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January 9, 2018 > Plant Superstitions

Plant Superstitions

Submitted By Pat Kite

There seem to be many superstitions surrounding plants. Here are a few for winter 2018:

APPLES: The apple is a love charm in English, Danish and German folklore. The custom of dipping for apples on Halloween is a leftover from Druid fortunetelling. And, in theory, an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

BASIL: In India, holy basil is sacred to Vishnu and Lakshmi. Grown in pots near many Hindu homes, it protects the body and opens the gates of heaven for the pious.

BLACKBERRIES: Ancient Greeks believed blackberries prevented gout.

BUTTERCUPS: English dairy farmers once believed that if their cows ate common buttercup flowers, butter made from their milk would be the same rich yellow.

CACTUS: The cactus, xian ren zhang, meaning hands of the immortal, is believed, in China, to ward off evil spirits. In the practice of feng shui, arranging objects for luck, the thorny cactus can penetrate the invisible body of ghosts. This will hook the ghost until the light of the rising sun can kill them.

CARROTS: Love potion? So thought ancient Greeks.

DANDELION: In some areas of France, the dandelion is called Òpiss en lit,Ó or Òwet-the-bed,Ó from the belief that eating dandelion greens at dinner makes for night bedwetting.

EGGPLANT: Depending on the area of Europe, eggplants were thought either to induce insanity or encourage love. Maybe both?

GARLIC: Garlic is said to Ômake men drink and wink and stink.Õ Ancient Romans believed garlic had magical powers. It was hung over doors to ward off witches.

JASMINE: From Italy. On a wedding day, young women should wear a batch of fragrant jasmine flowers. The proverb goes: ÔShe who is worthy to wear a nosegay of jasmine is as good as a fortune to her husband.Õ

MINT: Chewing wild mint is supposed to make you feel sexy. Soldiers in Alexander the GreatÕs formidable army were forbidden to chew mint. Supposedly it increased their desire to make love and took away their willingness to fight.

ONION: Supposed to promote strength and bravery, Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant once wrote the War Department that his army would not march any further until they were sent onions.

POMEGRANATE: In some parts of Asia, a pomegranate is broken at the doorway of a newly married couple. The crimson-coated seeds foretell many children.

PARSLEY: Ancient Romans believed nibbling on Parsley would allow people to drink more without getting drunk.

TOMATO: Until 1830, most Americans believed tomatoes to be poisonousÑthe vine is, the tomato isnÕt. What changed opinions? Eccentric Colonel Johnson of New Jersey was a tomato fan. He stated he would eat a whole basket of tomatoes on the courthouse steps. His doctor wrote this as a warning. ÒThe foolish colonel will foam and froth at the mouth and double over with appendicitis,Ó etc. Two thousand folk came to watch him die. Chomp, chomp. No problem. The townsfolk were so elated, they elected Johnson as mayor.

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