If you have been to any of my classes, you know my passion for natural healing and for the natural world. I've found that many of our community members share this passion. I’m not a medical professional but have learned a lot from my herbalist friends and love to share. Please read up before using wild or cultivated herbs and mind the cautions. These pictures are from my midsummer garden and the healthy benefits described below are just a few of their wonderful qualities. I encourage the whole community to share about their gardens and add pictures and talk about how you use your plants for healing, beauty and for food.
Mint and Lemon Balm
Mint is a miracle herb for digestive discomfort. Whenever I have a stomachache, I drink mint tea or just chew some mint and it almost immediately relieves it. Even a peppermint lozenge works wonders for this. Mint is also used to treat IBS, to improve cold symptoms, to reduce pain and to freshen the breath. Lemon balm, which is in the mint family, has many of these same qualities and is a miracle herb for the nervous system, it calms and soothes and helps with sleep. Peppermint and spearmint are among the other variations in the mint family and all can be dried and used in teas and smoothies or just chewed. Invigorating peppermint oil is wonderful in soaps and lotions and a few drops can even be added to a glass drinking water.
I cook almost every day with this herb, blanched almonds soaked in coconut amino acids and rosemary, then dried are so delicious (they sell them at Trader joe’s too, that’s where I got the idea). Rosemary helps with digestion, heartburn, gas and loss of appetite. It also can treat gout, coughs, headaches, blood pressure issues, stress and depression. Rosemary oil increases circulation which helps relieve muscle aches and arthritis - it is also famous for hair, it is added to shampoos and rinses and is a remedy for hair loss as it stimulates circulation when rubbed into the scalp, which also can help with head pain as well as concentration and memory retention.
I like to crush lavender leaves up and just inhale their scent, it instantly cheers me up. At our MKY yoga teacher Jennifer's behest, I recently used lavender oil on a real bad burn and was astounded at how fast it began to heal! So grateful! It is good for all kinds of wound healing, fungal infections and muscle pain. It is also good to rub on the scalp to prevent hair loss and when rubbed on the skin and inhaled is good for emotional symptoms, including premenstrual angst and moodiness.
Queen of all Chinese herbs, the berries have been famous for centuries for women’s beauty. It lowers inflammation, supports adrenal function, improves liver function, protects and beautifies the skin, improves mental functions and helps with healthy sexuality. I’m still waiting for my four thriving plants (planted in the shade) to bear berries. Probably will have to consult my local gardening club about this soon. Schizandra cleans both the liver and the blood at the same time. Just a wonderful five flavor herb that improves all-around health, perhaps more than any other herb.
I first became interested in this plant when I got bit by a tick as it contains resveratrol, the number one herb for Lyme disease and it grows in abundance in all the places where lyme it prevalent. It is also high in vitamin A and C and antioxidants that support vision. It reduces inflammation, boosts immunity and promotes brain health. It is also known to detox the liver and prevent heart disease, reduce cholesterol, maintain healthy blood sugar and beautify the skin. It can reduce inflammation in the GI tract and treat gout as well. Resveratrol also induces autophagy, which cleans up the whole body, repairing every cell. Quite a powerhouse, anti-aging herb!. I gather this herb wherever I can find it, which is almost anywhere, because my plants are still so young. I make tea from the stems and leaves and also add the stems to my smoothies.
Rosehips are the big round bulbs that remain after a rose dies. I have a virtual rose garden in my yard and dry all my rosehips and grind them up in the coffee grinder and steep them in tea. Rosehips are a potent form of vitamin C and have been used to treat diabetes, diarrhea, digestive disorders, urinary tract infections and the flu.Read up on rosehips before using them as there are some cautions. Rose hip oil is one of the most famous beauty oils around. The biggest rose hips I’ve ever seen are by the beach.
Please tell us about your garden, even if it’s a windowsill garden, in the comments below. We love our plants and benefit from them so much, so let’s share the love.
Next month, in this botanical vein, we are going to explore yoni herbs, yoni steaming and flower essences that assist that part of the body, including the perineum point which often deserves healing in females. Marla, one of our cherished members, along with myself, will share expertise and resources. If you have any knowledge in this area, please get ready to share on our August blog. Sat Nam and Wahe Guru!!!