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5 Things You Never Knew Were Invented By Jamaicans

5 Things You Never Knew Were Invented By Jamaicans
Written by Denise Clarke

Reggae music and athletic success have earned Jamaica worldwide fame over many years but this island paradise has contributed much more to the international community. Jamaicans have excelled in various fields at home and abroad and are credited with some genius inventions that are being used all around the globe. Here are five notable inventions that Jamaicans had a hand in creating.

1. A cure for prostate cancer
In 2012, renowned Jamaican scientist Dr. Henry Lowe released the Alpha Prostate Formula 1 on to the market, two years after announcing a breakthrough cure for prostate cancer. With its main ingredients derived from the Ball Moss plant, the product – which claims to eliminate prostate cancer – is available under the Eden Gardens brand. It has since gained approval from the US-based Food and Drug Association (FDA) and is certified for export to North America and other countries. (Note – Consult your doctor about all treatments)

2. Canasol eye drop for glaucoma
Canasol, a medicated eye-drop made from the marijuana (ganja) plant, is the first medical treatment for the eye disease glaucoma. It was developed at the University of the West Indies, Mona by the Jamaican research team of pharmacologist, Professor Manley West and ophthalmologist, Dr. Albert Lockhart. The breakthrough came after ten years of research into the ganja plant, which is long reputed by rural folk to improve vision problems using various concoctions of the weed. The medical eye drop Canasol is especially known for having little to no side effects compared to similar synthetics drugs that treat the disease.

3. The ortanique fruit
Even some Jamaicans might be surprised to learn that the ortanique was developed right here in Mandeville, Manchester. Originally known as a ‘tangelo’, the cross between an orange and a tangerine was the creation of Dr. David Daniel Phillips, who was reportedly the granduncle of noted parliamentarian Dr. Peter Phillips. For more than a century, the ortanique has been thriving in the cool hills of Manchester, with a distinctly sweet flavor that may have something to do with the bauxite rich soil in that area.

4. Disease resistant papaya
Jamaican biotechnologist Dr. Paula Tennant is credited with the creation of the Solo Sunrise, a genetically modified strain of papaya which is resistant to the Ring Spot disease. Dr. Tennant was the first person from the Caribbean to ever develop a bio-engineered product, which she accomplished during research at Cornell University. Tennant was able to manipulate the disease-causing gene in the fruit and develop a papaya which is resistant to the Ring Spot disease. Her discovery helped save the local papaya industry which was under threat from the invasive disease.

5. The JaipurKnee prosthetic
Amputees can thank Jamaican Joel Sadler and his teammates at Stanford University for creating the JaipurKnee, one of the most affordable prosthetic knees available to the public. Sadler, along with his Americans Eric Thorsell, Ayor Roberts and Angelo Szychowski, created the low cost artificial knee in 2009 as part of their Master degree program at Stanford University. With a cost of just US$20 (compared to an average cost of US$10,000) and a minimum three years of normal use, the JaipurKnee was named one of the 50 best inventions of 2009 by TIME Magazine.

About the author

Denise Clarke