MEDICINAL herb practitioner Carlton Bennett is calling on his fellow Jamaicans to embrace herbal medicine as a preventative and curative measure for COVID-19 and every other kind of disease.
“Herb is the healing of the nation,” Bennett, or King Yashua as he is known by his customers across the island, pronounced in an interview with the Jamaica Observer last week.
Parked at his usual spot at the corner of King and Tower streets, downtown Kingston, Bennett promotes his herbal tonics and beverages that are meant to prevent or cure any sickness one can think of, including the newest viral disease wreaking havoc around the world.
“All you need for this COVID-19 sickness is pine needle with the fever grass. That can kill any virus out a yuh system,” Bennett declared.
“I tell people all the while that it nuh matter which doctor you go, every sickness is in the blood. There is just one sickness, and that is mucus. Once you detox your body with the herb and get the mucus from out of your body, you free from all sickness,” he added. “It is cheaper to live than to die. Medication is not good for anybody at all and medication cannot heal you – it is the natural herbs that can heal you.”
For over 20 years, the 46-year-old has been carrying a legacy given to him by his grandmother.
“Mi born and grow seeing my grandmother use herb. I come to know about the healing effect of herbs from my grandmother who died at 105 years old. She wanted me to carry on this work for her and she teach everything about the different plants and what they are good for. I also use my own intuition from God,” said Bennett.
Through a blaring speaker box strapped atop his motor car, Bennett advertised his various remedies, running through a long list of traditional Jamaican herbs that he uses in many of his concoctions.
“I have herbs for diabetes, cancer, poor circulation, hypertension, herpes and many other diseases. I have medication that will clean out your system, detox your bloodstream, and build back your immune system. Get your guinea hen weed, your sarsaperilla, your neem, your ramoon, blood whisk, shepherd’s purse, dandelion, turmeric, mango leaf, guava leaf, the devil’s horse whip, mango bark, soursop bark, and your June plum bark,” Bennett proclaimed.
He criticised the formal health system and pharmaceutical industry, accusing them of taking advantage of people’s illnesses for profit.
“Every plant on the Earth is for a purpose. For every sickness you can think of there is a bush or herb that can cure it. People need to leave the hospital alone and turn to the herbs. Hospital and doctor is all about money. It is not about healing,” he said.
Bennett also claimed to have healed many of his customers from HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer, poor circulation, high blood pressure, and herpes.
“Doctor say there is no cure for herpes, that is a lie. They say there is no cure for HIV, that is a lie,” Bennett argued.
Holding up a five-litre bottle of brown liquid, Bennett said: “This is a herpes medicine that have noni, guinea hen weed, sauciperilla, ramoon, shepherd’s purse, dandelion and guava bark inna it. This get out any herpes out of your system,” he said.
One of Bennett’s customers, known as Jerry, shared his testimony with the Sunday Observer about getting rid of a persistent back pain after drinking one of King Yashua’s formulas.
“For over two years and seven months mi have a pain inna mi back,” he said. “Mi start take the herbs that King Yashua give mi and after about three weeks I don’t feel that pain again. From mi drink two of this, the pain gone,” he said.
“Mi go doctor and them give mi some tablet fi take for it and the pain still stay with mi. Right now mi throw them weh because mi a tek them fi over eight months and mi nuh see no change,” said Jerry.
Bennett explained that this particular drink was a stamina tonic that had cured Jerry’s backache.
“Every sickness is in the blood, it nuh matter what type of sickness. The herb help fi purge the blood, build back the immune system, and build back the white blood cells,” he said.
He said that he acquires some of his herbs from Africa but most of them he picks on his frequent sojourns across the length and breadth of Jamaica. “Anywhere at all mi go and see herb, mi nuh drive pass it,” he said.
Bennett explained how he extracts the medicinal properties from these plants, saying that the process of picking and drawing (steeping in hot water) the plants is tied to the different phases of the moon.
“You have to draw the herb. Most people don’t understand how and when you draw herb. When you drawing the herb, you can’t draw it on a new moon, you have to draw it on a full moon. Gather the herbs and draw them on a full moon. Mi grow wid mi grandmother and she teach me these things,” he said.
The herbal practitioner said for more than 30 years he has not visited a doctor or gone to a hospital, since he knows how to heal himself.
“I don’t go to the hospital. I don’t get sick often and if mi get sick, I know what to take for it. I did have a tooth that used to hurt mi and mi boil some guinea hen weed and drink it and soak the tooth. By the time mi guh sleep, the tooth drop out, no pain at all,” he said.
Asked about any possible side effects and the safety of his herbal remedies, Bennett insisted that plant-based medicine, when used correctly, cannot harm anyone.
“Herb don’t give any side effect. Medication give you side effect when you live on the medication the doctor them prescribe. Doctor medication nuh good fi nobody system,” Bennett insisted.
Meanwhile, medical doctor and clinical researcher at the Scientific Research Council, Dr Lorenzo Gordon responded to Bennett’s claims in an extended interview with the Sunday Observer.
Gordon believes that while traditional plant remedies have their benefits, evidence of their efficacy and safety must be determined by scientific study.
“You will not find persons in the medical community jumping at a claim that is made, which is a nutraceutical claim, that a plant can cure a particular illness or treat a particular disease. We want it to be subjected to the scientific process,” Dr Gordon said.
“Although there are these benefits that have been identified in herbal medicine, they have not looked at the real science behind it. But traditionally we know, although not in an institutional way, that certain plants, when you take them, they have these values.
“I say, let us look at it therefore, in a scientific way. If these traditional herbs can reliably treat illnesses, let us put it to the science, which is what you call a clinical trial,” said Dr Gordon.