Monday, May 21, 2007

History of Herbs

It seems probable that many of the flavoring herbs now in use were similarly employed before the erection of the pyramids and also that many then popular no longer appear in modern lists of esculents.

Of course, this statement is based largely upon imperfect records, perhaps, in many cases only hints more or less doubtful as to the various species. But it seems safe to conclude that a goodly number of the herbs discussed in this volume, especially those said to be natives of the Mediterranean region, overhung and perfumed the cradle of the human race in the Orient and marked the footsteps of our rude progenitors as they strode more and more sturdily toward the horizon of promise.

This idea seems to gain support also from the fact that certain Eastern peoples, whom modern civilization declares to have uneducated tastes, still employ many herbs which have dropped by the wayside of progress, or like the caraway and the redoubtable "pusley," an anciently popular potherb, are but known in western lands as troublesome weeds.

Relying upon Biblical records alone, several herbs were highly esteemed prior to our era; in the gospels of Matthew and Luke reference is made to tithes of mint, anise, rue, cumin and other "herbs"; and, more than 700 years previously, Isaiah speaks of the sowing and threshing of cumin which, since the same passage (Isaiah xxviii, 25) also speaks of "fitches" (vetches), wheat, barley and "rie" (rye), seems then to have been a valued crop.
History of Herbs

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