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Years Ahead

November 13, 1994

"Rain Forest Remedies" (by Michael Tennesen, Palm Latitudes, Oct. 9) made me think of my mother, who maintained in our cellar rows of jars filled with herbs, leaves, roots and other strange, unidentifiable flora from Mexico, where she was born and raised. She had a cure for everything. But growing up American, I considered these old wives' tales, believing that when one of her remedies resulted in a cure, it was a coincidence.

I really hated one of them: When anyone suffered emotional trauma or shock, she would simmer a pot of water, drop in some wood chips she called cuasia , let it cool overnight, strain it and force her patient to drink it.

When my mother died, her jars of herbs were discarded, and the names of the plants and what they were supposed to cure were forgotten. But years later, during a time of stress, my doctor prescribed the most recent and popular tranquilizer, Miltown, generically named meprobamate. While leafing through a medical book at the library, I came across Miltown and discovered its main ingredient: cassia.

My mother was years ahead of medical science, and we threw it all away.

Trini Marquez

Sky Forest

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