Almost one fourth of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from botanicals. Of course, this does not mean you should stop taking prescribed drugs and start a regime of herbs. Talk to your doctor. Take the time and do the research. Be Safe!
Borage (Important note: pregnant and nursing women are advised not to consume borage because of health risks to them and their children)
Borage is thought to make one brave and a Borage tea was supposed to have been given to the Crusaders before they went off to war. According to the 1600 herbalist, John Gerard, “A syrup made of the floures of borage comforeth the heart, purgeth melancholy and quieteth the lunaticke person” which is always good to know should you encounter a lunatic.
Borage is a free seeding annual with bright blue flowers. It’s not really a pretty plant – tends to be a bit gangly. It likes full sun and just about any type of soil. Plants can be pinched or pruned, to encourage branching which will help keep them shorter and make them look less weedy. Grow it in your vegetable gardens as it attracts bees and other pollinators. And it’s a good companion plant for tomatoes (deters hornworms and improves the flavor), squash (attracts pollinators) and strawberries (improves the flavor and growth).
The leaves have a slight cucumber flavor and you can use the young leaves in salads (older leaves will be covered with a prickly fuzz - ick). Freeze the flower in an ice cube and add to water or tea for a honeyed cucumber taste. Add color to a salad with the flowers or use them as a garnish with a dip or open-faced sandwich.
Lemon Balm is one of my all-time favorites. A member of the mint family Lemon balm has a wonderful lemony flavor and scent. It’s very attractive to bees. Like other types of mint, it likes to spread so keep that in mind when you plant it. It likes well drained soil and, according to all the pros, full sun. However, I find mine to be most successful when it only gets morning light. Our summer afternoon sun will fry it crispy.
Use Lemon Balm as a calming herb to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain and discomfort from indigestion (including gas and bloating, as well as colic). Drink it as a tea for tension headache and fevers. A compress is good for gout. And, this plant is currently being investigated along with common sage as herbs with memory-improving properties. Plus you can plant it by the front door to drive away evil spirits.
Add Lemon Balm to any beverage to include a lemony favor. Fresh leaves can be chopped and added to green salads, fruits salads, marinated vegetables, poultry stuffing, and fish marinades and sauces. It goes well with broccoli, asparagus, lamb, fish, chicken, and shellfish (add it at the end of the cooking process for best flavor). It also is good for use in sweet dishes like cakes or cookies. And, although the initial growth did not survive THE GREAT FLOOD OF 2017, it is now coming back up (yea!).
Comfrey (Important Note: Current research recommends that Comfrey should not be taken internally because it is toxic to the liver.)
Comfrey has been considered a medicinal plant for centuries. It is also known as Blackwort, Ass-ear, Bruisewort, and Knitbone. While historically it was used to treat a wide variety of ailments ranging from bronchial problems to broken bones, it’s no longer recommended to be taken orally because of possible liver damage. You can use it as a poultice to help reduce swelling and bruises. A mild cleansing property makes comfrey cream a good solution for removing dirt, oils and impurities without agitating sensitive skin. It also can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Comfrey as a compost activator – include the leaves in your compost heap to add nitrogen. You can make a Comfrey liquid fertilizer by placing leaves in rainwater for 4–5 weeks to produce a ready-to-use "comfrey tea.
It is a member of the borage family, a perennial with somewhat hairy leaves. The flower is a pretty blue bell, fading to pink. Comfrey prefers a cooler climate and is hardy down to -40 degrees, not a problem for us. It likes full sun, but I plant mine in bright shade because it’s really hot here. It does like to be watered often and it did survive THE GREAT FLOOD OF 2017 without any problem.
It is said the leaves bring in money. Plus, you can use it to protect during travel and against theft.
YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT WORKS!