Monday, April 30, 2012

Medicinal Uses of Culinary Herbs

 I was asked to give a class on herbs to the local women of the Relief Society. I am excited at the opportunity and a little nervous. I love to share with others what I have learned, but, I want to make sure I appeal to many peoples lifestyles. So, I will share with you a little of what I will share with them, mainly on culinary herbs and there medicinal values. I have planted 80 herbs, 8 different types of herbs, hoping to get some little sprouts by the time May 8th roles around. These little sprouts will go home with each of the women who would like one.

 So, I first labeled all my dixie 3 oz. cups with initials on the bottoms to know what herbs are in each cup.

Next I filled the cups with soil and watered them with about 3 - 4 T. of water.

Then I placed about 3 seeds in each cup. . . .

And covered them with a little dirt.

Last I covered them loosely with some plastic to keep the moisture in yet enough air way that they don't mold.

I planted Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Chamomile, Parsley, and Garlic.
It is surprising what these common kitchen herbs can offer to the taste buds and to feed to body medicinally.
Mom covered Basil in her blog, so I will refer you to hers for information on that. But, it is highly taken for granted. It's not just a pesto ingredient, but, great as a tea for indigestion, constipation, chest congestion, and bronchitis. In a bath it can soothe tired muscles!
Camomile is such a lovely little flower. I remember walking through an old and abandoned train station on my mission in Argentina. I kept thinking the smell was familiar. I looked down and there covered up and down the tracks was camomile! Lovely! It's greek name means "ground apple". That is a very good description of the flavor of the tea. Apple-y! The flowers is the part that is used. Fresh or dried make a tea and it is good for topical use for soothing skin that is irritated, rashy, heat rash, eczema, cuts, and sunburns. Drink the tea and it is good for indigestion of a nervous origin, insomnia, mood swings, and irritability. It also soothes the membranes in the digestive tract.
Garlic is said to originate from India and central Asia and was probably brought over to Britain by the Romans. Garlic can be in just about anything savory. Meats, vegetables, breads. In my schooling of natural healing it is said that 4 cloves of garlic is equal to a dose of antibiotic. I have found garlic to be powerfully effective. It is a great antiviral. It helps with the flu, coughs, chest infection, bronchitis, and low immunity. It also helps as a supplement for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a blood thinning remedy for circulatory diseases. Garlic is a good and bad name in our house. The kids know it is good for them and will help, but, sometimes it's hard to chew and swallow. :) 
Oregano has a strong flavor that lends itself well to Italian recipes and some Mexican foods. We use the leaves of this herb.  As a tea it helps headaches, menstrual cramps, insomnia, and digestion of rich foods. Also, as with Basil, it will soothe tired and aching muscles and help with rheumatic pain.  Soak a clean cotton cloth in the tea and lay it over the cuts and wounds that are swollen, it will reduce the swelling and help clean the wound. Keep the compress warm.  It is not advised to use oregano medicinally while you are pregnant. As a flavoring in foods, it is fine.
Parsley has a strong flavor as well. Used often as a garnish. It's name in greek means celery rock. The leaves are used in a tea to help with indigestion, fluid retention, and gout. It improves the appetite and improves the assimilation of nutrients. The leaves are high in vitamin C and iron. For colic (gas pains) for people from age infant to 100+, make a tea to drink. Drinking the tea also dries a mother's milk for those mother's wishing to wean their child. Mom makes a great smoothie called Chlorophyll Cocktail with parsley, alfalfa, and pineapple juice. It is an amazing drink, full of nutrition! and amazing flavor. My kids love it! and so do I!
Rosemary means "dew of the sea" because it originates from the rocky coastlines of the south Mediterranean. In the 16th Century, branches of rosemary were tied with ribbons and given to the wedding guests or as New Year tokens of good fortune. Rosemary is most often used with meat
dishes. I love rosemary with roasted potatoes, garlic, and salt! YUMMY! A tea made from dried or fresh leaves help headaches, migraines, tiredness, indigestion, and gas. The leaves put in a bath are invigorating to the body, also soothing for aches and pains.
Sage in Latin means to save or to be in good health. The leaves are used in meat and cheese dishes commonly. I always associate sage with stuffing and poultry. A tea of sage made hot will open the pores and cause profuse sweating, the tea made cold will control excessive sweating. Sage is great for those with digestion weakness or ailments. It is especially good for gas, lack of appetite, constipation and being overweight.
Thyme is one of my favorite plants in my garden. It has tiny leaves that smell this wonderful lemony smell. Thyme comes from the greek word thumus, meaning courage. I love that! It goes well with all meats or root vegetables. I love it in my French Onion Soup! Making a tea from the fresh or dried leaves helps sore throats, coughs, colds, shortness of breath, and hoarseness. It can be mixed with onion and honey and cooked for 20 min. to make a tea for whooping cough. I used it when my house was full of whooping cough. It really made a difference for me! It is said that it works as an antiseptic in this form. That means it stops microorganisms from growing. 
One of the best places to buy your herbs, other than getting them from your own yard, is at a health food store. Most health food stores have a bulk herb section that will allow you to buy those herbs. Look for these there. They are often cheaper and a much higher quality flavor and potency than that of the grocery store. 
I didn't even mention the oils of these plants. They are magical in their uses medicinally. I hope you were able to learn something new, I did! Now when you look at these herbs on your shelves, you can find more than one way to use them!


  1. Such wonderful information! I want a big herb garden again! I wonder, is alfalfa considered an herb? Now, that's a part of my garden that I really miss. Chlorophyll Cocktails are good with spinach, but I am rather partial to Alfalfa.

  2. yes alfalfa is an herb and I agree about the cocktail! You had such a lovely herb garden at your last house!