I don’t know about you, but I could use a day at the spa. This flu season has battered all of us, and means it is high time for some health and rejuvenation. Did you know your garden can provide everything you need to feel better inside and out? We all know the fragrance of lavender can be soothing and mint can be invigorating, but the benefit of other common plants extends far beyond that.
Let’s focus on plants that can grow in our region, because they can’t benefit us if they don’t grow here! When used properly (DO YOUR RESEARCH), you can benefit in numerous ways from your backyard herb garden:
- Sweet Marjoram has antifungal, antibacterial, and disinfectant properties. It is also a useful digestive aid.
- Winter Savory is handy in treating bites and stings. The entire plant is edible and can be used as an antiseptic.
- Hyssop (Korean Mint), like most mints, is used to fight fatigue and soothe headaches and nausea, but it also has wonderful anti-viral properties that can be used to help fight colds and flus. Where was this a week ago?
- Catnip is not just for cats! It can be used as a compress to slow bleeding and stop swelling, and is excellent to help stop gas, stomach aches, and migraines.
- Blackberries can be used entirely from stem to fruit for anything from treating cuts to fighting dysentery.
- And everyone’s favorite, Sage! From a salve to treat cuts and burns, to being an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antifungal – this plant does it all! Sage helps fights colds, dries phlegm, aids digestion, reduces inflammation, reduces cramps, and kills bacteria.
Who doesn’t love a great facial or a soothing bath to wash away the worries of the day? After a day of pampering, it’s hard not to feel refreshed and even more beautiful. With a few plants from your garden, you can feel like you’ve spent a day at the spa without ever leaving home:
- Basil – because pesto doesn’t get to have all the fun – makes an effective cleanser for skin and hair. It can help soothe scalp irritation and reduce dandruff and oil. Mashing basil leaves and infusing them in water makes a simple toner.
- Lemon Balm can be used to help naturally treat cold sores or steeped in hot water, makes a great herbal hair rinse or facial toner.
- Mint offers a cooling sensation to many different recipes. Its leaves can be mashed, minced, or used whole and infused in water or oils. The resulting oils can be mixed into a homemade sugar scrubs for an invigorating spa treatment. As an added bonus, it’s very easy to grow!
- Thyme can be made into a strong cleanser – great for helping with acne-prone skin or oily hair.
- Sage (again) can not only be used as an astringent and cleanser for oily skin and scalp, but it’s also been known to help darken hair! For brunettes, this can help intensify your look – bye, bye salon! Hello, herb garden!
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Once you know ways you need or want to improve your health, do a little research, and then come see us. Everything mentioned above is easy to grow and typically available as seeds or starter plants.