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January 2018
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Episode 141 Essential Practical Medicinal Herbs

I wanted to talk about herbs that are common, easy to find, not thought of as cooking herbs.  I believe as many do that a good deal of food is medicinal in some way.  So I’m not going to tell you to grow dill or cilantro or oregano.  I’ve already told you that.  I think sometimes this is overblown.  It seems in ancient China everything was thought of as medicinal. 

 But what are some good herbs that might have some cooking value but are traditionally grown just for their medicinal power?  Have these powers been validated by science?

 Plus what is the best way to use them.  It should be easy and if it takes a science lab then its too much.

 Disclaimer:  I’m not a doctor, I don’t pretend to be one.  The information I present here is my opinion and the opinion of others.  You grow harvest and use these herbs at your own risk, I assume none of it.

 Anise – Good for both women health issues and to help with digestion. 

 Calendula – a great healing herb.  The sap is very thick and sticky.  Make a balm and use it on scrapes and cuts and bruises.  Add something like plantain for more healing and something like lavender for smell and it’s a home run. The oil is easy to extract.  Put the flower heads in a jar of olive oil (or other oil) and crush them.   It helps to dry the flower heads a bit to reduce mold risk. 

 Growing calendula is easy and it brings in so many good pollinators and beneficials.  Last year on them I have braconid wasps, hoverflies and bees.  Plus they are just pretty. 

 Growing them, essentially planting when the ground is warm enough to work.  Crescent shaped seeds.  Put them in and let them go.  There is a time where they get to about ¼ total size and then they slow waaaay down.  Mulch and weed them and in a bit they take off again.  They grow up until basically the end part of summer (here at least).

 Echinacea  – A great immune boosting herb.  I did a whole other show on echinacea commonly called purple coneflower.  It’s a great perennial flower native to the us also known as elkroot because elk would eat it when they were ailing. 

 Chamomile – Very big in germany.  Related to echinacea.  A calming herb.  Used flower heads in tea.  Good for calming teas prior to bed.

A good source for all of these herbs is Botanical Interests.