The garden is the poor man’s apothecary
It’s already the first of July! Can you believe it? It seems I was just posting my May favorite for Quotography and now I’m suppose to find my fave for June. And over at Texture Tuesday, we’re to share one of our favorites as well. I chose to not put a texture on this one because I love the detail of the mint blossoms and the background blurred just enough to really show off the little flowers.
You might be asking what the quote has to do with a mint flower. Well, I’m so glad you asked. I’m one who routinely won’t go to a doctor unless there’s no other recourse. I know. I know. I KNOW!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for better living through pharmaceuticals when necessary. After back surgery in 2005, Oxycontin was my best friend. Similar pain meds came in handy after rotator cuff surgery in 2007. UTIs can’t be wiped out without antibiotics. But you won’t see me anywhere near a doctor’s office for routine colds, flu or minor (or some major) accidents.
But.…I’ve always been fascinated by nature’s apothecary shop. And part of me believes much of what ails us could be taken care of through better diet and Mother Nature’s medicine cabinet. Here’s a few ideas from the garden.
I grow mint in a container because I don’t want a yard full of it. Mint essential oil can be used to clear upper respiratory congestion. It also provides a calm and cooling effect on the body. Mint essential oil has analgesic effects that may provide relief from arthritis, rheumatoid conditions and general muscle aches. It also can soothe itchy, irritated skin and ward off bugs. It’s used in aromatherapy for headaches and migraines. Spearmint is a common ingredient in mouthwash, toothpaste, chewing gum and breath mints. But most importantly, it’s invaluable in making Mojitos.
Lemon balm is a relative of mint and it easily grown.. too easily as it’s taken over the back corner of the house. Some of its more common uses include mild anti-anxiety treatment because of its sedative properties; calming abdominal ailments; in topical form to treat cold sores or herpes simplex outbreaks. It also smells nice in a bath sachet when combined with lavender and mint. And we all know soaking in a hot bath can melt away the day’s stresses.
I have a comfrey plant that moved with us some 15+ years ago. Again, an invasive plant and we sunk barrier panels in the ground to contain it when planted. It grows unattended (aka: ignored). It’s a first aid remedy and contains a compound called allantoin, which when applied to the skin accelerates healing. Some day I’ll make my own comfrey ointment, but I’m here to tell you…I bought some years ago and it worked better than Neosporin.
Lavender has been used forever for relaxation. The lavender scent is in everything from soaps to candles. Again, lavender is a member of the mint family but won’t run rampant where planted. Its essential oil may help reduce itching and heal skin tissues when added to a bath for eczema, sunburn, bug bites, chicken pox and poison ivy rashes. Some say it helps headaches when the oil is put just above each eyebrow and on each cheek. Adding lavender to a bath may help soothe a restless baby and promote healing of umbilical cord areas.
Ancient cultures knew all about Aloe Vera. Doctors in ancient Greece and Italy prescribed it as a healing agent for cuts, blisters and wounds. I can 1,000% verify it’s healing powers because I had a pressure canner explode on me, covering my arms with scalding water giving me second degree burns. After decimating all my aloe plants, I have no scars to this day. And yes I did go to the doctor…two days later.
Okay, let’s step out of the garden, hose off our feet and head to the kitchen.
We either love them or hate them. But, inhaling a fresh cut onion has been used to clear nasal passages. Hold a fresh cut onion to a bump, bruise or sprain, and the pain is supposed to be relieved.
Indispensable when cooking, garlic is perhaps the number one most ancient healing remedy. A 1500 BCE Egyptian papyrus records 22 recipes for treatments containing garlic. Garlic is a great source of anti-oxidants that is a powerful immune system builder, protect skin and slows the aging process inside and out. Garlic is a multipurpose herb, acting as an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antifungal treatment. And let’s not forget…it wards off vampires.
I could go on and on and on.…but you get the idea.
He who takes medicine and neglects his diet wastes the skill of his doctors.
- Chinese Proverb
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.