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Seeking natural remedies outside of chemical pharmaceuticals has always been a way of healing for centuries. As we all know, natural remedies was the first option for medication and where it all started. Plant-based health cure not only has a long tradition in Eastern medicine,  but also in Western medicine, as evidenced by a beautifully illustrated book in the British Libary's collection. The Cotton MS Vitellius C III is a 1,000-year-old illustrated manual to plant pharmacology. This book has since been digitised for online viewing.

The illustration book from the 11th-century is filled with “herbals,” natural plant-based treatments to cure everything from body odour with the use of artichokes simmered in wine, to easing chest pain with a licorice root. Not to mention how incredible it is to see the Old English script and detailed drawings of the plants and animals used for their healing properties way back when. The British Library's manuscript is in fact, the only surviving illustrated Old English manual. Project curator Alison Hudson shared, “No one knows for sure how this manuscript was used or even where or by whom it was made. Its production has been associated with monastic scriptoria at Canterbury and Winchester, due to its style of decoration and script, but this is by no means certain. Monasteries in those areas functioned both as centres of natural and supernatural healing and also as libraries and centres of learning.”

However, it's debatable as to how practical the guide really was. For one instance, the remedies includes plants like cumin which wouldn’t have been available in England.

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