What are some simple ways to use common herbs?
Herbal tea to treat fevers, headaches and anxiety:
Combine one tablespoon (15 ml) each of dried chamomile, lavender and lemon. Steep one teaspoon (15 ml) of mixture in one cup (250 ml) boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes.
- Peppermint and chamomile tea for digestive issues and headaches
- Rosemary and peppermint infused in oil for massage and sore muscles
- Dried thyme, rosemary, mint and lavender in sachets to keep pests away (in drawers, closets or pet bedding)
- Rosemary and thyme to flavour vinegars and oils for cooking or salad dressings
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What are the best herbs for soap-makers?
Lavender and most seeds (milled) are good exfoliants. Calendula petals seem to stay true to colour. Rosehips add colour and texture, too.
Which backyard "weeds" are beneficial?
Chickweed is moist and nutritious. It's great in salads, teas and salves for cooling hot, dry rashes.
Dandelion root and leaf make a gentle liver tonic and diuretic. Use the root or leaf for tea. Try greens in salads, on pizzas, in stir fries or steamed. Blossoms and roots make a great medicinal massage oil or a base for an herbal salve.
I made a dandelion birthday cake for my daughter — a big hit in early June when blooms are everywhere! Brew dandelion syrup. Mix that into the cake. Add two cups of flowers. Decorate the top of the cake with more flowers. Tastes like carrot cake!
What's the best way to preserve herbs?
Drying or tincturing.
What's the most common mistake people make when using herbs?
Some people want a one-size-fits-all approach to healing. They hope herbs will give them unending energy, great sleep and symptom relief. People must consider the source of their problems. We don't all need a detox cleanse every spring and fall. We shouldn't take all the herbs and tonics we see advertised, no matter how amazing they sound.
Share your DIY garden herb recipe in the comments below to win a prize package donated by the Rocky Mountain Soap Company. (Draw date: August 15.)
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green