Healthy Herbal Heaven

Lavender Marjoram Melissa Oregano Rosemary Sage Thyme

The aromatic medicinal herbs on my balcony

Since deciding to use fresh instead of dried aromatic medicinal herbs, a garden on the balcony is needed, a healthy herbal heaven. Now that it is ready, there appears to be a problem. I no longer want to mutilate these very nice plants, taking off bits and pieces to mix with my food. Seeing them dried in bottles and sachets in the supermarket, they all look quite the same, just taste differently. Standing proud alive and swaying in their pots on my balcony, they gained a kind of personality, living things that need cared for. So we settled for a compromise, they can grow unharmed as long as they stay within the circumference of their pots. They will only be photographed, in particular I am looking forward to focus stacked flower macros. Meanwhile, someone else has to do the butchering elsewhere, after which I shall hypocritically buy the freshly cut-off leaves, sprigs and twigs at some market, bypassing the balcony on return. However, as agreed upon, anything sticking out of my pots shall be brutally hacked off without mercy, as a matter of pruning. That is the only way to avoid appearing too sissy, becoming over grown and loose command. Not sure if they should be told in advance though, like opposite to playing nice classical growth stimulating music, instead terrorizing them with promises of future torture. They still have to get through an upcoming gruelling fortnight of August drought, when I am planning to escape the heat for a cool vacation at northern native grounds. Before it was easier, having only cacti that don’t really mind.

Let me introduce, now that they are still looking well:

Lavandula spica

Said to, alleviate anxiety and related sleep disturbance, to soothe insect bites, burns, and headaches. It has a typical floral flavor and I never used it in cooking, might however try it together with fresh goat cheese and some (lavender) honey?

Origanum marjorama

Said to, have been the Greek and Roman symbol of happiness.The flavor is sweet pine and citrus; used in tomato sauces and dried on grilled meat.

Melissa officinalis

Said to, have antibacterial and antiviral properties, used as a mosquito repellent and mild sedative or calming agent, effective at reducing stress. It has a typical lemon flavor; is mixed with garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper and salt, to prepare a pesto that is used on grilled fish.

Mentha spicata

Said to, help against insomnia, protect the liver against heavy-metals, be effective against the side effects of radiotherapy and enhance memory by its aroma. It gives flavour to spearmint gum; mixed with water, green tea, honey, lemon and ginger it gives a healthy refreshing drink.

Origanum vulgare

Said to, be antiseptic, relieving the effect of sore throat and stomach ache, while it is an antimicrobial agent. The flavor is bitter sweet to numbing when fresh; is used in tomato sauces and dried on grilled meat.

Rosmarinus officinalis

Said to, improve memory and aid remembering, act as an anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant, protect the brain against free radicals and lower the risk of strokes and neurodegenerative diseases. The flavor is bitter liquorice pine; is mixed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, pepper and honey for a marinade in which meat is left during a night before being grilled on the barbecue. Should find a recipe with fresh rosemary too.

Salvia officinalis

Said to, be a saviour (latin salvere), ward off evil, be an antisweating agent, an antibiotic, an antifungal, astringent, antispasmodic, estrogenic, hypoglycemic, and a tonic. It has a savory, sweet lemon-like and slightly peppery flavour; is mixed with caramelized onions, garlic and baked with eggs to prepare an omelette.

Thymus vulgaris  and Thymus citriodorus

Said to, be an antiseptic used against acne and bronchitis. It has a typical flavor, bitter and somewhat like lavender. The variant citriodorus has a strong lemon flavor component; is mixed with honey, water and lemon.

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