jacaranda Coerulea) which Is also considered "beneficial to other skin conditions." Before applying, the leaves are parched. The milk of the Monkey-Fiddle (Euphorbla-Tirucalll) contained in the stem of the plant, "if applied to warts may cause them to drop off." For high blood pressure the Breadfruit (Artocarpus AltiUs) Is used and also bound to the head and forehead "as a cure for headache." Breadfruit, incidentally, was Introduced to the Bahamas by Capt. William Bligh of "Mutinv on the Bounty" renown. Although Mrs. Higgs firmly believes In bush medicine and a great deal of her Information came through conversations with other Bahamians, she advises "not to attpmpt to use it as a form of treatment without first securing the approval of a doctor." -1 ? J-T-a NASSAU, Bahamas Ever hear of Jumbay, Cerasee, Strongback, Llfeleaf, Soldier or Love Vines? Probably not! But the Bahamians know them all. For strengthening the back, knocking out that (lu bug, curing other maladies, brewing a spot of fine "tea" or simply as a plain tonic, the inhabitants of these Islands frequently turn to these products of the rich flora of the Bahamas. The more sophisticated communities have the highest esteem for modern medicine but some Bahamians, principally those In the Out Islands, would not think of consulting a doctor until several varieties of their own "medicine" have failed them. Not a few residents of metropolitan Nassau share this penchant. Whenever there Is a wave of Influenza, almost everyone in Nassau takes Cerasee with a dash of salt and lime Juice. Cerasee or Art Pumpkin (Mo-mordica Charantia) is a quick-growing vine, bearing bright yellow flowers and oddly-formed orange colored seed pods. The scarlet, pulpy coating of the seed pods is edible. The seeds are emetic and the Leisure Travel Club Presents for Senior Citizens 32 OAYCKUISI TOUR SPAIN'PORTUGAL MADEIRA, CARACAS Sailing aboard tht Luiury ttntr FEDERICO C. i iifcthtt (!' Loving Port Everglades April 25, 1969 Returning May 26, 1969 ALL FIRST CLASS (ACQ SO Indudfi Everything: w Jv. Round trip Voyagt. 12 Day Land Tour, SiOMMftno. Tripi, Holtl Accommodation!, Mtall and Taxtt. Personally Conducted By Capt. Richard W. Denmore For dtlailvd loldtr writ BROOKS TRAVEL SERVICE 201 Datura Street W.Palm Beach, Fla. 33401 Ph. 832-4244 lMTY MnMMTIOIMht 11 FaoarlcoC. ftntert(t tfi ITALY tubitanhallv miati Inttrutional Siflt Stindtrtt for new ships dvvtlopta m I960 and metis the 1966 tire safety requirements. 3 days 2 nights $57 FREEPORT 3 days 2 nights MEALS & CAR $61 50 vfcoa Av Fen. Natal Maaaf mi IHH HAWAII 1 3 nights '599 NOV. H, DIC. 14, ftl. 24 Roll includes: Fart from Miami, 3 nights in las Vegas, 3 nights San Francisco, 7 nights Honolulu, rips, transfers, cocktail parties and breakfast and dinner daily. EUROPE By Jet Round Trip $262 COST FROM NASSAU 21 day mevnitm fa oy. Sotwraay etrj J. . . rlrf WtWS a w ixc HOLLYWOOD TRAVEL OFtN to ro 30 MON. THIU SAT. Ph. 683-0223 1(01 FALM BEACH LAKES SIVO Btrwm I-9S 4 Cenanm 5 DAY 00 per person 832-4244 CARNIVAL Call BROOKS UNIVERSAL TRAVEL Plui Tax SPECIAL YWCA JAMAICA CRUISE m MM NOV. 22 $ 150 "tea" for colds and fevers. Part of a Cerasee vine is shown in the all inclusive from w.p.b. Everyone Invited For further information call the YWCA (833-2439) o'r TAKE YOUR MEDICINE - A Bahamian child is being fed a dosage of Cerasee, a quick-growing vine which is used extensively as a BUSH BOTANIST -Bahamian botany expert Mrs. Leslie Higgs poses with the varieties of bush medicine plants grown in her beach front gardens off the Easter Road in BROOKS-UNIVERSAL TRAVEL The Hanseatic Point-of-View: A swimming pool is to swim in, not to stew in. 201 Datura St. Special Note from BROOKS: Space is still available on the Nov. 18, 24 and Feb. 10 Measures To Prevent Fire At Sea HAWAIIAN departures from Miami approach at the slowest speed at which control can be There is nothing more frightening than to have your boat catch fire at sea; and there Is so very little you can That's why we have three pools on the Hanseatic. So you'll have enough room to practice your frog kick. Spaciousness, graciousness is what we're all about. In fact, we make a point of knowing your name and your wishes in no time. Great Cruises to Islands 3? Boating poor safety precautions and lack of knowledge. The United States Power Squadrons, an organization of yachtsmen dedicated to safe boating; conduct free boating classes to teach many pleasure boat owners how to avoid fires as well as many other subjects. Gasoline vapors are much heavier than air and will stay in the bilge and cabins of boats. A very small amount of fumes can ignite and wreck any boat unless proper precautions are taken at the time of refueling. All hatches should be closed, including windows and ports. All motors turned off, Including engines stoves, fans etc. Most Important of all - NO SMOKING! Ground the nozzle of the gasoline hose to the fill pipe to prevent sparks, and wipe up all spillage. Before starting engines check for fumes, either with mechanical sniffer, or your own sniffer (your nose): have a fire extinguisher close by. If any fumes are detected, ventilate the boat thoroughly then check again for fumes before starting the engines. A clean ship-shape boat will be more fire-proof than one with oily rags and flammable material aboard to add fuel to a fire. For additional Instruction on fire prevention and safe boating, attend the free public piloting classes offered twice a year in the Greater Palm Beach area by the Palm Beach Power Squadron. Contact Piloting Chairman, Francis Whitehead at 848-5086. It is not necessary to own a boat to attend. BOATING TIP The basic rule In docking, anchoring, or mooring is to FROM PORT EVERGLADES-JANUARY 28.-10 DAYS. From $305. To Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Venezuela, Jamaica. FEBRUARY 7.-14 DAYS. From $450. To St. Thomas, Martinique, Trinidad, Venezuela, Curacao, Panama, Jamaica. FEBRUARY 22.-14 DAYS. From $450. To St. Thomas, Martinique, Barbados, Venezuela, Curacao, Panama, Jamaica. MARCH 8.-10 DAYS. From $305. To Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Venezuela, Jamaica. 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