What do Allergies, Herbs, and 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.

Before taking the leap into penning historical novels, 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 in kindle at Amazon.

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.  Is it spring yet?  My nose says yes. :)

About BethTrissel

Married to my high school sweetheart, I live on a farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia surrounded by my children, grandbabies, and assorted animals. An avid gardener, my love of herbs and heirloom plants figures into my work. The rich history of Virginia, the Native Americans and the people who journeyed here from far beyond her borders are at the heart of my inspiration. In addition to American settings, I also write historical and time travel romances set in the British Isles. And nonfiction about gardening and country life.
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6 Responses to What do Allergies, Herbs, and History All Have in Common?

  1. Surfed in from r/gardening on Reddit. As an avid gardener and formerly huge sufferer from major pollen allergies, I’m wondering if you’ve heard of the raw honey trick. I and many others have used it with much success. You purchase locally-raised, unheated, unfiltered honey (it needs to be harvested within 50 miles of where you live, the closer the better… ideally keep a hive and harvest it yourself). Have a teaspoon of it every day in whatever way you choose, on food, in drink, whatever and keep at it religiously. The logic is that you are taking in micro-doses of pollen every day and building a resistance in the same way that allergy shots do though I daresay that honey is way less expensive. I was skeptical but decided to try it and in 6 months I started to notice a reduction in symptoms. In a year they were about 90% reduced. I still have to take the occasional Claritin to take the edge off when pollen counts are uber-high but I can actually function outdoors and enjoy gardening again. I’d strongly encourage you to try this method if you haven’t already. It may not completely get rid of symptoms but it stands a good chance of reducing them to a tolerable and/or almost non-existent level.

  2. Ray G says:

    It is amazing how some roses seem to last forever. I saw a rose arbor in the Alhambra in Grenada, Spain that has been there since the Moors ruled. the trunks of these rose bushes were as large in diameter as a TV wrestler’s leg. It was unbelievable.


  3. Jinny Baxter says:

    How sad that you should be alergic to your passion! But how well you transferred your obstacle into another passion, writing. There is a big lesson in life for all of us in that!

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