Rediscovering God’s Healing Herbs
by Sandra Orchard
One of my favorite things about writing fiction is the wealth of insights I gain through my research. For my Port Aster Secrets series, in which the heroine believes there is “a tea for whatever ails you,” my research centered around the tremendous healing potential God created in a variety of plants. The research led me to regularly enjoy a wider variety of herbal teas, but until this summer those teas all still came out of a box.
I must say, there’s something truly exhilarating about brewing a tea from plants you’ve grown yourself or foraged from the wild. I also learned that several of the “weeds” popping up in my garden, such as purslane and lamb’s quarters, make a tasty and nutritious addition to salads, but I digress.
Peppermint and spearmint teas, the common go-to for stomach upsets, are especially yummy with raspberries added and then chilled. I didn’t go so far as to dig up dandelion roots, which is supposed to make a great cleansing tea, but I did plant calendula, which is reputed for helping with women’s issues. These are old pot marigolds, not to be confused with the inedible varieties found in your local gardening nursery, as readers of Deadly Devotion well know. I’ve enjoyed calendula for years in “monk’s blend” tea, but I’m looking forward to experimenting with my own blends once the flowers I’ve collected have dried.
I’ve already enjoyed the surprisingly sweet red clover tea, also reputed to be helpful with women’s issues, from the fresh wild clover growing in our old horse pasture. I’m not sure I drank it regularly enough to test its healing properties, but it is satisfying to know that each cup supplies a variety of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants.
Now, I can attest that fresh brewed chamomile helps you relax before bed (and soothes baby’s tummy), while adding catnip and lemon balm to the brew will knock you right out for the night! But probably my greatest pleasure has come from the boost I get from eating a fresh leaf or two from my favorite basil plant each morning. It turns out that besides containing antioxidants, being anti-inflammatory and boosting the immune system, basil is an adaptogen, which means it helps you cope with stress.
I’ve also been diligently drying some of my other herbs such as sage and oregano, not just for cooking, but to test their reputed ability to soothe sore throats and otherwise help with colds, when steeped into a tea. Experimenting with herbs and wild flowers has been an adventure I highly recommend, but make sure you do your research first, especially if you’re taking any medications or are pregnant or nursing.
Sandra Orchard writes fast-paced, keep-you-guessing whodunits with a dash of sweet romance. Her award-winning novels include her Serena Jones Mysteries and Port Aster Secrets series from Revell Publishing, as well as numerous Love Inspired Suspense and cozies with Annie’s Fiction. Visit Sandra at www.SandraOrchard.com, Facebook.com/SandraOrchard and pinterest.com/AuthorSOrchard/