Tuesday, June 10, 2003

You'll be jealous when you hear this, just today I received my 2003 Richters Herb Catalogue. With "over 900 herbs," there are so many tempting things in here - I don't know whether I should continue hunting only lemon-scented plants - my favourites so far:

1.Annatto: used by South American Indians to paint their bodies red.
2.Aztec Sweet Herb: Mexican herb used for coughs and colds.
3. Saxifrage Burnet: a tea made from the root and sweetened with honey was recommended for the bubonic plague.
4. Heartseed: decorative heart-shaped seeds used for necklaces in India and Africa.
5. Snake Gourd: an unusual cucumber with long, white speckled fruits that actually resemble snakes, used to treat syphilis.
6. Indian Madder: traditional maroon dye for the robes of Tibetan Buddhist monks, used to stop nosebleeds.
7. Neem: the green twigs of this common Indian tree are used as tooth brushes that release gum-protecting anti-bacterial compounds.
8. Rampion: Rapunzel is German for Rampion, her father was caught stealing the roots from the witch's garden.
9. Seaholly: in the 16th and 17th centuries, the candied roots, called "kissing comforts," were considered aphrodisiac.
10. Squaw Vine: tea used as a wash for sore nipples.
11. Toloache: long history of use as a hallucinogen by the Mexican Indians, the effects of this plant are well described by Castaneda in The Teachings of Don Juan.
12. Sneezewort: according to Gerard, the powder snuffed up the nose was prescribed to "cleanse the head of tough slimy humours." (I am sold on this idea! No more tough slimy humours for me!)

The catalogues has lots of plants for dyeing fabrics, very tempting, lots of Asian and African plants, as well as lots of hallucinogenic plants...no comment. It sure must have been fun to write this catalogue.

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