I love herbs! I love studying herbs, growing herbs and incorporating herbs into my life. This semester I have the amazing opportunity to work with herbs and have it count towards my degree! UGA has an organic garden (called UGArden). They grow all kinds of fruit and vegetables to help educate students about growing food. They sell some of the produce at a weekly produce stand to help raise money for the UGArden club, but the majority of the harvest they donate to local community outreach programs. UGArden also has a medicinal herb plot. I have been volunteering out there since March, but starting two weeks ago I become an official intern. I am taking 16 credit hours this semester, but 3 of those hours will count as my intern work. Woohoo! I want to blog more about my work at the UGArden and so here is my introduction for it.
This is our medicinal herb plot. Maisy Loo is the woman that started it 2 years ago. She is amazing! She is volunteering her time to devote to the growing of herbs and educating others. It has been such a pleasure to work with her.
Once we grow and harvest the herbs, we bring them to our dry room that is climate controlled. They are bundled or set on screens and left to dry for 2-3 weeks.
Then they are processed, put in jars and labelled and we use them to mix up tea blends to sell at the UGArden’s produce stand.
This week I harvested lemon grass.
I cut it off at the base and went through and picked out all the brown parts.
Then I used a pruners to chop it into small pieces for drying on screens. I was trying to work too quickly and sliced into my finger with the pruners. Despite putting pressure on it for 5 minutes, anytime I let off the pressure it would start bleeding really badly.
We had a bottle of Yarrow tincture handy that Maisy made, and yarrow is known as a styptic (it stops bleeding). I dabbed some on my finger, put pressure on it again and 30 seconds later the bleeding had stopped. I was amazed! I put some more tincture on my bandaid and it hasn’t opened up since. I even washed a sink full of dishes this morning and the wound stayed closed.
I also burned my thumb recently on a pan coming from a 450 degree oven. The burn was probably an inch long and 1/2 inch wide. I put ice on it immediately, but as we were eating dinner I could feel the pain radiating from my thumb to my hand and all the way up to my elbow. It was miserable. Then I remembered making some salve in one of our herb weekends with Patricia. I had a mixture of jewelweed, comfrey and calendula infused oil with lavender essential oil. I put some of the salve on my burn and all the pain went away within minutes. I still got a blister, that ended up popping but I kept putting the salve on it and there was no pain and no infection.
I have long believed in the long-term tonic effect of herbs. But it is another matter to experience powerful and immediate relief by using herbs on acute conditions like blood loss and pain. My respect for these plants has grown. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to learn about growing and using these herbs and I will try my best to share with you my experiences as they come up. They really work and I try to incorporate them into my life whenever possible!
Other ways that I try to incorporate herbs is by drinking hot herbal tea every night after dinner. I am trying to diversify my herbal tea cabinet this year and enjoy making each cup of tea unique.
I continue to drink nourishing herbal infusions from tonic herbs like holy basil, oat straw and nettles.
I even put herbs on my wall as artwork! My husband actually had the idea, so I want to give him credit. I thought it was a great idea, and I pressed rosemary, calendula, lavender, feverfew, horsetail and thai basil.
This corner of the house makes me very happy now :)!
That is why I love herbs. They add beauty to my home and my life. They enhance health and longevity. They add flavor and nutrition to my food and drinks. They provide medicine and amazing aromatherapy. Working with them is therapeutic, and when I get to smell the amazing fragrances and think about their benefits I am humbled by the work of God’s hands. The complexity and beauty that he created is breathtaking and I am reminded every time I work with these herbs that I love so much.
Do you have a favorite herb or a story about how herbs have helped you?