Leading Article: Potent folklore
Thursday 16 September 1999
We have grown so used to hearing that science has disproved the old wives' tales of herbalists, homeopaths and others of their ilk that it comes as a surprise to learn that pharmaceutical researchers are busily screening the flora of Wales to discover whether cures mentioned in old books and still handed down by locals might yield usable chemical compounds.
Evolution would seem to hold the explanation to the intimate connection between human health and plant biology. Every living thing, after all, is descended from the same single-cell organisms; consequently, what makes one species flourish is likely to be good for another.
This meeting of the worlds of molecular science and folklore holds out a pleasing prospect: perhaps next year's Festival of Science should forsake the universities and be held at Glastonbury.
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