Sales of alternative medicines are booming as consumers shake off their cynicism.
Analysts say the market has grown by 18 per cent in two years and is worth £213million a year. And they predict sales will increase by 33 per cent to £282million over the next four years as more patients reject prescription drugs in favour of natural remedies. Even relatively unknown treatments such as ayurveda - the Indian holistic system of diet, yoga, massage and herbs - are picking up in popularity.
Analysts Mintel said the rise can be explained by growing official acceptance of many treatments such as acupuncture, which is available on the NHS.
A rise in the number of patients diagnosed with depression and stress has also led to more people exploring holistic approaches in favour of potentially addictive prescription drugs. Around 1.5million Britons bought St John's Wort last year, predominantly for depression.