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Top Ten Non-culinary Herbs

Arlington, GA(Zone 8a)

By special request a "spin-off to the top ten.

"Lavender Blue", also called "Lavender's blue", is an English folk song dating to the 17th century.
Although there are as many as thirty verses to the song, most versions go about like this:

Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, lavender's green,
When I am king, dilly, dilly, you shall be queen.
Who told you so, dilly, dilly, who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly, dilly, that told me so.
Call up your men, dilly, dilly, set them to work
Some with a rake, dilly, dilly, some with a fork.
Some to make hay, dilly, dilly, some to thresh corn.
While you and I, dilly, dilly, keep ourselves warm.
Lavender's green, dilly, dilly, Lavender's blue,
If you love me, dilly, dilly, I will love you.
Let the birds sing, dilly, dilly, And the lambs play;
We shall be safe, dilly, dilly, Out of harm's way.
I love to dance, dilly, dilly, I love to sing;
When I am queen, dilly, dilly, You'll be my king.
Who told me so, dilly, dilly, Who told me so?
I told myself, dilly, dilly, I told me so.

What are your top ten grown herbs for non- culinary use. And what do you do with them.

Arlington, GA(Zone 8a)

Lets see I'm not sure if I have 10, but I am sure by the time we all share our favorites. And I go shopping I will..LoL

Lavendar for the wonderful smell and dried clusters.
Fennel and parsley go to the BTS catapillars.
Pineapple sage for the Hummers

Middleburgh, NY

The following are all herbs I grow:

Lavender (but I cook with that too) - it is wonderful for a calming agent and is soothing to skin as well as antiseptic

Sage (ditto on the cooking with it) - makes a wonderful tisane to drink when you have a sore throat, and reduces hot flashes and night sweats, very drying if you have "boggy" conditions

Goldenseal - excellent for conjunctivitis, use as a wash; terrific for direct contact on inflamed mucus membranes (mouth, throat, etc)

Mullein - leaves as a poultice for lower back problems, as a tea for a cough; the flowers infused in olive oil for earaches

St. John's Wort - fresh flowers infused in olive oil terrific for any sort of nerve pain

Arnica - flowers infused in olive oil for muscle sprains, bruises, etc.

Comfrey - leaves infused in olive oil for excellent healing of the skin

Calendula (I cook with this too) - tea for digestive problems (like ulcerations), infused oil as a wonderful skin repairer, dried flowers as an anti-fungal I've written an article about calendula for The Essential Herbal.

Plantain - chewed leaf to take stings away from bee stings immediately or infused in olive oil to use the same

Skullcap - tea or tincture makes a great spasm reducer, headache relief, etc.

There's also passionflower, oats, red clover, black cohosh, licorice, dandelion, violets, stinging nettles, echinacea, meadowsweet, hops, etc.!!!!!!!

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Lavender is culinary for me too in herbs de province sachet to be used in broths and soup bases in french cooking. I DEFINITELY recommend using the lavender in this combo.

Favorite non-culinary use is monarda (beebalm). It's a hummingbird magnet in my garden.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

Thanks for starting this thread!

In my garden…

For Butterflies
Dill, Bronze Fennel, Parsley, Rue, Yarrow

Edited: ooo, yes, forgot to add that I have two new monarda plants this year for hummingbirds and butterflies. I didn't even think of that as an herb.

For Crafts
Lavender, Sweet Annie

For my cat
Wild catnip

For Pest Control
Borage repels Tomato Worms. I have first hand experience with this, it really works.

I've also recently been thinking about making my own facial cleansers and oils from Lemongrass. I'd have to pick up some other items at the healthfood store, like willowbark. I use natural things from Suki for a couple of years now and and thought it would be fun to make my own.

This message was edited May 29, 2008 11:29 AM

Thumbnail by Mrs_Ed
Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

Yarrow (which is good for coughs but honestly tastes like gasoline smells), bee balm, St. John's wort, echinacea, feverfew, comfrey, valerian, aloe vera (does that qualify?), calendula, and marigold.

Waaaay Down South, GA

Do you grow comfrey, and if so how do you use it?

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

I ordered a plant from Richters several years ago, and it was a small leaf and a little bit of root. I keep it in a HUGE pot because I was warned it will take over. I don't use it much but like to have it in case I get wounded. The leaves also make great compost. AND I just happen to have a picture!

Thumbnail by brigidlily
Arlington, GA(Zone 8a)

I found this while researching potpourri herbs.
A Potpourri Herb sachett contains , any of the following: Lemon Verbena, Pineapple Sage, Lavender, Patchouli, Chamomile, Lemon Grass, Peppermint, Cinnamon Basil.
It also said that they will hold the strong scent after drying...

