Directory of Culinary and Medicinal Herbs

By Staff
article image

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.

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

4 Herb Garden Designs
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

Drying Herbs: Easier Than You Think
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.
Preserving Culinary Herbs for Best Flavor
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

How to Make Herbal Teas, Herbal Infusions and Herbal Tinctures
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.
Herbal Skin Care Basics: Tools, Ingredients, Recipes
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:

The Goods on Growing Aloe
How to Use Aloe Vera

Heal:

Homegrown First Aid: Aloe Vera’s Medicinal Uses
Aloe Vera Lip Gloss Recipe
Fresh Aloe Vera and Nettle Leaf Soap Recipe
Aloe and Calendula Cleansing Cream

Anise

Grow:

Growing Anise in the Herb Garden
Herb to Know: Anise

Cook:

Anise Almond Brittle Recipe


Basil

Grow:

Growing Fresh Basil in the Garden
10 Basil Plants You’ll Love
How to Harvest Basil Like a Pro

Cook:

Basil-Infused Olive Oil Recipe
Nutty Basil-Lemon Ice Cream Recipe
A Cook’s Guide to Uncommon Basils
Basil Limeade Recipe
Basil-Lime Sorbet Recipe
Citrus Almond-Basil Cake Recipe
Italian-Style Pesto Recipe
Poached Pears in Basil Syrup Recipe
Chicken and Spinach Pizza With Fresh Basil and Thyme Recipe

Heal:

Cinnamon Basil Massage Oil Recipe


Bergamot

Grow:

How to Grow and Enjoy Bergamot
Grow Monarda Varieties: Bee Balm, Bergamot, Oswego and Horsemeint

Cook:

Pork Sausages With Bergamot and Apples Recipe


Black Cohosh

Grow:

Herb to Know: Black Cohosh

Heal:

12 Essential Herbs
Menopause and Black Cohosh
Menopause Tincture Recipe
Red Clover, Hops and Black Cohosh Tea Recipe

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:
Borage Ravioli Recipe

Crystallized Borage Flowers Recipe

Heal: Natural Stress Relief: Herbs for Anxiety, Headaches and More


Calendula

Grow: Grow Calendula for Your Organic Garden

Cook:

Calendula Cornmeal Crisps Recipe
Calendula Cornbread Recipe
King Cake With Calendula Recipe
Banana Cake With Calendula Recipe
Egg Salad With Calendula and Chives Recipe
Vegetable Broth With Calendula Recipe

Heal:

10 Edible and Medicinal Flowers
Calendula and Arnica for Bruises
Calendula Eye Soother Recipe
Calendula Oil Recipe
Calendula Tincture Recipe
Aloe and Calendula Cleansing Cream Recipe
Skin-Soothing Calendula Salve Recipe
Calendula Foot Powder Recipe
Happy Feet Massage Oil Recipe
Home Remedies for Psoriasis

Chamomile

Grow: How to Grow, Use and Identify the Chamomile Herb

Cook: Calming Chamomile Smoothie Recipe

Heal:

Natural Remedies for Indigestion
Herbs for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chamomile Eye Soother Recipe
Tea for Stomach Irritation
Moisturizing Chamomile Milk Bath Recipe
Chamomile Toner Recipe

Chervil

Grow:

Herb to Know: Chervil
Chervil

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:

Growing Chives in Your Herb Garden
Chives

Cook:

Cooking With Chives
Asparagus Soup With Chives Recipe
Salmon and Chive Torta Recipe
Cheddar-Chive Biscuits Recipe
Gorgonzola-Chive Butter Recipe
Chive-Sorrel Omelet Recipe

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:

Cooking With Cilantro
Black-Eyed Pea Salsa Recipe
Spicy Mango Salsa Recipe
Albóndigas (Spanish Meatballs) Recipe
Heirloom Tomato Salsa Recipe
Pollo Encilantrado (Shredded Chicken in Cilantro Sauce) Recipe
Sopa de Cilantro (Cilantro Soup) Recipe
Cilantro-Lime Butter Recipe

Comfrey

Grow: Growing and Using Comfrey Leaves

Heal:

Herbs for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Take an Herbal Bath: Recommended Plants and Their Properties

Dandelion

Cook:

Wild About Dandelions
Dandelion Jelly and Wine Recipe
Dandelion Salad With Bacon Recipe
Dandelion Greens With Cowpeas Recipe

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:

Growing Dill in the Herb Garden
Casual, Carefree Dill

Cook:

Making Pickles: Dill Spears, Bread and Butters and Dilly Beans Recipes
Dill Bread Recipe
Polish Chlodnik Litewski Recipe (Cold Beet Soup)
New Potatoes and Peas in Dill Sauce Recipe
Dilled Chicken Pot Pie Recipe
Smoked Fish Salad With Dill Vinaigrette Recipe
Dill Dressing Recipe
Zucchini Dill Pickles Recipe
Pickled Green Beans Recipe
Traditional Tzatziki Recipe
Dill Spaetzle Recipe
Lemon, Dill and Pistachio Sharing Cookie Recipe
Dilled Yellow Squash Recipe

Heal: 30 Digestive Herbs


Echinacea

Grow: The Health Benefits of Echinacea

Heal:

Herbal Remedies for Common Ailments: Strep Throat
10 Edible and Medicinal Flowers
Natural, Effective Remedies for Colds and Flu
12 Essential Herbs
Herbal Allergy Remedies: Echinacea, Eyebright, Goldenseal and More
Plants for a Strong Immune System
Love Your Lymph

Elderberry

Grow:

Growing Berries That Thrive Where You Live
Elderberry: Grow, Cook, Heal With Elder

Cook:

Elderberry Jelly Recipe
Elderberry Soup With Semolina Dumplings Recipe
Elderberry-Plum Sauce Recipe

Heal:

Elderberry Throat Gel Recipe
Berry Good Tea Recipe
Medicinal Herbs: Willow, Violet and Elderberry
Natural, Effective Remedies for Colds and Flu
Elderberry-Rose Hip Tea Recipe
Elderberry-Ginger Tea Recipe
Herbal Apothecary 101: Elderberry Shrub With Honey
Plants for a Strong Immune System

Eucalyptus

Grow:

Herb to Know: Eucalyptus

Heal:

Take an Herbal Bath: Recommended Plants and Their Properties


Fennel

Grow: All About Fennel

Cook:

Cooking With Fennel
Mushroom-Stuffed Squash, Leek and Fennel Soup Recipe
Cabbage and Fennel Slaw Recipe

Heal:

Fennel Eye Soother Recipe
Fennel Cleansing Facial Mask Recipe

Fenugreek

Cook: Fenugreek Beans Recipe

Heal: Strategies to Help Prevent Diabetes


Feverfew

Heal:

Natural Relief From Headaches, Even Migraines
Herb Basics: All About Feverfew
Ask the Doctor: Herbs for Headaches

Garlic

Grow:

All About Growing Garlic
Planting Garlic
Plant Garlic in Fall for a Larger, Healthier Crop
How to Grow Garlic (And Why You Should)
30 Garlic Tips

Cook:

The Science of Cooking With Garlic
Baked Garlic Recipe
Garlic Recipes: Garlic Dip, Soup, Ice Cream and More
Fresh Garlic and Herb Mayonnaise (Aioli) Recipe
How to Make Garlic Powder
Garlic-Rosemary Focaccia Recipe

Heal:

19 Ways to Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu
Herbal Remedies for Common Ailments: Earaches
What Are the Health Benefits of Garlic?
Lower Blood Pressure Naturally With Garlic
12 Essential Herbs
Enjoy the Health Benefits of Garlic
Herbal Remedies: The Restorative Properties of Garlic, Slippery Elm and Alfalfa

Ginger

Cook:

Benefits of Ginger for Cooking and Healing
Ginger-Glazed Parsnips Recipe
Ginger-Spiced Pumpkin Bisque Soup Recipe
Ginger-Broccoli Stir-Fry Recipe
Ginger Pickled Carrots Recipe
Ginger Beer Recipe
Spring Salad With Ginger Dressing Recipe
Rosemary, Lavender and Ginger Granita

Heal:

Herbal Remedies for Common Ailments: Staph Infections
19 Ways to Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu
Natural Remedies for Indigestion
Ginger: A Natural Remedy for Motion Sickness
Pick-Me-Up Tea Recipe
Bay Rum Aftershave and Astringent Recipe
12 Essential Herbs
The Joy of Ginger
Ginger Syrup Recipe
Ginger Lemon-Aide Recipe
Hot Ginger Poultice to Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Lemon-Ginger-Ginseng Tea Recipe
Naturally Relieve Lower Back Pain: Ginger Compress
Licorice, Ginger and Yarrow Tea Recipe

Ginseng

Grow:

Growing Ginseng: Start a Ginseng Farm
Growing Organic Ginseng
Conscientious Herb Gathering: Harvesting Ginseng

Heal:

19 Ways to Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu
6 Top Herbal Tonics
Strategies to Help Prevent Diabetes
Ginseng-Chocolate Chai Recipe
Lemon-Ginger-Ginseng Tea Recipe

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:

Hibiscus Pink Lemonade Recipe
Lavender-Hibiscus Grapefruit Granita Recipe

Heal:

Lower Blood Pressure Naturally With Hibiscus Tea
High-C Tonic Tea Recipe
Super Salt Glow Recipe

Horehound

Grow:

Growing White Horehound in the Herb Garden
Herb to Know: Horehound

Heal:

19 Ways to Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu
Horehound Cough Drops Recipe
Horehound, Mullein and Thyme Tea Recipe

Horseradish

Grow:

All About Growing Horseradish
How to Grow and Cook With Horseradish
MOTHER’s Herb Garden: Horseradish

Cook:

Condiment Recipes From the Garden: Horseradish Recipe
Spicy Korean Kimchi Recipe
Asparagus With Horseradish Sauce Recipe
Pimento Cheese With Horseradish Recipe
Individual Pear Crisps With Horseradish Recipe
Shrimp Salad With Creamy Horseradish Dressing Recipe
Baked Carrots With Horseradish Recipe
Horseradish Bagel Spread Recipe

Juniper

Heal:

Herbal Remedies for Common Ailments
19 Ways to Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu

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:

Fragrant English Lavender as a Garden Border
Beginner’s Guide to Growing Lavender and Using Lavender
Lavender Plant Love and Obsession

Cook:

Lavender Honey Lemonade Recipe
Rosemary, Lavender and Ginger Granita Recipe
Lavender Bread Pudding Recipe
Lavender Aioli Recipe
Lavender Shortbread Cookies With Lemon Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Lavender Jam Recipe
Lavender-Peach Jam With Vanilla Recipe
Lavender Lemonade Recipe
Lavender-Hibiscus Grapefruit Granita Recipe

Heal:

10 Edible and Medicinal Flowers
Tired Eye Relief
Take an Herbal Bath: Recommended Plants and Their Properties
Rosemary-Lavender Soap Recipe
Heal-Your-Headache Massage Oil Recipe

Licorice

Grow:

Growing Licorice in Your Herb Garden
Herb to Know: Licorice

Cook:

Licorice-Root Beer Recipe

Heal:

19 Ways to Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu
Natural, Effective Remedies for Colds and Flu
Pick-Me-Up Tea Recipe
Make Throat Soothers With Licorice
Natural Relief for Sore Throats
Menopause Tincture Recipe
Digestive Chai Tea Recipe
Licorice, Ginger and Yarrow Tea Recipe

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:

Marjoram: An Herb Garden Favorite
Outstanding Oreganos and Mild-Mannered Marjoram

Cook:

Marjoram-Infused Winter Squash Bisque Recipe

Heal:

Natural Remedies for Indigestion
Heal-Your-Headache Massage Oil Recipe

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 and Wine Recipe
Local Tabbouleh Recipe

Heal:

Natural Remedies for Indigestion
Tea for Stomach Irritation
Nerve-Calming Tea Recipe
Healing Back Pain Naturally
Mint-Rosemary Herbal Bath Recipe
Happy Feet Massage Oil Recipe
Chervil-Mint Toner Recipe

Oregano

Grow:

Outstanding Oreganos and Mild-Mannered Marjoram

Cook:

Wild Oregano: The Mediterranean Spice
Roasted Cardamom, Oregano and Garlic Chicken Thighs Recipe
Whole-Wheat Bread With Oregano Recipe

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:

MOTHER’s Herb Garden: Parsley
7 Herbs That Grow in Shade: Parsley

Cook:

Cooking With Parsley
Creamy Vegetable Soup With Parsley Dumplings Recipe
Local Tabbouleh Recipe
Chicken and Parsley Noodle Soup Recipe
New Potato and Parsley Soup With Olive Tapenade Recipe
Parsley-Infused Watermelon Popsicles Recipe
Crispy Parsley Tortillas Recipe
Chickpea Minestrone Recipe
Parsley Presto Pesto Recipe

Heal:

Perfect Parsley Toner Recipe
Herbal Acne Remedies: Parsley and Mint Facial Steam Recipe

Rosemary

Grow:

Growing Rosemary
Rosemary
Help Rosemary Survive Winter

Cook:

