To enjoy the full Mail & Guardian online experience: please upgrade your browser
10 Mar 2010 15:01
Everyone knows that using fresh herbs in the kitchen can transform a meal into a feast. But we can also use them in the home to treat minor ailments.
Whether you have a garden, a window box, or simply room for a pot on a west- or east-facing windowsill, you can grow your own living first-aid kit.
Be aware that some plants can be poisonous if misidentified or misused so, if you are unsure, if you are pregnant or for more serious conditions, always seek medical advice.
Hangovers and heavy hearts
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) makes a restorative herbal infusion that’s ideal for waking up the grey cells, settling the stomach and lifting the spirits—perfect for sufferers of seasonal affective disorder, or a hangover.
Burns and bites
I used to have an aloe (Aloe vera) growing in a pot on my kitchen windowsill because I am renowned as a clumsy cook. But I have started using the burn-jelly plant (Bulbine frutescens), which is also a succulent and produces many more leaves that are easier to use.
Headaches and cold sores
An infusion of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) can be drunk every day to relieve headaches, tension and tiredness, and restore memory.
Sunburn and skin rashes
Calendula cream made from pot marigold flowers (Calendula officinalis) is simple to make and keeps in the refrigerator for up to eight weeks. Use on inflamed skin or minor wounds, rashes and sunburn.
Coughs and sore throats
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) has many therapeutic and culinary uses and its antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties have been proved by research. Broadleaf thyme (Thymus pulegioides) looks lovely tumbling over the edge of a path, or cascading off the edge of a raised bed.
Scars and sprains
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) is a wildflower of the United Kingdom and has been used medicinally for thousands of years; applied to the surface of the skin, it helps scar tissue to heal and eases varicose veins, muscle strain, sprains and bruises.
Create Account | Lost Your Password?