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My Favorite Herbs

My Favorite Herbs

As the light returns and the soil warms, I am giddy knowing that soon the perennials will start showing their greens and the tulips will poke their heads out of the ground. While growing cut flowers is a newer endeavor, I've always had a poteger garden filled with vegetables, herbs, and medicinal flowers. Below is a list of my favorite herbs.

Nettles was my herbal ally for the past year and I love it dried in tea with a little bit of honey and oat milk. Without any additives, it has a mild taste, not bitter at all like some herbs. As an adaptogen I use it for nervous system regulation. I also use it in a hair rinse, along with rosemary, since it’s high in silica and helps keep hair shiny. I have also infused it in olive oil along with horsetail for a special shampoo bar, which I've run out of too quickly and should make more. While this herb can be found in the wild I much rather grow it in a pot and tuck it away where my legs can’t brush up against its stinging hairs. When picking wear gloves, or handle the plant by its leaves as the needles are on the stems. For the garden, I've heard you can make a compost tea by submerging the fresh plant in a bucket of water to leave for a few days. Once the compost is done, take a tablespoon and add to a gallon of water.

Calendulas are rays of sunshine in the garden; I find I can't grow enough. I like to use this herb in a ritual during the winter solstice, as an offering to the sun for its return. It’s a beginner’s herb; just sow seeds in the ground or in a pot and they will grow without any problems. It has been used medicinally as a wound healer for small scrapes, minor burns and eczema. Calendula can be found in our salves and soaps but I also like to infuse the dried flowers in oil and later apply to dry scalp. It's an edible herbs, dressing up a salad with calendula flowers would be a delight for your dinner guests.

Yarrow: I have a particular fond memory of camping during July Fourth and being surrounded by a field of dancing yarrow. The stems are equally beautiful in bouquets and wreaths, the latter being that it dries well and retains its color. While I've heard that the cut hybrid varieties such as Summer Berries can hold medicinal properties, I prefer the white yarrow that is native to Colorado as this original variety holds more potent properties. Yarrow has been used for centuries for wound healing and stopping the flow of blood making it useful for minor cuts and scapes. Just be sure to clean out your wound first before applying it to your skin. You can pound into a poultice but I've always just chewed it and place on wound. You can find yarrow in our all purpose salve.

Chamomile: Nothing knocks me out in the best way as chamomile tea. Just the apple scent alone will signal my brain to snooze. I grow both the annual, German, and perennial, Roman. The one difference being the height. German chamomile grows taller and technically can be used in floral bouquets though I prefer feverfew (they get mistaken often) because of its sturdier stem. Traditionally, chamomile has been used to treat menstruation pain, inflammation, insomnia, and mild skin conditions. I like it best dried and then, you've guessed it, used in an herbal tea.