A Woman's Best Friend

Dear Health Conscious Reader,

Today I want to let you in on a cure for hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause that my friend and herbalist Iveyln Harris showed me.

Have you heard about Ivey yet? She has a reputation throughout Jamaica as a great natural healer.

Ivey built her practice on her experience and knowledge of the rich culture and heritage of her ancestors, the Koromantyn of West Africa. They came to Jamaica five hundred years ago and became known as the Maroons when they were driven deep into the John Crow Mountains.

They thrived by living off the fertile land and using native plants as life-saving medicine. This is Ivey’s heritage. And now she is the last of the Maroon women practicing herbal medicine.

One of the oldest plants of African descent that the Maroons cultivated around Jamaica is piaba or “woman piaba.” It grows to around two feet high and loves the bright sun and moist soil around Ivey’s mountain home. Ivey calls it “a woman’s best friend.”

Calypso singer Harry Belafonte made the word “piaba” famous when he recorded the traditional Caribbean folk song “Man Piaba” in 1954.

But long before that, Ivey’s predecessors were using the herb to reduce hot flashes, and calm irritability and other symptoms of menopause.

Today, you might go to a doctor for estrogen pills if you’re going through that time of life. But many women from other parts of Jamaica try those pills, can’t handle them, and end up going right to Ivey for her piaba tea.

In fact, Ivey tells me that the Maroon cure for hot flashes is so well known around her home that every woman in the Rio Grande Valley takes piaba when she starts going through the change.

Two cups of the tea each day ease their stress and soothe their symptoms.

The reason piaba works so well for women might be that it keeps the liver from breaking down estrogen.

And the plant has other healing properties, too. Extracts from the piaba plant were tested and found to kill breast and colon cancer cells.1 Piaba has also been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties.2

A Woman’s Best Friend.

You can find piaba in pill form in the United States, but it’s best to use it in a tea.

Ivey makes her tea for calming irritability, nervous tension and menopausal symptoms by:

1. Adding 1 ounce of fresh or dried piaba to 1 pint boiling water.

2. Simmering on a low flame for 2-3 minutes.

3. Steeping it for 10-15 minutes for the dried piaba or five minutes when using fresh.

4. Straining off the leaves.

This will make 2 cups. You can sweeten it with honey or drink it straight. But you’ll want to drink the tea two times a day; first thing in the morning and last thing at night before going to bed.

Take it for two weeks, and if you need more, skip one week and repeat.

Go here for more of Ivey’s herbal cures…

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

1Deng, Ye, et al, “Bioactive 5,6-Dihydro-α-pyrone Derivatives from Hyptis brevipes,” J. Nat. Prod. June 2009; 72(6): 1165–1169
2Goun, E., Cunningham, G., Chu, D., et al, “Antibacterial and antifungal activity of Indonesian ethnomedical plants,” Fitoterapia. Sept. 2003;74(6):592-6