Mixed herbs

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The Independent Online

Taking a herbal remedy is not a matter of mere efficacy and efficiency; taking a herbal remedy is tapping into ancient rhythms and wisdom and faith.

Growing unease, we note, in the field of herbal remedies, stimulants of a market now worth nearly £130m a year in Britain alone. Concern that some of them might not actually work; tough European regulations in the offing.

Oh, dear. That's not the point. Taking a herbal remedy is not a matter of mere efficacy and efficiency; taking a herbal remedy is tapping into ancient rhythms and wisdom and faith. Herbal remedies are for those who sniff suspiciously at the certainties of science and are never happier than when under a cloth inhaling something pungent from a steaming bowl. Who could resist the allure of amaranth, which can heal gastroenteritis and a broken heart? Or catnip, which can cure that cold and create a psychic bond between you and your cat? Who wouldn't enjoy confiding that they were taking dragon's blood or horehound (laxative, also used in exorcisms)? We say: cloths on (and always read the label)!

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