An ethnobotanist, a herbalist and a family counsellor have joined forces to publish one of the most comprehensive and scientific books ever on Bahamian bush medicine.
Lead author Dr Jeffrey McCormack is a former faculty member at Middlebury College, and the University of Virginia. He trained in natural products chemistry and physiological plant ecology, and has worked in the fields of sustainable agriculture, genetic preservation, plant breeding, and ethnobotany.
Dr McCormack is the founder and director of the seed company Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, which distributes heirloom vegetable varieties, documenting their origins and uses, and recording the histories associated with heirloom and heritage seeds. His oral history projects were twice featured on National Public Radio, including NPR’s “Living on Earth” programme.
Co-author Kathleen Maier is a widely known in the US as a herbalist, and received the first Medicinal Plant Conservation Award from the United Plant Savers. She is currently director of Sacred Plant Traditions in Charlottesville, Virginia and is a founding board member of Common Ground Healing Arts. Co-author Patty Wallens has a background in child development, family relations, medical interviewing and home-based counseling.
This 400-page book, Bush Medicine of the Bahamas- A Cross-cultural Perspective from San Salvador Island, features a unique multi-dimensional approach. In addition to a list of over 100 medicinal plants, it includes pharmacological notes, oral histories, and cross-cultural uses of Bahamian medicinal plants.
“This project would not have been possible without the kindness and generosity of the interviewees who welcomed us into their homes, who shared their stories, served us their bush teas, and took us out into the bush to teach us about their knowledge of plant medicine,” Dr McCormack said “This book is our gift to them, and their children.”
He said the book was dedicated to the preservation and continued use of traditional knowledge of medicinal plants in the Bahamas. Chapters explore the cultural roots, principles, and practice of bush medicine. The materia medica covers 120 medicinal plants and 22 non-botanical remedies, including details of administration and dosage, pharmacology, and the cross-cultural uses of bush medicine.
Earlier on Green Antilles: Medicinal Plants of Trinidad & Tobago and the Caribbean.