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Top 5 Herbs for Happy Living

Hanging Herbs Herbs are more than just flavor additions to some of our favorite dishes. They are also soothing ingredients in a tea and fresh-scented focal points on our windowsills. There are a few herbs that stand out from the crowd as the best in all three categories.  

Basil

Low-maintenance; green thumb not required. Popular in many recipes, there are many different basil species. Each species has a unique smell, ranging from clove to citrus to camphor to licorice. The plant itself is attractive with a bold green color, pleasantly symmetrical leaves and, if you want them to grow, beautiful edible flowers! This herb calms and detoxifies while adding fiber to your diet and soothing stomach ailments.  

Lemon balm

Vigorous; plant in its own dedicated flowerbed. This is great in tea, ice cream and fruit dishes, adding a pleasant herbal-lemon kick. Part of the mint family, the leaves have a gentle lemon scent with mint notes that is very calming. The fuzzy leaves are a light green with jagged edges; the small white flowers appear every summer and, just a warning here, attract bees. Lemon balm helps in the treatment of gastrointestinal tract, nervous system and liver disorders. For more ideas on what to do with your lemon balm, read “12 Things to Do With Lemon Balm” by The nerdy Farm Wife.  

Peppermint

Expect rapid growth; keep potted and moist. A slight mint smell emanates from this plant, that is until you crush a leaf, then it’s like sticking your nose in a bowl of mint ice cream! The peppermint essential oil has many benefits, but the leaves have almost as many uses. (Read “15 Uses for Mint” by Gina DeBacker here for some ideas). Whether it’s the smell or the flavor of mint, it helps with digestion, soothes headaches, eases respiratory disorders and even improves exercise performance!  

Sage

High-maintenance; very green thumbs required. This savory, slightly peppery herb is one of Britain’s essential herbs! While it’s growing, it has a strong, pungent scent. The grey-green oblong leaves could grow as big as 2.5” by 2”, and the buds could be lavender, white, pink or purple, depending on growing conditions and species. Sage enhances memory (study shows it improved cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients), treats upper respiratory infection, calms anxiety and combats fatigue.  

Thyme

Pretty & petit; loves being warm and dry. A mountain herb, this evergreen can survive drought and deep freeze to flower again each year. Small and attractive, it is a beautiful addition to any home décor or garden. Thyme tea helps with bronchitis and respiratory issues, like asthma. It is also an antiseptic, so you’ll always have a way to clean your cuts.

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