Do you feel stressed or anxious? If so, spending time in nature outdoors, especially enjoying your garden as a peaceful sanctuary is one of the best ways to centre yourself and relax. Taking time out to listen to nature sounds like birds and bees, watch plants grow and thrive, and experience the colours, aromas and beauty around you can help lessen life’s worries and put life in perspective. Soak up the vitamin D from morning sun to boost your health too.
I’ve discovered many herbs can also provide relief. One of the aspects of growing herbs that I find so beneficial is not only using them for flavour, but for their medicinal benefits too.
Grow a Home Herb Pharmacy Garden
There are many herbs that are easy to grow in your own ‘home pharmacy’ garden for every day relief of common ailments including anxiety and stress.
These herbs are three of my favourites and can also be combined into a relaxing herbal tea.
1. Tulsi, Sacred or Holy Basil (Ocimum Sanctum)
In warm climates, grow Tulsi Basil as a perennial or as an annual in cold and temperate climates.
Use Tulsi or Holy Basil in a herbal tea to help ease anxiety, stress and adrenal fatigue. Brew up a few fresh basil leaves or about 1 teaspoon of dried leaves as a herb tea to aid digestion, calm nerves, reduce tension and stress. You can also add your other favourite herbs.
Cautions: Tulsi basil is a uterine stimulant so avoid if pregnant or seek medical advice.
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2. German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
This pretty, fast growing flowering herb has fine, feathery leaves and a compact growing habit. It’s ideal for either pots or the garden and has a trailing growth habit. Best of all, you can grow your own sustainable healing herbal tea ingredients with no pesticides, food miles or packaging!
I use the flowers from this gentle delicious herb as a natural sedative to aid sleep. Make a herb tea from the dried blooms and enjoy before bed in the evening. It’s also beautifully calming and soothing at any time of day. Chamomile helps promote relaxation and you can use it to strengthen nerves and relieve stress.
Our home is never ever without it. I make a bedtime or calming tea from the dried edible flowers. Snip blooms off stalks while fresh with scissors and dry on a tray indoors, then store in a sealed jar in the dark. You can also use organic tea bags.
I often add a few delicious lemon myrtle leaves as we have this tree growing in our garden. Lemon myrtle also has beautiful calming, stress-relieving properties and the lemon flavour comes from the citral oil. It’s a soothing combination.
While most people find this a safe and mild herb, some may experience nausea or other symptoms. Before taking chamomile tea, seek medical advice particularly if you are allergic to any plant in the Asteraceae (Compositae) family. Plants include calendula, arnica, echinacea, ragweed, dandelions, sunflowers, chrysanthemums, feverfew or asters. If you have an allergy, you may also react to chamomile. If you have asthma, diabetes, are on any medications including birth control or are on blood thinning medication, consult your health professional.
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3. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
This fragrant, subtly lemon-scented and flavoured leafy herb is a member of the mint family. In this age of stress, lemon balm is a must-have herb to grow in a pot or your garden. It soothes the nervous system and lifts the spirits. This herb has been used to help reduce stress and anxiety, as a natural anti-depressant to help lift the spirits, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion. Perfect for the holiday season!
If you want to use fresh, pick the leaves just before you need them, so they retain their wonderful volatile essential oils. If I’m making a tea, I put the kettle on, pick the leaves and pop them in the pot.
Cautions: Lemon balm may interact with sedatives and thyroid medications including hormone treatment.
Fresh vs Dried Herbs in Teas
Fresh herbs are best picked just before brewing your tea for maximum flavour and nutritional benefits.
Dried herbs should be kept in a cool, dark place in a sealed container.
How much should you use?
As a guide to quantities, try one teaspoon of dried herbs or a sprig of fresh herbs per person. Adjust to taste. If you prefer a stronger flavour, add a little more or steep for longer,
Inhale the Fragrant Aroma
When making a comforting aromatic tea, take your time to enjoy the fragrant scent of the essential oils coming from the cup, as well as the flavour. The aroma helps activate vitality and a feeling of wellbeing.
I hope growing or using these herbs helps you stay a little calmer, reduce stress and anxiety.
Guide to Using Kitchen Herbs
If you’re interested in using your culinary herbs for health and wellness, I invite you to read my eBook ‘Guide to Using Kitchen Herbs for Health – Quick easy ways to grow, eat and use herbs daily’. This comprehensive book provides you with simple detailed instructions for deciding which are the best herbs to grow in your unique space, how to set up your herb gardens (indoors and out), which herbs to grow, and how to best use them in the kitchen, garden and to support your health medicinally. It covers these 3 herbs in depth with their many other health benefits and how to grow them.
This book also makes an easy gift to share with loved ones. They can download immediately to read on any device and enjoy forever as a practical reference guide to using kitchen herbs.
Related Articles and Resources:
- Grow Your Own Herb Tea Garden
- How to Plant out a Herb Garden
- Creating a Garden Sanctuary
- 17 Garden Goals for Your Health and Wellbeing
- Easy Guide to Growing Basil
- How can I Use Herbs in my Daily Life?
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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2018. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.
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