Tea in Jamaica is not always what it sounds like. Almost every hot beverage is referred to as tea. That’s why you have “coffee tea,” “cocoa tea,” “chocolate tea,” and even “fish tea.”
The fact is tea drinking is an integral part of Jamaican culture. Jamaican teas are present at almost every breakfast table.
Our love for tea in Jamaica in linked to the abundance of herbs and spices that grow naturally on the island.
And we take them for granted because at any time a steaming cup of tea is available any time, night or day. This leads me to our most beloved Jamaican bush teas.
You may notice that traditional green and black teas are not on our list. Although many Jamaicans drink them, they are not as popular as the bush teas,
Jamaican Bush Tea
So, what is bush tea? Bush tea in Jamaica is brewed from almost any plant or herb that grows on the island. And there is an abundance of those.
In Jamaica, bush tea is made from any section of the plant; even it’s blooms and fruits are used.
However, teas in Jamaica are generally devided into categories. Categores are usually they are lumped together based on the ailments teas treat.
And so, cold bush teas are made from different plants than those used for treat high blood pressure. Teas to treat pain and diabetes are made from different bushes. You get the idea.
While many Jamaican teas are popular, many are not so popular. But they all have a few things in common.
Generally bush tea plants are linked by plant family. The top five family of plants for making tea in Jamaican come from these families:
Fabaceae, Lamiaceae, Asteraceae, Malvaceae, and Piperacerae
Four hundred and seven Jamaicans responded to a survey about plants used as medicine. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents reported using plant leaves to make medicinal bush teas.
Fresh leaves sourced from backyards and nearby locations were used by ninety-eight percent of people surveyed.
These are some Jamaican teas you should know.
Jamaica Cold Bush Teas
The cold and flu are common ailments in Jamaica. For centureis various herbs have been use to relieve cold and flu symptoms. Below are some widely cold bush teas
Lime Leaf Tea
Vitamin C rich food, lime leaves help shorten the duration of colds. It alleviates symptoms such as runny noses and sore throats. It also builds up your body’s resistance
The high vitamin C content of Lime leaf makes the tea great for boosting your immune system.
This tea is made made by boiling five or six lemon leaves for approximately three minutes. Lime leaf tea is sweetened with honey and consumed.
Benefits of Lime leaf tea: It is one of those go to Jamaican teas for soothing coughs and sore throats related to the common cold. It is also helpful in easing aches and pains associated the the flu.
Tip: You may use Lemon leaves instead of Lime leaves when making this tea.
Jack In The Bush Tea
Jack ‘na Bush (translated Jack in the Bush ) Jamaican cold bush tea. Test results confirm Jack in the bush leaves do have medicinal value.
Benefits of Jack in the Bush Tea: Reduce fever. Soothe coughs. Relieve stomach pain. Cure diarrhea. Treat sinus congestion.
You can multiply the benefits of Jack in the bush tea. Simply add a few guava leaves or fever grass bladed for some extra health benefits.
Jack in the Bush is one of the flowering weeds from the Asteraceae plant family. It is considered invasive in many locations around the globe.
However more recent studies confirm the plant may really help a number of health issues.
Scientific Name for Jack In the Bush: The plant known as Jack ina Bush by most Jamaicans is actually named Chromolaena odorarta.
Resent tests confirm that this plant “Jack in the Bush” which is labeled extremely around the globe, does have a number of medicinal benefits.
Susumber Leaf Tea
This plant is popularly known as Turkey berry in many places. However, it is called Susumba in Jamaica.
Susumba tea is not a common bush tea, but it is used by older Jamaicans who swear by it.
Benefits of Susumba Leaf Tea: Susumba bush tea is made from the plant’s leaves. Sometimes the flowers are used as well.
Susumba bush tea is taken to relieve coughs and colds. Even young children suffering from symptms of the common cold are cmade to drink Susumba bush tea.
Susumba biological name is Solanum torvum is the scientific name for the shrub called Susumba in Jamaica.
