Island Health & Beauty

Ven­ture into the Cheap­side Mar­ket, on any Sat­ur­day morn­ing, and you will be amazed at the vari­ety of fruit, veg­eta­bles, herbs and spices which are offered for sale. Most of the pro­duce is grown right here in Bar­ba­dos, but there are many imported goods as well. Here are a few of the more pop­u­lar choices.

The Bajan Cherry
The Bajan cherry, also known as the West Indian Cherry or Acerola, depend­ing on where it is grown, is regarded, not only as the world’s best source of ascor­bic acid, but as a potent antiox­i­dant as well. The pop­u­lar red and orange coloured fruit has for a long time been used in the fight against ail­ments of the liver, diar­rhea, coughs and colds.

Cerasee Bush
Native to Africa, where it grows out of con­trol, Cerasee is an extremely bit­ter herb which is known, through­out the world, as a rem­edy for a myr­iad of dis­eases and other health chal­lenges. Cerasee tea is “good for” tooth ache, con­sti­pa­tion, men­strual cramps, blood puri­fy­ing, eczema and par­a­sitic worms.

Noni (Dog Dumpling)
Don’t be fooled by the local name, Dog Dumpling, which is the local name for the wild Noni fruit, because dogs steer clear of the dumpling-​shaped fruit, prob­a­bly, because of the pun­gent odour it emits. Also known as Mul­berry and Cheese Fruit, Noni, which is native to South­east Asia, is widely used for the treat­ment of such com­mon con­di­tions as abdom­i­nal pain, impo­tence, men­strual cramps, hyper­ten­sion and acne.

Aloe Vera
It is not widely known that the Aloe Vera plant, var­i­ously known as Bar­ba­dos Aloe, True Aloe and Chi­nese Aloe, was cul­ti­vated for export, in this coun­try, many years ago. The plant has been found to be effec­tive in the treat­ment of so many dis­or­ders that it can almost be clas­si­fied as a panacea. In dif­fer­ent parts of the world it is known to be com­bat­ive against inflam­ma­tion, bac­te­ria, can­cer, HIV, vagini­tis, acne, ulcers, haem­or­rhoids, con­sti­pa­tion, indi­ges­tion and col­i­tis. Aloe Vera is also used in the man­u­fac­ture of hair and skin products.

Men­tion limes, and Bajans auto­mat­i­cally think about lemon­ade. But it is not widely known that lime juice can retard the accu­mu­la­tion of plaque in the arter­ies and thereby pro­motes good car­dio­vas­cu­lar health. The exter­nal appli­ca­tion of lime juice helps to reju­ve­nate the skin.

Bay Leaf
Also known as bay lau­rel or sweet bay, the bay leaf, a native of the Mediter­ranean, is quite pop­u­lar on the island, where its main use is in sea­son­ing or as a tea. Not only is the leaf, with the sweet aroma, a com­bat­ant in the fight against can­cer, but it is also known to pro­mote good diges­tive health, and is excel­lent for the alle­vi­a­tion of numer­ous res­pi­ra­tory conditions.


There is a sweet tamarind, which is not eas­ily found in Bar­ba­dos, and there is an excep­tion­ally tart one, which can be found all across the island. The fruit is not very pop­u­lar among Bajans, unless its pulp is com­bined with sugar, and made into a children’s delight known as tamarind balls.
Tamarind is exten­sively utilised in Asian coun­tries, not only for cook­ing, but for its med­i­c­i­nal prop­er­ties as well. It is alleged to be quite effec­tive against dis­eases of the skin, the car­dio­vas­cu­lar sys­tem, jaun­dice and cancer.


Native to Mex­ico and the Caribbean, the ever­green Gravi­ola tree grows ubiq­ui­tously in Bar­ba­dos. It pro­duces a fruit, known, var­i­ously, in Bar­ba­dos and other places, as sour­sop, cus­tard apple, and Brazil­ian paw­paw. Sour­sop Punch has long been a favourite drink among older Bajans; the younger folk pre­fer sour­sop ice cream.

There are many unproven claims that sour­sop is a nat­ural can­cer fighter. Addi­tion­ally, it is claimed that the prickly fruit and the leaves can be used in the treat­ment of back pain, insom­nia and exzema.

Bar­ba­dos has played host to the Moringa tree for quite a long time, but it became extremely pop­u­lar, a few years ago, when its ther­a­peu­tic prop­er­ties were dis­cov­ered. Also known as the Drum­stick and the Horse­rad­ish tree, this mirac­u­lous plant is touted as a rem­edy for every con­ceiv­able ail­ment. Moringa leaves, flow­ers and pods are chock-​full of pro­tein, vit­a­mins, cal­cium, potas­sium and other min­er­als, which are con­cocted into prepa­ra­tions, and made avail­able in phar­ma­cies and health food stores across the island, and the world.

Blue Ver­vain
Blue Ver­vain, also known as Wild Hys­sop, Herb of Grace and Simpler’s Joy, among other monikers, is a favourite among herbal­ists. The med­i­c­i­nal prop­er­ties of Blue Ver­vain are use­ful in the fight against such ail­ments as bron­chi­tis, inflam­ma­tion, chest con­ges­tion, depres­sion, sore throat, joint pain and fever.

The fore­go­ing is only a smat­ter­ing of the ther­a­peu­tic mir­a­cles which can be found on the island. You can come to enjoy the sea, sun and sand, but there are quite a few more excit­ing extras to be discovered.

© Images taken from Pin​ter​est​.com
© Arti­cle of caribbe​an​dreams​magazine​.com

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