Herbs for the bathtub sachet. (Mary Lowther photo)

Herbs for the bathtub sachet. (Mary Lowther photo)

Mary Lowther column: Many uses for easy to grow herbs

Professor Duke makes a tea using them along with a dash of ginger and turmeric.

By Mary Lowther

Brother Cadfael, fictional monk in 12th century England, solved murders as an adjunct to his day job growing and preparing herbs to treat the sick and injured who lived and visited the Benedictine Abbey at Shrewsbury. This paladin left his military life in the Crusades behind, thinking to spend the rest of his days cloistered quietly within the sanctity of the abbey walls, but author Ellis Peters kept creating murder mysteries to be solved by this brilliant and inquisitive man who only wanted to tend his herb beds and make potions. Thankfully, our prosaic times provide us with fewer unaccounted for bodies, and with the creation of professional detectives those of us interested in the healthful plants are spared the frequent distractions that make Cadfael stories such excellent reading.

On the subject of excellent reading, in his book The Green Pharmacy, botanist James Duke points out, “From what we know about mind/body medicine, I’m confident that self-grown herbal medicines should work better than anything store bought or foraged.” He continues by claiming if you take prepared supplements “you get one mineral or a few plant chemicals (phytochemicals) but with whole herbs, you get every therapeutic phytochemical in the plant — possibly hundreds.”

For example, two ounces of sprouted fava beans contain enough L-dopa to have a physiological effect. L-dopa is a proprietary medication used to treat Parkinson’s disease but is far more expensive than simply eating the beans. If I had Parkinson’s I’d be looking into the latest research on these beans; David says if he was married to someone with Parkinson’s he’d be looking into an air filter.

In previous columns I have gone into the loss of minerals across the board when produce, including herbs, leaves the farmers’ gates. At the risk of repeating myself, we give our own health a boost by growing herbs in fully remineralized soil.

The good news is that most herbs are easy to grow. For example, basil, bee balm, chives, dill, fennel, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm, oregano, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, sage, savory, spearmint and thyme can flavour a meal while providing a variety of nutrients that treat or help prevent bad breath, headaches, cancer, stomach upset, tension and blood clots. Since these herbs, like most, abound with antioxidants, Professor Duke makes a tea using them along with a dash of ginger and turmeric. He suggests using two parts of the ingredients one likes with one part of the less appealing herbs.

Herbs don’t require much space to grow and suffer from less predation than other crops. I harvest mine several times during the season just before they flower, but if I want to save any for seed, I tag the best ones and let them grow on. When I dry my herbs and pull off the leaves to store, I toss the stems onto my garden paths where they release their scent when trodden on.

Herbal sachets have been used for centuries to sweeten the air.

You can also make a sachet of herbs, tie it over the bathtub faucet and allow the water to flow through to create a scented bath. It’s an easy stocking stuffer any time of year.

Please contact mary_lowther@yahoo.ca with questions and suggestions since I need all the help I can get.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Holly the stuffed Rottweiler has been missing from the front of Lucky Dog U-Bath since Feb. 24. (Submitted photo)
Holly the stuffed Rottweiler is missing from Duncan shop

Toy dog missing from front of Lucky Dog U-Bath since Feb.24

Martha Jane McHardy displays her knitwear in one of the windows at Imagine That! in Duncan this month. (Submitted)
Arts and Entertainment column: Lots to see in Duncan in March

Funding success, painters show, folk art, tell your COVID story

The Kinsol Trestle in Shawnigan Lake is a sight to behold. Funding for the expansion of the Shawnigan Museum celebrates its 100th anniversary. (Citizen file)
Shawnigan Museum expansion gets $480,000

Funds from Government of Canada Legacy Fund - Building Communities through Arts and Heritage program

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
Cowichan Valley mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Clockwise from top left: Malahat First Nation Chief George Harry and councillors Steve Henry and Cindy Harry address community members in a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (Screenshot)
Malahat Nation confirms first two cases of COVID-19

Community has been under stay-at-home order since Jan. 7

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

(Pxhere)
B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Most Read