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Double Duty Herbs:  Four Plants with Multiple Uses

Double Duty Herbs: Four Plants with Multiple Uses

Many herbs possess both culinary and medicinal properties. Others can additionally be used in bouquets to brighten the home or a special occasion. While most of these plants are often overlooked, fresh herbs provide a wide array of vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that not only supply the body with nutrition, but defenses against diseases. Here are four herbs that work double shifts.

1. Chamomile

Whether you grow your own or purchase already prepared chamomile, this tiny white flower has many uses. Long revered for its ability to promote relaxation, chamomile tea is an excellent choice at the end of each day to help ease the body into a restful sleep. Taken as a supplement, it can reduce anxiety levels as well as address stomach issues. The delicate, small daisy-like flowers also look charming on their own or as part of an arrangement.

2. Echinacea

Native to North America, the native peoples used this plant to treat a variety of ailments. It boosts the immune system and helps the body not only fight off the common cold and seasonal flu, but more serious infections as well. Some studies support its ability to address chronic fatigue syndrome and migraines as well. It can be taken in supplement form or enjoyed as a tea. This plant exists as a favorite of pollinators; plant it along borders or throughout a garden to attract bees and butterflies throughout the spring and summer. And when the plant’s in full bloom, create a beautiful bouquet for your favorite room in the home.

3. Parsley

Routinely used as a garnish, parsley actually offers a powerhouse of nutrition. Eaten fresh, parsley contains myristicin, a volatile oil that can inhibit tumor growth. It offers a wide array of antioxidants that the body needs to destroy free radicals as well. Many diverse world cultures incorporate parsley into traditional dishes. Both European and Middle Eastern cuisines love parsley. Medicinally, parsley supplements can be taken to address a wide array of issues ranging from URIs, kidney stones, and bad breath.

4. Burdock

As a supplement, burdock is taken to detoxify the body. Studies also support its ability to reduce joint pain and address gastrointestinal issues. It may also help calm skin conditions including acne. And don’t forget about the plant’s roots! They can be dug up and enjoyed at the dinner table. Whether fried, braised, stewed, or enjoyed another way, burdock root is a favorite of celebrity and home chefs alike.

If you’re planning on beginning a home garden, these four herbs are an excellent place to start. Not only will they bring beauty to your home, but flavor to your foods and health to your body. Invest in good soil and quality seeds or plants from a local nursery. They’ll be taking over in no time! And while you grow them for your culinary needs, consider purchasing high quality, already dried and prepared versions to further increase your health.

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