Once in a while I write about the scraps of herbal medicinal projects I'm working on - the kind of things that don't warrant a longer piece of writing, but still fill my days with joy and interest. The more I explore the herbal world, the less I know, and the more I desire to know, and the more I narrow down the field of herbal medicine that I enjoy - simple, folky and born from pottering in the garden, communing the wild plants, and foraging.
Beautiful and feathery pink yarrow
At this time of year everything is giving up their offerings to birds and soil, and hands such as mine that pluck and glut on berries, flowers and leaves as they finish this cycle of bursting from the soil and spreading seeds in various ways. We've had bucketloads of hops, which I struggle to give away unless to bearded brewers who hold the strobiles up to joyful noses which glisten with yellow pollen and appreciate this ancient plant. I manage to give away a few handfuls at the garden's meet up to those willing to try one in their evening tea, bitter and sleep inducing. The rest is dried and put in a large jar to last the winter. Perhaps this year is the year we make beer.
Gotu Kola is a new one on me - for the last two years, it's been growing away nicely in a wicking tub which provides this Asian plant with constant water, which it likes. I pick leaves on the way to feed the chooks and nibble on them - Centella asiatica or Brahmi as it's also known, as it contains a plethora of nutrients (vitamin A, B, C and D, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium and more) and is said to help brain function. But this time I'm also picking it to dry, so I can infuse in an oil to make my father a psoriasis lotion bar with vitamin E and beeswax, a recipe I find that looks interesting. Gotu kola contains triterpenoids, which help heal wounds, boosting antioxidants and increasing blood supply to the area. Whilst I've been growing it, I haven't really studied it until late, and wish I'd grown more to dry as tea. Next year, I might transplant some to the second tub wicking bed so I can juice it and dry it for tea.
Every year is a learning opportunity.
I finally have drying rack - there are another 3 sections you can add on.
As I am bringing in handfuls of herbs every night to dry - yarrow (which I have to fight for, as the chickens love it too), lemon balm, peppermint and tulsi, my beautiful man suprised me with a drying rack. He's not known for his gifting abilities (aside from love) so this touches me deeply. It doesn't take long for me to excitedly transfer the drying hawthorn and rosehips to the rack, along with various green leaves from the above named plants, and even black chillis from the greenhouse which I plan to grind for a chilli chocolate truffle.
A nightly tulsi tea to help with stress
I'm also planning to invigorate a neglected corner of the vegetable garden near the larger wicking beds that is quite close to the kitchen door, creating a little path and a crescent moon stuffed with lemon balm (currently under the elders and covered in purple bird shit from their glutting on berries), peppermint, chamomile, thyme, sage and other culinary and medicinal plants, containing them in a more central area. They're still welcome to plant themselves throughout the tangle of my garden, but I'd like them close on hand in this more contained space.
Horseradish waiting to be dug up for fire cider
The horseradish and turmeric sit underground still - I'm scared to check their roots to see if they are edible yet. I plan on more hothouse exotics this year - more turmeric, some ginger, galangal and a curry plant, and maybe even a tamarind.
One of my recent herb book purchases, bookmarked with oregano
It's more than a delight to immerse myself in the world of herbs. I have piles of books marked with leaves and stalks, considering recipes for balms and brews, and jars of various oxymels - the latest being tulsi and hibiscus, which I cannot wait to try.
There are worse ways to spend my time.
What herbs are you growing, collecting, foraging or working with?
Thanks. What do you like about it? It's nice to elaborate a little. :) Thanks for stopping by though!
None yet.... Not much up yet... I have the pink yarrow but had read it doesn't have quite the properties as the white species type. So I only use the white for medicinal.
Me too. I have been fighting the chickens for the white as it's closer to their pen and the wyandottes have been jumping over the bloody fence - grrr.
My favorites are Ashwagandha and ginseng. And Tulsi I wear as wooden carved beads around my neck or use as wooden mala for chanting meditation. I bought them in India.
Those beads sound so special! This year I'm growing ashwagandwa for the first time. I am yet to figure out how to process it .. thanks for the reminder to investigate!
I may well do a post on the beads with some photos in coming days, so you can see them.
The Ashwagandha I used was a dried powder, so I presume the wood or root of the plant gets ground up as small/fine as possible. Then the powder can be used in a smoothie or over a breakfast cereal. It's very invigorating and energizing.
Oooooo... Gotu Kola...??? I haven't seen anyone mention that in a long time. A good tonic for the brain, especially when combined with Ginkgo. You need to make tea of these for your hubby so he 'remembers' that you like gifts and get more from him in the future...😏
Oh thanks for the info about the combo.. maybe if keep eating the leaves I'll remember it hahah. He's such a beautiful man and gifts me so much more than the material, but gee it was nice to get a present that was so thoughtful!
Choline/Inositol combo helps too...😎 Nice to hear from you @riverflows.
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very useful I will also try to make herbal plants in my house garden
Awesome. What is your favourite?
I love this! I love to see what kind of things you are growing and what they are used for. Plants are so good at making medicines for us. I love knowing I can treat my families everyday problems with healthy natural things. Maybe you can give me some advice, since we moved to an apartment, what kinds of medicinal herbs do you recommend that grow well in smallish containers?
Oh gosh, lots of herbs grow well in containers. Thyme, basil, tulsi, aloe Vera. It depends what you like to cook with or use medicinal or both. What's your favourite?
Peppermint and Oregano are my favorite and aloe Vera I can always grow indoors.
They are great in pots!
If there's one thing that you can never have enough of it's herbs. The medicinal benefits, the scent and the flavour...
I can't wait to get mine growing.
This sounds amazing and I can almost smell the lemon balm as I read it.
Always a joy reading your posts beautiful xx
Oh hubs hates the smell, because he always had to trim it in gardens in the UK. But he's being melodramatic. I love it but haven't used it much this year as it's covered in bird poo haha..I'm with you, they are just incredible. I hope you get your garden growing soon. What herbs will you grow in a pot?
Melodramatic hahaha I love it!
I got some compost today, so making slow but steady progress.
I'll be growing rosemary, thyme, sage, and no not parsley but I will grow cilantro (coriander) which is just as close. My friend has some Artemesia which she said I can take cuttings from too. Lemon balm is a definite as it will help keep the pesky cat away that uses my garden as a toilet.
I'm getting quite excited about this now xx
It must be so nice to cook with all the fresh herbs... I miss having them, it makes me want to go back to the old place I lived where I could get fresh cilantro every morning for a dollar. I'm not growing anything right now but maybe you'll inspire me to start :-P
Oh, HIVE always inspires me to do things! I hope you get started. I can't wait for the coriander to grow!!!!
Wow! I have also recently started building my garden.. Started with Brinjal and Watermelon. Hoping to see small ones soon :)
good and interesting post. this adds to my knowledge