Last year I was given a piece of Turmeric, and I grew it because I thought that I could make curry paste with it. As I researched how to grow it, I became aware of the other benefits of eating it, in particular as an anti-inflammatory. So I tried it with a bit of cracked pepper and I swear that it made a difference. I ate the lot over a couple of months before I even got the opportunity to make a curry! Needless to say the next batch is already in the ground waiting to emerge from the soil. This is the cause of my new found interest in plants for medicine.
I have always known that herbs are fantastic plants to have growing in the garden. They have so much to offer the discerning veggie grower - they smell great, attract all sorts of insects, they look good, and best of all, they can be used to add flavour to what you cook. Recently, I have become more interested in what else these plants can offer.
Last Sunday afternoon I spent a couple of enjoyable hours with an enthusiastic group of people. I was invited to attend a 'grow your own medicine' tour of the local Figtree Community Garden in Wickham, near Newcastle. On the tour we were shown all sorts of herbs that were thriving in the Community garden. Not only did we get the chance to look at them, we were able to stimulate the senses. We could touch, taste and smell the herbs and even take a cutting home if we wanted.
The tour was run by a local Naturopath called Nissa Lee. Nissa did a fantastic job of keeping us all engaged for a couple of hours, sharing her own personal reasons for becoming a Naturopath and what aspects of naturopathy she was passionate about. You should do yourself a favour and follow her on facebook. Nissa can teach us a thing or two about how we can use the plants we are growing in the veggie patch in ways that we never thought of before.
I have always believed that nothing beats home grown for freshness and nutritious food, but I am learning that there is even more my veggie patch can offer. I am surprised by the unrealised potential my humble veggies contain - and these are plants that I have been growing for years. On Sunday I learnt that a simple tea from Thyme can alleviate a sore throat. I also discovered what Chamomile actually looks like when you grow it - it is a rather pleasant little daisy. Did you know that Peppermint is more than just a pleasant tasting tea? It can help to treat nausea too.
So, what am I going to do with all of this newly discovered knowledge? First, I will correctly identify what I have and what it's used for. I'm on a new learning curve and will be relying on a specialist person like Nissa to help. Nissa has spent years learning about how to get the best out of your plants as medicine and I found her informative and generous with her knowledge.