In The Lord of the Rings the healing plant Athelas, is known as kingfoil.

In Tolkien's world it is a healing plant that reveals the king of Gondor, and also overcomes some of the dark magic based illness of the ringwraiths.

In Greek the word for "king" is Basileus and the etymology points directly to it being the source of the name for the basil plant. It was also supposed to be a cure for the venom of a basilisk.

Was the idea for a common herb that has a hidden reference to kings and magical cures against the poisons of monsters tied to this modern and common household spice?

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    "Atheling" is an archaic English word for "prince", from Old English. Maybe he coined the word "athelas" based on it. – Invisible Trihedron Mar 20 at 13:28
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    @InvisibleTrihedron - Tolkien was masterful at his understanding and use of language. – EngrStudent Mar 20 at 13:31
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    Kingsfoil could also be a pun for the common name for the genus Potentilla, cinquefoil, which is a herb with some reputed healing properties. Potentilla has roots in Latin potens meaning "powerful", "potent", "mighty", and comes down to us today as "potential". – bob1 Mar 23 at 3:57
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    Technically, if there is a connection, then basil is athelas. ;-) Just a different name in a different era? – AcePL Mar 29 at 8:44

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