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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Herb Folklore
By Tina Columbus

Throughout the centuries, herbs have provided many practical uses. Their aromatic leaves have been used for cooking, decorating, and medicinal purposes. Many myths and legends have also become associated with herbs. With their healing properties as well as being tasty, fragrant, and attractive, people throughout the ages believed that the plants possessed magical qualities and attributed some interesting myths to them:

Bay Leaf: According to myth, the beautiful Daphne was changed into a bay as she escaped the clutches of Apollo. Thus, Apollo made a crown out of bay leaves and branches and wore it in her honor; In the 17th century it was believed that bay leaves repelled witchcraft. Pots of bay were placed in front of doorways in order to ward thwart evil spells and curses; It was also believed that bay would prevent one's house from being struck by lightning.

Chamomile: The Anglo-Saxons believed chamomile was one of the sacred herbs given to the earth by the god Woden; In Victorian times, chamomile symbolized patience in adversity; Chamomile is believed by some to possess the power to attract money, gamblers soak their hands in a chamomile infusion in order to increase their chances of winning.

Cinnamon: The Romans believed cinnamon to be sacred, and the emperor Nero burned bunches of it as a sacrifice at his wife's funeral; In the Middle Ages, cinnamon represented wealth and power. At large banquets, hosts served cinnamon in order to impress the guests.

Cloves: When the fragrant clove forests were discovered in Indonesia, it was said that they must always be planted around water in order to flourish; For over 4,000 years, people chewed whole cloves in order to freshen their breath and it was said that in ancient China if anyone wanted to speak to the emperor, they were required to have a clove in their mouth.

Dill: Dill represented wealth to the ancient Greeks; During the Middle Ages, dill was believed to possess magical powers and could destroy evil spells. A drink made from dill leaves was the remedy for anyone who believed that a witch had cast a spell on them. People also wore charms made from dill leaves to protect themselves from evil spells.

Fennel: During the Middle Ages, fennel was hung above doorways and on rafters in order to ward off the devil. Fennel seeds were also placed inside keyholes in order to prevent ghosts from entering the house; In 470 b.c. the Greeks defeated the Persians at Marathon. They fought on a field of fennel and this led to the belief that fennel inspired courage and strength. Greek and Roman soldiers chewed fennel seeds before entering battle.

Lavender: Legend says that the pleasant smell of lavender comes from the baby Jesus. After washing his swaddling clothes, Mary hung them to dry on a lavender bush. Thus, the plant was given the smell of heaven; In the Middle Ages it was believed that couples who place lavender flowers between their bedsheets would never fight.

Mint: According to myth, Hades had developed a lust for a nymph named Minthe. Hade's wife Persephone found out and angrily transformed Minthe into a plant to be trampled on. Hades could not undo the spell, but he was able to ease it by giving Minthe a wonderfully sweet fragrance which would be released whenever her leaves were trampled on.

Oregano (Marjoram): The ancient Greeks believed that Aphrodite created oregano; They believed that if it grew around a grave, the deceased would have eternal happiness; In Germany, oregano was hung over doorways to protect against evil spells; In the Middle Ages, oregano symbolized happiness and love.

Rose: According to myth, the first roses did not have thorns. While Venus' son Cupid was smelling a rose, a bee came out and stung him on the lip. Venus then strung his bow with bees. She removed their stingers and placed them on the stems of the roses; Myth also says that all roses were originally white until Venus tore her foot on a briar and all the roses were dyed red with her blood; In Christian lore the red color of roses comes from the blood of Christ.

Rosemary: From the times of ancient Greece through the Middle Ages, it was believed that rosemary strengthened the brain and memory. When they needed to take exams, students braided rosemary into their hair in order to help their memory; The ancient Greeks burned rosemary in order to repel evil spirits and illness; In some parts of Europe, it was believed that if an unmarried woman placed rosemary under her pillow, her future husband would be revealed to her in her dream.

Sage: The Romans believed that sage was a sacred herb that gave immortality. Up until the 18th century, it was believed that sage increased fertility. It was also believed that sage strengthened the mind.

Thyme: During the Middle Ages it was believed that the scent of thyme inspired bravery. Knights wore scarves with thyme leaves sewn on them during tournaments; In English lore, if a person collected thyme flowers from hillsides where fairies lived, and rubbed the flowers on their eyelids, they would be able to see the fairies.

8 comments:

doggybloggy said...

cool info!

Richard W. said...

Diet Plans for Weight Loss


Ever since obesity
has been termed as an epidemic, it has attracted attention throughout the world. In America weight loss has become an industry. The air is thick with discussions and counter-discussions about various diet plans being proposed by various people.




There is a 5-Factor Diet, Atkins Diet, Bob Greene\'s Best Life Diet, South Beach Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Carbohydrate Addict\'s Diet, Anne Collin’s diet and now you have
DASH diet
and Fat Smash Diet and Size Zero Diet and …. it goes on!





Proponents of each of these diet plans make claims of how much weight you will lose and how rapidly you will lose weight. Some go to the extent of claiming that you will lose up to 10-12 lbs in a week whereas medical experts warn that such claims are ridiculous and weight loss of such proportions can come about only by losing water which is detrimental to the system. Moreover there is always the danger of
gaining weight
just as rapidly when you stop working on the plan.





Essentially all these plans boil down to a few basics! The body weight is contributed by fat, muscles, bones and water. Excess calorie intake is responsible for increased weight and so cut down the excess intake of calories.
Increase metabolism
so that stored fat can be burnt off; burn off the fat that is stored in the body by exercises and
fat burning food .
But do not starve the body of the essential nutrients.



Basically diet plans
fall into three broad categories: the “fad diets”, those that are based on specially processed food and those that can be called as “natural diet” plans.




There is no clear definition of “fad diet”; it is very subjective. Fad diet is popularly believed to be a poor
weight loss
diet. A fad diet generally becomes very popular very quickly and falls out of favor just as quickly. Fad diets quite often claim very quick weight loss. Their claims for efficacy are generally not confirmed by any legitimate scientific studies. Often promoted by parties that publish books about the diet or those that sell some supplements or ingredients that are part of the fad diet, a fad diet may not achieve anything at all or at times may have an adverse effect on health.



The natural diet plan
is based on use of food constituents that are normally in your diet; it recommends some of the constituents as being helpful and some others as being harmful from the point of view of weight loss. For example, it may recommend certain fish such as Sardines, herrings, etc as providing beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids or may recommend use of lean meat but not others such as pork; it may recommend low-fat skimmed milk but not the normal fresh milk. Natural diet is based on very clearly understood and recognized scientific knowledge.


natural diet plan



The third category of diet plans mentioned above are based on use of specially processed food ingredients or supplements; this category is so highly commercialized that even if it has scientific basis at times lies on the boundary of fad diet plans.

Ruth said...

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Ruth


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Lotus Flower said...

Awesome information about herbs, my favorite gifts from Nature.

Cheers!

Food & Flower said...

Thanks for the comments

Food & Flower said...

Thank you. Will provide better info. Cheers.

Food & Flower said...

Thank you for your contribution. It really is an eye-opener. Cheers.

Food & Flower said...

Thanks for dropping by and for the nice comment.