For thousands of years, herbs have been used to flavor foods and cure illnesses. Herbs contain compounds that work with the body to aid in digestion and promote healing. 

Herbal remedies are time-honored, health-promoting substances. Before the introduction of antibiotics, herbs were a mainstay for fighting infections. Unlike conventional medicines, herbs are versatile, and can be formulated to make teas, tinctures, tablets and medicines for external applications. Use herbs to flavor fresh foods for healthy and satisfying meals.

Often, we do not even think about all the ways plants can and do heal us. Here are a few examples:

Eggplant Extract Kills Skin Cancer Cells

Can Ancient Herbs Treat Cancer?

Elderberry Extract Kills Flu Virus

Relieve Congestion With Herbs

Herbal Teas That Ease Headaches

Book: Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians

Growing Herbs
Herbs as a group are relatively easy to grow. Begin your herb garden with the herbs you enjoy using the most. For example, choose basil, oregano, and fennel for Italian cooking; lavender and lemon verbena for making potpourri; or chamomile and peppermint if you plan to make your own teas. 
The optimum growing conditions vary with each individual herb species. Some of the most popular herbs such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, bay laurel, marjoram, dill, and oregano are native to the Mediterranean region. These herbs grow best in soils with excellent drainage, bright sun, and moderate temperatures. 

When growing herbs follow these basic guidelines: 
·Plant herbs in average garden soil with organic matter added to improve texture and drainage. 
·Choose a site that receives at least 6 hours of direct sun each day. 
·Avoid ground where water stands or runs during heavy rains. 
·Compensate for poor drainage with raised beds amended with compost. 
·Apply balanced fertilizers sparingly to leafy, fast-growing herbs. Heavy applications of fertilizer, especially those containing large amounts of nitrogen, will decrease the concentration of essential oils in the lush green growth. 

When grown outdoors and given ample air circulation, sunlight, and water drainage, herbs rarely suffer severe disease or insect damage. Natural predators and parasites usually keep mite and aphid populations below damaging levels. This is especially true in gardens with a wide diversity of plants. Insecticidial soap is a safe, effective control against severe outbreaks of aphids, mites, and whiteflies. Hand-pick larger pests such as beetles and caterpillars. 

UGA Publication: Herbs for Southern Gardens

Culinary use

Herbs can be dried for future use or picked fresh from the garden to use right away. Fresh herbs will have the most nutritional value while dried herbs are concentrated and have a stronger flavor. You can combine your favorite herbs into a blend that makes a wonderful substitute for salt. Many herbs that are traditionally known as culinary herbs have medicinal properties. Cooking with fresh herbs is one of the healthiest and tastiest things you can do for your body. Most herbs improve digestion, so they help to digest the foods you are eating them with.

We are asked a lot about how to preserve the herbs that were grown during the season. One way is to create herbal vinegars for cooking. They make wonderful gifts, too.

Some herbs that can be used are fresh bee balm; pineapple sage (the flowers create a beautiful pink vinegar); chives and chive blossoms; dill weed and seeds; fennel herb and seeds; garlic cloves; marjoram; oregano; peppermint leaves; rosemary leaves; spearmint leaves; tarragon; and thyme leaves.

Basic instructions to make vinegar:

Put your fresh herbs in a clean quart jar, stuff the jar full!
Pour in 16 ozs of apple cider vinegar or until jar is full.
Apply lid, (a metal lid will rust), use a cloth lid or plastic. Label the vinegar with date and ingredients and then let sit for 4-6 weeks in a pantry or cupboard. You can also used white wine vinegar or any flavor you prefer. Get creative and use a decorative jar to give as a gift.

Another clever way to preserve herbs that were grown in the garden:

Chop one tablespoon of your favorite herb into small pieces and place in each cube of an ice cube tray. Fill with water and freeze. Once frozen, place cubes in freezer bag, label with name and date. When cooking soups, stews, pot roast and sauces, just add a few cubes to the pot.


Grilled Vegetables Basted in Herb Sauce

The general rule is to cut the vegetables into pieces that will cook quickly and evenly. All pieces should be of consistent thickness and no more than about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Do not over cook and you'll have vegetables better than you thought possible. If you like grilling vegetables and want to try smaller things, use a grilling basket to keep them out of the fire. 

