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Of Men and Plants by Maurice Messegue

Of Men and Plants (1973)

by Maurice Messegue

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Of course this is partially marketing, self-promotion; Messegue, after all, was an entrepreneur. Still, an interesting picture of post-WW2 France and an overview of some modalities of herbalism.
  ari.joki | Sep 30, 2010 |
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Back home we have a saying: "To know a river you have to know its source."
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The fascinating story of Maurice Messegue, the world's greatest plant-healer, who has  cured thousands by the use of familiar plants and herbs ... with intimate, revealing anecdotes about the celebrities he has healed, and a full account of his actual methods of treatment.

Ina remote French village in the Gers in Gascony, the young Messegue learned from his father the plant lore handed down by generations of his forbears  - the special properties of everyday plants and flowers such as linden blossoms and buttercups,, corn poppies, milfoil, garlic and dozens of others which were later to make up his pharmacopoeia. He is now highly respected by the very doctors who once regarded him as either a naive peasant or a charlatan, and they have risen to his defense in numerous court cases.

It was Mistinguett, the toast of Paris and the beloved of Maurice Chevalier, who started him along the road to fame when he cured the rheumatism in her million-dollar legs. Through Mistinguett, Messsegue encountered a whole new world he barley knew existed. He treated President Herriot of France, Ali Khan, King Farouk, the Cardinal who was to become Pope John Paul XXIII, Utrillo and Cocteau, and he became friends with Winston Churchill and many other international celebrities..
But even more engrossing than the candid anecdotes of the great is the plant lore throughout the book - the specific flowers, herbs, and vegetables used for specific ailments; the gargles, foot- and hand-baths, poultices, and creams, all the potions used in treating such afflictions as impotence, sterility, frigidity, asthma, arthritis, bronchitis, ulcers, lumbago, edema, eczema and cellulitis.
Of Men and Plants contains two lengthy appendixes, one listing in detail Messegue's preparations for the principal chronic diseases; another "Your Health in Your Garden," recommends beneficial plants - from artichokes to Roman camomile - with explicit growing instructions.
There are also lists of useful weed plants, and suggestions for healthful foods for each season of the year, plus various successful diets and much sound nutritional advice.
The book has been a tremendous best seller in Europe, topping the best seller lists in France for more than six months. Besides being a unique and appealing memori, it is directly relevant to today's new life-style, when so many of us are turning from the artifices of technology to the natural bounties of the earth.
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