"I'd complain to Booths about these, if I were you", I said to our hostess as she came into the room, "they taste like scented cardboard"
"That's probably because", she replied with admirable constraint, "you're eating my pot- pourri".
If you're going for the 'scent' bit, it's easy to make a pot-pourri using this recipe I spotted in a Dr.D.G.Hessayon book: add 1oz dried orris root, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and a few drops of flower oil (rose or violet) to a quart of dried flower petals. Shake them together in a plastic bag and leave the mixture sealed for about three weeks before putting it in a dish or pomander. Apparently only rose, lavender and carnations retain their scent after drying, so forget some of the obvious things like cornflower and marigolds unless you want to add some different colours.
Even some trees come under that general definition: in days of yore, a person with a head-ache would chew a willow or poplar bud to ease the pain. Relatively modern science laughed at this as an old wives tale but then looked suitably embarrassed when it was discovered that the buds and bark of these trees contains salicin which, in the human digestive system, becomes salicylic acid - a major component of aspirin.
|Hop (Humulus lupulus)|
Verbena, used in a herb pillow, is popularly recognised as an aphrodisiac. A potential problem with this is that, should any hardened stalks be left in the pillow, there is a danger of one penetrating the eardrum at a moment of erotic bliss. This, I feel, is the source of the belief that too much of certain things make you go deaf.
For more on the unusual uses of herbs go to this.