Health & Wealth
There are numerous ways herbs can help to improve your health, whether you simply sit amongst them to enjoy their fragrance and presence or whether you actively utilise them as medicine or food. Create a herb chair or bench to sit on; use the crushed leaf of the Greater Plantain to relieve stings and bites and collect leaves, seeds, berries and even bark to make a delicious salad or tea tonic.
Animals also self medicate with herbs and wild plants if allowed – dogs and cats chew couch grass for upset stomachs and cats adore rolling in catnip to stimulate or even sedate themselves as preferred. Even if you have no garden at all, your pet cat will appreciate sprigs of catnip placed in a tray in the house to roll in, crushing the leaves in the same way as they would in the wild. Dogs often choose to drink from muddy puddles as they need the algae. Wild flowers and herbs not only benefit human beings but also our four-legged friends. Oh and birds too – chickens for example love chickweed which, not surprisingly, is also extremely good for them.
“Take care of yourself. Good health is everyone’s major source of wealth. Without it, happiness is almost impossible.”
What else can I say …?
Indoors & Outdoors
We are probably all familiar with the benefits of having herbs and aromatic plants on the kitchen window for culinary use but don’t forget the bathroom windowsill too; use a couple of leaves from potted pplants like lemon balm, lavender, thyme and rosemary, for example to add to a running bath to release their natural fragrant oils. Having plants on windowsills next to sinks also means they are more likely to get watered regularly! Also, having a lavender plant (or two) in the house will help repel houseflies and the subtle relaxing fragrance of a lavender plant kept on a bedroom windowsill will also help you sleep.
There are also numerous ways in which to enjoy herbs outdoors as well as the more conventional herb bed. Although whilst we’re on that subject, remember that when creating a herb bed outdoors make sure its close to the house to make it more accessible and don’t just restrict herbs to their own bed; the beautiful feathery foliage of fennel for example will provide interest at the back of a border and Nasturtiums can be used to brighten up an old tree stump or transform a waste piece of ground. Whilst not classed as a herb, you can use both flowers and the leaves of Nasturtiums in salads. Planting chamomile and low growing thymes in the lawn or even in between the cracks of paving on a path will allow you to enjoy the aromatic fragrance which is released as you walk over the herbs or cut the grass.
Lynne Allbutt – From the Archive.