The Caribbean region is considered as a holiday spot and tourists throng these islands for the sun and beaches. The Caribbean is also the hotpots for medicinal plants and herbs. The use of those herbs is told in their folklore and oral tradition, which renders it difficult to distinguish the real benefits and myth. Herbs like ginger and turmeric were brought into this region by early visitors. There are many indigenous herbs and those have different common names or local names depending on the language spoken there. So it is important that the scientific name of each of those herbs is identified and then we can think on harnessing its benefits.
There are very many indigenous Caribbean herbs like Aloe Vera, Coffee Arabica, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa), Myristica fragrans (Nutmeg), Cymbopogon citratus (Fevergrass also known as Lemongrass), Gracilaria species (Seamoss), Annonamuricata (Soursop), etc. Some are also available in other parts of the world, but those are exploited in this region as they grow in abundance because of the climate and soil. Those herbs mentioned above are a mix of medicinal, food items, and cytotoxic herbs. Annonamuricata (Soursop) especially is a herb which has cytotoxic properties and has been used in cancer treatment. Nutmeg is used world over, but in Caribbean they have been mentioned in their folklore and used extensively in their cuisine. Curcuma longa (Turmeric) originating fromIndia is good for skin conditions and very healthy and now has noteworthy scientific evidence to prove its medicinal properties. It is used extensively in cooking also. We know coconut palms grow near beaches and this region is no exception. Coconut oil is considered as massage oil especially in the scalp region. Gracilaria species (Seamoss) has aphrodisiac properties and is also used to treat hypertension, gout, goitre and gallstones. It is also a rich source of vitamin and mineral nutrients. It is used in severalproducts as a detoxifying agent.
Some fruits which are not just available in Caribbean region like Guava, Pomegranate, etc. have several medicinal and nutritional qualities like antioxidant property. The leaves of guava and mango have several medicinal qualities also.
In the small region of Caribbean islands there is a plentiful source of much valuable flora resource. There are several still to be identified and undiscovered flora in this region which may prove to be useful at a later date. At some day it is possible that their folkloric claims may prove to be true. Truly exotic Caribbean region!