Types of herbs plants

Medicinal plants are useful to keep on hand to treat common ailments. You can reach for certain medical plants to relieve headaches, tummy trouble and even irritation from bug bites. Plants can be consumed in teas, used as garnish, applied topically as essential oil or consumed as a pill.

It’s important to remember that you should always double check with your doctor before consuming or using anything new for your body. If you choose to grow some of these plants, remember to take proper care according to the plant’s care guidelines and refrain from using any pesticides or other harmful chemicals on your plants. You don’t want any of those chemicals in or on your body!

To help you decide what plants are best for you, we rounded up our top medicinal plants, their notable health benefits and how to use them.

Contents

Medicinal Plants

1. Basil

Basil (ocimum basilicum) is a common herb used to garnish salads, pasta and many other meals to add delicious flavor. Thanks to the vitamins and minerals in basil, such as vitamin K and iron, this herb is helpful for combating common ailments. For example, the manganese in basil helps metabolize different compounds in your body. Holy basil, commonly referred to as tulsi, is a specific species of basil that originates from India. It’s considered a sacred plant that is used in teas, ointments and more, to help treat a variety of ailments like fevers and diabetes. This species has a much stronger taste than common basil!

Basil health benefits:

  • Reduces stress
  • Strong antibacterial properties
  • Rich source of antioxidants
  • Prevents some harmful effects of aging
  • Reduces inflammation and swelling
  • Strengthens bones and liver
  • Boosts immunity
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Improves digestion

Common uses:

  • Sprinkle as a garnish for dishes
  • Include as ingredient for smoothies

2. Catnip

Catnip (nepeta cataria) is a fun plant for cats. Most cats are attracted to the plant and will roll around near it since its aroma acts as a stimulant. These medicinal plants also act as a sedative for cats if consumed. For humans, on the other hand, it is normally used as a stress reliever, sleep aid and a solution for skin issues. The majority of its health benefits come from the presence of nepetalactone, thymol and other compounds that make this plant great for you and your furry friend.

Catnip health benefits:

  • Repels bugs and relieves irritation from bug bites
  • Calms restlessness, anxiety and stress
  • Relieves stomach discomfort
  • Accelerates recovery from colds and fevers

Common uses:

  • Brew leaves for a tea
  • Dry leaves and burn to release aroma
  • Apply essential oils or leaves topically

3. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper (capsicum annuum) adds a spicy kick to any meal or drink and is a popular detoxifier for many people. Capsaicin is the compound responsible for cayenne’s spicy nature, but it’s also responsible for some of its health benefits. Some of these benefits include pain relief and lower cholesterol.

Cayenne pepper health benefits:

  • Detoxifies the body
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Eases an upset stomach and helps digestion
  • Improves circulation
  • Relieves pain

Common uses:

  • Add to sauces, spice mixes, dressing and other dishes
  • Consume as a pill

4. Chamomile

Chamomile (matricaria chamomilla) has a high concentration of antioxidants that make it a great plant for relieving a variety of ailments. Chamomile is commonly consumed as a tea and you can make your own at home by brewing dried chamomile flowers (just make sure the flowers are completely dry). Drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bed can help you relax and have a more restful night’s sleep.

Chamomile health benefits:

  • Improves overall skin health
  • Relieves pain
  • Aids sleep
  • Reduces inflammation and swelling
  • Rich source of antioxidants
  • Relieves congestion

Common uses:

  • Brew dried flowers for a tea
  • Inhale essential oil
  • Apply essential oils topically

5. Dandelion

You should think twice before removing those pesky dandelions (taraxacum) from your front yard! Dandelions are not only edible, but they are also full of health benefits. These medicinal plants are packed with things that are great for you: vitamin K, vitamin C, iron, calcium and more. These vitamins and minerals help support strong bone and liver health. All parts of a dandelion are useful and good for you. For example, dandelion roots are commonly used for teas, the leaves are used as garnishes for different dishes and dandelion sap is great for your skin!

Dandelion health benefits:

  • Detoxifies liver and supports overall liver health
  • Treats skin infection
  • Supports overall bone health
  • Treats and helps prevent urinary infections

Common uses:

  • Brew roots for a tea
  • Use leaves as garnish for dishes
  • Consume as a pill

6. Echinacea

Echinacea (echinacea purpurea) is also commonly known as purple coneflower. This is another flower that is normally used in tea to help soothe different symptoms and to strengthen the immune system. This popular herb is used most often to accelerate recovery from the common cold. It’s important to note that echinacea can cause negative effects like nausea and dizziness if taken consistently in large doses.

Echinacea health benefits:

  • Treats and helps prevent urinary tract infections
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Relieves upper respiratory issues
  • Fights infections
  • Alleviates symptoms from the common cold

Common uses:

  • Brew roots, leaves and flowers for a tea
  • Consume as a pill

7. Garlic

Garlic (allium sativum) helps keep away vampires and unwanted diseases! This super plant is great for fighting infections, aiding with cholesterol management and much more. Eating garlic on a regular basis is good for your overall health and easy to incorporate into a wide array of dishes. Raw garlic is the most potent, so try eating it uncooked for the most health benefit.

Garlic health benefits:

  • Helps prevent heart disease
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Prevents dementia, Alzheimer’s and similar degenerative diseases
  • Improves digestive health

Common uses:

  • Use as ingredient or garnish for dishes
  • Consume raw

8. Lavender

Lavender (lavandula) is popular for its soothing scent and ability to calm the nerves. Lavender tea is another drink you can whip up to help you unwind after a long day and have a good night’s rest. Lavender oil is also popular for massage treatments, aromatherapy and even hair treatment!

Lavender health benefits:

  • Eases tension and reduces stress
  • Relieves headaches and migraines
  • Aids sleep
  • Supports healthy hair and skin
  • Fights acne
  • Relieves pain
  • Treats respiratory problems

Common uses:

  • Brew flowers for a tea
  • Use essential oil in a diffuser
  • Apply essential oil topically

9. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm (melissa officinalis) is a longstanding medicinal plant used to help relieve stress and ward off insects! An intense amount of stress can cause complications for many functions of the body, so minimal stress is ideal for a healthy functioning body. This lemony plant is delicious and easily used in several dishes like teas, ice cream and more. Many people consume lemon balm tea to help relieve anxiety, stress and even to calm restless kids.

Lemon balm benefits:

  • Calms restlessness, anxiety and stress
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Treats cold sores
  • Soothes menstrual cramps

Common uses:

  • Brew leaves for a tea
  • Garnish for dishes and desserts
  • Apply tea or essential oil topically

10. Marigold

Marigolds (tagetes) are fragrant plants that many turn to in order to improve their overall skin health. These vibrant flowers carry a lot of antioxidants and other healthy compounds that make them the perfect choice to keep in your home! These plants not only keep your body healthy, but also help keep insects away.

