Herbs and Spices

Herbs, spices and healing plants are concentrated forms of nutrients and therapeutical constituents, making them awesome little gifts from nature for enhancing well-being. Here are some informational snippets to help you grow your knowledge of our planet's bounty of healing plants

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Aloe vera

Aloe vera has very good healing properties which can be attributed to it's ability to assist with cell regeneration. It also has antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Aloe vera helps to reduce inflammation both topically and when ingested. It also has a cooling quality.
These properties make aloe vera great for helping to heal the skin, including healing of burns or sunburn, and also assists healing and cleansing of the digestive system,


Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) is a herb that has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in Asia, where it grows abundantly in certain areas. It is a good immunomodulator and has good anti-inflammatory effects. It aids liver function and helps protect the liver from toxins, and assists their removal. It can help prevent atherosclerosis and hypertension. It is good for colds and flu, also being known as Indian echinacea. And, like so many herbs, it has good anti-microbial properties, helping to reduce the effects of detrimental bacteria, fungi, and viruses. And, it is also a good general tonic, digestive stimulant, and promotes anti-cancer activity.

Ashwagandha (Withania)

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania, is highly recommended for rejuvenation and whole body wellness. It has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine, which is a testament to it's many beneficial healing attributes.

Ashwagandha is a great adaptogenic herb, helping to return the body to normal optimal function. It is good for preventing the negative affects that stress can have on the body and mind.

It is mainly the roots of the plants that are used, but also sometimes the leaves, berries and bark too.

Studies have shown the potential for Ashwagandha to be beneficial for the nervous system, indicating possible benefits for cognitive function and protection of neurons.

It can also be good for immunomodulation due to it having constituents that increase white blood cell numbers and immune response, and other constituents that have immunosuppressant effects. This contributes to its adaptogenic and immunomodulation activity: the body naturally draws from a substance what it needs, in order to maintain optimal function. A well functioning immune system is in a state of healthy balance i.e not over-reactive or under-reactive.

Ashwagandha can also promote anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory activity in the body, and has shown good potential in being beneficial for ameliorating the detrimental affects of arthritis.

Studies have also shown that Ashwagandha (Withania) has good potential for preventing and reducing cancerous growths. The anti-oxidant, immunomodulation, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification activity promoted by Ashwagandha is likely to contribute significantly to it's anti-cancer effects.

Ashwagandha may also be helpful for reducing anxiety and depression, and assisting recovery from adrenal fatigue.

Ashwagandha may be beneficial for anaemia due to it's ability to increase red blood cell numbers and it being a good source of iron.

Ashwagandha can also be good for protecting the cardiovascular system and the liver, and also good for sexual enhancement and function. 

As a whole, Ashwagandha (Withania) is a great herb for promoting both physical and mental well-being, assisting the body to return to a state of well balanced, optimal function.


Astragalus (also known as huang-qi and milk vetch) can be beneficial for supporting telomere length and also good for immunity, cardiac function, digestive function, and it is a good anticarcinogenic and antioxidant. It has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, a testament to it's beneficial attributes. The root of the plant is used


Aahhh the beautiful aroma and taste of sweet basil!! Basil belongs to the same plant family as mint, which is probably why, like mint, basil is good for the digestive system. Basil also contains flavonoids that help protect the cells of the body from free radicals and radiation, making it a good anti-cancer herb. So use it in salads, or as a garnish, or as most people's favourite... in pesto!!


