The reason I write today, is because around 30 years ago, I met an old woman who was born in Germany in the late 1800s. She was in her herb garden in Western Mass., and I was a “back-to-the-lander” (child of the 1960s . . . ), and interested in growing my own herbs. “Irma” was around 95 years old then, and still going strong. She had bright blue eyes, and white hair held in a bun at the nape of her neck. She had one of those classic flowered aprons on as she bent over her wheelbarrow talking to herself in German. Since German was my minor as a comp-lit major, I of course approached her and asked her what she was growing, etc. We began a nice conversation and eventual/occasional discussion on growing herbs and the health benefits.
Irma told me to “just use herbs and drink tea” as a way to live to be 95. She was very direct about that, and to the point, but of course she was out there exercising every day with her wheelbarrow, weeding, walking around….even in her 90s. Well, she is long gone, and I still remember her words of wisdom…..AND, I do grow my own herbs here in Southern Vermont, and my own veggies, and I swear by using peppermint as a soothing tea to aid digestion, and I grow lavender to use as an aromatic and therapeutic flower essence for the bath.
I grow and buy and forage for other herbs, like ginger, but my favorite herb to aid digestion (and it is part of my research for my books), is peppermint.
It helps for all kinds of digestive distress: Irritable bowel syndrome, diverticultis, heartburn, it even helps me when I have a headache. I grow my own peppermint and with the leaves I made a tea, and let the tea steep for long time (I use one of those tea balls), and I sweeten it with honey. In summer, I use the fresh-grown mint leaves in iced tea (this tea for iced tea is a black or green, caffeinated tea I make as a “sun tea”) to flavor it and make the glass look pretty (I also use mint leaves in my homemade mojitos 🙂
This time of year, I have taken my leaves inside and I hang them upside down to dry, and I can have the fragrant herb smell in the middle of winter.
Anyway, there’s my reason for loving peppermint 🙂 …oh, I forgot! Whenever I have cramps, or when I was pregnant, I always relied on peppermint tea to bring me some relief from cramping, or nausea. I have heard that medicinal cannabis
is very helpful for us IBD-Crohnnie’s, but that herb I have not tried!
Here is a photo I took on my road, and I do not know this woman—she seems like a private sort, who does not even wave when I ride my bike by her Victorian house—but she had a feel of the way I remember “Irma.”