Herbs in History: Garlic & Rosemary

April 19, 2023

In an effort to preserve and share the fascinating histories of medicinal plants and herbs that have been used around the world for ages, the AHPA Foundation for Education and Research on Botanicals (AHPA-ERB Foundation) is honored to partner with Alain Touwaide, Ph.D., and Emanuela Appetiti of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions to tell the stories of Herbs in History.

Next up are garlic and rosemary. Preview the entries below and visit Herbs in History online to read more.

Garlic (Allium sativum L.)

To Know or Not to Know?

In the comedy The Bourgeois Gentleman (Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme in the French original title), the classical French playwright Jean-Baptiste Poquelin (1622-1673), best known as Molière, stages a wealthy tradesman, Monsieur Jourdain, aiming to climb in society and to delete the traces of his earlier lower economic and, hence, social origins. He hires tutors in music, dancing, fencing and philosophy believing that he will acquire the manners of a polished gentleman. In a remarkable scene, the philosophy master, all too aware of the absurd situation and not knowing where to start with, begins with the basics, that is, the difference between poetry and prose. After having invited him to compose verses—resulting in non-sensical verses by Mr Jourdain—the master shifts to prose. Mr Jourdain then marvels at his discovery that he had been living an entire life speaking in prose, without knowing, however, that he was doing so. | Read more...


Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus Schleid.)

Losing One's Mind

When searching information about rosemary in current scientific literature to better understand the ancient texts, a great many articles come up. Some indicate that the plant was named rosmarinus—with this classical Latin name understood as meaning sea dew in an exact translation of its two components, ros and marinus—as it allegedly grows on the seashores and is watered by the droplets of water lifted in the air by the sea waves. Or because its leaves are light grey/silver as if they were covered by salty dew. Other articles—more to the point here—indicate that rosemary is a memory booster and was associated in the ancient Greek mythology with the first-generation goddess Mnemosyne whose name exactly means memory. Along this line, some of these publications and others affirm that the effect of rosemary on memory was capitalized by students and scholars in ancient Greece who wore wreaths of rosemary when having to take an exam so as to improve their results. According to the same publications, this practice survived, and present-day students have some rosemary twig in their environment to enhance their intellectual performance. By extension, grooms are said to keep this memory booster to always remember their vows. | Read more...


About the Project

Herbs in History is made possible by funding from the AHPA-ERB Foundation, as part of the nonprofit foundation's mission promote education and research on medicinal, therapeutic, and health-promoting herbs. Tune in monthly for thoughtfully detailed historical accounts of herbs you know and love, and learn more about the origins of medicinal plants that have stood the test of time.




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