Combine minced garlic, a few pinches each of chopped rosemary, oregano, and thyme; 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, and 1/4 cup each of raspberry white wine vinegar (the vinegar is optional) and olive oil. Whisk all ingredients well then place in a Ziploc bag. Add your favorite vegetable and shake well. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, can be marinated for several hours in the refrigerator. Grill until done, enjoy! The great thing about herbs is that you can choose your favorites when making this sauce. Like Basil but not Rosemary? Simply substitute your favorite. Create your own combinations. The possibilities are endless. That's one of the things that makes herbs so versatile! Growing your own is SOOO much more affordable than purchasing flesh or dried herbs in the store.

This is a great way to eat summer vegetables from the garden. Garden vegetables that are good for the grill:

Bell pepper
Chili Peppers

Olive Oil Dipping Sauce (just like you'd find in fine Italian restaurants). 

1 cup Olive Oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp black pepper
½ tsp crushed red pepper
½ tsp salt

Stir together all ingredients and pour into shallow bowls. Shake a few tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese over mixture and serve with warm, crusty bread.

Medicinal use

The medicinal uses of herbs listed here are intended for minor illnesses such as a sore throat or fever. Herbs can be used as part of a cure for serious illness or disease, but you should always seek professional advice from a qualified health care practitioner. Herbs can be steeped in hot water to make tea, extracted into alcohol for astringent use, or into oil for skin formulas. Herbs are used in facial creams, hand lotions, toothpaste, deodorants, and shampoo. 

Herbs have been scientifically proven to kill infections, relieve a wide array of symptoms and diseases, and even inhibit cancer cells. 

The next time you have a sinus headache, don't reach for the sinus relief pills. They temporarily get rid of the painful symptoms, but do nothing to treat the actual cause. To make matters worse, sinus pills dry out the nasal cavity and passages making the problem worse and causing you to use more pills for the pain. It's a viscous cycle. 

Remedies for sore throat/congestion and/or sinus pressure:

Bring 3 or 4 cups of water to boil in a sauce pan on the stove. Add some sprigs of fresh rosemary and 5 drops of eucalyptus oil (from health food stores) to the boiling water and gently boil for just one or two minutes. Remove from heat. Place your face over the steam with a towel over your head to capture the steam. The moist heat combined with the compounds of the herbs releasing into the steam will bring you instant relief. 

Hot Herbal Tea
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Peppermint
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Monarda (Bee Balm)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped Thyme
3 cups water

Finely chop the herbs so that their flavor and aroma is released. Place the leaves in a pot and pour the water over them. Heat to boiling. (You can inhale the steam as it begins to rise) Let simmer for a few minutes, then strain the liquid and pour into a coffee mug right away while it’s still hot and add a small amount of local honey if you prefer a sweet taste. This tea will break up lung congestion and make breathing easier. Try it. It really works!

If you don't want to make your own tea, you can purchase peppermint tea bags in the grocery store and it doesn't even need to be the expensive name brand. Just make sure the label says it is pure mint leaves with no other added ingredients. Drink it hot with a little local honey.

Below is a listing of herbs that we have (inventory varies with the season). Our herbs are locally grown and no toxic insecticides are used in the growing of these herbs.

Allium: Chives- Pink spheres of small flowers appear in April and May. Makes an attractive low-growing border for flowerbeds or kitchen gardens. A tasty addition to egg, cheese, and potato dishes. Fresh leaves taste better than dried ones. Has been used for centuries in the Orient as a cold, flu, and lung congestion remedy.

Aloysia: Lemon Verbena- The leaves have a strong lemon scent. This annual can be kept in a pot indoors to enjoy in the winter. Used in preserves, stuffing, desserts, and makes a wonderful tea. Aids digestion and kills bacterial infections such as E. coli and staph. Like most lemon scented herbs, it will treat colds, sinus congestion and indigestion. A hot tea will lower a fever. Can be used as an insecticidal spray to kill mites and aphids.

Artemesia: French Tarragon- Leaves have an aniselike flavor. Tarragon is an important addition to any kitchen herb garden. Used in salads, pickles, fish and chicken dishes. Makes delicious herb butter. Best known as a flavoring for vinegar. Leaves can be chewed to numb a toothache or improve digestion.

