Exploring the wonders of herbs
Summer is here and if you you’re anything like me you’ll be out in the garden (if you are fortunate to have one) pottering and enjoying some green space.
I find gardening so therapeutic. The joy of watching something grow from a seedling into a large specimen is so rewarding. Even more rewarding is a plant that you can actually eat or drink or turn into an essential oil.
I’m fortunate to own a greenhouse where I grow different salad leaves, rocket like you’ve never tasted before! Tomatoes, cucumbers and we enjoy it throughout the summer. I also have a herb garden situated just outside my treatment room and it never fails to spark conversations with my clients as its such a pretty sight. You can, of course grow herbs inside too on a sunny window ledge. there’s something special about jazzing up your dishes with gorgeous, tasty herbs or brewing a delicious tea. I grow lemon balm, chamomile, basil, marjoram, rosemary, lavender, coriander, dill, thyme and a number of different mint varieties. Mint and basil tossed into salad leaves makes it a little more interesting. I love coriander and would use in everything, but my family really dislike it so I settle for using it as a garnish and always have it with homemade curry. Fresh marjoram in casseroles or pasta really brings them to life. Dill with fish…..delicious. There are endless ways to use them. It’s so much fun to experiment and even though some have a subtle flavour they really can make a difference to a recipe.
Infusing herbs to make fresh tea is inexpensive and so delicious.
One of my favourites is lemon balm (also known as Melissa) which is from the same family as lavender. It’s a gorgeous soothing tea to drink in the evening and is perfect for those troubled nights when sleep seems elusive. It’s also fantastic for digestive complaints; indigestion, cramping, flatulence and during pregnancy if you are suffering from morning sickness.
A delicious summer drink is lemon balm, honey and lemon peel. Simply infuse in hot water and enjoy. As an essential oil it has a high price tag as the yield is so low (3 tons of Melissa only produces a pound of essential oil) but it’s a truly special oil that helps with chronic fatigue, and stress related conditions.
Chamomile blended with lavender is another soothing evening tea. Lavender is calming and chamomile is a natural sedative. Chamomile as an essential oil is extremely gentle and safe to use with babies. It’s beneficial to use in skincare formulations as it has anti inflammatory properties and can help with eczema, nappy rash and cracked nipples during breast feeding. Mint tea is delicious. So refreshing after a meal and mint is another herb that helps with digestive issues and morning sickness. As an essential oil, a few drops added to a carrier oil or after sun lotion helps cool the skin after too much sun. This analgesic oil can also soothe aching limbs and help ease the pain of arthritis.
French Marjoram (also known as Sweet Marjoram) will always have a special place in my heart. When I was training to become a Clinical Aromatherapist it was my plant study. Not only do I adore its aroma but also its special qualities. Its warming for the musculoskeletal system and calming for the nervous system. A natural sedative that truly works with insomnia.
When I look at my herbs I realise just how special they are; it takes so much of the plant to produce an essential oil which offers so many properties. Isn’t nature incredible?