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Smyrnium olusatrum L. Apiaceae. Alexanders, Black Lovage, Horse Parsley. Distribution: W & S Europe, Mediterranean. Culpeper (1650) writes: ‘Hipposelinum. Alexanders or Alisanders, provoke urine, expel the afterbirth, provoke urine, help the strangury, expel the wind.’ Culpeper has taken this mainly from Dioscorides’ Materia Medica (circa 100 AD). The genus name is said to derive from Smyrna, a city which was founded by Alexander the Great (although there was one which pre-dated his Smyrna). on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. The species name comes from the Latin olus meaning a pot herb (cooking vegetable) and atrum meaning black, in reference to the seeds. It is described as tasting like a rather bitter, second-class celery. The English name may derive from Alexandria or Alexander the Great. It is rarely used in herbal medicine now. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.

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view Smyrnium olusatrum L. Apiaceae. Alexanders, Black Lovage, Horse Parsley. Distribution: W & S Europe, Mediterranean. Culpeper (1650) writes: ‘Hipposelinum. Alexanders or Alisanders, provoke urine, expel the afterbirth, provoke urine, help the strangury, expel the wind.’ Culpeper has taken this mainly from Dioscorides’ Materia Medica (circa 100 AD). The genus name is said to derive from Smyrna, a city which was founded by Alexander the Great (although there was one which pre-dated his Smyrna). on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. The species name comes from the Latin olus meaning a pot herb (cooking vegetable) and atrum meaning black, in reference to the seeds. It is described as tasting like a rather bitter, second-class celery. The English name may derive from Alexandria or Alexander the Great. It is rarely used in herbal medicine now. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.

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Credit: Smyrnium olusatrum L. Apiaceae. Alexanders, Black Lovage, Horse Parsley. Distribution: W & S Europe, Mediterranean. Culpeper (1650) writes: ‘Hipposelinum. Alexanders or Alisanders, provoke urine, expel the afterbirth, provoke urine, help the strangury, expel the wind.’ Culpeper has taken this mainly from Dioscorides’ Materia Medica (circa 100 AD). The genus name is said to derive from Smyrna, a city which was founded by Alexander the Great (although there was one which pre-dated his Smyrna). on the Aegean coast of Anatolia. The species name comes from the Latin olus meaning a pot herb (cooking vegetable) and atrum meaning black, in reference to the seeds. It is described as tasting like a rather bitter, second-class celery. The English name may derive from Alexandria or Alexander the Great. It is rarely used in herbal medicine now. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London. Dr Henry Oakeley. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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