Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Basil and Deadly Nightshade

I’ve just started reading ‘A Concise Guide To Herbs,’ by Jenny Linford. It’s basically an illustrated A-Z of herbs. These two bits of information in the introduction caught my eye, one concerns my favourite herb, basil;
"Basil was said to have grown round Christ’s tomb after the Resurrection and was seen as a herb of love."
"One particularly curious practice during medieval times was the use of the juice of deadly nightshade to dilate the pupils of women’s eyes, making them appear large and lustrous."
Hence the ‘Belladonna’ in Deadly Nightshade’s generic name, Atropa Belladonna, meaning ‘beautiful woman.’

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