The Comforting Appeal of Herbs

ONCE, HERBS WERE weapons. Five thousand years ago, the Sumerians recorded, in cuneiform, lifesaving prescriptions of myrtle and thyme. The oldest surviving text of Chinese herbal pharmacology, extolling the benefits of ginseng, camphor and cannabis, was set down in the first century A.D. Around the same time, the Greek physician Dioscorides documented the properties of…

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