Cabbrina Lennox, Gleaner Writer
ISLINGTON, St Mary:
MORINGA, OTHERWISE known as merenge, is a leading medicinal herb that has hit the streets in Jamaica in recent times. Delano Davis, a former mechanic, has been studying and processing the moringa plant and other natural products that most Jamaicans take for granted for over five years,
"The merenge, you don't dry it in the sun. It has to be dried in a dark place. The root and the bark have to be dried in the sun," Davis told The Gleaner. "I just liked to plant the trees, and then after getting a CD from my boss, Paul Marshalet, from there I realised how to process it."
The most widely cultivated species is moringa oleifera, a multi-purpose tree native to the foothills of the Himalayas in northwestern India. It is cultivated throughout the Tropics. The plant is said to have many nutrients that can aid in purification and combatting the effects of malnutrition.
Davis has studied the facts about this and other herbs such as the guinea hen weed, the dandelion, and king of the forest, among others. He has taken on the task of processing these medicinal plants into capsules and other forms.
"We mill the root different from the stem and the leaves, and you use them to make tea. The guinea hen bush and the soursop are good for cancer," explained Davis. "We put it in capsule format, and we send it abroad. The dandelion is good for bladder problems, for flushing out the system, and detoxification," he added.
Dandelion, Davis claims, is also used for the treatment of the gall bladder, kidney, and urinary disorders, gallstones, and jaundice. Dandelion is traditionally used as a tonic and blood purifier, for constipation, inflammatory skin conditions, joint pain, eczema, and liver, dysfunction, including liver conditions such as hepatitis.
Said Davis: "From childhood, we heard that dandelion is good for children who used to wet their beds to strengthen the bladder. It has many other values as well. The seeds are processed by parching them and then grinding them into powder form. It is used like coffee, and it tastes and smells like coffee."
He said his product is not widely accepted in Jamaica. He, therefore, has to source his market overseas.
"I have a friend who carries it abroad, but we are having a problem getting it through Customs. I want to see if I can find a good market up there to sell them.
"If I get it away, I can do well. But here in Jamaica, there is no market for it. People buy it now and then, but not much money in it," Davis reported.
He said now that he is retired, he has more time to spend developing the products and making them more marketable.
He said he wants to organise with the Government to get the products ready to enter the overseas market.
"I don't have a problem getting the bushes. What I don't plant, I can get it from my friend," he explained.
Photos by Cabbrina Lennox