Humble Herb is Rival to Prozac

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Rachel Hadas

Humble Herb is Rival to Prozac



An item in Science Tuesday caught my eye. A woman in Germany—and it seems that she is only one of many—who has been drinking several cups a day of the flower/herb St. John’s Wort dried and brewed into tea reports that “The fear that everything good would disappear has stopped.”
   Pause. Parse. Taste each piece of this, phrase by phrase: The fear. That everything good. Would disappear. Has stopped. The fear has stopped.


St. John’s Wort

I lift my eyes from the page and see something shiny and peeling. It’s elderly Scotch tape, no longer translucent, no longer strong enough to keep the little sprigs in place, to hold them flat on the page, to maintain the shape of wild flowers picked and pressed under something heavy, say between the pages of a big book. Not pressed quite long enough to be really flat, as flat as the maple leaf I found when I paged through an old Bible we’d bought at an auction somewhere. Even at five years old I probably found that time was moving too slowly—“Those flowers must be all pressed flat by now!” Maybe I . . .
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