We return thanks to our mother, the earth,
which sustains us.
We return thanks to the rivers and streams,
which supply us with water.
We return thanks to all herbs,
which furnish medicines for the cure of our diseases.
We return thanks to the moon and stars,
which have given to us their light when the sun was gone.
We return thanks to the sun,
that has looked upon the earth with a beneficent eye.
Lastly, we return thanks to the Great Spirit,
in Whom is embodied all goodness,
and Who directs all things for the good of Her children.
~ Iroquois prayer
This week, across our country, we join in with millions giving gratitude. Thanksgiving means different things for different people and for me, as we prepare a meal using many of our own resources, it’s a time to give thanks for the plants and animals that live on our farm and provide so much for us.
Traditionally, many Americans celebrate with turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and corn. Interestingly enough, our meals are often prepared with herbs that are not native to this land, just as many of us are not native to this land but rather those who immigrated through our ancestors and became naturalized to this land, as many plants have. While the typical herbs of Thanksgiving are native to the Mediterranean, many could not imagine a meal without them.
Kitchen herbs were originally selected as kitchen garden herbs because of their digestive actions. Most kitchen herbs stimulate digestion, helping the body to process foods that may not be so readily accepted, especially in the not so distant past when refrigeration wasn’t an option for food storage.
These herbs also offer other medicinal uses, making them great to have on hand, not only for cooking but also for assisting in healing common complaints. Because of this, they have found their way into the kitchen garden for hundreds of years.
Today, I honor and give thanks to these plants, for the food and medicine they provide.
I give thanks for Sage almost every day! Sage has many uses: culinary, medicinal and beauty related. When combined with sea salt and baking soda, Sage makes a great tooth whitener. Add a bit of Sage essential oil to your favorite homemade deodorant mix and you can help to reduce the amount of perspiration naturally. A gargle with Sage tea helps a sore throat. And as a cooking herb, Sage is one of my favorites that I use almost daily in meals and desserts: try some Sage in the next Peach cobbler you make!
Sage is full of vitamins and minerals: calcium, chromium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin (B3), phosphorus, potassium, protein, riboflavin (B2), selenium, silicon, thiamine (B1), tin, vitamins A and C and zinc.
Sage is anhydrotic, antibacterial, anticatarrhal, antigalactagogue, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, circulatory stimulant, emmenagogue, febrifuge, hormonal stimulant, memory enhancer and a vasodilator. Sage also reduces blood sugar levels, promotes bile flow and relaxes peripheral blood vessels.
Need a recipe to get started? Check out our recipe for making deodorant.
Want to learn more about the medicinal uses of Sage? Purchase a copy here.
I give thanks to Rosemary often, especially when I need to focus for work or stay alert on a long drive. Medicinally, Rosemary stimulates: the mind (Rosemary for Remembrance), circulatory system and the nervous system. I never leave home without Rosemary essential oil as breathing in the scent helps to keep me alert when I’m on a long drive.
Nutritionally, Rosemary contains many vitamins and minerals: calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin (B3), phosphorus, potassium, pyridoxine (B6), riboflavin (B2), sodium, thiamin (B1), vitamins A and C, and zinc.
Do you have Rosemary growing in your garden? Learn more about Rosemary’s medicinal side with our issue right here.
I give thanks to Thyme, for soothing sore throats, especially combined with honey. (Check out our recipe for Thyme Infused Honey). Thyme also calms a cough and was one of the main herbs I used to support our bodies when we had Pertussis a few years ago.
Thyme is very high in Chromium, iron, silicon and contains lots of calcium, cobalt, magnesium, manganese, riboflavin, selenium, sodium, thiamine. He also has average amounts of niacin, tin and vitamin A and low amounts of phosphorus, potassium, protein and vitamin C.
Thyme’s main active ingredient is Thymol. This ingredient is responsible for his healing properties: anthelmintic, antibacterial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, aromatic, astringent, carminative and expectorant. He is also astringent due to his tannins.
Want to learn more about how you can incorporate Thyme into your herbal medicine cabinet? You can purchase this issue right here.
And a bonus herb…I cannot leave out this common thanksgiving accent!
I give thanks to Cranberry, for all his tartness. And, as the bonus herb, this plant IS a native to North America. In fact, this is one native North American plant the settlers were grateful for. Early settlers learned from the Native Americans to use the berry for treating many problems including scurvy, digestive problems, loss of appetite and blood disorders. They even applied the raw, crushed berries directly on wounds to aid healing, keeping infection away.
Cranberry is high in antioxidants, calcium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Cranberry also contains average amounts of iron, magnesium, manganese, protein, riboflavin, silicon, sodium and thiamine and low amounts of chromium, cobalt, selenium and zinc.
This year, why not try Cranberry in a more natural form? Instead of opening a can, try our simple recipe for making fresh Cranberry sauce, your taste buds will thank you!
Want to learn more about the medicinal side of Cranberry? You can purchase our issue right here.
For those who are celebrating this week of gratitude, how many of these herbs will be finding their way into your meal preparations? Which is your favorite? Do you use them as medicine?