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Best Herbs for Families

As most of Canada is celebrating Family Day today, it’s a good opportunity to look at the best herbs for family health.
There are some herbs that are particularly beneficial to good family health and they can be used in many ways. The following herbs are often used as medicinal teas, as essential oils, in foods and in remedies such as salves.

Peppermint
This one is a long- time favorite as it is soothing to the digestion system and handy to soothe upset tummies. An easy way to use it is as a tea either on its own or combined with other herbs. This herb can be used as an essential oil (diluted in a base oil) to soothe sunburn, inflammation and treat insect bites.
It’s a super easy plant to grow however it can be invasive. Gardeners recommend putting it in a pot submerged in the ground to prevent ‘runners’ or simply grow as a potted herb. Besides peppermint, there are many other varieties of mint worth trying – such as chocolate mint or apple mint.

Ginger

The fresh root of ginger can be used as a natural cure for nausea and can even be made candied to make it more appealing to children. The dried ginger is often used in foods like soups and stews. Ginger can also be used as a tea or essential oil. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and a great herb for increasing circulation. Ginger is a tropical plant that should be grown in the warmest, sunniest spot available. It needs to be indoors for growing in the winter and can be moved outside as the weather heats up.

Chamomile

This popular herb is often used to relieve stress and aid sleep, but it is also traditionally used to relieve the symptoms of menopause. For children, this calming herb has traditionally been used to treat colic and for its soothing qualities. It is often drunk as a tea especially before bedtime. Chamomile is also used as an essential oil. The herb is easy to grow and has dainty white flowers.

Lemon Balm

A member of the mint family, this lemony flavored herb has long been treasured for its antiviral and antibacterial qualities. Drink it in a tea to help shorten the length of colds and related ailments.  It is easy to grow, loves hot sun and make a nice bush, however it benefits from regular pruning. It can be invasive so growing it as a potted herb is a nice option for those who don’t have time to keep an eye on it.

Fennel

The tall feathery stems of this herb can be eaten as well as the stalks. But the leaves and seeds are mostly used to flavor soups and stews. The seeds are good for digestion and can be chewed after eating a heavy meal. The seeds are useful for treating a child’s stomach ache, gas pains or colic. Fennel seeds are also used to make gripe water for babies.

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