Posted on Tue, Feb. 14, 2006
Mena Yaa chants a prayer while tinkling a bell and sprinkling water into a hollowed out, dry gourd she uses as a bowl to create skin lotions for patients.
``Ancestors and divine spirits come, we ask for your blessing on our work and your hand to help healing to take place.''
Others in the room hum and chant with her as she adds a pinch of dried leaves to the bowl, a bit of white clay dust, a few drops of essential oils and a little almond oil. She advises her patients to rub the blend all over their bodies in the mornings to help ease their tensions and pain.
She uses a clay soil called Hyrie from the riverbanks and caves of tropical regions. ``I use it when a spirit needs to be grounded, if they're having difficulties at work or their home environment is not stable.''
Herbs help with the emotions, she says.
? Cerasee , popular in the Caribbean community, is used as a purifier and blood cleanser. ``It allows the body to release and let go whatever blockages it may have.''
? Lemon grass oil is used to dispel lethargy.
? Ginger and ylang-ylang are stimulants, used for depression.
? Chamomile , mint and lavender make a soothing tea.
? Valerian , St. John's wort and comfrey root can help ease pain.