Homesteading Forum banner

Not open for further replies.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

9,283 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(Culpepper) If you know anything about herbs, you'll know where I got my user name from. Nicholas Culpeper, one of the most famous English herbalists/physicians. I've been researching herbs for most of my life, have grown and sold them commercially, and have written several books about them (as yet unpublished). If you search for my posts here, you'll find many which give information about herbs.

I'd just like to make a couple of points about herbs that many people may not be aware of. Of necessity, this is very brief indeed. For one thing, it's difficult to generalise with herbs, because they are so many of them - around 20,000 are known.

First, most herbs have medicinal uses, even the most commonly-used culinary herbs. This means that they are medicines (drugs) when taken in medicinal (therapeutic) amounts. And like more conventional medications, individuals will react differently to them. A very high percentage of conventional medications are actually derived or obtained from herbs, or are synthesised copies of some components of herbs - Aspirin, for instance, comes from either Meadowsweet or White Willow bark. DO NOT assume that because it is 'natural' it is also 'safe'. Do NOT assume that because a little may be good for you, then a whole lot will be better!! Before using any herb medicinally, please check with a doctor. Some herbs can affect other conditions you have besides the one you want to treat; some are contraindicated for use in pregnancy or when breastfeeding, if you suffer from kidney problems, heart problems, blood pressure problems, diabetes or any number of other conditions. Most herbs are multi-purpose, so be careful about combining herbs with herbs. If you are taking any conventional medication, check out whether a particular herb will interact with it. This applies even to hormone medications, like the contraceptive pill (the origins of which came from Wild Yam, BTW), or cough syrups or sore-throat lozenges or headache pills. Ginseng, for instance, can interfere with the absorption of Vitamin C.

Second, it's never a good idea to start self-diagnosing or self-treating, with herbs or any other form of medication. As with conventional medicines, the required dosage may vary from person to person. And, while you think your headache may be from tiredness or the need for glasses, it just might be a brain tumour you've got, or dangerously high blood pressure!!

Third, it is never a good idea to give herbal medications to children without first consulting a doctor. A herbal tea is a herbal medication. (That applies to ordinary black or green tea, too!) As a broad rule of thumb, a cup of herbal tea is a daily dosage for an adult. But children need only a teaspoonful. And children often react very differently to herbs than do adults. You CAN overdose on herbs, and some have accumulative effects over time. Also never assume that because a herb is good for humans, it is also good for pets.

Fourth, NEVER use herbal teas as beverages. They are medicines, and should be used only to treat a specific ailment, as advised by a professional medical expert. Even the mildest herbal tea may have side-effects in some people. For instance, a cup of peppermint tea every day can cause, after time, palpitations, digestive problems, jitteriness, excessive sweating and a range of other side-effects. A single cup of lemon balm tea may give you night-sweats, and if you have a thryoid disorder (diagnosed or undiagnosed), it might make you very ill indeed.

Fifth, if you are likely to have surgery or dental surgery, consult your doctor, anaesthetist or dentist several weeks beforehand. They will usually advise you to stop taking all herbal medications (including some vitamin supplements etc) up to 4 weeks before surgery, because so many of them have the potential to interfere with anaesthesia, or to cause excessive bleeding during and after the procedure, or cause other major problems.

Sixth, certain herbs should be avoided altogether in pregnancy, including moderate use for cooking. A great many herbs act on the muscles of the uterus, and this can mean abortion (miscarriage), or convulsions or other problems. Parsley and pennyroyal are notorious for this (pennyroyal is just another kind of mint). Parsley and many other herbs can also cause deformities in the developing foetus. Again, a matter to discuss with your doctor.

In short, treat herbs with the caution and the great respect they deserve. If you don't know what you're doing, then don't do it! Just to get my point(s) across, take a look at the following:

Warnings about Garlic: Avoid large doses of garlic if suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, or if suffering from restlessness, insomnia with accompanying exhaustion, thirst and dehydration. Therapeutic use should be avoided during pregnancy and lactation. Ingesting more than 10 raw cloves per day can be toxic. Pure, undiluted juice used externally can burn sensitive skin. (Remember that garlic can be absorbed through the skin.) Garlic capsules combined with diabetes medication can cause a dangerous decrease in blood sugars. Do not use garlic if taking any of the following: Aspirin. Anticoagulants. Diabetes medications. Hypoglycaemic drugs. Antiplatelet drugs. Warfarin. Some people who are sensitive to garlic may experience heartburn and flatulence.

Warnings about Ginger: If suffering from gallstones, or if pregnant or nursing, consult a health care professional before taking large amounts of ginger. Daily consumption of ginger root may interfere with the absorption of dietary iron and fat-soluble vitamins, as well as tetracycline derivatives, oral anticholinergics, phenothiazines, digoxin, isoniazid, pheytoin, warfarin, lincomycin, digitalis, nalidixic acid, sulfonamides, and phenothiozines or other psychoactive agents which are poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. Ginger may mask the toxicity caused by aminoglycoside antibiotics such as neomycin. It may inhibit urinary excretion of alkaline drugs, such as amphetamines or quinidine.

