The Blessing of Herbs

Rose of Sharon in Britain and Australia, Aaron...

Rose of Sharon in Britain and Australia, Aaron’s beard, Great St-John’s wort or Jerusalem star (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground–everything that has the breath of life in it–I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.” –Genesis 1:30, New International Version

I’m amazed at herbs.

In fact I should have been a botanist.  I love to watch plants grow.  Spring brings this to the zenith for me.  After watching the dull, dead-looking landscape of winter, the first signs of green inspire the soul as plants and trees and plain old common weeds begin getting green and vibrant once again.

I was introduced to gardening by my family.  I’ve posted before about that.  But when I went to my first appointment as a pastor, a dear lady named Mrs Settle gave me a mint plant.  I think it was peppermint.  I planted it and couldn’t wait to watch it grow.  I left it there as I moved to other places, and knowing what I now know about mint, I’m sure it has survived with runners throughout the yard, possibly making the lawn mowing task smell fresh and clean!  This was my first effort in herb gardening.

The second parsonage my wife and I moved to was built in what was once a barn yard.  The soil was just wonderfully rich and loamy, and could easily be plowed up and worked.  There was a perfect place around the back corner of the house where someone had built a short retaining wall around the sidewalk to the basement.  It made it possible to grow a good row of things near that wall , sit and weed and admire the plants as they developed.  I had twenty-one different herbs in that yard, including sage, bee balm, anise, rosemary, thyme, basil, pennyroyal, oregano, and many different mints.  It thrilled my soul to watch those plants grow and blossom and seed themselves all over.

I’m not quite as ambitious as that now, but I like to make sure I have sage on hand in every yard, and lemon balm.  Sage is good for the mind.  That’s why we call wise people “sages.”

I was walking through Jerusalem one day several years ago when an Arab man stopped me and asked me to help him understand the English someone had used in a letter he had just received.  He invited me and my companions into his shop and had us sit down and talk with him.  He brought us Sage Tea.  We enjoyed the fellowship and I was very interested in the tea and quizzed him about it.  That’s when I learned that sage is good for priming the pump of wisdom from the mind.  I don’t know what science exists to back that claim up, but I was willing to receive the wisdom from my host that day.  I have made sage tea a few times since, and enjoyed its pungent aroma and flavor.

Sage is in the family referred to as “salvia.”  It is grown in many varieties, including some used for flowers.  They are known for their deep blue blossoms grown on spiky stems.

St. John’s Wort is another herb that grows well around here.  It is used as a treatment for mild depression.  The flowers are yellow and star-shaped.  I found it growing wild on the ridge above Burke’s Garden here in Tazewell County, Virginia.  I had some in my garden at the second parsonage, but have lost touch with my source for it since moving over a decade ago.

Someone gave me a Stevia plant once as well.  Stevia is a plant that is admired for its ability to sweeten food.  It does that without the normal rise in blood sugar that comes from cane sugar.

I continue to learn about and admire herbs and other useful plants.  I’m thankful for the broad variety and rich use and beauty they bring to our lives.  God has blessed us with these things.

About Brad Scott

An Appalachian CrossFitter who loves Jesus and is happily married to Tammie. I have a son and a fine little grandson. In the peak of middle age, trying to figure out the rest of this journey.
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