The gardens are in full bloom now, and both the veggies and the herbs are showing off their dazzling array of colors. Our daily chores, besides weeding, now include picking the fresh herbs to dry. Each morning, after the dew has passed we pick each herb by hand, and then carefully dry them. Some are sun dried, while others are placed in the dehydrator. Others, like St. John’s Wort, are aired dried for a few hours, and then placed in oil.
Let’s take a walk around the garden and learn a little. Besides the bees and butterflies, we’ll see some wonderful healing plants.
First we have comfrey. Comfrey is also known as knit bone, as it helps to knit bones together. Comfrey is widely used by herbalists for bruising, sprains and broken bones. While it should never be used internally, a poultice or salve can help to heal broken bones. It is also very useful for cuts, and wounds, as it helps to heal tissue quickly. Be sure the cut is very clean, otherwise infections can occur.
Now, we will journey on to the calendula plant. Calendula is a beautiful orange flower that resembles a daisy. Calendula is grown for it’s wonderful skin healing benefits. It’s antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties, make it a wonderful herb to have on hand for bites, stings, cuts, scrapes and minor burns. Taken as a tea, it helps with digestion and gall bladder issues.
Over here, we have our red clover patch. Red clover, with it’s beautiful purple flowers makes a deliciously sweet tea. The tea is very beneficial to those suffering from menopausal symptoms. It contains phytoestrogens, that can help cool off those hot flashes. The tea is also used to help calm coughs and reduce airway congestion. Chinese researchers have proven that the herb kills certain viral and fungal infections, has an estrogen like function, and is an antispasmodic and expectorant. Topically, the red clover oil is very helps to relieve the itch and soreness of eczema and other rashes of the skin. It can be used to help heal cuts.
Now, let’s take a stroll to the back garden. Here is where the St. John’s Wort grows. St. John’s Wort has a beautiful star like flower that is a vibrant yellow. The flower contains hypericum, which is what gives St. John’s it’s healing benefits. Most people think of St. John’s Wort as a remedy for depression and anxiety, but when the flower, is infused into oil, it makes a wonderful massage oil for sciatica, nerve pain, fibromyalgia and other painful inflammations. The infused oil is also antibacterial, anti-fungal, and makes a great wound healing agent for cuts, scrapes and minor burns. St. John’s does interact with many medications, so be sure to check with your health care provider before using it.
I hope you have enjoyed just a little tour of our herb gardens. If you would like to see more herbs, as part of Carroll County Farm Open House Day, we will be opening our gardens and our new production facility to the public on Saturday, September 7 from 10-4. Come learn about the benefit of healing with herbs. Our very popular class “Lowering Your Cholesterol Naturally” will take place from 11-1. Enjoy a tea, and a sample of a cholesterol free egg salad.
During your visit, you can learn how to safely use herbs to treat a wide variety of ailments. There will be a tea tasting all day, and I will be on hand to answer any questions you have about how to safely use herbs in your life. Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch and enjoy the gardens. We look forward to meeting you!
Kathy Lambert is the owner of Cloverleaf Farm Herbal Apothecary in Effingham, NH. Kathy is a medical herbalist with over 15 years experience in herbal medicine, wild edibles, aromatherapy, and natural healing. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-539-7878. Visit www.cloverleaffarmnh.com for more information.