9,283 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Anise * 24" tall * 12" spacing * planting depth 1/8-1/4" * days to germ 14-18 * annual * Licorice flavor and aroma. Large jagged leaves and lacy, white flowers. Provides abundant, flavorful seeds. Sow directly outdoors. For best results plant in a sunny location. Pick fresh leaves all season. Harvest seeds when they turn grey-green. Removing seed heads encourages production. Delicious in baked and confectionary goods. Enhances flavor of applesauce and fruit salad. Fresh chopped leaves are appealing in soups, stews, sauces and salads. Harvest mature seeds and stems on a dry summer day, dry in a cool place, remove seeds and store in airtight containers. Best known for flavoring liqueurs such as anisette. Aids in digestion and eases cough. Related to caraway and dill. Oil extracted from the seeds is used to make absinthe and it is used in medicine. The flower, powdered and infused with vermouth, is used for flavoring muscatel wine. Anise is antiseptic with oils of peppermint or wintergreen and is useful as an ointment ( when mixed with lard) for lice and itching from insect bites. When sown with coriander, anise seed will germinate better, grow more vigorously and form better heads. (june02bug)

Basil Basil's Greek name basileus, meaning "king," indicates its royal position among herbs. Refreshing, aromatic flavor. Used in tomato dishes, salad, soup, cottage cheese, stew, eggs, vinegar, sausage, chopped meat, vegetables, fish, poultry and sauce. Clove pepperish odor and taste. Direct sow. Transplant after danger of frost. Pinch stem tips to increase bushiness. Just before flowers open cut stems above small side shoots which grow later. Strip leaves and use fresh. Quick freezing is the best way to preserve. To quick freeze - clean and dry whole sprigs with leaves and pack in plastic bags with the air forced out. Warm weather annual. Great addition to flower borders. Does well in containers. Helps tomatos over come insects and disease. Also improves growth and flavor. Dislikes rue intensely. Grow parallel to tomatos rather than among them because of size. Repels flies and mosquitos. Pinch tips to increase bushiness. When laid over tomatos in serving bowl will deter fruit flies. Sometimes used to give a subtle , indefinable but delicious flavor to pound cake. Can be used in certian dishes to replace black pepper, of value to people who have digestive problems yet enjoy pepper as a flavoring. Comes in many flavors and scents. Basil brings strength; often resommended to people recovering from debilitating illness. Basil aslo has antispasmodic properties that can alleviate digestive complaints. A tea made from basil can make bowels move but too much of it can cause diarrhea. Basil's strong essential oilhas a wide range of sues, but it is most notable as a tonic for the nervous system. Is said to ease heacaches, anxiety, tension and to bring clarity and strength to a fatigued mind. It also acts as a carminative, meaning that it relieves gas. Grows well in pots in partial shade or indoors on sunny windowsills. Sow or set out seedlings after threat of frost has gone. Choose your location carefully because too hot a midday sun or too strong a wind can "burn" the tender leaves. Seedling are suceptible to damping off. Prevent by watering with cool chamomile or nettle tea until first true leaves appear. When plants are bushy it is time to harvest - continue all summer long. Pick larger leaves first leaving smaller ones to grow. To extend harvest pinch flower stalks as they appear. Annual or tender perennial. As the growing season nears it's end let basil flower and go to seed, which allows you to have basil every year without doing any more than waiting for spring. Fleas do not like basil. (June02bug)

Sweet Basil
Planting Depth: 1/4" * Days to Germ.: 10-18 * Plant Spacing: 15"-18" * Days to Maturity: 80-90 * Full Sun to Part Shade * Moderate Water * 18-24" tall * Sweet basil has particular affinity for tomatos, and no tomato dish should be served without it. Classic ingredient of Italian pesto. See also basil.

Windowbox Mini Basil
Ocimum basilicum * Plant in late March to July * Full sun * Planting depth 1/2" * Days to germinate 7-14 * Mature height 8-10" * plant 8" apart * Neat, compact and richly aromatic. Imported from Italy. Grown in windowboxes, containers or as edging. Grows into rounded umbrella shapes with tiny bright green leaves about 1/2" long. Snip small clusters of the deliciously scented leaves to enjoy in everyday cooking. Hold longer than thier bigger cousins. Summer/Fall harvest. Heat loving, frost tender. When late spring weather has thoroughly warmed up, sow seeds in well worked fertile soil in full sun. Keep moist. Can be started indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost. Keep warm, evenly moist, and provide good light source. When weather is warm and seedlings are large enough to handle gradually acclimate to outdoor conditions before transplanting into garden. Transplant when nighttime temperatures stay above 50F. Keep flower buds pinched off to extend harvestand feed regularly to promote new growth. See basil and sweet basil.

Mrs. Burn's Lemon Basil
* Ocimum basilicum * 'Mrs. Burns' * up to 3 ft tall * pink flowers * Excellent lemon scent with larger leaves and more robust growth habit then the standard lemon basil variety. See also basil.