Marigold health benefits:

  • Soothes skin and treats skin diseases
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Strong antibacterial and antiseptic properties
  • Treats ear pain and infection
  • Strengthens eyes

Common uses:

  • Brew dried flowers for a tea
  • Apply essential oil or cream topically
  • Sprinkle as a garnish for dishes

11. Parsley

Parsley (petroselinum crispum) is a delicious garnish that’s helpful for supporting your immune system, bone health and digestive health. The high concentration of antioxidants, vitamin K and other compounds help make this plant an all-around powerhouse herb for your body. Parsley is also a good herb to reach for if you’re suffering from halitosis, also known as bad breath!

Parsley health benefits:

  • Relieves bloating and supports digestive health
  • Fights bad breath
  • Supports bone health
  • Rich source of antioxidants

Common uses:

  • Sprinkle as a garnish for dishes
  • Create a juice or brew for a tea

12. Peppermint

Peppermint (mentha × piperita) is a fresh herb that we taste in gum, toothpaste and desserts. This herb makes a tasty tea and helps relieve tummy aches, nausea and muscle pain (just to name a few). Peppermint tea is a good choice for pregnant moms who suffer from occasional morning sickness.

Peppermint health benefits:

  • Relieves allergies
  • Soothes muscle pain
  • Relieves headaches
  • Reduces nausea, gas and indigestion
  • Supports digestive health
  • Treats bad breath
  • Highly antibacterial

Common uses:

  • Brew leaves for a tea
  • Apply essential oil topically
  • Inhale essential oil

13. Rosemary

Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) is full of vitamins and minerals that help support many different functions in the body. For instance, rosemary is great for improving memory and also supports hair growth. This means a cup of rosemary tea is great for anyone heading into a night of studying or a person fighting a receding hairline!

Rosemary health benefits:

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Improves memory and enhances overall brain function
  • Treats bad breath
  • Supports liver health
  • Supports hair growth

Common uses:

  • Brew dried leaves for a tea
  • Sprinkle as a garnish for dishes
  • Apply essential oil topically

14. Sage

Sage (salvia officinalis) is another medical plant that helps support memory and combat degenerative diseases. Sage is also well-known for managing diabetes with its ability to naturally lower glucose levels. This plant is a popular ingredient for several dishes and beauty products, so you can easily reap the benefits of sage in a multitude of ways!

Sage health benefits:

  • Improves memory and enhances overall brain function
  • Supports digestive health
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Treats and helps manage diabetes
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Improves skin health

Common uses:

  • Brew fresh leaves for tea
  • Sprinkle as a garnish for dishes
  • Inhale essential oil
  • Apply essential oil topically

15. St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort (hypericum perforatum) is primarily known as a natural way to relieve symptoms of depression. It’s used to treat anxiety, mood swings, feelings of withdrawal and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. These medicinal plants are usually consumed as a concentrated pill or applied topically as an ointment. It’s important to note that St. John’s Wort can interact with a number of medications, so (as with all plants on this list) consult your doctor before consuming or applying this plant to your body.

St. John’s Wort health benefits:

  • Helps relieve symptoms of depression
  • Relieves anxiety and helps manage mood
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Soothes skin irritation

Common uses:

  • Consume as a pill
  • Brew fresh flowers for tea
  • Apply topically as essential oil or ointment

16. Thyme

Thyme (thymus vulgaris) is a popular herb used in cooking. Thymol is found in thyme and is commonly found in mouthwash and vapor rubs. This compound gives thyme its strong antifungal and antibacterial properties. Thyme’s antifungal properties also helps prevent food borne illnesses since it can decontaminate food and prevent infections in the body.

Thyme health benefits:

  • Soothes sore throats and coughs
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Treats respiratory problems
  • Supports immune system

Common uses:

  • Sprinkle as a garnish for meals
  • Brew fresh leaves for tea
  • Apply topically as a cream

Next time you have a pesky pain or symptom, try reaching for one of these medicinal plants! You can take a look at some of the best medicinal flowers to keep around your home too. We’ve also rounded up the best plants with beauty benefits if you’re looking for natural ways to enhance your beauty regime.

18 of Nature’s Most Powerful Medicinal Plants

(Part of an Exclusive WebEcoist Series on Amazing Trees, Plants, Forests and Flowers)

From marijuana to catnip, there are hundreds of remarkably common herbs, flowers, berries and plants that serve all kinds of important medicinal and health purposes that might surprise you: anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, insect repellent, antiseptic, expectorant, antibacterial, detoxification, fever reduction, antihistamine and pain relief. Here are eighteen potent medical plants you’re likely to find in the wild – or even someone’s backyard – that can help with minor injuries, scrapes, bites and pains.*

Marijuana

Images via Current and Street Knowledge

Seriously. Though marijuana is still illegal in the United States, it is legal in 12 states for medicinal purposes, and if a case of poison ivy in the woods isn’t a medicinal purpose, what is? Marijuana was *mostly* legal until 1970 when it became classified as a hard drug. No one thought of it as a dangerous or illicit drug until the 20th century; in fact, hemp was George Washington’s primary crop and Thomas Jefferson’s secondary crop. The Declaration of Independence is written on it; the Gutenberg Bible was printed on hemp, too. There’s actually an environmental dimension to legalizing marijuana – hemp is a remarkable and renewable plant, offering all kinds of foodstuff and product uses that surpass cotton and plastic. But health benefits are well documented, from depression and anxiety relief to reduced blood pressure, pain alleviation and glaucoma treatment. It is not addictive, does not kill brain cells and is not a “gateway” drug – in fact, when pot is more available, studies show that the use of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine actually decreases. The bottom line for hikers: when your leg is broken from a misjudged boulder hopping attempt (pain) and a bear has eaten your friend (depression) and you’re lost because you forgot the compass (dumbass), consult the cannabis.

Lady Ferns

Image via US Forest Service

If you grew up in the Pacific Northwest you likely know what ferns are good for: treating stinging nettles. One of the world’s oldest plants, there are many varieties of ferns, but if you’re lucky enough to spy the soft, delicate lady fern, grab some and roll it up between your palms into a rough mash. The juices released will quickly ease stinging nettle burns and can also ease minor cuts, stings and burns (fresh salt water also works in a pinch for bee stings). Bracken fern are similar to lady fern and will work, as well. The rougher, glossier, stiff sword fern and deer fern won’t be as effective, though. (Learn about types of ferns.) Lady ferns actually grow all over North America but are common in areas with high rainfall.

California Poppy

Images via Netstate and Mountain Meadow Seeds

The brilliant blooms of the poppy make this opioid plant an iconic one. The plant is an effective nervine (anxiety reliever) and is safe for use on agitated children. Can be made into a a tea for quick relief of nervousness and tension. A stronger decoction will offer pain relief. (A decoction is made by “stewing” all safe plant parts, including stems and roots if possible, in water for several hours and, ideally, soaking overnight.)