Waaaay Down South, GA

Thanks for the info on the comfrey. I had read where it would take over, and that's why I was interested in whether you grew it or not. I also read where it was harmful if digested so was interested how it was used. :)

I've made some potpourri using lemon balm, Lavender, rose scented geraniums and dried batchlor buttons from a friend on DG. It is a nice mixture. I went to my local craft store and purchased a fixative along with some fragrance oil. I did a little research on the internet to learn what I needed. I'm sure I could improve. LOL

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

Comfrey in large amounts can harm the liver, so it's not supposed to be sold for internal use. I've had comfrey tea before; if I had an ulcer, I'd probably take a little, but mainly I'd use it for wounds. You're supposed to be able to pack it into an open wound and it is very antiseptic and very healing. So far I haven't had to put it to the test, thank heaven!

I have some scented geranium/pelargonium out there as well, and it's doing amazingly well. I'd thought it needed a drier climate, but it has not only survived but spread -- I don't know if it dropped seeds or goes out from the roots, but I love the smell. Your mix sounds great.

Paducah, KY

One would have to eat plates and plates of comfrey leaves in order to have a CHANCE at harming their liver. Poor comfrey was villianized because some scientists isolated and mass produced one of the chemicals it contains and then proceeded to inject those chemicals into rats. After many injections (plus regular ingestion of comfrey leaves), the poor rats developed tumors and died.

And now, comfrey is banned in Canada and the US (unless, of course, you're a gardener and can grow your own!).

And so that leads into my top 10:

Comfrey (of course! You can't beat it as a wound healer...I discovered that when I got 10 stitches in my thumb, AND if you get a bug bite, there's nothing that brings relief faster than a rubbed-on comfrey leaf)

Scented geraniums--I have no clue what to do with them, but I love them ever so much and could happily spend hours rubbing and inhaling them. -- I have attar of rose, citronella, lemon meringue, strawberry, green apple, old spice, and nutmeg...they make my mouth water. I've thought of maybe using them to make a face wash?

Elfwort (Elecampane)--Beautiful, sunny plants, and the roots are wonderful for tincturing as a remedy for deep, congested coughs.

Horehound--another old timey favorite. You can't beat horehound lozenges and syrup, though it certainly is bitter.

Mugwort--excellent "dreaming" herb. I stuff it in dream pillows and drink it as a tea if I'm up for a little nocturnal wandering. :)

Calendula--another sunny, beautiful, and highly useful herb. I love to make a dry skin salve with this one.

Chamomile--You can step on it, drink it, tincture it, or put it in your bath, and it'll just bound back and nod it's pretty little flowers at you. Who wouldn't love it?

Feverfew--None better for headaches. Again, incredibly bitter, but oh so useful.

Bee Balm--For the bees, of course!

European Mandrakes--Obviously, I won't be eating these or using them for any sort of internal purposes. I'm just thrilled that 15 of my 20 seeds germinated and that I now have thriving mandrakes tucked all about my garden. Not to mention the fact that people were SO thrilled when I gave them little mandrakes of their very own. The folklore and history alone makes them well worth the effort, and in two years, I'll get to dig the roots which is, of course, the most exciting part of mandrake ownership. :)

I have to be away from my garden for a week, and I keep getting this strange urge to go outside and dig in the dirt...but I'm not sure my mother would be happy if I started hoeing her perfectly manicured lawn. : /

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

Be sure and cover your ears when you re-pot those mandrakes... ;}

Yes, poor comfrey! I've gotten it in Austin, but it's labeled "for external use only" to cover the you-know-what. Demonization of natural things is a real shame; all the "test" shows is that if you use it, use moderation. As you should in ALL things! (Except how many herbs to grow, of course!)

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

o that is a shame!!! I never knew that about comfrey. Now I want it just because its been maligned and for the skeeters too.

Lumberton, TX(Zone 8b)

I assume Richter's still carries it; you might check in the plant files.

Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Yupper brigidllily. Just added to my looooooooong 2009 seed order. I luv Richter's.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

This is a great thread, and i appreciate all the good info. Does anyone know of a website that sells seeds in assortments? I'd like to try many of these, but I've spent (and more) my seed money for the year. If I could find a collection of medicinal herb sees at a reasonable price, I could probably raid the couch cushions and car seat....:)


Calgary, AB(Zone 3a)

Richter's strikes again ^_^

and Heirloom Seeds (don't know this supplier but good rating on watchdog)

This message was edited May 30, 2008 9:33 AM

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Wow! That was quick! Thank you so much :). I'm going to raid the stashes...

BTW, I've had great luck with Veggie seeds from Baker's Creek (heirloom seeds).


Paducah, KY

I'm in

Paducah, KY


I've got my fluffy earmuffs all ready, so if they scream too loudly, the worst that will happen is unconsciousness and not immediate death. ;)

Cumberland Mtns, TN(Zone 6b)

Ditto on thanking you for starting this thread. I've learned a wealth of information.

I'm growing 2 kinds of lavender for the aroma and making sachets, and because it's my favorite flower. I'd love to have a whole field of it.
Catnip for making tea when you can't sleep.
St John's wort - I knew it had value in an herb garden, LOL, I just haven't researched why yet.
Dill for the butterflies

my garden is still growing.


