Love’s Philosophy

The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In another’s being mingle–
Why not I with thine?

See, the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower could be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;–
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me.

(Percy Bysshe Shelley)

Burdock: Aphrodisiac?

The root of either great burdock (Arctium lappa) or common burdock (Arctium minus), is listed in several old herbals as a mild aphrodisiac. It’s long been used worldwide as a tonic for the liver and kidneys and to cleanse the blood. In Europe it’s been combined with dandelion and made into wine for many generations as a restorative, and the Romani (Gypsies) add a decoction of burdock to regular wine for similar purposes. It’s also used for skin problems such as psoriasis and acne.

The healing properties of burdock are due to several useful chemicals that apparently do help the filtering organs as well as the skin. While the liver and kidneys are considered to be related to sexual health in Eastern medicine, burdock is not an aphrodisiac on its own merit.

Betel Nut: Aphrodisiac?

The seed of areca palm (Areca catechu) is called a betel nut . It’s usually sliced or shredded for use like snuff or chewing tobacco, and often mixed with burnt lime and spices, and wrapped in a betel vine leaf (Piper betle, related to black pepper). Or just mixed with local spices or tobacco to improve the incredibly bitter flavor. Yes, both the nut and leaf, from different kinds of plants, are called “betel”. Confusing, but here we are.

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Brandy Alexander

Our traditional “June gloom” has arrived a couple of weeks too late for June, here at the Garden, but it has at last arrived. The warm, overcast humidity always puts me in mind of several new directions for mixing. Today I think I’ll do something cool and creamy; tomorrow, perhaps something tropical. I’ll tell you about it as soon as I’m done with the shaker.

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