Blood Flower

The blood flower (also Mexican butterfly weed) is a type of tropical milkweed with toxic milky sap that is emetic (it makes you hurl). It’s also historically favored as a heart stimulant and worm expellent. Pretty useful for a number of potential hiking disasters, if you think about it. (Of course, if you’d quit eating those poisonous berries you probably wouldn’t need to worry about finding a natural expectorant.)

Tansy

Image via Earth Heart Farm

If you’ve decided to backpack through Europe instead of the mountains of Mexico (but why?), you’ll want to know about a few helpful medicinal plants. Tansy is an old-world aster and remedy, used for flavoring beer and stews as well as repelling insects. Rubbing the leaves on the skin provides an effective bug repellent, but tansy can also be used to treat worms. It is said to be poisonous when extracted, but a few leaves are not harmful if ingested.

Korean Mint (hyssop)

Who doesn’t want to be minty fresh? Most of the various types of “mint” or mentha – spearmint, Korean mint, applemint, regular old mint – offer reported health benefits and medicinal properties. (Avoid pennyroyal, as it’s poisonous.) Mint is famous for soothing headaches, fighting nausea, calming the stomach and reducing nervousness and fatigue. Korean mint, also called Indian mint and hyssop, is a fairly effective antiviral, making it useful for fighting colds and the flu. Whatever continent you’re on, some type of mint is usually to be found. Eat whole, garnish food or make tea to get the all purpose health benefits.

Alfalfa

Image via In Advance

Alfalfa is fodder for livestock for a reason: it’s incredibly rich in minerals and health-promoting nutrients and compounds. With roots that grow 20 to 30 feet deep, alfalfa is considered the “father of all plants”. (It also contains a high amount of protein for a green.) Alfalfa originally grew in the Mediterranean and Middle East but has now spread to most of Europe and the Americans. It can treat morning sickness, nausea, kidney stones, kidney pain and urinary discomfort. It is a powerful diuretic and has a bit of stimulant power, helping to energize after a bout with illness. It’s a liver and bowel cleanser and long-term can help reduce cholesterol. You can purchase seeds and sprouts, but it’s fine to eat the leaves straight from the earth.

Catnip

Images via UCC

The cannabis of the cat kingdom. Famous for making cats deliriously crazy, catnip has health properties that are great for humans, too. Catnip can relieve cold symptoms (helpful if you’re on a camping trip and don’t have access to Nyquil). It’s useful in breaking a fever as it promotes sweating. Catnip also helps stop excessive bleeding and swelling when applied rather than ingested. This mint plant (yep, another one) is also reportedly helpful in treating gas, stomach aches, and migraines. Catnip can stimulate uterine contractions, so it should not be consumed by pregnant women. It grows in the Northern Hemisphere.

Image via Palestine Shop

Sage is an incredibly useful herb, widely considered to be perhaps the most valuable herb. It is anti-flammatory, anti-oxidant, and antifungal. In fact, according to the noted resource World’s Healthiest Foods, “Its reputation as a panacea is even represented in its scientific name, Salvia officinalis, derived from the Latin word, salvere, which means ‘to be saved’.” It was used as a preservative for meat before the advent of refrigeration (eminently useful: you never know when you’ll be forced to hunt in the wild). Sage aids digestion, relieves cramps, reduces diarrhea, dries up phlegm, fights colds, reduces inflammation and swelling, acts as a salve for cuts and burns, and kills bacteria. Sage apparently even brings color back to gray hair. A definite concern when lost in the woods.

Blackberries

Image via Old Ice Works

Did you know blackberries have useful healing properties? Of course they’re loaded in antioxidants and vitamins, but the leaves and roots have value, too. Native Americans have long used the stems and leaves for healing, while enjoying the young shoots peeled as a vegetable of sorts and the berries, either raw or in jams. The leaves and root can be used as an effective treatment against dysentery and diarrhea as well as serving usefulness as an anti-inflammatory and astringent. Ideal for treating cuts and inflammation in the mouth.

Wild Quinine

Image via Stone Silo Prairie Gardens

According to Alternative Nature Online, wild quinine is a potent herb that “is used as an antiperiodic, emmenagogue, kidney, lithontripic, poultice. It has traditionally been used in alternative medicine to treat debility, fatigue, respiratory infection, gastrointestinal infection, and venereal disease.” Whatever the ailment, quinine is famously helpful in treating it. Only the root and flowers are edible; avoid the plant.

Navajo Tea

Also called greenthread, Plains Tea or Coyote Plant, this plant has been used for centuries by Native Americans to quickly relieve that most brutal and irritating of infections: the UTI (urinary tract infection). Best when made into a tea or decoction.

Red Clover

Image via Foxy Island

Native to Europe, Northern Africa and Western Asia, red clover is now ubiquitous worldwide. The plant’s reddish pink blossoms can be used for coughs and colds, but they are an excellent detoxifier and blood cleanser as well.

Sweet Marjoram

Images via Tasteful Garden and Veseys

Marjoram and oregano are often used interchangeably, but the aromatic sweet marjoram is slightly different. The Greeks called it the “Joy of the Mountain” and it was revered throughout the Mediterranean for its fragrance, flavor and medicinal value. The famous French herbs de provence and Middle Eastern za’atar both use sweet marjoram. Marjoram has many uses (it’s a famous digestive aid) but it is effective as an antifungal, antibacterial and disinfectant treatment in a pinch.

Burdock Herb

Images via Norman Allen and Ontario Wildflowers

Burdock, or cocklebur, is a prickly, thistle-like plant that grows commonly in many parts of the world. It can get fairly big and its leaves resemble the elephant ear plant. Though the burs often get caught in pets’ and livestock’s fur, don’t think of it only as an annoying plant. It is a highly effective treatment against poison ivy and poison oak (claims that it cures cancer are slightly *less* substantiated).

Feverfew

Feverfew is a plant that has well-known and documented health properties and medicinal benefits. This anti-inflammatory can treat rheumatism, arthritis and, most famously, migraine headaches and tension headaches. It’s also good for alleviating tension and general anxiety (it is a natural serotonin inhibitor). It also helps to reduce swelling and bruising. Though feverfew is most effective when taken daily, it can be a helpful pain reliever when no Advil is on hand.

Sweet Violet

Image via Firefly Forest

Native to Europe and Asia, sweet violet is cultivated around the world and is a pleasant, delicate purple color. When brewed into a syrup the plant is effective as a treatment for colds, flu and coughs or sore throat. However, when made as a tea, it is wonderfully effective for relieving headaches and muscle and body pain.

Winter Savory

Image via CGNA

Winter savory is your savior against insect bites and stings. One of the most effective natural plant treatments for bug bites is originally from Europe and the Mediterranean but often shows up elsewhere thanks to global trade. In addition to being an antiseptic, it is delicious – used for flavoring meats and stews – and all parts are edible.

