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My Medicine Garden
by Gayle Eversole
If you are familiar with my book, My Medicine Garden, you know that I encourage people to grow their own herbs. Many health promoting herbs can be grown in pots in a small home, or if you have the space, your backyard garden.
Spring is on its way, so it is not too soon to consider adding a few herbs to this year’s plan. Today I will be outside adding Naturally Nutritional Fertilizer to the base of my fruit trees, shrubs and flowerbeds. I will spray the tree leaves with this food based natural fertilizer as they bud out. I have been selecting seeds from the Horizon Herbs catalog, and tending the over-wintered plants in my green house.
As herbs grow make sure you pinch them back when they reach a height of 4 to 5 inches. This encourages growth and full plants.
In the grey winter of Western Washington this work makes for sunny days!
Here are my selections:
Basil - Holy Basil is an herb used commonly in Europe and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. Its use dates back to the days of the Bible, and it is good as a food and a healer. It contains vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A-D-B2, and calcium, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. It is added in abundance to the delicious Persian herb stew, Gorma Subzi. It works well for indigestion, headaches, whooping cough and bites (insect and snake).
Chives - Use the flowers form this cousin of the onion in salads.
Parsley - A vitamin pill in the garden, a good preventive health herb, a great source of potassium, good as a diuretic, lowers blood pressure, helps PMS and aids in weight loss. High in vitamins A, B, C, iron, chlorophyll, other nutrients and it prevents cancer cells from multiplying. Not to be used in pregnancy and will dry up mother’s milk.
Summer Savory - Add to beans when you are cooking them to avoid the gaseous after effects. Summer Savory also reduces cholesterol.
Mint - Peppermint is helpful for poor digestion, circulation, headaches, migraine, nausea/vomiting, colon disorders, colds/flu, fever, colic, nervousness and respiratory problems. Bergamot, a mint better known as Bee Balm, helps to support the nervous and digestive systems with a sweet, uplifting, citrus like aroma. My flame point Siamese cat Jasper’s favorite mint is catnip. In folk medicine, catnip leaves and flowers are steeped to make a pleasant tasting tea. Taken before bedtime, catnip tea is widely believed to hasten slumber and aid in achieving a restful nights sleep. It is also employed as a remedy in the treatment of tension and anxiety and is mentioned as being a useful calmative for hyperactive children. Catnip is listed as a mild diaphoretic, helpful in eliminating toxins from the body, as well as acting as a carminative to support digestion, relieve upset stomach and control the symptoms of diarrhea. The claimed effects of this mild herb are generally acknowledged to have a volatile oil similar in structure to the sedative ingredient found in valerian root. Lemon mint is another in the widely dispersed mint family. Like all mints it attracts hummingbirds and butterflies. Spearmint is chiefly used for culinary purposes, but it is also used in the aroma and flavor industry. Spearmint is also used to relieve hiccough, flatulence, nausea, vomiting and colic pain. It is also used to treat painful haemorrhoids and for rheumatism. Spearmint also has antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial, insecticide, antioxidant, antiame- bic, antihemolytic, allergenic, CNS depressant, antihelmintic and antiancylostomiasis activities.
Oregano - An ancient herb used because of its digestive, antifungal, antibacterial, antiyeast, anthelmintic and anti-allergenic properties. The active essential oils can be distilled from the plant or extracted with hot water (by making tea) or alcohol (by making a tincture). The flowering tops are also put into beer and ale as a flavoring and preservative. It is good for pain and toothache.
Thyme & Lemon Thyme - antiseptic and general tonic, treats anemia, bronchial and intestinal complaints. Protects against tooth decay, is anti fungal (for athletes foot) and kills internal and external parasites, good for warts, sciatica, gout and many other conditions. It is high in B complex, vitamin C and D, iodine, some sodium, silicon and sulfur.
Dill - A carminative herb (relief for gas and bloating). Dill vinegar forms a popular household condiment. Make it by soaking the seeds in vinegar for a few days before using. Dill fruit and oil of Dill possess stimulant, aromatic, carminative and stomachic properties, making them of considerable medicinal value. Oil of Dill is used in mixtures, or administered in doses of 5 drops on sugar. The most common use from old times is the preparation of Dill Water, remedy for the flatulence of infants, and is a useful vehicle for children’s medicine.
Sage - Since ancient times Sage has been the herb of longevity. It is useful for respiratory congestion with colds and flu, balancing estrogen, night sweats, memory, and sores of all kinds. Add sage to rosemary and you have natural plant cortisone. Its main nutrients are vitamin A, B complex, and C. It is high in calcium and potassium.
Rosemary - used for circulatory, nervous, muscular systems and skin and hair. It is good for memory and migraine headaches, and is antiviral. Combines well with peppermint.
HEALTH MATTERS is written by Gayle Eversole, RN, PhD, AHG. Gayle has been studying and using herbs and natural healing for fifty years. She is a professional member of the American Herbalists Guild, and has more than thirty years’ experience as a nursing practitioner.
Herbs and natural health products, meeting stringent standards, along with consulting, counseling, educational programs, and mediation are available through CHI. We work best with chronic and complicated situations. CHI is a 501c3, tax-exempt, nonprofit organization. Thank you for your interest in our work. CHI(c)2001.02