Coriandrum: Coriander- The leaves are Cilantro, the seeds are Coriander. Wispy, feathery leaves with small flat clusters of white to pink flowers. The leaves, also known as cilantro, give a distinct taste to Mexican, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes. The seeds are used in baked goods and sweets and make many bitter-tasting medicines taste better. Improves the appetite and aids in digestion. The oil is an antiseptic that reduces inflammation. 

Echinacea: Purple Coneflower- One of the most popular plants for perennial gardens. Large daisy-like purple flowers appear from June to September. Seed heads are eaten by goldfinches and other birds. Makes an excellent cut flower. The root of Echinacea is used to boost the immune system and acts as a mild, natural antibiotic that is effective against strep and staph infections. Concentrated extract can be purchased to add to hot herbal tea which is more potent than the pill form.

Hypericum: St. John’s Wort- Multi- branched perennial herb with yellow flowers from June thru August. Studies have shown that compounds in St. John’s Wort are potent antiviral and antibacterial treatments for flu viruses, and possibly even the AIDS virus. Helps to improve sleep patterns and anxiety symptoms. Well known for repairing nerve damage and reducing pain and inflammation. The essential oil is more effective than tea.

Lavendula: English Lavender- Woody shrub with very aromatic leaves and flowers. Purple bloom spikes appear from June to August. An excellent perennial for flowerbeds. Plant near a walkway where the aroma will be released when brushed against. Lavender requires excellent drainage and performs best in raised beds. A tincture of Lavender will relieve muscle spasms and the essential oil is a potent remedy for bacterial infections including staph, strep, pneumonia, and most flu viruses. Lavender ointment can be rubbed on burns, bruises, varicose veins and skin injuries. The straight oil can be dabbed on insect bites to stop the itching. Use the essential oil in a warm bath to soothe sore muscles and relax the mind and body. Add leaves and flowers to potpourri. 

Mentha x piperita: Peppermint- Very fragrant, spreading herb. Can be invasive, so best grown in pots that can be sunk into the ground. Mints are one of the most widely used of all aromatic herbs. Popular in desserts, beverages, candies, gum, ice cream and of course, afterdinner mints. The pleasing flavor of peppermint helps with indigestion. Studies have found it to be a remedy for irritable bowel syndrome. Menthol is the main component of mint and has been proven to kill bacteria and viruses living in the stomach. Clears congestion of the lungs and opens airways. Eases nervous headaches including migraines.

Mentha pulegium: Pennyroyal- A member of the mint family that makes a good groundcover. Place it along a flagstone path where its fragrance can be enjoyed when stepped on. Pennyroyal is best known as an insect repellant. The essential oil or crushed leaves can be rubbed on the skin to repel mosquitoes. Will also reduce the itch of insect bites. Hot tea made from pennyroyal leaves is one of the best herbs to induce sweating and reduce fever.

Monarda: Bee Balm- Bushy, spreading perennial with very ornamental flowers from June thru September that are a favorite of hummingbirds. Try a blend of Monarda and mint leaves in iced tea to give it a citruslike flavor. When inhaled as a steam, it will relieve sinus pressure and lung congestion. A hot tea helps relieve cold and flu symptoms and opens airways. 

Ocimum: Sweet Basil, Genovese Basil, Thai Basil- Tender annual that grows quickly to fill bare spots in the garden. Best planted after threat of any frost. Pick leaves often to keep a bushy growth habit and keep flower spikes pinched off. A staple in any kitchen garden that is essential in all tomato and Italian dishes. The leaves of basil relieve indigestion and nausea.  

Origanum majorana: Marjoram- Small, bushy habit with oval, very aromatic dusty green leaves. Small white flower spikes from June thru August. Marjoram is used with oregano and basil but has a sweeter taste that enhances tomato, bean and cheese dishes. An age-old remedy to improve digestion and increase sweating to lower fevers. The essential oil relieves muscle cramps. 

Origanum: Oregano- Bushy, mounding habit with white-pink flowers from July thru September. Heat and dry soil intensifies the flavor. Popular in bean, tomato, cheese and egg dishes and on pizza. Reduces muscle spasms and inflammation, improves digestion and aids in respiratory problems. 

Petroselinum: Parsley- Soft, leafy mounding form that is very ornamental. Often planted with pansies and ornamental cabbage in the fall. Essential in the kitchen garden for a constant supply of fresh leaves. A main seasoning on omelettes and also used in sauces, tomato dishes and on potatoes. Parsley leaves, seeds and roots are used to treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones. Increases blood flow to the digestive organs and reduces fevers. 