One of the most beneficial offerings from nature to support under-active thyroid function: bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus), a form of kelp that is beneficial for ameliorating hypothyroidism


Borage is a great herb to have in the corner of the vege or herb garden. It is easily recognised by its pretty little, delicate, star-like, purple flowers. It's so easy to grow without any care and has so many uses and benefits:

* Borage attracts bees to the garden for better pollination of fruit and vegetable plants

* Borage is a source of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids

* Borage is rich in minerals including potassium, calcium and iron

* Borage flowers can be used to add colour and nutritive value to salads and to decorate baking

* Borage is good to grow as a companion plant near strawberries

* Borage is good for the adrenals, helping to reduce the effects of stress and fast paced modern day living

* Borage can be effective for treating urinary tract infections, inflammation, arthritis, bronchitis, skin conditions, and to stimulate milk production in nursing mothers


Bugleweed (Lycopus europaeus) is one of nature's most beneficial herbs for hyperthyroidism


Raw cacao is packed full of healthy flavanoids and antioxidants. It helps production of feel-good neurotransmitters, and is a good source of magnesium, the relaxing mineral. For these reasons, it is easy to see why chocolate is such a commonly craved food, especially for women in their premenstrual phase, or for people that are looking for a quick energy pick-me-up. But just remember chocolate is also high in sugar, so instead of reaching for a chocolate bar, make a cup of cacao. You may miss the sweetness of chocolate at first but after drinking plain raw cacao for a while you will really start to enjoy it's unique flavour and will start to drop the sweet cravings and just reap the benefits of cacao's health-giving attributes.


Anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and antioxidant.

Calendula is good for digestive complaints, skin problems, conjunctivitis and gingivitis. Its beneficial nutrients include vitamins A, C and E, co-enzyme Q10, calcium and phosporous.

Besides calendula's many medicinal uses, it's beautiful vibrant petals can also be used to add colour and health benefits to food, and calendula makes a great companion plant in the vege garden.


Carob's health benefits and natural sweetness can make it a great alternative for making sweet treats as opposed to adding sugar to cocoa, and because it doesn't need added sugar and is stimulant-free it's great for not hyping kids up.

Carob is good for helping to inactivate toxins and for inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal system, making it good for diarrhoea. It can also help in reducing acid reflux into the oesophagus.

Carob is a good source of protein and fibre, and it has twice the amount of calcium in it compared to cocoa, plus better absorption capabilities. Some other valuable nutrients found in carob are vitamin A and B vitamins, and other minerals, besides calcium, such as magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, zinc and selenium.


Cayenne is good for aiding digestion, improving circulation, increasing metabolism, pain relief (both internally and externally), sinus and nasal congestion, and for helping to lower body temperature in hot climates.


Aahhh soothing chamomile. It's as good for body, mind and soul as sunshine is for plants.
Just infuse a couple of teaspoons of fresh flower heads or one teaspoon of dried flower heads in a cup of boiling water to reap chamomile's many benefits:
• a relaxing, nerve tonic that is good for anxiety, stress, and hyperactivity
• anti-inflammatory
• great for the digestive system, and can help stimulate poor appetite
• anti-microbial, can help in reducing detrimental bacteria in the body and overgrowth of candida albicans
• can be helpful for morning sickness and nausea
• antispasmodic
• can help reduce severity of dysmenorrhoea (painful periods)
• can also be an effective, soothing, external application for skin irritations such as nappy rash, eczema and sunburn. Flower heads can be added directly to bath water, or infused before use
• can be used to lighten and condition fair hair
• makes a good companion plant for plants that are in poor health


Chickweed grows easily without any assistance and is often just discarded as a common garden weed,, but don't get rid of it all if you come across it because it has beneficial medicinal and nutritional value.
It can be used externally for itchy or inflamed skin, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, boils, and wound healing, and internally as an expectorant and antitussive. It can also be eaten fresh as a salad addition, providing a good range of nutrients such as vitamins A and D, B vitamins, iron, calcium, zinc, copper, sodium, phosphorous and manganese.
So many weeds are rarely good for nothing, and chickweed is definitely one of them.


Chives are of the same family as onions and garlic which means they have similar health benefits and nutrients, being a good source of vitamin C, B vitamins, vit K and numerous minerals. Chive flowers are also edible, so they are good for adding colour and extra nutrition to salads.. And another good thing about chives is they can be grown in clumps around the garden and just cut off as required rather than removing the whole plant


Cinnamon is beneficial for menstrual disorders, cardiovascular health, diabetes, digestive issues, poor circulation, and viral, fungal and bacterial infestations. nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, flatulence, colic, lowering blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and it is a decongestant, which combined with its antimicrobial properties, makes it helpful for colds and flu.


