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Heartleaf

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Heartleaf is an herb that is brewed as a tea and serves as a contraceptive for women.[1][2]

After Min Farshaw and Aviendha leave Elayne Trakand and Rand al'Thor alone, Min says that Elayne should have drank the heartleaf tea. Aviendha replies that Elayne wants to have Rand's children.[1]

ParallelsEdit

There are multiple varieties of plants that are called heart-leaf. One is a wild ginger that has heart-shaped pungent leaves found in West Virginia to Alabama. Another is an evergreen low-growing perennial having mottled green and silvery-gray heart-shaped pungent leaves found in Virginia to South Carolina. Listera cordata, a variety of herbaceous perennial called heartleaf twayblade, is found in a large portion of the Northeast US and in Canada and is considered endangered.[3]

Houttuynia cordata Thunb is the scientific name for a plant known as heartleaf (or Khowtong) found in Japan, Southern China, and Southeast Asia. It is used as an herb, orally either as part of a tea concoction or pounded to make juice for oral administration, or pounded into a paste for external application. Unlike the heartleaf mentioned by Min and Elayne, however, it is used for a variety of ailments that does not include birth control.[4]

It is possible that the heartleaf tea mentioned in the Wheel of Time is a reference to a now-extinct plant known as silphium or laserwort, a variety of giant fennel that was once found in the city of Cyrene on Africa's northern tip. Among other usages, the plant was most prized for the pregnancy-preventing properties in the heart-shaped fruit.[5]

NotesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Winter's Heart, Chapter 12
  2. Knife of Dreams, Chapter 15
  3. Plants.usda.gov
  4. Heartleaf.blogspot.com
  5. Birth Control of Yesteryear

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