I can still remember in horror my grandmother grumbled in her overgrown garden picking these leaves in the leaves, throwing them all into a pot of boiling water and drinking it. Of course at the time I, plus a lot of the other young members of the family, thought she was quite mad and more than a little weird. What we didn’t realise at the time was that Grandmother was saner than any of us and quite the herbalist, and it seems, quite a brilliant one at that. As much as I rack my brain I can’t remember her suffering from anything so common as the common cold in her entire long life time. Of course, some might say it had nothing to do with her unusual er…habits, she was just one of those lucky few who experience a better health for most of their charmed lives. Of course, I can’t argue with that. However the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that she knew something I didn’t. She knew I believe, some of the old ways. The ways that somehow tied us to the land for everything that we needed. The land, Mother Nature if you like, sustained us. Not just for our food but also (and doesn’t it make a lot of sense when you think about it), for our health.
Let me explain, I’m not one of those people we want to go back to. For all the grandmother’s wisdom, she still could not cure Rickets, TB, or Polio. Those terrible diseases that almost die will come later when we are wiser and vision is more hygienic. No, what I’m suggesting is a combination of both. A partnering of the knowledge of the past with today’s expertise in science and what have you. Of then and now. The fact is we’re moving far too fast and as we speed along we forget. We forget the good and useful things from the past. And I believe we forget at our peril. The way I remember it, my Grandmother treated herself. Whenever she appeared to be developing a cold for instance, there were no trips to the doctor, no bottles of cough mixture or pills, no, there was a towel over the head and a hot bowl of something to sniff and breath in. Ok, so it wasn’t very nice to look at for us kids, but it seemed to work.
Of course the truth is, we haven’t really forgotten. We’ve just become impatient. We just don’t have the time to be ill. We want an instant fix, which of course has its downside. Pills, pills and more pills. Anything to hide the symptoms and give us the false impression that we are as good as new and can carry on.
But all is not lost. At least I don’t think so. Thankfully, judging by the number of Herbal Remedy type shops that seem to be springing up everywhere Grandmother’s skills seem to be undergoing something of a resurgence. It could be that people are becoming more educated about the alternatives there are to chemical based drugs or that people are just becoming more aware of their own bodies. Whatever it is, it’s to be welcomed with open arms and you never know, it could even mean another resurgence, this time in gardening and the grow-your-own cures market.