In response to our miracle fruit posts, David got an email about an herb that has the opposite effect of our new favorite berry:
If you’re interested in another plant which dramatically affects sweetness, try the herb Gymnema sylvestre (commonly known as gurmar, or “sugar destroyer”). Placing an extract of the herb on your tongue will almost completely eliminate one’s ability to detect sweetness. However, I wouldn’t recommend a tasting party based on it… eating a banana after taking gymnena is particuarly gross experience, for example)
Yeah, I’m going to pass on the gurmar party. Wikipedia says that the herb has been used as a natural treatment for diabetes, as it may also reduce blood sugar levels when used for an extended period of time (though this has not been throroughly established).
I also got a really neat comment from Jan Walløe, who as a kid in Denmark got her hands on some miraculin tablets that her dad’s friend was trying to market in the 70s. The marketing plan failed, but she says the pills made her the star of the playground. Read it here.