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From journalist to herbalist

BY GARFIELD MYERS Editor-at-Large South/Central Bureau myersg@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, April 07, 2014    

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BLACK RIVER, St Elizabeth — For 11 years Rayon Dyer practised freelance journalism from his base in this historic coastal town.

He wrote for The Gleaner newspaper and also became a broadcaster channelling sponsored radio programmes focused on what he described as "positive happenings" via established radio networks.

But the way he tells it, he was always nagged by the need to go his own way and be, in a real sense, his own boss.

That need became an imperative in 2009 when The Gleaner dispensed with his services and the tightening economic crisis rendered his radio enterprise increasingly uncompetitive.

But it was his radio interviews with people practising alternative medicines, including medical doctor Tony Vendreyes, that have taken Dyer down a path he now considers his true calling.

Today, Dyer has put journalism behind him, and through his company Randan's Detox Clinic is practising herbal and alternative medicine. He claims to be making a positive difference for many lives.

He recalls that the process happened gradually. To begin with, he became very health conscious.

"I started reading up a lot about herbs... and I started to change... like eating less meat...," he said.

"Having seen a lot of people suffering various ailments, including lifestyle-related and cholesterol issues, you realise the value of having less animal protein," he said.

The way Dyer remembers it, somewhere along the way he learnt about the "marvels" of the Moringa plant. Further research brought him to an understanding of an electrolyte detoxification process for the body using an aqua chi footbath machine which would be complemented by the intake of herbal products from plants such as Moringa and Guinea Hen Weed.

More intense research followed alongside long-distance training from overseas in the use of the detoxification machine.

By March 2011, Dyer had evolved to the stage of opening his Randan's centre upstairs the Hendriks building at 2 High Street in Black River. A second office would follow -- at Barracks Road in Savanna-la-Mar. A third in Santa Cruz had to be closed because of "unforeseen" problems but Dyer says a new base in that bustling town will be found soon.

He credits the St Elizabeth Credit Union for providing capital start-up and loan refinancing; as well as friends and "partners" who have provided support.

He claims herbal medicines derived from naturally grown local herbs such as Guinea Hen Weed, Tumeric, Moringa and Bee Pollen derived from the honey-making process -- all tested and cleared at Northern Caribbean University laboratory in Mandeville -- as well as the footbath detoxification process have been of great help to his clients.

Dyer says his alternative medical processes have led to "wellness" for people with a range of conditions such as foot ulcers, stomach ulcers, fatigue and stress-related ailments, including hypertension.

"We have numerous success stories," he boasts of his wellness agency, which also employs a practical nurse.

Dyer takes pride in being able to advise people on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, such as diet. "For example, I will advise persons how to develop a good nutritional balance in terms of how much you eat and what you eat... if you eat meat you don't have to eat meat every day of the week and you don't have to eat a cooked meal three times for the day," he says.

He also makes it his duty to point clients to the dangers of alcohol overuse and tobacco smoking.

In some cases, he says, clients have been weaned from long-term dependence on prescription drugs.

"Nobody has to live on prescription drugs until they die... I am saying that there is a natural and better way of treating a number of ailments," says Dyer.

In addition, he says, he now has clients overseas "who have found what we do here to be very helpful and will send from time to time to get locally grown herbs".

But while extolling the virtues of "natural" treatment, Dyer worries that the growing trade in herbal remedies remains disorganised and unregulated. It's a situation that he says can prove dangerous since knowledge and integrity should always be central to the dispensation of medicine.

"Herbal practitioners need to form an association nationally which persons like myself can be a part of and which will guide us from time to time in the changing dynamics of herbs and the healing potential of herbs," he argues.

"New discoveries are made every day, new discoveries regarding the production of medicines. It's high time we have an association established (for) governing persons who are out there as herbalists... the time has come to put a stop to the willy nilly situation where you can see a man on the road and buy a bottle of dirty-looking water from him (without standardisation mark) and bring it home and drink it," Dyer says.

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