Tag Archives: History

Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)

Readers of Anne Frank’s book, Diary of a Young Girl, may already associate horse chestnut trees with rejuvenation. A tall horse chestnut grew outside the Amsterdam warehouse were she and her family hid from the Nazi persecution. Anne Frank wrote frequently of … Continue reading

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Radish (Raphanus sativus)

Radish root may be a gift in the garden but radish seeds are what Chinese physicians list among their favorite herbs. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it is important to balance the qi to maintain good health. Radish seed invigorates … Continue reading

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Corn (Zea mays)

  One version of a Zuni tribe legend reveals the powerful secrets of corn. It was said that was the magic of the Corn Maidens turned the hearts of the Zuni from war to farming. Their dance atop the corn … Continue reading

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Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)

Anyone sailing to the European marketplace in the 1600s with a pouch of nutmeg seeds had his fortune made. This was the heyday of the spice trade when heavily armed armadas fought to defend loads of tropically grown treasure from … Continue reading

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Flax (Linum usitatissimum)

Flax is the grandmother of human civilization. Primitive foragers gathered its seed for food. Early Mesopotamians pressed the seed and fed the high protein remains of the seed mash to fatten their cattle. Ancient Egyptians wove its soft, flexible stalks … Continue reading

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Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

True licorice is an uncommon treat. It is rare to find licorice candy that is still flavored with licorice root. Most manufacturers use anise or artificial flavorings instead. For Alexander the Great however, there was no substitute for simply chewing … Continue reading

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Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata)

Lacy green patches of Sweet Cicely graced almost every traditional Victorian garden in Europe. This shade tolerant perennial was one of the first to emerge for honeybees in the spring and the last to lose its cheerful display of blossoms … Continue reading

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Myrrh (Commiphora myrrh or molmol)

During the California gold rush of the 1850’s, myrrh was more valuable by weight than gold. As San Francisco was being built, quality dental treatment was scarce. An infected tooth could prove excruciatingly fatal overnight. As one miner wrote, “No … Continue reading

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