PRIVATE: Carrot Common Garden Workshop

Herbs and their uses day to day.

How to grow useful herbs and how to use them for teas, traditional medicines and in cooking.

Angelica (Angelica archangelica): Used for bronchitis and chest complaints, angelica is said to relieve the pain of gout and rheumatism, and can be used as an eyewash and skin refresher. A 3/8-teaspoon dose of the powdered root helps guard against infection during a fast.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria): Catnip tea is a pleasant household remedy for nervousness, upset stomach, chronic bronchitis, colic, spasms, flatulence, or diarrhea.

*Comfrey (Symphytum officinale): An excellent "drawing" poultice for wounds, infections, bruises, insect bites, and pulled tendons, comfrey is also used as a tea to relieve asthma, rheumatism, ulcers, bleeding gums, and throat inflammations, although it's currently under investigation as a possible carcinogen. Its common name, "Knitbone", is no doubt derived from the fact that its roots and leaves contain allantoin, a substance used to promote healing. Comfrey is considered a major healing herb.

*Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea): The leaves of this beautiful garden flower yield digitalis, a cardiac stimulant and tonic. Incidentally, handling the plant gives some people a rash and headache.

Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris): An infusion of the plant—4 teaspoons of dried herb steeped in 1 cup of water for 10 minutes—will stimulate the appetite, relieve diarrhea, and stem internal bleeding (it acts as a coagulant). Either the infusion or a poultice is good to apply to wounds.

Parsley (Petroselinium crispum): Used for combating halitosis and (in the days of the ancient Greeks) drunkenness, parsley can help in cases of dropsy, conjunctivitis, coughs, and bruises ... but it's best known as a powerhouse of nutrition.

*Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium): Most everyone knows the plants helps repel fleas.

Primrose (Primula vulgaris): To treat headaches, insomnia, nervousness, or general weakness, make a tea of the flowering plant. A decoction of the rootstock makes a good expectorant, helpful in cases of lung congestion, coughs, and bronchitis.

Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris): An infusion of the fresh herb in May, when it's most potent, makes a strengthening tonic and a gargle that relieves inflammation of the tongue, mouth, and throat. The bruised plant makes a styptic salve to stanch cuts.

Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum): The roots make a poultice for bruises, inflammations, and wounds. A wash made from an infusion of the whole plant was at one time used for skin blemishes and the ravages of poison ivy.

Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata): The roots can be eaten fresh for coughs, weak stomachs, and flatulence, while an infusion in brandy or water is reputed to be a valuable tonic and gentle stimulant. Aromatic in all its parts, the herb can be used much like anise.

Sweet Violet (Viola odorata): The leaves can be used as a blood cleanser. An infusion eases nervousness, insomnia, headaches, respiratory problems, and the pains of throat cancer (claims have even been made that it effected a cure).

Anise (Pimpinella anisum): The seeds can be chewed to sweeten the breath or added to hot milk and taken before bedtime to prevent insomnia. Anise promotes digestion, improves the appetite, eases cramps and nausea, and relieves flatulence and colic, especially in infants.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Basil tea relieves stomach cramps, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, and enteritis. A poultice can draw the poison from insect bites.

Bee Balm (Monarda didyma): This popular herb can be used as a medicine for colds or sore throats, as a sedative, and as a tonic against depression. Bee balm tea can also relieve nausea, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea. The fresh leaves are said to repel gnats and mosquitoes.

Borage (Borago officinalis): Used internally for fevers and lung problems, borage promotes sweating, restores vitality, and is somewhat anti-inflammatory. Poultices are useful for skin problems but may actually cause dermatitis in some people.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis): The tea or the fresh-squeezed juice can be taken for stomach cramps, ulcers, colitis, diarrhea, fever, boils, abcesses, or recurrent vomiting. The salve or diluted tincture is good for sprains, bruises, boils and sores.

Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile): Many people are familiar with chamomile tea, which can be used as a sedative and for fever. Chamomile oil can be taken internally for colic, spasms, and stomach cramps; as a rubbing oil it relieves swellings, calluses, and painful joints.

Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea): Best known as a remedy for eye inflammations (as a mucilage of the seeds or decoction of the herb), clary sage also produces a tea that can be taken for heat prostration, indigestion, hysteria, and tumors.

Dill (Anethum graveolens): Like anise, dill seeds are good for halitosis, flatulence, and colic; they also stimulate the appetite and promote the flow of milk. An unusual remedy for hiccups calls for boiling the seeds in wine and inhaling the scent.

