My Favorite Herbs

Hey everyone, so while I’ve been on vacation, I was asked what my favorite plants are? Well, check them out below with a few facts about them.

Aloe Vera: 

Aloe Vera is edible and is incredibly useful for many afflictions. It’s not native to North America, but it’s been naturalized in many places. 

How to Identify:

Aloe Vera plants have succulent leaves that grow 2 to 3 feet (0.6 meters to 0.9 meters) tall. The plant is stemless or has very short stems. Aloe Vera leaves are thick, fleshy, and filled with gelatinous sap. The leaves grow in clumps, green to grey-green, and may have white flecks on the leaf surfaces. The leaf margins are serrated with small white teeth. Flowers appear in the summer on a tall spike growing from the center of the plant. Flowers range in color from white and yellow to orange and red. 

Edible or no:

Eat aloe vera leaves raw or cooked. The outer green skin can also be eaten but is bitter and harsh. Removing the skin with a sharp knife leaves the meat and gel inside the plant; both are edible. 

Aloe is good poached or otherwise gently cooked. Fully cooked, it loses its slimy texture. Some people enjoy raw aloe as juice or by putting a chunk in their water. 

Medicinal: 

Aloe Vera gel, the gelatinous substance inside the leaf, is used to relieve sunburn, wounds, and other minor skin irritations. 

Other Uses:

  • For external use, split the longleaf ways with a knife and scrape the gel from the leaf’s interior. 
  • Heartburn & IBS: Consuming 1 to 3 ounces of aloe vera gel with each meal reduces the severity of acid reflux and the associated heartburn. It also helps the cramping, abdominal pain, flatulence, and bloating caused by irritable bowel syndrome. 
  • Aloe Vera extract makes a safe and effective mouthwash that reduces swelling, soothes, and provides relief from bleeding or swollen gums. 

Warning: Long term internal use of Aloe Vera is not recommended due to the latex found in Aloe Vera. Please do not use it internally while pregnant. Do not use it if you have hemorrhoids or kidney issues. 

Anise Hyssop:

Anise Hyssop is also known as giant blue hyssop, giant lavender hyssop, elk mint, and licorice mint. It belongs to the Lamiaceae (Mint) Family. It is native to northern and central North America. 

How to Identify: 

Anise hyssop grows from 2 to 5 feet (0.6 to 1.5m) tall, with bright green leaves that are notched at the edge and covered with fine white hairs on the underside. 

Edible or no:

Anise hyssop can be used as a sweetener and to make tea. It can be used as a flavoring or seasoning. The leaves and flowers can be eaten fresh, cooked, or dried. 

Other uses:

  • Drinking Anise Hyssop Tea with meals eases digestion and prevents excessive gas and bloating. 
  • Anise Hyssop has been used to treat colds, flu, and respiratory issues. 
  • Anise Hyssop is also used to relieve pain and treat burns and wounds. Due to its anti-microbial properties, it has historically been used in salves and poultices.
  • Wash the skin in Anise Hyssop Infusion to help relieve the itchiness of poison ivy. 

Tea Bonus:

 Add fresh or dried Anise Hyssop to a jar and cover with boiling water. ( 4-6 tablespoons dried herb or 6-8 tablespoons) fresh herb per quart jar, but you can do whatever works for you. Cover and let steep until cool enough to drink. Strain and drink, or cool and refrigerate to save for iced tea.

Ashwagandha ( I use every day)

Ashwagandha is a member of the nightshade family. It is sometimes called Winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng due to its importance in Ayurvedic medicine. 

How to identify: 

The bush grows to a height of 2 to 3 or more feet (0.6m-0.9m), with dull green leaves. Light green, bell-shaped flowers appear in midsummer and orange to red berries in the fall. Branches grow radially from a center stem. 

Edible or no:

The plant is not generally eaten, but its seeds are used in the production of vegetarian cheeses. The leaves are used to make Ashwagandha Tea. 

Other uses:

  • Ashwagandha has long been used to relieve anxiety, improve mental health, concentration, vitality, and enhance life quality. It also acts as a mood stabilizer and relieves symptoms of depression. 
  • Ashwagandha is particularly beneficial to diabetic patients in reducing blood glucose levels. 
  • Ashwagandha helps improve sexual function. 
  • Ashwagandha helps regulate immune function by reducing the body’s stress hormones, reducing inflammation, increasing the white blood cell count, and increasing immunoglobulin production. 

Warning: The herb is generally believed to be safe and has an extensive history of use. However, no long-term studies on the safety and long-term use may make it more likely that side effects will be experienced while taking. Consult your doctor and watch for side-effects when using ashwagandha over the long term. 

Bottle Gourd:

The bottle gourd is often cultivated for its fruit, known as calabash, white-flowered gourd, and long melon. When harvested young, the fruit is used as a vegetable. When mature, it is dried, and it can be scraped and used as a bottle, container, or pipe. 

How to Identify:

This annual vine grows to be 15 feet (4.5m) long or more. The fruit has a smooth light-green skin and white flesh, and it grows in a variety of shapes and sizes. It has long, densely packed hairs on the stems.

Medicinal: 

It is used to control blood sugar levels and is an anti-inflammatory. 

Other uses:

  • Calabash facilitates easy digestion and movement of food through the bowel until it is excreted from the body. Thus, it helps in relieving indigestion and constipation problems.
  • Bottle gourd tender leaves and tendrils are also edible and contain higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals than its fruit.
  • Bottle gourd acts as a natural sedative and helps facilitate calm sleep. Insomnia, which means lack of sleep, can cause various health problems like cardiovascular problems, irregular heartbeat, increased risk of high blood pressure, etc. 

(Lost Book Of Remedies)

I hope you all enjoy this post; if you have any questions, comment below.

2 thoughts on “My Favorite Herbs

  1. All good plants! We have some Aloe growing naturally in the area that locals will take a leaf or two from as needed. There tends to be less leaves left during summer.
    Do you grow any of these plants at home?

    Like

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