A few years ago, I first jested that the brew made by the three witches in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth reminds me of the flu vaccine concocted each year by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The witches take turns pronouncing aloud the dark ingredients for their “charm of powerful trouble”:
“Double, double, toil and trouble…
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog…
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark.”
Of course, hemlock isn’t an ingredient in the CDC’s flu vaccine. (Not just yet, anyway, as much as they would like to make some of us flu-shot skeptics drink it.) But it does harken back to ancient Greece, in the time of Socrates, who was forced to drink it for telling the truth one time too many.
And perhaps I’m still writing about the dangers of the flu vaccine (and other mainstream public health disasters) because I haven’t yet been forced to drink it! In fact, you can learn more about the dangers of the ineffective flu shot in the current issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“What’s more effective: Modern medicine’s flu shot, or the concoctions of Shakespeare’s witches?”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, now’s the perfect time to get started.
Of course, I often draw inspiration from Shakespeare, who frequently mentioned plants and herbal remedies in his work…
More plant potions from Shakespeare
Herbs and plants often served as intriguing plot devices in Shakespeare’s famous works. For example, Ophelia’s bouquet in Hamlet contained rosemary, “for remembrance.” And I think it’s safe to say that Shakespeare would not be surprised to learn that modern studies confirm this herb benefits cognition and memory.
In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tatania, queen of the fairies, has four followers named for common household herbal and natural remedies of the time: Cobweb, Mustardseed, Moth, and Peaseblossom.
Then, before deciding to place a love potion in her eyes, Oberon observes Tatania, sleeping on a riverbank, “where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”
These were all plants commonly found in the English countryside. And Shakespeare’s audiences in Elizabethan England would have understood the basic properties and history of each. In fact, Elizabethan women often kept gardens of medicinal herbs. And they passed down remedies from generation to generation.
Meanwhile, across the pond, colonists soon got busy documenting the profusion of newly discovered plants in the highly bio-diverse, post-glacial terrain of New England and the Appalachian mountains.
Of course, Native Americans were already familiar with these plants and had been using many of them as natural remedies for centuries. In fact, John Wesley (who later founded the Methodist church) wrote a book about Native American remedies while serving as the Anglican chaplain in Savannah, in the newest English colony of Georgia (named for King George).
To me, all of these stories are good reminders of how herbal medicine used to be much more “mainstream” than it is today.
“Something wicked this way comes”
So, this fall, as the CDC continues to relentlessly connive, plot, and scheme to stick you with another one of their largely useless and dangerous concoctions, stay the course and avoid the CDC’s flu vaccine. Instead, follow my Winter Survival Guide from last year. It’s packed with common-sense, drug-free solutions for avoiding winter’s worst colds and flus. I’ll give more updates on personal sanitation in January, so stay tuned.