Sweetsop Leaf Tea
Sweetsop is from the same family as the popular Soursop. The trees look similar but the fruits are differ both in appearance and taste. Sweetsop is more commnly known as Sugar Apple.
Sweetsop leat tea is not as popular as Soursop tea, but it is used as a home remedy in Jamaica.
Sugar Apple Tea Benefits: Relieves coughing, sheezing and shortness of breath related to asthma. Sweetsop tea is used to treat bronchitis and other upper respiratory problems.
Sweetsop Names: Scientific name for Sweetsop is Annona squamosa. Other common names for Sweetsop are Sugar Apple and Pinha.
Turmeric Tea In Jamaica
Turmeric spice has several confirmed medicinal benefits. Curcurmin which a compound in Turmeric may provide some relief from the common cold and flu virus.
Benefits of Turmeric Tea: Soothe coughing, sneezing, runny noses and sore throats whare are all symptoms of the common cold.
The tea can also relieve sore, achy joints which are related to the flu.
Scientific Name For Turmeric: Curcumae longa. Although most Jamaicans call the plant Turmeric, some older ones-including my grandmother-refer to it as Yellow Ginger.
Bush Teas For High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is another common medical condition that affects thousands of Jamaicans.
Many people on the island supplement main stream medical treatments with herbal remedies. These remedies are usually taken in the form of bush teas. Here are a few of the:
Breadfruit Leaf Tea
Breadfruit leaf tea is made from the yellow leaves that are still on the Breadfruit tree. The leaves are crushed and boiled for up to 15 minutes.
Breadfruit leaf tea has a red color and bitter taste. So, the tea is sweetened to and consumed.
Benefits of Breadfruit Leaf Tea: Breadfruit leaf tea is mainly used to lower blood pressure. However numerous studies verify that they have added benefits.
According to one of the studies, the leaves can reduce cholesterol, improve kidney health and reduce inflammation.
Breadfruits Scientific Name: This plants real name is Artocarpus altilis.
Of course Garlic needs no introduction. But the fact that Garlic tea is one of the most popular Jamaican tea for treating hypertension may be surprising.
three or four cloves of garlic are place in a cup of hot water. the cup is covered and the tea is steeped for 3 minutes. It is strained and sipped while warm.
Benefits of Jamaican Galic Tea: Unswetened garlic tea is taken in the morning and before bedtime to lower blood pressure.
Of course you will get other benefits from drinking garlic tea. That includes the ordor seeping through your pores.
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Soursop Leaf Tea
Soursop leaves have many scienced-backed benefits. One of those benefits is blood pressure management.
The is one of the main reasons Soursop leaf tea is one very popular tea in Jamaica.
Benefits of Soursop Tea: Soursop leaf tea has a high level of potassium. Potassium can help lower blood pressure.
In addition to controling blood pressure, soursop tea is used to help anxiety, promotes sleep and manage diabetes.
Other Soursop Names: Sousop is known as Guanabana, Graviola, and Guyabano. The plants scientific name is Annona muricata.
Tambrind Tea In Jamaica
Tambind is a tropical fruit that is enjoyed by many people. The has a number of improtant nutrients. One of the important nutrients in Tambrind plant is Magnesium.
Benefits of Tambrind Tea: Magniesium plays several roles in keeping the body healthy. One of those roles helping maintain good blood pressure.
Tambrind Tea made using the plants leaves is packed with Magnesium which can help stabilize blood pressure.
Biological Name: Tamarindus indica.
Jamacan Rsoemary tea is usually made from fresh herb straight from the garden. This strong smelling herb ia a must have ingredient in many cuisines.
But is has also been used as traditional medicine for centuries.
Benefits of Rosemary Tea: Rosemary tea contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that can help fight free radicals that cause disease.
These include disease such as upper respiratory infections, and diabetes.
Scientific Name: Salvia rosmarinus.
