hist-brewing: Gill-over-the-ground

Abbott, Ruth r-abbott at oar-xch1.oar.uiuc.edu
Fri May 7 11:04:28 PDT 1999

It doesn't surprise me at all that two totally different brewing plants
would share a common name.  The term "cost" in costmary (according to my
dictionary) originally comes form the Greek for fragrant root.  If that's
the case, then a common name like alecost means nothing more than "plant
with a fragrant root that is used in ale."  It's a good reminder to all of
us to double check latin names to be sure we have the right plant.

As for gill-over-the-ground being poisonous, the poison control site
mentions an irritant oil that's a problem for horses in large quantities.
Even if it is also an irritant to humans, the quantities in brewing really
would be small.  It might not do you much good to have a really big plate of
hops, either.  (Shudder)

I have always assumed that gill was imported by the early Europeans who came
to America, specifically so that they could use it in brewing.  If not, then
we might have a situation where the plant used in medival brewing is not
actually the same plant, though it must be closely related.  It is something
I will need to look into, since the flavor of the European variety might be
quite different.

> Good luck on the Ground Ivy experiment.  When it is done send 
> a longneck my
> way.
> Regards,
>   _____  
> Scott Mills	 
I don't know that it would survive the journey through the post.  If it's
more perishable than hopped ales, then even a day or two on hot trucks would
probably ruin it.  My thought was to time it (after an initial batch to
experiment) so that it can be all drunk up at an SCA camping event next

(Yes, I said brewster the first time because I am female.  Brewing is
women's work, isn't it?) 

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