One day I needed to go to the local herb store to buy some dried nettle for my husband. He was having issues with allergies and my garden was still in winter hibernation. The employee opened up the jar to dispense what I wanted and immediately I could smell Nettle from across the room. It was an amazing scent that I can’t even describe. I have been in many herb stores and never had that happen before. Since then I always check the color and ask to smell what I am about to buy. It is not just about how recently it was dried or how it was processed but also how that plant was grown and harvested. Is there any life force left to share and benefit from?
I have always used freshly harvested herbs in my formulas. 80% of what I make these days comes right out of my organic garden and into the jar or a basket. My care, love, intention and prayers go into everything I do. It was not always like that.
I love using fresh “living” parsley, cilantro, and basil when I cook meals. My cupboards are full of small jars of spice mixes that I have made from store bought dried herbs. This year I grew and dried my own oregano for the first time. As you can see from the photo above it is vivid green (and it also happens to smell amazing). It hardly resembles the faded, dried bits I typically use. I don’t have a large amount of what came from my garden and I have not found a really special recipe to use it in yet. I am sure that dish will be one to remember.
I did not decide to grow oregano as a culinary herb. Instead I was inspired by all the ways that Hispanics use it as medicine. I never imagined that a common spice in my kitchen could be such a powerful healing tool. You may have herd that pure oil extractions of oregano or the essential oil are popular recent trends. But it’s use goes back centuries.
Herbalists have used oregano to treat asthma, bronchitis, coughs, fever, headache, digestive issues, high cholesterol, motion sickness, and rheumatism. Externally it can be used on bruises, joint pain, sprains, and for swelling.
Hispanics use it to induce sweating and bring down a fever, for gas, colic, parasites, menstrual cramps, earache, toothache, snakebite and itchy skin.
I see my oregano spreading and transforming into a “mother” plant in the garden. It is also one of those plants that can address spiritual and emotional issues. I hope this post will inspire you to look at Oregano in a new way.
What is your favorite recipe that features oregano?