With so many amazing medicinal plants on the planet, be sure to look for future posts covering more. Feel free to submit your own request or share your botanical knowledge in the comments.

* Disclaimer: the content of this post is for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be considered qualified medical advice. Always consult an expert before consuming or applying any foreign substance or material. Also, don’t do drugs.

Click Here for Even More Amazing Plants:

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“As rosemary is to the spirit, so lavender is to the soul.” – Anonymous

Angelica. Requires light shade and moist soil. Direct seed in the fall. It is considered a “hardy” plant and does best in cool climates. Angelica is mainly used as a condiment or confection. Roots and leaves are harvested in late summer of its second year of growth. Biennial.

Anise. Prefers a sunny location and well-drained soil. Sow seeds in the spring. It is characterized as a “half hardy” plant and requires alkaline soils. Leaves and seeds taste like licorice. Annual.

Basil. Grows well in bright light and moist soil. Propagate in the spring. It is a “tender” plant and grows well in containers. Often used in cooking from Thai recipes to Italian. Annual.

Bay. Requires light shade and well drained soil. Propagate with cuttings. Considered a “tender” plant bay grows well in pots and is known for its leaves. Perennial.

Choose from a large selection of heirloom herb seeds available at Planet Natural. Planting instructions are included with each packet and shipping is FREE! Need advice? Visit our herb growing guides for tips and information on specific types.

Borage. Grows well in sunny locations and prefers dry soil. Direct seed in the spring. It is considered a hardy annual and often self-seeds. Flowers and leaves give a cucumber-like flavor to drinks. Annual.

Caraway. Select growing areas with full sun and well-drained soil. Seed in spring or fall. It is a hardy plant. Caraway seeds are aromatic and are popular in cooking and as an ingredient of liqueurs. Biennial.

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Catnip. Prefers full sun, adequate moisture and well-drained soil. It should be direct seeded in the spring. Catnip can also be propagated through divisions or cuttings. It is considered a hardy plant and should be cut back in autumn. Often used for tea and is attractive to cats. Perennial.

Chervil. Requires partial shade and well drained soil. Seed in the spring. Chervil is a hardy plant and, if sown early, will self-seed. It is used as a garnish, like parsley. Annual.

Chives. Plant in partial shade and dry soil. Seed in the spring or use divisions to propagate. It is a hardy plant and will also do well indoors. Leaves provide an onion like flavor. Perennial.

Cicely. Likes growing areas with partial shade and rich soil. Seed in fall. Sweet cicely is a hardy plant that was once used as both a sugar substitute and as a furniture polish. Perennial.

Cilantro/Coriander. Grows well in sunny locations with rich, well-drained soil. Sow seeds in the spring. The leaves are known as cilantro while the seeds are called coriander. A hardy plant, this herb has a pungent taste that isn’t for everyone. Popular in Thai and Mexican cooking. Annual.

Dill. Appreciates full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Seed in spring. It is best known for its use in pickling. Annual.

Fennel. Plant in sunny locations with well-drained soil. Seed in the spring or use divisions to propagate. A hardy herb with a faint anise fragrance. Perennial.

Horehound. Requires a sunny spot and dry, alkaline soil to grow well. Seed in the spring or use divisions or cuttings to propagate. A hardy plant, this herb is often used to flavor candy. Perennial.

Hyssop. Thrives in bright light and dry soil. Seed in the spring or use divisions or cuttings to propagate. A hardy plant, hyssop has a flavor that is slightly bitter and minty. Used to flavor liqueurs or its young leaves can be added to salad. Perennial.

Lavender. Prefers gardens with full sun and dry soil. Seed in the fall or use cuttings. Lavender is a hardy plant with fragrant leaves often used in potpourri and sachets. Perennial.

Lemon Balm. Select garden areas with partial shade and moist soil. Seed in the spring or propagate with divisions or cuttings. It is considered a hardy plant. Often used in jams, jellies and fruit salads. Perennial.

Lemon Verbena. Thrives in partial shade and well-drained soil. Direct seed in the spring or use cuttings to propagate. Lemon verbena is a semi-hardy plant that does well indoors. It adds a lemony taste to teas, cold drinks and jellies. Perennial.

Lovage. Needs light shade and a rich, moist soil to grow well. Direct seed in the fall. A hardy plant, lovage will self seed. Adds a spicy taste to dishes and is sometimes used in teas to reduce flatulence. Perennial.

Marjoram. Appreciates partial shade and rich, well-drained soil. Seed in the spring or propagate with cuttings. An excellent container plant, marjoram attracts beneficial insects and butterflies to the garden. It is sometimes called oregano and is both sweet and spicy. Often used in meat dishes. Perennial.

Myrtle. Requires a sunny garden spot and well-drained soil to thrive. Often propagated from cuttings. Myrtle is a tender plant and is often grown in containers. Its fragrant leaves are used in potpourri and herb sachets. Perennial.

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Oregano. Grows best in full sun and sandy, well-drained soil. Seed inside in spring and transplant or propagate with divisions or cuttings. Oregano is a hardy plant that should be cut back in late fall. Perennial.

Parsley. Prefers light shade and rich, moist soil. Direct seed in spring. It is considered a half hardy plant and often self-seeds. Biennial.

Peppermint. Thrives in light shade and moist soil. Propagate through divisions or cuttings. Peppermint is a hardy herb that spreads easily. Many gardeners prefer to grow in containers. Perennial.

Rosemary. Select a planting location with full sun and dry, well drained soil. Can be propagated through cuttings and is considered a tender plant. Does well indoors and is often used on veal, lamb, shellfish and other meats. Perennial.

Sage. Grows best in full sun and well drained, rich soil. Seed in spring or use cuttings. Sage is a hardy plant and should be replaced every five years. Use with meats or in dressings. Perennial.

Savory. Requires full sun and rich soil to thrive. Sow seeds in spring. It is considered a “semi hardy” plant. Use as a condiment for meats and vegetables. Annual.

Spearmint. Appreciates partial shade and moist soil. Propagate with divisions or cuttings. Spearmint is a hardy plant that spreads easily. Can be grown as an indoors plant. Perennial.

Tarragon. Choose garden spots with full sun and rich, dry soil. Propagate through divisions or cuttings. Tarragon is considered a hardy plant that often requires winter protection. Used in Baronies sauce and Dijon mustards. Perennial.

Thyme. Needs a sunny location and dry soil to grow well. Direct seed in spring or use cuttings or divisions to propagate. Thyme is a hardy plant that can be grown indoors. Used to season meats and vegetables. Perennial.

Woodruff. Plant in partial shade and moist, well drained soil. May be propagated through divisions or cuttings. Woodruff is a hardy herb and provides good ground cover. Used in everything from potpourri to May wine. Perennial.

