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Couple touts benefits of herbal medicine

July 20, 1998

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

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herbal medicineBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - For each ailment, there could be something growing in the ground that will cure it.

That's the philosophy behind the Herb Corner, a quiet little business started by Dawn and Kalman Markus, who studied to become certified natural health professionals.

They completed courses in nutrition, anatomy, body works, body systems and iridology - "the science of detecting clues about a person's state of health from an analysis of the iris of the eye," Kalman said.

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"We had to make sure we knew what we were talking about, so we went to school," he said.

He lectures on the benefits of natural health and herbal medicines at Hagerstown Community College, Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., and will start to lecture at Penn State Mont Alto Campus this year, he said.

They grow herbs on their three-acre plot at the intersection of Burkholder and Manheim roads, but not to sell in their two-story modern shop and meeting center that Kalman built in their front yard. Their inventory comes from licensed herbal medicine suppliers.

"Herbs are the Lord's pharmacy and we're his children. He's not going to leave us out in the cold," Kalman said.

"Man can't improve on what God has made," his wife said.

It's not just the herbs that make a person well, she said. "They are not a magic bullet. It's your lifestyle," she said.

"Every negative thought you have produces a hormone," Kalman said.

"Herbs are good food for the body. They go in and do what they have to do," he said. "Hawthorne is for the heart, Saint John's Wort is nature's Prozac, Gotu Kola is a memory herb for the brain - elephants eat it."

The herbs they sell don't hang in dried-out bunches from the rafters in the shop. The couple only uses herbs they grow for homemade tinctures and poultices for use by them, their family and friends.

The products on their shelves are bottled and labeled by the supplier. There are single herbs, combinations of herbs and bottles of vitamins and minerals. Another wall holds Chinese herbs and medicines.

The shop is open by appointment only. They also do consultations.

Kalman, 48, taught elementary physical education for 20 years in the Waynesboro Area school system until 1992, when he left to start the business.

Dawn, 40, grew up in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. She turned to herbal medicine in 1983 as a cure for what doctors diagnosed as viral meningitis.

"They told me there was no cure, only pain pills. My father suggested I see an herbalist. He put me on a program and I began to see tremendous results," she said. "I got off the pain pills and felt fantastic within two weeks."

She and Kalman decided to learn more about herbal medicine. "We began to study books. We didn't get into growing herbs to start a business. We did it to make ourselves and our families and friends feel better."

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