Herbs for
Cooking and Healing
The Lovely Janet




















Cooking Herbs

Genovese Basil
The classic Italian basil.  Sweet, spicy flavor.  Plants can reach 5 feet

Italian Large Leaf Basil
A sweeter, pesto-type basil.  High yield.

Lime Basil
Basil flavor with a hint of lime.  Great on fish or salads.

Thai Basil
Anise-flavored basil that dresses up Asian dishes, poultry, fish and just about anything with rice.

Siam Queen Basil
Licorice/spice basil.  Great with Asian dishes, particularly curries.

Cinnamon Basil
Basil with a little cinnamon kick.

Opal Basil
Sweet basil with delicate lavender and green leaves.  

Red Rubin Basil
Italian large leaf basil size and taste, but with beautiful dark purple leaves.

Rosemary
Great spice with meat dishes and Italian sauces.  Medicinal uses include tea for headache. Rosemary oil
also has antimicrobial/antifungal properties and is used in hair rinses to promote scalp health.

Thyme
Classic culinary and ornamental herb commonly used with fish and vegetable dishes.  Some varieties
used as ground cover.  Medicinal: contains thymol, which is used in popular mouthwashes. Leaves
used in tea used to treat sore throats and cough

Greek Oregano
Used in pizza and other Italian dishes.  Medicinal uses: tea for indigestion
Marjoram
Used in Mediterranean dishes.
Cilantro
Popular culinary herb used in Mexican and Asian dishes.  Medicinal properties: fungicidal and
antibacterial.  Used to remove heavy metals from the body.
Dill
Seeds used to flavor sauces and pickles.  Medicinal - said to relieve flatulence



Medicinal Herbs
(description of uses for historical and educational purposes only - not intended as a guide for
medicinal use)

Aloe Vera
The “burn plant,” a cactus-like desert plant 0without the thorns.  Pulp soothes and heals burns and
other wounds.  Also used as a skin conditioner and moisturizer.  Can be taken internally for
esophageal and stomach irritations.

Arnica
(Arnica Montana)
Yellow daisy-like flowers are used in salves, liniments, creams or other topical applications to ease pain
and speed healing of bruises, sprains, wounds, muscle aches, swelling due to fractures, phlebitis,
insect bites or rheumatic pain.  Should not be used internally.

Ashwagandha
(Withania somniferum)  
Hardy annual or tender perennial, zones 7-10.
Multiple benefits, considered similar to ginseng. Anti-stress tonic, sleep aid, general health promotion,
believed helpful in combating aging, anemia, general debility and symptoms of AIDS and cancer.

Astralagus (Chinese Milkvetch)
(Astragalus membranaceus)
Root  extract used as tonic, immune stimulant, antiviral, also used for asthma, infections, and to
normalize sugar levels in diabetes.

Bee Balm
(Monarda Didyma or Monarda Fistulosa)
Long-stemmed plant topped with showy pink, red or lilac flowers.  Flowers and leaves are used in tea
as an antiseptic, diuretic or stimulant.  Helps relieve colds, excess mucus, headache, menstrual pain
and nausea.

Borage
Borago Offinalis
Lovely blue edible flowers that are often used in candies, increases honey yield in beehives, easy to
grow.  Leaves are used as a diuretic, and have been used to combat emotional stress and burnout.  
Tops of plants are used as a pot herb for stew.  Borage oil reduces cholesterol level when combined
with evening primrose, reduces cardiovascular reaction to stress.

Butterfly Weed (Pleurisy root)
Asclepias tuberosa
Thick dark green foliage topped with clusters of bright orange flowers.  Used in cut flower
arrangements.  Repels deer, butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees love it.  Aphids love butterfly weed
as well.  It will draw them away from other garden plants (so makes a good companion plant).  Native
Americans chewed the fresh roots for pleurisy or other chest pain.  Drought tolerant.

Calendula
Calendula Officianalis
Useful for healing skin irritations, inflammations or wounds.  Helps relieve mouth sores, gum or tooth
infections. Tea helps heal bladder infections and ulcers.

German Chamomile
Matricaria recutita
Small, pretty plant, grows well in containers, fern-like leaves and small yellow flowers.  Flowers make a
tasty sleep aid and help with digestive discomforts.  Generally regarded as safe, even for youngsters,
but should not be used with blood-thinning medications.

Roman Chamomile
Chamaemelum nobilis
Similar to German chamomile but has a stronger and more bitter action on the human body. Used for
nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, is a mild sedative and relieves pain, including cramping muscular
pains and migraine headache.  Roman chamomile also possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic
properties, and effectively relieves irritated skin

Comfrey
Large broad leaves, lovely drooping blue-purple flowers.  Leaves were used to ease pain and speed
healing for injuries such as bruises, sprains and bone breaks.

Echinacea (Narrow-Leaf Coneflower)
Echinacea angustifolia
Echinacea is typically used to stimulate immune strength and particularly to combat infections such as
cold and flu.  It is also believed to be helpful in treating skin infections like acne or boils. May cause
reactions in people allergic to ragweed, and can cause symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease to
worsen.

Feverfew
Tanacetum parthenium
Feverfew has been used to reduce fever, and to treat headaches, arthritis and digestive problems.  
Regular use of feverfew over time is believed to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine
headaches.  It is not an effective remedy during a migraine attack.  It also has been used topically to
soothe red, irritated skin.

Hyssop
Hyssopus officialis
Stimulant, aromatic, expectorant and tonic helpful in asthma and coughs.  A gargle of hyssop and
sage helps relieve sore-throats. When applied as a poultice made with leaves to bruises, hyssop
relieves pain and removes the discoloration.


