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November 14, 2016

Why I Grow Herbs, and a Migraine Remedy


Garden planning time is here! Even though gardening season is over for most of us, fall and winter are when gardeners plan ahead for next year.

Why I grow herbs, plus a migraine remedy.

I've already made out my list of seeds to order. I'm going to be early this year! I'm learning how to save seeds but I'm going to order some new varieties as well as replace some old seeds.

Besides vegetables, I'm also ordering herbs. Each year I add a new herb or two (or three) to my garden, either a plant or seeds. This year I'll be adding borage and trying oregano again. In the past I've bought oregano plants and been unsuccessful; this year I'll be planting them from seed and hope for better results.

My herb garden grows in containers, although I've been dividing and moving some of the perennials to the raised beds in the garden. That will give me two locations which, I hope, will help save plants in case of grasshopper invasion or other garden disaster.

Rosemary, thyme and tarragon, indoors for the winter.

I've already brought my herbs indoors for the winter, another advantage of growing them in containers: fresh herbs all winter long.

Growing herbs in containers also lets me customize the soil for the plant I'm growing and provide the amount of water that makes each one happy. I can move them around if needed to take advantage of shade or sunlight.


Why I grow the herbs I grow

Please note that I am not a medical doctor, herbalist, nor a veterinarian. You are responsible for your own health. Please do your own research before using any products, plants, herbs, and/or essential oils.

Some of my herbs are grown for their medicinal benefits or for culinary use, others simply for their wonderful fragrances.

Aloe vera - My aloe vera plants are on my kitchen windowsill year round, not outside. Aloe is used to treat burns and bee stings. The plants are perennial but they don't tolerate cold well.

Basil seedlings

Basil - Used in Italian cooking. It's also aromatic and the plants are attractive. I love tomatoes, and basil seems to go hand-in-hand with tomato salads. It's a simple matter to dry basil leaves for the winter. Bees love the flowers, and it's also easy to collect basil seeds, so the seeds I have now are descended from a plant I grew years ago. Annual.

Borage - I'm planting borage in my tomato bed this year because it deters hornworms. Can you imagine such a thing? Medicinally, tea made from borage leaves can bring down a fever, and the flowers can be added to salads, but "deters hornworms" is the reason I'm going to add it to my garden. Annual.

Oregano - Used in Italian cooking. I've never had enough to harvest, but it's still fun to rub a leaf and sniff the fragrant oils that are released. Oregano is a perennial but I've had a lot of trouble keeping it alive even during the summer. I'll buy fresh seed this year and try again.

Lemon balm

Lemon balm - This fragrant herb grows very well in Oklahoma. It's medicinal and culinary, giving a lemony taste to many dishes. I've added a few leaves to my morning smoothies on occasion. Here are five ways to use lemon balm. The leaves are also very fragrant. Lemon balm is perennial; I bring the pot inside for the winter.

Thyme - I grow thyme to use in cooking, but thyme tea can also soothe a cough or sore throat. Perennial.

Peppermint tea, anyone? Chewing a peppermint leaf freshens breath. Peppermint is also pleasantly aromatic. A friend told me to plant it next to the water faucet so I could rub the leaves each day when I turn the water on and enjoy the scent. Perennial.

Rosemary

Rosemary - I struggled for years to keep rosemary plants alive. My current plant is two years old now and I've started several cuttings from it. I use it often in chicken dishes; it's also beneficial in homemade hair care products. The plant is aromatic and takes me back to summer days at my grandparents' ranchette where it grew wild in the fields. Perennial.

Tarragon - I use this in my broccoli cheese soup. When I ran out I tried making the soup without tarragon but it wasn't nearly as delicious. I had to search hard to find a store that carried the little jars, so I am growing my own now. It has been an easy plant to grow. Perennial.

Catnip - I grow this just for my two housecats; they love catnip. I have to lock up the seed packets so the male cat can't get to them and rip them open! A mild sedative, catnip can help you sleep when your mind won't stop racing, and also improves digestion and calms nerves. Perennial.

Chocolate mint smells so good, and that's why I grow it: I can grow chocolate.

Calendula

Calendula flowers are used in natural toiletries such as soap, lotion and hair care. The flowers attract pollinators and the plants are easy to grow from seed. Annual.

Chamomile has pretty yellow-centered white flowers. Chamomile tea can sooth an upset stomach, promote sleep, treat colds and muscle spasms, and more. Used in salve, chamomile helps heal cuts, wounds and burns. German chamomile is perennial.

Comfrey

Comfrey - I give comfrey leaves to the goats, use them as a compost activator, and make salve with them. Comfrey is well known for its medicinal properties, which is the main reason I began growing it. It's a must in my garden. Perennial.

Bee balm - Attracts pollinators. This is the first year I've grown bee balm. After my granddaughter and I hiked to look for a wild bee balm plant I'd spotted earlier, she said "why don't you just grow some closer to the house?" Smart girl. I'm doing just that now, although it isn't the same variety as the plant I found growing wild. Bee balm is a perennial.

Feverfew is used in tea to fight migraines. Fortunately I don't suffer from migraines much anymore, but I still keep it around for this reason. Perennial.

Migraine tea

A friend gave me both the feverfew plant and the directions for this migraine-fighting tea. She said she fills a small teaball with equal parts of feverfew, lemon balm and peppermint, then steeps it in a cup of hot water for about 15 minutes. She adds honey to the tea because feverfew is very bitter.

Tea balls, large and small, for making herbal tea

She drinks a cup of tea every two hours when she has a migraine, but cautions that someone drinking this for the first time should take just a couple of sips and then wait an hour or so to check for an allergic reaction before drinking more. NOTE: Some people get mouth sores from feverfew.



Why I grow herbs, plus a migraine remedy.

Do you grow herbs in your garden or on your windowsill? Which ones? Is there one you'd recommend I add to mine?


Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, herbalist nor a veterinarian. 
You are responsible for your own health and for that of your animals. 
Please do your own research before using any products, plants, herbs, and/or essential oils.



Related links:
How to Dry Homegrown Herbs



This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Me too! They're pretty easy to grow, and smell so good. Thank you for visiting, Kristin.

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  2. We've got basil, oregano, cilantro and parsley. But the only thing we've really used much is the basil. I'd be curious to try some of these other ones. Thanks for sharing on the Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for hosting the hop, and for stopping by!

      Delete

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