By (author): Peter Dunn
Nowadays when there is anything wrong with us we are used to purchasing a whole range of patent medicines over the pharmacist’s counter or to going to our doctor to get a drug especially prescribed for us. This, however, is a recent development in the history of mankind. The drugs revolution did not really get under way until after World War II, although of course doctors had recourse to a range of medications before that. In contrast with the drugs revolution, folk medicine dated back into the mists of time. There is archaeological evidence that primitive human beings made use of healing plants. It was natural that people would make use of what was to hand, whether this was to feed them, keep them warm or make them well. Finding cures for particular ailments was obviously carried out over the centuries on a trial and error basis. These cures were handed down by word of mouth, originally because this was the only way possible, but even with the spread of literacy family remedies continued to be handed on orally from generation to generation. With the introduction of the a National Health Service, people could consulted doctors. This, in addition to the fact that many people had moved to populated urban areas where medical treatment was more readily available, and to the fact that transport facilities had generally increased, led to a marked decrease in the reliance of cures based on the fields, hedgerows and kitchen cupboards. Recently there has been a reaction in society against our technological age, and some people are once again turning to simple, natural things and rejecting the sophisticated and the synthetic. This reaction has included remedies for illnesses, and herbal medicine has become popular as a branch of alternative medicine. To some extent the wheel has come full circle. It should be pointed out that this book is intended only for the interest of the reader. It is in no way a do-it-yourself herbal manual and should not be treated as such. The whole area of folk and herbal medicine is one that is fraught with potential risk, some herbs being toxic and some being inappropriate. and even dangerous in certain situations. Anyone contemplating using herbal cures should consult a herbal specialist trained in modern herbal medicine techniques. No one involved with the preparation or publication of the book can be held liable for any consequences arising from the use of this book or for any errors. This also applies to the old stain remedies given in the Appendix.
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