Definitions starting with B

ID #1781

Bush Medicine

Modern DOCTOR MEDICINE was traditionally often difficult to obtain on the more remote Bahamian islands, and it was often prohibitively costly even for those living in and around Nassau. Because of this, people had to rely on the healing properties of native plants in BUSH MEDICINE, a practice that is still widespread despite the advent of the district nurse to replace the traditional BUSH DOCTOR (or BUSH MAN, ROOT DOCTOR, or PROFESSOR OF PLANTS) and GRANNY (or WISE WOMAN).

The commonest way of preparing such medicine is to boil the plant and then drink the resulting BUSH TEA, e.g. CERASEE for coughs, CHICKEN GIZZARD or DILL SEED for diarrhea, etc. Such infusions could also be used for BUSH BATHS, e.g. OBEAH BUSH for aching bones or a mixture of JUMBY, TAMBRAN and GUINEP for influenza. Other plants are applied externally: a poultice of GUM-ELEMI leaves is used for insect stings, and the sap of ALOES (also found in commercial products) is used to soothe skin irritations. The dried flowers of the POUND-CAKE BUSH are sprinkled on sores; the root of JOHN DOCTOR is crushed and used to revive someone who has fainted; the ROCK BUSH is chewed to relieve mouth sores. An infusion of SHEPHERD NEEDLE can be applied externally for sores or prickley heat, or taken internally for nausea. A man worried about LOSING HIS NATURE can drink an infusion of COURAGE BUSH, LOVE VINE or STIFF COCK, usually mixed with rum. Although many such plants are medicinally effective, faith in others is based on folklore on desperation, such as MATCH-ME-IF-YOU-CAN (a leaf of which is worn in one's shoe for colds), CHURCH-YARD ROSE (drunk as an infusion for leukemia), or FOOT GRASS (drunk to protect pregnant women from evil magic). Still, it is hard not to be swayed by such convincing names for plants as STRONG MAN'S WEED, LIVE-FOREVER, or DEAD-MAN-GET-UP, See Higgs 1978.

Tags: bush medicine, Encyclopedia definition, noun

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Last update: 2011-12-29 17:19
Author: Holm and Shilling, DBE, 1982
Revision: 1.3

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Comment of Terran Rolle:
I asked my grandfather,a 74 year old man of Exuma, if he is familiar with the term with about the term Cerasee. He said he is familiar with the term. he told me that he boils it and drinks the results to relieve him of cold and cough.
Added at: 2014-03-12 00:59

Comment of Cynteech Smith:
My mother name is Sylvia Thompson. She is 61 years old. She is from Eleuthera. She said she uses Bush Medicine for the flu or if she has high blood pressure.
Added at: 2014-03-25 02:40

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