This is your ultimate list of herbs – the most popular herbs used for all kinds of dishes by top chefs in the world. We explain each type of herb in detail and include photo illustrations.

Herbs have been used as a treatment for several medical ailments and diseases since ancient times. There is a deep connection between humans and herbs that goes way back in time. Generation after generation, human beings have greatly relied on the use of different herbs as a source of good health and well-being.

Several anthropologists believe that people began making healing ointments and oils out of numerous plants and herbs as early as 7000 B.C. According to other historical records, plants were the only medicines that were used before 500 B.C. since they were believed to consist of exceptional medicinal qualities and even magical powers.

Later during the period from the 1600s to 1700s, the European colonists who settled in North America brought with them some of the most useful and important plant seeds to the New World. Some of the herbs that they introduced include chamomile, thyme, lavender, calendula, parsley, and mint, to name a few.

Related: Mega list of spices | Mega list of condiments

Herbs – The Naturally Delicious Superfood

While herbs are typically associated with wellness and health due to their inherent healing and restorative properties, they are an excellent addition to food dishes and recipes. Not only do they take dietary health to a whole new level, but herbs are also a great way to add a lot of flavor, aroma, and taste to your food.

You can use both fresh herbs and dried herbs to a variety of food recipes; either way, they will take the taste and smell of the food to an entirely different level. In other words, herbs allow you to enjoy some fresh-from-the-earth taste right on your dining table.

Herb Popularity Chart

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Here’s a chart illustrating the popularity of different herbs. As you can see, mint is by far the most popular herb based monthly searches online.

Types of Herbs

There is a whole list of culinary herbs you can grow in your garden. These herbs are amazingly handy to have in your kitchen pantry.

Learn about some of the most common and popular herb varieties and add some fresh, earthy flavor to your soups, stews, and pasta!

Parsley

Scientific Name: Petroselinum crispum

Native to the central Mediterranean region, particularly Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, southern Italy and Morocco, parsley is one of the most widely grown herbs in the world. Over the years, the cultivation of parsley has also become popular in Europe where it is commonly used as a spice, vegetable, and herb.

Parsley is a hardy biennial herb that grows in two distinct forms – flat leaf and moss curled. The latter is popularly used for garnishing given how it produces a tightly curled rosette of leaves whereas the former type has flat leaves and is preferred for cooking since it releases more flavor.

It has a mild, bitter flavor that greatly enhances the flavor of soups, stews, casseroles, and salads. Parsley is also consumed for its natural anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that boost the immune system and aids in digestion.

Mint

Scientific Name: Mentha

Mint is an extremely hardy perennial plant and its cultivation is widely distributed across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. It is one of the most aromatic and fragrant herbs. This is why the essential oil from mint is popularly used in perfumed scents and fragrances.

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This herb has a fresh, minty flavor which makes it ideal to be used in drinks like mojitos and mint juleps. Fresh mint is usually preferred over the dry variety because of its aromatic, warm flavor followed by a sweet aftertaste. Many people brew fresh mint leaves to make different types of teas and beverages.

Mint has long been used as an herbal remedy to treat several ailments like chest pains, stomach aches, nausea, etc. In fact, practitioners of traditional medicine have found evidence that mint might just be able to treat irritable bowel syndrome.

Dill

Scientific Name: Anethum graveolens

This is quite a tall herb with super thin and fine leathery foliage that often ranges from dark green to bluish-green in color. It is widely grown in Eurasia, where it is commonly used as an herb in foods for its incredible aroma and flavor.

Dill is extremely popular as a culinary herb in European cuisine, especially in regions including Russia, Finland, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and Ukraine. The finely cut, soft, and delicate dill leaves make an excellent addition to dishes featuring fish, lamb, potatoes, sour cream, and poultry. It has a slightly bitter and sharp taste that provides a flavorful kick to the food.

Dill has a surprising amount of health benefits, some of which include low cholesterol levels, relief from insomnia and diarrhea, ease of digestion and relief from flatulence, to name a few.

Basil 🔥 TIP: !

Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum

Also known as ‘great basil’ and ‘Saint Joseph’s wort’, basil is one of the most popular and widely consumed culinary herbs. It is native to tropical regions extending from Southeast Asia to central Africa.

Basil is an annual herb that has an anise-like flavor and a very intense clove-like aroma. The leaves of this herb have a warm, spicy flavor that makes it ideal for pesto, salads, sauces, soups and various meat-based dishes. Fresh basil, in particular, is highly aromatic and is often used as a garnish on most foods to greatly enhance their smell and aroma.

This herb is often associated with several beliefs and rituals that have significantly added to its popularity. For example, the French call it the ‘royal herb’ whereas ancient Greeks and Egyptians placed the herb in the mouth of the deceased because they strongly believed that it will open the gates of heaven for the dead.

Sage

Scientific Name: Salvia officinalis

This is a perennial, evergreen shrub that is also known as garden sage and common sage. It is a member of the mint family and is particularly native to the Mediterranean region. Sage has a long, rich history and has been grown for centuries due to its incredible healing properties and culinary significance. Interestingly, sage was also used in ancient times to ward off evil and as a treatment for snakebites.

For culinary purposes, fresh sage leaves make an excellent addition to sauces, pasta, poultry dressings, seasonings, and salads. Since it belongs to the mint family, it releases a very strong, minty flavor that makes it ideal to be infused in herbal teas and beverages.

Sage-infused tea is consumed as an effective remedy to treat various gastric ailments, throat and mouth infections, as well as brain disorders.

Rosemary

Scientific Name: Rosmarinus officinalis

This woody perennial, evergreen shrub has to be one of the most flavourful and aromatic herbs. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is a member of the mint family. The word ‘rosemary’ comes from the Latin dictionary where ‘ros’ means ‘dew’ and ‘marinus’ translates to ‘sea’ in the English language. Together they mean “dew of the sea”.

Rosemary has an incredibly delightful scent and with a strong, astringent flavor, making it an excellent option for stuffing chicken, turkey, and lamb. It is increasingly popular in its native Mediterranean cuisine where it is typically roasted with vegetables and meats.

Other than culinary uses, rosemary is a super powerful natural remedy for relieving pain and soothing indigestion. The aroma of rosemary greatly helps relieve everyday stress, calm the mind, and release the anxiety.

Scientific Name: Thymus vulgaris

This is a delicate, Mediterranean perennial herb that has been used since the time of Ancient Egyptians and Greeks who used it for embalming purposes as well as a source of courage. Over time, the consumption of thyme spread throughout Europe, especially due to the Romans who used the herb to purify their rooms.

Thyme is very popular in Italian, Mediterranean, and French cuisines and is often paired with other herbs like parsley and garlic in order to increase the complexity of flavors. While it is used in fresh as well as a dried form, the former variety is more flavorful and releases an incredible scent.

