The New York State attorney general’s office accused four major retailers on Monday of selling fraudulent and potentially dangerous herbal supplements and demanded that they remove the products from their shelves. The authorities said they had conducted tests on top-selling store brands of herbal supplements at four national retailers — GNC, Target, Walgreens and Walmart — and found that four out of five of the products did not contain any of the herbs on their labels. The tests showed that pills labeled medicinal herbs often contained little more than cheap fillers like powdered rice, asparagus and houseplants, and in some cases substances that could be dangerous to those with allergies. [NYTimes], [WaPo] [more inside]
What Are the Defining Ingredients of a Culture’s Cuisine? Priceonomics examines a dataset of Epicurious recipes to pull out the most common ingredient and the most distinctive ingredient by cuisine, plus a "Meat-o-Meter" that looks at commonly used meats in various cuisines. [more inside]
Isabella Rossellini's daughter Elettra has a witty, attractive food/recipe blog where she shares a customizable pasta dish her grandfather, the iconic director Roberto Rossellini, used to make.
A new study has identified product substitution and contamination in the herbal supplement industry on a massive scale. As the New York Times reports, one-third of the US herbal supplements tested by researchers had no trace of the advertised herb in the product, and many products were entirely composed of fillers such as rice, or contained dangerous contaminants and allergens. Only two of the 12 companies tested exclusively sold products that did what they said on the tin. Pro-supplement organisation the American Botanical Council has questioned the findings, due in part to what it says are flaws in the DNA technology used to identify herbal ingredients.
Are your "friends" pushing illegal marijuana cigarettes? Don't let drugs get in the way of your dream car! Keep sober with these snappy comebacks to narcotics. [SLYT Australian PSA]
A genome-wide association study has linked a dislike of cilantro with a variant of a single nucleotide in a cluster of olfactory receptor genes. The palatability of cilantro has previously been a divisive subject on the blue. [more inside]
Welcome to Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages On these pages, I present solid information on (currently) 117 different spice plants. Emphasis is on their usage in ethnic cuisines, particularly in Asia; furthermore, I discuss their history, chemical constituents, and the etymology of their names. Last but not least, there are numerous photos featuring the live plants or the dried spices.
Urban gardening and agriculture are becoming increasingly important as our world becomes more urbanized. Urban Gardening Help is for those environmentally conscious urban dwellers who want to use hydroponics and other tools to create a green corner devoted to nature in their own home. Urban Gardens looks for innovative and eco-friendly designs, trends, and ideas for the stylish urban home. See, for example, tiny herb gardens, where succulent cuttings come in small packages. Urban Garden Casual works with the constraints of limited-space, light, and micro-climates created from the shadows of neighboring buildings by using unconventional ideas like the garden pouch.
When the 'secret' of the Colonel's blend of herbs and spices was revealed, The Guardian had to test the recipe - and then see if it could be bettered ... (video)
Four parsley plants. Two creeping oregano. Two creeping thyme. Three basil. Two rosemarys. Thank god the sage died. Pesto. Pesto. Pesto. Pesto. Pesto. (previously)
Silphium was the wonder plant of the ancient world. Originally identified by Greek colonists in North Africa, the plant - a species of Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) - grew only in a dimunitive area near the coast and could not be cultivated. Silphium was popular as a spice for cooking, but its notoriety stems from its alleged medicinal qualities, particularly its use as an herbal contraceptive (the "I love you" heart symbol may have originated from the shape of silphium's seed pods and its use in sex). So valuable was Silphium that it became an important component of the ancient world's economy and appears on coins. It's also among the first species recorded (by Pliny the Elder) as going extinct, probably by grazing sheep or uncontrolled harvesting. Or is it?
As we know,the internets are not short on herbal information. While looking for a way to un-numb my teeth, I came across a veritable cornucopia of herbal knowledge, complete with formulae. Step inside for an interesting essay...
That'll teach 'em. Two 10-year old girls arrested in Florida and suspended from school for possession of... well uhm, parsely, actually.
Therapy, pharmacy, and commerce in early-modern Europe Drug Trade is an exhibition of 16C-18C drug jars at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. "Marrysh mallowe, soden in wyne or mede, or brused and laid on by it selfe, is good for woundes, for hard kynelles, swellynges, and wennes, for the burnyng and swelling behynd the eares ... & it will ease the payne of ye tethe."
Gernot Katzer's spice pages - everything you need to know about herbs and spices - 117 of them, in fact, indexed in multiple languages. It seems some Metafiltarians (among others) have a low opinion of coriander...It's my favourite herb, and I was suprised that some people can't handle it, but this site suggests repulsion against it may be genetic! Lots of great stuff to be found, including plenty of herbs you've never heard of.
The FDA burns books on herbal sweetner. Starting with the 19th century's Comstock Act the US has had the power to confiscate and destroy "obscene" materials. The FDA used this power to destroy the works of Wilhelm Reich and now the herbal sweetner Stevia.