common names Oleander, rose bay origin Native to the eastern Mediterranean or possibly farther east, as far as China, but now widely naturalized.
background The plant and its vapors are very toxic: in 1844, some soldiers died after eating meat roasted over a fire of oleander wood. In 19th-century southern Europe, bathing in an oleander decoction was a treatment for killing lice and fleas. preparation The fresh leaves are gathered before flowering, chopped finely, and steeped in alcohol.
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