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HEALING HERBS: Gooseberries a herbal hero

Annette Maynard-Watson

HEALING HERBS: Gooseberries a herbal hero

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Last week my beautiful garden was in pandemonium but I remained calm and was enlightened. Optimistically venturing outside to begin some gardening, I suddenly noticed that I had to deal with the act of not only being exposed but being stark naked.  

Glancing over by my neighbour, I also noticed that he had that same act going on. Oh boy! What a thing, I remarked. There perched in the middle of my garden partially hidden was a naked gooseberry tree.

Not one leaf is on the tree, only shaft-like rods pointing towards heaven. When I noticed the thick shaft-like long branches, I had a sudden flashback and I giggled.

Later that day I googled gooseberries and noticed that a gooseberry body scrub retails for US$25.87 (about BDS$52).

The shower scrub is US$14.78, the body cream is US$18.79 and the hand cream is US$10.78. On the contrary, most of the gooseberries in Barbados continue to fall on the ground like rejected angels. Therefore, as Barbados proceeds through its 48th year of Independence, let us assist by recognising another herbal hero which carries the potential for massive commercial success.

Scientific studies prove the efficacy of silent doctor gooseberry:

• A 2010 article published in the European Journal Of Pharmacology found that leaf extracts reduced blood pressure, thereby suggesting potent hypotensive properties.

• According to a 2011 study published in the Journal Of Chinese Integrative Medicine, the antioxidants in star gooseberry fruit have a hepatoprotective effect on the liver.

• A 2007 study published in Molecular Pharmacology indicates that star gooseberry plant extracts may provide treatment against cystic fibrosis of the lungs.

• A 2012 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal Of Tropical Biomedicine indicates that leaf extracts exhibit strong anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant properties.

The study suggests that gooseberry leaves may remedy oxidative stress, pain and inflammation.

At the Caribbean level, some villagers use gooseberries to treat diabetes, asthma, constipation, cancer, to increase haemoglobin, cough, nausea and for memory power. This solid treatment is attributed to many nutrients, including iron, phosphorous, fibre, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and Vitamin C.

Gooseberries are also good to build the immune system. When you are down in the area of sexual rhythms, try blending gooseberries with Surinam cherries and watermelon for upward mobility.

I hope my gooseberry tree finds her clothes (leaves) and stop creating pandemonium in the garden. Also, as Barbadians continue in the Independence mode, let us hope that the heritage gurus also publically recognise gooseberries as a childhood herbal hero.

• Annette Maynard-Watson, a teacher and herbal educator, may be contacted via [email protected] or by telephone 250-6450.

 DISCLAIMER: It is not our intention to prescribe or make specific claims for any products. Any attempts to diagnose or treat real illness should come under the direccton of your health care provider.