There is sufficient variety in the herb family to provide seasonings to suit all tastes. The following are among the principal types, and a corner in the garden should be reserved for their culture. All can be treated as perennials, and a root to start with, planted in April, will soon give good clumps from which to draw supplies. Sweet marjoram, chervil, parsley and fennel are best treated as annuals and grown from seed. Tansy, rue, sage and rosemary do best from slips; thyme, balm and basil by root division. Sow basil, fennel and dill in May, other herbs in March. The leaved herbs can have their leaves picked and dried and stored for winter use and, of course, can always be used freshly plucked from spring till late autumn. The list includes mint, basil, chervil, parsley, thyme, fennel, marjoram, sage, chives, rosemary, rue, savory, tarragon, horse-radish, sorrel, balm.


Unlike our forefathers, we tend to ignore the medicinal value of the many wild herbs of the countryside, as we do of numerous familiar cultivated herbs. The list is extensive, but some of them, with their uses, may be given. A little observation and inquiry of countryfolk will soon familiarize one with these healing herbs of the woods and hedgerows, sufficient to gather them with intelligent recognition. In the main the leaves, flowers and roots are dried in the sun after thorough cleansing and powdered or ground for use. The usual way to prepare is by simmering a handful in a quart of cold water for about one hour and taking the resulting liquid. The letters in brackets in the following list indicate whether root, leaves or flowers are the effective parts: coltsfoot (1. for colds), dandelion (r. 1. for blood conditions and liver and kidneys), gentian (r. general tonic), marigold (f. induces perspiration), burdock (r. skin troubles and kidney complaints), bryony (r. coughs and colds), blackberry (1. diarrhoea), catmint (1. induces perspiration), marshmallow (r. coughs), camomile (f. neuralgia), watercress (1. blood purifier), raspberry (1. tonic and ease for dysentery), celery , plantain (rub leaves on stings), thyme (1. flatulence), yarrow (1. reduces temperature), elder (f. sore throat and inflammation), and many more.


Herbs should be gathered on a dry day and just before they flower. Cut off the roots and wash if necessary. Dry either in a slow oven or in the sun till crisp but not brown. Pick off the leaves and rub to fineness between the hands or pass through a coarse sieve. Store in a well-corked bottle for use.

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