Autumn is an exciting season because it is time to harvest and enjoy your hard work of the summer. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you could make medicine from your own garden?
Well, it’s easy and I will tell you how!
Healing herbs are the oldest form of medicine known to man. I happen to have a lovely stand of lemon balm (a cousin of mint) in my backyard that just showed up and grew. Coincidentally, this is one of my all time favourite herbs. Lemon balm is fantastic for upset stomachs due to nervousness, indigestion, mild anxiety, difficulty sleeping from overthinking and fights viruses such as those of cold and flu. I recently harvested it, dried it and ground it to tea. Making your own medicinal tea is not only rewarding but the difference in taste and freshness is remarkable.
To do this, cut your herbs a few inches above the ground level, leaving the root in place. A dozen or so cuttings will be enough for one bunch. Soak the herb cuttings in cold water to clean. Rinse and pat dry with a towel. Now, tie the bunch with an elastic. See my photo below for how my herbs have been tied. Hang your bunch upside down away from direct sunlight. Allow your herbs to dry for 3-5 days. Once they are dry, you can choose to either hand pick or cut the leaves from the stalk. Alternatively, you can grind the herbs whole, as I did using my Vita-Mix dry container. I retrieved the stalk after grinding as it remained unground, in large pieces. Store your dried herb in an airtight jar to preserve freshness for up to 6 months. Make tea by steeping a few whole leaves or 1 tsp of ground leaves for 15 minutes, covered and enjoy! It’s really that easy!!
Get adventurous and mix herbs for your own special combinations!
If you don’t have the fortune of having any of these lovely herbs in your backyard/windowsill, then consider growing them next year either in the ground or in a pot so you can make your own medicinal herbal teas.
Note: Ensure you have correctly identified a herb before you consume it. There are many look alikes in the plant kingdom that contain potent compounds that can harm you. Consult your naturopathic doctor about using herbs that are appropriate for your health condition.