- a brief history and catalogue
before recorded history herbs were used for culinary and
medicinal purposes. First documented by early civilisations...Babylon,
2000 BC being the first reference. The Egyptians imported
the herbs and spices along with the knowledge of their
use from Babylon and India. Garlic, Anise, Caraway, Saffron,
Coriander and Thyme were used in foodstuffs, medicines,
cosmetics, perfume, disinfectants and in the process of
embalming. The ancient Greek, Herodotus in about 500 BC
listed about 700 herbs and their usage many of which remain
valid today. Dioscorides in the 1st Century AD produced
a herbal guide which is still a reference today in the
practice of natural medicines.
Romans were as enthusiastic as the Greeks in the use of
herbs and when the Legions of Rome marched conquering
and colonising most of Europe they took with them the
seeds and plants to cultivate for their use. Of the 200
herbs (approx) introduced into Britain Sage, Fennel, Betony,
Hyssop, Borage, Parsley, Thyme and Rosemary are but a
the invading Barbarians tore down most of what the Romans
built only the Monasteries and their gardens survived
with some immunity. The monks kept alive the Roman knowledge
of herbal use to treat those who lived outside the Monastery
walls. Some of the herbs they grew and used are Poppies,
Burdock, Marshmallow, Houseleek, Rue, Lilies, Fenugreek,
Savory, Parsley, Mint, Cummin, Fennel, Iris and Rosemary.
Herbal medicines many of which form the basis of today's
liqueurs were often mixed with wine to make them taste
better. These recipes of digestive herbs were and are
often taken to combat chronic indigestion and flatulence
often caused by badly prepared food.
sense of peace came with the Middle Ages and with it came
the kitchen garden and orchards that were planted outside
the castle walls. Favourite herbs included Roses, Iris,
Lilies, Columbines, Lavenders, Dianthus, Wild Thyme, Avens,
Borage, Parsley, Orach, Honeysuckle and Fennel. The first
English herbal published in 1551 by William Turner was
a scientific study of 238 native British plants provides
the basis of two, less rigorous works, the Herbals of
Gerard and Culpepper, both of which are still available
the Victorian and Tudor periods the "still room"
was often used. Wines, sweet bags, pot-pourri, medicinal
salves and burning perfumes as well as the culinary preparations
were all made there, plants with insecticidal or disinfectant
properties were particularly in demand. Seeds and recipes
were taken upon the colonising of America. With the help
of the American Indian (for which we can thank for the
deliciously refreshing Earl Grey Tea flavoured by the
oil of Bergamot) much was learnt about the native herbs
and their use.
the incoming Industrial Revolution people were robbed
of their traditional livelihoods and went in search of
work in the towns. They no longer had the room to grow
herbs and patent medicines and manufactured condiments
took their place. Herb gardening in Australia during the
First World War received a shot in the arm when herbal
remedies achieved importance and a whole new generation
learnt about plant cultivation and the usage through the
work of Maude Greive author of " A Modern Herbal
". The books editor was the founder of an early British
Herb Society and such societies throughout the world have
done much to ensure that those wartime lessons are not
a succulent resembling cactus and belonging to the Lily
family. Produces two different substances that are used
for medicinal purposes. One is a juice contained in the
cell underneath the skin that is used in laxatives. The
other a clear gel exuded from the broken leaf that contains
amino acids, proteins, vitamins, enzymes, carbohydrates
and saponins this gel has a healing effect on burned or
originating in Northern Europe and used for its disinfectant
and antiseptic properties.
seeds aid digestion whilst oil distilled from the seeds
is used in toothpaste, cough mixtures and throat lozenges.
its camphor / citrus smelling leaves are used in pot-pourri
and for inhalation by sinus sufferers.
aromatic soothing tea credited with improving the concentration
and prolonging life. A cosmetic herb also used in relaxing
mostly used for its culinary use, medicinally used to
treat digestive disorders whilst the oil can be used in
the manufacture of perfumes.
characteristic flavour in Earl Grey Tea with leaves containing
Thymol a natural antiseptic, helps in the treatment of
coughs, sore throats and fever, it also aids in the relief
of nausea and flatulence. Oil of Bergamot is used in the
manufacture of perfumes.
the tea is used to treat rheumatism, chest complaints
and to stimulate the kidneys. Cucumber tasting leaves
rich in calcium, potassium, natural saline and other minerals.
The plants high saline content makes for a soothing wash
for wounds and inflammations.
the tea is used to treat chest colds, increase the milk
production in nursing mothers also aids in the digestion.
a medicinal tea with mild sedative properties also helpful
in cases of cold or fever as it encourages perspiration.
the small white daisy-like flowers with yellow centres
are dried to make a soothing tea that encourages sleep
and aids digestion. They are also used for distilling
and the oil is used in cosmetic and hair care products.
rich in vitamins and minerals promoting a healthy liver
and gall bladder. The Chicory root is roasted and makes
a good substitute to coffee.
mild antibiotic properties containing iron and other minerals
are also helpful with the digestion of fats, stimulates
the kidneys and has a tonic effect on the body in general.
aids in digestion and is used medicinally to relieve stomach
cramps, flatulence and to stimulate appetite. Ointments
and liniments containing Coriander are said to be of assistance
for rheumatic complaints. Still used in the perfume industry
for pot pourri and some homemade cosmetics.
rich in sodium, silica, potassium and other minerals.
