Starting with Herbs

My Experience with Herbs

As I listen, talk, watch and research I notice that…
Each day more people are becoming interested in the health benefits of herbs.
They are safe, effective, and easy to use.
They add natural minerals, enzymes, and vitamins to the body.

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They restore the bio-chemical balance in the circulatory, nervous systems and glands
which have been destroyed by a lifetime of eating over-processed foods.
I call them nature’s vitamins … natural, pure and honest … health from the earth.
I guess I started by being an avid gardener.

Then I had the privilege to work with Doctor Joe Turner in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
I participated on my first herb walk with a local herbalist: Jeanette Poirier.
And to walk through the Herb Gardens Retreat in Torbrook.
Also signed into a 10 week series of herbal lectures with Angie Jenkins (herbalist).
And I continue to research, learn, and apply herbs into my life today.
At first I thought it was very overwhelming, how does one possibly remember
all these plants and their benefits?
Which to pick, how much, too much, how to use it, combine it with which one etc etc.
But I have learned to relax, connect to one herb at a time,
and to treat it more as a vitamin, rather than a potent medicine.
So when I make soups and casseroles: I add fennel, oregano, thyme, basil etc.
When I make tea I  use fresh from my garden: dandelion, mint,
wild strawberry leaves and add a slice of lemon.
My morning porridge of steel cut oats I add nettle flakes and dried elder berries.
I like to harvest as much as I can by myself, from my own gardens and backyard.
There are endless ways to add herb health into your life, I have only just begun.
And as I continue to research,
I read that one can have just a simple stock of 10 to 12 herbs on hand.
Each herb offers so many benefits.
And throughout the entire year,
at least one can always be accessed fresh from the earth.
In winter months it can be as simple as the leaves off a holly bush in a nice hot tea.

Herb practice is simply:  the building up of the human body
to strengthen all natural eliminating and organ functioning.
The human body has a a better tolerance for natural products.
So I encourage you to start somewhere, start with one herb.
Learn how to use it, grow it, harvest it, apply it.
Then move onto another.
Herbs that can be grown indoors: basil, geranium, mint, sage, thyme, rosemary etc.
Gardens: rose, rose hips, nasturtium, lavender, marigolds, pansy,
honey suckle, strawberry leaves etc
Wild plants: dandylion, red clover, nettles, golden rod, lupins, plantain, raspberry, etc
Trees: hawthorne, cherry, willow, walnut, tulip tree, etc

If you are taking medication or are struggling with health issues
then I recommend making an appointment with a practising certified herbalist,
who can watch for contra-indications
and apply the researched knowledge of the best combination

written by Carol Layton 2007


Making Herb Tea

I have been harvesting my own blend of herb tea for many years now. I enjoy the entire process of growing, harvesting and blending.  There is the herbs I grow in my herb garden like mint, oregano, and, thyme.  I have many flower gardens and so many flower blossoms are edible and can also be used in teas such as rose and calendula.  Then there are the local plants that grow in my yard or in the fields around my home such as wild rose hips, Hawthorne tree blossoms and many local wild plants or what some call weeds such as yarrow and dandelion (leaf, flower, and root).

I am always learning and experimenting. How much I get harvested depends on the season and also on my spare time.  But I find that the whole process is of a healing nature.  Working in the garden in the spring with the cool earth in my fingers and bare feet on the soil.  Being in my beautiful flower gardens during the whole growing season, the surprises of bloom, color and variety.  Or walking in nature, the quiet fields, tranquility, fresh air and exercise.  Even to the harvesting, drying and packaging … the aromatherapy aspect, frequency, and healing vibration of actually handling (touch).  This is all before I actually put them into my cup to drink as a tea.  It is my afternoon drink, the drink I share with my friends and family, a soothing gentle flavour, getting in 2-3 cups of my daily liquid intake, what I call “nature’s vitamin’s”, and it does not get any more local than my backyard.

How does one start? My advice is to just start!  A plant will make itself known to you, you will notice it in gardens, nature, or a picture.  It is how our body talks to us, guiding us to what it wants and needs.  Then research it, what are its medicinal or nutrition value, how to grow, harvest and consume.  When you have this one herb/plant down pat, then move onto the next one.  Create your own blends.  Cut out unhealthy drinks of caffeine and cola. Enjoy your efforts of looking after the body that houses your spirit. There is endless information in books and on line, workshops or education programs. My first wild plant that I harvested was clover blossoms.  My first herb in my garden was mint.

The herb blend that I sell in the shop is below. Cost per bag is $6.00

Mints: fresh flavor, settles anxiety, settles digestion, calms yet invigorates

Hawthorne: heart tonic, joyful, life

Thyme: detoxifying, immune building, respiratory – healthy breathing

Wild Rose Hips: vitamin C, kidney tonic, helps release body toxins

Calendula: digestive aid, cleanses lymph, joyful and cheerful

Dandelion: liver tonic, detoxifier, immune builder, resister of infections

Lavender: love, peace and harmony, tonic for the soul

Rose Blossoms: love, tonic for the mind

Oregano: warming, “nature’s cure all”, bite of flavor


Herb of the Month

(click on herb to open)

May: Dandelion

July:  spearmint-1

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