There are a lot of plants that many people consider to be mere weeds usually because of their invasive nature. Cleavers (Galium aparine) is definitely one of them. You'll probably know it best for its sprawling, sticky nature. Due to the tiny hooked hairs on its pliable stems and leaves, it clings together and can stick to clothes and animal fur. It has tiny little whitish flowers over summer (as pictured in second photo).
But rather than just a useless weed, it has actually been used for a long time in herbal medicine, particularly as a lymphatic and urinary system cleanser and healer. It has been known to help ameliorate swollen lymph nodes, oedema, cystitis, psoriasis and eczema. Historically cleavers has also been used to aid weight loss, for insomnia, to reduce freckles, and as earache drops.
It can be infused as a herb tea, like most herbs, using 2- 4g of dried herb, or 5 - 15 mls of expressed juice.
Nature really is the great provider when it comes to caring for your health, which is why it's great to pass on valuable, centuries old, plant knowledge


Coriander, also known as cilantro, is beneficial for not only its nutritive value but also its ability to assist with the removal of toxic heavy metals from the body, maķing it an ideal cleanse ingredient.
But you don't like the taste of it? Most people don't mind the taste of coriander at all, with some even loving it, but a small percentage of people think coriander tastes soapy., which the lovers of it, just don't get at all. This is thought to be due to some people having a gene that causes greater sensitivity to the aldehyde chemicals which are in both soap and coriander.


Don't under-estimate the value of dandelion - it is so often seen in the eyes of many as just a weed, but it's true value is far worthier than that

Dandelion is really good for the liver, kidneys and digestive system. It improves the flow of bile, which in turn, improves detoxification, the break-down of fats and gallstone prevention. It can be benficial for helping to reduce high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels, and may also assist weight loss, making it benficial for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Dandelion has an antiseptic effect, and is high in inulin which promotes friendly bacteria colinisation in the gut.

Dandelion is a good source of vitamins A and C and some of the B vitamins, plus calcium and iron.


Echinacea has been scientifically proven to enhance immunity. It promotes both anti-viral and anti-bacterial activity making it great for colds and flu. And because it also helps cleanse the blood and lymph, it is good for treating infections such as acne, boils, and abcesses. Echinacea also contains inulin which acts as a prebiotic in the intestines to feed friendly bacteria and therefore promote healthy gut microflora colonisation. Echinacea contains vitamins A, C and E, all vitamins that contribute to anti-oxidant activity in the body, as well as better immunity, amongst many other benefits.


Fennel has delicate, feathery-to-the-touch leaves that smell deliciously sweet and aromatic when rubbed between the fingers, similar to the smell of anise due to the anethole they both contain, but fennel is a perennial and anise is an annual. The entire fennel plant can be eaten, with the fronds making a lovely garnish, and dried fennel seeds can be nibled after a meal to aid digestion and freshen the palate.
Fennel is very good for the digestive system, and possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compounds.


Ginger is a natural anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory remedy. Great for morning sickness, motion sickness, gastrointestinal distress, flatulence,, all forms of arthritis and inflammation in general.

Ginger is a good plant-food source of zinc, plus it also contains many other minerals including magnesium, potassium, iron, phosporous, selenium, as well as vitamin C and some B vitamins,
A good daily tonic and digestive aid can be made with 1/4 tspn of fresh finely grated ginger root and 1tspn of freshly squeezed lemon juice, mixed with 1/4 cup of water

Gingko biloba

Gingko biloba is one of the oldest living tree species. There's a good chance that there may be a gingko tree around your neighbourhood, giving you easy access to all it's beneficial properties.

Gingko promotes anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant activity. It is good for improving energy levels, the eyes and the circulatory system, It is also well-known for its benefits to the brain, helping to improve blood flow to the brain and enhancing memory, mental function and mood.


