By Centehua Deneken:
Spring is here! What a great time to cleanse and plant new seeds. This applies to many aspects of our lives. Usually during spring, I am inclined to reorganize things. I nest a little more; I spend time in my garden; and I embark on a weeklong juice and tea detox.
I am excited for everything that is sprouting in my garden and also for the fruit that is almost ready to be picked. I am planting more herbs this year, too. Herbs flavor food and also carry the medicine we need daily. Most households have a medicine cabinet, so why not also have a medicine garden?
If you don’t have garden space, you can plant herbs in pots. I love potted gardens, especially in close proximity to the kitchen. Here are a few herbs I have growing right now: garden sage, rosemary, peppermint, Holy basil, chamomile, calendula, marjoram, thyme, basil, cilantro and parsley.
You can fit five of these into a large pot or have a whole pot of one or two, depending on your needs. I love basil and cilantro; I use them almost daily, so naturally I grow them the most. As I mentioned, too, growing herbs for their medicinal content is high yielding. I cook with them, infuse them, and also make tinctures and salves. I am currently making Holy basil, dandelion and nettle tincture.
Once you have an herbal garden, you will be motivated to use them in many ways. Not only do they enhance the look of your home and garden but your health will improve, too. Our plant allies are here to assist us; it’s exciting and empowering to learn about what they can do for us.
Holy basil (Tulsi) is one of my favorite plants. Not only is it beautiful but it’s also calming to the nervous system. A great adaptogen, it protects the body from the damaging effects of stress and anxiety. It’s one of the best anti-depressants, in my opinion. Need a little brain food? Well, Holy basil also enhances cerebral circulation, thus improving memory. I enjoy making a raw cacao and Holy basil elixir in the morning. It’s my insurance policy. It’s my feel good tonic. You bet I’m bound to have a good day; and if it gets sticky, as life can be, Holy basil has my back.
Chamomile is another good herb to grow, especially if you have kids. It helps reduce fevers and is also calming, a great nighttime tonic for the entire family. I make an infusion of chamomile with lavender and passionflower. I then strain it and blend the tea with homemade almond or hemp milk and honey . . . the kids love it.
I can’t imagine cooking without fresh herbs, They make everything that much better. Growing them is as easy as getting seeds and starting them in small pots, then transferring them into your garden or larger pots with good soil – and voila!! Sit back and watch your garden grow. Just make sure the plants get some shade during the day so you don’t cook them.
I’d like to add that edible flowers such as nasturtiums, lavender, chives, basil, and poppies will invite pollinators and can make any salad even more beautiful!!
I also recommend making sun tea with your freshly harvested herbs and flowers. This is a practice I do a lot when I am cleansing. I juice a lot of herbs such as nettle, dandelions, and cilantro; and I also infuse them in a mason jar with spring water, then allow the sun to charge them and help extract all that good medicine. I am so grateful my garden assists this process and supports my health while making my environment green and inviting.
I’d love to hear from you . . . What are your favorite herbs?
Practical resources and inspiration: