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Astragalus,  Astragalus propinquus (The latin name has recently been changed from the very familiar Astragalus membranaceus to propinquus, the plant is exactly the same, only the name has changed.)

Family: Pea (Fabaceae)

Perennieal, hardiness to -15 degrees F

Taprooted herbaceous perennial native to China.  King of the tonic herbs.  It is an anabolic immunostimulant, that may be dried and ground up or used as a fresh root, used as a tea, decoction, or tincture.  As a fresh root, it can be enjoyed as a root vegetable in soups, stews and such.  Plant is a sturdy survivor and prefers full sun, average soil and good drainage.  Plant flowers yellow/white and grows to about 4 feet tall.  Harvesting must be postponed until the plant is at least 4 years old.

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Basil – Genovese, Ocimum basilicum “Genovese”

Annual Tender and not frost hardy

Uses: Culinary, Beverage, Aromatic, Medicinal

A sweet lettuce leaf type tat is tall, uniform and slow to bolt.  One of the best for making pesto.  Kind to the stomach and easy to grow. Originally from the Genoa area of Italy.

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Basil – Mrs. Burns Lemon, Ocimum basilicum “Mrs. Burns”

Annual Tender and not frost hardy

Uses:  Culinary, Beverage, Aromatic, Medicinal

Excellent lemon scent and taste with larger leaves and more robust growth habit then the standard lemon basil. Growing up to 3 feet tall with pink flowers.  Requires full sun and moderate watering.  This plant is a wonder for the digestive system.

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Borage, Borago officinalis

Annual that readily self sows

Uses: Culinary, Medicinal, Beverage, Bee food

Known as the ‘Herb of Gladness’ for its exhilarating effect.  Chopped, young leaves and flowers are wonderful additions to salads or summer drinks. In the heat of summer, a cold glass of borage tea with just a touch of lemon and honey is sure to please.

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Calandula, Calendula officinalis

Annual that readily self sows

Uses: Medicinal, Beverage, Aromatic, Textile, Culinary

Nicknamed ‘Pot Marigold’ however it is very different plant then the garden Marigold.  Flower petals give a delicate flavor and strong color to salads, omelettes and cheese.  It is often used as a Saffron substitute in rice.  It is a top ‘go-to’ first aid plant for skin ointments but serves equally well, taken internally for numerous infectious issues.

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Catnip, Nepeta cataria

Perennial, hardy in zones 3-9

Uses: Medicinal, Beverage, Aromatic

The favorite of cats, who relish the intoxicating leaves.  Teas from this plant are a wonder at inducing restful sleep and relaxation.  An excellent remedy for colds and fevers and one which is safe for even infants.

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Cayenne, Capsicum annuum

Red hot, 30,000-50,000 Scoville unites.  Helpful for digestive and anti-flatulent properties.  Ground pods and a little soap is a great insect repellent for garden plants.  Growing 2-4 inches long and .5 inch diameter.  Used in Mexican, Indonesian and Italian dishes. Use fresh or dried to add a zip to soups, sauces, egg and meat dishes. Valuable remedy for many health issues including stimulant as well as blood pressure regulation.

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Chamomile German, Matricaria recutita

Annual, readily self sows

Uses:  Medicinal, Beverage, Aromatic, Industrial

The most prolific producer of flowers!

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Chervil, Anthriscus cerefolium

Annual

Uses:  Culinary, Medicinal

Like parsley, the fresh leaves are chopped and added at the last minute to traditional spring soups.  The flavor hints of anise but is not overbearing however, it can liven up many dishes to include salads. Use as you would parsley, the more the better.  Commonly used in Europe, where it has be adored for centuries.

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Cilantro, Coriandrum sativum

Tender Annual, self seeds if not kept trimmed

Uses:  Culinary, Medicinal, Industrial

The plant prefers full sun and normal soil.  Harvest the shining, smooth leaves before the plant flowers to keep the plant producing the leaves with are used in culinary uses.  If you desire coriander seeds, allow the plant to flower and seed, collecting the dried seeds to be used both in culinary and medicinal uses.  This plant is often used to chelate heavy metals an help to move them out of the body, especially lead and mercury.  The seeds are also used as a stimulant, aromatic and carminative.

