National Geographic : 1983 Mar
RENAISSANCE is blooming across ,d. the United States and around the world. You read about it in multiplying numbers of books and magazines on how to grow and use seasoning herbs, how to make herbal teas for pleasure and health, and how to treat sickness with once scorned folklore plants. You can sense-and sometimes sniff-this back to-nature trend in health-food stores and supermarket displays. They feature herbs not only for cooking but also for cosmetic use in lotions, lipsticks, shampoos, hair conditioners, and similar products that woo buyers with fragrances and promises of everlasting beauty. Industrial chemists, too, are discovering unsuspected natural resources in many common herbs. From the j brown berries of the wild jojoba comes a waxy oil with properties similar to the far more costly sperm whale oil prized for lubricants. One species of the /. Euphorbia genus is a weed L-. known as the gopher plant, but it has earned a new name as the gasoline plant. It yields a milky latex containing hydrocarbons that can be refined into substitutes for crude oil and gasoline. Such varied contributions from the many-sided kingdom of herbs raise a perennial question. What is an herb? The dictionary says that this class of plants dies down after a growing season and does not develop persistent woody tissue. But that definition does not take into account the many plants. universally recognized as herbs-the lavender shrub, 387 NONVERSENA, LARKSPUR, BAYBERRY, VETJV£R ROOT,ASSORTED ROSEBUDS, CORIANDER, SAGE,SAYLEAVES, ANDJUNIPER.