Chamomile (Shepmom)
Chamomile tea- relaxing and soothing. (digestive, muscle spasms and earache) Sometimes, I sprinkle in cinnamon or ginger to change the flavor or add a spark.
My grandmother use to boil dried chamomile when I was a child and dip a cotton ball in the solution and place it in a painful ear. (hot, but not enough to burn) It stopped the pain. I think the inner ear pain was from the extreme outdoor cold. I loved to stay out playing in the snow and was oblivious to the cold temps. Never saw a doctor for ear pain as a child, so not sure if the ear drums were inflammed or what. The chamomile worked everytime. I've planted seeds twice in NC and can't get it to grow

Chamomile, German
Matricaria recutita * Medicinal * 18-30 in. tall * Tender Perennial/Hardy Perennial (some sources say annual) * Planting Depth: Surface - do not cover * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 55-60°F * Days to Germ.: 7-14 * Plant Spacing: 6" * Days to Maturity: 70-80 * Full Sun * Moderate Water * reseeds itself *
A delight for your eyes, taste buds, and overall well being. Its fragrant, delicate, miniature, daisy-like flowers dance on lacy foliage. Known to be used medicinally for hundreds of years, the flower buds when dried can make a wonderfully soothing tea calms the nerves, upset stomachs, promote digestion especially after heavy meals. Flowers are used fresh or dried. A companion plant, it can enhance the growth of cucumbers, cabbages, onions and most other herbs. Blooms are 1/2". Reseeding annual. Its soothing and cleansing effect also makes the tea a beneficial skin wash. Preserve by drying. After danger of frost, sow seeds in open ground well exposed. Barely cover seeds with soil; need light to germinate. When plants are 2 inches tall, thin or transplant. Harvest flowers while in full bloom and keep flowers cut back to encourage new growth. Store flowers in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. German is the most prolific producer of flowers. Contains chamazulene, which has antiallergic and anti-inflammatory properties when used in the form of tea. Tea will calm a cranky baby. Tea is used for diarrhea or scours in calves. A compress of one third each chamomile, lemon balm and chervil will cure hoof rot in animals. Flowers can be used in the dog's bed stuffing against fleas, occasionally add more to freshen up. The blossoms soaked in cold water for a day or two can be used as a spray for treating many plant diseases and to control damping off in greenhouses and cold frames. (June02bug)

Chia, Tarahumara
Salvia tiliafolia * Rare - Traditional * 4-6 ft. Tender Annual * Planting Depth: 1/2" * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 60-80°F * Days to Germ.: 7-10 * Plant Spacing: 2-4' * Days to Maturity: 110 - 120 * Full Sun * Moderate Water *
Blue flower spikes are tall (10") and vibrant. The plant is a traditional food crop of the Chumash people indigenous to Southern California, as well as for the Tarahumara people of Mexico. Still used for long-distance running by the Tarahumarans, it is said that if the seed is mixed with water to make a gel, one tablespoon can sustain a person's energy level for 24 hours. Sow in early spring in a sunny spot in rows 2 feet apart. In Mexico, the seeds are roasted, ground, and added to water, forming a gel. Keep evenly moist during germination. Keep well watered through maturity, allowing soil surface to dry between waterings. (June02bug)

9,283 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Garlic Chives (Chinese Leeks)
Allium tuberosum * Heirloom - Medicinal * 1-2 ft. Hardy Perennial * Planting Depth: 1/8"-1/4" * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 55-75°F * Days to Germ.: 7-15 * Plant Spacing: 10-12" * Days to Maturity: 60-90 * Full Sun * Moderate Water * white flowers * zones 3-9 * Mild garlic flavor. Other info under garden chives. (June02bug)

Garden Chives
Allium schoenoprasum * 8-12 in. tall * Hardy Perennial * Planting Depth: 3/8" * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 55-75°F * Days to Germ.: 7-14 * Plant Spacing: 10"-12" * Days to Maturity: 60-90 * Full Sun * Moderate Water * pink/purple flowers * zones 3-9
Dense clusters of grass-like foliage are mildly onion-flavored, contain Vitamin C, some iron, and can help promote digestion. Produces 1-2 in. flowers bees love. Popular in 16th century European gardens for flavoring soups and salads, both the leaves and the 1.5" flowers add spicy flavor to cooking and they have been known to be used in Chinese medicine for kidneys, lower back and knees. Also used in stir-fry, vegetables, omlettes and cheese dishes. Direct seed in cool soil during early spring in permanent location in garden. For earlier plants, start indoors 6-8 weeks before transplanting in early spring. During germination, keep entire seedbed moist and well watered through maturity. Cut leaves from mature plants at any time. The most delicate member of the onion family. Essential kitchen herb! Palatable as it is to humans, nasty insects stay away in droves from it and neighbouring plants. Can be grown in clumps. Transplants easily. Divide clumps every 2 years. Harvest after 4" tall, clip outer leaves with scissors right back to base. Use fresh or frozen. Flavor doesn't hold well when dried. Good companion to carrots improving growth and flavor. Planted in apple orchards they are of benefit in preventing apple scab or made into chive tea may be used as a spray for apple scab or against powdery mildew on gooseberries and cucumbers. (June02bug)

