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Root tonics and resilience: Building strength, health, and heritage in Jamaica

Jamaican root tonics are fermented beverages made with the roots, bark, vines (and dried leaves) of local (mostly) wild harvested plant species.  They are very popular across the island and among the diaspora because of their reputed abilities to prevent or cure many illnesses and increase stamina and virility. Yet, though a powerful informal symbol of Jamaican biocultural heritage, root tonics lack official recognition and little is being done to develop a sustainable industry for the benefit of the local producers and vendors. In a recent study entitled “Root Tonics and Resilience: Building Strength, Health, and Heritage in Jamaica” published in Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, researchers from FST’s Natural Products Institute, The New York Botanical Garden (USA), The University of Gastronomic Sciences (Italy) and five community members from rural Jamaica, examine the oral history and cultural importance of Jamaican root tonics, with the aim of laying down a road map for their development.......
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