Rosemary

Rosemary copyIn the kitchen I often add Rosemary to salad dressings, stir fries or chicken dishes.

Have you ever tried Rosemary tea with honey when you have a cold?  In Chinese Medicine Rosemary promotes sweating which helps the body detoxify during a cold. It also opens the sinuses and helps expel phlegm.   I have often drank Rosemary tea when I have a sinus headache.

Rosemary has been known through the ages as an aid to memory and concentration. In Latin the plant was called rosmarinus “dew of the sea.” Rosemary was used by many cultures for ritual cleansing, and as incense for purification. In Egypt, Rome and Athens it was considered a sacred plant for healing often used to clear confusion and mental fogginess.   Essential oil of Rosemary always needs to be diluted with carrier oil as it is potent oil. It helps strengthen the nerves when there is exhaustion and restlessness from overwork and stress.  It is wonderful to add a few drops to massage oil as it helps relieve muscular and arthritic pain.

Not to be used during pregnancy because of its powerful stimulating properties.

 

Blue Vervain

BlueVervain copyThis beautiful purple flowered plant is called Blue Vervain, and is a wonderful addition to my herb garden.  Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata) has been used by herbalists for centuries in Europe and in the United States. The name Vervain is derived from the Celtic word “ferfain” and was used as a diuretic to treat bladder infections. Other common names are “Herb of Grace” or “American Hyssop.”

Presently Vervain is found in many herbal formulas to treat PMS and menopausal anxiety, since it has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. It also helps to expel mucus from the lungs and relieve coughs and induces a sweat during the early stages of a fever.  I have enjoyed watching the bees gathering pollen on the deep purple flowers, that slowly fade to a lavender as the flowers ages.

Do not use Vervain during pregnancy.

 

Witch Hazel

Witchhazel copy

Witch Hazel
Botanical Name: Hamamelis virginiana
This beautiful shrub has been blooming in my garden through the snow storms of February. I was amazed by the delicate looking flowers covered with icicles, and how after the ice melt they
retained their beautiful colors. With Hazel was used externally by Native Americans to heal sprains, cuts, insect bites, skin irritations and hemorrhoids. Collect the plant in the spring or early summer. The parts of the Witch Hazel to be collected are: the inner bark and leaves, and twigs less than one half inch in diameter. Carefully strip off the outer bark with a sharp knife! Steep in rubbing alcohol for 3 weeks and strain into a glass bottle. You now have a wonderful first aid remedy. For external use only!