Dr. Clarke, however, gives another explanation of the derivation. He claims it comes from hypo-below or sub-and erica- meaning heather- therefore sub-heather, indicating its relation to Ledum-the marsh heath-which is also of great use in certain types of wounds. I am not an authority on derivations of words, or a philologist; so I prefer the more romantic explanation of the fear this St. Johns Wort was said to cast over evil spirits.

MANY large cities all over the globe are being evacuated for fear of the wrath which falls from the skies from the hosts of iron-clad locusts whose sting is in their tails. In this general disruption and compulsory abandonment of unnecessary luxuries, one wishes that people would give up and learn to do without their dopes, the many artefacts of chemicals, the concentrated products, obtained from the distillation of coal tar, the vaccines, serums and animal gland extracts; all these 1,000 and one evil brews and injections which the modern doctor and his deluded victims so firmly believe in, as being necessary to their welfare; the action of which in the human bodies are uncertain, unknown and so often start a trail of unsuspected prolonged human illness.

Yes, I repeat it, I wish they would give up these expensive and dangerous chemicals as being unnecessary luxuries of our over-refined civilization and go back again to the simple products of good old mother earth. We are told to grow more food; we should also be told and it should be impressed upon us to make more use of the herbs growing in our hedgerows, in our woods and fields and meadows. Some will object and say we should not go back, we should go forward, “New things are best.” But are they?

Each new generation as it comes along, refuses to learn from the mistakes of the preceding one and prefers to make its own mistakes, to be in due course jostled aside and considered old fashioned by its pregnancy, of impatient and intolerant youth. No, it would truly be a step in the right direction, it would mean real progress, if we went back to nature and learnt from her the hidden secrets of nature and science. Yes,.

“Excellent herbs had our fathers of old,

Excellent herbs to ease their pain,

Alexanders and marigold.

Eyebright, orris and elecampane,

Basil, rocket, valerian, rue

(Almost singing themselves they run),

Vervain, dittery, Call me to you,

Cowslip, melilot, rose-of-the-sun;

Anything green that grew out of the mould,

Was an excellent herb to our fathers of old.”.

Thus sang our epic empire-builder, Rudyard Kipling, who first drew the attention of our parish-pump politicians to the great advantages and the hidden riches of our vast dominions and colonies, and opened their eyes to what had been so sadly neglected for many years. He has still a great deal to teach us. We have still to learn to make more use of the hidden store of health-giving herbs and plants.

Have you ever wondered what brave soul it was who first ventured on using any of the herbs? The use of herbs goes back to hoary antiquity; and the fate of the first victims has long been forgotten. But the medicine men and the wise women of the past depended on certain marks and signs which they knew of, from which to choose the particular herb for a particular ailment.

They called these marks “the doctrine of signatures”, and they believed that a benevolent Godhead had placed certain marks on plants to point the way and show the initiated priest the priest being usually also the doctor of the tribe for what organ it was most suitable. Kidney-shaped leaves meant the plant was to be used in kidney troubles; yellow sap and juice in a plant told him that it was most suitable for bilious troubles and liver affections; heart-shaped leaves pointed to relief in heart diseases.

However much we may laugh at these ideas nowadays, they are not any more illogical than our modern beliefs that a certain drug or dope will be a cure-all because Sir Somebody or other says so or because Mr. John Moneybags from Moneybags Chemical Factory has printed glowing accounts of it in his catalogue and sent a traveller with a persuasive tongue to tell us so.

And after all, this doctrine of signatures did work in a good many cases for centuries, our modern wonder-working drugs frequently last only a few months, or at the best a few years. The doctrine of signatures only pointed the way; the proof of the pudding was in the eating. For instance, the greater celandine or Chelidonium was recommended as a remedy in jaundice hundreds of years ago by Galen and Dioscorides because of the signature of its yellow bile-like juice.

And it does work well in certain cases of jaundice and liver as well as in spleen and kidney affections. And there are many other cases of this, of the truth indwelling in this doctrine of signatures. But to say that Homoeopathy is entirely based and only based on the “signature” is absurd; and the well-known consulting physician who made this statement publicly in a lecture merely exposed his colossal ignorance when he said this.

Dorothy Shepherd
Dorothy Shepherd 1885 – 1952 - British orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy. Graduated from Hering College in Chicago. She was a pupil of J.T.Kent. Author of Magic of the Minimum Dose, More Magic of the Minimum Dose, A Physician's Posy, Homeopathy in Epidemic Diseases.