The New Year is a great opportunity to reflect, review and recalibrate. Whether you have a large garden or a small windowsill, physically planting seeds provides a wonderful lesson in practising patience, maintaining nourishment, and embracing transformation. It is a good time to plant herbal seedlings that can support the body to detoxify after the silly season. Wanting to start your own living medicine cabinet? Here are three easy to grow herbs that will help your body to feel rejuvenated for the year ahead.
Calendula – Calendula officinalis
A common garden plant dating back to the 12th century and known to keep pests away from the garden, Calendula’s value has been respected since ancient times. Calendula’s flowers are often the main part used; made into tea or added to salads, however the stems, younger leaves, seeds, and roots all have supportive effects. Calendula is used to cleanse the skin and is a wonderful balm used topically to soothe cuts, wounds, and aid skin repair. Calendula supports our body, both internally and externally. It supports the liver and the digestive and lymphatic systems and is seen as a female reproductive support. Calendula also supports the stomach and intestinal lining, utilising its abilities as for topical wounds. It is a wonderful detoxifying herb that supports the body to deal with symptoms of lymphatic congestion. Calendula blooms for many months of the year and takes its name from the Latin, Calends, meaning the first day of the month. Best harvested in the late afternoon, the flower can be used dried or fresh.
Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale
Dandelion is highly regarded as support for the liver and digestive system and is one of the most ancient herbs. Thought to be the plant that most closely resembles the moon, sun and stars, Dandelion is commonly found gracing garden lawns. Dandelion flowers close at dusk and reopen in the morning light, making it a plant that naturally shows us balance. It is important that the soil in which dandelion grows is in good health, as the flowers, leaves and roots are all used. Dandelion is a support to the liver and kidneys, along with the gallbladder and pancreas. Working with these organs, dandelion supports the absorption and digestion of nutrients and elimination of waste and toxins. Dandelion leaves are best gathered in late spring and are abundant in vitamins and minerals which makes them a wonderful addition to a salad. Dandelion roots are best gathered in late summer and can be roasted on a low heat and infused as a tea. Dandelion tea is a common substitute for coffee, helping to support energy, skin, and head comfort, typical signs of liver health.
Peppermint – Mentha x Piperita
One of the oldest herbs used for both culinary and medicinal purposes, peppermint has been used for generations to support the nervous and digestive system. Peppermint has a calming effect on the stomach, helping to relieve burping and bloating. Traditionally served as a refreshing drink or after dinner to support digestion, peppermint also supports the liver and gallbladder with bile production and the liver with detoxification. Among one of the most commonly used essential oils, it is best kept covered during infusion of the fresh or dried leaf, to trap the l essential oils so they do not evaporate with the steam.
Calendula flowers, roasted dandelion root, and peppermint leaves may be used on their own or combined to make an invigorating tea that will support important digestive and detoxifying organs. Drink daily to help your body to feel replenished and rejuvenated.