Fiann O Nualláin’s book, “The Holistic Gardener”, gives a list of first aid treatments which we can make from the plants in our gardens and other to-hand materials.  There are the usual suggestions for nettle burns and wasp stings along with suggestions for potions for relaxation and general wellbeing with some recipes to tempt our taste buds. Do any of these remedies work? I certainly can’t vouch for them except that nettle sting can be treated with dock as I recall from childhood. I also recall treating warts with the “milk” of the milkweed and it was somewhat effective. Should I view their inclusion in the book as an indication that the other suggestions are equally effective? I am not sure and not convinced and find the lack of any bibliography, quoted authority or any references somewhat undermines the credibility of the book.

Perhaps the book fits, with television gardening programmes and gardening magazines, into the category of horticultural entertainment and will be read by most as such. It is pleasant to feel we are in touch with nature, that we can cure many common ailments with commonly available materials and be reassured that our general wellbeing will be enhanced through this contact even if only by readin

g about it. Such pleasant self-delusion is perfectly harmless as I have no doubt are the remedies in this book.

So, I have read the book; it was interesting and pleasant but I know I will not be turning its pages again and will continue to rely on my family doctor and mainstream treatments for whatever ills may come my way.  If you are interested in this topic you might like to view the author’s blog at http://theholisticgardener.com/

Published by The Mercier Press and priced at €12.99

Paddy Tobin