Kitchen Garden Herbs and their Medicinal Use*
Katula Herbs wishes to share the value beyond culinary use of many of the common, “kitchen garden” herbs.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica): used in women’s health, for colds and flu, heart/circulatory, lungs and tonic for nervous system. Young stalks can make a tasty addition to salads, resembling celery.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum): used for digestive, liver, intestinal complaints, headaches and stress-related problems. As a hot tea, it is a decongestant, and it also has antiseptic properties which fight infections. Externally, basil can be rubbed on insect bites and minor grazes.
Catnip (Nepeta cataria): supports the nervous system, pain and stress relief, relaxing muscle tension, cold and flu symptoms and the digestive tract. It is also used in children’s health. Externally, it helps staunch bleeding, and helps healing of cuts, bites, burns and bruises.
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum): as medicinal food, they enhance the immune system, provide antiseptic qualities, having antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal actions. They also enhance digestion and absorption of foods, and are high in Vit. C and iron.
Dill (Anthemum graveolens): helps the discomfort of a poor digestive system. The seeds contain a volatile oil that has a relaxant effect, and so relieves tension and spasm in the digestive tract, relieving colic, wind, indigestion and both constipation and diarrhea. (Dill water for babies).It can also aid coughs and asthma, and is given to enhance milk supply in nursing mothers.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): the seeds and root are a great digestive remedy, settling the stomach, relaxing colic and relieving wind, heartburn, nausea and indigestion. It is a diuretic and helps with urinary infections, is used in women’s health problems, and promotes respiratory and throat health. Last, but not least, it is excellent for children.
Sweet Marjoram (Origanum marjorana): improves circulation, relieves anxiety, nervousness, insomnia and depression and stress-related symptoms. It is diuretic and is often used in gout and arthritis conditions. As an antimicrobial it will fight off infections such as colds, flu and even herpes simplex. As a hot drink marjoram will reduce fevers and act as a decongestant. Its antioxidant properties help protect the body from its inevitable ageing process.
Mint (Mentha spp.): mints are excellent digestive remedies. They stimulate the appetite and improve digestion. It has relaxant and anti-inflammatory properties, stimulates the circulation, reduces fever and clears catarrhal congestion. As an anti-septic, is helps to throw off colds and flu, chest infections, and herpes. Mint also stimulates, so will recharge vital energy.
Oregano (Oreganum vulgare): As a strong medicinal food it is recommended during winter illnesses and to support healthy digestive system function. It is also strongly antiseptic for skin problems.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum): Also a strong medicinal food, it is an antioxidant, helps the digestive tract and is often used for urinary tract problems.
Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis): This is one of the best antioxidants we know. It benefits the immune system, digestive tract, winter illnesses, the circulatory system, brain health, headaches and migraines, the respiratory system and the skin. Rosemary oil makes a relieving rub for arthritis and rheumatism.
Sage (Salvia officinalis): Its antibacterial and antifungal properties make it a good remedy for colds, fevers, flu, sore throats and chest infections. It relaxes the digestive tract, stimulates the appetite and benefits the liver. Sage is also important in women’s health, particularly night sweats and hot flashes, and for the health of skin and hair. Externally it is an excellent antiseptic first-aid for cuts, burns, sores, sunburn and ulcers.
Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis): It is primarily used for the digestive, respiratory and urinary tract health, but is also a good astringent for throat conditions and skin health.
French Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus): It has been used to treat toothache and stimulate the appetite, but mostly now it is used only for culinary purposes. Its name, “little dragon” is thought to derive from its folkloric reputation of curing snake bites.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): Thyme is highly antiseptic and so beneficial in winter illnesses and immune system support. It is also used for digestive and respiratory concerns, sore muscles, throat conditions, nervous system support and skin health. Externally, it can be used in liniments and lotions to relieve aching joints and muscular pain, to disinfect cuts and wounds and as a gargle for sore throats.
Growing 101 Herbs That Heal by Tammi Hartung
The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride
The Medicinal Garden by Anne McIntyre
New Herb Bible by Caroline Foley, Jill Nice and Marcus A. Webb