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Documentary Digs Deep into Ethnomedical Heritage

Ursula V Battle | 5/29/2020, 6 a.m.
“Pharmaceuticals treat you, but the roots and the herbs cure you.” These are the words of Corey ‘Ras Stimulant’ Davis. ...
(Left) The documentary, “Roots Tonic: Jamaica’s Cure All Drink,” explores Jamaica's ethnomedical heritage of making Roots Tonics, herbal remedies made with herbs, roots and plants. (Right) Loyola University graduate Linton Hinds, Jr., directed the documentary. Courtesy Photo

“Pharmaceuticals treat you, but the roots and the herbs cure you.” These are the words of Corey ‘Ras Stimulant’ Davis. The Vegan Chef’s words set the stage for Roots Tonic: Jamaica’s Cure All Drink, a documentary which explores Jamaica's ethnomedical heritage of making Roots Tonics.

Linton Hinds, Jr., is the director of the documentary. According to Hinds, Root Tonics are herbal remedies made with herbs, roots, and plants. He highlighted that Roots Tonics are said to heal everything from cancer to erectile dysfunction.

“The goal of the documentary is to put information out there,” said Hinds. “We want people to be more accepting and appreciative of traditional medicine. We also want people to utilize traditional medicine. They absolutely do work. We are groomed to use synthetic medicine, but unfortunately they have a lot of side effects.”

Hinds was born to Jamaican parents, and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He is a graduate of Loyola University, where he played basketball.

“In 2013, I stopped eating meat, and started eating different herbs,” said Hinds who lives in South Jersey. “I am more fit at age 35 than I was at 18 or 21. I also have a lot of energy.”

Hinds says that the roots and herbs he uses are Chaney Root, Moringa, Guinea Hen Weed, Strong Back, and Sour Sop Leaf.

“Things are out there,” said Hinds. “Many products don’t heal. They just treat because they are looking for long-term customers. The goal is to put you on those products for the duration of your life. Then you are paying for it for the rest of your life. When you eat right, you don’t have to worry about that. You can just take the root and eat that. You also have to exercise. That’s why I felt it was important to do this documentary.”

Hinds teaches U.S. history to 11th grade students at Thomas Mastery High School in Philadelphia, PA. He also owns and operates KonciousT.com, an e-commerce apparel store. The educator also hosts “I Never Knew Radio,” a show that airs Sundays, 9 a.m. until 11a.m. on WLOY LOYOLA RADIO. Hinds says his YouTube Channel, “I Never Knew TV,” has drawn over nine million views. On April 24, 2020, Hinds posted Roots Tonic: Jamaica’s Cure All Drink on YouTube. The documentary has already garnered 9,000 views.

In addition to ‘Ras Stimulant’ Davis, the documentary also features Dr. Sylvia Adjoa Mitchell, a Senior Lecturer at the Biotechnology Centre, UWI Mona, Jamaica, and Gregory Rutty, owner of Sunsplash Caribbean Bakery in East

Orange, NJ. Rutty is also a manufacturer of Roots Tonic. Hinds’ wife Deborah did the voiceover for the documentary.

“I wanted viewers to see a lead doctor,” said Hinds referring to Dr. Mitchell. “I didn’t want them to believe the documentary was some mumbo jumbo. Dr. Mitchell has studied Jamaican and ethnic culture. Every culture understands what plants can do, and the benefit of plants.”

Dr. Mitchell who is Caucasian, is the Group Leader of the Medicinal Plant Biotechnology Group. She has over 32 years of experience in plant tissue culture, and has undertaken several research and development projects in plant tissue culture, bioactivity screens and product development.