Cultivating plants for food and medicine is one of the most positive and proactive endeavours you can take on. It is so rewarding watching your own garden grow, seeing the magic of germination in front of your eyes and having the bounty of nature gift you, your family and community with super health and positive connection.
We love growing herbs in our gardens and community spaces, watching the whole process from seed to harvest and remedy creation. This is where some of the greatest magic lies in working with plants. The creation of health giving life.
‘Let’s get Physickal’
At Sensory Solutions Herbal Evolution we cultivate change through the instigation and support of community medicine garden projects. We have developed a grant fund from profits of our products that community groups can apply for when setting up a medicinal herb garden. We’d like to see a medicine garden in every community.
We are often asked ‘what can I plant to support myself, my community and my family in the coming months?’ We wanted to offer some tips and where to get started.
There are many different species of herbs. Getting the right medicinal species is of utmost importance if you are going to be applying the plants and creating your own remedies. There are lots of herbs altered and cultivated for their scent or appearance. We have listed useful herbs to grow here with their botanical or Latin names so that you can locate the correct medicinal species.
‘Herbs have been used since man has been on this planet as medicine and as food. They are the most wonderfully diverse and useful plants, coming in all shapes and sizes, textures, colours, perfumes and uses. They are the most generous of plants as they can turn a meal into a feast and a simple herb infusion can ease tension and lift the spirits. Growing your own medicinal and culinary herbs is a rewarding activity for any home cook, gardener or enthusiast of all ages.’ Jekka McVicar
The propagation of medicinal plants can be achieved in 3 ways – sowing seeds, taking cuttings or by root division.
UK natives are sown in the Autumn months, as nature intended, but the herbs of warmer climes like Mediterranean plants like Basil, Chives, Dill, Oregano etc. are sown in the Spring time.
When we sow seeds we focus on the herb and the purpose of growing it, such as marshmallow seeds for lung and urinary support for those who will benefit form its medicine. We often place the seeds in our mouths for a moment before planting or add a little our saliva to the soil…this way your DNA becomes part of the growing process of the plant and sowing the seeds becomes a ritual in itself.
Cuttings are taken in the Spring before the plant flowers. Herbs like Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Bay, Elder and Mint are all easy to take cuttings from. You pull the branched stem from the main stalk so that you get a diagonal base to your cutting that is from the growth node. This creates the most chance of roots starting to develop as the cells here are designed to divide and create new growth rapidly. We take off the lower leaves and place these in a little water, changing the water each day until rootlets start to grow. The cutting is then planted in compost until the cutting really takes and can be planted out.
Many medicinal herbs can be divided by simply splitting up their roots: Thyme, Oregano, Mint, Strawberries, Rhubarb, Chives, Tarragon, Lovage, and Marjoram are all perfect plants for this method of cultivation.
Carefully dig up the plant and its entire root system in early spring or after the plant has flowered in late autumn. These times of year are when the growth is slow making this treatment gentler on the plants. Work apart the roots teasing them gently between your fingers until they come apart into more plants. Repot each plant and water well.
Working with plants is a gift and we have found that by talking, humming and singing to the plants magic often happens. Each plant has its own heart-song and enjoys the vibrations and tones of our voices. Often, when singing to plants, deep insights spring forth and previously unknown secrets are shared. It takes time, to let go of inhibitions and to trust and open up to nature and the wonders that are available to us all. We are conditioned in this fast-paced society to rush and be goal orientated but nature doesn’t really work like that!
Choosing your Herbs
Culinary herbs are a super beneficial addition to any herb garden and keep you gently nourished day to day in your food – no herbs are really just culinary they all have wonderful medicinal properties that can be linked in with support for differing body systems.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Peppermint (Mentha pip.)
Majoram (Origanum majorana)
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Bay (Laurus nobilis)
Rosemary (Salvia Rosmarinus)
French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
Coriander (Coriandum sativum)
Dill (Anethum graveolens)
Lymphatic and Immune support
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Elder tree (Sambucs nigra)
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Red Clover (Trifolium pretense)
Nervous system tonics and relaxants
A patch of wild oats (Avena sativa)
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Vervain (Verbena officinalis)
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Marshmallow (Althea officinalis)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Elecampane (Inula helenium)
Urinary system support
Heather (Calluna vulgaris)
Dandelion (Taraxacum off.)
Motherwort (Leonorus cardiaca)
Hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)
We are connected with a wonderful herb farm where herbalists are employed to grow these brilliant species of medicinal herbs. They care for and love their herbs and good quality herb plugs can be sent through the post. Here is a link to a guest blog they wrote for us about the business of Herb Farm life
When working in the garden regularly your hands can become extremely dry and cracked. Gloves can protect them to a degree but the weathering of water, soil and wear and tear can start to take its toll.
Gardener’s Herbal Handcare
Calendula cream, comfrey oil, avocado oil, propolis tincture, lavender essential oil
It is surprising how debilitating dry cracked hands can actually be. Every year come the Spring and we get out seeding and digging in the soil with our fingers, guaranteed we shall end up with painful cracked sore hands….That is the main reason we started making this moisturising healing care cream.
There are so many nerve endings in the fingers that tiny cuts can seem extraordinarily painful. Regular hand washing and gardening with hands in the soil and regular use of tools can dry out the skin. This can cause cracks and irritations that can be difficult to heal.
We have spent years developing a wonderful soothing, nourishing hand cream. We use this on any sore, dry hands and as a preventative skin protector for when we know we are hand washing regularly or doing lots of work in the garden.
We’ve chosen ingredients that are resin rich and high in nourishing oil. This provides protection and nourishment for the vulnerable skin of the hands.
Lavender essential oil makes the cream smell really gorgeous too – a percentage profit from all the sales of this cream goes into our grant fund for community medicine gardens…..
To learn more about the creative process of harvesting and making infused oils for balms and creams read our blog here