It’s that time of the year when everyone seems to be down with the cold and as the more temperate climes enter flu season it’s only a matter of time when we in the Caribbean start feeling the effects as well.
Medicines can be expensive and riddled with side effects so many people in the Caribbean tend to opt for good old home remedies handed down by their grandparents.
Here are some of the more popular remedies used in Caribbean homes. Note that you should always consult a professional before treating any ailments.
Bushes of various kinds
Fever Bush (lemon grass or citronella), Cerasee, Zebapique…when it comes to medicine, many Caribbean people turn to nature’s wonders. Consult your granny or a community elder for the correct methods of preparation.
Walk into any roadside shop in Trinidad and Tobago with the slightest sniffle and chances are someone will recommend a shot of Puncheon. A very potent rum that sets your insides on fire, Puncheon is said to be good for the cold mixed with lime and honey and Zebapique, a popular bush cure. In Jamaica overproof rum with lime is the mixture of choice.
Honey and lime
Said to be great for sore throats, honey and lime is a popular cure-all when the cold strikes. Some islands add onion to the mixture for increased effectiveness.
In every West Indian household Vicks is the one ointment you are sure to find. People rub it on their chest and under their feet for coughs, on their noses to relieve congestion and on their throats to relieve sore throats. Some people have even been known to rub down their bodies with Vicks after a bath to break a fever.
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties Ginger Tea is used in Jamaica for nausea but added with honey is said to be great for treating coughs.
Warm salt water
This mixture is great for treating sore throats. The key is to take at the first tickle you get. Dissolve the salt in the warm water and gargle frequently until the sore throat disappears.