When looking to improve their diet people often look to incorporate healthy, nutritious foods high in vitamins, amino acids, proteins, and other important minerals. While this is the foundation of a healthy diet and promotes your overall well-being, there are still going to be times when you are, unfortunately, going to catch the flu or another ailment. While people often look to food as a preventor of illnesses they often forget that plants and herbs can also be a remedy to many common colds and sicknesses. At the inn, we believe strongly in the healing powers of food and believe that they should be used to both prevent sickness and cure it. We grow many plants, herbs, and flowers around the inn that possess healing abilities and look to expand our pharmaceutical garden every year. In this article we will share some of our knowledge on a few plants and herbs we grow around the inn and the medicinal properties that they contain. These plants & herbs are not only great healers, but do not have the side effects that are often found in pharmaceutical drugs given at the pharmacy. We hope this article will inspire you to begin your own medicinal garden, so the next time you have an ailment you no longer have to resort to the pharmacist!
Comfrey (Symphytum ofﬁcinale)
The leaves can be consumed raw when young or as a tea when older, and the shoots can serve as an asparagus substitute, but comfrey is not really favored as a culinary herb. Comfrey contains the organic molecule allantoin, which stimulates cell growth and repair and thus makes Comfrey ideal for speeding up healing. Common uses are topical application for broken bones, wounds, skin complaints and eye wounds and internal consumption for pulmonary complaints and internal bleeding.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
This powerful herb has a variety of culinary applications. Many people may not realize that the little powerhouse they love to cook with brings a host of nutrients and benefits to their dishes. Thyme is high in vitamin K, Iron, and manganese. Thyme also contains the volatile oil Thymol, which has been proven to increase the percentage of healthy fats in cell membranes. When diets are supplemented with thyme, an increase in brain, kidney, and heart cell membranes has been shown.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
While many know about Fennel’s heavenly scent and flavor, few are aware of its vast medicinal properties. The entire plant can be used medicinally. In particular, the seeds are high in an oil called anethole, which is said to ease indigestion, gas, and spasms of the digestive tract. Fennel also has the antioxidant flavonoid quercetin, which is an anticarcinogenic and an antihistimine. Fennel makes a delicious addition to delicacies like pickles, grain dishes, and apple pies.
St. John’s Wort(Hypericum perforatum)
It has been dubbed “nature’s prozac.” It is taken to treat mild depression and other nervous complaints. Teas, tinctures, and oils made with this plant can also be applied topically to treat bruises, burns and surface wounds. The herb is used to treat a wide range of disorders including pulmonary complaints, bladder problems, diarrhea and nervous depression. On top of its medicinal benefits, various parts of the plant also yield a range of dyes.
Sage (Salvia spp.)
A common sight (and smell) on the Thanksgiving table, Sage has a long history as a medicinal plant valued for its antiseptic, astringent, and calming qualities. It can be taken as a gargle or infusion (tea) to aid in healing sore throat or gums, and to relieve digestive disorders. Culinarily, sage is used mainly in seasoning meat, but can also flavor cheese. White sage is also used for a practice called “Smudging,” a traditional Native American ceremony used to cleanse spaces and prepare for important occasions. It has a pleasant fragrance and sage bundles are often sold as popular home fragrance.