Cilantro (Coriander Seed)
Coriandrum * 18-24" Hardy Annual/Reseeding * Planting Depth: 1/4 - 1/2" * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 60-70°F * Days to Germ.: 10-14 * Plant Spacing: 6-12" * Days to Maturity: 70 * Full Sun * Moderate Water *
Grown by many cultures for centuries. Plant grows quickly. Pull off a few leaves to use fresh whenever desired for best flavor. Fresh leaves are used in salsa and the dried seed (coriander) is an essential ingredient in East Indian cooking. Direct seed in spring when soil is warming. Likes cool weather. Do successive plantings 3-4 weeks apart for a continuous supply. Pinch off seed heads to keep productive. Fresh leaves, called cilantro, can be harvested at any time, but have more flavor before plant flowers. The spice, coriander, is the mature seed. In North America, cilantro is the name by which fresh coriander is known. Chefs use its pungent, citrusy leaves, musky roots and sweet, aromatic seeds. For thousands of years it has been appreciated for its culinary and medicinal properties in South Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Leaves provide a essentail cool, pungent contrast to spicy dishes. Seeds add a pleasing, citrus aroma and flavor to soups, pickles, bread and baked goods. Sow outdoors in a sunny location in spring after danger of frost or sow from fall to early spring in frost-free areas. Cover seeds lightly with 1/4" of soil as darkness aids in germination. Keep soil moist. To harvest seeds cut flower stalks when they begin to fade, Tie upside down to dry. Place in paper bag or over cloth to catch seeds. Also used in chili sauces, curries and exotic dishes. Repels aphids while being immune to them. Helps anise germinate but hinders seed formation in fennel. Flowers attract to bees. Many thing that the foliage and fresh seed of coriander has a disagreeable smell, but as the seeds ripen they gain a delicious fragrance which intensifies as they dry. Seeds sometimes sugar coated as a confection. Has four times more carotene than parsley, three times as much calcium, more protein, minerals, riboflavin, B1 and niacin. Oil of coriander is used medicinally to correct nausea. (June02bug)

Bouquet Dill
Anethum graveolens * 30-36 in. * Hardy Annual/Reseeding * Planting Depth: 1/4"-1/2" * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 60-75°F * Days to Germ.: 10-14 * Plant Spacing: 10-12" * Days to Maturity: 65-70 * Full Sun/Partial Shade * Moderate Water A dwarf compact variety of dill with a lovely aroma. Attractive plant has a larger leaf than other varieties. The best dill to grow for the production of seeds. Direct seed, 1 seed per inch, in a sunny place in the garden in late spring/early summer or fall - do not sow during hot summer weather or plants will go to seed before reaching harvest size. Enrich soil with mature compost. During germination, keep entire seedbed evenly moist.

Dill *Anethum graveolens * 40" tall * Finely cut foliage. To use the leaf as a dried herb, harvest before the plant flowers. Mature seeds can be harvested for a spice. Best known as an ingredient in dill pickles. Chopped leaves have rare affinity for sour cream and cucumbers. Finely cut foliage. For fresh use as "dillweed". Does not transplant well. Begin leaf harvest anytime after plants begin vigorous growth. When first seeds begin to darken and fall - cut entire stem and hang inside a paper bag. The bag will catch the seeds as they dry and fall. Easy to grow. Used in salads, dips, vinegars, meat, fish and vegetables. Seed used in pickles, baked goods, cheeses and vinegar. Good companion to cabbage. Does not do well by carrots and if allowed to mature will greatly reduce crop. Does well if sowed in empty spaces where early beets have been harvested and light sowings can be made with lettuce, onions or cucumbers. Honey bees like to visit dill blossoms. (June02bug)

Echinacea---Purple Coneflower
(June02bug) Echinacea purpurea * 2-3 ft. * Planting Depth: 1/4"-1/2" * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 70°F * Days to Germ.: 10-14 * Plant Spacing: 12-24" * Days to Maturity: Perennial * Full Sun * Moderate Water *zones 3-10
The easiest of the Echinaceas to grow, the rose-purple, daisy-like flowers have burnt orange centers. Blooms from July to September and makes a long-lasting cut flower. As a medicinal, it is said to stimulate growth of blood cells and enhance the immune system. Echinacea is now a household name and preparations made from it are found in every corner pharmacy. It is truly the queen of medicinal herbs because it not only helps the body fight off disease by boosting the immune system, it is one of the showiest perennial herbs in the garden. Roots are the most potent part, but leaves and seeds are also used in herbal medicines.

