Spring is upon us! This is my favorite time of year. I love planting seeds. I love watching them mature into beautiful flowers or a juicy tomato. This month I am covering several herbs that you can grow easily in your windowsill. They are great for adding into your favorite dish but I wanted to go over the many health benefits they offer as well.
"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but also the soul." – Alfred Austin
Parsley: Parsley is often mistaken for decoration on your plate at a restaurant. It is a beautiful addition, but don’t forget it has lots of nutritional benefits. Its high chlorophyll content makes it a natural breath sweetener. It is known for its anti-bacterial properties and my can help prevent bacteria that can lead to loss of tooth enamel. It has been used to dissolve and help pass kidney stones and gallstones, if they’re not too large. Parsley is a blood purifier and provides the nutritional material necessary for tissue maintenance of the urinary system. Parsley is healing to the urinary tract and can make difficult urination easier, especially when dealing with an enlarged prostate. The generous use of parsley can lower blood pressure and increase the flow of urine. Parsley has been used for ailments of the liver and is a good tonic for blood vessels, capillaries and arterioles. You can find parsley in our bulk section, in capsules, essential oil and we are now selling organic Italian flat Leaf Parsley seeds.
Chives: I love chives! They are super easy to grow and they last most of the year. They are the first to come up in the spring and last well into November, weather providing. If I am making baked potatoes or potato soup I love being able to go out and clip off some fresh chives to top off my meal. They provide a great aroma and a superb flavor to any dish. Chives are part of the allium family of vegetables and herbs, which include garlic, scallions, onions and leeks. Allium vegetables have been studied extensively in relation to cancer, especially stomach and colorectal cancers. The exact way allium vegetables inhibit cancer is unknown, but it is hypothesized that they inhibit tumor growth and mutagenesis and prevent free radical formation. Chives also contain choline, which is an important nutrient that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation. Folate, also found in chives, helps with depression by preventing an excess of homocysteine from forming in the body, which can prevent blood and other nutrients from reaching the brain. You can find chives in our bulk section.
Thyme: Thyme is part of the mint family. It is a general tonic with antiseptic qualities that promote healing and fight infection. Thyme reportedly controls fungal infections such as athlete’s foot as well as skin parasites such as scabies, crabs, and lice. Thyme is helpful in the removal of mucus from the head, lungs and respiratory passages. Thyme tea has been used as a remedy for shortness of breath. Thyme is used for uterine and bowel problems as it relaxes spasms and inhibits flatulence, and has a soothing affect on nerves. Thymol, the oil of Thyme, is a powerful germicide with a pleasant odor. It is used as a pharmaceutical product in gargles, mouthwashes and in toothpaste. Thyme can be found in our bulk section, essential oil and as a tincture.
Basil: The main use of basil medicinally is as a natural anti-inflammatory. It is similar to the compounds found in oregano and medical marijuana and may be used as a substitute for the latter because it offers the same relief without the “high”. The same compound that makes it useful as an anti-inflammatory is also believed to help combat bowel inflammation and rheumatoid arthritis. Many naturopathic doctors prescribe basil in treatment of diabetes, respiratory disorders, allergies, impotence, and infertility. Basil is very high in antioxidants, especially when it is used as an extract or oil. These antioxidants can protect your body against free radical damage associated with aging, some skin ailments, and most forms of cancer. Fresh basil leaves and basil oil have antibacterial properties. They can be used to disinfect surfaces. Leaves applied to wounds may eliminate infections. Basil used in cooking or taken as a nutritional supplement can assist in combating common viruses like colds, flu, and the herpes family of viruses. You can find basil in our bulk section, essential oil and we are now selling organic basil seeds in several varieties including Genoves, Lemon and Sacred (Holy Basil).
Rosemary: Rosemary has been known for centuries for improving memory, not just for the amazing flavor it can add to your chicken or soup. Recent advances in the science surrounding the herb have shown that it inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine, which is a compound that plays a role in sections of the brain responsible for memory and reasoning. Rosemary may also promote memory function by increasing blood flow to the brain. Rosemary contains antibacterial and antioxidant rosmarinic acid, plus several essential oils such as cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate, and a-pinene that are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. Manganese, another mineral found in rosemary, is a critical antioxidant that is associated with lowering the risk of cancer, specifically breast cancer. The leaves of rosemary are often used to make tinctures that are applied directly to the skin to treat maladies such as muscle soreness and sprained ankles. You can find rosemary in our bulk section, in capsules, essential oil and in a tincture.
Bay: Bay leaves are typically used for flavoring stews, soups or casseroles. The leaves are usually removed before serving. The aroma of the leaves is much more noticeable than the taste. The essential oil of bay leaf provides relief from swelling, rheumatic and arthritic pain, lower back pain, earaches, and sore muscles and sprains. Bay oil can even ease pain brought by neuralgia, which is severe pain that occurs due to a damaged nerve. It also functions as a decongestant and can be used to treat respiratory problems when inhaled. It is helpful for coughs and colds, viral infections, and flu. As an astringent, the oil triggers contractions in the muscles and tissues. It fortifies the hold of scalp on hair roots, as well as strengthens gums and stops the sagging of skin and muscles. You can find bay leaves in our bulk section and essential oil.
Oregano: The name Oregano means “mountain joy.” Ancient Greeks and Romans revered oregano as a symbol of happiness. One active agent in oregano is rosmarinic acid, which is a strong antioxidant that supports the immune system. Carvacol and thymol, two phytochemicals in oregano, are powerful antimicrobials. Essential oils from oregano can kill the foodborne pathogen Listeria and the superbug MRSA. Oregano contains beta-caryopyllin, a substance that inhibits inflammation and may also be beneficial for conditions including osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis, as well as metabolic syndrome. Oregano also has anti-viral properties. If you come down with a cold or the flu, oregano oil can be useful as it encourages sweat production as a mode of detox. Ingesting it may help your body to get rid of unwanted phlegm in your lungs. You can find oregano in our bulk section, in capsules in tincture forms, essential oil and we now sell organic Greek Oregano seeds.
Lemongrass: Lemongrass as a tea is a great herbal medicine for gastrointestinal problems, stomachaches, diarrhea, gas, bowel spasms, vomiting, fever, the flu, and headaches. Lemongrass oil mixed with other oils such as coconut oil is used as a liniment for back pains, rheumatism, neuralgia, sprains and other body pains. Lemongrass is used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat fevers and infectious illnesses. It is also useful for respiratory infections such as sore throats, laryngitis and fever and helps prevent spreading of infectious diseases. Lemongrass is also used as an insect repellant. It helps to keep pets clean of fleas, ticks and lice. You can find Lemongrass in our bulk section and essential oil.
Mint: Mint is a great appetizer or palate cleanser, and it promotes digestion. It will soothe a stomach in cases of indigestion or inflammation. When you feel sick to your stomach, just drink a cup of mint tea for relief. Even the aroma of mint activates salivary glands in our mouth. If you eat or drink mint before a meal it helps secrete digestive enzymes that will help digest your food comfortably. Since it eases digestion, the body makes less gas, so less farting. The aroma also is a quick and effective remedy for nausea. Even just the smell of mint oil or freshly crushed mint leaves will alleviate your stomach issues. Many people have found that consuming mint produces positive relief for asthma symptoms. It is a great relaxant and relieves congestion. Mint is an expectorant; it encourages the body to eliminate mucus from the airways, lungs, bronchi and trachea. It promotes the drainage of mucus from the lungs. You can find mint in our bulk section, in capsules, essential oil and in a tincture.