From The Garden: 5 Medicinal Herbs
Even though I live in a condominium I love growing my own herbs. There’s something satisfying about walking outside, picking something from the ground and using it in this evening's meal. It’s fresh, inexpensive and easy. Herbs add flavour to cooking and also have medicinal properties. Here are 5 Healing Herbs from the Backyard Garden or Balcony:
This herb has been used as a tea to calm and soothe feelings of anxiety. When ingested, it aids in digestion and relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract, helping to relieve stomach upset. Externally it has been used to treat wounds and inflammation.
A member of the parsley family, the medicinal part of the plant is primarily the seed. In addition to its preservative action, dill is an infection fighter, and is used to stimulate appetite, increase circulation and reduce blood pressure.
The leaves of the lemon balm have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Balm contains a volatile oil citral and citronella, which aid in relieving menstrual cramps and digestive upsets. Used as a tea, it's good for fevers, colds, and headaches. Fresh crushed leaves can be applied to wounds and insect bites. The essential oil citronella makes an effective insect repellent when rubbed directly on skin or clothing.
The soothing leaves of the peppermint provide relief from nausea, even for morning sickness. Peppermint’s menthol vapor is an incredible decongestant and is used in many over-the-counter creams for relief from muscle tension. Those wishing to alleviate morning sickness should use only diluted tea concentrations.
Thyme fights several disease-causing bacteria and viruses. It is a good digestive aid, helps menstrual cramps and is a great cold remedy. In Germany it is used to treat whooping cough and acute bronchitis. Biochemist Stan Deans, Ph.D., of the Scottish Agricultural College in Auchincruive, has found evidence that thyme may protect the body from free radical damage.
Tell us about your favourite herbs and how you use them.
Photo by the garden buzz