May 6 is National Herb Day, and if you have excess herbs in your garden, it’s a great time to find some new and unusual ways to use them up. I’ve found herbs to be useful for everything from hair treatments to homemade cold remedies. Instead of letting your leftover herbs go to waste, dry them out for later use or use them up in other creative ways.
Cleanse the Body With Tarragon
Tarragon contains valuable phytonutrients and antioxidant properties that help neutralize free radicals in the body and reduce your risk of certain illnesses, such as heart disease and some cancers. When consumed, tarragon helps cleanse the liver, purify the blood, and encourage the production of bile, which is critical for digestion. Tarragon also contains flavonoids and tannins that help flush the body of toxins.
Keep Mice Away With Mint
Mice detest the smell of peppermint. If you have unwanted house guests, use your extra mint plants as an all-natural mouse repellent. When you keep the plants in an indoor herb garden, along your windowsill, or on the countertop, the scent will deter mice from scurrying around your kitchen looking for food. You can also infuse dried mint in water, pour it in a spray bottle, and mist it on carpets and other areas around your home.
Strengthen Your Hair With Rosemary
Rosemary offers strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that help to cleanse the hair and ward off conditions like dandruff and scalp irritation. It also contains ursolic acid, which boosts circulation to the scalp, resulting in more oxygen and nutrients being delivered to the hair follicles. To treat hair with rosemary, steep rosemary for 15 to 30 minutes to create infused water. Use the water as a hair rinse.
Beat a Cold With Oregano
During cold and flu season, skip your over-the-counter cold medicine in favor of a more natural treatment. Oil of oregano acts as a natural antiseptic to enhance immune system functioning and promote faster healing. Oregano also contains rosmarinic acid, which is an antioxidant that doubles as a natural antihistamine. Add a few drops of the oil to orange juice and drink, or add a few drops to water and gargle several times a day.
Clean Your Home With Thyme
Thyme contains thymol, a natural chemical with the ability to kill candida and other harmful bacteria. This makes the herb an effective cleaner for the home. Blend thyme in a blender with water and use cheesecloth to strain out any large pieces. Use the thyme water to sanitize surfaces in your home while leaving behind a fresh scent. This safe cleaner can be used on everything from children’s toys to toilet seats.
Repel Flies and Mosquitoes With Lavender
While lavender is a fragrant herb often enjoyed by humans, its soft scent is loathed by flies and mosquitoes. Use the oil extracted from the blue-violet flowers to create an all-natural repellent. While some people use herbs distributed in the form of an aerosol or candle, lavender is most effective when applied topically to the skin. In addition to repelling bothersome insects, lavender softens, nourishes, and protects the skin.