Friday, April 20, 2012

What do Allergies, Herbs & History All Have in Common?

Me.  Most definitely.

Being passionate about the past, I relish a connection to those who’ve gone before us.  I’m fascinated with history and love old homes, historic sites, all that ties us to the richness of bygone ages. Intrigued with herbal lore, I often use it in my writing.  Herbs influenced every facet of life in pre-modern times and have changed little over the centuries. 

When I hold an aromatic sprig of rosemary in my hand, I’m touching the same plant beloved by the ancients. Some heirloom roses hail from the glory days of Rome. Amazing.  Awe inspiring.   At least to me, and I suspect to many of you as well.
To further that sense of oneness, and for their many uses, I grow a variety of herbs. Thyme, basil, sage, and chives are a few in my kitchen garden. Lavender and scented geraniums are wonderful for their scent alone. Ladies once wafted the delicate perfume of toilet water. Porcelain bowls filled with colorful potpourri scented musty parlors.

"I judge that the flowers of lavender quilted in a cappe and dayly worn are good for all diseases of the head that come of a cold cause and that they comfort the braine very well." ~Lavender and Turner (Herbal, 1545)

Before taking the leap into penning historical/paranormal romances, I wrote vignettes on rural life. I’ve compiled these into a memoir on gardening and country life, Shenandoah Watercolors, a 2012 EPIC eBOOK Award finalist available at Amazon in kindle, and now print, with beautiful photographs from my talented family.

At one time, I had a modest herb business and gave talks on herbal lore to local groups much as Julia Maury did in my light paranormal romance Somewhere My Love.
Back to my herbal enterprise, with the faithful assistance of my long-suffering mother we grew and dried herbs and flowers for wreath making and potpourri which we sold in the fall. Herbs and heirloom flower seedlings were raised in the small greenhouse my hubby built me and sold in the spring. 

Any profits were swiftly overrun by subsequent visits to the allergist,whom I’ve seen regularly for years now and still get four shots at a crack. It seems I developed every allergy latent within me by exposure to all these pollens.

*Note, If you’re allergic to ragweed, avoid an herb called Sweet Annie and the Artemisia family. But I’m considered to rank in the top ten percent of allergy sufferers in the nation, so what are the odds of that?

After being run indoors and my gardening curtailed, I took up writing and have used my love of plants there. I’m still an avid gardener, though with shots, meds and limits. 

*And yes, I do use local honey made from our wildflowers that's supposed to aid in building my pollen tolerance. I think it may be helping some. I'll report back, but hard to say for certain as I'm also on the shots.

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