Rosemarinus: Rosemary- Evergreen shrub growing to 3-4’ high. Mulch heavily in winter and plant in a well-drained location with protection from winter winds. Can be pruned into topiary shapes or trimmed into a formal hedge. Ornamental blue flower spikes appear from May thru July. Extremely fragrant leaves have a strong flavor. Used with peas, greens, meats, and eggs. Rosemary leaves increase circulation, relieve headaches, and kills bacteria and fungi. Used to inhibit the formation of bladder and kidney stones. Will repel insects, including wool moths. 

Salvia officinalis: Garden Sage- Small, evergreen shrub with wooly textured leaves. Ornamental varieties for flowerbeds include purple sage and tri-color sage that have the same flavor. A strong antioxidant and antibacterial that is added to meat and sausage as a flavoring and natural preservative. Sage is the main seasoning in stuffing. A well-known cold and flu fighter. Used as a gargle for laryngitis and tonsillitis. Very effective against staf infection. 

Thymus: Thyme- Creeping groundcover with small very fragrant leaves. Blooms from May thru August. Excellent in rock gardens and along a path as a fragrant groundcover. Used in chowders, sauces, stews, tomato dishes and many vegetables. Treats coughs and clears congestion. Makes an excellent gargle for sore throats. Thymol is a main component of thyme and is used in cough drops, mouthwash (like Listerine) and vapor rubs. Destroys bacteria and kills intestinal parasites.

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Using Herbs for Home Health 
From: Annie's Remedy- Essential Oils & Herbs Website

You don't have to be a health "expert" to get the many benefits of using herbs and natural remedies to replace many of the over-the-counter personal health & hygiene products sold at your drugstore and supermarket. This includes much of the so called "natural" health food supplements that are sold at the health food store too. Think of the difference between a can of tomato paste, and a fresh, ripe homegrown tomato. Both have the same origins, but the processed product has only a fraction of the vital health benefits of the fresh fruit and often has added sodium and synthetic preservatives. 

The pros and cons of prescription drugs, which come with their own set of benefits and side effects, also are not addressed here, except with the notion that as your health improves, your dependence on drugs can hopefully be lessened. While most will make the disclaimer at this point to check with your doctor before using any herbs, I live in the real world where mainstream MD's know next to nothing about them. It is your responsibility, as an adult to make your own health care decisions, and own the responsibility for them, including being responsible for knowing the benefits and possible side effects of drug and herb combinations. As a very general rule of thumb, don't attempt to treat the same condition with herbal remedies that you are taking prescription drugs for. Be cautious and informed, and aware that many drugs are so strong, and have so many unintended side effects that combining them with herbal therapy is rarely a good idea.  

What we mean by using herbs is the use of medicinal plants in their whole and natural state - and then processing them straight from the garden, or organic bulk herb suppliers. Herbs and medicinal plants can be used fresh, eaten as healthy foods, used as culinary spices, taken as teas or decoctions, made into homemade creams, salves and liniments, used as non-toxic household cleaners and the list goes on., 

The most versatile and easy system for measurements is the simplest method, because it is based on ratios, measurements are referred to as "parts", for instance 3 parts dandelion, 1 part nettle, 2 parts raspberry, is a very common 3:1:2 synergy. This simple way of measurement lets you make your formulation in any volume you wish, whether ounces, tablespoons, cups, liters, grams etc. 

Herbal Teas and Tisanes  
Water infusion - This method is commonly referred to as a "standard brew". Making herbal tea is almost the same as making a standard cup of tea, with some important differences. It is not usually necessary to strain most herbal infusions as the leaves will settle to the bottom in ten minutes time. In fact it is a good idea to just let the herbs steep, as this will extract more of the medicinal properties. You need not throw out the leftovers either, and may want to reuse them as a "starter" for another fresh batch. Herbs that have a lot of tannins, or are bitter will get even more so the longer they steep and can be strong and bitter to drink. 

Herbal tea making is just as much of an art as it is a science. Color, taste, aroma all will signal you when the brew is "just right". 