No. San Diego Co., CA(Zone 10b)

I saw a pink lavender the other day and wanted to buy it, but I have a moratorium on new plants until fall. :-(

Cumberland Mtns, TN(Zone 6b)

KaperC, you should get an award then. You must have strong willpower!

I can only imagine.

No. San Diego Co., CA(Zone 10b)

No, no, I'm weeeaaak! I have a lot of seeds I'm supposed to be growing so I can plant in fall, when we have much better luck with new plantings. It's hot and dry in summer and our soil is like cement. I also have a lot of maintenance to do before I can justify new plants.

Middleburgh, NY

I have a pink lavender, Jean Davis. It's nice, but I prefer the purple lavenders.

No. San Diego Co., CA(Zone 10b)

You mean I shouldn't feel bad about not buying it? Oh, good.

Waaaay Down South, GA

I looove lavender. The only kind I see here is Provence, but I noticed there are sooo many different varieties on the Richter's link for my zone. I wonder why they never have them at my local HD or Lowes? Now I've just gotta have some! LOL Thanks everyone for all this wonderful info. I have a feeling my herb garden is going to be getting bigger. :)

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

IO1, perhaps it's time to go to a larger nursery.

Kaper, I "see" container gardening in your immediate future!

Cumberland Mtns, TN(Zone 6b)

lO1 , My wallyworld had two kinds of lavender this year, 'Lady' and the other package said 'lavendula angustifolia'. Which I couldnt find a picture on here....I might have overlooked it.

I've sown both, but, ( a big but) when I moved them to the other end of the porch to get more sun, i sort of mixed up the trays and I dont really know what is what. (haha isnt that convenient?)

I will probably need help soon determining what I've got.

What is it that they say about good intentions?

Mrs said several threads ago that you had seeds, and then I didn't respond because I left but I did I post a few that were dear to my heart; does the offer still stand? (gosh, that sounds like begging)
They would be appreciated, I promise.

Whiteside County, IL(Zone 5a)

no, no, I remember. I was waiting to see whom else chimed in. Let me find your "needs" and check my "stash" and then I'll dMail you.

I know I have extra bronze fennel that critter sent me. hmmm, other than that can't remember what you wanted/needed.

No. San Diego Co., CA(Zone 10b)

Wheee! I get to buy plants. DH just finished a project for me and now I get to fill it with containers. I'm looking for plants that will handle the heat in part sun under some pine trees. This is such a great group, I know you will help me!

See here:

Cumberland Mtns, TN(Zone 6b)

Kaper, like the cart that Molly (was her last name McGuire?) pushed? I'm trying to remember if the statue of her in Dublin, Ireland had the cart or not. (its late and my brain shuts down at midnight)

What a treasure you have there. haha both the DH AND the cart =)

I can't wait to see it loaded and in bloom. And are you leaning towards non-herb plants?

A cart full of thymes? and lavender!!

No. San Diego Co., CA(Zone 10b)

Nannie, we have mostly California natives in our landscape, so I don't want to get too "cottage-y." Yes, I'm thinking lavender (if it will bloom in part sun/shade), thyme, penstemon, perhaps some salvia, a verbena I saw while googling (Verbena lilacina), perhaps Heuchera, etc. Would like something to trail over the edge, too. I'll start with a few then build on that.

I'll have to keep an eye on the light pattern for some time to see what exactly happens down there during the day. The pine trees offer our only shade in the back, but it's not deep shade except early in the morning.

Waaaay Down South, GA

Of course I'll help ... just send it waaay down south. LOL Not a problem. grin

Middleburgh, NY

nannie, was that Molly Malone?

No. San Diego Co., CA(Zone 10b)

Betty, I looked it up - it was Molly Malone and the cart is similar but without sides Since we tend to name everything around here, I hereby dub the cart Molly. We had intended to add two signs to our landscape, one with "Yorkshire xxx miles" and the other with Ireland - we'll put the latter right by the cart!

In Dublin's fair city,
where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!"

Cumberland Mtns, TN(Zone 6b)

see, herbalbetty..i told ya i was crazy. lol I think you are right.
it was an Irish last name. McGuire - Malone. =) I used to have the words to a song they song about her. One of many songs I'm sure. I'm 99% certain her statue had the cart with it. We went on one of those tour buses and the driver sang part of the song for us and I came home and looked up the words. ( thats the way my mind weeds running all over the place)

Cumberland Mtns, TN(Zone 6b)

HAHAHAHA are GOOD. I like the idea of the sign.

On the bulletin board near my desk I have one of those signs that points to the right and says
Luimneach one one line, and LIMERICK, bolded, underneath it.

No. San Diego Co., CA(Zone 10b)

Cool sign! We have to compromise around here. DH is from Yorkshire, and my background is Irish, English, and Welsh. He got his way with the name of the house - Breezedale - though I had a nice Welsh name picked out; we knew no one would be able to pronounce that one. So we figured with the signs, one can point to his birthplace and one to my grandparents'! We visited Ireland several years ago and I just loved it.

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