Saturday, April 23, 2011

Need a Hostess Gift for the Easter Dinner? Give a Pot of Herbs

If you're invited to a friends house for Easter dinner, consider giving a pot of herb as a hostess gift instead of the usual Easter Lily. Potted herbs have a much more personal touch, and your hostess will think of you as she snips the fresh herbs for years to come.

Now is the perfect time to find herbs to give as gifts and share with friend right in your own garden. As long as you're invited out for dinner on Easter, you may as well take advantage of the time you save on dinner preparations to work in your little plot.

As you do the spring cleanup of the herb garden, you’ll probably find shoots from the perennial herbs and want to take a quick break for a cup of herbal tea as the scent from the fresh, tender leaves surround you. Before you start the teakettle, take the time to divide the thyme, chive, oregano and mint plants first, and turn that fresh herb tea time into a gathering with friends. 

Once back to the herb garden, look over the upright thyme and lavender and give them a light groom. Don’t pull them out, even though they probably look quite dead. It takes a bit longer for new growth to show on the old branches of these herb plants. The deadwood can be identified and removed later in the spring, once the new growth has sprouted from most of the branches.

The tarragon, sage, lavender and thyme probably look like they won’t survive, but leave them alone. Pull the weeds, but don’t cut back the herbs until strong new growth appears.

As the April showers bring the herbs to life, continue to divide root clumps and runner roots so that the herb plants get good air circulation. When your friend’s gardens are full, consider donating the potted herbs to clubs holding fundraisers. Senior citizen clubs are often filled with gardeners who would enjoy receiving a living herb plant. Make sure the pots are properly marked with the name of the herb.

When you give a pot of herbs as gifts, include a card with your favorite herbal recipe

photo under morgueFile Free License

All written content ©2010 Patrice Campbell unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sweat Out your Cold With Herbs

Photo used with permission under MorgueFile Free License

As much as we try to avoid them, sooner or later we’re gonna catch a cold. The bad thing about colds is that you don’t only catch one. You don’t even catch only one a year. Some years it seems that all we have to do is hear someone sneeze and we’re soon hit with a common illness that makes us want to just go to bed and whine like a baby.

There are many herbal teas suggested for making us feel more comfortable while we’re waiting for the common cold to run it’s course. But did you know that some herbal remedies will also help you sweat out a cold?

A diaphoretic herb is one with properties that promote perspiration. The sweating helps remove toxins from the body.  Adding some chopped, raw garlic and honey to a ginger tea  will get the process working well.

Calendula, or the pot marigold, has diaphoretic properties, as does catnip, lemon balm, oregano, peppermint and rosemary. Some of these herbs can be found fresh in the produce aisle of the grocery store if they are not already growing in the garden. If you can’t find fresh catnip in the grocery store, look for a dried preparation at the health food store.

These herbs will not cure the common cold, but they can help make you feel better. The herbs can be brewed alone or mixed together. Other herbs can be added until you find a great tasting tea that can be enjoyed anytime, even when you’re feeling great.

All written content ©2011 Patrice Campbell unless otherwise noted.