This herb is an excellent source of antioxidants like vitamin A that is essential for nail, eye, and skin health. It also consists of anti-biotic and antiseptic properties that help combat against coughs, colds, and allergies.

Cilantro / Coriander

Scientific Name: Coriandrum sativum

This has to be the most commonly and popularly consumed herb all over the world due to its amazingly versatile flavor profile and aroma. It is known by two key names, coriander and cilantro, due to the difference in its harvesting and usage. If the leaves are harvested, it is referred to as ‘cilantro’ and if the seeds are harvested, it is called coriander.

The taste of cilantro is described as lemon-like with a subtle tartness while its seeds consist of a spicy kick of flavor. This herb is great for salads, salsas, vegetable and meat-based dishes. It is native to various regions spanning from Northern Africa and Southern Europe to South-western Asia.

Cilantro is also referred to as a ‘revitalizing herb’ that helps relieve inflammation, aid in digestion, and reduce stress in the liver.

Scientific Name: Foeniculum vulgare

This herb is native to the Mediterranean region and is extremely flavorful and aromatic. It is a hardy perennial herb that belongs to the carrot family and has become highly naturalized, especially on dry soils on river banks and near the sea coasts.

Fennel is a highly prized herb that has been used since ancient times by Greeks and Romans who commonly used it as food and medicine. Fennel leaves have a sweetish flavor with a mild spice kick and a very earthy scent. They are typically used in salads, soups, and meat-based dishes.

In terms of health and nutrition, fennel is highly rich in protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamins, and iron. It significantly improves bone health, maintains blood pressure, fights inflammation, and boosts the overall metabolism of the body.

Chamomile

Scientific Name: Matricaria chamomilla

This herb comes from daisy-like flowers and is the most popular herb choice for herbal teas, especially in Europe and the United States. Chamomile tea isn’t only one of the world’s most widely consumed herbal teas but the herb has also been used since ancient times as a treatment for upset stomach, inflammation, and high fever.

The term ‘chamomile’ has been derived from the Greek word ‘chamomaela’ that translates to ‘ground apple’ in English. This is used as a reference to its fresh, apple-like scent.

Chamomile has long been associated with a multitude of medicinal benefits including improved sleep quality, better digestive system, protection against certain types of cancer, improved heart health, and controlled blood sugar levels.

Scientific Name: Artemisia dracunculus

Also known as Estragon, tarragon is a perennial herb that belongs to the sunflower family. It is cultivated for medical and culinary purposes, particularly, across much of North America and Eurasia. This herb has a strong anise-like flavor, making it a classic seasoning for chicken, egg dishes, soups, stews, seafood as well as vegetable-based dishes.

Tarragon is considered to be one of the four ‘fines herbes’ of the French cuisine and is the key flavoring component of Béarnaise sauce.

This amazing herb is a great source of essential minerals and vitamins like magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and iron. Tarragon is also often freshly brewed to make herbal tea or any other hot beverage which is believed to relieve stress and anxiety. Chewing on fresh tarragon leaves also helps numb mouth pain and kill germs that lead to bad breath.

Lavender

Scientific Name: Lavandula

This beautiful and striking purple plant is especially used as a condiment and has sprung from the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, China, Eastern Africa, Southwest Asia and Europe. Lavender is a bushy perennial with needle-like foliage and balsam-like scent.

The word ‘lavender’ has come from the Old French word, ‘lavandre’ which refers to the use of plants as infusions. This plant has a very high commercial value for its essential oils and extracts that consist of antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. The oils are also popularly used cosmetics, balms, perfumes, and salves.

It is also one of the most versatile and effective herbal remedies that help treat sleep disturbances, insomnia, and anxiety. In culinary history, the lavender jam was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth and since then, this herb has been used as a great flavorful and aromatic addition to various food dishes and recipes. Many people also use these purple lavender flowers as decorations for desserts and drinks.

Scientific Name: Allium schoenoprasum

This is a perennial herb that belongs to the same family as leeks, garlic, and onion. It is highly widespread across North America, Asia, and most of Europe. Chives grow in the form of clumps in the underground bulbs and result in round and hollow leaves that are super fine in shape and texture. Chives are popularly paired with sour cream and are considered to be one of the finest herbs in French cuisine. This herb also goes really well with salads, eggs, soups, potatoes, and other vegetable dishes.

Although the cultivation of chives began during the Middle Age, their use and consumption go back to some 5,000 years ago. Ancient Romans believed that chives help cure sunburns and sore throat and that eating chives helps control blood pressure.

Bay Leaves

Scientific Name: Laurus nobilis

Bay leaves are probably the most aromatic of all the herbs and are best known for their incredible scent that smells like a mixture of mints, cloves, and balsam. This fragrance coupled with a sharp, peppery taste has made this herb quite popular among various food dishes like rich, hearty stews and soups.

This herb comes in various varieties including California bay leaf, Indonesian bay leaf, West Indian bay leaf and Indian bay leaf. The fragrance of all these bay leaf varieties is more prominent and noticeable than the taste. It has also been used by ancient Greeks for its amazing flavor and is now featured in a variety of classic French dishes and European cuisines.

Culantro

Scientific Name: Eryngium foetidum

Often confused with its cousin herb ‘cilantro’, culantro is a different and an unusual kind of herb with long, serrated leaves that look like lettuce. It is a tropical perennial herb that is also known by other names like long coriander, Mexican coriander, and shadow beni.

Although cilantro is cultivated worldwide in temperate climates, it is particularly native to South America, Central America, and Mexico. In terms of flavor and aroma, it has a much stronger profile as compared to cilantro so it is used in smaller amounts in cooking.

Cilantro is popularly used for marinating, seasoning, and garnishing purposes especially in the Caribbean, Vietnamese, and Indian cuisines. Since it has a great ability to retain good flavor and color, culantro is highly valuable in the dried herb industry.

Scientific Name: Anthriscus cerefolium

Chervil is a delicate annual herb with fine green leaves that are highly similar to finely cut parsley leaves. Perhaps, that is why it is also known as ‘French Parsley’. This herb is native to the Caucasus but later became popular throughout most of Europe.

This plant produces light green and flat lacy leaves that have a taste and aroma similar to that of anise. This makes Chervil a great option for enhancing the flavor of chicken, salads, eggs, vegetables, and fish. It is quite a staple herb in the French cuisine and is also one of the four traditional French ‘fines herbes’.

Aside from being popular in the culinary world, chervil is also used as a useful digestive aid, for lowering blood pressure, curing hiccups, and as a mild stimulant.

Scientific Name: Satureja Montana

This is a perennial, semi-evergreen herb with dark green leaves and beautiful summer flowers. It is native to warm temperate regions of Africa, the Mediterranean, and Southern Europe. Winter savory can usually be found growing in old walls, alkaline soils, on rocky mountain slopes, dry banks, and hill slides.

