1: Do you remember using or do you still use any traditional remedies?
I used to eat or drink peppermint for an upset stomach years ago, and also used to boil and inhale the steam for congestion, and used valerian root a few times to help me sleep, but found I was drowsy the next day, so I stopped; maybe I had too much.
When I was a child, I would drink freshly squeezed oranges and lemons with honey and hot water. I don’t remember if it helped, but I really liked it, and it at least felt comforting, which probably promoted healing.
And there was of course the use of dock leaves for nettle stings.
I remember my mother giving me calamine lotion for rashes too.
She also used to give me commercial homeopathic remedies, which she still uses and swears by, and which is strange, as she would be very skeptical and conventional in general.
I haven’t been sick in many years, which I put down to a strict diet of fresh unprocessed foods, so I haven’t had any need to use remedies of any sort in a while. I suppose fresh foods are in some sense a preventative medicine.
2: Note down a few herbs which you see for sale locally (therapeutic herbs).
I live in a very small town in the west of Ireland with a population of about 1000, and Aldi opened here the week before I moved here about 3.5 months ago, so I do most of my shopping there, but they have a shockingly limited selection of herbs, none of which are sold for therapeutic purposes; they only stock parsley, basil, oregano and mixed herbs, and fresh coriander and basil, which while they probably have some medicinal use too, are primarily culinary in their use. They do have spices like nutmeg and turmeric, which it has been said both have anti-inflammatory properties. They also stock chamomile and peppermint teas I believe.
There is a large health shop here too, where I sometimes shop for fresh veg and seeds, which I sprout. Actually I sprout fenugreek and broccoli seeds on a rolling basis, so there is always a jar in the fridge, and I do know that broccoli sprouts contain sulforophane, which is said the have powerful anti cancer properties; I eat it for taste and general health, but maybe I am also inadvertently warding off cancer. I am sure that she stocks every medicinal herb you would want or need, and aromatherapy oils too. I will have a look the next time I go in.
3: Briefly describe what you understand the Doctrine of Signatures to mean.
The doctrine of signatures is an old herbalist paradigm where it was believed that if a plant physically resembled a part of the body, that it would be effective in treating that particular part or organ. It would be easy to dismiss it as a little simplistic and naïve, with the benefit of all the information that has been accumulated since, but when I think about it, it would have actually have been a bold, intelligent leap that could have accompanied an increase in our capacity for pattern recognition as we evolved, and an admirable starting point. I imagine though that throughout prehistory and early historic times, herbalist traditions would have likely evolved out of the fact that some people would have possessed a kind of innate and intuitive, or even genetically encoded sense of what to use, much in the way that a spider builds a web or a bird a nest, and that we have for the most part lost touch with now in this convenience oriented quick fix mechanistic age. The doctrine of signatures being based more on pattern recognition might have in some cases have been a precursor for more systematic or scientific approaches, primitive though it may now seem.