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How to heal yourself with herbs

Herbs are at the heart of a lot of spa experiences. With wonderful healing properties, they are a key part of the aromatherapy experience, whether it’s at Woolley Grange where they have more than 100 medicinal herbs in the walled garden, or the herb garden at Congham Hall. Beverley Higham from The Potion Shop explains why…

The use of plants for medicinal purposes has been evident throughout the history of humankind. Indeed, it forms the basis of modern medicine and many of the holistic and spa treatments offered today.

Many indigenous cultures used herbs in healing rituals and medicinal practices. The aromatic aspect of the herbs alone has a profound effect on our physiology, hence the popularity of aromatherapy. Home fragrance is highly popular, but are you aware that it developed from the use of strewing herbs? This was the act of covering the floor with aromatic herbs to fragrance and keep fresh the home and rid it of pestilence in early times. As the herbs were trodden on they released their fragrant properties into the home. A much more cultured approach and often synthetic alternative is now used with potpourri and plug in air fresheners, but as we search to bring nature back into our life, herbs can serve us once more in subtle ways.

Herbs to calm the nerves

Lavender and lemon balm are two plants from the same botanical family, both of which are highly fragrant. Lavender is floral and lemon balm (Melissa) is (unsurprisingly) lemony in scent. Both of these age old herbs can calm the body and mind, reducing stress and the condition Shakespeare called ‘melancholy’. A spoon of each dried herb steeped in hot water for 10 minutes can provide a healing tea for calming the nerves. Drink it mindfully while inhaling the soothing aroma.

Herbs for glossy hair

Another of my favourite herbs is Rosemary. Not only is it known for remembrance, that is, it can enhance the memory, but it also has the reputation for stimulating hair growth by stimulating blood flow to the hair. Inhaling its natural aroma certainly stimulates the body and energises the mind. So to create beautiful lustrous hair add several sprigs of the herb to a bottle of organic olive oil.

Allow the herb to macerate for a couple of weeks and then apply the oil to the scalp as often as required. Massage it into the roots of the hair, leave for 30 minutes, if not longer, and then wash off applying the shampoo before the water to emulsify the oil. Glossy locks will be the result. It has been said that Rosemary has the same amount of free radical fighting antioxidants as goji berries.

Planting the herb near your garden gate or doorway was also known historically to ward off negative influences. So to be sure you leave any negative stress at the office, why not follow suit. A pot at your doorway will ensure your stress free as you cross the threshold.

Herbs for health from the inside out

Basil is a common culinary herb yet it also has many fabulous health and wellbeing benefits. According to research, it can help to prevent the harmful effects of ageing on our vital organs. It is also reputed to reduce inflammation, therefore consuming the herb in salads and and sauces can only be a positive.

Nutritionally basil is rich in vitamins magnesium, potassium and calcium. It would be a good additive to a smoothy but everything in moderation. It may be interesting to note that all of the above herbs are from the same botanical family and although there are many varieties across the world they have their origins in the Mediterranean. If you are to consider using the wonders of natural herbs always check with your Doctor if you are taking medicines, as some herbs can react with orthodox medicine. Most of all enjoy the natural world, it’s a big part of our history .

Where to go

At Woolley Grange in Wiltshire, the hotel and spa are surrounded by beautiful grounds in which there is a walled garden complete with a herb garden.  The spa treatments provided by Italian product line [Comfort Zone] which draw on herbs, flowers and vegetable ingredients to provide naturally glowing effects.  The perfect way to embrace the healing power of herbs!


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