Directory of Culinary and Medicinal Herbs

From soothing aloe to spicy horseradish, subtle-sweet marjoram to savory thyme, discover the exceptional flavors and gentle healing capabilities of more than 40 of the plant kingdom’s finest here in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Directory of Culinary and Medicinal Herbs. Our tour of the herb world is your one-stop shop for reliable information on cultivating, cooking and healing with these special plants.

Directory of Culinary and Medicinal Herbs

Herbs crown the cook’s glory, and each plant’s profile below will show you how to harvest and store it for optimal quality, plus furnish you with recipes showcasing the ingredient’s knack for improving or complementing flavors, such as Rosemary-Almond Biscotti, Sage-Cheddar Bagels, and bundles more. 

Many herbs are also valuable in the medicine cabinet, whether you’re looking for natural relief for a cold or headache, or trying to ease more chronic ailments, such as allergies, back pain or high blood pressure. Identify herbs to meet your health needs or goals, learn the basic medicinal preparations — teas, infusions and tinctures — and find simple recipes for remedies that can relieve, refresh and heal. 

Grow Your Herb Garden

The incredible flavors of culinary herbs make them star players in a healthy diet, and the best way to make the most of herbs in the kitchen is to grow them yourself. Choose one of these four herb garden plans — an edging, a dooryard garden, a raised bed or a container garden — designed to fit into a 12-square-foot area and supply you with herb favorites such as basil, cilantro, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme and more.

Drying and Storing Herbs

Of all the various types of foods and ways to preserve them, dehydrating herbs is the easiest place to jump in. Most herbs contain so little moisture that your job is done soon after you've bought or harvested them. Drying herbs is an economically savvy food preservation strategy, too, because dried herbs demand high prices at the grocery store. Here, we detail six methods for drying herbs at home.

To freeze or to dry? That is the question. We turned to the experts to learn the best ways to preserve herbs.

Herbal Healing Basics

Does whipping up your own natural, effective medicines sound like your cup of tea? In this herbal medicine-making primer from renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, you'll learn the basic preparations for using herbs medicinally — teas, infusions and tinctures — and find simple recipes for homebrewed beverages that can relieve, refresh and heal. This is the perfect guide to get you started in making your own herbal remedies. Give it a go, and start sipping your way to better health.

Your kitchen likely already has all the tools you need to concoct your own simple, all-natural herbal skin care remedies. In this herbal skin care primer from renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, you'll learn about the best natural skin care ingredients and their unique uses and benefits, and find easy, refreshing recipes for Rose Water, Bay Rum Aftershave and Astringent, and Sea Salt Glow.


An A-to-Z Guide to Culinary and Medicinal Herbs

Aloe
Anise
Basil
Bergamot
Black Cohosh
Borage
Calendula
Chamomile
Chervil
Chives
Cilantro
Comfrey
Dandelion
Dill
Echinacea
Elderberry
Eucalyptus
Fennel
Fenugreek
Feverfew
Garlic
Ginger
Ginseng
Hibiscus
Horehound
Horseradish
Juniper
Lavender
Licorice
Marjoram
Mint
Oregano
Parsley
Rosemary
Sage
Slippery Elm
Sorrel
St. John’s Wort
Tarragon
Thyme
Valerian
Verbena
Willow
Wintergreen
Yarrow
Aloe

Famously medicinal aloe can do more than just soothe a sunburn. Learn how to grow this “windowsill wonder” yourself, and how to tap aloe’s healing properties to ease everything from inflammation to insect bites to indigestion.

Grow:

Heal:


Anise

Grow:

Cook:

Anise Almond Brittle Recipe


Basil

Grow:

Cook:

Heal:

Cinnamon Basil Massage Oil Recipe


Bergamot

Grow:

Cook:

Pork Sausages With Bergamot and Apples Recipe


Black Cohosh

Grow:

Herb to Know: Black Cohosh

Heal:


Borage

Big, beautiful and boasting vividly blue flowers, borage belongs as much in a flower garden as in an herb bed. This hardy annual has a host of culinary and medicinal uses, plus it's an attractive plant for pollinating bees. Learn all about how to grow and use this multipurpose herb.

Grow:

The Cooling Borage Herb

Cook:

Heal:

Natural Stress Relief: Herbs for Anxiety, Headaches and More


Calendula

Grow:

Grow Calendula for Your Organic Garden

Cook:

Heal:


Chamomile

Grow:

How to Grow, Use and Identify the Chamomile Herb

Cook:

Calming Chamomile Smoothie Recipe

Heal:


Chervil

Grow:

Cook:

Lemon-Butter Sauce With Chervil Recipe

Heal:

Chervil-Mint Toner Recipe


Chives

The smallest and mildest-tasting member of the onion family, chives are perfect for stews, casseroles, egg dishes, soups, potatoes, salads, dressings, dips, and herbal butters and salts (and probably several other things we’re forgetting!).

Grow:

Cook:


Cilantro

When you grow cilantro, you grow two herbs in one! The leaves impart a musky, citrus-like flavor to Chinese, Mexican and Thai cooking. The seeds, called coriander, taste of sage and lemon or orange peel, and season many traditional Indian dishes.

