Jungle Herb I Found in Jamaica

Dear Health Conscious Reader,

I have the greatest job in the world. I get to travel around to different countries to find native systems of healing and traditional healing herbs.

I’ve gone to Africa, Ecuador, Brazil – and I’ve been to Jamaica a half dozen times. It’s one of my favorite places, because it’s a treasure trove of herbs. Nearly every Jamaican family has a tradition of using them for healing since they were kids.

We’re publishing a book from a well-known herbalist there, Ivelyn Harris. I’ve visited Ivy at her mountain retreat. And she came to visit me here at my office last month. In her book, Ivy describes 42 herbs used in Jamaica.

Jamaicans have a habit of applying their own names to herbs. For example, “African Minty.” (We call it kava.)

Some people think kava’s toxic to the liver. But I’ve never seen a case of anyone with a healthy liver who has had a problem when they drink it as tea.

I found African Minty growing alongside the road and on riverbanks throughout Jamaica. It’s used almost as a cure-all to relieve back pain, tension headache, bronchitis, and sore throat.

In the U. S., African Minty – kava – is used to relieve anxiety, depression, and stress. It gives you a good night’s sleep and helps you focus during the day.1

Look for organically grown kava. You can find many organic suppliers at major health chains such as Whole Foods and Vitamin Shoppe.

Here’s my Jamaican recipe you can use to make a tea to relieve tension headaches and stress:

  1. Add 1 ounce fresh or dried leaves to 1 quart boiling water.
  2. Simmer fresh for 1 minute or dried for 3 minutes.
  3. Steep fresh for 5 minutes or dried for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain.
  5. Drink straight or sweeten with honey to taste.

Take one cup of tea three times as needed.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

  1. Pittler, M., et al. “Efficacy of Kava Extract for Treating Anxiety: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology: 2000 Feb; 20(1):8.4-89.