5 Favorite Garden Herbs
I definitely owe my love of natural healing solutions to my mom. Growing up, anytime we were sick, my mom would always turn to natural remedies before taking a trip to the doctor. While there is certainly a need for medical treatments for some illnesses, we always research a natural solution first. She bought me my first natural solutions book, “Prescription for Nutritional Healing” by Phyllis A. Balch, over 20 years ago and it’s still on my bookshelf today! It’s been a great resource for drug-free remedies using vitamins, minerals, herbs and food supplements. Instead of a “medicine cabinet” at home, we have a “natural solutions” cabinet. It is filled with essential oils, supplements and herbs. I grow some of my favorite herbs in our backyard garden, and dry them to use for cooking and in making tea.
I have many other herbs that I use in my Natural Solutions cabinet, but these are my top 5 herbs that I always have growing in my garden.
I love having mint in my garden. Not only does it grow well, (sometimes too well and takes over the entire garden) but it is so fragrant! There are hundreds of varieties of mint: chocolate mint, peppermint, apple mint, spearmint to name a few of my personal favorites. A few ways that I use mint are to make freshly brewed tea, to flavor my drinking water, in salad dressings and added to a fruit salad. There are so many wonderful health benefits of mint. Some of the benefits include: relief from depression, headaches and fatigue. It also relieves congestion, and is used in the treatment of respiratory disorders and seasonal allergies. Mint is also beneficial for memory loss, weight loss and skin care issues. It is good to consume mint after a meal to help with digestion or to relieve indigestion. Mint is also great for oral health (think mint toothpaste)! Mint is rich in antioxidants which protects the body from oxidative stress and damage to cells. In addition, mint is a good source of Vitamin A which is beneficial for eye health.
One of my favorite scents in the garden: Basil! This beautiful, fragrant herb is one of healthiest! Want to boost your immune system? Try eating basil! Basil is considered “the King of all herbs!” There are over 35 different types of basil including sweet, purple, bush and Holy basil. Holy basil is most known for its healing properties and is considered a sacred herb. Holy Basil is referred to as Tulsi in India, and has been used in many Ayurvedic healing treatments for thousands of years. Basil is high in Vitamin C and K, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium. Benefits of basil include: acts as an anti-inflammatory, contains disease fighting antioxidants, fights cancer, reduces pain and fevers, prevents diabetes, protects liver and protects against harmful bacteria growth. When I smell basil I usually think of Italian food or Thai food, two of my favorite cuisines. Basil is always the perfect flavoring for these dishes. I also love adding it to salads, smoothies, sandwiches, and of course, in pesto!
Lemon Balm is a new favorite in my garden. A member of the mint family, lemon balm is a calming herb and has been used to reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Lemon balm contains a lot of antioxidants and nutrients that are beneficial to many systems in the body. This powerful herb is good for rejuvenating and revitalizing aging skin, improving heart heath, relieving digestive issues, treating diabetes symptoms and strengthening the immune system. I love adding lemon balm to my smoothies and water for a touch of lemon flavor and combining it with mint in a brewed tea.
Relax and balance your mood with the soft smell of lavender. Lavender is beneficial for your nervous system and can reduce anxiety and depression. Lavender also promotes restful sleep, helps with skin irritations, helps to maintain healthy skin and hair, prevents infections, reduces inflammation and is beneficial for digestion. Lavender is used in many different applications from food and fragrance to cosmetics and herbal medicine. It is full of essential oils and is a very powerful and healing herb. I love to use lavender in an essential oil form, especially in a room diffuser. I also use lavender in tea and lemonade, and as a flavoring spice in sauces, dressings and desserts. Lavender contains vitamin A and calcium. Lavender also contains caffeic acid which is beneficial for cancer prevention.
When I first think of sage, I think of it as a spiritual house cleanser for driving off negative energy. This cleansing ritual is called smudging. This sage smudging ritual dates as far back as the ancient Romans, Greeks and many Native American cultures who believed this practice of burning sage would rid any negative or harmful energy. Every time I move into a new home, I tie a bundle of sage and burn it to cleanse the space. Sage is a fragrant, woody herb and can be used fresh or dried. Sage is high in antioxidants and has many health benefits with both culinary and medicinal uses. Some of these benefits include: lowers inflammation, boosts the immune system, improves brain function, regulates digestion, keeps skin healthy, helps in the growth and development of bones and aids in preventing diabetes. It’s usually common to pair sage with chicken or meat dishes, and it can be added to sauces and dressings. It is delicious with pumpkin and vegetable dishes. It is another herb that I like to use in brewed tea.
Just as important as it is to eat your fruits and veggies, it is just as beneficial to eat your herbs too!
Stay tuned for future posts on my favorite herbs and our recipes using herbs. There are so many more that are beneficial for our health. What are your favorite herbs?
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PLEASE NOTE: The information provided throughout my website pertaining to your health or wellness, is not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by your own physician or health care provider. It is intended to be provided for informational, educational, and self-empowerment purposes only. This information should not be used to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or health condition. If you have, or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your physician or health care provider. A Health Coach is defined as a guide and mentor who empowers clients to take responsibility for their own health and supports them to implement and sustain lifestyle and behavior changes that will contribute to the achievement of their personal wellness goals. I became certified as a Health Coach because of my passion for health and wellness, and to work with others on incorporating positive and healthy changes in their lives.
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