Originally published in 1973 under the less politically correct title Of Men and Plants, this is the autobiography of France's (and possibly all of Europe's) most famous herbal heale,r who learned the use of herbal foot baths from his father, a local healer in a small village in the Gascony province of southern France. The author's healing reputation grew during the war years of the 1940's. Eventually, Messegue, despite numerous institutional setbacks and without a formal education, became a healer to luminaries in French society, including politicians President Herriot of France, Winston Churchill, and even Pope John XXIII! The book is full of interesting anecdotes about the insights into the lives of some of these famous people, but more importantly it gives the reader a sense of deep and abiding respect for the commitment, humility, intelligence and wisdom of Mr. Messegue, who, from more than an herbal point of view, could be considered one of France's greatest national treas ures.
"My appointment books were filled for three months in advance, famous names side by side with unknowns. What saved me from becoming a `fashionable healer' was that in my consulting-room I made no distinction between the patient who arrived on foot and the patient who stepped out of a Rolls. Disease is a great equalizer."
All this was accomplished through the use of a fairly limited regimen of herbs employed in hot foot baths. Few of Messegue's remedies were ever taken internally! Probably the most remarkable feature of this volume is the feeling of humility that pervades Messegue's narrative of his own life -- the mark of a true healer, a person committed to serving his fellow humans.
Article copyright American Botanical Council.