It’s a well know fact that gardening can help relieve the stresses and strains of daily life. The garden is also for many a sanctuary for relaxation and quiet moments. But have you ever thought of your borders as containing all the ingredients for your good looks and well-being?
Since time began plants have been valued for their pain relieving and beauty treatments. However, whilst it’s not wise to make your own medicines you could, providing you’re not pregnant or receiving medical treatment, mix a few potions to get rid of nasty flatulence or bad breath and refresh your pasty face or hair with a herbal tonic.
According to beauty expert Anglea Lopez of Belle-Toi (angelasbelletoi.com) in Bournemouth, natural beauty treats can be plucked straight from the garden.
You don’t need a great deal of skill or time to give your hair a fabulous sheen, simply steep a mixture of herbs such as camomile flowers, rosemary, bay, sage and southernwood in water and use it instead of hair conditioner
Dry hair problems can also be eliminated. All you need do is rub an oily mixture of rosemary leaves and olive oil into your scalp 10 minutes before you wash your hair. Weeds too can work wonders. Try boiling nettle tops and using the water to rid dandruff and make the leftovers into soup or beer.
Lettuce has been used in beauty treatments for centuries and Angela recommends boiling surplus salad leaves in water and use to clean and condition your skin or try your old granny’s favourite anti-wrinkle wash made from an infusion of poppy flowers.
Bathing in rosemary is said to make the old young again and a quick gargle after cleaning your teeth will make bad breath a thing of the past. Now what more could you ask from your garden?
To get to know your plants refer to an Herbal that’s packed with country wisdom and sound practical information and you’ll soon be cooking up all kinds of cures in your kitchen. One of Angela’s own treats is an elderflower bath, which is great for soothing for sunburnt skin. You can also use the flowers to make a tea that will help relieve coughs and colds or turn them into refreshing ‘champagne’.
Herbal teas are easy to make and drinking them can save you many an embarrassing moment. According to Angela, wind and bloating can be eased with a tea made from sprigs of fennel or peppermint. Bergamot too can also work wonders against nausea and flatulence as can a handful of lemon verbena leaves, which also have the added bonus of solving insomnia and nasal congestion.
Chamomile tea has a delectable, fruity flavour and this scrumptious herbal remedy provides solution to several heath related concerns such as intestinal and stomach disorders, anxiety, insomnia, mouth ulcers and so on
Chamomile tea can also be used for skin and as a hair rinse when it will help fight dandruff, sooth scalp irritation and nourish your hair, giving dull hair a beautiful shine.
Chamomile tea acts as excellent natural skin bleach. It lightens your complexion and gives a healthy glow naturally. Applied directly to the skin using a clean face cloth, it will also tightens your pores, soften your skin and when used consistently over two to three week period. Leave the compress in place for around 15 minutes and it will fade spots and acne scars. And will help to lighten the dark circles under eyes and give relief from eye puffiness.
Growing herbal remedies couldn’t be easier. More or less all herb plants thrive in sun and almost any soil and can be squeezed in-between shrubs and flowers or grown in pots on the patio.
You can also dedicate a bed solely to herbs. Make a traditional herb wheel the hub of your garden. Cut out a small circle in the lawn and edge with reclaimed bricks. Divide the circle into segments with spokes made from similar bricks. Plant each segment with a different herb or group of herbs combining the plants in the border that are used together in the kitchen.
On a larger scale you can use plants such as lavender to make the spokes and run a ring of lettuce, thyme or chamomile around the perimeter. A layer of grit around the base of each plant helps keep the foliage clean and dry. Mulching with gravel will also improve drainage.
You can also use wall planters to create a contemporary vertical herb bed…and even in your kitchen!
Regular harvesting will encourage bushy plants and lots of fresh new growth to plunder in months to come. Feed every week with a liquid feed during the summer to keep plants strong and healthy. And finally, to keep the herb wheel turning, propagate plants by seed in spring or by cuttings taken now and again in September.