Local herbalist Peggy Miller may not seem like the type to hold court with the Missoula Police Department. But then again, maybe her motherly yin is exactly what local emergency responders need to balance out their fiery yang.

Miller recently said as much to Missoula Police Chief Mark Muir and the Missoula City Council. In a nine-page paper submitted to the city, Miller asked for funding to create a weekly Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine clinic that would enable her to treat law enforcement and fire department personnel with traditional herbs.

Miller says that police—and emergency responders in general—are often what Chinese medicine refers to as "yang" personalities. Yang-heavy individuals are often drawn to tension-filled occupations and have a tendency to bottle up emotions. As a result they can manifest symptoms of imbalance, such as excessive meat consumption, mood swings and red faces.

The herbalist says if police can temper their yang with a bit of yin, aka the nurturing and cool-tempered side of the spectrum, they would be less prone to liver, gallbladder and heart ailments. Miller, who ran unsuccessfully for council in 2011 against Ward 6's Ed Childers, estimates that the two weekly clinics would annually cost roughly $49,000.

It's tempting to reach for an easy joke here, to play up the thought of Missoula's finest, all gathered together, sitting in the lotus position, taking tinctures and sipping dandelion tea. But save yourself the trouble; Miller's already heard it. She's accustomed to skeptics and concedes that her proposal is "a little different."

"I'm under no illusions here," she says.

So far, Miller says the city's response has been polite, yet lukewarm. In other words, they haven't said "no," and until they do she plans on continuing her pitch.

"They're only beginning to realize, 'Oh my God, she means this,'" Miller says. "The next step is trying to get them to read the paper."

Perhaps they could do that over a cup of dandelion tea.

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