Rosemary-Garlic Flatbread Recipe
Rosemary Olive Oil Sourdough Loaf Recipe
Orange-Rosemary Vinegar Recipe
Rosemary-Almost Biscotti Recipe
Raisin, Rosemary and Walnut Bread Recipe
Lemony Rosemary Crumb Cake Recipe
Rosemary and Cherry Focaccia Recipe
Rosemary, Lavender and Ginger Granita Recipe
Rosemary and Sage Quick Pickles Recipe
Carrots in Sage and Rosemary Broth Recipe
Garlic-Rosemary Focaccia Recipe
Sage-Scallion Quiche With Rosemary-Brazil Nut Crust Recipe

Heal:

Rosemary-Lavender Soap Recipe
Mint-Rosemary Herbal Bath Recipe

Sage

Grow:

Grow Sage in Your Herb Garden

Cook:

Pumpkin Gnocchi With Sage Butter Recipe
Savory Sage Scones Recipe
Turkey and Barley Meatloaf With Sage Recipe
Sage-Cheddar Bagels Recipe
Rosemary and Sage Quick Pickles Recipe
Toasted Brie and Sage Sandwich Recipe
Salmon With Lemon and Sage Recipe
Carrots in Sage and Rosemary Broth Recipe
Sage-Scallion Quiche With Rosemary-Brazil Nut Crust Recipe

Heal:

Sage Tincture Recipe
Happy Feet Massage Oil Recipe

Slippery Elm

Heal:

19 Ways to Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu
Slippery Elm Uses
Herbal Remedies: The Restorative Properties of Garlic, Slippery Elm and Alfalfa
Natural Relief for Sore Throats

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:

Zesty Sorrel: The Garden Green With Zing!
Garden Sorrel

Cook:

Sorrel: The Zingiest Garden Green
Sorrel Soup Recipe (Schav)
Local Tabbouleh Recipe
Sorrel Purée or Sorrel Sauce Recipe
Sorrel-Strawberry Sorbet Recipe
Chive-Sorrel Omelet Recipe

St. John’s Wort

Grow:

Herb to Know: St. John’s Wort

Heal:

12 Essential Herbs
Herbs for Health: Herbal Remedies for Depression and Anxiety

Tarragon

Grow:

Grow Tarragon for Your Kitchen Herb Garden

Cook:

Chicken Pie Recipe With Leeks and Tarragon Recipe
Lemony Asparagus Soup With Tarragon Croutons Recipe
Feta Cheese and Tarragon Pita Toasts Recipe
Leek-Tarragon Frittata Recipe
Tarragon Rice Salad Recipe
Honeydew Melon and Tarragon Sorbet Recipe

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:

Thyme
Grow Safe, Natural Mosquito Repellents

Cook:

Cooking With Thyme
Cranberry-Thyme Bagels Recipe
Pan-Fried Apples With Thyme Recipe
Pumpkin-Thyme Scones Recipe
Pasta With Asparagus and Herbs Recipe
Chicken and Spinach Pizza With Fresh Basil and Thyme Recipe

Heal:

Herbal Cold Remedies Using Thyme
Herbal Allergy Remedies: Echinacea, Eyebright, Goldenseal and More
Thyme-Honey Facial Cleanser Recipe
Horehound, Mullein and Thyme Tea Recipe

Valerian

Grow:

Herb to Know: Valerian

Heal:

12 Essential Herbs
What Are Some Effective Herbal Sleep Remedies?
Nerve-Calming Tea Recipe
Herb Basics: Valerian

Verbena

Grow:

Herb to Know: Vervain
The Sweet Scent of Lemon Verbena

Cook:

Lemon Verbena-Yogurt Sherbet Recipe
Roasted Pears With Lemon Verbena Syrup Recipe
Lemon Verbena Crème Brûlée Recipe
Maple Scones With Lemon Verbena and Candied Ginger Recipe

Willow

Grow:

Herbal Garden Plants and Shrubs

Heal:

Herbs for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Healing Back Pain Naturally
Medicinal Herbs: Willow, Violet and Elderberry
Ask the Doctor: Herbs for Headaches
The Best Herbs for Pain Relief
Herbal Pain Relief With Willow

Wintergreen

Grow:

Herb to Know: Wintergreen

Heal:

Oil of Wintergreen for Natural Pain Relief
Herbal Cold Remedies: Solomon Seal and Wintergreen

Yarrow

Grow:

Growing Yarrow in Your Herb Garden
Herb Profile: Common Yarrow

Heal:

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

 

Photo by Fotolia

  • Updated on Jan 10, 2020
  • Originally Published on Jan 10, 2014
Tagged with: culinary herbs, Directory, Herbal Resource, medicinal, remedy