Thanks for joining us! This is week 3 of the Essential Herbs Series. I’m sharing my top 20 Must Have Herbs for the Garden. You can expect to find some fun and useful ideas to get you growing and using herbs. Every day we use herbs. They flavor our food, beautify our garden, and aid in natural family health. They are certainly handy to have around.
Each recommended herb will have a general description about why I include it in my garden and a link for information about how to grow it, how to cook with it, how to preserve it and at least one medicinal thing you can do with it.
You are going to love it!
See which Herbs we’ve picked for numbers 11 through 15
11. Lemon Verbena – This is another wonderful lemony plant. With winter frost protection it can grow as a perennial in zone 8 and above. The lemon flavor is cleaner and more intense than lemon balm. The leaves are easy to dry and use in tea.
According to Nature Hacks, Lemon verbena can be used both internally and externally. It is usually used internally as an herbal tea which gives a number of healing benefits to the body, including alleviating digestive track spasms, fortifying the nervous system, lessening feverish colds and easing stress and tension. Externally, one of the many roles of lemon verbena is to act as an anti-spasmodic and expectorant. It aids in breaking down cellulite and therefore to create a calming, healing and toning impact on the skin. It can also be used to diminish acne, puffiness, and cysts and also act as a hair tonic.
See this PreparednessMama post Grow and Use Lemon Verbena for tips to preserve the harvest. With its fresh scent, this Lemon Verbena Jelly looks heavenly. As I experimenting with preserving Lemon Verbena I tried this recipe for making lemon verbena syrup, which would be especially refreshing in tea.
12. Lovage – You may not know Lovage, but you should. This herbaceous perennial grows up to 6 feet tall and tastes like celery. It makes a wonderful addition as a seasoning to soup and stew. It will grow in full sun or partial shade and takes a medium amount of water. If you are small space gardening like I am, you can keep it contained in a pot to reduce the size of the plant.
Lovage was much used as a drug plant in the fourteenth century, its medicinal reputation probably being greatly founded on its pleasing aromatic odor.
The roots and fruit are aromatic and stimulant and have diuretic and carminative action. In herbal medicine, they are used in disorders of the stomach and feverish attacks, especially for cases of colic and flatulence in children, its qualities being similar to those of Angelica in expelling flatulence, exciting perspiration, and opening obstructions. The leaves eaten in salad or infused dry as a tea, used to be accounted as good for blood flow.
Lovage has tender leaves and can be preserved the same way as basil. It makes a great celery salt substitute.
13. Mint – is one of the essentials for my garden. I grow several flavors – especially spearmint, peppermint, and chocolate mint to use in making my own herbal tea blend. If I had to pick only one herb to grow, mint would be it. It is easy to propagate from cuttings or layering and mint grows by sending out runners, so unless you want it everywhere it should be contained it in a pot.
The aromatic nature of the mint family plants come from their high levels of volatile oils, which also account for the rich flavors prized in cooking and many of their medicinal properties. While the medicinal actions of the mint family plants make quite a long list, many of them fit into four categories:
// Nervine for nervous system complaints (anxiety, depression, headaches, insomnia, dementia)
// Digestive for digestive system complaints: (indigestion, gas, cramps, nausea, colic)
// Antimicrobial for infections: (bacterial, viral, fungal)
// Clearing for respiratory system complaints (infection, congestion, asthma)
So how do they do it? The answer is in the volatile oils.
For the best flavor, harvest leaves just before the flowers start to show. Learn how to grow it and what I do with all that mint in my yard. Learn how to refresh your mint patch and preserve your harvest as you grow and use mint.
14. Oregano – I love that most herbs are simple to grow. So it is with Oregano. Purchase a plant or root a cutting and plant it in the garden. It prefers a dry, warm spot in full sun.
Oregano is well known as a culinary herb. The oregano herb has a warming and aromatic flavor which can be bitter due to the volatile oil content, especially when harvested fresh. The leaves of the oregano plant contain vitamin E, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, copper, boron, manganese, vitamins A and C, and niacin. Oregano is also important medicinally, with its distilled oil highly regarded for its strong antibacterial properties.
Oregano is also important medicinally, with its distilled oil highly regarded for its strong antibacterial properties.
Pinch it regularly for use in culinary creations. Apartment Prepper has it as one of her Three Herbs That Even a Non-Gardner can grow. Homegrown and Healthy is making her own oil of oregano to use for sore muscles, migraines, and insect bites. This post – 5 Ways to use fresh oregano from The Kitchn, will give you the cooking confidence you need.
15. Plantain – Most people think of plantain as a weed but its leaves can be used as a powerful and effective treatment to stop bleeding. It is another useful herb that people consider a weed in the yard. Resist the urge to kill it!
Plantain is a perennial native European plant, brought to the Americas by Puritan settlers. The plant seemed to sprout up in colonizers footsteps, and indeed, was given the name “white man’s footprint” by some Native Americans.
Traditionally used to treat wounds, bruises, and insect bites and bee stings, plantain is also a nutritious edible, containing calcium, and high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K. It abates blood flow in minor cuts and helps heal tissue damage.
Take an in-depth look with this related post: Herbs to Know – Plantain
Survival Prepper Joe has discovered 4 Powerful Uses for Plantain, including some awesome cancer-fighting properties and Homespun Seasonal Living has some good background information on its skin healing properties of plantain. You can make a healing plantain salve with this recipe from The Crunchy Delinquent.
Hopefully, you’ve learned to grow a few new herbs for your garden and found some wonderful culinary and medicinal recipes to help you be self-reliant and prepared. (plus, you probably found a few new bloggers to follow)
Next week the essential herbs series continues with number 6 through 10 and you will have five more fantastic herbs and recipes to try.
Be sure and see the other posts in the Essential Herbs Series:
Week 5 – Favorite Herb Blogger Round-up
What do you like best about these 5 essential herbs? Leave a comment below.