August/September 2018 81
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: COURTESY OF PAULA GRAINGER; SHUTTERSTOCK (4); OPPOSITE, CLOCKWISE FROM BOTTOM RIGHT: PHOEBE LIERMANN; RACHEL HARPER; COURTESY OF FRANK GRAINGER
Medicinal Herbs to Grow
Chamomile loves the Bay Area sunshine.
You can grow it from seed or
buy young plants from a garden center.
Harvest the flowers to make a
delicious tea which will ease anxiety,
calm your mind and help you sleep.
These bright orange flowers brighten gardens
all over the world. Calendula is an antiinflammatory
that heals and protects against
infection. Drop a few flowers into hot water
to make a tea to help clear acne and eczema
or make an infused oil to create a beautiful,
golden healing salve. Calendula is a shortlived
annual, but if you allow a few flowers
at the end of the season to go to seed, it will
happily pop up all over the garden.
Make a strong tea by pouring
boiling water over a small
handful of torn sage leaves
and allowing it to steep for
10 minutes before straining.
Add honey to the hot tea and
drink to soothe and relieve
a sore throat, or allow it to
cool and sip the cold tea to
reduce hot flashes.
Herbalists believe that rose lifts your mood and opens
the heart to love. Make a simple syrup by heating equal
parts of water and sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved,
and then dropping sweet-scented rose petals
into the hot syrup, covering the pan and allowing it
to cool. Strain the syrup through a sieve lined with a
double layer of cheesecloth and add a little to lemonade
or prosecco for a delightful summer cocktail. It is
also delicious poured over strawberries or raspberries.
The syrup will keep for a week or so in the refrigerator.
While illegal to collect from federal lands, this colorful
and drought-tolerant plant is easy to grow in the
garden, where you can harvest the leaves and flowers.
To make a tincture which herbalists use to help
insomnia, just harvest a few handfuls of leaves and
flowers, chop them and place in a jar, then pour vodka
over so that the plant material is fully submerged.
Leave to stand in a cool, dark place for a couple of
weeks then strain as above and bottle the resulting
liquid. Add 20-40 drops to a little water and drink at
bedtime. The tincture will keep for at least a year.