Many herbs double both as culinary herbs and medicinal herbs. They have served for millennia as calming and healing agents. Take some time to rediscover the many uses of these useful herbs, all of which can easily be grown in small containers.
Chamomile plants grow flowers that resemble small daisies. The flowers, when dried, can be used to make chamomile tea, a good home remedy for upset stomachs. Chamomile can be grown easily from seed.
Lavender has a lovely aroma and is used as a mosquito repellent. The essential oil is often used in soaps, perfumes, and cosmetics. Dried lavender is often sewn into small pillows and placed near bedsides to aid in falling asleep.
As a culinary herb, lavender flowers can be used in salads or meat dishes. It can also be used to flavor ice cream. Lavender can be grown from seeds or from cuttings.
Peppermint can be used to flavor salads and meat dishes and is especially used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Mint leaves can be used to create herbal teas, which can be drunk to soothe the stomach and sore throats.
Mint grows quickly and spreads rapidly. It will send off runners that spread horizontally and anchor themselves to grow into new plants. Because it spreads like a weed, it is often recommended to grow it in a pot. While it will flower, the flowers are sterile, thus propagation from cuttings is the preferred method. Cuttings establish themselves quickly and can be grown in partial sun or shade.
4. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and, as its name suggests, has a mild lemon scent. It is used as a flavoring in ice cream and tea, sometimes complementing peppermint or spearmint. Lemon balm is considered a calming herb and is often used to combat indigestion or upset stomach or to assist in falling asleep.
Basil is a popular and tasty herb, making a wonderful and flavorful addition to soups and salads. It forms the basis for pesto and is a key ingredient in Caprese salad. Some studies of basil’s essential oils have shown that it has anti-fungal and insect-repelling properties, including toxicity to mosquitoes. Basil can be grown easily from seed and is grown as an annual in areas that are subject to frost.
Oregano is one of the key ingredients in Italian cuisine, particularly in pizza and pasta sauces. It has been used to treat respiratory tract disorders, upset stomach, and menstrual cramps. Oregano grows well from both seeds and cuttings.
Parsley is another common culinary herb, used often as a garnish for meat or potatoes. It is often used to make persillade or chimichurri. As a medicinal herb, it has been used to treat a wide variety of ailments. Parsley grows well from seed and enjoys well-drained soil and partial shade.
Sage is another common culinary herb that is easy to propagate from cuttings. It pairs well with meat, particularly pork. As a medicinal herb it has been used to treat digestive problems, and sage tea made from the leaves has been used to treat sore throats, often by gargling. Unlike many herbs that lose their flavor or aroma when dry, dried sage leaves are often more pungent than fresh leaves.
Rosemary is incredibly aromatic, pairing well with meat, especially lamb. It can also be used to treat headaches, indigestion, and muscle pain. Rosemary is difficult to grow from seed as it grows very slowly and is not quick to establish. Growing rosemary from cuttings or buying an established plant is much quicker.
Thyme is another herb that pairs well with meat dishes. A member of the mint family, it is a key component of bouquet garni and herbes de Provence. Teas made from thyme can be used to treat coughs and bronchitis. Thyme can be grown easily from seeds or from cuttings.