By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
Looking around in her community, Degria Duncombe became alarmed at the increasing number young Bahamians who are battling health issues like high blood pressure, constipation and other conditions.
Talking to older people around her, she discovered that this seems to be a relatively recent development. Degria, who calls herself a naturalist, thinks this may have to do with younger generations straying away from natural bush medicine and practices.
“After speaking to numerous elders about this, their statements were that they themselves barely visited the hospital. And if they did do so, it was be for a check-up or to visit a friend. Each of these individuals swore by bush tea medicine. I then began taking notes, did my personal research and found that many of our native leaves are known to prevent and cure a lot of the illnesses we are plagued with today. For example, it is known that the leaves and the fruit of soursop fights cancer,” she told Tribune Health.
Degria decided to find her own way to make a healthy difference in her community, with the launch of her ‘It’s We Bahamian Fruit Teas’ brand.
Her teas, she said, offer more than just refreshment; they boost the immune system and help you start your day in the right way.
“I believe that we should always still seek advice from our elders. I also believe the wisdom they share should not be buried along with them. Our ancestors survived without the use of pharmaceuticals and so can we. My passion is to reintroduce our culture to this new generation that have forgotten our ways. The times are changing, but let us not leave our culture behind. ‘It’s We Bahamian Fruit Teas’ is our way of keeping our ancestors’ wisdom alive,” said the 27-year-old wife and mother.
The teas she currently offers are soursop, guava, pear, lemon grass, breadfruit, papaya, moringa and mango. Honey, agave or brown sugar can be added to the teas on a customer’s request.
“We appreciate the love and support we have received from our customs that swear by our products to help them get through the day. We have received support from many of the Family Islands,” said Degria,
Through her research, Degria said she has learned that certain fruit teas can lower the blood pressure and blood sugar levels, boost heart health, relieve mensuration pains, as well as aid in digestion and weight loss.
“I enjoy a moringa before bed to aid in digestion. My son drinks fever grass daily to combat the common cold. My husband enjoys pear fruit tea to ease inflammation to his back,” she said,
At present, ‘It’s We Bahamian Fruit Teas’ are sold at the Rubis gas station on Faith Avenue. Delivery services are also available.
“My husband and I work as a team to infuse the right fruits and other natural ingredients to produce the most tasteful teas. If you are not a fan of teas, the best fruit teas to consume would be the mango, soursop or fever grass. With each sip you can taste the Bahamian culture,” said Degria.