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Dill, Anethum graveolens

Annual

Uses: Culinary, Medicinal, Beverage, Industrail

Finely cut foliage, very aromatic. Fresh use as dillweed, or allowed to go to seed for dried herbal use and dill pickles!  Grows to a height of about 40″, preferring full sun and regular soil.

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Elecampane, Inula helenium 

Perennial, hardy in all temperate zones

Uses:  Medicinal

Native to south and central Europe, the Balkan Peninsula and central Asia.  Giant plant bearing handsome, yellow flowers.  A personal favorite in my herb garden!  Harvest the octopus like roots in the fall of the second year. Cough and lung remedy, bitter and antiseptic.  Elecampane has a strong activity against bronchial infection, pneumonia and debilitating, chronic cough.  This plant also produces a blue dye often desired by those in the fiber arts.  Grow in full sun or partial shade and allow for it’s height to reach well over two feet.

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Fennel, Sweet, Foeniculum vulgare dulce

Annual

Uses:  Medicinal, Culinary, Beverage, Aromatic

Chopped leaves are excellent with oily fish and other hard to digest foods.  Medicinally, fennel herb or seed is know as a carminative and galactagogue.  Safe for infants, as a tea for its calming and anti-flatulent effects.  It improves digestion, relives cramps and dispelling malodorous gasses and also increases lactation.  Safe for new mothers and infants, friend to both!

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Feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium

Perennial in zones 4-9

Uses:  Medicinal

A medical survey in England indicates that 1 to 4 leaves o feverfew infused into tea or eaten fresh as on a sandwich daily, reduces the number and severity of migraine attacks in some sufferers.  This benefit is recognized as a ‘preventative’ and not a ‘treatment’ for migraines.  Known to induce a feeling of well-being, lack of tension and relief from arthritis.

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Holy Basil, Vantulasi (Tulsi)

Perennial in warm climates, Annual in zone 4

Grow as an annual or pot and bring indoors for winter as it cannot withstand freezing temps.  Prefers full sun in average soil.

Grows wild in native India and East Africa. Here it needs to be protected from the frost or grown as an annual.  This form is known to very high in eugenol (oil of clove).  The plant is aromatic, slightly hairy, green-leaved.  Tulsi is a gentle and easy to grow adaptogen, meaning the tea of the dried leaves helps reduce the deleterious effects of stress, both physical and psychological.  It enhances physical and mental endurance, increasing assimilation of oxygen and nutrients to the bloodstream.  Shows strong antioxidant activity, slows the aging process and helps prevent and treat cancer, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and dementia.  Normalizes blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  Excellent wellness drink to help quit drinking coffee.  Used during sickness to help overcome coughs, colds, flu and fevers.  Assisting the digestive system in it’s work and pleasant tasting.  Can you get better then this!?

 

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Horehound, Marribium vulgare

Perennial

Uses: Medicinal

An infusion of the herb is good for weak stomach, lack of appetite and persistent bronchitis. Horehound candies, once the standard remedy for coughs in Europe and North America are now rarely seen but syrup of Horehound is rather common during cold and flu seasons.

 

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Hyssop, Hyssopus officinlis

Perennial

Uses:  Culinary, Medicinal, Aromatic

A beautiful and decorative plant with majestic blue spikes of flower.  Slightly bitter leaves can be used in most any savory recipe.  Known to improve digestion and clearing.  Essential oil used in perfumery due to it’s lovely scent.

 

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Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate, Polygonum orientale

Annual which readily self-seeds

Uses: this particular polygonum is mostly floral.

Exotic, long bright pink flowers heads waving and drooping from 6 foots plants make this a most captivating flower for any landscape.  An heirloom which rightfully belongs in every cottage garden.  Cut flowers hold their color and form making it a nice selection to bring inside for the winter.