Do not worry – No animals were harmed in this process!
Dog’s Tail is the colloquial name given to one of several plants or bushes used by herbalists and some country folk in Jamaica to treat various ailments. Depending on what district you are in at the time, the name can change (not necessarily to protect the innocent).
A botany study was conducted some years ago by G. F. Asprey, M.Sc., Ph.D. (B’ham.), Professor of Botany, U.C.W.l. and Phyllis Thornton, B.Sc. (Liverpool), Botanist Vomiting Sickness Survey. Attached to Botany Department, U.C.W.l. to document the names of plants and weeds grown in Jamaica that were traditionally used by herbalists in the treatment of illnesses and diseases.
It was found that different plants sometimes will have the same name. The study was initiated primarily to categorize the commonly known names with the Latin botanical equivalent.
In their publication entitled: MEDICINAL PLANTS OF JAMAICA. PARTS 1 & 11. mention was made that in some parts of the Island, breakfast was not the name given for the morning repast. Instead it was substituted with the phrase “taking” or “drinking tea”. Among the poorer families a cup of bush tea with a small piece of bread or porridge constituted the morning meal.
After reading the Study, I was surprised to learn there were so many medicinal plants occurring naturally in Jamaica. I have to admit though, many of the commonly used names for these plants, I have never before heard in my life. I have listed below a few of the names I found very interesting, if not downright comical. Do you know any of them?
Hug-me-close – common weed – makes tea for colic and colds
Red Head – plant used as an emetic to stop bleeding. Also as worm medicine for kids
Dog’s Tail – tea for colds, “for the belly” and as a wash for sore eyes.
Hog Hook – used internally and externally for colds, coughs and fever.
Libi-dibi – used to make a gargle for sore throats
Stinking Weed – dried seeds are beaten and used as coffee substitute. Also good for kidney and bladder complaints.
Wandering Jew or Rolling Calf Bed – used in treatment of colds
Heal-I-and-Draw – excellent diuretic used by many. Also for colic, wind and convulsions
Jackass Breadnut – used as a cold remedy
Grease Bush – general beverage for coughs and colds.
Dog-Flea Weed – used for treatment of wounds, also for dog baths for fleas
Creeping Ox-eye – used as a tea for fever and colds
Devil’s Guts – used as a love charm. Also tea used as general beverage for colic in kids.
Pepper Rod – make tea for colds
Carry-me-seed – remedy for fever. Sometimes used for genitourinary infections.
Hug-me-tight – used in a bath for female weakness
Search-my-heart – used as a general drink for colds
Dog’s Tooth Grass – tea made by boiling roots – good for kidneys.
Pig Nut – used in nervous and visceral disorders also for stomach aches
Donkey Weed – treatment for colds and kidney troubles
Duppy Pumpkin – used for colds and as an ingredient in concoction for lame foot or stiff neck
Ratta Temper – used for loose cough.
Duppy Poison – used with sarsaparilla and china root to make a tonic good for blood
Cockroach Poison – pounded with lime juice and used for ringworm treatment.
Clammy Bur – used alone or with licorice to make tea for colds.
Mary Bush – leaves chopped and mixed with fat and rubbed with castor oil to provide plaster for boils and bruises.
Police Macca – used for colds and malaria – also for kidney and bladder infections. (yellow buttercup weed)
Gotta love Jamaica….