The root of ginseng has been used for thousands of years as a herbal remedy for good reason, it can help with the following:
- stress and fatigue
- immune enhancement
- antioxidant activity
- adaptogenic (helps return the body to its ideal state of function)
- nervous system and cognitive function
- COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
- anti-cancer activity
- anti-inflammatory activity
- adrenal function
- erectile dysfunction - red ginseng (steamed ginseng root) is best
- physical performance enhancement
- stomachic action (can help in relieving digestive discomfort)
- blood glucose control (diabetes)
- degenerative age-related issues

Panax ginseng (Korean ginseng) can be better suited as a good herbal remedy for men (ginseng is roughly translated to 'man essence' in Chinese). Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococus senticosus), not of the same Panax genus as other ginsengs, nor actually from Siberia, can be better suited for both men and women

Lemon balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is also known as cure-all, amongst other names, which is understandable considering its many medicinal benefits.
▪︎ It has a calming effect and reduces anxiety
▪︎ It has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties
▪︎ It is beneficial for gastro-intestinal issues
▪︎ It has very good antioxidant activity in the body
▪︎ It is beneficial for the cardiovascular system and the liver
▪︎ Its healing, antimicrobial properties make it good for healing wounds when applied topically, and for reducing the severity of cold sores, and to discourage the spread of them, due to lemon balm's antiviral properties
▪︎ It can help improve cognitive function making it good for conditions such as Alzheimer's
▪︎ Lemon balm can also help uplift mood; even its lovely, fresh, lemony aroma has the ability to lift the spirits
To make a lemon balm herb tea just infuse 2 tspns of fresh leaves in a cup of boiling water. Or just pinch a tip out of this wonderful gift from nature, eat it, or simply enjoy its awesome aroma.


Liquorice is made from the roots or stolons of the liquorice plant. Liquorice has many highly beneficial medicinal uses:

It promotes the production of inteferon, which is a compound that helps protect cells from viruses, making it beneficial for supporting the immune system. Interferon helps prevent viruses from moving from host cells to other uninfected cells in the body, making it beneficial for helping to treat herpes and hepatitis. Reishi  mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is another natural promoter of interferon.

Liquorice is good for adrenal fatigue, which is a very common cause of many health issues in modern-day society. It is also helpful in the treatment of peptic ulcers and duodenal ulcers. It can be beneficial for chronic respiratory problems. It is a good expectorant which makes it helpful for clearing excessive mucus from the respiratory system. Liquorice can be effective for helping to treat inflammatory skin problems. It can have good anti-cancer effects in the body, helping to protect cells from carcinogens. Liquorice is a good anti-microbial making it effective in the treatment of candida albicans over-growth, as well as infiltration of detrimental bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract such as helicobacter pylori. It has good antioxidant  and anti-inflammatory activity making it beneficial for rheumatism and arthritis. Liquorice can be an effective addition to herb teas used for treating colic. And to add to its many medicinal uses, liquorice also contains B vitamins, numerous minerals and lecithin.  

However, despite all these great medicinal properties, liquorice should not be used in high doses for long periods of time. It can have the potential to increase blood pressure, therefore people with high blood pressure should seek the advice of a professional before taking liquorice as a herbal medicine. It is also not recommended during pregnancy.


Maca is a rain forest herb and has long been used in the Peruvian diet. The root can be dried and made into a powder, which is the way it tends to be used in NZ most commonly.
Maca is good for improving energy, libido and performance. It can also help support healthy immunity, and can be useful for anaemia, chronic fatigue and impotency.
Maca is a good source of plant-based protein, B vitamins, including some B12, vitamins C and E, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc.


Marjoram and oregano are both of the Origanum species, which is why oregano is sometimes also known as wild marjoram. They are aromatic herbs with a savoury/spicey flavour which varies a little between varieties, however marjoram tends to be sweeter than oregano. They have long been part of the Mediterranean culture, not only in cuisine but also in ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals, to bring joy and happiness.

