Tag Archive | tea

Skipper on Agastache

I love Skipper Butterflies!! They are always very friendly and will land on an outstretched finger. Maybe only for a moment, as their energy level is so high, they must skip on to the next flower. The Agastache (Hyssop) I was planting that day had these guys going nuts for the nectar, as there wasn’t much still blooming at the time.

Although the skipper had me thinking cutie thoughts, This post is really about this amazing plant.

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Agastache, also known as Hummingbird Mint, is essential to a pollinator friendly garden. Agastache plants are not on the menu for browsing deer and rabbits. Sometimes known as Hyssop, Hummingbird Mints are a showy, fragrant group of perennial herbs that as their name suggests, attract hummingbirds. Perhaps best of all, they offer color to the garden in late summer and early fall, when many gardens are winding down and getting a bit dull.

Hyssop are an easy group of plants to grow and are native to the United States. They are in the mint family, thus they have square stems. They can take most exposures, if water is adequate, although they do not like wet soils. They grow to about 3′ and can bloom for a very long time, from July through October.

Other facts:

  • Bees are attracted to the late-blooming flower which results in a light, anise-scented honey.
  • In traditional folk herbal medicine, hyssop tea has been used to help assist digestion. Native Americans also used hyssop as a medication to cure wounds, fevers, cough and diarrhea.
  • Hyssop is also effective in relieving pains in the chest, due to excessive coughing. It can help expel mucus, making it ideal for treating colds.
  • A poultice prepared with the leaves and stems of the hyssop plant may be used to heal burn injuries.
  • Put fresh or dried anise hyssop leaves in cheesecloth and hang from the tub faucet, letting the water flow over the herbs.  The scent from the hyssop will help calm agitated nerves.
  • Along with mental calming, it can also provide pain relief to sore muscles via a warm bath.  Hyssop is also supposed to curb nightmares.
  • Aside from therapeutic uses, hyssop is also used for culinary purposes. Fresh leaves and flowers can be added to salads and fruit salads as well as use it in the form of a garnish. Alternately, you may use fresh or dried up leaves with chicken, lamb, salmon as well as some vegetable dishes like peas.
  • Hyssop leaves can be used as a substitute for anise or mint.

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Welcome Little Violet – Viola sororia

imageI saw this little guy on the top of my south facing swale. It gets a bunch of sun and tends to warm up quickly there. These beauties are really low and were tucked protectively into the grass. If you put weed killer on your lawn in the spring, you’ll miss out on having them bless you in the spring.

There are many health benefits of violets. Leaves of violets contain twice as much vitamin C as the same weight of an orange and over twice the amount of vitamin A when compared with spinach. Bam! Early Native Americans have used violets for treating different cancers and the American Natural Cancer Institute has recognized this and have joined forces. Violets may also be useful in the therapy of disorders related to an overactive immune system.

Here are a few spring tea recipes including violets:

Nutritious Tea
Use equal amounts of the dried leaves of nettle, dandelion, red clover, violet and mint.

Mineral Rich Tea
Steep violet leaves with alfalfa, horsetail, oatstraw, red clover, hawthorn leaf and flower, chamomile, and raspberry leaves. This tea is jam-packed with vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and calcium.

Combine violet leaves with blue vervain, linden leaf and linden flower with elderberry flower.

These cutie-faces are native east of Kansas. They are the state flower for Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.


© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl