Extra strong herbs and natural medicine

I have found that gardening in the desert really concentrates the flavors of your herbs and vegetables. For example, some years ago I grew icicle radishes that ended up with a heat rating of about 6 out of 10. My current basil plants have a mouth "sting" and strong flavor that is impressive. Ditto for my mint plants.

I would think that these plants have extra beneficial chemicals based on their strong taste. This has got me thinking...I can use less culinary spices when cooking; should I plan to reduce dosages of any home medicines that I may make from my herbs? I would think, at a minimum, that I should label any preserved plants as being Extra Strong?

Any thoughts or experiences to share?

Comments

  • JodieDownUnder
    JodieDownUnder Posts: 1,483 admin

    Interesting observations, lucky you. Maybe label as extra strong but I think a little extra goodness wouldn't hurt. If your body doesn't use what it needs, you will expel it anyway.

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    I found your observations very interesting so I did a little research. In "The Rodale Herb Book" The writer noted that many herbs are of a Mediterranean origin and so prefer a climate with a great deal of sunshine, low humidity, seasonal changes and moisture that is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year. Later under soil conditions it is said that with some exceptions herbs prefer well drained, sandy even gravelly soil. Of course herbs are mostly hardy plants that adjust well to a variety of conditions but it sounds to me like the desert would be ideal. I know I read one time that while herb plants will grow well with regular watering, the oils are more flavorful if you don't water as much.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VickiP You are correct that heat and water stresses the plant, many go to seed early. Hot peppers are really hot when grown under these conditions. Tomatoes get a wonderful tangy taste that I have never experienced anywhere else, but the tomato fruits split from water conditions changing during the day, and the plant itself tends to crisp up during the hottest months. Currently, I am only growing herbs.

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    I'm curious, have you ever raised Mexican Oregano? It is one of my favorite herbs, can't be grown from seed and is apparently favors a desert setting.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VickiP No, I haven't heard of Mexican Oregano. You made me curious, so I will keep my eyes open for it. If I find it, I will have to bring in indoors for winter.

    I know that Spanish Lavender does well in the desert (at least in Las Vegas, not doing great here in S. Utah so far.)

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    OK, I just got the really interested in growing Mexican Oregano! I remembered some controversy over the name and found two plants that are called that, the one that I am sure I mean is "Lippia graveolens" it is a native of southern New Mexico where I spent the first twelve years of my life, it is the herb commonly called Mexican Oregano in that area. The other one is "Poliomintha longiflora" which is also called Mexican Oregano and is also a native southwestern plant but it is more cold hardy. I did find some references to growing from seed, but not sure which variety. I think I will just try for some plants come spring and bring them in come fall. This list is getting longer...

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @VickiP Thanks for the scientific names. My online search had given me origarium vulgare that is a native of Mexico.

    I too will look for the plants, see what I can find.

  • hmsadmin
    hmsadmin Posts: 123 admin

    I read something about this a while ago and of course with my memory, I can't remember exactly where or all the specifics.. But the article talked about how the oils and constituents that we want and use medicinally from an herb are chemicals that they make to combat all sorts of stresses and pests. So, plants that are raise in harsher environments and exposed to stresses are more prepared and "armed" with their chemical warfare, which leads to a stronger taste and more potent herb for our uses. I thought it was really interesting and I'll share the article if I can find it again!

    The article didn't mention any need to prepare food or medicines differently form these stressed out, more potent plants. I wouldn't think it would cause issues or overdosing, unless you're trying to make something from a potentially toxic herb. For food, I've had a super spicy basil before myself, and I did wind up using less in the recipe I made with it.. I mostly cook by sight and taste though so I couldn't tell you exactly how much I lessened it by, but I think I used about half of what I'd usually put in the dish.

  • pamelamackenzie
    pamelamackenzie Posts: 143 ✭✭✭

    I have a Mexican Oregano I bought in the spring, but don't know whether it is Lippia graveolens" or"Poliomintha longiflora." However, I have not used it for anything. I have a tendency to grow herbs and forget to use them.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @pamelamackenzie I was just looking at my herbs today, remembered that I should be looking there first when I cook. Luckily?, they are still rather small plants and can't be trimmed back too far.😉

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2019

    Early in my herbal studies, I read that if one wishes to know the maladies a family is to experience observe the "weeds" in their yard. One way of noting how Nature responds to our needs. Considering we live in the same environment as we grow our herbs in, we live/grow with the same conditions/stressors as they do. Could the adaptation of a plant to it's surroundings besides being the method of it's survival, be also the way (more intense flavors/possible greater potency) it gives us what we need?

