Herbs may be fantastic ways to improve your cooking but this was not their original purpose. Many common herbs were first cultivated for healing purposes and have some remarkable qualities. You can help relieve all kinds of minor health problems with a few healing herbs that are easily grown in your garden or on your windowsill.
Mint is perfect for teas and sauces and has several medicinal uses. That mug of mint tea does more than just taste nice. Spearmint in particular can cure hiccups and ease indigestion. All mints freshen your breath if you chew a few leaves. Mint can be both cooling and warming and helps if you have a slight fever. Peppermint tea is mildly stimulating and an excellent alternative to coffee in the morning.
When growing mint bear in mind it is prolific and will overwhelm everything else in your herb garden given half a chance. Keep it in a separate pot, which can be sunk into the ground if you wish. Along with its health and culinary uses it is effective at deterring pests in your garden.
A herb you either love or hate and much used in Asian cuisine coriander too has a variety of healing properties. An infusion helps with period pains and cramps. If you have lost your appetite you might find a mug of coriander tea is enough to make you hungry again. For this reason it is perhaps not the best herb for dieters but is exceedingly useful for everybody else.
Oregano is a hardy herb that can be grown outside even in cool climates. Made into a tea it is good for colds and the flu. You can inhale the steam for minor lung problems such as coughs. Oregano can even be made into a compress for muscular pain. If you have overdone a gym session then collect some oregano to ease those aches.
Not just an essential ingredient in tomato sauces, basil is a versatile therapeutic herb. It helps with digestion and is also a remedy for colds and the flu. To use it medicinally make it up into a tea using about 2 tablespoons of fresh leaves. Basil is happy grown on a windowsill but may not be easy to grow outside.
Thyme is an attractive and versatile little herb that is very easy to grow. It has several healing qualities and is a mild antiseptic. Thyme is especially useful for chest and throat infections. Brew into a tea and mix in some honey to soothe those coughs and sore throats. It is not advisable to take large quantities for longer than a couple of weeks.
While all these herbs are normally perfectly safe in the small amounts used in cooking you should check with your doctor before taking large amounts for medicinal purposes. This is particularly important if you suffer from a serious condition, if you are pregnant or breast feeding, or if you are on any medication.