Quinine

Quinine was used as a muscle relaxant, by the Quechua, who are indigenous to Peru, to halt shivering due to low temperatures. The Peruvians would mix the ground bark of cinchona trees with sweetened water to offset the bark's bitter taste, thus producing tonic water.

The Spanish brought back the knowledge of quinine and were aware of the medicinal properties of cinchona bark by the 1570s or earlier: It was first used to treat malaria in Rome in 1631. During the 17th century, malaria was endemic to the swamps and marshes surrounding the city of Rome. Malaria was responsible for the deaths of several popes, many cardinals and countless common Roman citizens. When King Charles II was cured of malaria at the end of the 17th Century with quinine, it became popular in London. It remained the antimalarial drug of choice until the 1940s, when other drugs took over.

Unfortunately, quinine also played a significant role in the colonization of Africa by Europeans. Quinine had been said to be the prime reason Africa ceased to be known as the "white man's grave". A historian has stated, "it was quinine's efficacy that gave colonists fresh opportunities to swarm into the Gold Coast, Nigeria and other parts of west Africa".

Quinine has also been known to cure restless leg syndrome, which for some reason is even classified as a syndrome and not just general boredom or a symptom of having too much coffee.


Ginger

What is ginger?

Ginger is thought to have originated on the Indian subcontinent.

In the first century Ginger was exported to Europe via India as a result of the lucrative spice trade and was used extensively by the Romans.

As with red wine, ginger has been studied repetitively with various results depending on who has done the studies and surely who has been paying for the studies.

We love ginger for its refreshing taste and slightly spiciness in our ginger beer.

What is a fact is that it is widely used in Asian cuisine and has been described to have several healthy benefits, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where it is described to warms the spleen and stomach, restores devastated yang, warms lung to stop coughing and warm and unblock channels.


Elderflower

What is Elderflower ?

Named as Sambucus by world renowned Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus the elder tree has been cultivated and used as a folk medicine for centuries, very popular in Northern Europe where it is made into a syrup and drunk during hot months.

In the summer the elder tree produce thousands of tiny white flowers that are picked, boiled with water and lemon juice before strained and made into a syrup.

These two brothers got a taste for elderflower growing up and making syrup from the tree in our garden.

Elderflower syrups has been administered to help with flu symptoms, alleviate allergies, rheumatism and respiratory problems.

It also features a lot in European folk lore where the "elder tree" was supposed to ward off evil influence and give protection from witches, while other beliefs say that witches often congregate under the plant, especially when full of fruit.

As such Harry Potters wand was also made from elder wood.

These days elderflower liqueurs and syrups are drunk in cocktails, iced teas and great for the summer months.


Carbonation

Effervescent mineral water has been drunk or bath in for centuries for its richness in minerals and taste.

Effervescent water is created from a carbonic acid from the water source that originates deep within the earth. Cooled magma of volcanic mass releases carbonic acid, which then permeates the natural mineral water.

Strongly carbonated mineral water usually stems from regions of with strong volcanic activity in their past.

These days’ soda water is made by passing pressurized carbon dioxide through water to infuse the water with Co2 before its bottled.

It all started in 1750 the Frenchman Gabriel François Venel produced artificial carbonated water for the first time.

In 1767, Joseph Priestley discovered a method of infusing water with carbon dioxide.

In the late eighteenth century, J. J. Schweppe developed a process to manufacture carbonated mineral water and soda waters and later soda pops have been popular ever since. The first bottles were tear shaped as the cork had to be kept wet to seal the gas in. It was sold for 6 shilling 20.40 USD in todays value.


Citrus Fruits and Blood Orange

Cultivated for centuries, citrus fruits encompass a wide variety of different fruits. High in vitamin C with its distinct tastes citrus fruits are very popular and easily grown specie grown across the world.

The blood orange is a natural mutation of the orange, which is itself a hybrid, probably between the pomelo and the tangerine.

Blood oranges may have originated in either China or the Southern Mediterranean, where they have been grown since the 18th century. They are now the primary orange grown in Italy.

The chemicals which give the orange its distinct maroon color will only develop when temperatures are low at night, as during the Mediterranean fall and winter.

The distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanins, a family of antioxidant pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits.

The flesh develops its characteristic maroon color when the fruit develops with low temperatures during the night. Sometimes there is dark coloring on the exterior of the rind as well, depending on the variety of blood orange.