- The fruit of the allspice is more familiar, but the fresh leaves are also used where available: they are similar in texture to bay leaves and are thus infused during cooking and then removed before serving.
- Arugula (also known as Rocket) is generally used in salads but also cooked as a vegetable with pastas or meats and in coastal Slovenia, it is added in the squeaky cheese burek. It is often used in pizzas.
- Basil is most commonly recommended to be used fresh, and in cooked recipes, is generally added at the last moment, as cooking destroys the flavor quickly. It is known as the King of Herbs.
- Bay leaf
- Bay leaf is often used to flavor soups, stews, braises and pâtés in Mediterranean Cuisine. The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying.
- Uses for chives involve shredding its leaves (straws) for use as condiment for fish, potatoes and soups.
- Cicily leaves are sometimes used as a herb, with a rather strong taste reminiscent of anise; it is used mainly in Germany and Scandinavia.
- Cilantro is also known as Coriander. The fresh leaves are an essential ingredient in many Vietnamese foods, Asian chutneys and Mexican salsas and guacamole.
- Curry leaves
- Curry leaves are commonly used as seasoning in Indian and Sri Lankan cooking, much like bay leaves and especially in curries with fish or coconut milk.
- Like caraway, its fernlike leaves are aromatic, and are used to flavor many foods, such as pickled salmon, borscht and other soups and pickles.
- Garlic is widely used around the world for its pungent flavour, as a seasoning or condiment or to enhance other flavours. Depending on the form of cooking and the desired result, the flavor is either mellow or intense. It is often paired with onion, tomato, and/or ginger.
- The horseradish root is used as a vegetable or ground in a condiment called prepared horseradish, and has at times been used as the bitter herbs in the Passover meal in some Jewish communities. Horseradish, sometimes blended with cream and called horseradish sauce, is often served with roast or boiled beef, as well as smoked fish. Horseradish is also used in some prepared mustards. Also, much of what is styled wasabi is, outside of Japan, actually common horseradish dyed green.
- Hyssop leaves have a slightly bitter minty flavor and can be added to soups, salads or meats, although should be used sparingly as the flavor is very strong.
- Lemon grass
- Lemon grass is commonly used in teas, soups, and curries. It is also suitable for poultry, fish, and seafood. It is often used as a tea in African countries.
- Liquorice flavor is found in a wide variety of liquorice candies.
- Two forms of parsley are used as herbs: curly leaf and Italian or flat leaf. Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. Flat leaf parsley has a stronger flavor.
- Peppermint has a high menthol content, and is often used as a flavoring in tea, ice cream, confectionery, chewing gum, and toothpaste.
- Raspberry leaves
- Leaves of the raspberry cane are used fresh or dried in herbal teas.
- Rose hips
- Rose hips are commonly used as a herbal tea, often blended with hibiscus and as an oil.
- The fresh and dried leaves are used frequently in traditional Mediterranean cuisine as an herb; they have a bitter, astringent taste, which complements oily foods, such as lamb and oily fish. They are extensively used in cooking, and when burned gives off a distinct mustard smell, which can be used to flavor foods while barbequeueing.
- Rue was used extensively in middle eastern cuisine in olden days, but because it is very bitter, it is usually not suitable for most modern tastes. However, it is still used certain parts of the world, particularly in northern Africa.
- As an herb, sage is considered to have a slight peppery flavour. In Western cooking, it is used for flavoring fatty meats (especially as a marinade), cheeses, and some drinks. In Britain, sage is used with onion for stuffing and also in sauces. In French cuisine, sage is used for cooking white meat and in vegetable soups. Germans often use it in sausage dishes. Sage is also common in Italian cooking. In the Balkans and the Middle East, it is used when roasting mutton.
- Saffron is characterized by a bitter taste and a hay-like fragrance. It also contains a dye, crocin, that gives food a rich golden-yellow hue. These traits make saffron a much-sought ingredient in many foods worldwide.
- The leaves may be added to salads to sharpen the taste. They are often puréed in soups and sauces.
- Spearmint is used as a flavoring for toothpaste and confectionery.
- The hairy covering of the drupes is harvested and used as a spice (a deep red powder with a sour taste) in some Middle Eastern countries, particularly with salads. In North America, the smooth sumac and the staghorn sumac, are sometimes used to make a beverage, termed "sumac-ade" or "Indian lemonade" or "rhus juice".
- Sweet grass
- Sweet grass was used in France to flavor candy, soft drinks, and perfumes. In Russia, it was used to flavor tea.
- Tansy was formerly used as a flavoring for puddings and omelets, but that is almost unknown now.
- Tarragon is one of the four fines herbes of French cooking, and particularly suitable for fish and chicken dishes. Tarragon is one of the main components of Bearnaise sauce.
- Thyme (pronounced time) is often used to flavor meats, soups and stews. It is used in French cuisine, where it is an important element in a bouquet garni, as well as in herbes de Provence. It is also widely used in Caribbean cuisine. In some Middle Eastern countries, the condiment za'atar contains thyme as a vital ingredient.
- 18th century Russian soldiers would put allspice in their boots. Volatile oils found in the plant contain eugenol, a weak antimicrobial agent.
- Aloe vera
- Aloe vera has been used externally to treat various skin conditions such as cuts, burns and eczema.
- Balm of Gilead
- Balm of Gilead is a healing compound (a balm) made from the resinous gum of the North American tree species Populus candicans (Balsam Poplar).
- Chamomile is used medicinally against sore stomach, irritable bowel syndrome, and as a gentle sleep aid. It can be taken as an herbal tea, two teaspoons of dried flower per cup of tea. For a sore stomach, some recommend taking a cup every morning without food for two to three months. It is also used as a mouthwash.
- This herb contains allantoin, a cell proliferant that speeds up the natural replacement of body cells. This means that it will promote the swift healing of damaged or injured tissues, as well as maintaining cell growth and preventing diseases.
- Coriander has been used for the relief of anxiety. Coriander essential oil showed a delay in E. Coli growth, suggesting possible agricultural anti-bacterial applications.
- Cowslip is used medicinally as a diuretic, an expectorant, and an antispasmodic, as well as for the treatment of headaches, whooping cough, tremors, and other conditions
- An essential oil extracted from eucalypt leaves contains compounds that are powerful natural disinfectants and which can be toxic in large quantities.
- Eyebright is used for eyestrain and to relieve inflammation caused by colds, coughs, sinus infections, and sore throats.
- Garlic extracts that are left to set overnight are very effective in healing wounds. In 1858, Louis Pasteur observed garlic's antibacterial activity, and it was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene during World War I and World War II.
- Great Mullein
- Great mullein is used as an herbal remedy for sore throat, cough and lung diseases.
- Powdered liquorice root is an effective expectorant, and has been used for this purpose since ancient times. Modern cough syrups often include liquorice extract as an ingredient. Additionally, liquorice may be useful for both mouth ulcers and peptic ulcers.
- In John 19:29, a sponge soaked in sour wine or vinegar was stuck on a branch of hyssop and offered to Jesus on the cross just before he died. Hyssop has medicinal properties which are listed as including expectorant, carminative, relaxes peripheral blood vessels, promotes sweating, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal, antispasmodic.
- In the Philippines, oregano is not commonly used for cooking but is rather considered as a primarily medicinal plant, useful for relieving children's coughs.
- It is said that peppermint helps against upset stomachs, inhibits the growth of certain bacteria, and can help smooth and relax muscles when inhaled or applied to the skin.
- Purslane is used as a remedy for constipation and inflammation of the urinary system. In antiquity its healing properties were thought so reliable that Pliny advised wearing the plant as an amulet to expel all evil.
- Raspberry leaves
- Raspberry leaves have an astringent flavor and in herbal medicine are reputed to be effective in regulating menses.
