About Me

We moved out to Portugal to live a frugal but better , simpler and peaceful life, our house is a very basic, semi ruin, up in the hills outside Figueiro Dos Vinhos, where we work our land, enjoy life with each other and our dogs, and hope to make the smallest carbon footprint we can,

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Our Use of Herbs.

First I'd like to thank all our new followers for joining us, and everyone who makes the effort to comment, I love reading them.
Right. Ive had a few people ask about the new medicinal herb garden Im planning, well work has stopped at the moment due to the torrents of rain that just dont seem to stop... if we experience drought in Portugal this summer, there will be something seriously wrong! Its been raining now with just the odd few days here and there since October... what are we doing to the world that it retaliates in this way...

I've become more and more interested in the use of herbs and herbal remedies over the last 18 months or so, I started with culinary herbs , being a non cooking person before I came to Portugal, it was a huge learning curve, when I say a non cooking person I dont mean I didnt cook at all, I worked very hard and very long hours and when I did get home I just cooked the bare minimum and we ate whatever was quick, easy and cheap... but to me it wasnt real cooking, it was packet, frozen or some such rubbish... what we eat now is real food... cooked from fresh or my own fresh frozen stuff. Home grown homemade homecooked... and herbs really make such a difference.
Last season I grew:
Coriander fresh and for seed.
Parsley -flatleaf.
Dill for leaf and seed.

Although I had lots, it wasn't enough, I preserved quite a bit in jars as a concentrate with salt and garlic and olive oil, it keeps really well in the cool larder . I combined fresh herbs, all the above, with plenty of beetroot leaves(full of vitamins), plenty of garlic and salt and blended it down with olive oil with the handblender till it was a thick liquid, sterilised the jars in boiling water, poured in the herb concentrate , covered the top with oil and sealed them, I still have some left. Fantastic in soups, stews, and pasta sauces. I actually love on toast or just on bread... also makes great natural version of garlic bread too...
I also made different versions, like just sage concentrate with salt and garlic... it all works equally as well.
This season I plan to use herb rows as dividers in the veg patch and borders everywhere.
I'd like to try to add Tarragon to the list above too.


Well I started reading up on medicinal herbs only mid last summer, so i'm very much a beginner.
Already I have a few of the usual herbs .

Lavender -grows wild all around us, I pick and dry the heads for soothing baths, add to herbal teas for headaches.

Rosemary. A great wash can be made for warding off mosquitoes.. great with meat too...
Mullien again grows wild here, so I use it a lot, great for chests, coughs, bronchial tubes ect.. its also a non narcotic pain reliever.
Lemon Verbena. Fantastic for all nasal tubes, I make a tea with it and ginger for Riks sinisitis.
Lemon Balm. A good all rounder really, wounds, cuts scrapes, burns, bites... and a nice soothing tea for upset stomachs...
Aloe Vera, for burns and bites and any sore skin infections etc
Nettles. Makes a good tonic tea, full of Iron, good for the dogs coats too...I crumble the dried leaf into their food during winter.

In the plot i'm planning as a special herb garden I hope to include:

Milkweed, for asthma and Catarrh.
Anise as a digestive .
Catnip, its good for so many things, including colic in babies (not that I have any intentions) flatulence and stomach pains in adults including menstrual cramps and headaches. Its also good for colds and flu as it induces perspiration .
Coltsfoot , is emolient and soothes a sore throat, also good expectorant.
Vervain. colds fevers throat, chest congestion, a poltice will also be good relief of neuralga and arthritic pain.
Agrimony. Helps liver function and blood purifier. Plus Diarrha, colitis, a post op tonic. A hot infusion will draw out splinters and oh so much more!
Feverfew. Great protection against mosquitoes and gnats midges ect... as a double strength brew, its a relative of Pyrethum a effective insecticide.
Horehound, to make cough medicine and cough sweets.
Sweet Woodruff. Liver tonic, sedative, and as a bonus also an great thing to make bags to hang in your closets, it smells of new mown hay...
Yarrow. Induces sweating, relieves fever, a double strength brew cleanses wounds and stops bleeding, a good gargle for sore throats too...
Camomile. Soothing, sedative, mild pain relief....

And thats about it for now.... I have to try to get seeds as plants are too expensive for postage, Im also on the look out for a good, pictorial herbal as mine isnt too clear and we have tons of wild stuff growing here that Im sure or nearly sure are good to use but need to be POSITIVE on the plant identifiction first...