One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A widely distributed plant of the mint family. Some kinds are cultivated as ornamentals and some are used in herbal medicine.
Genus Teucrium, family Labiatae: many species, including the American germander (T. canadense) and the European wall germander (T. chamaedrys)
- ‘They can be trimmed almost like a topiary, if you want to use miniature box, lavender or germander.’
- ‘Herbal preparations containing germander were withdrawn from the market after their use for weight control caused a hepatitis epidemic.’
- ‘Herbs, such as germander and santolina, can be clipped into low hedges to create a knot garden.’
- ‘Alone and in combination with prescription drugs, several dietary supplements - such as chaparral, comfrey, germander, and ephedrine - have been linked to severe illness, liver damage, and even death.’
- ‘For example, programmed cell death in isolated rat hepatocytes has been implicated in the hepatitis induced by a herbal medicine containing diterpinoids from germander.’
Late Middle English: from medieval Latin germandra, based on Greek khamaidrus, literally ‘ground oak’, from khamai ‘on the ground’ + drus ‘oak’ (because the leaves of some species were thought to resemble those of the oak).
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