Economic Botany

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 3–7 | Cite as

Magic, myth and medicine

  • Mildred E. Mathias


Carrots, celery, caraway and cumin and their relatives in the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) have a long history of human use dating from our earliest written records. A large body of folklore has accumulated on their magical and mythical curative properties. Many of the early uses have persisted as part of 20th century folklore, sometimes supplementary to modern medicine. Studies largely during the last half of this century have provided the chemical bases for some of the ancient cures.

Key Words

Apiaceae Umbelliferae folklore magic myth medicine 


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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mildred E. Mathias
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos Angeles

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