This herb is one of the most delicious and spicy culinary herbs that add intense flavor and aroma to any recipe. Since it belongs to the mint family, it carries the similar fresh, minty flavor which makes it ideal for salad dressings and to flavor liqueurs. It also holds a reputation for pairing really well with meat and beans, as well as in sauces and soups.

Winter savory contains a multitude of health benefits due to its antiseptic, digestive, carminative, and aromatic properties. It is often used as a cure for flatulence, colic, nausea, sore throat, diarrhea, and bronchial congestion.

Scientific Name: Mentha × piperita

This type of mint is a cross between spearmint and watermint, making it a hybrid mint variety. It is cultivated in various regions of the world but is indigenous to the Middle East and Europe. This herb naturally occurs in moist habitats that typically include drainage ditches and streamsides.

Peppermint is quite popular as a breath-freshening agent as well as an effective aid for digestion-related problems. It is commonly used in the culinary world as a garnish for salads, and in various cold beverages for its strong and refreshing minty aroma and taste.

Peppermint oil is also used by many people to treat irritable bowel syndrome where it has shown to reduce its effects to a great extent. Not only this, but peppermint herbal tea is also famous for treating digestion problems and other similar health ailments.

Stevia

Scientific Name: Stevia rebaudiana

Stevia is best known as a natural sweetener that is extracted from the plant species, Stevia rebaudiana. This herb is native to Paraguay and Brazil and is part of the sunflower family. In its native regions, the leaves of the stevia plant are typically used to sweeten local teas and medicines.

You can use stevia as a natural substitute for sugar in teas and a variety of sweet treats. The best part about its natural sweetness is that it contains absolutely no amount of calories. In traditional medicine, stevia has also been found to be a great treatment for stomach problems, burns, and colic.

According to a research article published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2017, stevia also has the potential to treat endocrine diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

Lemongrass

Scientific Name: Cymbopogon

Also known as barbed wire grass and silky heads, lemongrass is a perennial that looks similar to a grass-like plant due to its long and slender foliage. It is one of the most popular culinary herbs featured in most Asian cuisines.

Lemongrass consists of a strong lemony and citrusy flavor which makes it ideal to use in a variety of stews, soups, and curries. Lemongrass herbal tea is also particularly famous and is often consumed as a remedy for coughs, sore throat, and digestion problems.

Lemongrass stalks are an excellent source of key antioxidants, like beta-carotene which protects eye inflammation and cancer. It is often consumed as a tea to relieve anxiety in Brazilian folk medicine.

Scientific Name: Monarda didyma

Oregano

Scientific Name: Origanum vulgare

This is a loose, open perennial plant that belongs to the mint family and is also known as ‘wild marjoram’. Oregano is native to the Mediterranean region, temperate Western and Southwestern Eurasia. Although it is a perennial, it can also be grown as an annual plant in colder climates.

Oregano is one of the most common and a staple herb in almost all of the Italian-American cuisine where it is popularly used as seasoning pasta and pizza. Interestingly, this herb gained significant popularity after World War II after which the soldiers came back with this weird craving for the ‘pizza herb’.

Oregano leaves also release distilled oils that are used as an effective remedy for indigestion, respiratory ailments, skin conditions, and fungal infections.

Marjoram

Scientific Name: Origanum majorana

Marjoram is a very tender annual plant with gray-green, velvety leaves that are really soft to the touch. It is also called pot marjoram and belongs to the oregano family. Due to its similarity with oregano, both the herbs are often used interchangeably in some Middle Eastern countries.

Marjoram is native to Southern Turkey and Cyprus and was used as a popular symbol of happiness a long time back by the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. It was often used in love spells where women used to keep marjoram leaves under their pillow in hopes of finding her future spouse.

In today’s time, this herb plays a key role in the Middle Eastern and Italian cuisine. Its flavor is quite similar to that oregano, except a few complicated flavor notes that are described as ‘sweeter and more delicate’ by most people. The herb is best suited for light and mild dishes due to its delicate flavor profile.

Lemon Balm

Scientific Name: Melissa officinalis

This is an upright herbaceous, bushy perennial with light green leaves and a coarse texture. It belongs to the mint family and is native to Central Asia, south-central Europe, Iran, and the Mediterranean basin. However, the cultivation of lemon balm has been naturalized throughout America.

The medicinal use of lemon balm goes back to some 2,000 years where it was used for medicinal purposes by Greeks and Romans. It has also been deemed to be the “elixir of life” by ancient herbalists and physicians due to its ability to reduce anxiety, alleviate insomnia, treat gastrointestinal problems, and even possibly cure the Alzheimer’s disease.

Lemon balm is also quite popularly used as a culinary herb to flavor ice creams, and both hot and iced teas. It is also often paired with sweet fruit dishes and is the key ingredient in ‘lemon balm pesto’. The essential oil from lemon balm plant is often featured in perfumes for its incredibly rich lemon-like scent.

Myrtle

Scientific Name: Myrtus

This herb holds a great historical significance and is mentioned a number of times in the bible, as well as in the ancient mythology of Greece and Rome. Myrtle is a hardy evergreen shrub with a strong fragrance and dark green foliage. It is native to the Middle East, the Mediterranean region, and North Africa.

Myrtle has always been widely valued in traditional herbal medicine and has been commonly prescribed for fever and pain by numerous ancient physicians. Myrtle essential oil is also used to combat several skin conditions.

Dried myrtle leaves are commonly used in Turkey to prepare a soothing herbal tea that helps diabetics in lowering their blood pressure. In terms of their culinary use, myrtle leaves are used like bay leaves due to their intense, spicy flavor that is similar to allspice powder.

Lemon Verbena

Scientific Name: Aloysia citrodora

Also known as lemon bee-brush, this herb is native to the western regions of South America. It was initially brought to Europe by the Portuguese and the Spanish people.

Lemon verbena is a woody perennial shrub with pointed leaves and a very powerful lemon-like scent. It is often used as a great substitute for lemon in dishes that require a strong lemon taste, for instance, salad dressings, beverages, vegetable marinades, and poultry dishes. Many people also feature lemon verbena in flavored sorbets and herbal teas.

This herb has several impressive health benefits like fighting inflammation, easing digestion, promoting weight loss, relieving nasal congestion, and preventing muscle damage, to name a few. The strong lemony scent of this herb has also been said to be really beneficial for relaxing tensed nerves.

Cicely

Scientific Name: Myrrhis odorata

Cicely is an herbaceous perennial plant that is also known as sweet chervil, sweet cicely, and garden myrrh. The term ‘Myrrhis’ in its genus name is derived from a Greek word that refers to the aromatic oils from Asia, whereas ‘Odorata’ is a Latin word that means ‘scented’.

