For those looking to embrace a healthier lifestyle this new year, a Florida herbalist has a few secrets behind the herbs he finds may help.
Jason Watson of Seffner, Florida, is an herbalist who brings Jamaican native seeds and sea moss to his Tampa, Florida, community.
“We don’t brag about it because we’re passionate about it. I give a lot of my product away. I don’t sell all of it. I want people to get healthy at the end of the day.”
Watson, 49, told Atlanta Black Star that he’s been farming his entire life.
“I spent two years going to school, but I felt like the professor was asking more than he was teaching so I left and went back to what I know, the land,” said Watson.
Watson now owns five acres of land in Seffner, Florida, that he uses to grow herbs, fruits and vegetables.
“I also make sea moss gel — some of the best sea moss out there,” he said. “The Watson family takes the family boat to one of the outer islands in Jamaica and pulls fresh organic sea moss from there.”
Sea moss, which stimulates the metabolism, can be mixed into any smoothie or drink. It can improve the immune system and provide individuals with six useful vitamins, including B12 and Zinc, according to WebMD.
“The things that are plaguing our [Black] community [are] diabetes and blood pressure, insomnia, constipation — things that happen when your body is unbalanced,” explained Watson. “Until you use something like a sea moss that is a detoxifier and a nutrient builder – it’d be difficult to have a vital life in this Western world.”
Watson stressed the importance of paying attention to what you put in your body.
“The lunch meat that everybody is eating, it’s a level one carcinogen due to the chemicals they have to put in it to preserve it,” said Watson. “You should not be eating lunch meat. That’s the worse form of meat that you can get.”
The best way to find out what’s inside what you’re eating is to read the labels and observe patterns you notice in your body, Watson advised. He also suggested embracing the idea of tongue scraping.
“The first thing I recommend for anyone dealing with food cravings is to go and get a tongue scraper; scrape your tongue once a week and go get you some hydrogen peroxide,” said Watson. “The tongue is a sponge. To eliminate all of the food cravings — you got all of that salt, sugar that the body craves — and if you’re not scraping your tongue those cravings are still going to permeate into your brain. You’re still going to want to eat that same food every day.”
Watson’s farm has more than 30 different herbs, vegetables and fruits, but he told Atlanta Black that his favorite is the sorrel bush.
“This is big around the holiday times in the Caribbean,” said Watson. “We make a tea with it. It detoxifies the blood of metal. It helps build the iron up. It helps with your liver and kidney.”
Sorrel, he says, helps to improve the digestive system and aids in weight loss.
“Some of my favorite fruits are pineapple, mango and banana,” said Watson. “All taste good and are all good for the body.”
Watson shared that he is not only committed to his crops but also to his community, adding that his main goal is to make sure people have access to food items that help the body, not hurt it.