Today, I am sitting at my desk and enjoying a chamomile tea. I am thinking about herbal remedies and how to develop a broader range of these into our cottage garden planting scheme. There are some valuable health benefits from fresh, home grown produce and especially from herbs.
Usually, I tend to choose coffee as my preferred option in the early part of the day. I guess the kick-start that the caffeine hit offers is just what I need early in the day. I am more of a ‘Night Owl’ and so I tend to find mornings more difficult. Certainly, chronic illness has a way to make mornings very difficult for me and so coffee aids my energy levels as I contend with this incredibly annoying condition.
Don’t believe all of the bad press about coffee; there is plenty of research that suggests coffee is an anti-oxidant, that it can be helpful in speeding the metabolism and that it can help protect the liver. “Everything in Moderation”, so they say. I must admit that if the climate here would sustain good coffee production, then I would be growing coffee beans in our garden.
That said, I do enjoy tea. In fact, here is a photo of me enjoying a cup of tea at Dingle Hill Tea Rooms in Dunwich, Suffolk:
In my role as Counsellor and Psychotherapist, I often suggest to my clients the benefits of trying herbal teas to aid them if their emotions are triggering physical symptoms. Of course, I also suggest they speak with their GP if there are physical symptoms, but herbal teas are readily available and so can be a benefit alongside coming for talking therapy.
Some clients also like the ritual element of setting aside some time to enjoy a herbal tea and this can be an asset for those seeking to give up alcohol, drugs or over consumption of food. They use this healthy ritual in place of the unhealthy one/s.
I tend not to drink regular Black Tea very much, these days. I tend to drink more Green Tea and Chamomile Tea. I prefer the flavours of these and also enjoy the health benefits of them. Chamomile may be something you have growing in your garden. In fact, before you cut down or pull out anything not fitting your garden design, consider whether the existing plants and wild plants could be of benefit to you.
For example, I like to drink Chamomile Tea for its relaxant properties; particularly as my last drink of the evening, before sleep. I understand that chamomile can also be helpful for its anti-inflammatory properties. For me, that is very helpful in easing some of the symptoms I have from my chronic illness. You can grow chamomile as a lawn, instead of grass or you may decide to grow it in pots or beds, as a feature plant.
Peppermint Tea has never appealed to me, but some of my friends enjoy it. Mint has historically been used to aid digestion and to help comfort people with nausea or acid reflux; for it is classed as ‘anti-spasmodic’. I have found it helpful if ever I have had a stomach bug. A word of warning, most Mint plants grow voraciously and can take over a garden. I would always recommend you plant Mint in a pot or planter.
Elderflower Tea has long been used to help combat the symptoms of the common cold and flu. It is considered to have strong anti-oxidant properties, including being a good source of Vitamin C. Elderflower makes for a delicious cordial, too.
Don’t rush to pull up the Dandelions from your lawn, too readily! Dandelion Tea has been used, for centuries, as an aid to detoxification. Also a good source of anti-oxidants, Dandelion Tea can help provide Calcium and Vitamin K. Who knew your weeds could be so helpful?
There are many more plants, than those I have listed, that you can use to make healthy herbal teas with. Do take time to do a little research before you dig out or cut down something growing in your garden. You may have your own well-being pharmacy growing that you could make wonderful herbal teas from.
A book I would recommend is ‘Grow Your Own Drugs’ by James Wong:
This book is full of great tips and information on how to turn your garden into your very own ‘natural remedy’ store. This is certainly something I am increasingly building into our cottage garden. Here is an example of one of the pages that suggests a ‘medicinal herb patch’:
If you have grown medicinal plants in your garden, do please leave a comment about your own experience and share your ideas.