• Next to Nature

Five Ways to Start Using Herbs Each Day

Updated: May 23

Today we are letting one of our Health Hutch advisors, Hali, chime in on how she uses herbs in her day-to-day life. Most are pretty simple with few instructions and you get to choose your favorite herbs.


There are many ways to find and create beautiful herbal blends that go beyond the basic food staples. Herbs have been growing naturally since ancient times. They have been used to mend illness, heal infections, as perfumes, to enhance flavor, and assist the body in daily function. If you are trying to come up with more ways to get all the benefits of herbs, here are a few ideas for you to start incorporating them into your daily routine. 

Cooking (likely the easiest)

Herbs have been used in meals for centuries. Dry or fresh, you can add to your crockpot, baked goods, sautés, smoothies, soups and salads. Get to know your herbs by adding them to all your dishes, it can be an experiment of sorts. Once you know what you are cooking, begin to pair sight with smell by smelling the different herbal aromas and toss into your concoction. A little bit goes a long way, once you’ve added you can’t take back, but you can always add more. Experiment and do not be afraid to “ruin” a dish. Chances are, you’ll really like it even if it is very dominate with an herb such as ginger.

Side note: add your herbs very last, on low heat. Herbs do not have to soak or cook for a long period of time to release flavor and benefits.


Some fun and delicious pairs:  Lavender and Rosemary

Orange Peel and Basil

Lemon Balm, Basil, Oregano

Thyme, Coriander, Ginger

Dill Weed, Lemon Peel, Basil

Tinctures

You can easily make tinctures with your herbs at home. There’s a basic recipe you can use below. Tinctures are a wonderful way to get herbs into your body at a concentrated level. This may be great for someone who isn’t regularly cooking for themselves, but still would like to get the amazing benefits of certain herbs. Let’s say you are prone to inflammation and you heard that turmeric is wonderful, as well as licorice root and dandelion. You see that these plants could be added to food, but you aren’t sure how. Making a tincture is a great way to get them into your system without having to be too creative. All you need is a little bit of time, herbs - fresh or dry, a dark dropper bottle, mesh strain or cheese cloth, vodka or brandy, 8-16 oz mason jar, and funnel.

Here’s a basic recipe: Use finely cut herbal material. Only fill jar 1/2 to 3/4 with herb. Pour alcohol to the very top of the jar. Cover plants completely!

Let soak in dark, warm storage for 5-6 weeks.

Strain and pour into dropper bottle for easier use.

Note: It is important to do some research on the dosages before using. You are pulling all the nutrients from the plant this way - knowledge is crucial. Also, the appropriate alcohol strength for your tincture will depend upon the qualities of the plant material being used. Stronger is not always better! If you need more tips or tools on how to — click here for an in depth article about tinctures.

We have plenty of the dried herbs, roots, and spices you might need to create some magic for your tincture making. We also carry the right bottle you need for storing tinctures.




Tea (very easy, and a great starting point to really get to know your herbs)

Tea is the best known way to ingest herbs, and we have some of the best combinations for all types of needs. Visit our Tea page for a list of blends. Next to those wonderful teas, we can also customize a bag of mixed herbs just for you. 




Mocktails

Mocktails can be a fun and creative way to get you and your family to drink more water. They are basically teas one ice with some fruit! You can easily create a hydration station somewhere in your kitchen where you can stop to have herbal infused drinks all season long.

A few great combinations: Elderflower and Fresh Lime Lemon Balm and Fresh Peach Basil, Peppermint, and Fresh Orange Rosemary and Fresh Lemon


Here’s an excellent recipe too: Pineapple Hibiscus Mocktail

Find all these dried herbs within the shop.

Serum/infusing

This is a favorite way to incorporate the amazing benefits of plant medicine. You can use your herbs/flowers to steep in certain oils to extract the plant chemicals (the medicinal properties) and use this form on your skin. Our skin (our largest organ) has millions of pores that absorb everything placed on it. When you use some homemade, plant-rich infused serum/lotion you are getting the benefits absorbed into the blood immediately. 

Here’s and simple and fun process on how to make homemade lotion: here.




As you can see, there are many simple ways for you to incorporate herbs into your life. Hali said it right, “the best way to incorporate herbs is simply by doing it.” It might seem overwhelming now, but start with some basics like Lemon Balm for tea, also using it as a tincture, and then incorporating it into your next soup. This herb alone has so many benefits like reducing anxiousness, healing the adrenals, and assisting the immune system. 

Learn more about one of our Health Hutch Advisors, Hali, from our recent post:






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