2011 29¢ Herbs
Issue Date: April 7, 2011
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
A standard herb garden holds far more than a collection of cooking spices or attractive flowers. Folklore and mythology from around the world and through thousands of years is represented with each plant. Used for medicinal purposes as well as food preparation, or even just for their attractiveness, herbs have also inspired countless legends. Those stories add a new dimension to plants seen and used every day.
Oregano, so popular in the kitchen, was also sprinkled around homes to ward off snakes. The flax plant has been adapted for an amazing number of uses, from preserving mummies to making cloth that dates back some 30,000 years. Perhaps those are fairies peeking out from the bell-like flowers of foxglove, if legends are true. The soothing scent of lavender was used by young women to mask the unpleasant odors of overcrowded 19th-century cities. Consuming sage in food or drink was said to improve one’s memory, and perhaps lead to never-ending life.
Centuries of conventional wisdom arising from daily use of herbs has more recently been tested scientifically. Many of the superstitions have been found to have some basis in fact, while others offer a creative look at older cultures. Whether in folklore or in the garden, herbs add color, beauty, and charm to our lives, as well as flavor to our meals.