Vervine and Spanish needle being used to fight COVID
Not convinced that a vaccine is the best weapon to use in the fight against COVID-19, many Jamaicans have been turning to herbalists in search of natural remedies to shield or cure them from the novel coronavirus.
This search for herbs has led to an increase in demand for some plants, chief among them being vervine and Spanish needle.
"Nuff people mi know nuh believe inna di vaccine thing, and a yah suh dem come fi get dem bush," said Rootsie, who operates her business in the Heywood Street Market in the capital city.
More than 16,000 Jamaicans have been given their first shots against the virus in week one of the island's vaccination programme, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has said. That number is set to increase with the targeting of the 75-and-older population for the jab, starting this week.
The World Health Organization has stated that "there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus". However, herbalists appear convinced that vervine and Spanish needle can help people beat the novel coronavirus.
Rootsie, a vendor for more that 20 years, said that more Jamaicans have been visiting his stall to purchase the herbs.
"Any sickness yuh have, a bush deh deh fi heal yuh from it. That a weh mi know 'bout. Mi nah guh tell yuh say mi know people weh heal from the COVID when dem tek mi herbs, cause mi no wah di blue-eye man come mash up mi business," said the 55-year-old.
A woman, who was purchasing 'bush', told THE STAR that she will not be taking the COVID-19 vaccine. She believes that herbal remedy will help build her immune system, which is critical to fighting off the dreaded disease that has infected more than 34,000 Jamaicans and claimed in excess of 520 lives.
"I have been taking herbs all my life and I won't change from that. I do not trust what I am hearing around the vaccines. Look at what is happening in Europe. I won't be taking any, I will stick to my herbs," the woman said.