Natural therapy: Best Herbal Teas in Mauritius
Jay Mootoosamy could have chosen a different path. But his long-standing passion since childhood led him to take over Herbal N Mootoosamy, the family business and a well-known feature of the popular Central market in the capital city of Port Louis.
In the mornings when the market is quieter and the temperature still mild, sensitive nostrils can immediately detect the array of scents emanating from the medicinal plants on display in the narrow shop, within walking distance from fruit sellers and handicraft stalls. Every available inch is stacked with a multitude of bottles, leaves, stems and twigs – all with the highly commendable purpose of curing a wide range of diseases.
‘A treatment needs the time of a lunar cycle, 28 days. We must respect that cycle,’ claims Mootoosamy, now the proud owner of this four generation-old business. ‘It’s the same method used by my great great grandfather, who came from Tamil Nadu.’
Over the generations, from father to son, then from son to grandson, the traditional science has been passed on, building experience and knowledge that might be unique on the island. Inevitably, the reputation of Herbal N Mootoosamy has reached beyond Mauritian shores. ‘What really makes me happy are the letters of thanks that we receive from Europe and even from the United States,’ says Jay, with modest pride. ‘These tourists have discovered our herbal cures by sheer chance.’
Throughout the day, customers flock around his shop either out of necessity or mere attraction. Many are captivated by the fragrance of the tender dry leaves, sweet and strong eucalyptus, salsepareill, petit ginda or wild betel. Around the shop, posters proclaim detailed herbal treatments for bronchitis, rheumatism, eczema, anaemia, asthma and other ailments.
But mostly, immediate and lasting publicity for each product is achieved by word of mouth. Mootoosamy knows that the popularity and fame of his herbal cures are due to his expertise and know-how, especially in collecting specific leaves. In his home in Quatre Bornes, a garage is used as a workshop. The leaves, twigs, vines and seeds are carefully sorted and displayed in the shade and left to mature. This preparation is a slow process and requires a delicate balance to allow the molecules to bring relief to patients who cannot be cured by allopathic medicine. The workshop is devoid of sophisticated equipment, with all processing performed in a nature-friendly way. Mootoosamy insists that ‘herbal teas are not a business, but a vocation; a true desire to share what nature can give us without getting anything in return.’
Simplicity of the method – therein lies the secret of these herbal teas. These curative mixtures are blended from about sixty carefully chosen plant species to allow the alchemy of the leaves and stems to work their magic on the human body.
Photo: Ile Maurice Tourism Info