Letter:Healing power of plants

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Sir: Your article on St John's wort ("Herbal cure is a match for drugs", 2 August) as a cure for depression, was illustrated with a print of another plant of the same genus, Tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum). The common name is derived from the French words "toute saine" (all healthy), also the source of its other English names, Touch-heal or Heal-all. A magical plant believed to cure anything from gout and sciatica to festering wounds.

Over 300 years ago Nicholas Culpeper wrote of the Perforate St John's wort recommending "a tincture of the flowers in spirits of wine against melancholy and madness".