AFTER sustaining multiple injuries to her spine in a motor vehicle crash in 2008, she was told she would not live beyond six months. Doctors in Jamaica, as well as Cuba, said that there was nothing they could do for her.
"Damage was done to three different locations in my spine and they said the damage was so extensive, it limited my mobility," Maureen Minto-Haughton told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview. "I wasn't able to use my hands and I had no feeling from my neck all the way down to my toes.
"My fear was that the paralysis was going to continue until my brain cells were actually affected. Then I would eventually die," Minto-Haughton recalled.
Minto-Haughton was taken to hospital after the crash, but since the doctors said that there was nothing they could do for her, they sent her home. Hearing that doctors in Cuba could help, Minto-Haughton went to the Socialist country seeking treatment. However, they too could do nothing, and gave her six months to live.
Admitting that she wanted to hear the Cuban doctors' diagnosis, Minto-Haughton, a herbalist, had taken various herbal remedies with her on her trip. She told the Sunday Observer that she started on her herbal remedies and within three weeks she was able to move her hands. Minto-Haughton also said that various neurological tests were done which showed improvements, and the doctors, in awe, wanted to know what she had done.
Today, Minto-Haughton, despite having serious challenges walking, ably moves around with the aid of a cane.
But how did she come to know so much about herbs?
A Maroon, Minto-Haughton, who is from the market district in Montego Bay, St James, told the Sunday Observer that while growing up, she was always sick and had various ailments.
"So as a child I had to learn the herbs that were around me," she said, adding that her mother would send her to pick the various herbs and it got to a point that if anyone around her had an ailment, that person would be told: "Guh find Maureen".
It was then she decided that she wanted to do further research, but Minto-Haughton said that in 1992, the closest thing to research was studying medical technology at university, which she did. However, Minto-Haughton said that the more she learnt, the more disillusioned she became where conventional medicine was concerned.
She said that while doing her internship at Cornwall Regional Hospital she could not understand why people had to repeatedly return for various blood tests and with diabetes and HIV.
"It was just ridiculous because they were not getting well," Minto-Haughton stated. "I thought conventional medicine came from herbs, I had heard that they just took the herb and put it into a pill, so then I started to question why people were not getting well until I really went deeper into conventional medicine," she went on.
It was then that she decided to return to her roots.
"I decided there and then that I was going to go back to natural remedies, because it worked for me," said Haughton-Minto.
"My grandmother was a herbalist and I remember being told that my sister was born with kidney challenges and they actually used a combination that I still use today, to relieve her kidney problems.
"My sister is alive today and doing very well and never had any further challenges with her kidneys," she told this tabloid.
So, in 2002 she concentrated all her energies and started the Healthy Living Herbal Clinic in Montego Bay. Since then, Minto-Haughton said that she has had "excellent" success in using natural remedies to treat various conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, HIV, and various cancers.
Minto-Haughton told this newspaper of cases with people coming to the Healthy Living Herbal Clinic with thyroid cancer and within three months the cancer was gone.
With clients reaching out to her from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, the Cayman Islands as well as parishes outside of St James, Minto-Haughton, the chief naturopathic consultant at the clinic, also travels to Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland, the Manchester capital of Mandeville, and Kingston on different days to meet her clients.
Her clinic is now moving to make their natural remedies more accessible.
"We have a pain rub which is really miraculous," said Minto-Haughton. "Once you put it on an area where the pain is, the pain disappears.
"We also have our hair oil which improves the quality of your hair and the skin," Minto-Haughton said, explaining that she came up with the remedy after her sons struggled with a fungus in their heads for more than two years and nothing skin specialists and general practitioners did could successfully treat it.
Minto-Haughton said her sons' schooling was affected because she knew the fungus was contagious, and out of fear that other children would contract it, they did not attend school frequently. She explained that she asked the Creator for guidance and was instructed on the various herbs to collect and how to prepare them.
Minto-Haughton said that within two days of her sons drinking the solution and having it put on the affected areas of their heads, the fungus was gone.
She also said that her clinic has a total body cleanse which is the basic part of all the treatments she does. Minto-Haughton, comparing the necessity of a total body cleanse to building a house and clearing the area before starting, explained that if the body is not cleansed then it is much harder for any remedy to be effective.
A student of naturopathy with a concentration in herbology at the Clayton's College of Natural Health, Minto-Haughton said her faith in natural remedies has grown over the years.
In 2011, she was involved in a second motor vehicle crash and the doctors ordered that she be given blood when she was taken to the hospital, but she refused. Minto-Haughton said she again used natural remedies to nurse herself back to health.
"I give thanks that I am alive today," Minto-Haughton said. "A friend of mine had an accident a month after mine with fewer injuries and he died."