Growing season is right around the corner...
How excited are you to start digging around in the garden, squishing those toes in the soil, sun warming your body and nature feeding your soul!? Clearly, I'm stoked ;) The garden is an incredible place to not only grow delicious organic produce, but it's a perfect opportunity to grow medicinal herbs. YES! There are tons of herbs that can grow here, in Alberta, and I wanted to share my favorite with you!
1. Support Your Digestion with Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Chamomile is an INCREDIBLE plant. It's often overlooked because it's so common, but I honestly use this A LOT in my clinical practice. Digestion issues are no joke!
Chamomile is known as the "Mother of the Gut" and that she is! This plant is excellent for addressing a wide-array of digestive complaints such as: Gas, bloating, indigestion, heart burn, nausea and cramping. Part of the beauty of this plant's medicine is as a nervine. Nervines are plants that calm the nervous system, helping to relieve feelings of anxiety and promote sleep.
Did you know in order to digest food your body needs to be a parasympathetic state? That means you need to be out of that stressful "fight or flight" mode- a sympathetic state- in order to absorb nutrients and digest properly. Chamomile helps relax your nervous system into the "Rest & Digest" state, acting on both the nervous system and the digestive system.
Chamomile is gentle enough to give to littles as well- great for tummy upsets or to help children fall asleep.
2. Heal Your Wounds with Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Also known as Marigold, these flowers are the epidemy of sunshine energy. They're so radiant and bring an uplifting, colorful presence to any garden or tea blend.
Calendula is another plant that offers some great medicine for the digestive system. I use it in my gut-healing tea blends, as it acts as a vulnerary for the mucosa of the digestive tract. This means it helps to regenerate and heal tissue- perfect for leaky gut, ulceration and inflammed digestive systems. It's also an excellent healer of any kind of skin irritation: cuts, scrapes, diaper rash, cradle cap, athlete's foot, chapped skin and sunburns- which is why I use it in my Wild Summer After-Sun Balm and the Wild Mama's Beautiful Belly Butter!
Marigold is an emmenagogue, has a mild estrogenic action and is anti-spasmodic so is often used to help reduce menstrual pain and regulate menstrual bleeding. However, for this reason caution is advised for internal use if you are pregnant or have an estrogen-dominant condition.
The energetics of calendula are warming; the taste is bitter, sweet, salty and pungent. Calendula flowers makes an incredible oil, tincture or dried tea to incorporate that bright sunshine energy into the winter.
3. Calm your mind with Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Ohhhhh Lemon balm. This is one the most delightful herbs to be around and harvest- the smell is absolutely divine. This cooling and uplifting plant is calming to the nervous system making it useful for situations of stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, mild depression and nervousness.
The essential oils in this plant (the reason it smells so darn good) are part of the reason Lemon balm is such a great carminative. Those essential oils act in the digestive tract to ease cramping and spasms. It's especially useful for digestive complaints that are triggered by stress or anxiety. Those same essential oils are anti-viral and can be useful topically for shingles and cold sores (herpes simplex virus). It can also be used to break a fever with influenza. For this use, fresh plant extracts are the most effective.
Lastly, Lemon balm works to balance the thyroid & control heart palpitations when the thyroid is hyperactive in conditions such as Grave's disease. For this reason, don't use medicinal doses of Lemon balm when you have a hypothyroid condition. Energetically, lemonbalm is pungent, sweet and cooling- Perfect for making a delicious Iced "Lemonade" drink for those hot summer days.
Now get out there and start planting!