Posts Tagged ‘Sedative’

dillHopefully Spring will be here soon, which means getting back into the garden. So here begins the reinstatement of the Relaxing With Gnomes category!

Dill is a crucial ingredient in chickpea noodle soup, among other recipes. Freshly cut, chopped leaves enhance the flavor of dips, herb butter, soups, and salads. The seeds are used in pickling and can also improve the taste of roasted or stewed vegetables. Try grinding the seeds to use as a salt substitute. Both the flowering heads and seeds are used in flavored vinegars and oils.

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a hardy annual, native to the Mediterranean region and Southern Russia. It grows wild among the corn in Spain and Portugal and upon the coast of Italy, but rarely occurs as a cornfield weed in Northern Europe. It is considered one of the easiest herbs to grow, therefore it would make a perfect first herb for those who need to build confidence in their herb growing skills. It can grow easily from seed and likes to be planted in cool weather (a week or two before the last frost, but for those who don’t get too cold winters you can plant it in the fall). They develop long roots, so if planting in a pot be sure to take the long roots into account.

When growing this annual at home, you want to watch weed infestation..but you also want to choose carefully where you plant this baby. It is known to be exhaustive of soil fertility, thus you don’t want to plant it near fennel, angelica, or caraway. And like most herbs, dill loves the sun – but it will tolerate late afternoon shade.

Dill is traditionally known to have healing properties. One of these is relieving flatulence in infants by using dill water/tea – but I’m sure it’ll still work on those who are technically no longer infants but children at heart 😉 . In addition to a digestive aid, it has been traditionally used to induce sleep and the ancient Greeks believed that dill cured hiccups. Here are some easy recipes for tummy-healing dill.

To brew a stomach-soothing tea:

*Use two teaspoons of mashed seeds per cup of boiling water. Steep for ten minutes. Drink up to three cups a day.

To make a tincture:

*Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day.

To treat colic or gas in children under 2 yrs old:

*Give small amounts of a weak tea. Many herbalists recommend combining dill and fennel to ease colic in infants.

Random tidbit: It can be used as a nail-strengthening bath when the seeds are crushed and diluted in water.

Happy Gardening!

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Oh, this is one of my absolute favorites! I always had trouble sleeping, but was unaware that I was having trouble. You know, you go to bed..and it takes a while to fall asleep. Then when you do, even though you get about 7-8 hours you wake up feeling exhausted. That occurs when you’re not getting “restful and rejuvenating” sleep. Sure your body is lying there, and though you don’t realize it you could be snoring, or kicking your legs, or tossing & turning, among other situations that result in sub-par rest. It turns out I’m a kicker and toss-n-turner. Only I didn’t know it. So while I was sleeping, my body wasn’t getting the rest it needed – hence the waking up feeling like I could sleep another 10 hours, after the 10 I just had. Sometimes I would drink chamomile tea to help, and it would…for a while. Then I discovered Valerian Root! Oh man, the first time you have it, it’s like nothing else I’ve ever had before. It was so relaxing and wonderful. Of course, if you’re not fond of the taste of roots, mix with another tea like chamomile or some lemon balm leaves, perhaps even some nectar or sugar. After drinking it for so long, I can take it straight up! Randomly I’ll go without for a couple of nights (usually on a weekend), as you can build a tolerance to Valerian and you have to begin increasing the amount to see the same effect. This stuff will knock most of you out! It has been reported that in a select few, it has stimulatory properties..sorry. So try it out on a weekend in case it jolts you into an all-nighter!

I buy it already dried from the herb store, but I’ve also recently planted my own Valerian plant (the tall guy in the picture) – of which I shall harvest the roots in autumn. It is a perennial, so I think I’ll leave one to grow again the next season, since I have two plants. The leaves and buds are not useful in aiding sleep, just the roots.

For Sara’s Sleepytime tea:

1 tsp dried Valerian root
1 tsp dried (or fresh) chamomile
2-3 leaves fresh Lemon balm, torn in half

Steep all ingredients in 6 oz freshly boiled water 5 minutes (if using dried). Leave only the lemon balm leaves in the water another 10-15 minutes. What I typically do is just leave the lemon balm in there while I drink it (and this is the only situation I would allow for that), since fresh herbs aren’t as particular in extra steeping as dried herbs are.

Happy Sleeping!

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One of my new favorite herbs is lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). The leaves emit a lemon scent when bruised, and they also taste distinctly lemony. The plant will die down in the winter, after blooming from June through October, but is classified as a perennial so it should come back in the following growing season (Note March ’09: Both of my lemon balm plants are coming back, so it is, in fact, a perennial!). The London Dispensary in 1696 stated: ‘An essence of Balm, given in Canary wine, every morning will renew youth, strengthen the brain, relieve languishing nature and prevent baldness.’ And it’s been claimed that ‘balm is sovereign for the brain, strengthening the memory and powerfully chasing away melancholy. Balm steeped in wine comforts the heart and driveth away melancholy and sadness.’ Drive away melancholy and sadness…part of that could depend on how much wine you steep it with 🙂 .

It has properties that attract beneficial insects like bees, yet acts as a repellent for unwanted insects. The only culture required is to keep them clean from weeds and cut off the decayed stalks in autumn, and then to stir the ground between the roots.

Herbal benefits: It induces a mild perspiration and makes a pleasant and cooling tea for feverish patients with the flu. To make the tea, pour 1 pint of boiling water upon 1 oz. of herb, infuse 15 minutes, allow to cool, then strain and drink freely. It is also good for headaches and in small amounts it has mild sedative properties – larger amounts tend to be stimulatory. I like to mix a tsp of Valerian root with a few leaves of lemon balm (bruised) before bedtime. It also makes a nice tea when mixed with fresh peppermint leaves.

Happy Gardening!

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