. . . parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme—I can't even hear those words without singing them, as I'm swept back to my high school choir days. Good times, those!
Anyway, I've been growing them (both the herbs and the good times) for decades, now. And, of course, lemon balm, chamomile, yarrow, lovage, oregano, basil, and chives. However, it's only been the past couple of years that I've grown to appreciate them beyond their aromatic benefits.
Walking through my herb garden with friends, they would ask, "So, what do you do with all these?" And I would answer by pinching off a few leaves, rubbing them between my fingers, and breathing in the therapeutic fragrance. Nothing wrong with using them that way, when garden space is aplenty; but they are worth so much more!
I've now added calendula, lavender, lady's mantle, and even several mints (I used to avoid anything in the mint family, because I wanted a tidy garden. What was I thinking?!!) And I'm happy to report that I now actually harvest and use everything I grow. In fact, I just finished whipping up a batch of soap, a shampoo bar, using rosemary-infused oil and calendula powder, which are both great herbs for hair.
One fantastic wild herb that grows plentiful in my garden is plantain—not the banana from the grocery store, but rather the large green low-growing leaves that work together with dandelion (another fantastic wild plant!) to eradicate your lawn and driveway. I use the plantain in a salve that works wonders on bug bites and rashes, while the dandelion flowers become iced tea and the roots, coffee.
We had our first frost a couple nights ago, which meant it was time to pick rosehips. Since coming down with a head cold on the weekend, I've been drinking this immune-support tea, and had used up last year's dried hips—so the timing was perfect, even if I only managed to wrap a quilt around my pyjamaed body and drag it to the garden; however, the crisp autumn air was almost as beneficial to head and sinus congestion as are the rosehips!
I've been feeling much better today already, and tomorrow morning I will force myself to be showered, fully clothed, and more-or-less in my right mind. However, just one more pot of tea, with the new harvest, is well in order.
HERBAL IMMUNE-SUPPORT TEA
4 parts dried rosehips
2 parts dried elderberries
2 parts chopped echinacea
1 part cinnamon chips
1 part dried sage
Using a teaspoon as one part, I measure everything into my teapot (I use this French press), then sweeten with honey and drink throughout the day.
Read the article at PracticalSelfReliance for all the details.
Stay well, my friends!
What you do when you don't have to
determines what you will be when you can't help it. --Rudyard Kipling