This plant produces fern-like leaves that are feathery and finely divided with white-colored patches. When the leaves are crushed, they release a strong smell that is quite similar to that of aniseed. It is native to the mountains of central and southern Europe but has been naturalized in various parts of the world, particularly, in grasslands, woodland margins, river banks, and cultivated areas.

Cicely leaves are used in both raw and cooked form, either way, their taste, and aroma is highly reminiscent to that of anise. They also have a rich history of being used as a very effective medicinal herb.

Spearmint

While many people associate the flavor of spearmint with chewing gum, it is also a great flavor enhancer for teas, herbal soups, and salad dressings.

Now that you know some of the most common and popular varieties of herbs, you can grow your favorite herbs indoors and enjoy a fresh year-round supply. Fresh herbs not only truly enhance the flavor and aroma of the food but they also take it to a whole new level!

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Categories of Herbs

There are three major categories of herb plants. They are: annuals which are planted at the beginning of each growing season, perennials which are planted once and return each spring after the winter season and finally biennials which are a plant that usually requires two seasons to complete its lifecycle.

ANNUALS: The first categories are annuals like cilantro, basil and summer savory and they won’t survive a frost. Most annuals are planted from seed indoors, early in spring, and then transplanted outdoors when the risk of frost has past.

PERENNIALS: The second category are perennials such as sage, winter savory, oregano, chives and mint can survive some colder temperatures and will return each spring. As the years progress your plant will develop larger root systems and become more winter hardy.

BIENNIALS: The third category is biennial, herbs like parsley, angelica and caraway. You should plant these herbs in late spring in your garden where you want them to propagate. They will form leaves the first year and then the second year you will have flowers and seeds and will die at the end of the growing season. I plant my biennials in staggered plantings so that each year I have mature plants to clip from.

CULINARY HERBS: Within the three categories of herbs you have groups of herbs with different uses. The first example is probably the most widely used and that would be a culinary herb. Because of their strong flavor you don’t need large quantities of them to create great tasting food. The major herbs in this category are chives, dill, thyme, basil, sage, savory and marjoram.

There are many sub-categories of herbs within the culinary classification. Some of them are: Italian herbs including Oregano, mint basil, garlic chives, Italian parsley and thyme. Greek herbs including arugula, bay leaf, and purslane. Chinese herbs like garlic chives, ginseng, angelica and red dates. Classic French herbs including Chervil, sorrel, savory, Marseille basil, and sage. Mexican herbs such as Cilantro, epazote, and globe basil just to name a few.

AROMATIC HERBS: Another example is aromatic herbs, which are used in perfumes, candles, and toiletries to name a few. Aromatic herbs include lavender, lemon verbena, mint and rosemary. Some aromatic herbs can be used to scent linens or clothing by creating a mixture referred to as potpourri. There are many decorative containers that will hold the potpourri mixture.

MEDICINAL HERBS: These herbs have been used for over 5,000 years in China and the Far East. Early Egyptians believed that some herbs would ward off evil spirits. It was discovered that some herbs had the power to cure quite a large number of ills. Garlic has been linked with lowering cholesterol. It is important to research the herbs and make sure it will not interact with any medications you might be using. Growing medicinal herbs is no more difficult that culinary herbs.

Many herbs are used across many cultures. Basil is an herb that is almost universally among cooks around the world. Usually you will find that an herb like basil or thyme has numerous varieties found in different locations around the globe. The variety of herbs used in ethnic dishes is usually determined by the variety that is grown in that region.

IN CONCLUSION: You can see that herbs are a very versatile plant. They have many uses. They can be used for cooking, tea, pest control, perfume and well as medicinal uses. By experimenting with various types of herbs you will become familiar with those herbs and the impact they have on the end use.

What Is An Herb Used For: Learn More About Herb Gardens

In order to know more about herb gardens, it helps to have an understanding of what an herb is. There are many types of herbs and herb gardens, all having a number of different uses. Keep reading for information on using herb gardens.

What is an Herb?

Herbs are defined as plants that are useful to humans. Not quite the same as a vegetable or a fruit, an herb is something we value for a variety of different reasons. An herb can be useful to us for its flavor, its scent, its medicinal properties or its use as an insecticide. Some herbs are used as coloring for dyes or for industrial uses. Herbs have been used for thousands of years in teas and balms to relieve physical ailments, such as upset stomachs and stress-induced illness.

Herbs are not only useful to humans, but they are attractive as well. Gardeners use them as borders for their landscaping, along walkways, and mixed in with their flowers and shrubs. Cooks use them for the unique flavorings that they bring to food.

Spices are plants that are used in many of the same ways as herbal plants but come from tropical regions. Spices are more difficult to grow. Herbs, on the other hand, can grow quite nicely almost anywhere that has a growing season. Herbs can be found as annuals (plants that live

for one season), biennials (plants that live for two seasons), or perennials (plants that come back year after year).

What is an Herb Garden?

An herb garden is basically a garden that is being used solely to grow herbs. A better description of what an herb garden might be is a beautiful and relaxing place where you can find plants that are not only useful but beneficial to the enjoyment of life.

An herb garden can be any size or shape and can contain many different types of herbs or just a few. An herb garden may take up an entire yard or may simply be planted in a small windowbox container. Herb gardens can be kept indoors on a sunny windowsill or outdoors in the open breeze. An herb garden design can also be incorporated into a vegetable garden, with landscape shrubbery, or mixed in with your flowers.

Types of Herb Gardens

There are many different types of herb gardens and many ways for using herb gardens, each with their own character and charisma.

Kitchen Herb Garden

A culinary, or kitchen, herb garden will consist of only herbs used for flavorings in cooking. Most are grown in containers, though they can be grown in the garden too, nearest the kitchen. It might contain:

  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

Fragrant Herb Garden

An aromatic herb garden will consist of herb plants that are highly noted for their fragrance and used for cut flowers, aromatherapy, or for making potpourri and scented candles. It might contain herbs like:

  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm
  • Scented geraniums

Herbal Tea Garden

An herbal tea garden will consist of herbs such as chamomile, anise, hyssop, and assorted mints that can be brewed into delicious teas.

Medicinal Herb Garden

A medicinal herb garden will consist of herbs used for soothing and comfort, where you might find aloe and feverfew. A word of caution on using herb gardens for medicinal purposes: while some herbs have been found to be helpful, other herbs can be harmful if ingested or used improperly. Always check with a doctor before starting any herbal remedy.

Ornamental Herb Garden

Ornamental herb gardens are prized for their beautiful flowers and unusual foliage. An ornamental herb garden might contain southernwood, sage, and germander. The most popular type of herb garden design consists of many different varieties of herbal plants, some for cooking, some for fragrance, some for beauty, and some for just soothing your soul.

With so many wonderful herbs to choose from, the question shouldn’t be what is an herb garden, but rather what is growing in your herb garden?

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