I The Dary Nws, Frilay, Jy 9.19
Plants take care of us; we should return the favor
I grew up in a family in which
medicinal plmas were commonly
used. Every ominning d every
nigbl beo I went t bed, my
hcr would give me bush tea and
Also, as a boy, Iexperienced the
therapeutic and healing powas of
edicinal plants when Igot he flu.
My mother prepared a m rely
bilter herb tea made from a small
plant called cae piece scan, which
grow wild throughout the island.
To my surprise, within an hour
or so I began to feel releved. The
herb te broke the fever adl broke
out into a cold swea Within about
three days, regained my appetite.
Besides that, I was given a bush
bath. My experience may sound
unusual to masy young people
today, but those who grew up in
these islandsit ose days know
that natures ha heaki.
e cumthe.ptc~perties ofdrupg
extracted fft wild plants have
been known to man from the eari-
est times. In those days, man treated
lns fm foreo o ea lloevite
at sufi g. o wever, with the
ilvnce of scientific nowledg of
dffel.st wild plans today, modem
medicine developed a scientific
branch from folk medicine. .
Some 400 species of medicinal
plants have been documented hus
far in the Virgin Islands In 1651,
the French reported that S Coix
had 16 brooks, three rive, many'
local flora and medicinal plants
growing wild. However, with the
ecological changes of he islands'
many medicinal plants are disap.
hearing or becoming rae
Such local people as livia M.
Henry, Arona Petrsen and Sally
and Kai Lawaetznow that folk
medicine was a major pt of the
Virgin Islands culture of long ago.
As a young Virgin blander, Idecid-
ed to help keep ispartof our cul
ure aliveby giving lectures and
hikesin the in forests ofSL Croix
about the different plants and trees
that grow there
I have discussed tbeimportant
uses of trees and plants hat play a
important role in ourcultm e and
islands' ecology with school chil-
drn, acaers, u uch groups, the
public at la and aeviromeatal
As natrlist, Ibelieveevery
p placed on thisearthwas
placed with some specific purpose
He are some plants still used
somewhat for mdici purposes.
BlackWattle (Piper aduncum).
Tea made from leavesis used for
fevers and colds. This plant only
grows in oist forest reas
Trumpet buskl (Ccropia pelta.
t), Lavs ofplants made o a lea
to extract fluids and fbr indigestion.
Trumpet bsh gowsin moist areas
especially long gusin ain for.
st areasoaSL Croix.
Pissy Bed Busc (Pisiia cyl.
rina). Is used to help cre bedwe-
tiag, washing ores, and bush baths.
Plat grows mostly in foreslteas.
Bay leC (Pimentaracemosa).
Laves re usedin sews andere.
als. eav also used for colds and
making sop and lotion. Leaves
also ow inalcohol nd used as a
rnbbing linfneaie. This piant grows
mostldy in forest areas
WestI~ndtl cotton, (Cossypi-
um hisutum). The leaves are used
for cooling and the root bark is used
for consico of the ovaries This
plant used for menstrual pains,
cleansing drink for nursing mothers
Paillo ber (Morinda Citrifo-
lia). Laves slightly braised and
healed with ccoonut oil can be used
externally for neuralgia and ani .
s. Plangrows mostly in moist for-
AMlean tlip: (Spathodca cam.
panulga). Flower of this tree is
crushed with the bark of the sae
tree ad used for treaing ulcers.
Leaf decotion is excellent for gon.
orrhea, and bark also usedfor kid-
ney problems. This tree can be
found in peoples' backyards.
Pap ve or Pap bus (Passi
fora msliformis). Thisvin used
for de brain and nervous system. It
also relies muscles eases pain and
promotes a calmness throughout the
body. This vine also is used fo
wuralgia, hig blood pressure, hys-
teri, headaches and as an eye tonic.
Te vipe can be fouad mostly in
moist foes amas
Juabee bead vine: (Alus pre-
caorios). aves are used ina
cough s Red ad black seeds
areuspoipoiso s if chewed orswal
lowed. Plangrows in thick, moist
and scattered forest areas.
Ginger Tomasor Yellow
Cedar (Tecom aslas). Is used for
diabetes, fevers, headaches ad for
colds with a pinch ofall in s. Plant
grows throughout the islands but
mostly in dry areas.
Wild coffee: (Hilonda Cassia
occidentalis). Tea up asaild
laxative and weak bdder. Also, a
is made from bark of he plant moot
along with swect-sce (Plcea
Odorata) leaves for eds. amps
ad forgas pains.
Seeds are toxic. When seedsiae
roasted, however, 1o sub states
aredestroyed and usedas asubsti
te for coffee and ls used for
stomach disorders. can be.
found throughout the ilnds, but
mostly in weter aa
One way to protect medicinal
plant d trees in' it sla minds is
Smmor about hem and potec
* MORE INFORMATfON
Call 778-9491 oSt. Crolx
or 774010 on SL Thoms.
Olasee DDis, w hlUsa ims
r of e4cim cdqreei rn e a n-
agear ianidforsryecolog isa
StCrol ecologls tise ist ani d