Chenopodium ambrosioides * Rare - Traditional - Medicinal * 30-36 in. * Hardy Annual * Planting Depth: 1/4" * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 60-70°F * Days to Germ.: 7-14 * Plant Spacing: 12-18" * Days to Maturity: 45-65 * Full Sun * Moderate Water *
"Mexican Tea", this aromatic herb enhances black beans, corn, mushrooms, fish, shellfish and aids digestion. Medicinally, known to kill intestinal worms. Easy to grow. Best direct seeded in the garden in mid-spring when only mild frosts can still occur. May also be started indoors 4-6 weeks before last spring frost. During germination, keep evenly moist. Keep well watered through maturity, allowing soil surface to dry between waterings. Pinch of flowers to encourage leaf production. Also called wormseed. Wormseed oil is frequently prescribed to expel intestinal parasites. Strong scented foliage. (June02bug)

9,283 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Fennel Flowers and finely textured leaves are used as licorice-flavored seasoning in Italian cooking. Harvest after seeds set. Sow directly outdoors in a warm, sunny location. Fennel likes dry, sandy soil. To encourage production, remove flower stalks as they ripen. Harvest leaves and dry in a cool, airy place. Store in airtight container. Used with oily fish like mackerel, eel, and salmon to improve digestibility. Blooms attract bees and butterflys. Avoid planting near dill, coriander and angelica because these plants often cross pollinate abd therefore loose their own unique flavor. Most plants dislike fennel and it is one herb which should be planted away from the vegetable garden, since it has an inhibiting effect on bush beans, caraway, kohlrabi and tomatos. Planted away from the garden is valuable for its masses of fringed foliage. At one time the fragrant seeds, which smell and taste like licorice, were made into a tea soothing to colicky babies. Mixed with peppermint leaves it also makes a delicious tea for adults. Fennel is inhibited by the presence of coriander and will not form seed. It also dislikes wormwood. To the Celts and Anglo-Saxons, fennel's stateliness and affinity for the sun signaled its ability to impart long life, courage and virgility to it's users. It was also gathered ritually to hang above doorways for protection of the home from evil. Used in flower arrangements. Fennel tea is given to infants for it's calming and antiflatulent effects. Ayurvedic practioners recommend chewing3-6 seeds after a meal to improve digestion. Candy-coated fennel seeds were perhaps the nation's first breath fresheners. Seeds are also used in teas to hide the taste of more resinous respiratory herbs. Seeds have antipasmodic properties and may be helpful with digestive spasms. By eating fennel seeds a nursing mother can ease her babies colic. Fennel also has an affinity with the respiratory system and in the past was often used as an ingredient for homemade cough syrups. According the herbalist Steven Foster, a tea made from the leaves has been shown to produce a significant reduction in arterial blood pressure without affecting the heart or respiratory rate. Seed decocted and strained as a tea can also be used as an eyewash for sore or inflamed eyes. Because of its Mediterranean origins, fennel can tolerate drought conditions and survive in even the poorest soil. Prefers full sun. All parts of common fennel are useful: however the subspecies and varieties that are grown more specifically for certian plant parts. Common fresh fennel leaves can be finely chopped and added to fruit salads or to sweet yogurt dressings to adorn them. Added to green salads, oil-and-vinegar dressings, steamed greens, Italian and Greek sauces. The root of common fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) may be eaten raw or cooked but is not quote as tasty as the finocchio variety. Fennel is high in potassium, iron and vitamin C. One cup contains 60 percent of the RDA of vitamin A.

Sweet Fennel
* 3 ft tall * 18" spacing * planting depth 1/8-1/4" * days to germ 14-18 * zones 5-11 * Italian favorite. Secret ingredient of fine pizza. Adds pep to salads, soups, eggs and fish. See also fennel.

Bronze Fennel
* zones 5-11 * Highly decorative form of fennel with bronze-red, lacy foliage. Grown for it's beautiful copper foliage, which makes an attractive garnish that decorates the plates of the finest restaurants.. Leaves can be used like green fennel. See also fennel. (June02bug)

(June02bug) Feverfew
Tanacetum parthenium * 2-3 ft. Hardy Perennial * Planting Depth: Surface * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 70°F * Days to Germ.: 10-15 * Plant Spacing: 6"-12" * Days to Maturity: 90 * Full Sun * Moderate Water * zones 5 - 9 This camphor-scented herb was once known as featherfew because of the plant's lacy leaves. Used medicinally since at least the early 1800s, it is said to be exceedingly effective in controlling migraine headaches, and for relief from arthritis, psoriasis and tension. Best started indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date and transplanted when danger of frost has passed. Sow the tiny seed sparingly on the surface and tamp into the soil. Seeds need light to germinate. Can be picked as a cut flower in July and August. Also known as the "migraine" herb. This easy-to-grow herb is also valued as a decorative plant in the garden and for wreaths, potpourris, etc. A medical survey in England indicates that 1 to 4 leaves of feverfew infused in a tea or eaten in a sandwich daily reduce the number and severity of migraine attacks in some sufferers. It even has pleasant side effects including a sense of well-being, lack of tension and relief from arthritis.Approx. 0.4% parthenolide. Sometimes called pyrethrum - it is not the same plant , but it has insect repellent properties of its own, perhaps because of the spicy scent of its foliage.

