Recipes for Life
by Eugenija Šimkūnaitė
Do you know that to whiten your teeth you don`t necessarily have to go to your dentist, you can just chew on some dried roots of sweet calamus? That aloe is good for treating wounds and for rinsing hair, but bad for the skin? That many of the hated weeds and tare are in fact powerful herbs that help you to preserve your health and beauty and youth? That urine treatment used to be OK and to really help in many cases centuries ago, but is not acceptable nowadays? That the tree horoscopes can tell one some unarguable truth about one`s character and life – but only for ones born and living in the climate zone where the trees in question grow naturally? That beer prepared in different ways and with different herbs is a mild medicine for different ailments? That our ancestry had certain ways to obviate allergy, although they had no (as well as we have not) real cure for it? That many modern mothers make their children allergic, not on purpose, of course, but sincerely “wishing their babies well”? Do you know why pork is bad for the South-Easterners, but wholesome for the Northerners, especially Lithuanians (“A Lithuanian needs flitch!”)? Why eating watermelons is good for your skin? Why the ancient Balts could drink horns and horns of mead and not get drunk? Why many of the ancient cures are useless nowadays? How has the folk medicine degenerated into superstition?
Answers to those (and many more) questions are to be found in this book. It is the legacy left to us by Dr.Eugenija Šimkūnaitė (1920-1996), a famous Lithuanian pharmacist, herbalist and healer (some called her a witch). What is very special about her is this: being a famous scientist, she was also exceptionally proficient in folk medicine and more, like language, traditions, old sayings... She didn`t contrast science to ancient lore, she explored both fields and took the best from both, at the same time rejecting the garbage accumulated around either. She helped lots of people both as a scientist and a healer. She was a skilful writer, too. Reading articles written by her is as gratifying as reading good fiction.
The book is written in Lithuanian and is well worth translating. Alas! It is hardly translatable. Too many archaic words you are not likely to find in modern dictionaries. The author was very fond of old words…