Ratio : Pour two cups boiling water over one ounce dried herb, (1 to 2 tablespoons), or 1 cupped handful of the fresh herb. 
Brewing time : 10 to 20 minutes. Depends on the material. Generally, leaves and flowers will take less time than seeds, roots, or barks. 
Average Dose. The average dosage is usually 3 to 4 cups in a day. Bitter medicines need only be taken in small doses, usually 1/2 cup at a time. 
Variations : Spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and allspice add heat and energy to the infusion. Almond and vanilla extracts, raw honey, fresh lemon, or a pinch of stevia add flavor and zest. 
Tools : You don't need anything fancy, the most important tea tool is a non-aluminum pot with a tight fitting lid. Add a strainer and a tea cup and you are good to go. 
Unlike infusions, decoctions are boiled. Woody roots, non-aromatic seeds and barks are suited to this method. To get more of the "good" out of the herbs you can place them cold water over a low heat and slowly bring to a simmering boil. Keep the pot covered and simmer for 20 minutes. I often let the mixture set all day or overnight without straining, you can use the same herbs over again 2 or three times, adding a bit more fresh material if you wish.
Overnight Method : Use this method when the material you want to extract is a bitter, or mineral salt. The whole herb, roots or seeds, or the bark of a woody plant are soaked in cold water for several hours, then brought to a boil and simmered for 30 minutes. The correct proportion if not otherwise specified is one ounce of plant material to two cups of water. 
Dilute a decoction in a gallon of water. This method is useful to soaking a sprained ankle, swollen foot or finger. 
Tincture/Liquid Extracts  
There are three basic solvents used to extract the chemical compounds of herbs in tinctures: alcohol, glycerin, and vinegar. Alcohol is the most used because it can extract fats, resins, waxes,most alkaloids, and some of the volatile oils, as well as many other plant compounds. Water is also necessary to extract the water soluble plant chemicals. Using an 80 to 100 proof alcohol such as vodka, brandy and gin provides the alcohol-water ratio you need without having to add anything. If pure grain alcohol ( 190 proof) is used, water will have to be added. Don't use city tap water that contains chlorine, use either distilled or pure spring water

Herbs: Either fresh or dried finely chopped herbs can be used. Use of one pint of solvent to two ounces of dried herbs, or about two handfuls of fresh. 
The important thing is to completely cover the herbs, leaving a couple of extra inches of liquid about the herbs to allow for swelling as the herbs absorb the liquid. Leave some headroom in the jar. If using vinegar, warm first before pouring it over the herbs.

Procedure for making an easy tincture:

Chop herbs finely 
Place in a glass jar, labeled with the current date and name of the herb 
Add sufficient liquid solvent to completely cover the herb 
Cap with a tight fitting lid, put the jar in a dark place at room temperature, and shake at least once daily. 
After 2 to 3 weeks, strain the contents through several layers of cheesecloth. 
Allow to settle overnight in a clean jar 
Restrain through a filter paper 
Store in a labeled, amber glass bottle away from light and heat. 
The Chinese macerate herbs for months sometimes even years. For stronger tinctures a suggested time can be 4 to 6 weeks. The duration depends on the mixture and on your patience, in time you will develop your own style. I use a kitchen cupboard that I open on a regular basis, so I don't forget to shake the bottle. Tinctures will keep for 6 months. The standard dose is one tablespoon in a wineglass of water once or twice a day.
This method is good for preparation of cough syrups. Make a concentrated infusion, eight ounces of herb to 12 ounces of water. Infuse for 15 to twenty minutes, strain and pour the liquid back into the pot. To each pint of liquid add one cup of honey, warm the mixture to mix well, but do not over cook the honey as it will kill the enzymes. Some additions could be a flavored brandy, a few drops of essential oil or a fruit concentrate. 
External use. Herbs are chopped fresh or dried are moistened with apple-cider vinegar and mixed with whole wheat flour or cooked barley, to hold it together. The proportion should be 1 part herb to 3 parts vehicle. Spread the mixture on a warm, moist cloth and fold the ends and sides over. Oil the skin before applying the hot poultice, and plastic or a heating pad can be used to help retain the heat. 
Infused herbal oils form a great basis for salves and balms,or you can use a plain vegetable oil such as jojoba or olive. Heat the infused oil together in a double boiler with beeswax until the wax is completely melted. Check the consistency by placing a few drops on a cool plate, the more wax, the firmer the salve. A good working ratio to start with is about 1 part wax to 3 parts oil for body salves, and 1 part wax to 2.5 parts oil for lip balms. In an average balm you would use 3 oz. of oil to 1 oz of beeswax (liquid measures). As you get a feel for making salves, experiment with different oil/wax ratios, making salves harder or softer, depending on the purpose of the salve. Salves that are the perfect consistency in cool, winter temperatures, become softer and "melty" in summertime, so plan accordingly. Pour while warm into jars or tins,and cover. Add essential oils for increased fragrance and potency, while the mixture is still warm, but not boiling hot. Cover to prevent the volatile oils from escaping. 

