Am I weird? Analysing my herbal lifestyle

concept of calendula flower essential oil and tincture.

I grew up in a household that was vegetarian, used herbal remedies, and didn’t own a microwave. In the deepest darkest corner of rural Kent, this was seen as really weird. I, however, didn’t realise quite how weird until I recounted some of my family anecdotes to a couple of friends and they laughed so much that I’m fairly certain they weed a little bit. This is therefore an attempt to work out whether my core beliefs are meaningless. Each core belief went through a vigorous Google search, with some brutal results.

  1. Vegetarianism

Before research: The only way to live/eat, everyone who does not attempt to give up meat is a horrible human being who enjoys rubbing herbs into a dead corpse.

After research: I was right, Morrissey was right, you are all terrible people. There are so many reasons to go veggie, but my personal favourite is that it can take up to 15 times as much water to produce animal protein as it does plant protein. Just Google vegetarianism everyone.

Wait. Maybe I’m a terrible person for not being vegan? The dairy industry seems just as terrible for the environment and my general health. Is halloumi vegan? Can I still drink wine?

Conclusion: I am a good person, but not as good as I thought I was. 7/10


  1. Avoid Microwave Ovens

Before research: They cook your food with physics. This must be bad.

After research: The dangers are hotly debated in the scientific world. Who knew scientists liked debating? From what I can gather, be careful when using them if your Microwave is old and crusty, and you are pregnant. Otherwise, everyone can have baked beans in less than two minutes: well done, science.

Conclusion: Brought back horrible memories of the Electromagnetic Spectrum in physics lessons, but people can have soup without washing up. 6/10


  1. Onions cure colds

Before research: Cut up next to your pillow, onions get rid of colds whilst you sleep. Apparently I spent forty minutes talking about the power of onions when I was slightly tipsy on results day (pro tip: drink vodka-cranberry to have fun whilst preventing any urinary tract infections).

After research: I am not alone! Other people on the Internet do this too! Apparently the way it works is that the onion absorbs the virus. There is also a version where you rub a raw onion on the heel of your foot.

Now I am beginning to understand why most people laugh at me.

Conclusion: I wish I had chemicals inside me that could make everyone in the room cry, particularly individuals sporting knives. But if onions are basically a sponge for viruses we would probably all be dead when we ate them. 2/10


  1. Storing bananas separately

Before research: Dom laughed really hard at this one. I didn’t think it was an issue until that moment. Doesn’t everyone own a banana basket?

After research: This is GCSE Biology level stuff. Ethylene gas is naturally released through the stems of the bananas.

Conclusion: I’m bringing my banana basket to Uni. 10/10


  1. Homeopathy

Before research: 100% legit, it has healed me from every ailment I know. Don’t believe the doctors.

After research: To quote the NHS website;

“Homeopathy is a ‘treatment’ based on the use of highly diluted substances, which practitioners claim can cause the body to heal itself.”

I’ve never seen so much shade on a healthcare website.

When a friend found out I was researching homeopathy he sent me 5 links to articles and papers saying how terrible and useless it was. I didn’t want to believe it, until I got my homeopathy kit down from the shelf and realised it was 7 years past its use by date.

Conclusion: If it is the placebo effect, it works on me. But my friend is a medical student and is smarter than me. So are doctors. 3/10


  1. Propolis

Before research: Known as bees’ knees in my house, because it’s made by bees and is pretty great at curing and preventing colds. It tastes like lukewarm sick.

After research: Honeybees use it as varnish and to fill cracks in the honeycomb, which is both amazing and explains why it tastes of cleaning product. It is brilliant at curing burns and helps oral hygiene because it contains long words that I cannot spell or pronounce. One study even claimed it could cure cancer! Thanks bees!

Conclusion: Donate to a charity that saves the bees. However, if I do go vegan, I can’t use Propolis as it is an animal product. My watertight scientific Googling is starting to show its cracks. 8/10

I’ve had to throw my much loved homeopathy kit away, but analysing what I had previously just assumed to be true is an essential exercise for everyone, not just rural Kent dwellers. 10/10 would recommend to all.

Words by Ellie Drewry


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