Pain Relief Teas In Jamaica
Rhumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases are also common on the island. These are a few of the herbal teas in Jamaica that are used to ease pain.
Search Mi Heart Tea
This plant in endmic to Jamaica. However it has been introducd to Trinidad and Tobago. Search mi Heart has long, slender, serated leaves that range from light to lime green in color.
It is the leaves are used to make medicinal tea in Jamaica.
Benefits of Search Mi Heart Tea: The tea is used for chest discomfort, irregular heart beat, asthma, and abdominal pain.
Common Jamaican names for this plant include Search my Heart, and Search me Heart.
Biological name: Rhytidophyllum-tomentosum.
Guava Leaf Tea
Jamaican guava leaf tea is made from any of the species of guava growing on the island. Just place 6 or 7 guava leaves in a pot with two cups of water.
Boil for 10 minutes. By this time you should have one cup of Guava tea.
Benefits of Guava Leaf Tea: Guave leaf tea has several benefits. Guava leaves have conpounds that help ease pain. So guava leaf tea is ued to relieve menstural cramps and associated pain.
Guava Leaf tea is aslo used to ease pain and discomfort associacted with Dengue Fever.
Guava Biological Name: Psidium guajava.
Jamaican Dogwood Tea
This is one of the controversial teas in Jamaica and other places. Science does not support its use. Infact is is veiwed as dangerour to humans.
However it has been used as medicinal tea in Jamaica and for hundreds of years. And the practice continues today.
Benefits of Jamaican Dogwood Tea: Generally Jamaican dogwood tea is consumed for pain relief. Although research does not support this benefit, Jamaicans swear by it. Other benefits include reducing anxiety and promoting sleep.
Biological Name: Piscida piscipula.
Guinea Hen Weed Tea
Commonly known as Anamu in Central America, this herb grows wild in Jamaica. Guinea Hen Weed has undergone rigorous studies. And the plant has proven medicinal value.
Benefits of Guinea Hen Weed Tea: Guinea Hen Weed tea in Jamaica mainly used to treat pain. Jamaicans drink Guinea hen weed tea for headaches, arthritis, back aches, muscle and joint pain.
Common Jamaican names for Guinea Hen Weed are Gully Root, Garlic Weed, Guinea Weed and Anamu.
Biological Name: Petiveria alliacea
Jamaican Confrey Tea
Another interesting tea in Jamaica is made with theleaves of the Comfrey plant is taken for pain relief. Rosmarinic acid is one of the active chemicals in Comfrey. This chemical helps reduce joint inflammation.
Benefits of Comfrey tea: Relieve painful, sore joints, chest pain (angina), lower back pain, and menstural pain.
Biological name: Symphtum officinale
Jamaican Bush Tea Benefits
One report states that over 52 percent of all plants used for pharmacological purposes can be found in Jamaica.
In addition 33 percent of those plants are endemic to Jamaica. (meaning they don’t grow naturally anywhere else).
According to one survey report, 69 percent of participants use plant leaves to make tea for treating ailments. And 98 percent of them use fresh leaves from their backyards or neearby locations.
So what are the odds of finding a Jamaican bush tea whether it is-hot peppermint or cold sorrel -to cure that headache? It’s no wonder Jamaicans believe there is a cup of tea to cure every ailment.
Source: National Library of Medicine
With so many medicinal herbs growing on the island, it’s now wonder bush tea in Jamaica is taken for granted.
It is only natrual to want to enjoy the benefits of bush tea. However many of these herbs need tp undergo a lot more scrunity and human testing.
Therefore you should always be careful about using bush teas to treat medical conditions. Or even more important is the danger of mixing traditional treamnets with your medication.
Of course Jamaican bush teas are generally safe. So there is no harm in enjoying an occasional cup of tea in Jamaica.
Disclaimer: Ths article is for imformational purposes only. Nothing stated here should be viewed as medical advice. Please speak with a Porfessional Healthcare Provider about matters relating to your medical care.