Herbalists have long spoken about the benefits of plants for health. Whether it be sipping on a herbal tea, breathing their fresh air, forest bathing or using plants for cosmetic uses, there are lots of easy ways to include plants in your life and give yourself a pick-me-up at the same time.
Some great teas include chamomile, which can be drunk or bathed in to help you calm the stress from the day, help you sleep or relieve period pain. Sage tea reduces inflammation and improves memory, and ginger tea can help reduce nausea. And while we don’t sell stinging nettles if you happen to have them in the garden, a tea made with them is said to treat arthritis, anaemia and hay fever. Mint, pineapple sage, thyme, scented geranium and lemon balm are all deliciously fragrant and have their benefits too.
Fancy a curry? That’s SO good for you, especially if rich in turmeric (it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory), garlic has many health benefits and helps you quickly get over a cold, and the chilli is right for you too. Even the basil sprinkles on top of green curries in Thai food has health benefits, and it said to reduce stress.
Skin problems? Try Aloe vera. Well known for sunburn treatment, it’s also great for skin irritations and rashes. Calendula flowers are also good for skin care and chapped lips, and even acne, and comfrey leaves and roots have long been used to soothe skin irritations. Want shiny hair? Use a rosemary tea for a hair rinse.
In days gone by, the pharmacist and the garden went hand in hand to fix most things. Heartsease, (the small flowering violet called Viola tricolour) according to Shakespeare, could heal a broken heart and rouse…well, more than this blog can say! Rose petals too, were used for their aphrodisiac qualities, but they can also calm your nerves.
There is lots of research, most notably from NASA, about the air cleaning properties of indoor plants. Include a pot plant or three to take out the toxins from the air (think palm tree, peace lily and Devils Ivy) and then deep breathe your ‘detoxed’ air. Finish off with a walk around a forest. Formally known as a bush walk, “tree bathing” as it is now known, is great for your mental health and wellbeing.
By: Meredith Kirton