Herbs are a plant that people use or have used for a specific purpose. Nowadays herbs are most usually known for their culinary, medicinal, aromatic and decorative qualities. In the past, people relied on herbs for greater number of uses, some were utilized in dyeing and cleaning fabrics and many were used in everyday life as flavorings for food and drink to promote good health and to cure illness.
In many cases it is the green part of the plant that is used as a herb, but different parts, such as roots, fruits, seeds and flowers, even the woof of some trees are utilized according to the species.
Herbs are plants that people have found useful right through history. The majority of herbs are safe to handle and consume but not all of them. Some herbs can be toxic to humans and animals even in small does, so they need to be treated with respect. Never use anything that you are not sure is completely safe and consults a medical herbalist first if you want to use herbs for their medicinal properties.
Herbs are easy to raise in natural world, walk into any herbs garden for a sensory experience, the plants it contains will have been selected for their smell as well as their appearance and have rich relations with human history. Herbs are plants that have over many centuries helps people to sleep, soothed pain, repelled insects and flavored exciting drinks. Herbs are still worth growing today for their useful qualities as well as for the fact that they are beautiful to look at.
Herbs are easy plant to grow, and in many cases free from pest and disease problems. Growing them yourself means that you can have fresh supplies to hand when you need them and using organic methods means you can be sure they have not been treated with pesticides. Growing herbs of any kind will increase the multiplicity of a garden, one of the key principles behind a winning organic system. With such a huge range of herbs to choose from, there is almost definitely one for every situation.
Herbs can be selected to climb, creep, tumble, form solid carpets or trained up walls. Some will be happy in muddy soil, others on top of walls, in between road surface stones, under trees and in meadows- success depends on matching the right plant to the accessible conditions. They also vary in size, from the tiny, ground-hugging Corsican mint, to stately giants such as angelica or lovage reaching 2m high. Herbs can be grown fro their appearance alone. Some plants have spectacular flowers, some are valued for their foliage and they all have something to contribute to a garden.
Many herbs attract wildlife; birds eat the seeds and berries, butterflies and bees enjoy the nectar and pollen, while beneficial insects will lay their eggs near sources of aphids and other pests. Some example are given above. Dense plantings of ground-covering herbs such as thymes provide habitats for many beneficial creatures including beetles, spiders and even frogs and toads.
Herbs convey a huge range of flavors to both sweet and flavorful dishes. They can be added to soups, sauces, stews, salads, casseroles, pies flans and anything else you can eat!. Although it is possible to dried herbs, their flavor is far better when used fresh. Recipes that list dried herbs can be adapted for fresh herbs just by doubling the quantities given. With practice, you should be able to judge quality according to taste. A good suggestion is to start with just one or two herbs in a recipe until you become familiar with the flavors and learn how to combine them for the best effects.
Another tradition is the use of aromatic herbs to repel moths or insects and to keep stored clothes lines smelling sweet. These mixtures are effective and still popular today either sewn into bags or stored loose in containers as pot-pourri.
Herbs are also an important part of the cosmetic industry, finding their way into oils, shampoo, cream and lotions. Many old-fashioned preparation are simple to make yourself and much cheaper than buying products off the shelf.
The role of herbs in rituals and ceremonies with more evident in early times, but what is left is still remain, such as the way we decorate our homes with mistletoe, ivy and holly in midwinter. Other herbs are today appreciated simply for their decorative role either in the garden or in fresh or dried flower arrangements.