(Editor’s note: Today we have a guest post from Mrs. TPL. Sometimes known as “Monkey Momma 5,” she home-schools the kids and has many other important duties as the domestic engineer. I like to grow herbs to give her to cook with. She is a superior cook, and so she’s going to talk about using culinary herbs for cleaning and health as well as for cooking. The best way to get these herbs is to get them fresh, by growing them at home. So make sure you put some herbs in your permaculture food forest!)
I was talking with a friend this week, and we were thinking of a list of 10 or so herbs that we just could not live without. As we talked, I realized that I would be best served by choosing culinary herbs.
I think that culinary herbs get unfairly slighted because we think of them as common or less “medicinal.” This may be because people generally consider them “safe.”
I think this is unfair because while they are safe (and it would be hard to get enough in you to be toxic), they are very powerful support for keeping you healthy. In addition they can help in getting you back to health when some imbalance occurs.
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Herbs you can’t live without
All of the herbs I have chosen for this list are easily grown in most climates with a little love and caring. Some can only be grown as annuals since they die on freezing.
- Lemon balm
Hundreds or even thousands of great plants out there that could have been on this list. But since I was really trying to pare it down, I had to of course leave out many very useful and tasty herbs, like lemongrass which kills MRSA (AKA drug-resistant staph infections).
Each of these herbs are ones that can be (in most cases) safely eaten everyday if you like. In the following posts I will share a few recipes with that you can make from these herbs.
But I encourage you to explore on your own and to find some new ways to use them in your everyday life. Along with this list I would also like to add that I try to at all times keep on hand a large amount of both white and apple cider vinegar and raw local honey.
Vinegar and honey just about make sure that no matter what you will be able to make most remedies.
Not enough thyme in the day?
Thyme – we can all use a little more. Beside being a yummy seasoning for just about any meat, it’s an amazing healing herb. And it has a well deserved role as a medicinal herb.
Thyme tea is wonderful for coughs and is a great antispasmodic.It also loosens congestion to help get it out of the lungs. It has been used for centuries to kill fungal skin infections and to clean wounds.
Its antimicrobial properties make it one of my first choices for cleaning around the house as well. So here are two recipes to get you started on your journey towards getting to know thyme a little better.
Thyme Cough Drops
4 fresh thyme sprigs
16 oz distilled water
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 tsp oil of orange
1 tsp cream of tartar
1. In a small, heavy-bottomed pot with a tightly fitting lid, bring the thyme and the distilled water to a boil.
2. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside to steep overnight.
3. Coat an 8-inch-square cake pan with two teaspoons of butter. Set aside.
4. Coat a medium, heavy-bottomed pot with the remaining butter. Strain the thyme infusion into the pot. Discard the spent herb.
5. Add the sugar, corn syrup, oil of orange and cream of tartar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
6. Cook over medium-high heat, moving the pot in a circular motion to swirl the liquid until it boils. Take the temperature. Swirl-cook at a boil, until the thermometer reads 300°F.
7. Pour the syrup into the cake pan. Set aside about 5 minutes.
8. Score the semi-hard syrup into half-inch squares with a knife. Set aside to harden, about 30 minutes.
9. Turn out on a sheet of waxed paper. Break into cough drops along the scored lines.
Stored in an airtight container, they’ll stay fresh for months. (The Healing Kitchen)
1 cup of white vinegar
1 cup thyme
1 cup lavender blossoms
1 quart jar
Use a glass mason jar with a plastic lid like the Tattler ones or line the lid with waxed paper.
Simply put thyme in the jar and pour the vinegar over it.
Every day for a couple of days (2-4) give it a shake.
After a week strain it and pour vinegar into a spray bottle. Use the cleaner for windows, counters, stove tops and cutting boards.
I like to use it on food safe surfaces like the cutting board because it will kill germs but wont leave nasty chemical soaps on your surface.
I hope that gives you a better understanding of thyme and how you can use it for heathy cleaning and for use in cooking and for healing sicknesses. It’s a great herb that I hope you will start using more of.
If you’d like to know more ways to live better, we’ve partnered with Claire Goodall to offer the Everyday Roots ebook. It’s over 350 pages of home remedies, natural beauty recipes, and DIY household products.
This ebook shows you how to protect yourself and your family from toxic products and use healthier, all-natural alternatives. For more info Click Here or on the pictures!
OK, that’s all folks! Do you have any questions or comments about herbs for health, cooking with herbs, sustainable homesteading, permaculture design or anything else? Ask your question down below and let’s talk! You can also use the contact form, or email me at info at thepermaculture dot life.
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