|Strychnine tree on Kitchener's Island,|
near Aswan, Egpyt. Misclassified, but
I needed to know more about all the ways the ancient Egyptians used plants. They ate them, of course, they used herbs in making medicines, and vegetable dyes on fabrics. But which ones, specifically? What plants grew along the Nile around 1500 B.C. and what did the people know about how to use them? As I made my way down river from Aswan to Luxor and finally to Cairo, I asked every guide, scoured every bookstore, and learned exactly nothing. Plants? Medicines? Recipes? Why are you asking? Strange woman.
|Ricinus communis, near Aswan, Egypt.|
Ricin is the most toxic compound known.
A ricin pellet in the tip of an umbrella killed Georgi Markov.
There's a book shop on the right as you leave the museum and I glanced at the display prominent at its entrance. An Ancient Egyptian Herbal by Lise Manniche, an Egyptologist and a true expert in the very things I needed to know. That book, now falling apart, and my email contacts with Dr. Manniche, have helped me no end in writing this story.
Is everything in the book 100% accurate? Of course not. It's fiction.