All of them are wonderful, but there are some herbs you’ll love more than others. I love cooking and growing herbs. They add texture and definition to my garden. When I brush against them the aroma is heavenly. And then they are used to heighten the flavor of the food. This is what I call a gardening trifecta!
Although there is a long list of herbs of which I could sing their praises, some have great uses other than just for cooking. Here are three that I particularly like, and how you can think ‘outside the box’ to use them.
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When I think of Oregano, I can’t help of thinking about a big bowl of hearty stew with a chunk of freshly baked bread, or a plate piled high with spaghetti covered in a rich read sauce. Ah, two of my favorite meals. But there is definitely more to love about oregano than just using it in the kitchen. It is definitely an herb you’ll love to grow!
Uses for Oregano
Oregano might just turn out to be a great warrior. According to the USDA, the germ killing components might be a way to fight salmonella. Or, if the oil is diluted, it helps to get rid of fungal infections and athletes foot.
Rub some on those sore muscles after a day of hard work and let it get started easing the pain. And if ringworm is a problem, dilute some and place it on the area to help get rid of it.
Got a cold? Place some dried oregano in a basin of steamy water. Mixed with other dried herbs it helps to produce a sweat that can help loosen that cough. It will help you to get rid of warts, as well.
But the best part is that it is being tested as an anti-cancer property. Wouldn’t that be wonderful if a cure for one of the worst diseases could be found growing in our garden? (Note: this is still being tested, and although it is showing great possibilities, testing is still being done).
Oregano is rich in Vitamins A, C, E and K, not to mention fiber. And my favorite part about Oregano? It is said to help reduce the methane gas produced by cattle, and can possibly increase the milk production.
Hmm….I’m thinking I may have to plant a few patches of this easy to grow herb in my pastures, and see if it really works? (I wonder if my milk will taste like spaghetti, though….)
Tips on Growing Oregano
One of the easiest herbs to grow, Oregano loves full sun. That is, unless you live in a hot climate, where it will appreciate a little afternoon shade. It thrives well in a container, where it will ‘waterfall’ over the edges.
Water only when the soil is dry, and allow to grow to at least 5 inches before you start pinching leaves. Several years ago I planted this oregano, and it keeps coming back!
(Note: Always dilute Oregano oil before using topically (coconut oil is one way), and speak with your physician before taking the oil internally.)
Rosemary has long been considered the Herb of Love. This is only one of the reasons you will add it to the list of herbs you’ll love to grow.
Uses for Rosemary
1) Drop a whole sprig of Rosemary in your stew. As it cooks, the leaves will separate from the stem. Just remove the stem before serving!
2) Crumble up some dried rosemary and mix it with about ½ cup of borax and baking soda. This makes a wonderful scouring powder.
3) Carry a sprig of Rosemary with you, and inhale the fragrance occasionally. It is said to help improve your memory.
4) Make a Rosemary, Lavender and Peppermint sachet out of cheesecloth. Add it to your bath water and relieve some of those sore muscles, stress and cold symptoms!
5) Mix it with baking soda and sprinkle it on your carpets. Let it sit a few minutes, then vacuum. This will give your room a fresh smell, and act as an insect repellent.
6) Add a pot or two on a sunny windowsill and you have an automatic air freshener.
Tips on Growing Rosemary
Rosemary is easiest to grow by cuttings, but can also be grown from seed. Cut a 4” sprig from your plant and put in loose, moist soil. It will take about three weeks to a month, but eventually it will take root. Don’t over-water, as it likes a drier soil.
Transplant outdoors, but give it room to grow. If you live in an extremely cold area, prepare to bring it inside or cover it to protect it from snow and ice. To prevent it from becoming lanky, prune it frequently. But with all these great uses, you really don’t have to worry about that – you’ll be sneaking trimmings at least once a week!
I love it when I can grow one thing for multiple uses. Take the tomato, for instance. I know the taste of a fresh juicy tomato straight from the garden in unsurpassable, but tomatoes are also good for removing essence of skunk, if you have ever had the misfortune to be, um, let’s say, perfumed by one.
There are herbs you’ll love to grow that has more than one purpose. Peppermint is one of the easiest to grow – and look at all it can do!
Uses You’ll Love for Peppermint
Peppermint isn’t just for bad breath. Peppermint actually has many talents. From a health standpoint, you can also use peppermint to help calm an upset stomach, relieve muscle spasms and pain, and a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball can help ease a headache.
It’s also used to combat the nausea from chemotherapy and radiation, and can possibly reduce the damage done from both. Hot flashes? Try a peppermint tea. The cooling sensation of the menthol in peppermint may help ease the heat.
For hair and skin assistance, try adding a few drops into your shampoo or body wash. It assists in getting rid of dandruff with its antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
Remember the old treatment for lice? Try peppermint oil instead. And, the cooling properties of peppermint can greatly assist a warm bath in helping to get rid of stress.
Peppermint is one of the herbs you’ll love to grow for memory issues. Try crushing a few leaves and inhaling the scent. It is said to aid in improving your memory – something I often find myself needing. Around the farm, I am constantly forgetting to bring a certain tool to a date with a fence repair, or closing the barn door behind me. It is also said that Rosemary helps in the same way.
Have you got a problem in the house with ants or mice? Try a sachet of peppermint leaves. Put them in the corners or places that mice like to hang out. Place a few drops of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and rub it along the pathway that the ants like to travel.
Neither one of these critters like the smell, so they will avoid it if at all possible. To me, peppermint leaves and oil are so much better than poisons, traps or the stinky sprays.
Tips on Growing Peppermint
With all the benefits of this great plant, everyone should grow at least a large container of it. Peppermint is best grown from cuttings, and should never be harvested until the plant is at least 10 to 12 inches tall (but no worries – it grows fast!). Plant in a moderately rich soil in a partially shaded location.
Because it spreads from runners underground, it is smart to either plant in containers, or dig a trench at least 18” inches deep and put a barrier around the plant. Give it at least 1” of water a week.
To harvest well into the fall, be sure to remove any blooms that begin appearing from July through late August or September, depending on your climate. Wait until the rejuvenation in the spring before you cut back those dead branches, to insure your plant continues to survive.
Don’t let space limitations keep you from your goals of self-reliance. Instead, try herbs you’ll love to grow for having more than one use, or do some companion planting. You’ll be surprised at just how much you can do – even in just a large flowerpot!