It's that wonderful time of the year when I get to figure out what to plant in the garden. I have a fully potted garden but manage to grow just about everything I can think of... or at least try to! Given that many will be out at the nurseries over the next couple of weeks, I thought I'd share some of my favourite medicinal garden plants that make wonderful teas.
1. German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita specifically). Pick off the flowers and use for digestive upset or to relax. It's an antispasmodic and nervine (meaning it works on the nervous system) so it's particularly effective for abdominal cramping such as with IBS. Add a slice of fresh ginger if there's nausea involved.
2. Peppermint. Not just for mojitos! Pick the leaves for a stomach-calming tea. Helps with most aspects of digestion but be careful if you're prone to heartburn as it may worsen it. Wonderful with chamomile after over-doing it at that BBQ!
3. Catnip. You may have to share this one if you have a furry friend. Catnip is a nervine which means it helps to calm down anxiety. This is great to blend with chamomile for your own sleepytime tea.
4. Lemon balm. Another one to add to your nighttime tea as this is also a nervine. If you have thyroid issues, skip this one or consult with your ND before using it.
5. Thyme and oregano. Excellent antimicrobials for if you're fighting a cold or flu. When the season changes and the sniffles start, make a nice tea with some lemon or add into soups.
6. Rosemary. The active constituent here helps to increase blood flow to the brain and can help with memory and cognitive function. These effects are also delivered via olfactory glands, so even smelling the essential oil from the plant can help.