Culinary herbs are the herbs I use the most for cooking, growing and remedies. I would be lost without Rosemary, Thyme and Sage, and they are so familiar to most people, that often they can be overlooked as great medicinal plants.
Culinary herbs, as well as adding depth in flavour to our foods, have many rich and diverse medicinal properties, below are some of the properties of my favorite herbs and how I like to use them, which is always really simply.
Sage; the king of the antibacterial backyard herbs, sage is perfect if you have a virus, and will help clear chesty coughs. The easiest thing to do with sage, is to drink a warm tea of fresh or dried sage leaves at the first sign of a cold, or a bladder infection. You may want to sweeten with honey – it doesn’t taste great.
Rosemary; possibly my favorite of all the herbs, I have a special affinity with Rosemary and have at least four rosemary plants in my garden. Rosemary is the herb to turn to for strength, it increases circulation, promotes focus and resilience, and is great for the cardiovascular system. A great way to use Rosemary is to infuse some oils over a 6 week period and then use the drained oil as a hair treatment – rosemary will stimulate hair follicles and acts as a wonderful conditioner.
Thyme; is the hero for the digestive system, it will stimulate appetites when people are struggling to eat, and it will also ease gas and bloating – it is no coincidence it has been used for centuries in cooking. It is also another herb that is particularly good for fighting respiratory tract infections. Externally Thyme also has excellent anti-septic qualities, if you have a head cold, you can throw thyme into a steam bath, or you can an infused oil against fungal infections such as athletes foot.
Mint; the perfect herb to cool the body down on a hot day, mint is a carminative, that will ease digestion, relieve gas and cramping after meals, and it will also help to keep colds and flu at bay. Mint is the perfect ‘all-rounder’. Don’t plant it directly into your garden as it can be invasive, my advice would be to keep a big pot of mint by the back door, and have a fresh mint tea of just a few stems worth of leaves after meals.
Parsley; is packed with vitamins and minerals, it has potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C, E and calcium. When you digest parsley it will help to remove toxins from the body by being slightly diuretic, it can also help with menstrual cramps and other period symptoms. Sadly Parsley is usually heavily sprayed with pesticides, so it is definitely worth growing your own, or buying organic. Parsley is tender, so if you want to keep it all year round, have it in a pot somewhere frost free.
The best thing to do with herbs, is just to grown them enjoy them and have fun with them. I know that being by Rosemary, smelling it, or eating it, makes me feel happy. The more you work with herbs, the more you will come to know which are the ones that work well with your body and with your energies.
Image; harvested herbs from a few weeks ago, ready to dry.
I recommend using herbs to compliment the advice and treatment suggested from your Doctor, if you are suffering from any chronic health problems.