Only on Bali

I hadn’t realized how relaxing Bali was for me last time I was here.
I visit a lot of sites when I travel, and I like to see as many people and as much of the local culture as I can wherever I go. But Bali has a different speed to it that you don’t experience anywhere else.
No matter how fast my friend Westi drove his truck or how many appointments I had, it never felt rushed. I never felt pressed for time. I sort of forgot about that until I came back these last few days.
I had a completely different sense of time when I was in Africa. Like I didn’t have enough of it to do everything I wanted. I stayed there longer than I had planned because I kept meeting more people and discovering new places and traditions I wanted to study…

Jolt of Strength From Jamaica

I just got back from spending more time with my good friend and colleague, Ivey Harris, at her home in Cornwall Barracks, high up in the John Crow Mountains of Jamaica. I’ve written about Ivey before… she’s the last of the traditional herbal healers in Jamaica’s Maroon culture.
Dr. Sears and Ivey Harris in Jamaica
In fact, Ivey is the seventh generation of her family to practice this nearly lost art. She’s a direct descendant of Princess Nanny, the first leader of the Windward Maroons. Princess Nanny was a renowned herbal healer, and is Jamaica’s only national heroine.
At just five feet tall, Ivey’s a tiny bundle of pure energy. She’s vivacious but has this calm way about her. And she always welcomes me with open arms every time I make the trek up the treacherous mountain roads leading to her remote home.

Piercing a 500-Year Veil

I steered my little Nissan rental car higher… deeper into Jamaica’s John Crow Mountains. S-curves and switchbacks emerged suddenly out of the sheets of blinding rain.
As the storm finally began to clear, I spotted a cluster of tin-roofed houses and tiny shops. I had reached my destination: the home of Jamaica’s last living Maroon healer, Ivelyn Harris.
For centuries, the Maroons have been among the world’s most skilled herbalists. With just the plants growing in their mountain home, their healers may have already conquered problems that still challenge modern medicine. For example, I’d heard stories that…

Jamaican Jungle Herbs

I just got back from my third trip to Jamaica this year, and I have some terrific news for you!
Back in March I told you about my first trip when I met Ivy Harris, a native Maroon healer. She introduced me to herbs that I had never heard of before: All Man’s Strength, Prone Bark, Black Wist, and Bachelor’s Buttons. The names describe what they do – give men potency and virility.