(Cyngbaeld) I use a lot of ginger for pain and upset tummies. Really great for nausea if you make a strong hot tea from the ground root. My granny Pearl taught me this.

(Kyhippie) I use lemongrass in salads or cooked in anything that would be good with a little lemon flavoring. For instance, I chop some of it fine and mix with butter to put on fish when I bake it.

Sweet Marjoram
* 18" tall * spacing 6" * planting depth 1/4" *days to germination 8-10 * tender perennial / annual * zones 9-11
Velvety, grey-green, oval leaves have spicy aroma. Start harvesting when 12" tall. For best results start indoors 6-8 weeks before planting outdoors, as marjoram requires a long growing season. In warm area, may be seeded directly outdoors. Harvest leaves continually to keep plants compact and productive. Dry leaves in a warm airy place. Flavorful addition to herb vinegar, fish, vegetable dishes, soups, sauces, stuffings, stews and cream cheese. Pot up a plant and bring indoors for winter use. Rubbing with fresh leaves before roasting improves all strong meats. Adds special flavor to sausage and meatloaf. A must in German potato soup. Use plant tops to dye wool in shades of yellow, orange, brown and grey. This small, easily grown herb is probably one of the oldest herbs in use. Used extensively by the Greeks, who gave it the name, which means "joy of the mountians". Its disinfectant and preserving qualities made it an invaluable culinary herb in the Middle Ages. Beneficial effect on nearby plants, improving both growth and flavor. (June02bug)

(Kyhippie) The juice of the mayapple root can be put on warts to remove them. The only part of the plant that is edible is the fruit. The root, leaves etc will make you ill if you eat them.

(Kyhippie) Mint can be made into jelly which is good with anykind of meat, I use the juice pressed from the leaves to flavor candy or baked goods

Nasturtium * Bedding and borders * full sun* 12-15" tall * Blooms 6-8 weeks from germination. * plant 1/4" deep * 12 - 18 " apart * Tropaeolum majus * Very fragrant flowers bloom profusly. Very easy to grow and will thrive even in poorer soil if well drained. Sow seeds about one week before expected last frost in spring. Keep damp to encourage faster growth. Do not over fertilize so as not to encourage to much leaf growth. Fresh flowers used in salads. Peppery leaves. Ideal as borders, window boxes, hanging baskets. Planted with squash will keep away squash bugs, but be sure to give the flowers a head start since the squash grow more quickly. If aphids appear in the nasturtiums - a sign there is a lime deficiency in your soil - dust the plants with lime and they will disappear. Repels a wide range of harmful insects from vegetables and fruits, planted nearby or made into a spray. It also improves growth and flavor in the neighbor crops. Sown in the greenhouse will help to repel white flies. When planted near broccoli will keep down aphids. Benefits potatos, radishes, curcurbits and any member of the cabbage family. Under apple trees they will protect against woolly aphids. Sprays made from leaves may be used on the same crops which benefit from the plants. Add a small amount of soap powder so the sprays will cover and adhere better. Easily started from seed. Considered to be an aphrodisiac. The flowers, leaves and seeds are said to have antimicrobial properties, especially in relation to the respiratory system. Milder climates flowers from early spring until late fall. Colder regions is limited to warmer months. Soak seeds over night before planting. After planting to not over water - could cause rot. Where summers are hot and dry, plant in a spot with partial shade or filtered sun. In cooler areas plant in full sun or partial shade. Intermix with vegetables for easy harvesting at dininertime. Also plant sporatically around your yard and garden for splashes of color. There are two types a trailing variety that can be grown on the ground or staked to climb about 6 ft tall and a small/dwarf variety that is 12-15" tall. The smaller variety does well in pots and containers. Leaves and flowers have a hot, snappy flavor. Add to salads, potato salads, and pasta dishes. Adventurous cooks can harvest the tight flower buds and pickle them as a tasty substitute for capers. (June02bug)

9,283 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Parsley, Extra Triple Curled
Partial to full sun * seed depth 1/4 " * plant spacing 12 " * days to sprout 25-30 * days to maturity 89-90 * zones 6-9 * Before sowing wash seeds in a mild detergent solution, rinse, soak in water for 24 hours. Transplant in garden shortly before the last frost date. Be patient seeds germinate slowly. Once plants are growing vigorously, pull or cut leaves at stem base - use whole or chopped. To store, dry thoroughly and place in air tight jars. Used in soups, salads, or as garnish. Planted as edging, in flowers, window boxes and containers. Mixed with carrot seed helps to repel carrot flies by masking aroma. Protects roses against rose beetle. Planted with tomatos or asparagus it will give added vigor to both. Poultry are sometimes turned loose in parsley patches where there are many parsley worms, which are the larvae of the black swallowtail butterfly. A number of different strains of parsley are gorwn soley for the fleshey roots which are cooked and eaten in the same way as parsnips.

Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
Petroselinium crispum * Heirloom * 12-18 in. tall * Hardy Biennial * Planting Depth: 1/4" * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 60-80°F * Days to Germ.: 14 - 21 * Plant Spacing: 12-18" * Days to Maturity: 75-80 (some say biennial) * Full Sun to Partial Shade * Moderate Water * zones 6-9
This one is our favorite for seasoning and drying. Use fresh or dried as seasoning or garnish for authentic Italian flavor. Ideal in soups, stews, salads and pesto. Introduced around 1806. With larger leaves than standard strains, has a concentrated flavor and dark-green, glossy leaves. Sow outdoors when danger of frost has passed or start seeds indoors 8 weeks before last frost. Soak seeds over night in warm water before sowing. Transplant after danger of frost has passed. Add parsley towards the end of cooking time for best results. Store fresh-cut parsley in water in a sealed plastic bag in the refridgerator. Very popular. (June02bug)

(Kyhippie) I'm just learning about herbs myself but I do use dried pennyroyal or pennyrile (not sure of the spelling) as an insect repellant. I crush a handful of the fresh leaves and rub any exposed skin to repell mosquitoes and I use the dry plant crumbled in my dogs bedding to repel fleas. One thing to be careful of if you use it in your pets bedding is not to use it if they are pregnant because it can cause miscarriage if they were to eat any of it.

Perilla - shisho red
*Perilla frutescens * Annual * Ht: 2' - 3' * Full Sun * Well Drained Soil * Annual * Culinary * Ornamental * Scented leaves are popular in Japan for flavoring raw fish, bean curd, pickles and tempura. Also used to give scarlet color to pickled plums and preserved ginger. Cinnamon scented leaves with a ginger taste. Used in salads and is a popular Japanese gourmet vegetable. Same as green leafed shiso, but with reddish foliage. Very much used as a garnish.*Perilla frutescens * Annual * Ht: 2' - 3' * Full Sun * Well Drained Soil * Annual * Culinary * Ornamental * Scented leaves are popular in Japan for flavoring raw fish, bean curd, pickles and tempura. Also used to give scarlet color to pickled plums and preserved ginger. Cinnamon scented leaves with a ginger taste. Used in salads and is a popular Japanese gourmet vegetable. Same as green leafed shiso, but with reddish foliage. Very much used as a garnish. (June02bug)

(June02bug) Rosemary
Rosmarinus officianlis * zones 7-11 * Hardy Perennial/Tender Perennial * Planting Depth: 1/4 -1/2" * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 55-70°F * Days to Germ.: 6-10 * Plant Spacing: 4-6" * Days to Maturity: perennial * Full Sun * Moderate Water* This venerable herb of remembrance is an attractive, evergreen, upright shrub with blue flowers, and narrow, richly aromatic leaves. Extremely versatile since it can be used either fresh or dried with culinary, medicinal, ornamental and cosmetic applications. Grow indoors as a container plant, or outdoors where temperatures do not drop below 10 F. Pick fresh leaves for culinary use at anytime. Harvest leaves for drying just before onset of flowering. One of the most fragrant of herbs with many unexpected uses. A little freshly chopped rosemary is interesting with orange sections, appealing in dumplings, biscuits, preserves, and has few equals for poultry stuffings. Most notable with lamb and pork. Excellent homemade shampoos, hair and skin rinses are made with rosemary tea. Needle-like leaves. For maximum seed germination keep seed flat at 18°C (65°F). Sow indoors 10-12 weeks before last expected frost date. Transplant outdoors when danger of frost has passed. Plant in sandy, well-drained soil that has average-low fertility. During germination keep evely moist. After plant becomes established water infrequently as overwatering will harm plant. Students in Greece and Rome were known to wear rosemary behind thier eaars to help them remember thier lessons. Often used in making wreaths, potpourris, nosegays, soaps and candles. Great anitiseptic. Dried and powdered, it can be used as a dressing on wounds, and when infused in a tea rosemary becomes a refreshing mouthwash that can also heal mouth ulcers and canker sores. Essentail oil of rosemary, when used in an aromatherapy diffuser, is excelent for refreshing a sickroom and enlivening the patient. It invigorates the nervous system without stressing it and can be used to relieve headaches. Essentail oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties as well. For respiratory problems, bathing with rosemary can break up congestion. To relieve cold-related nasal and chest congestion, add rosemary to a simmerpot and inhale steam. Promotes healthy digestion and increases the production of bile. It especailly aids in the digestion of fats, which may be the reason it is traditionally the seasoning of choice for fatty meats, such as pork and lamb. It is often a component of circulatory formulas because of its strengthening effects on the veins and arteries. Rosemary is a Mediterranean plant. It likes to be watered, but it does not like wet feet. Allow to dry out between waterings. It is the perfect candidate for raised beds or pots. Easily started by stem cuttings or layering

(Countrygrrrl) Domestic sage --- or the sage generally used for cooking --- is probably the easiest herb to grow in the universe.

If you just throw some seeds out and keep them watered and thinned, they'll grow despite any and every possible menace.

