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Roatan Bush Medicine – Gifiti

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Garifuna’s Medicine of Love

t’s not every day that you come across an alcoholic beverage that’s (a) said to be beneficial for the health, (b) descends from a mysterious and secret indigenous tradition and (c) hits the spot. Gifiti is such a drink, made by the Garifuna from rum, herbs and roots – a medicinal concoction designed to promote well-being and cure all kinds of ailments as well as getting people (locals and travelers alike) relaxed and mellowed out.

Garifunas  brought the recipes from their homeland where they had co-existed with the indigenous Caribs, each family having its own particular way of making it and passing the method down the generations.

Guifiti belongs to the class of drinks known as ‘bitters’ which are made by steeping the herbal ingredients in alcohol. They originate from various places around the world but became more popular in western cultures after a German physician first commercialized a Venezuelan version that was adopted and adapted by Great Britain’s Royal Navy to be a cure for stomach problems and sea sickness.

Consequently, there is not much public information out there about Guifiti. Here’s a list of the typical ingredients:

  • Garlic
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon
  • Palo de hombre
  • Coconut
  • Marijuana
  • Allspice
  • Jicaco Negro
  • Dead Man
  • Manstrength
  • Noni
  • Rum (the cheaper the better, apparently)

The one thing that everyone agreed upon was that Gifiti was an excellent aphrodisiac (I think that’s the Manstrength one).Best souvenir you take from Roatan



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