Every summer, my west coast cousin came to visit for a few weeks. She was the highlight of my kid life. Then one day, her whole world crashed. She was wrapped up in blankets with pain relievers with terrible menstrual cramping. My Grandmother, being her natural herb savvy self, held my hand and we went into the garden to whip up some medicine for my cousin.
We grew an abundance of herbs in Grandma’s garden. Some of the herbs I didn’t even recognize as herbs because I thought they were just food, or weeds. I didn’t dare say the word weed to my Grandmother. I would have had a quick flick to the temple and still have received the look.
Red raspberry leaf grew along the fence line of my Grandmother’s garden. She picked about two handfuls and place them in her basket. Red raspberry leaf makes an amazing tea and is known as a uterine tonic and balances hormones. I loved red raspberry leaf tea. My Grandmother often put the dried leaves in her sun tea. She said it was good for women. When I asked her if it was good for men, she said, “What is good for women, is always good for men.”
Walking over to the weedy part of the garden, that my Grandfather grumbled about spraying to eradicate, Grandma picked some milk thistle buds with her fingers. I tried, but they poked me. Grandma was an expert and they never poked her. Milk thistle is known for hormone balance and helping to eliminate toxins.
Next to the milk thistle in an old, falling apart whiskey barrel was my favorite childhood herb, lemon balm. I often munched on lemon balm. Every evening, I’d grab a leaf or two just to smell it’s delightful scent. Lemon balm is best used in tea and tincture for anxiety and it makes a great muscle relaxer. I knew just how much to pick for a day’s worth of tea.........
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