The herb has remarkable anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties. It can be used as a culinary addition or infused as a herb tea, and can be beneficial for exhaustion, irritability, colds, headaches, menstrual issues, and gastro-intestinal and gallbladder disorders. 

Fresh marjoram or a few drops of essential oil can be added to bath water to promote relaxation and to help relieve muscular and joint pains.

If using the herb in cooking, it is best added at the end of the cooking process to maintain its best aroma and taste.

Flowering marjoram or oregano is good for attracting bees to the garden. These herbs are hardy perennials that can be easily grown from stem or root cuttings.

Milk thistle

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is great for the health of your liver, and what is great for your liver is of huge benefit to the health of your entire body.

Milk thistle, also known as St. Mary's thistle, helps protect the liver from toxins and free radicals, and it enhances the production of new, healthy liver cells. It also has great anti-inflammatory properties, and has been shown to have the ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Improvement of type 2 diabetes can also be gained by using milk thistle.

Milk thistle is not only good for the liver, but also the kidneys, and because both the liver and kidneys are our most important detoxification organs. it makes milk thistle an ideal detoxification aid.


Not only is mint a popular taste and smell, but it is also a great digestive aid, helping to reduce flatulence, dyspesia, irritable bowel, indigestion, colic and nausea. Mint also has antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant and anticancer properties.

Being a prolific grower, it can be a good herb to grow in a pot if you don't want it to spread too much. Nip the new centre leaves out when you pick it to prevent it from getting too stalky


Nettle (Urtica dioica), not unlike most herbal plants, has a good range of vitamins and minerals, but it also has a wide range of medicinal attributes including: anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties making it useful for arthritic pain and other inflammatory conditions, very good antioxidant properties making it good for preventing free radical damage to body cells and it has also been shown to be helpful for preventing prostate enlargement and/or cancer. It promotes antihypertensive activity due to its relaxant effect on blood vessels making it good for high blood pressure. It also promotes antihyperglycaemic action helping to reduce blood glucose levels and increase insulin levels making it of possible benefit to diabetics. It is a diuretic that can help with cleansing of toxins from the kidneys. It can be useful for anaemia due to it being a good source of both iron and vitamin C along with its ability to improve absorption of nutrients. It has also been purported to assist hair growth via stimulation of the hair follicles, and it also has good antiviral properties.
A couple of leaves of nettle can be infused in boiling water to make a herb tea, or hair rinse, or chopped up and added to cooking. When first picking nettle caution is recommended because it can cause skin irritation in some people, hence its other common name, stinging nettle


Marjoram and oregano are both of the Origanum species, which is why oregano is sometimes also known as wild marjoram. They are aromatic herbs with a savoury/spicey flavour which varies a little between varieties, however marjoram tends to be sweeter than oregano. They have long been part of Mediterranean culture, not only in cuisine but also in ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals, to bring joy and happiness.

The herb has remarkable anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties. It can be used as a culinary addition or infused as a herb tea, and can be beneficial for exhaustion, irritability, colds, headaches, menstrual issues, and gastro-intestinal and gallbladder disorders. 

Fresh oregano/marjoram or a few drops of essential oil can be added to bath water to promote relaxation and to help relieve muscular and joint pains. If using the herb in cooking, it is best added at the end of the cooking process to maintain its best aroma and taste.

Flowering marjoram or oregano is good for attracting bees to the garden. These herbs are hardy perennials that can be easily grown from stem or root cuttings.


Parsley (Petroselinum crispum), whether it be flat-leaf italian or curly leafed, is a great herb to have readily available in the garden, so that it can be used fresh for maximum nutritional benefit.
Parsley helps cleanse and detoxify the body as it is great for flushing the kidneys and also good for the digestive system and liver. It can also help in inhibiting the growth of cancer, bed-wetting, and bad breath.
It is high in chlorophyll which helps stimulate red blood cell production and it is also a good source of iron, making it good for helping to prevent anaemia.
It is rich in nutrients, including: vitamin C, A and E, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and selenium.
If using it in cooking, add it at the end of the cook time, so that it maintains its optimal nutrient content.


