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HEALING HERBS: Beautiful coral vine for healing, food

Annette Maynard-Watson

HEALING HERBS: Beautiful  coral vine for healing, food

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I was pondering. What would Rev. Canon Gregston Gooding, rector of St George’s Parish Church, have said on arriving for early Sunday service and spotted a familiar individual near the woody grove in a long figure-hugging white dress, holding masking tape, a black and gold fountain-pen, a specimen bag containing the astoundingly precious high blood pressure vine and wearing latex gloves? 

I believe he may have said: “Hello, young teacher” and may have received the response: “Father Gooding, you were an excellent role model for all those students whom you tutored at the Christ Church Foundation School.”

With his confident demeanour and captivating smile he may have replied while entering the church: “Continue to walk with Jesus.” 

Presently, in this reality, I am informing readers that Independence 2014 is special and I purposely travelled near the church to collect another sample of that internationally acclaimed medicinal vine for profound research purposes. This week we are voyaging with silent doctor coral vine.

Unfortunately, it is woefully mistreated and undervalued in Barbados. However, I am confident that after this article readers would rally for this “phoenix” to rise from the ashes to be recognised as a distinguished “herbal hero”.


Tea for coughs

I call coral vine “the rise to power” vine but scientifically it is known as Antigonon leptopus. Other names include queen’s jewels, hearts on a chain, bride’s fear, chain of love or rose of Montana. It is related to the sea grape and buck wheat family.

Its flowers are usually white, pale pink or deep pink. It has a deep spiritual undertone, as it populates and beautifies Barbados by deliberately growing in graveyards, wooded areas, on abandoned buildings and roadsides. 

Honychurch (1986), in the book Caribbean Wild Plants And Their Uses, posits that “the leaves and flowers are effectively used in a tea for coughs and throat constriction”. Research reveals that the tubers and flowers are consumed as food.

The flowers and leaves are coated with flour, fried and served with noodles. Additionally the flowers are used in omelets and the seeds can be roasted, winnowed and then ground into flour.

Research also revealed that it can treat diabetes, relieve pain, treat colds, reduce swelling, close wounds, and be used as a heart tonic and a leaf/flower extract, and to inhibit lipid peroxidation. It is recorded as anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

Passionate readers may ask: “Why is such a fantastic vine underutilised in this country?” My answer is that we must conduct more indigenous research. 

Finally, remember “don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish” and “let the dead bury their own dead” (Luke 9:60). Happy Independence 2014.

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 direction of your health care provider.