Elecampane (Inula helenium): A rich source of an alkaloid that's bactericidal and antiseptic, elecampane is used as a tea to relieve coughing and tone the stomach, as a wash for scabies and itching, and as a decoction to expel worms. The oil is used for respiratory problems and diarrhea.

Horehound (Marrubium vulgare): Used primarily as a remedy for coughs, sore throats, and bronchial complaints, horehound calms heart action and restores the balance of internal secretions.

Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis): Use hyssop tea for poor digestion, coughs, nose and throat infections, and flatulence. A decoction relieves inflammations and may be used as a wash for burns and bruises. Apply the crushed, fresh leaves to wounds and bruises to prevent infection.

Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia): The oil is used for headaches and to revive fainting victims, and has antiseptic properties. A decoction of the leaves helps stomach problems, nausea, and vomiting. The scent is a mild stimulant.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Make a poultice from the leaves for sores, tumors, and insect bites. Drink the tea to relieve dyspepsia, headaches, bronchial catarrh, and toothache . . . or add it to the bathwater for nervous tension and insomnia.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana): Marjoram's many medicinal uses include the relief of colic, upset stomach, cramps and nausea, sprains, varicose veins, headache, toothache, and insomnia.

Mint (Mentha species): Two of the best-known species of mint are spearmint, which helps expel gas and stimulates the appetite, and peppermint, which relieves gas pains, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and has antibacterial properties. Most varieties make a delicious tea.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus): Boil the leaves and inhale the steam to relieve lung congestion. The leaf tea helps coughs, bronchitis, and hoarseness, while the flower tea relieves pain and induces sleep. Fomentations help skin conditions and inflammations, and poultices or the powdered dry leaves can be used for wounds and sores.

Rose (Rosa species): Rose petal tea is drunk for headache and dizziness and as a heart and nerve tonic, while a powder or tincture is said to be useful for hemorrhages. Rosewater makes a good ointment for rough, chapped skin.

*Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): Salve made from the oil is used for sores, rheumatic joints, eczema, and wounds. Taken internally, rosemary improves circulation and raises blood pressure, but excessive amounts can cause fatal poisoning.

*Rue (Ruta graveolens): Rue is used primarily to relieve the pain of gout and to treat palpitations. The tea relieves gas pains and cramps caused by nervous indigestion. Large doses may cause mild poisoning, and certain people are allergic to the leaves.

Sage (Salvia officinalis): Some antifungal and antibacterial properties contribute to sage's reputation as an important healing herb. The tea makes a good gargle for sores in the mouth and throat, helps remove excessive mucus from the lungs and stomach, prevents night sweats, and alleviates gas in stomach and bowels.

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum): This ancient plant is a calmative, helpful to the nervous system, liver, and urinary organs. The oil can be used internally for stomach ache and externally for burns, wounds, and sores. The flower tea is good for anemia, insomnia, and jaundice. Use of the herb may, however, make the skin sensitive to light.

Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum): Southernwood can be used to treat stomach problems, fever, coughs, mucous congestion, and catarrh. Fomentations are useful against skin eruptions. The dried leaves are frequently used in potpourris and sachets that repel insects.

Thyme (Thymus species): Oil of thyme is a powerful antiseptic and may be used to remove warts. The tea is favored for many throat and bronchial problems and can be added to the bathwater to relieve swellings, sprains, asthma, cramps, and nervous exhaustion.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): This plant is a sedative for nervous disorders, heart palpitations, and hysteria. After soaking the root in cold water for 10-12 hours, boil it and add the liquid to the bathwater to relieve insomnia. In the past, it was used for children with behavioral problems.

*Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium): A tonic and stimulant, wormwood tea helps relieve labor pains. Poultices are good for bruises and swelling, and the oil acts as an anesthetic when applied to neuralgia-stricken areas of arthritic joints. The oil—in fact, the whole plant—is very powerful and should not be used in excess.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Because of its antibiotic qualities, this herb reduces inflammation and makes a good poultice for wounds and boils. As a tea, it's good for menstrual irregularities, hemorrhoids, flatulence, and palpitations.
Of course, the gardens illustrated here are only suggestions. If you're a novice in growing herbs, you may find it easier and more enjoyable to start with just one or two plants, rather than with the wide spectrum included in the diagrams. One of the nicest things about herbs is their willingness to thrive in a small, unobtrusive, sunny corner or in an out-of-the-way, shady spot, where fussier plants would droop and die.

2017/08/04 - 7:00pm - 9:00pm