MEDICINAL HERBS

Barbara Porsch – Herb Enthusiast

A while back I received a newsletter from motherearthliving.com talking about 6 medicinal herbs that are easy to grow.  You know, I am more into the eating than the healthy stuff so I haven’t written about that.  But, why not?  They listed 6, so I will do 3 this week and the remaining 3 next week.

I know that using fresh herbs does qualify as being healthier because you can really cut down on the salt and fat in some recipes by using herbs to brighten the flavor.   And growing your own is the frugal thing to do.  Compare the price of a transplant that lasts all season to the few twigs or leaves that you pay big bucks for at the grocers.

  1. German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) supposedly brings on sleep and reduces anxiety levels. We all know we will not be healthy if we don’t sleep and worry all the time.   It also soothes upset stomachs.  It is an annual bushy shrub that needs lots of sun and room.   You can make tea by steeping dried blossoms in boiling water for about 10 minutes.  Dry the blossoms by putting them in a shady area for about a week.
  2. Oregano (Origanum spp.) is high in antioxidants which are believed to protect against chronic diseases such as cancer.  And it also helps prevent inflammation which may help it protect against arthritis.   Oregano is a hardy perennial which is very easy to grow in full sun.  It can be grown in pots if it has plenty of light. Those of you who have been to my house know that I use it as ground cover in the front courtyard, as well as some places in my vegetable garden.  Oregano instantly brings to mind Italian sauces and pizza, but it is a staple in Mexican food.  It is very versatile in the kitchen.
  3. Peppermint (Mentha xpiperita) soothes stomachs, relieves chronic indigestion and lessens the discomfort of sore throats. Its active ingredient, menthol, helps treat colds and congestion. Mints are very easy to grow, in fact maybe too easy.  It will take over if planted in the ground. Big pots are good.  It will grow in sun to partial shade.  It is used to make delicious tea, either hot or cold.  It can be muddled and mixed into an adult beverage…..had a Mojito lately?   It is common in Thai food (think spring rolls) and Middle Eastern dishes such as tabbouleh.

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