The pepper plant is native to India. Pepper adds pungency to food, therefore it can be good in winter for adding more fire/pita into the diet. But the piperine in pepper assists the body's temperature regulation, which can make it beneficial in any climate.

Pepper aids digestion, assists absorption of nutrients, and aids liver detoxification processes. It also has good antibacterial and antioxidant properties.


Plantain, often thought of by many as just a common weed, but it is actually therapeutically beneficial and can be used to treat respiratory and urinary tract ailments, and can also be beneficial for treating skin ailments and wounds externally, or infused and used as a mouthwash for mouth ulcers or an eyewash for conjunctivitis ( mix with calendula for even greater effect).

Red clover

Most people know what clover looks like, as its small blooms commonly pop up amongst the grass of lawns and pasture during summer, attracting bees to them. However, what a lot of people don't realise is that red clover (Trifolium pratense) is a highly beneficial medicinal herb. Although it is called red clover, its blooms are actually more of a purply-pinkish colour rather than red. There is also clover that has creamy-white blooms, but it is the flowers of red clover that are used for medicinal purposes.

Red clover is a very good blood cleanser, and is good for assisting the function of the liver and  kidneys.

It has anti-inflammatory effects in the body, making it good for diseases and conditions with a pronounced inflammatory component such as arthritis, gout, psoriasis, and eczema. It can also be good for inflammation of the lungs, bronchial infections and coughs.

Red clover can be of benefit during menopause and post-menopause due to its phyto-oestrogenic activity, and trials have been done on the use of red clover extract as an alternative to synthetic HRT. 

Red clover is high in isoflavones, making it not only good for menopause, but also for cardio-vascular health in both men and women. 

Traditionally, red clover was often used for the treatment of cancerous growths. We now know that cultures that eat diets high in isoflavones, tend to have lower cancer rates.

Red clover is also a good source of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, along with iron, phosphorous, manganese, selenium and zinc. 

From spring through to autumn, red clover flowers can be picked and used to make herb tea, and/or added to salads. They can be added to bath water to promote healthy skin and assist healing of inflammatory skin conditions.

Red clover also provides benefits to the soil. It helps fix nitrogen into the soil, making it good for the health of lawns, gardens, and pastures, and for use as a soil-improver cover-crop for vacant soil plots - prior to replanting of the vacant area the red clover can be tilled back into the soil providing it with beneficial nutrients and organic matter. The use of nitrogen-fixing plants like red clover can be better for the environment as a whole, rather than using synthetic nitrogen fertilisers. 


Rosemary can help to enhance mental clarity, concentration and memory, stimulate hair growth and reduce dandruff, promote good circulation and stimulate immunity. It has general stimulative, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant effects in the body. It is also a digestive aid and mild pain reliever and can help to improve mood.


Rosehips are a really good source of vitamin C, plus B vitamins and vitamin E, along with calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, selenium and manganese., plus lycopene and malic acid.
Rosehips can be used in tea, jams, jellies, wine, and skincare. They are beneficial for infections, immunity, diarrhea, constipation, urinary infections, the gallbladder, prostate health, and skin health, helping to promote elasticity and collagen production in the skin, and they have good antioxidant effects to help in reducing free radical damage.


The red stigmas of the purple crocus flower (Crocus sativus) are known as saffron. A large amount of flowers are needed to produce just a little bit of hand-picked saffron, which is why it is quite costly to buy, however it is quite potent and only a few stigmas need to be used to flavour and colour food (yellow).
Saffron can help in preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease, and it is mildly sedative making it helpful for insomnia. It can also be good for menstrual disorders, digestion, bloating and flatulence. Saffron promotes antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity in the body, and it can also help to improve memory and learning ability.
When dried and stored properly it has a very long shelf life, which can compensate a bit for the pricey-ness of it.
It is best to use saffron in cooking to release it's vibrant colour, aroma and flavour. If there is not much liquid in whatever is being cooked, simply infuse the saffron in a little bit of boiled water for a while before adding to the recipe


Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a good herb to grow in the herb or vege garden. It is a good companion plant for brassicas, carrots, tomatoes and strawberries.
Gargling an infusion of sage can be good for sore throats, quinsy, tonsillitis, stomatitis, mouth ulcers and gingivitis, due to it's antibacterial and antiviral constituents.
Drunk as a herb tea, it can have a relaxing, restorative effect and may help to improve mood and cognitive function, and can be beneficial for digestive issues such as gastroenteritis, diarrhoea, colic, flatulence and indigestion.
It is good for reducing perspiration and also has oestrogenic effects on the body, making it a beneficial herb for menopausal symptoms such as night sweats and hot flushes.
An infusion of sage can be used as a hair rinse to condition the hair.
Sage can help to dry up milk at the end of a term of breastfeeding. For this reason it should be avoided during lactation, and also avoided during pregnancy as it is an emmenagogue (i.e promotes menstruation)


Shankhpushpi is an ayurvedic healing plant that can help to strengthen the nervous system, improve memory, calm the mind, reduce anxiety, mental stress and depression, and can help to stabilise mood


Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is of the asparagus species of plants and has long been used in ayurvedic medicine. It is generally the roots that are used for medicinal purposes.

Shatavari can be good for assisting weight gain in people that struggle to gain or maintain healthy body weight and can also be beneficial for female hormonal balance.


Stevia is an ideal sweetener. It's 300 times sweeter than sugar which means only a very small amount is required to add sweetness to foods and beverages, and it doesn't increase blood glucose levels like sugar does, studies have actually shown it to be beneficial for lowering blood glucose levels, making it ideal for diabetes prevention.
If purchasing stevia in powder form it is important to make sure it has been processed without the use of chemical solvents.

Saint John's wort

St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is a perennial herb that has numerous potential health benefits, and like many herbs it has a long history of medicinal use. However, in more recent times it has been highlighted for it's use in helping to treat depression, probably due to the combination of the high prevalence of depression within some societies, coupled with people's growing interest in a return to the ancient practice of using plants to assist with natural healing.

Here are some of the potential benefits of St. John's Wort and some disorders that it may help to ameliorate:

Anxiety and nervousness
Nerve and muscle pain
Promotes anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity
Anti-viral and anti-bacterial
Healing of injuries and wounds
Reduction of alcohol dependency
DNA repair and anti-cancer activity
Reduction of the negative effects of stress on brain function
St. John's Wort is also a source of vitamins A and C, plus a wide range of minerals.
It is important to note that there can be possible interactions between St. John's Wort and some pharmaceutical medications, so if you are taking any form of prescription medication it is important to discuss this with your doctor before using St. John's Wort.


Make time to grow some thyme in your garden, it's so easy to grow and is well worth it.
It's a good source of B vitamins, and vitamins C, D and E, and a rich source of iodine, which is an important mineral for thyroid health.
Studies have shown that thymol, an active constituent in thyme, helps to increase the amount of healthy DHA (an omega 3 fatty acid) in the cells of the body. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) helps support better brain, nerve, eye and heart functioning. It is highly beneficial particularly for the developing brain of infants and children, for improving long term brain function, and for helping to prevent or ameliorate ADD (attention deficit disorder) in children.
Thyme is also good for coughs and respiratory tract issues such as bronchitis, laryngitis, pertussis and asthma.
Thyme can also be used to help with gastrointestinal problems,. It can help to inhibit overgrowth of Candida albicans and worms in the gut
Another of it's medicinal uses is in helping to ameliorate urinary tract issues such as cystitis (inflammation of the urinary tract) and enuresis (involuntary urination, particularly night time bed wetting by children).
Thyme's antimicrobial properties also make an infusion of it an effective mouth gargle and skin application for skin infections.


Turmeric is a great antioxidant and promotes anti-cancer activity. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and aids circulation and liver detoxification. It can help in the prevention of neurological diseases and cardiovascular disease.