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Using Culinary Herbs as Medicinal Herbs

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Growing-Herbs2

Have a green thumb? Why not try your hand at growing your own fresh herbs this summer? It’s much more affordable than buying herbs at your local grocery store, and there are so many healthy ways to use them, not only for cooking, but also for medicinal purposes.

Check out some great ideas to make your herbs do double duty as both culinary and medicinal herbs!

Lemon Balm

3707305756_086b6f5eea_zA member of the mint family, this herb has a wonderful lemony fragrance and taste, as well as calming effects. It also helps attract bees to pollinate your garden!

In the Kitchen

  • Chop fresh leaves and add them to fruit salads for a zesty, refreshing twist
  • Add chopped leaves to muffin recipes for a lemony hint
  • Give iced tea, cocktails, and tea a lemony garnish
  • Add it to any dish where you’d like a little lemon flavor

For the Medicine Cabinet

  • Make a relaxing herbal syrup of lemon balm and honey to add to teas or to take by the spoonful to help you sleep. Get complete instructions from The Nerdy Farm Wife.

Or try Lemon Balm capsules.

Basil

2650630412_184f16cae0_zTraditional sweet basil is a must in seasoning, but also has some pretty remarkable medicinal uses.

In the Kitchen

  • Make pesto! Here’s a super simple recipe from Damn Delicious.
  • Use the leaves like spinach on sandwiches and in pasta salads
  • Add flavor to marinara sauce
  • Use it as a garnish on Italian dishes

For the Medicine Cabinet

  • Boil leaves in water to make liquid for relieving headaches. Get full instructions from Off the Grid News.
  • Use the liquid from boiled leaves to clear up blemishes. Get more info here.

Get Basil Oil and skip the boiling. Even use it as an air freshener.

Rosemary

Common in many Mediterranean dishes, it’s also wonderful with many meats. The fragrance is also common in soaps and cosmetics.312348985_3a80428a04_z

In the Kitchen

  • Add sprigs to soups, stews and other dishes to infuse flavor. Remove before serving.
  • Give cocktails and other drinks an herbal infusion by including a sprig in your glass
  • Chop finely and use small amounts when cooking with fresh rosemary as its flavor is very strong

For the Medicine Cabinet

  • Use it in shampoos and hair treatments to soothe a dry, itchy scalp and make hair shine. Try some of  these recipes from Natural Living Mama.

No time to make your own? Try Alaffia’s Neem and Shea Butter Scalp Recovery Conditioner with Rosemary and Tea Tree Oil. I love it!

Sage

5845740191_14a53b3d16_zAnother member of the mint family, this savory herb’s flavor is somewhat similar to rosemary and should be appreciated outside of Thanksgiving dishes.

In the Kitchen

  • Pairs well with meats, especially pork
  • Adds life to starchy risottos, pasta, gnocchi and beans

For the Medicine Cabinet

  • Help relieve hot flashes, slow heavy menstrual bleeding, and dry up breast milk (source)

Get Organically Grown Sage capsules for a more convenient option.

Peppermint

2618041106_7e70bc42d0_zWith that classic, invigorating minty freshness, peppermint adds life to your garden and your home.

In the Kitchen

  • Add leaves to salads and fresh, leafy Asian dishes. Pairs particularly well with spring vegetables.
  • Add to teas and cocktails for a fresh twist.

For the Medicine Cabinet

  • Make a tea using the leaves to help soothe indigestion. Check out some recipes from The Tea Talk.
  • Chew the leaves for natural breath freshening
  • Apply topically to skin irritations from hives and poison ivy

Don’t have a green thumb? Get Purely Peppermint tea bags from Yogi Tea. And if you’re not into chewing leaves, try natural, dentist-recommended mints.

Thyme

554067104_1d37b79817_zA timeless seasoning, thyme is extremely versatile and adds great earthiness and flavor to dishes.

In the Kitchen

  • Use in European dishes
  • Pairs well with meats like pork, lamb, duck and goose
  • Great with mushrooms
  • Adds interesting earthiness to cocktails

For the Medicine Cabinet

  • Naturally antiseptic, use it to make a mouthwash. Try out this recipe from Vegan Epicurean.
  • Mash the leaves into a poultice and apply to sores and skin inflammations (source)

Or try this mouthwash with thyme and sage oils. And get Thyme Extract that’s ready to use in all sorts of remedies.

 

How do you make use of herbs outside of the kitchen? Tell us your tips and tricks!

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Lemon Balm – Quinn Dombrowksi

Basil – Amanda Slater

Rosemary – Anthea Brown

Sage from my herb garden – Alice Henneman

Peppermint – Hidetsugu Tonomura

Pardon me, do you have the thyme? – Michael Lehet

 

 

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