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Views & Reviews The Best Medicine

A real country herbalist

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 08 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a712
  1. Liam Farrell, general practitioner, Crossmaglen, County Armagh
  1. William.Farrell{at}

    My Auntie Mamie was a real countrywoman. A farmer’s daughter, she married a farmer and spent her whole life milking cows, feeding pigs, growing vegetables, spreading manure (you can never have too much manure, she once told me), and smuggling petrol and cigarettes. We were a tactile family, and when she hugged you to her ample bosom both oxygen and light would be temporarily blocked out.

    What she couldn’t tell you about the earth didn’t matter. She could identify every bird …

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