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herbsWe all know that herbs, especially fresh herbs picked right out of your garden or from your window box, can transform a simple meal into a flavorful feast. But herbs are so much more than deliciousness. They’re an essential part of the ancient and wondrous healing arts as well as a fragrant and decorative addition to your home.

Mint

Mint

Want a delightfully refreshing greeting when you come home from work? Plant mint in your walkway. This plant actually loves to be stepped on and every step you take will make your nose happy. Mint is an excellent remedy after a hard day of the stress you’ve been building up at the office. A few drops of essential mint oil on a cotton ball can help relieve migraines, improve your mood and all while making the room smell wonderful.

Basil

Basil

One of my favorite herbs is basil. I love cooking with it and I had heard that if you’re feeling tired, smelling basil will reduce your fatigue. What I didn’t know is that some basil is also excellent for better memory and clearer thinking. Added to bath salts or essential oils, many herbs have the power to balance our minds and transform our moods. At the end of this article I have a simple method for making your own essential oils and some awesome bath salt recipes.

Dill

Dill

The medicinal use of herbs can be found in almost all cultures and they are the base component of many modern medicines. But there is a certain comfort in knowing you have the ingredients for dealing with simple ailments growing in your backyard. For an upset tummy, try some mint, dill, basil, rosemary, fennel, or turmeric from your garden. For a memory boost, you could also try sage, turmeric or, what do you know, rosemary. You want antioxidants? We’ve got them in oregano, basil and that rosemary that keeps turning up.

Rosemary

Rosemary

Herbs can keep your garden healthy, as well. Our edibles expert, Kip Litehiser says, “There are a lot of herbs that are great for controlling pests in your garden and herbs are so easy to grow.” Rosemary is a robust plant that helps ward off cabbage moths, bean beetles, carrot flies and root knot nematodes. If you’re barbecuing in the summer, you can also put some of it on the grill to scare away mosquitoes. No one likes slugs feasting on their spring garden, but the sweet smell of lavender keeps the slimy pests at bay. It also looks beautiful in any garden and can attract friendly butterflies while deterring pesky moths and fleas.

And mint’s strong smell is exceptionally unattractive to a number of critters, including ants, aphids, rodents, cabbage worms and cabbage moths. I’m already thinking about how to make a garden border of mint and lavender. Herbs are naturally beautiful and with their wonderful fragrances they’re ideal for creative fencing and borders. I know our landscape expert, Ryan Sanders, has some charming ideas for your yard or garden.

Lavender

Lavender

On Sunday, March 24 at 1:00 pm, we’re excited to have Patrick Matthews of Blooming host Herb Gardens: Beyond Spice, a free seminar at The Plant Farm. The Plant Farm staff can set you up with a great combination of herbs to put in your garden this spring. You’ll not only have the ingredients for spicing up your kitchen and table, but the means to bring harmony and health to your family and friends.

Essential Oils

There is a quick and easy method of making your own essential oils that’s as easy as preparing mint julep: In a glass container, place you herbs. Gently crush or bruise the herbs, which will begin releasing the oil. Fill the container with a mild vegetable oil, such as canola, and seal the container. In two to three weeks, strain the herbs from the oil and bottle the oil.

Seize the Day bath salts
Ingredients:
● 4 cups Epsom salts
● 1 cup Sea Salt (a coarse grind)
● 10 drops rosemary essential oil
● 10 drops lemon essential oil
● 3 Tablespoons dried rosemary leaves

Seize the Sleep Bath Salts
Ingredients:
● 4 cups Epsom salts
● 1 cup Sea Salt (a coarse grind)
● ¼ cup lavender essential oil
● 3 Tablespoons dried lavender blossoms

For each recipe:
Combine the salts, essential oil and dried herbs into a large mixing bowl (I prefer to use a ceramic bowl) and mix until the oils and herbs are thoroughly distributed in the salt. If you don’t like the mess of the dried herbs you can skip them or make a tub tea-bag by putting the herbs into a cheesecloth and tying off the top.

It’s best to store your bath salts in a glass, air-tight jar. At bath time, add ½-1 cup of the salts while filling your tub. Give the water a swish, lower yourself in and exalt.

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