Bush Medicine: Medicinal Plants of Long Island, Bahamas


For those who like to experiment with and enjoy a holistic way of healing, Long Island has just about all the natural medicinal plants, fresh oxygen, and local produce you need to set you and your body straight. Bush medicine has been a Bahamian tradition for hundreds of years to treat and prevent physical and mental illness for people of all ages. Just about every plant you find on Long Island has some medicinal property and use. You can find over 30 medicinal plants on the Ocean Sound property around the beach house.

Bahamians have found all these remedies to be effective but feel free to consult your doctor or practitioner about these holistic treatments if you are interested in trying them.

Some medicinal plants of interest for certain ailments are:


bay lavenderBay Lavender: Boil leaves and drink to relieve asthma. Or crush dry leaves and smoke in tobacco pipe.

3590825138_0b9ef757b8 Life Leaf: Squeeze liquid from leaves and steam, stew with butter, a slice of onion, a little sugar (optional), and juice from sour lime.

kaffir-lime-tree Lime: Eat two limes a day for about seven days.

mexican_poppy_220w Thistle: Boil leaves and flowers and drink.


Ironwood Berry: Boil bark, make into a tea and drink to get rid of backache.

love vine Love Vine: Slightly crush and tie around back to relieve backache. Boil and drink as tea every morning.

Madeira Bark: Steep in boiling water and drink.

High Blood Pressure

10747700-breadfruit Breadfruit: Boil dry leaves and drink. This will act on the blood and reduce the pressure.

thCAX0HCDU Prickly Pear: Cut leaf of the prickly pear in half. Steep in water and use as a drink.

thCAPSG1PL Sour Sop: Steep about thirteen leaves in boiling water and drink.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Sugar Apple: Boil or steep leaves and take to reduce high blood pressure.

DSC_0197 periwinkle white White Sailor’s Cap (Periwinkle): Boil leaves and flowers and use internally-this reduces hypertension.


Fig_tree Fig: Cut figs into sections and steep in warm water for 15 minutes. Drink resultant liquid.

snakeroot Snake Root: Boil leaves and drink daily.

noni-juice-benefits_jpg Noni: (Also good for ulcers, arthritis, general health.) Boil or steep leaves. Eat fruit when white (very bitter, but usually bitter things are best for you)


Aloe-Vera Aloe: Slit the leaf or remove inside gel and steep over night in water. Drink a small cup every morning.

cerasee-vine Cerasee: Squeeze the juice from three mature fruits and consume. Boil leaves and drink as tea.

eupatorium_villosum_flowers_1 Jack Ma Da: Boil leaves, flowers, stem and drink.

Plantain Plantain Bush: Boil leaves and tassel, strain and drink.

pound-cake-bushPound Cake Bush: Boil leaves and drink as tea.

55837785_ph_4853TamarindFruitTamarind: Boil leaves and drink as tea.

DSC_0197 periwinkle whiteWhite Sailor’s Cap: Boil leaves and flowers and drink. (Excellent cure)


IMG_0677Aloe: Remove outer skin from leaf, cut a portion of the inner section into pieces and drink.

bay geraniumBay Geranium: Boil leaves and drink or beat leaves, steep in boiling water and drink.

cascar28-lCascarilla Bark: Boil leaves and use as tonic.


Dill Seed: Boil and drink as tea.

papaya2Papaya: Also good for ulcers. Dilute milk from green papaya fruit in water and drink. Eat fruit.

Itches, Stings, Prickly Heat

IMG_2048Bay Cedar: Boil and use as a bath to get rid of an itch.

kaffir-lime-treeLime: Cut into sections and rub on irritated areas.

love vineLove Vine: Boil and use as a skin bath for itches and prickly heat.

Rooster’s Comb: Boil and use to bathe prickly heat.

whitesageWhite Sage: Crush leaves and rub on affected area. In case of a wasp bite, rub sage leaves on area immediately after to prevent swelling. To get rid of prickly heat, boil the sage and use as a bath.


DSC_0197 periwinkle whiteWhite Sailor’s Cap: Boil and drink

Lung Congestion

onion430x300Onion: Place slices of onion on chest to relieve lung congestion.

PigeonPeaNewPigeon Peas: Boil leaves and use as a bath for children to rid of measles.

il_fullxfull.321361786Salve Bush: Boil bush and use as a bath.

White-sage_Salvia-apiana-CopyWhite Sage: Boil and use as a bath for children when they have had the measles for three days.

Sore Throat

IMG_2048Bay Cedar: Boil leaves and use as a gargle.

cankerberryCanker Berries: Boil berries with leaves and use as a gargle.

coconutCoconut: Make milk and immature jelly into a soothing gruel as a cure for soar throat.

Rock Bush: Boil leaves and use as a gargle.


cankerberryCanker Berries: Mash some of the ripe berries, put them in a clean piece of material, and use to clean the thrush from a child’s mouth.

10757451-sapodilla-chicoSapodilla: Grate green fruit, put into a clean piece of cloth and clean thrush.

quill-leaf-wild-pine_mediumWild Pine: Remove the heart from the wild pine. Wash and steep it. Use the resultant liquid to clean children’s throats.


DSC_0197 periwinkle whitePeriwinkle: Boil leaves, make into a tea and drink.


220px-Leucaena_leucocephalaJumbey: Boil leaves, add sugar and lime juice with butter and a little sugar (optional).

3590825138_0b9ef757b8Life Leaf: Squeeze liquid from the leaves, stew with butter.

Virility in Men:

Boil various bushes together and strain. Add a little sugar, brandy, and evaporated milk. Pour in a bottle and allow to steep for about two or three weeks before drinking. This tonic is highly recommended for men as it builds up energy in the body. The Love Vine may be used independently to prevent sexual weakness. Beat the vine and boil into thick tea.

Feather Bed
Gum Elemi

Sweet Margaret

gum elemiFive Fingers

love vineLove Vine

Redberries%20on%20redberry%20stopperStrong Back

quill-leaf-wild-pine_mediumWild Pine

pumkin-seedsPumpkin Seeds: Dry pumpkin seeds. Remove outer layer and discard. Eat the seeds.


Monkey Fiddle: Cut leaves in sections and apply the milk-like juice to the wart. Scrub thoroughly and the wart will come off clean.

mexican_poppy_220wThistle: The yellow substance that is exuded from the stem is applied to warts to remove them.

kaffir-lime-treeLime: Steep lime in vinegar and rub on wart.

Source: “Bush Medicine In Bahamian Folk Tradition” By Martha Hanna-Smith. Dodd Printers, Miami, FL, 2005.

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