Soaking brittle fingernails in an infusion may help strengthen
them. A powerful digestive aid and is used to aid the
relief of colic.
medicinally Elder leaves and flowers are used to reduce
fever, assist in respiratory conditions or taken as laxatives
and diuretics. Juice from the berries is said to relieve
migraine and neuralgia by raising the pain threshold.
aids in digestion and as a tea may be helpful to dieters
as it allays hunger pangs, it may also be taken to relieve
nausea and flatulence.
medicinally used to lower raised temperatures and reduce
fever, useful in the prevention and treatment of migraine
headaches. Best taken as a tea, the crushed leaves may
be rubbed into the skin to relieve itching caused by mosquito
traditionally used by the ancient Greek physicians for
its anti biotic and disinfectant properties. Fresh leaves
contain Alliin, a powerful antibiotic and an effective
treatment of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, bronchitis
and the common cold, a useful deterrent of insects in
spray form. Chewing Parsley or Peppermint leaves will
reduce telltale traces on the breath.
containing saponins and salicylic acid compounds makes
it a useful treatment of feverish, catarrh, rheumatism,
gout and certain skin conditions.
distinctive vanilla-cherry fragrant flowers make it also
known as "Cherry-Pie". Used in perfumery and
flowers are used cosmetically in hand and face preparations
for their antiseptic properties. Lotion is used to relieve
sunburn whilst a gargle will soothe inflamed throats.
contains Vitamin C and mustard oil. Small doses of the
latter will stimulate the gastrointestinal tract, dispel
mucus from the nose and chest and assist in some urinary
and menstrual troubles. In ointment form may be rubbed
into rheumatic joints and chilblains.
a cleansing and strewing herb. The mould that grows on
its leaves has been found to produce penicillin. Similar
to sage and when taken internally aids digestion, eases
inflamed throats, catarrh and inhibits sweating. A compress
will reduce bruising and is also a recommended treatment
for a black eye.
tea from the leaf as well as the berries aid digestion
and stimulate the appetite. Medicinally used as a diuretic
taken from the Latin word " lavare - to wash "
and traditionally used to scent bath water, bathing wounds
and to scent linen. The oil can be rubbed into the temples
to relieve headaches and the liniment for aching joints.
Powdered lavender was once used to stimulate the appetite
and soothe the stomach. In addition to being used commercially
in the manufacture of perfumes and cosmetics lavender
is an ingredient to a wide range of homemade skin and
hair care products. It can also be used in sleep-pillows,
moth repellent sachets and pot-pourri.
long pointed aromatic leaves with a swollen, fleshy and
bulbous base is a good source of Vitamin A.
highly palatable and refreshing tea taken in moderation
relieves indigestion, nausea, vertigo and palpitations.
A popular bath herb, which can be put into sleep-pillows
and pot-pourri while crushing a leaf or two, will rid
your car of unpleasant odours. Also has moth and mosquito
rich in vitamins and with a long history as a deodorant
and bath herb. Taken internally it acts as a diuretic
and an appetite stimulant.
anti-inflammatory properties, also used in indigestion
remedies, moisturisers and ointments for bruised, blemished
or sun burned skin whilst a tea is said to improve circulation.
included regularly in the diet it is said to give protection
to stomach ailments. The leaves may be chewed to give
slight relief to tooth aches whilst the oil used as an
ointment may be rubbed into stiff joints.
a good digestive tea and flavouring to confectionery and
tooth pastes etc. Oil may be inhaled to relieve nasal
congestion and rubbed into painful joints.
slightly peppery tasting leaves are rich in Vitamin C,
therefore a tasty addition to salads.
a disinfectant herb and a digestive, also an expectorant.
rich in vitamins A, B, C and iron, calcium, sodium and
magnesium, fatty acids and pectin. Stimulates the kidneys
and the digestive system. Parsley tea is a favourite to
slimmers as it is a diuretic; the leaves can be chewed
to freshen the breath, especially after the intake of
crushed dried flowers mixed with hot soapy water make
an alternative insecticide, which is harmless to mammals.
a long revered herb with beneficial effects on hair and
skin. Oil rubbed on temples will relieve headaches and
tension whilst the tea is taken to improve memory and
mucilage from the seeds was used to cleanse the eyes.
Used to flavour wine and in the manufacture of perfumes.
Its dried leaves are an excellent fixative for pot-pourri.
an infusion soothes sunburn and the leaves may be used
in face creams and cleansers.
because of its antiseptic properties an infusion can be
dabbed on pimples or used to gargle to relieve sore throats.
traditionally a washing herb and still recommended as
a washing agent for old laces, patchwork and naturally
dyed fabrics. Also used in a variety of homemade cosmetics.
medicinally used as a diuretic, particularly in pre-menstrual
containing a natural antiseptic, Thymol. Thyme oil is
used to treat respiratory and digestive upsets, an antiseptic
gargle and mouthwash. Thyme tea is said to be a cure for
rich in phosphorous it is an important herb as its aromatic
roots contain an effective combination of ingredients,
none of which have much therapeutic value when taken alone.
Together they soothe the nervous system, aid insomnia,
migraine and muscular spasms.
having laxative and diuretic properties used in cough
mixtures and bronchitis remedies. Past uses include insomnia
and nervous headache remedies. Extensively used in the
perfume and cosmetics industry also an ingredient for
many homemade cosmetics.
main use as a repellent but is still used to cure seasickness
and gastric diseases.
will staunch bleeding, reduce inflammation and help fight
infection. May also relieve toothaches and inflammation
of the gums. Taken as a tea as a tonic and diuretic, also
relieves gastric upsets.