Quick Salve:
Fresh or dried herbs are covered with water, brought to a boil in an enamel or stainless steel pot, using spring water. After the mixture comes to a boil, simmer for 30 minutes. Strain. Add to an equal amount of olive or safflower oil. Return to the pot and simmer until the water is gone. Remove from flame and add enough beeswax to give a thicker consistency. Test by putting a teaspoonful on a cool plate. If it thickens at once, the amount of wax is correct.  
You have always heard that oil and water don't mix. But that is exactly what creams and lotions are - a mixture of oil and water that form the basis of our skin care products. Creams can be tricky to make - but are well worth the effort. To reduce the chances of bacterial contamination, use distilled water, and clean hands and equipment.

Basic Cream: 6 oz liquid oil, 3 oz solid oil, 1 oz beeswax, 9 oz water

Liquid oils: Oils that are liquid at room temperature such as almond, olive, jojoba, and borage. Also included in the liquid oil portion are herbal infused oils, and any fat soluble ingredients like lecithin. 

Solid Oils: Solid at room temperature: Shea and coconut butters, coconut oils. (Coconut is rather in between, becoming a liquid at 76 degrees) 

Water: Distilled water, herbal waters, witch hazel, herbal infusions and fruit juices are all included in the water portion. If you add aloe gel, glycerin, or herbal tinctures include them in the water portion of the formula. 

1. Pour the liquid oil into a pyrex, or heat resistant measuring cup. 
2. Add the solid oils until the total volume equals 9 oz., giving you 3 oz of solid oils 
3. Add 1 oz. beeswax 
4. Use a double boiler, or place your heat resistant measuring cup in a pot of water. Melt oils and wax together until the oils and beeswax are completely dissolved. 
5. Remove from heat and let cool to body temperature. 
6. While oils are cooling heat water to body temperature. 
7. Pour the water in a blender, food processor, or mixer. Add the oil slowly in a thin drizzle. The mixture will begin to thicken and emulsify. 
8. Store in clean jars away from heat and sunlight.  
Essential Oil Blends  
When applying essential oils to the skin, always dilute with a carrier oil before applying. 5 drops EO per teaspoon or 15 drops EO per tablespoon of base oil . One teaspoon will be sufficient for most bodies. Save empty essential oil bottles to store massage or synergy mixes. Most come in handy 1/2 oz bottles. 
Steam Inhale  
Steam is one of the best methods to ease breathing and break up congestion. 2 - 3 drops essential oil, or a handful of fresh herbs such as eucalyptus in a bowl of hot water. Make a tent over your head with a towel. Close your eyes lean over the bowl and breathe in the steam for about a minute.  
When adding essential the essential oils to the hot bath, wait until the water has stopped running, so they don't evaporate. You can dilute the oils in a base oil or honey, or add them neat, using a total of 10 to 14 drops per bath as a general rule. When using fresh herbs, put them in a muslin bag. To soften skin and remove impurities, dissolve 1 cup of epsom salts in the bath water. Aromatic baths with herbs and essential oils are an important part of hydrotherapy (water therapy), benefiting both the body and the mind aspects of conditions such as stress, troubled skin, and arthritis.  
Both infusions and decoctions made from herbs and essential oils diluted with water may be used for external applications. You may dip a cloth in a full strength infusion, wring out the excess moisture and apply to the treatment area. This method is used to treat skin irritation, headaches, chest congestion or swelling from an injury. A compress can be made with a bandage or any clean cloth folded to form a pad. Soak the material in teas made from herbs, roots or essential oils. They can be hot or cold. Wrap over the area firmly ( but not so firm as to cut off circulation).  
As directed or a maximum of 8 drops. Add the essential oil to your washcloth and rub briskly while standing under the running water. Use a decongestant oil like eucalyptus to ease congestion from a cold, or to simply wake up. 

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Incorporate herbs into flower beds and shrub borders. 
Shown here is Dill, Rosemary, and Lavendar