I came to Jamaica in 2008 having completed 5 years training as medical herbalist & naturopath at the School of Integrated Health, University of Westminster, in central London. With a love of Jamaica, I was truly blessed to be awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and the opportunity to undertake research towards the successful completion of my PhD, under the supervision of Dr. Rupika Delgoda and Dr. Sylvia Mitchell.
I am currently a postdoctoral Research Fellow here at the Natural Products Institute. My research to date has focused on the contemporary use of medicinal plants by Jamaicans with completion of a TRAMIL survey and a recent survey in collaboration with Dr. Ina Vandebroek of The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). The TRAMIL network (Traditional Medicines in the Islands) studies, validates and expands medicinal plant use in primary healthcare across the Caribbean. Through the work undertaken, UWI was able to fulfil Jamaica’s commitment, contributing to the TRAMIL database and online pharmacopeia (www.tramil.net
), and adding to the body of knowledge from over 50 surveys, completed across the Caribbean region to date. Our collaboration with NYBG, to date, has led to the documentation and distribution of a community book detailing both the traditional knowledge and scientific data for 25 commonly used medicinal plants. A second volume, detailing a further 25 plants, is planned for 2018/2019.
Following the TRAMIL survey my research focused initially on shortlisting and screening a number of medicinal plants for their potential impact on pharmaceutical drugs. Initial laboratory screening enables identification of those plants that might cause medicinal plant-drug interactions and the shortlisting of these plants for further clinical studies. Through these screenings, clinical studies and the wider work of TRAMIL the aim is to communicate ethnopharmacological information on Caribbean medicinal plants to local doctors, pharmacists and other health care professionals. Longer term, the aim of our research is to support the development of a strong evidence base for safe medicinal plant use within the Jamaican healthcare system and to support the development of a successful Jamaican nutraceutical industry.