While herbs like parsley, basil and thyme are indispensable in the kitchen, you’ve probably already got them growing in abundance.
What do you say to the idea of growing some more unusual herbs, herbs with exotic flavors, intrigue, and all sorts of medicinal benefits too? We said Yes and never regretted the decision!
1. Siberian chives
Siberian chives are similar to ordinary chives, but they have a buttery onion flavor and mauve flowers. These herbs attract both bees and butterflies, while the plant’s scented foliage deters pests.
2. Sweet cicely
This herb has been used for centuries for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Sweet cicely has a similar taste to aniseed, and it also helps to reduce the acidity of other ingredients in cooking. It is particularly good for the digestive system, when mixed into boiling water with a little finely chopped dinner to relieve the digestive issues.
3. Toothache plant
The toothache plant does just what it sounds like – it makes your mouth go numb when you chew the leaves to help relieve the pain of an aching tooth. It is known for boosting the immune system, relieving nausea and improving digestion.
Epazote is most commonly considered to be an herb, and is popular for making a spicy tea, it can also be prepared like a leafy vegetable and used in chilies, egg dishes, tamales, quesadillas or soups. It contains vitamins A,B and C, as well as calcium, manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc. It can help relieve cramping, bloating and constipation in addition to enhancing the immune system.
Its flavor is somewhat grassy with notes of anise or licorice, a bit like a blend of cumin and mint, though the real advantage is their size.The plant is very nutritious, loaded with vitamins and minerals, particularly vit amin C, containing nearly half the daily recommended amount.
6. Chocolate mint
My ultimate favorite! It smells like a peppermint patty, though the aroma is more chocolatey than the taste. It makes a fabulously indulgent tea, and it can be baked in cakes, added to mojitos and used to relieve digestive woes.
7. French sorrel
French sorrel leaves are often used for their medicinal properties, including the ability to prevent or relieve diarrhea and constipation, as well as to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension.
8. Anise hyssop
Known as very helpful in Chinese medicine, you can use it when your nerves are frazzled, you can place fresh or dried anise hyssop leaves in some cheesecloth and hang it from your bathtub faucet, allowing the water to flow over the herbs as the scent helps create a calming sensation.
9. Orange thyme
Most of the time it seems that fruit-flavored herbs smell wonderful, but disappoint when it comes to flavor. Orange thyme is an exception, with its fantastic warm citrus taste that complements thyme. Its strong citrus tang leaves no bitter aftertaste making it an excellent flavoring herb for stuffings and casseroles – it goes fantastically well with lamb and duck too. You’ll get the same benefits of ordinary thyme, which a long history of use in natural medicine for treating coughs, chest congestion, and bronchitis, as well as lots of vitamins A and C. It’s also a good source of manganese, copper, iron and fiber.
10. Mexican tarragon
The leaves and whole plant are known to help relieve digestive woes, including diarrhea, nausea, and hiccups, while the flower petals can be used to make a tea to treat cold symptoms.
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