Bissy (Cola Nut)
Cola nuts are used in Jamaica for stomach pains and as a purge when poison is suspected. The nuts are
grated and boiled like coffee or taken with strong rum. A little cola is sometimes added to country chocolate and
it is considered to allay hunger. The plant is said by Lunan to have been brought to Jamaica from the Guinea Coast and planted out near Guanaboa by one Mr. Goffe. In Africa the nut is chewed to promote digestion, is considered to be a tonic, stimulating and antiperiodic, and is also used in dysentery. The chemical composition of cola nuts appears to be complex and a matter for some difference of opinion. 11 is stated that I to 2.35 per cent of caffeine and a small amount of the bromine are present. Starch makes up about 46 per cent of the dry nut; glucose and sucrose are present; fats (up to 3 per cent) tannin and gum are found. Early work indicated the presence of a compound called kolatine said to be a tanno-glucoside or a catechin compound but this has not been found by subsequent investigators. Kolanine, described in earlier work as a glucoside splitting up into caffeine, glucose and kola red. and occurring principally in fresh nuts, was later said to be a mixture of caffeinetannate and theobromine-tannate, the latter being a glucoside. Kola red may also be a glucoside, giving rise to phloroglucin.
Majoe Bitters: Cascara Amarga.(picramnia antidesma)
This plant is still in use in Jamaica for the preparation of home remedies. It is an excellent tea for a teething baby. Barham says that the name ‘Majoe’ is that of an old negro woman who used the plant with considerable success in the treatment of yaws and venereal diseases. It has also been used for colic, intermittent
fevers and skin ulcers.
Eucalyptus; Gum Tree.
The following species have been introduced into Jamaica during the last ten years by the Forestry
Department:- E. globulus Labil. (Blue Gum, Fever Tree); E. deglupta Blume; E. robusta Sm.; E. microcorys F.
Muell.; E. saligna Sm.; E. kirtoniana F. Muell.; E. alba Reinw.; E. citriodora Hook.
Tea and baths made with eucalyptus leaves are taken by some Jamaicans in cases of colds and fever.
The leaves may also be put into the patient’s bed. Similar uses of the leaves are found in countries where
Eucalyptus is indigenous or where it has been introduced. In Africa a leaf decoction or infusion is used as a
remedy for influenza, while steam from the leaves boiling in water is used as a respiratory antiseptic. Australia
the home of many Eucalyptus spp. finds similar uses for the leaves, those of E. globulus providing a favourite
fever remedy. This species has been used in Europe to treat malaria: the presence of eucalyptus trees in marshy
areas has been said to reduce the incidence of malaria. The leaves have been further used in various parts of the
world as an antiseptic wound and ulcer dressing, to make an enema for the elimination of worms; and, in
infusion as an insecticide and as a medicine for diabetes (negative results).
The chief requirement of medicinal oil of eucalyptus is a high cineole content. The oil from E. globulus
is now of minor importance and that of E. citriodora is excluded on account of its high cineole content. The
fresh leaf of E. globulus is said to contain about 2.75 per cent oil which has a high cineole (eucalyptol) content
and also contains pinene, globulol, eudesmol and various aldehydes. Within the genus the principal constituents
of eucalyptus oil, alcohols, hydrocarbons, aldehydes and so on are very irregularly distributed. Leaves of E.
globulus, E. microcorys and E. saligna, for example, contain no phellandrene, though it occurs in some species;
E. saligna and E. robusta contain cineole and pinene.