The “Rimed Razié”
Hello, little hummingbird!
In her video portrait, Tara explains that what she particularly likes about Martinique is its natural richness and the fact that “every plant, every leaf, every flower, has its virtue as if nothing had been put at random”.
And she’s right! Martinique and Guadeloupe have one of the richest floras in the Lesser Antilles. In addition to creating breathtaking landscapes, and giving succulent fruits, most species have medicinal properties. These plants are called in Creole “Rimed razié” (i.e. home remedies) and have been used for generations in infusion, decoction, maceration, or skin application to treat various pathologies. Some have original names, others are named the same as chemical drugs known to all (Doliprane or Efferalgan).
The best known are:
- The atoumo (“all-malaches”, Alpinia zerumbet of its vernacular name), which as the name suggests, is a bit of a miracle plant. From the Zingiberaceae family, this plant with fragrant flowers and fruit resembling small pumpkins can measure up to 3 meters. It is of course found on other Caribbean islands and in Reunion island (where it is known as “ginger shell”). Its leaves are used against headaches, and flowers as a diuretic. This plant is also used to treat flu, indigestion, flatulence and bloating, stubborn fevers, sore throats…
- The Brisée trois tasses (“broken, three cups” – Lippia alba), is used in herbal tea as a digestive and nerve tranquilizer, or for external use to treat fungi.
- The chardon béni (or iron grass – Eryngium foetidum by its vernacular name), is used as an infusion for respiratory ailments with fever and intestinal disorders. And as a bonus, chiseled leaves can also replace coriander in the kitchen!
- Doliprane (Plectranthus barbatus), like namesake and chemical counterpart, is used to relieve headaches, fever and rheumatism. But it doesn’t stop there: it is also effective against digestive and liver disorders, skin conditions, respiratory ailments, and it is also a heart protector an anti-ageing.
- Zeb a pik, or “peak herb” (neurolaena lobata), has been used for centuries for the treatment of infectious diseases, skin conditions, and even diabetes. It is also recommended to prevent ailments related to seasonal changes, stress and fatigue. A molecule of this plant would even be the answer to this Covid nightmare. Indeed, in February 2021, a Guadeloupean pharmacist and doctor of pharmacology, Henri Joseph, assured that he was on the trail of a natural treatment for Covid 19 thanks to traditional medicine and ancestral knowledge. This molecule could “block the duplication of the virus” in the body. In addition to taking action against Covid-19 and its variants, this remedy would also be effective on all RNA viruses such as influenza, dengue or Chikungunya. To be continued…
There are also local basil, lemongrass, local saffron…
In 2012, 12 medicinal plants from Martinique included the “A-list” (medicinal plants traditionally used) of Medicinal Plants in French pharmacopoeia:
- Zeb mouch
- Fragile ester, milk grass
- Woman’s herb, zeb a fanm
- Devil Tobacco, All-All Healing
- Lanmwaz, Ti ponpon
- Needle herb Zedjui
- Pompon-soldier, Big Pompom
- Ear-to-sheep, Zorèy-sheep
- Grass tension, Zeb tansion
- Gommier, Red Gum
- Sweet broom, baled dou
The Martinique Agroresources and Research Centre (PARM) is one of those who want to develop the use of Martinique aromatic and medicinal plants. In 2012, the institute looked at the composition of 24 species in order to make “the link between a declared activity at the traditional level and a scientifically proven activity,” explains Sandra Adenet, head of THE RESEARCH and Development Division of PARM.