I planted a row of them at my parents' house some years ago in the worst possible soil --- they grew into beautiful large bushes which thrived where nothing else would grow (it was a raised planter made out of railroad ties which leaked any and all water put into it).

I have about fifty small plants going now. I plan to package some and sell it up at a local store, pot others and MAYBE sell them ... and use some for wonderful smelling bushes in bare spots around the yard ... and trim the rest to bring in the house to make it smell absolutely wonderful in here!

I don't know of any medicinal uses for it. But it's great for cooking, as I'm sure everyone knows. And it certainly does brighten up the air.

(Unregistered) According to a book I have.....
It clears congestion, and soothes sore throats, tonsillitis and laryngitis. An infusion is useful as a gargle.

(Kathy H) Sage makes a great tea, just put a few leaves in hot water add honey and drink. Great for colds and asthma as opens chest and helps you breath better

Summer Savory
Satureja hortensis * Heirloom * 2' tall, Tender Annual * Planting Depth: 1/8 - 1/4" * Soil Temp. for Germ.: 60-70°F * Days to Germ.: 10-14 * Plant Spacing: 8-12" * Days to Maturity: 65-75 * Full Sun * Moderate Water *
Used fresh or dried, this easy-to-grow herb has a taste similar to thyme, though milder. Widely used in salads, soups and bean dishes. A delicious addition to a summer squash stir-fry. Introduced from Europe several centuries ago. Sow in a sunny place in the garden from early spring to early summer. For earlier plants, start indoors 4-6 weeks before last frost date and transplant into garden when danger of frost has passed. Clip stems from plant once it has reached 8-10" tall, being careful not to prune the plant too heavily. Harvest entire plant before the first frost. During germinatiom keep evenly moist. Keep well watered through maturity, allowing soil surface to dry between waterings. Most preferred and easiest to grow variety, having the most delicate flavor. In Germany savory is called "the bean herb" because it is good to grow and cook with beans. It goes with onions as well, improving both growth and flavor. (june02bug)

9,283 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tarragon, Mexican (Sweet Mace / Sweet Marigold / Mexican Marigold)
Tagetes lucida * Traditional - Medicinal * zones 8-10 * 12-18 in. * Hardy Annual/Tender Perennial * Planting Depth: 1/2" * soil Temp. for Germ.: 70°F * Days to Germ.: 5-7 * Plant Spacing: 12"-18" * Days to Maturity: 2nd Year * Full Sun * Moderate Water *
Aromatic, anise-flavored leaves are used in seasoning sauces, soups, teas, and vinegar. Bears narrow, glossy green, serrated leaves and small yellow flowers in clusters. The dried leaves and flowers are brewed into a tea traditionally used for colic and malaria. Used as a poultice for rattlesnake bites and ceremonially by native peoples in Central-Southern Mexico. Start indoors 6 weeks before last frost date and transplant to premanent site in the garden. Can also be sown directly in the garden, one seed every two inches after danger of frost in spring. Enrich soil with compost. During germination, keep entire seedbed evenly moist. Keep well watered through maturity, allowing soil surface to dry between waterings. Harvest leaves for drying once plants are at least 8 inches tall. Sweet-smelling leaves and flowers with a flavour similar to tarragon. In warm areas where French tarragon will not grow, this is an excellent substitute. Makes a stimulating tea. Golden yellow flowers. Slow to germinate. (June02bug)

Thyme - English/German/Winter Thymus vulgaris * hardy perrennial * 6-15" plant * planting depth 1/4" * soil temp. for germ. 60-70F * days to germ. 7-14 * plant spacing 8-12" * part to full sun * moderate water * Zone 4-9 Attractive aromatic herb has broad, dark green leaves and a robust growth habit. A versitle seasoning. Its small blossoms attract honeybees. Best sown indoors 4-8 weeks before last frost. Move to sheltered location for a week to harden off before planting in permanent location. Can also be sown 2-3 weeks before last spring frost in prepered garden soil. Needs well drained soil. Mulch heavily to over-winter in colder climates. During germination keep eveny moist. Keep well watered through maturity, allowing soil surface to dry between waterings. Wetting the leaves during watering reduces plants fragrance. Pinch off seed heads to keep plant productive. Can be used fresh, frozen or dried. Enhances flavor of soups, stew, ragout, poultry, fish, meatloaf and rich meats (improves digestibility). Ideal for rockeries, borders and pathways. Most popular variety. Indispensible in French cooking. Essential in bouquet garni.Has an ancient history as a medicinal and culinary herb. The oil still is used as the basis of a patent cough medicine, while thymol has antibacterial powers of considerable importance. But thyme is of value mainly in cooking, being very good for poultry seasoning and dressing. Lemon thyme makes a delicious herbal tea. Deters cabbage worm and is good planted anywhere in the garden, accenting the aromatic qualities of other plants and herbs. (June02bug)

Water Cress * Nasturtium officinale * zones 5-9 * Best grown along streams where water is shallow and calm. Will suceed, however, in gardens or pots, provided soil is kept moist. (June02bug)
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Not open for further replies.