English lavender (Lady Lavender, Munstead, Hidcote)
Lavendula angustifolia or Lavendula x intermedia
Oil is used in salves and balms, as is French lavender, lavendula x intermedia.  The oil is antiseptic and
anti-inflammatory.  as been used as a disinfectant.  Infusions of leaves and flowers are used to sooth
and heal insect bites. Drinking a lavender infusion is said to ease headaches, and is used to aid
relaxation.  Caution: can be an allergen.  Should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.  

Spanish lavender
Lavandula stoechas
Not used medicinally but is used mostly for landscaping.  A very pretty, frilly leaf, very different from
other lavenders in appearance.  Bigger, brighter flower.  Does have the typical lavender aroma.

Lemon Balm (Melissa)
Melissa officinalis
Easy to cultivate and cold tolerant (although should be mulched during hard freezes).  Antibacterial,
antiviral, mild sedative, insect repellant.  Pleasant lemon flavor. Effective against herpes simplex.  Good
muscle relaxant. Should be avoided by people taking thyroid medicine.

Lobelia (Cardinal flower)
Lobelia cardinalis
Was used by Cherokee Indians as a dewormer.  Was historically used to treat syphllis, but primarily
this plant is valued more for it's gorgeous scarlet flower than for its medicinal properties

Mountain mint
Pycnanthemum virginianum
Good cooking additive with meats, makes a great jelly (try it with one or two hot peppers in the mix
for a real kick). Benefits similar to peppermint.  Infusion helps with coughs, colds, general run-down
feeling and flatulence.  

Marshmallow
Althaea officinalis
Marshmallow roots of the herb counteract excess stomach acid, helping heal peptic ulcers as well as
gastritis, has moderate laxative properties and can be used to treat colitis, ileitis, irritable bowel
syndrome and diverticulitis.  A warm infusion of marshmallow may relieve cystitis as well as frequent
urination. The demulcent (soothing irritated or inflamed skin or mucous membranes) properties of
marshmallow may help dry coughs, bronchial asthma, bronchial congestion or jamming of the
bronchioles and even pleurisy. Crushed fresh marshmallow flowers or a warm infusion prepared from
the herb's flowers may benefit inflamed skin. Marshmallow roots have been used in ointments or
creams used to heal boils and abscesses. The roots are also used in mouthwash for treating
inflammation. In addition, peeled fresh roots of marshmallow can be given as a chew stick to teething
infants.

Mullein
Verbascum thapsus
Effective treatment for asthma and respiratory disorders.  Historically, Native Americans smoked dried
leaves to loosen lung congestion.  Infusions using leaves only can be used as a tea or as a steam.   
Extracts made from the plant's flowers are a very effective treatment for ear infections. CAUTIONS:  
Coumarin is present in the entire plant, mostly in the seeds.   THE SEEDS ARE POISONOUS AND CAN
CAUSE INTERNAL HEMORRHAGE.

Peppermint (Blue Balsam variety)
Mentha piperata
Dark blue-green leaves, intense true peppermint flavor.  As a tea, acts as a digestive aid and helps
with morning or motion sickness.  As an inhalant, breaks up congestion.  Pleasant tea for flavor alone.

Pleurisy Root (butterfly milkweed)
Asclepias tuberosa
Long-stemmed perennial with vibrant lush orange flowers.  Bees and butterflies LOVE it, hence it's
nickname "Butterfly weed."  Used to treat lung ailments, especially pleurisy (pain caused by severe
coughing).  Often included in butterfly gardens, and attract bees hummingbirds as well.

Primrose (Evening)
Oenothera biennis
All parts are edible.  Leaves may be cooked and eaten as greens, roots can be boiled like potatoes,
and flowers are a sweet addition to salads.  Young seedpods may be steamed.  Seed pods contain an
oil with GLA, a fatty acid known to help prevent hardening of the arteries, heart disease, eczema,
cirrhosis, rheumatoid arthritis, relieve menopause, PMS, multiple sclerosis and high blood pressure,
lowers cholesterol level.


Sage (Clary)
Salvia sclarea
Anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmotic, astringent, bactericidal.  Originally used as
an eyewash.  Treats digestive problems like gas and indigestion, helps relieve premenstrual problems
and stimulates estrogen, thus relieving symptoms of menopause.  Essential oil reduces tension, and
revitalizes.  Useful for stimulating vivid dreams and enhancing dream recall.

Sheep Sorrel
Rumex aectosella
One of the ingredients of the Essiac anti-cancer formula (along with burdock root, slippery elm bark
and turkey rhubarb). Traditionally used as an anti-diarrheal (in low doses), anti-inflammatory,
antioxidant, to detoxify and cleanse, as a diuretic, and for vascular disorders. Also has high levels of
phytoestrogens that bind estrogen receptors.

Skullcap
Scutellaria lateriflora
Effective relaxant/sedative.   Treats nervous conditions including insomnia, nervous headaches,
anxiety, drug withdrawal.  Can promote menstruation and should NOT be administered to pregnant
women.  Is being used to treat ADD - Caution: overdose causes giddiness, stupor, confusion and
twitching.

Spearmint (Standard and Scotch)
Mentha spicata
Used as a flavoring, for digestive discomfort and as a breath sweetener. Similar properties to those of
peppermint.

Thistle (Blessed)
Cnicus benedictus L.
Used to increase appetite, improve digestion and stimulate bile flow.  Folk use to promote lactation in
nursing mothers not proven.   Is used in some cancer remedies.  Used as a blood cleanser and liver
tonic.

Thyme
Thymus vulgaris
In addition to culinary and fragrance uses, thyme is one of the most effective anti-infectives available -
proven effective against viruses, fungi, and bacteria.  Is used commercially in mouthwashes and
cleaning agents for its anti-germ/viral properties.

Valerian
Valeriana offcinalis
Historically used as a sedative, anti-convulsant, pain reliever and migraine treatment.