A herb is a plant or plant extract, including leaves, bark, berries, roots, gums, seeds, stems and flowers. It is recognized from other plants by its stem, which is not woody and it dies back at the end of each growing season, leaving only its root system alive. Another important distinction is the herb’s nourishing and healing elements. The discovery of the healing effects of herbs dates back to the pre-civilization era.
There are a wide variety of herbs, each with its own distinct benefits. The number of herbs varies depending on the source, but most agree on 40 to 60 different kinds.
Herbs can be organized into four categories: aromatic, culinary, medicinal, and ornamental. Many herbs fall into two or more categories. For example, Basil is used for cooking and also to treat stomach ailments.
Aromatic herbs are grown for their scent. Their oils are often used in soaps, perfumes and candles. They are also used in flower vases or dried arrangements. Two popular types are Mint and Lavender.
Culinary herbs are widely used for cooking. They add flavor and spice. A few popular types include Dill, Parsley, Anise and Basil.
Medicinal herbs are used in medicine and many types of herbs have been proven to be effective in the treatment of a wide variety of illnesses and injuries. For example, Ginger is a natural remedy against inflammation and increases appetite. Tumeric purifies the blood and also acts as an antiseptic when applied to cuts and wounds. Mint is widely used in digestion.
Nutritional deficiencies are improved by herbal dietary supplements. They supply nutrients to the body which in turn can protect the immune system and enhance memory. Herbs frequently used in herbal supplements include Garlic, Echinacea, and Aloe Vera.
Ornamental herbs are grown for fresh and/or dried flower arrangements. Many herbs, such as Lavender, Licorice, and Hyssop, produce beautiful gardens and landscaping. They offer both color and fragrance.
Using Herbs for Beauty
Herbs can be used for beauty in original or compound form. They against the internal impurities and external toxins of the body and add additional nutrients. Herbs provide a natural treatment to the skin, nourishing it from within, and leading to its internal development.
A few popular herbs used in beauty care include the following:
Aloe Vera is used comprehensively in skin care because it heals skin irritations and scars. This herb is used in a variety of forms, such as shampoos, sunscreens, soaps, and gels. It has been approved by FDA as a non-poisonous herb to treat skin burns.
Chamomile is primarily used in skin remedies, eye treatment and hair care. Chamomile oil is used to remove acne and other similar skin diseases. This herb is anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Primrose is used in maintaining deep rooted, healthy hair. This herb is also known for curing common skin diseases. Because of its herbal anti-irritant effects on the skin and anti-inflammatory properties this herb is often used in moisturizers and other body care lotions.
Rosemary is used for skin, scalp and hair treatment. This herb revitalizes and energizes dead cells. Rosemary oil, used in scalp massage, prevents premature hair loss.
Seaweed, used as a skin treatment, draws out impurities and cleans the skin naturally. The minerals in this herb also nourish our hair and take care of itchy scalps. The gels of seaweed are used in various cosmetics and conditioners
Herb gardens are easy to grow and require little space. Natural and organic fertilizers are recommended for best results. The herb garden may include annuals, perennials and biennials. Herbs repel pests making the herb garden low maintenance.
Herbs can be grown indoors or outdoors, either from seed or a small plant. Popular approaches include using containers, windowsill planters, or in the ground grown along the side of a house or garage. Many herbs make good indoor houseplants during the winter months.
Most herbs grow best in well drained, fertile soil with a neutral pH of 6.5 yo 7.0. Many herb seeds are very tiny and fine so it’s important not to plant them deeply. The seed should be barely covered and the top surface of the soil should be kept moist. Seedlings should be thinned according to the instructions on the seed packet.
As a general rule, herbs grown for their leaves should be harvested before they flower. The best time to pick herbs is in the morning before temperatures warm up. Herbs typically dry in two to three days. Many herbs can also be frozen for later use.