Herbal Folklore

ROSEMARY for REMEMBRANCE Placed under a maiden’s pillow, long ago this romantic herb was said to induce dreams that would reveal a future husband. What has modern science revealed? That rosemary contains two dozen antioxidants that may aid circulation, help prevent gallbladder disease, and reduce arthritis symptoms. CONTROVERSIAL BASIL Centuries ago this herb was said to cause spontaneous generation of scorpions, although another source in the 1600s claimed it would cure the stings of bees and scorpions. Whatever our predecessors believed, today we know that basil contains many antiviral compounds and other beneficial phytochemicals. ZESTY GINGER Queen Elizabeth I is credited with inventing the gingerbread man, but this plant’s name comes from the Sanskrit srngaveram, which means “horn root,” an apt description. The ancient Romans knew ginger well, and today we use it to reduce dizziness, motion and morning sickness, cramps, and headache. OLYMPIC PARSLEY Parsley—rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron—belongs to the carrot family. In ancient Greece, winning athletes were awarded wreaths containing parsley because they believed that Hercules chose this herb for his garlands. THYME to be BRAVE Long a symbol of courage, thyme was used in 17th century England for coughs, melancholy, and even headaches caused by hangovers. Thyme oil is a powerful antiseptic used today in healing lotions, salves, and soaps.