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    @pamelamackenzie I do that too sometimes, forget what all herbs I am growing lol so not using them.

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @merlin44 A great philosophical thought to contemplate! Working with nature allows one to focus on all the life and death issues.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,500 admin

    So, I was thinking about my weeds just growing naturally in my yard. I will list them. A plant of cleavers (yes, that is all), dandelion, stinging nettle, mint, lots of chickweed, goldenrod & scouring rush in the unfortunately sprayed ditches, thistles, clover, mallow, wild buckwheat, I think there is a type of aster...small & purpley, tons of thistles (at least 2 different types), and lots of yet unidentified ones.

    So...what does that tell you? It tells me that I have more work to do. 😂

  • shllnzl
    shllnzl Posts: 1,820 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Laurie I have work to do also, but I can delay it because I am in an unfamiliar area and don't want to pull up weeds that may be edible and/or have medicinal uses. I also discovered that there are endangered plants in my area. I ordered some posters from the state's plant preservation society to keep from making mistakes on my 3/4 acre of native landscaping.

    I have a good excuse to put off yard work, yes? 😁

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,500 admin

    @shllnzl Certainly!

    It is amazing how much we don't know. I wish the plant could just say loudly & verbally... I am this, use me for that. It would make everything much easier. Haha...but that could get very noisy unless they let you ask first. 😂

    What is sad is that when we DO find out what something's use is and tell someone because we are excited about the find, that they don't seem to want to hear because of some mental/social/um...medical/conventional farming block. I wish that I knew way more so that I could teach others that want to know which weeds are useful instead of looking at them as dirty pests. 😕 That thought brings me to this...

    I've been thinking on the forest walk for relaxation & learning (aka Forest Therapy) thing since @rainbow mentioned it. Only, my focus & practices would be Bible based rather than mystical. It is a fascinating thing what God provides for us through nature. Country loving people, nature artists & nature photographers often recognise the wonderful benefits of trees & nature. This could be a fun adventure to pursue. I admit not sure how well it would work here or if people would pay. It would HAVE to be more than just a hike. I would have to see what type of great quality program I might be able to design. I love doing that sort of thing anyway. It could also give me a wonderful opportunity to travel a little and bring in much needed income, even if just a little. My homeschool project for this year, I guess!

    Anyway, that is really off topic. It is just where my head has been lately.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    re "I've been thinking on the forest walk for relaxation & learning (aka Forest Therapy) . Only, my focus & practices would be Bible based rather than mystical. It is a fascinating thing what God provides for us through nature. Country loving people, nature artists & nature photographers often recognize the wonderful benefits of trees & nature. This could be a fun adventure to pursue. I admit not sure how well it would work here or if people would pay. It would HAVE to be more than just a hike. I would have to see what type of great quality program I might be able to design. I love doing that sort of thing anyway. It could also give me a wonderful opportunity to travel a little and bring in much needed income, even if just a little. My homeschool project for this year, I guess! "

    Hi , You can always Calibrate & Adjust for whatever participants' Belief... system.

    Too, can you explain the difference, to you re 'God' ?, & 'mystical' ?. - in a dictionary it says "Mystical

    1: having a spiritual reality that is neither apparent to the senses, nor obvious to the intelligence.

    2: involving an individual's direct communion with God or ultimate reality.

    Both of these definitions are Biblical, - and yet you can teach about Nature & Herbs (strong, or not) thru your own experience with them, in such a way that both agnostics, & otherwise can be by you enlightened... & further grow.

    This could be wonderful @Laurie 🙂

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,500 admin

    @rainbow I will need to give my brain a bit of time to give a clear answer to your question. Please be patient. I have a busy day today with other things needing my attention, so it could take a while. 😉

  • spowell07
    spowell07 Posts: 37 ✭✭✭

    Soil can make a significant difference to the flavour of produce. Truthfully no were I have ever heard, read or been taught that would suggest a stronger flavor means the content of the herb or vegetable has stronger properties. Of course I’m not an expert by any means. If it where me I would reduce the amount in cooking if you do not like the stronger flavors. There are a lot a places around the world outside the USA that prefer stronger dishes as in flavor and intensity.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭

    me too. - Finally two employees at a Nursery I am friends with said: "Take a picture of each one, & we will help you Identify 4 at a time "

    🙂