Even as spring bulbs push up from the soil and the buds on our neighborhood trees and shrubs burst forth with renewed vigor, the realities of stay-at-home orders associated with the COVID-19 health crisis have made it more difficult than ever for families to reconnect with nature this season.
Aromatic herbs are among the best tools from Mother Nature that help us conquer weary nerves and cabin fever. Breathing in the rich scent of herbal teas containing lemon verbena, lavender, or spearmint relaxes our minds by reminding us of the sweet, earthy flavors that abound in our summer herb gardens.
Humans have long understood that the leaves, fruits, flowers, and roots are the sources of powerful medicine. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that invigorate our senses, nature’s bounty holds the power to fortify our bodies when we need it most.
But how can getting to know the various aromatic herbs found in nature create family-friendly opportunities for fun and learning? As parents and students adjust to new working and learning situations at home, taking mental breaks throughout the day to make tea or prepare snacks together can help stave off stress and boredom. Experiment with fresh, new flavors and combinations to refresh (and nourish) your brain!
Herbs like peppermint, thyme, or lemon balm can be used fresh or dry in salads or fruit snacks. Or, choose another of your favorite savory herbs like savory, basil, or sage and invite a family member to crush it between their fingers before sprinkling it on fresh-cooked proteins or roasted vegetables. The strong scent and flavor of the essential oils released by crushing will surely provide invigorating surprise.
Stimulate your family’s curiosity to reconnect with the sensory wonders of the natural world each day by incorporating the following herbs into your daily routine:
- Lemon verbena
- Lemon balm
- Rose hips