Four of the best: Herbs for health

Good for both a healthy body and a healthy garden, herbs have been curatives since ancient times.

Lavender has many medicinal properties. It's believed the oil acts a painkiller while tea made from its leaves is said to soothe the stomach. Photo / Thinkstock
Lavender has many medicinal properties. It's believed the oil acts a painkiller while tea made from its leaves is said to soothe the stomach. Photo / Thinkstock

1. Lavender
Whether from the the dentata variety (aromatic, known as French lavender) or stoecha (with the distinctive "rabbit ears"), lavender oils have been used as a painkiller, dabbed on wounds as an antiseptic, as an insecticide, and to promote sleep (try dried flowers in a sleep pillow). A tea made from the leaves is also said to soothe the stomach.

2. Thyme
Apart from its wonderful aroma in cooking, thyme oil also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties; with its essential ingredient - used in cough syrups and lollies - you can use it to soothe sore throats.

3. Rosemary
Rosemary tea can be rinsed through hair to make it shine, or you can use the oil in a steam bath to cleanse the skin. Some people use it to treat upset stomachs or headaches.

4. Peppermint
For thousands of years, peppermint has been used for its antispasmodic, cooling, decongesting and mildly antiseptic properties; its fresh menthol smell is used to freshen breath and is said to deter insects and rodents.

- NZ Herald

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