Herbs! Can you say yummmy? My mouth is watering writing this as I think about my herb garden. I love how many of my staple herbs I cook with are also perennials. (Perennials are plants that grow year after year without having to re-plant in the spring). I love to plant and sow my seeds but knowing that these seven babies come back year after year is refreshing for my mind and wallet. This short list are the seven perennial herbs that I use the most in our home for cooking and soaps. I love using them for their health benefits as well as the added flavor. If your gardening space is limited, consider adding some of these herbs into your landscape to use in your favorite dishes.
Lavender– Lavender is one of my favorite herbs that we grow on our urban homestead. Besides adding a splash of color and beautiful aroma, the health benefits of this perennial herb is hands down unmatched. We use lavender essential oil or dried lavender in tea, soaps, bath salt, potpourri, cleaning solution and more. Lavender is calming, can improve sleep, help with skin blemishes, beneficial for your circulatory and respiratory system, helps combat fungus growth and is a natural bug repellant.
Mint- Mint is an easy to grow and highly invasive perennial herb, but it has so many uses around your homestead. We use peppermint essential oil or dried mint in teas, soaps, drinks and more. When we feel a headache coming on a quick dab to the temples always helps or a cut of mint tea. Mint is rich in nutrients and can be used to relieve headaches, improve brain function, improves cold symptoms, relieve indigestion, improve IBS and decrease pain. It is natural bug and rodent repellant, increases egg production and quality too! I have mint planted around my chicken coop to help ward off rodents.
Oregano- Oregano is another perennial herb that is resilient and can work well as a ground cover in your garden or flower beds. We use consumable oregano essential oil or dried oregano often with our fresh grown to augment cooking or marinades. This powerful herb is very rich in antioxidants, packed with vitamins E and K, calcium, has antioxidants and has potent antibacterial properties. It can help to reduce viral infections, decrease inflammation and is a staple in all Italian dishes.
Thyme- Thyme is a great perennial herb that is resilient and can work well as a ground cover in your garden or flower beds. We use consumable thyme essential oil or dried oregano added to our fresh grown to add to our cooking, canning, soups and marinades. Thyme is packed with vitamin C and is a good source of vitamin A. It is a great source of copper, fiber, iron and manganese. Thyme can aid in oral health and has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antibiotic properties as well. Last but not least it can aid in respiratory health and deter pests.
Lemon balm- Lemon balm is a perennial herb that likes cooler weather. We use lemon balm leaves in water for a refreshing splash. It can be diffused to help with anxiety, stress, insomnia and indigestion. Dried lemon balm leaves can be used in soaps, teas to flavor many garden to table recipes as well as for your chickens. We use lemon balm essential oils in soaps and diffusing in the house. This is yet another herb with antibacterial properties, works as a rodent repellent, relieves stress and promotes calm.
Sage– This beautiful bushy perennial herb adds to the savory in so many garden to table recipes. Sage contains many antioxidants, supports oral health, reduces blood sugar levels, helps with inflammation, protects agains bacterial and viral infections and supports your digestion. We use consumable sage essential oil in addition to our fresh or dried sage for many of our garden to table recipes. Sage is a hardy perennial in zones 5-8 however it is typically an annual in climates that have high humidity and heat.
Rosemary- Use this herb to add delicious flavor to numerous garden to table recipes. It is a rich source of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory components and boosts your immune system. We love using fresh rosemary sprigs as kabob skewers on the grill, consumable rosemary essential oils in our favorite soups and of course dried rosemary in all those delicious Italian recipes. It can work well in your established flower bed or garden beds. Dried, this herb is great to use in soaps,Rosemary is a superb perennial in zones 7-10 and often thrives in zone 6. In colder zones it can be brought indoors to overwinter.