Spring is finally here and it’s time to start gardening! The activity of gardening is therapeutic in itself, but did you know that some of your favorite herbs also have healing properties? Add some of these herbs to your garden plans and you can have natural remedies at your fingertips!
Chamomile is used to help with relaxation, typically before going to bed to encourage restful sleep. The flowers are best picked just before they are fully opened and can be used in either fresh or dried form. Put a heaping tablespoon of flowers in a cup of hot water and let it sit 5-10 minutes, then strain and drink! The tea is also useful in calming indigestion and treating colic in babies (just be sure the tea has cooled first).
Garlic is amazing to cook with and has several different medicinal uses. It has been shown to help lower high blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Cook with it every day to help prevent cardiovascular disease. Garlic is also effective in treating illness by stimulating your immune system and killing microbial infections.
Lavender is an herb that can help us cope with our stressful lives. The mere smell of lavender can create a calming effect in our bodies. Use the flowers to create a tea, or put some in your bath to help relax tense muscles.
Peppermint can help with stomach problems. Create a tea out of the leaves to help alleviate gas, bloating, nausea or indigestion. Or add the fresh leaves to your favorite summer beverage for a refreshing twist!
Rosemary is a flavorful herb that supports circulation and improves memory. Use it in your cooking and your food can become your medicine! You’ll start to remember where you put your keys in no time!
Sage can help with hot flashes and night sweats. Add it to your food or use it in tea. Sage is also antibacterial and helpful in fighting off infections. Feel a sore throat coming on? Create a sage tea and gargle before you swallow!
Thyme is wonderful for coughs, colds and sinus infections. It calms spastic coughs and helps kill the infection. Put a teaspoon of the leaves and flowers in a cup of hot water and drink as a tea. Breathe in the steam of the tea to help with a stuffy nose.
Kristen Haabala Wiener is a doctor of naturopathic medicine at Midwest Natural Medicine in Alexandria.