- Rosemary has a very old reputation for improving memory, and has been used as a symbol for remembrance (as in worn during weddings, war commemorations and funerals) in Europe, probably as a result of this reputation. Students in ancient Greece are reported to have worn sprigs of rosemary in their hair while studying for exams to improve their memory, and mourners would throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia says, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance".
- Modern evidence supports the effects of sage as an antihydrotic, antibiotic, antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and tonic.
- Modern medicine has also discovered saffron as having anticarcinogenic (cancer-suppressing), anti-mutagenic (mutation-preventing), immunomodulating, and antioxidant-like properties.
- Because of the presence of anthraquinones, senna species are used as the primary ingredient in certain commercial stimulant laxatives.
- Sorrel is used as a laxative.
- Recent research has shown that Spearmint tea may be used as a treatment for mild hirsutism (facial hair) in women. Its anti-androgenic properties reduce the level of free testosterone in the blood.
- In the Philippines, the leaves have been traditionally used in herbal tea for reducing malaria fever. Tamarind is used as a medicine for gastric and/or digestion problems.
- Bitter tea made with the blossoms of Tansy has been effectively used for centuries as a drug that expels parasitic worms. Note that only Tanacetum vulgare is used in medicinal preparations; all species of tansy are toxic, and an overdose can be fatal. As a natural insect repellent, it was often planted next to kitchen doors to keep ants out.
- Yarrow is purported to be a diaphoretic, astringent, tonic, stimulant and mild aromatic. The plant also has a long history as a powerful 'healing herb' used topically for wounds, cuts and abrasions.
There are many possible recipes you can use to meet this requirement, but we present one here for your convenience. This bread stuffing recipe uses celery, onion, garlic, sage and thyme, and is very tasty. It was taken from requirement 7a of the Food Drying honor.
- 1 small onion
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/2 teaspoon sage
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 4 cups breadcrumbs
Finely chop the onion, celery, and garlic, then sauté them in the margarine in a 2-quart pot until transparent. Add the sage and thyme and vegetable broth and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the breadcrumbs, folding them into the mixture. Let it sit for 10 minutes, fluff, and serve.
A herb pillow is very simple to make. Simply make a small bag out of a light fabric (some people use cheesecloth) and stuff it with herbs of your choice. Lavender, rose petals, pine needles, mint, and eucalyptus are all popular herbs to use for this.
Jam can be made from rose hips, the fruit of the rose bush. Gather 4 liters of rose hips after the first frost and remove the black ends. Wash them well to remove any chemicals with which the roses may have been treated. Boil them in water until they are soft an mushy, and then press them through a colander to strain out the seeds and other large pieces.
Continue to cook the pulp that comes through the colander until it is thicker than cream. Then combine with an equal weight of sugar (800 ml should do) and check the taste. Continue cooking until the mixture has a jelly-like consistency. Pour into sterilized jars and seal.
Note that this activity can also be used to meet requirement 6d of the Food - Canning honor.
Herbal Soap Making Procedure
Here is a step-by-step procedure that you can follow to make your own herbal soap:
- Bring 1/4 cup of water to a boil then add about 2 tablespoons of finely ground herbs of your choice. Let the mixture steep for about 15 minutes.
- Pour in the steeped concoction into your double boiler then reheat.
- Add in the soap (make sure it is cut into fine pieces or grated) and let it melt.
- You may add in coloring or essential oils at this point to make your soap more interesting.
Once fully melted, pour in the mixture into the soap mold and allow to harden at room temperature. (It will be best to coat your soap mold first with vegetable oil before pouring in the soap mixture.)
- After a few hours, remove the soap from the mold then allow to harden for a day or two before finally using.
Note though that coloring and essential oils can irritate sensitive skin. Also, it will be best to use glass or plastic spoons and containers as metals may react with herbal ingredients.
Making herbal soap is very simple. It only takes a few hours of your time. So why not give your skin the natural treatment it deserves? Go on and try making your very own herbal soap today.
