Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Jamaica is a member of the Malvaceae family. It is believed hibiscus was brought to western hemisphere in the 1700's by African slaves, likely from Angola - hence the name, Jamaica. It grows in the mountains at about 1000 meters above sea level.
The calyces of the Jamaica plant are used traditionally as a refreshing beverage called flor de Jamaica. It is also used traditionally in the Bahía de Banderas as a medicine to reduce fever and during colds and to provide nourishment during illness.
Its efficacy is likely due to its high levels of vitamin C and anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that scavenge inflammatory cell reactions in the body. Anthocyanins typically produce the rich red, blue or purplish colors of berries and fruits.
Jamaica is rich in calcium and has hypotensive (lowers blood pressure) activity and has been found to be antispasmodic, anthelmintic (kills worms) and antibacterial. Research has shown Jamaica tea to promote weight loss. It can be used hot or cold.
Recipe: Boil water and add a handful of calyces. Gently simmer for 10 minutes until richly red. Strain and add a little honey or agave syrup. Do not add sugar, but sweeten lightly. Sugar is a powerful inflammatory food that counteracts the effects of the natural antioxidants and also stimulates mucus production.
Dr. Leslie Korn specializes in integrative mind body medicine for the treatment of PTSD and chronic illness. She did her graduate training at Harvard Medical School where she introduced bodywork to the department of psychiatry and conducted ethnobotanical research on Papaya. She began her research in Cabo Corrientes in 1974, and was a 2009-2010 Mexico Fulbright scholar. She currently divides her time between PV and Washington. To learn more about her work, visit DrLeslieKorn.com.
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