Grow:

How to Grow Cilantro and Harvest Coriander Seeds

Cook:


Comfrey

Grow:

Growing and Using Comfrey Leaves

Heal:


Dandelion

Cook:

Heal:

The Benefits of Dandelion Greens


Dill

You grow your own cucumbers — why not grow the other ingredient that makes your dill pickles pleasantly, well, dill pickle-y? This beloved herb also shines with seafood, and a pinch in cottage cheese or potato salad will lift these dishes out of the ordinary and into the realm of gourmet treats. Learn how to cultivate your own feathery, flavorful dill, here.

Grow:

Cook:

Heal:

30 Digestive Herbs


Echinacea

Grow:

The Health Benefits of Echinacea

Heal:


Elderberry

Grow:

Cook:

Heal:


Eucalyptus

Grow:

Herb to Know: Eucalyptus

Heal:

Take an Herbal Bath: Recommended Plants and Their Properties


Fennel

Grow:

All About Fennel

Cook:

Heal:


Fenugreek

Cook:

Fenugreek Beans Recipe

Heal:

Strategies to Help Prevent Diabetes


Feverfew

Heal:


Garlic

Grow:

Cook:

Understanding allicin — the sulfur compound behind garlic’s pungently complex flavor and aroma — just may help you become a better cook.

Heal:


Ginger

Cook:

Heal:


Ginseng

Grow:

Heal:


Hibiscus

Hibiscus tea is a safe, effective and delicious way to manage high blood pressure, and tropical hibiscus plants can in fact be grown in much of the United States. Check out the evidence backing this beautiful botanical's health benefits, plus find out how to grow your own.

Grow:

How to Grow Hibiscus

Cook:

Heal:


Horehound

Grow:

Heal:


Horseradish

Grow:

Cook:


Juniper

Heal:


Lavender

Ancient and aromatic, lavender once adorned the sacrificial altars of the early Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Today, lavender is one of the most widely used and versatile herbs, starring in everything from potpourri to herb jellies to sleep pillows. Learn how to grow this storied plant yourself.

Grow:

Cook:

Heal:


Licorice

Grow:

Cook:

Licorice-Root Beer Recipe

Heal:


Marjoram

The daintiest of the oregano tribe, marjoram has a minty, sweet flavor with savory undertones that sets it apart from its more strongly flavored oregano cousins. Try adding it to cream-based soups or sauces and tomato-based dishes such as pasta or pizza.

Grow:

Cook:

Heal:


Mint

Mint has such a multitude of uses — medicinal, culinary, aromatic, decorative, and even as an insect repellent — that we can say with confidence that you're missing out if you're not growing some of your own!

Grow:

Growing Peppermint in Your Herb Garden

Cook:

Mint Pesto Recipe
Wild Mint Tea Recipe
Mint Wine Recipe
Local Tabbouleh Recipe

Heal:


Oregano

Grow:

Outstanding Oreganos and Mild-Mannered Marjoram

Cook:


Parsley

Brilliantly green, nutrition-packed parsley is a deserving addition to the well-rounded garden. Uses for this cheerful little plant run the gamut from old-time folk remedies to pretty, piquant garnishes.

Grow:

Cook:

Heal:


Rosemary

Grow:

Cook:

Heal:


Sage

Grow:

Cook:

Heal:


Slippery Elm

Heal:


Sorrel

Have you sampled sorrel? This zesty, lemony, easy-to-grow herb is perennial, so you can count on it for early spring dishes — where it shines alongside eggs, greens and milder herbs — as well as your heartiest fall fare.

Grow:

Cook:


St. John’s Wort

Grow:

Herb to Know: St. John’s Wort

Heal:


Tarragon

Grow:

Grow Tarragon for Your Kitchen Herb Garden

Cook:


Thyme

Slightly peppery thyme brightens the flavors of many favorite fall dishes (we're looking at you, any and all roasted veggies out there!). Isn't it about time you grew some of your own? Here's everything you need to know to cultivate this pretty, palate-pleasing herb.

Grow:

Cook:

Heal:


Valerian

Grow:

Herb to Know: Valerian

Heal:


Verbena

Grow:

Cook:


Willow

Grow:

Herbal Garden Plants and Shrubs

Heal:


Wintergreen

Grow:

Herb to Know: Wintergreen

Heal:


Yarrow

Grow:

Heal:

Natural Remedies: Plants That Relieve Common Health Conditions
Licorice, Ginger and Yarrow Tea Recipe


Photo by Fotolia





Post a comment below.

 

Pat
3/28/2014 1:02:15 PM
Hello...I would like to have a book copy of this if it is available. There's a lot here to print and ink is really spendy. Thanks...Pat

Rachel
2/6/2014 1:49:34 PM
This is great! I'd like to see it also so you can type in an ailment and medicinal herbs would come up. For bergamot, I see you didn't include an entry under "healing." I read in a book by a Blackfoot (I think!) medicine man that it is good to lift the spirits in case of depression, and especially was used for "corpse sickness"!!! You can see why I didn't forget this :) Apparently, that is when a person has been around too many dead bodies and they start feeling really down and sick about it. So they sniff bergamot, and it lifts them right back up to life!!! :D I've tried smelling the dried bergamot flowers and it really does make you feel happier :) Peace, Rachel.

Kelly Edwards
1/21/2014 11:47:56 AM
Is there a printer friendly version of this or a hard copy I can buy?





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