Grow and Eat your own food. Nature Seychelles.2010.The Centre for Environment and Education (95 pages).
In the Foreword, we read that because of modern lifestyles many traditional food crops, fruits and medicinal plants in Seychelles continue to disappear from people’s gardens while invasive plants are being smuggled to beautify them.
We are told that “The Nature Seychelles Heritage Garden” project at Roche Caïman has adopted a new concept described as ”a simple but powerful idea”, that is, everyone can beautify their grounds while they have a variety of plants which they could use in cooking, traditional medicine, arts and craft…..“new ways such as natural insecticides and aromatherapy right at their doorstep.”
The book is intended to motivate people to start their own “Edible Landscape”.
It all started in 2005 ….and the vision was to introduce young people to plants that were valued by their parents and enable them to become custodians of a” rich heritage”.
The booklet is divided into several chapters or sections starting with the one on Herb and Spices.
It points out that though the book does not set out to recommend any herbal remedies before consulting a “qualified” doctor, it is recognized that “traditional and alternative medicines’ today do complement “conventional modern medicine” (page 7)
Among the plants which grow wildly and abundantly in Seychelles, is the introduced cinnamon (cinnamonum zeynalicum) which leaves are a must in a good octopus curry! The authors write that they are also used as a bath against high fever and rheumatism.
The “curry leaf” or ‘kari pile’ (murraya koenigii) is not only used in curries in the local cuisine but as medicine too. The leaves have anti-diabetic properties and were traditionally administered to treat skin conditions and digestive problems.
The author describes it as “the perfect useful culinary herb” (page 26) and it helps to relieve symptoms of cold/flu and an infusion made from its fresh or dried leaves is said to help soothe sore gums or toothaches…
The ‘chapter’ of the book ends with instructions as to the making of herbal teas and herbal oils.
Another chapter lists and describes “popular and not so well-known fruits”.....” once found abundantly in Seychelles’ such as ‘Ker-d bef or ‘bullock’s heart (A.reticulate.L.). With its ‘sweet creamy taste” it is said to be rich in vitamins, particularly [Vitamin] C and proteins and magnesium. Recent studies are said to have shown that the seeds have “potent effect against various cancers.”(page 30). Falling in the same category is the cherimoya (Annona cherimola”, the sugar apple or ‘zat” (Annona squamosa L.) used to flavor ice cream and milk, the sour sop or “korsol”(Annona muricatum). An infusion of its leaves is used to treat high blood
pressure. The crushed seeds are also known to “kill both external and internal parasites, as the decoction made of seeds kills even head lice”, it affirms.
©Jean-Claude, Zan Klod”,P. MAHOUNE