With the COVID-19 pandemic, we see are a lot of good recommendations to avoid getting the coronavirus, with focus on proper hand-washing techniques, personal hygiene and social distancing. We need to ensure we play our part by adhering to these recommendations in order to bring this virus under control.
The COVID-19 infection can bring on nasty respiratory issues, like bronchitis or pneumonia. So the question of what local food and herb weapons we have in our arsenal arises.
Coming from a small farmers’ village agriculture background and working with small farm villages, in several parts of the world with focus on the Caribbean. Let us look at some of the natural foods, plants and old traditional village practices that will help us mount a good defense against this enemy?
No one will argue that eating a healthy and balanced diet including nutritious fruits and vegetables meat and fish, minimize stress and good sleep can strengthen our immune system to help fight off diseases and infections.
Let’s look at the wide variety of healthy foods that we grow in Caribbean Africa and Pacific by small farmers and can be easily available for local regional and overseas consumers. These are products grown mainly by our small farmers;
- Staples, that are high in healthy fiber and other nutrients; ie dasheen, yams, sweet potatoes, eddoes
- Other key products such as eggplant, pumpkin, carrot and turmeric (which contains a natural compound called curcumin)
- Ginger, mangoes, cherries, avocados, garlic, onions, tomatoes, pineapples, tangerines, guavas oranges, limes, and lemons
On local village practices for fighting colds and flu:
- Grama hot herbal and other teas
- Hot vapor steams
- A variety of hot soups flavoured with turmeric roots and tubers, ginger, coconut milk etc,
- Warm water-salt, vinegar and garlic water gaggles;
- Eating fruits taking advantage of the fruit seasons whether it be plums, mangoes etc.
At my home, we maintain a mix of fresh turmeric and ginger, adding vinegar, lime and/or lemon juice with cayenne or black pepper. Alongside garlic, honey and clove blend for our family. As a result and along with other good health practices. We have seen a vast improvement in fighting off the seasonal cold and flu.
Whatever we have in our natural environment, let us use to build up our defenses as we get ready to do battle with this dangerous enemy, COVID-19, when and if it attacks.
We call on all to support small farmers /small farm families in the production of nutritious fruits, vegetables and healthy carbohydrates, to strengthen and protect health while earning sustained profitable income.