Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. In Sri Lanka a traditional cure for colds and flu is to boil the seeds of the coriander plant until the water turns brownish, and the spicy, earthy scent is released. Drink hot with sugar or honey to sweeten. It’s an acquired taste, but absolutely effective in preventing a sniffle from becoming worse or to provide relief once illness has taken hold. It is also gentle enough for use by small children, pregnant women and the elderly [Bow, London, July 2003].

2. [From a Sikh gardener, 1991] plant the seed directly on the ground, and break open with your bare feet, and stamp it in the ground. This works [Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, January 1993].

Image: Flanders Field Community Garden, East Ham, London Borough of Newham; September 2014; inset, Bethnal Green, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, August 2023.