4 Herbs for Winter Health
These herbs are easy to grow evergreens and look great in a window box, which can then be used to harvest for recipes throughout winter.
1. Rosemary can be found as an upright or a trailing variety, I have trailing ones in window boxes, they have beautiful blue flowers in spring. Medicinally this herb stimulates circulation, to warm us and relieve symptoms of arthritis which are made worse in cold weather. Rosemary is known traditionally as a herb for memory, and can be used to help sharpen the senses and lighten a depressive mood.
2. Sage can be found in several variations: plain green sage, a purple variety and a tricolour. Plus it grows really well in pots. Sage is used traditionally for sore throats and swollen glands, a common occurrence throughout winter. Add a few leaves to boiling water to make a cup of tea, with some honey to make it even more soothing. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
3. Thyme has many varieties, one of my favourites is lemon scented. I like to add a little to the salmon when roasting. I also grow a camphor thyme which tastes too strong for cookery but is great brewed up as a tea for chesty coughs – the camphor breaks up phlegm and works as a mild expectorant. Thyme is also rather pretty with its pink or purple flowers in summer.
4. Winter Savory has a peppery flavour which is delicious in stews and roasts, and in rural France they say it has a reputation for making men more virile! I think this must be simply down to its circulatory action, like pepper it stimulates circulation and helps keep you warm on cold winter days. Perfect for you if you tend to suffer from colds hands and feet, or chill blains.
How to Grow these Herbs
These 4 herbs are easy to grow, whether in a garden plot or in pots on a window sill. They need good drainage, so add some grit to the compost, and to get more flavour do not over feed or water. As they originate from the more southern parts of Europe they prefer a sunny spot – a south facing position works best. So if you are new to gardening these are great plants to give you a bit of confidence, and if you’re already an experienced gardener there is lots of variety to choose from and you are sure to find something perfect for any sunny spot you need to fill.