This is a rather strange and sad story from London zoo – over the past sumer some 6 penguins have died of malaria.
It’s strange because penguins are from a cold climate, and malaria is from the tropics. Or that is what I thought. But malaria is spread by mosquitoes who breed in swamps, and swamps are also in temperate areas.
Zookeepers aready include antimalarial drugs in their diet, and with the warm, damp summer the nest boxes have also been sprayed with lavender which is a natural deterrent. They also grow lavender round the enclosure so the penguins can use it to build their nests.
The good news is that the penguin disease is an avian variety of malaria, and cannot spread between penguins or to humans.
Lavender is named from the Latin lavare, to wash, as it was a popular bathing herb. It is often recomended as an aid to sleep and the old fashioned lavender bags were to repel moths in clothes drawers.
I have a friend that makes a tea of lavender and sage. It tastes a bit strange but probably helps digestion.
Covent Garden Soup co. tried lavender, potato and leek soup but it seems it was not popular enough to repeat.
I like it in rice pudding and you can get shortbread flavoured with it.