Not everything in the garden is lovely

While I was reading Most Delicious Poison, I visited a herbal garden in Spain which features the plants grown by the Nasrid rulers of Granada hundreds of years ago. They cultivated myrtle for its medicinal uses and jasmine for its fragrance. How did they know of myrtle’s properties? Some ancient ancestor must have figured it out. And that ancestor might be more ancient than we realise. Noah Whiteman explains that DNA from plants found in Neanderthals’ teeth tartar suggests even they were self-medicating with herbs. We have been entangled with the chemicals around us for as long as we have been human. The author of this book, a professor of