Ashwagandha, native to India, grows on our farm in Maine as an annual. I harvest the roots every fall to make into tinctures and dry for teas, soup stocks and powder. Ashwagandha is a wonderful adaptogen that can be used as a daily tonic. It is part of the nightshade family, so if you have allergies you may want to avoid this herb. Otherwise, it’s a wonderfully rejuvenating and nourishing herb that I like to use as a brain tonic and to clear up brain fog and poor memory. It helps induce sleep, relieves anxiety and stress and is great for supporting the reproductive system. Ashwagandha is a great herb for rebuilding vitality and overall strength in the body.
Astragalus, part of the pea family, is a perennial that we grow here on the farm. We harvest the roots in its third year to make into tincture or dry for teas, soup stocks, syrups and elixirs. Astragalus is a great herb to use when building back strength and vitality. I like to use it as immune support to help prevent colds and flu and help with allergies. Astragalus is a rejuvenative herb for when you are depleted and weak, helping restore vitality and energy. Helps improve digestion, nutrient absorption and cardiovascular function. This is a great front-line herb for immune support and preventive care.
Blue vervain is a great herb to add to any garden. When we moved to the farm, I found a couple of plants growing wild along the stream. I loved that so much. I like to use blue vervain for nervous system issues such as anxiety, especially associated with PMS and menopause and it can also be used for spasms and tics. As a diaphoretic, it’s been used for relieving fevers and other flu symptoms, such as aching muscles.
Burdock is a weed that everyone should know and love. I mostly use the roots and will harvest them in the spring and fall to eat fresh, tincture and dry for tea, soup stocks and syrups. I love using this herb for clearing toxins from the gut and supporting elimination and purifying the blood. I like to use it for inflamed skin conditions that are hot and red, such as acne, rosacea, rashes, etc. Burdock is a pre/probiotic and helps support healthy flora in the digestive tract.
Calendula is such a beautiful little ray of sunshine. We grow rows and rows of this wonderful herb and harvest its blossoms well into the fall. We make it into a fresh tincture and dry it for teas, soup stock and oil. Externally, I like to use calendula on hot, irritated skin conditions and it’s my top go-to herb for rashes, cuts, abrasions and rashes. I love adding this to soup stocks in the wintertime and other immune teas or baths. I add it to teas for soothing the intestinal tract and gut and to support digestion and absorption. I regularly use this herb for any congestion related to the lymphatic system, such as swollen glands, and it makes a great mouthwash for gum inflammation.
California poppy is a plant that I swoon over. Every year I try to grow the California poppy patch on the farm to get bigger and bigger. I harvest the entire plant throughout the growing season as it flowers and tincture the entire plant fresh. This is a wonderful herb that I like to use for pain relief, sleep issues and anxiety.
Catnip is a must on this farm, and not just to keep our four farm cats happy. Their names are Skeletor, Battlecat, Covergirl and Megababy, and they’d for sure revolt if we were to ever stop growing this tasty mint. I love using this herb for colds, flus and especially in children’s formulas. I like to add it to formulas for anxiety, sleep issues, tension headaches. PMS and menstrual cramps for its medicinal properties and for its mild mint taste. It can also be helpful for stress related digestive issues. Catnip is easy to grow from seed and transplants. I harvest the leaves and flowers throughout the growing season to dry for teas and tinctures.
Cayenne can be great for increasing peripheral circulation, especially for cold hands and feet. It’s helpful in preventing arteriosclerosis and lowering LDL cholesterol. I love adding a little heat to meals for boosting circulation. I add cayenne to roasted veggies, soups, salad dressings, salsas, chocolates, sauces and just about everything that profiles, flavorwise, with heat. I also like to make a warming circulatory oil with sesame or olive oil, for topical use.