Potpourri is a mixture of dried, naturally fragrant plant material, used to provide a gentle natural scent in houses. It is usually placed in a decorative wooden bowl, or tied in small bags made from sheer fabric.
Naturally scented plants used in traditional potpourri include:
- Cedar wood shavings
- Cypress wood shavings
- Incense-cedar wood shavings
- Juniper wood shavings
- Lavender leaves and flowers
- Mignonette leaves and flowers
- Pinyon pine cones
- Rose flowers, Rose hips, or Rose oil
- Cinnamon bark
Much modern potpourri consists of any decoratively shaped dried plant material (not necessarily from scented plants) with strong synthetic perfumes (and also often strongly coloured dyes) added, with the scent often bearing no relation to the plant material used. Sometimes, items which do not originate from plants are mixed in with the potpourri, to give it bulk and to make it more aesthetically pleasing. It is possible to spray scents onto potpourri, however a fixative is needed so that the scent is absorbed. Generally, orris root is used for this purpose.
The word potpourri comes from the French word "pot-pourri," which was the French name for a Spanish stew with a wide variety of ingredients called olla podrida. In English, "potpourri" is often used to refer to any collection of miscellaneous or diverse items.
In ceramics manufacture, a potpourri vase is a vase specifically designed for holding potpourri. In the traditional designs a potpourri container is provided with a pierced fitted lid, through which the scent may slowly diffuse.
A pomander, from French pomme dambre, i.e. apple of amber, is a ball made of perfumes, such as ambergris (whence the name), musk, or civet. The pomander was worn or carried in a vase, also known by the same name, as a protection against infection in times of pestilence or merely as a useful article to modify bad smells. The globular cases which contained the pomanders were hung from a neck-chain or attached to the girdle, and were usually perforated and made of gold or silver. Sometimes they contained several partitions, in each of which was placed a different perfume. There is an early Spanish pomander set with emeralds, and a fine 16th century one, dredged from the Thames, in the British Museum.
Today some make pomanders out of oranges studded with whole cloves, following an early American custom.
A good Field Guide to edible wild plants or wildflowers will be very useful in meeting this requirement. We recommend one of the following (or an equivalent Field Guide that covers your area):
- A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides) by Lee Allen Peterson and Roger Tory Peterson. Note that this book is also very useful for earning the Edible Wild Plants honor, as well as the Pioneering and Wilderness Living honors.
- Poke - pink
- Dandelion - red
- Sunflower - orange
- Goldenrod - a golden yellow
- Rosemary - green
- Woad - indigo blue
- Geranium - purple
- Fennel - brown
- Yarrow - gray, black
Natural Bug Control.
- Basil - Flies, Mosquitoes
- Catnip - Flea Beetle, Ants
- Dead Nettle - Potato Bug
- Garlic - Mosquitoes
- Henbit - General Insect Repellant
- Hyssop - Cabbage Moth
- Lavender - Moths
- Mint - White Cabbage Moths, Aphids, Flea Beetle
- Pennyroyal - Flies, Mosquitoes, Fleas
- Rosemary - Cabbage Moth, Bean Beetle, Carrot Fly
- Sage - Cabbage Moth, Carrot Fly, Flea Beetle, Slugs
- Thyme - Cabbage Worm
Start with this Wikipedia on herbs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herb_garden
The links there may be useful to growing your herbs.
- How to Grow Herbs Information about planting, propagating and growing herbs
Herbs can be grown indoors in the winter months by using hydroponic techniques. Growing them hydroponically meets a requirement in the Voyager AY curriculum.
See this link for details.
Herbs that attracts bees and butterflies:
- Evening Primrose
- (All scripture text New International Version)
- Exodus 16:31
- The people of Israel called the bread manna. It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.
- Numbers 11:5
- We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.
- Numbers 24:6
- Like valleys they spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by the LORD, like cedars beside the waters.
- Psalm 51:7
- Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
- Matthew 13:31
- He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.
- Matthew 23:23
- Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
- Luke 11:42
- Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.