It’s that time of year again, everyone is seeking cures for the common cold and other ailments which affect the body during the fall and winter. Many people don’t realize they have cures and supplements for these conditions growing right outside in their gardens!
Do you have catnip in your garden? Perhaps thyme, peppermint, yarrow, hyssop, or even bee balm? All of these can be used to create tinctures and infusions which are great for the common cold and other conditions which cause you to become stuffy and generally ill. I’ve found that a great infusion of peppermint in warm tea is the perfect thing I need as a pick me up on cold winter days.
Catnip is a great addition to any garden as well, as the flowers it produces are beautiful and its very aromatic, not just for cats! Herb gardeners will love it because its easy to take care of and has multiple uses. In addition to being very flavorful in salads and marinades, catnip tea made from the leaves and flowers of the plant can be a great remedy for the coughs and sniffles, or just as a great bedtime relaxative. It grows year round, too, so it’s relatively easy to always have this on hand, especially if you love gardening.
Yarrow is another great herb to have year round in your garden, as it has many functions as a herbal remedy and has been used since ancient times. Since I can remember, my grandmother used to keep a yarrow plant around though she always called it ‘nosebleed’. Any time one of us would get a nosebleed or a cut or scrape, she’d pick off a leaf of this plant and tell us to press it against the wound or our nose. It always worked to stop the bleeding, and since then, I’ve always kept a yarrow plant around for minor scrapes and bruises, and of course, nosebleeds. The interesting thing about yarrow, though, is not only is it good for these types of minor injuries, it is also good for helping fight colds when combined in tea with peppermint. In addition to that, yarrow can be proven to help lower blood pressure too, so it’s a great all around herb to have in your garden.
Hyssop is another great all around herb for a coughing remedy, as when its prepared as an infusion, it can help coughing, cold, flu, and sore throats.
If you don’t have any of these herbs growing in your garden, the one you might have and can rely on is thyme. Thyme has been grown for centuries as a cure for congestion and colds, with monks in Southern France and Spain popularizing the use throughout the rest of Europe. The best way to use thyme if you find yourself under the weather is to prepare yourself a tea which is two teaspoons of thyme per each cup of boiling water. If you have a persistently nagging cough, you can also add in some sage which will help reduce the cough.
Thyme works best as the main ingredient which is found in its oil, thymol, is also used in products like Listerine mouth wash and Vick’s Vaporub. These products have long been used to provide soothing comfort for the mouth and nose, so if you want to go direct to the source and avoid having to rub Vick’s on your chest, you can prepare a pot of boiling water and throw in a few thyme sprigs. Using this as an inhalant in this manner will help loosen any congestion and you’ll definitely feel tons better.
These are only a few remedies which are available straight from your herb garden. Basil, oregano, sage, and rosemary also have great medicinal uses for curing all manner of ailments, does just about every herb you’d plant in your home garden. With a little research, I’ve found many uses for herbs which I wouldn’t normally consider for the purpose.