17 – Louis Hébert, Apothecary to New France

Young Parisian Apothecary Louis Hébert answered the call of the New World in 1605, when he helped de Monts and Champlain build New France’s first settlement, the Habitation, at Port Royal (Nova Scotia, Canada). Hébert looked after the health of the pioneers, cultivated native drug plants, and supervised the gardens. At the waterfront, he examined specimens of drug plants offered by Micmac Indians. These included Arum, (Jack-in-the-Pulpit), Eupatorium (Boneset), Verbascum (Mullein), and Hydrastis (Golden Seal). When the Habitation was destroyed by the English in 1613, he returned to his Parisian apothecary shop. The lure of Canada was strong, however, and in 1617, he and the family returned with Champlain to Quebec, where Hébert’s “green thumb” gained him lasting fame as the first successful farmer in what is now Canada.

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