Herbs for the houndMay 09, 2020
With so many herbs to choose from in the human field, it can be a struggle picking those that are most beneficial, whilst also picking those that are most commonly selected.
Fantastic if you are blessed with space to let them take over a bit and you are able to plant a wide variety.
But if not, you really want to pick some plants that are going to be selected more often than not, something that is a little bit tough and can cope with being nibbled and chewed. You want resilient herbs.
Resilience comes in many shapes and sizes in the plant world but for longevity, I would recommend starting with herbaceous perennials. Shrubs can be fantastic for some structures - they just don't take very well to being chewed and can easily be de-barked, thus killing off the plant. Herbaceous perennials, on the other hand, they can take a bit of damage from a self-selecting dog. They can be rolled on and rubbed up against by even the biggest of dogs and then come back the following year as if nothing has happened.
1) One of the best herbs for coping with this kind of brutality comes in the shape of the small and delicate Chamomile. Lawn Chamomile can be walked on and rolled on, chewed and lain on. It releases wonderful volatile oils into the air aiding in some very subtle releases. Roman and German Chamomiles work equally well although be prepared that the flowers may well be nibbled off. Again this isn't actually a problem for Chamomile, in fact, it rather agrees with it, because having the flowers chewed off means it produces more flowers. Chamomile is especially soothing and calming with a little bitter twang to help with digestion too. You may also notice an animal roll in the plant if it has a scratch or laceration because Chamomile has some pretty amazing cellular regeneration properties!
2) Yarrow. tough by name and tough by nature. Yarrow is fairly prolific throughout the UK and you can buy some ornamental varieties from the garden centre too. They won't have as great medicinal qualities but they do look pretty amazing and are equally as tough. The feathery nature of yarrow leaves prevents bleeding in most cases. if you need a reliable first-aid herb - yarrow is it! The essential oil is reported to act like a 'rescue remedy', so indicated in lots of shock and trauma situations. You can make a great hydrosol from the plant too and i find this to be selected frequently.
3) Calendula. Not only does Calendula look darn pretty it makes a super little perennial or annual. The seeds provide year-on-year and can be sown or scattered giving a never-ending supply. Like Chamomile, the more you nip the flower heads the more flowers come through. You can dry the flower heads really easily in an airing cupboard, hang them upside down to dry in a paper bag, or if you have one a dehydrator works brilliantly. I personally find that they are more commonly selected dried than fresh. Calendula is a great lymphatic herb, soothing to the gut with slight anti-viral qualities.
4) Cleavers. Not a herbaceous perennial but a reliable and often overlooked annual found in pots and borders in most gardens. A wild delight of cooling cucumber yumminess. Every garden should let the cleavers grow, even just a small patch will provide a pretty good spring detox. Cleavers are mildly bitter, again wonderful for getting digestive juices going and diuretics, helping to pee all the detox out to the world. Synergy in action!
5) Blackberries. There's no doubt about it, most dogs like blackberries and if given half the chance will nibble away at a blackberry bush with delicateness and lightness. In Autumn the antioxidant berries are a bit of a treat but you can keep a small bush in a pot without too much trouble and it can take being pruned quite heavily. The leaf buds taste of cobb nuts which always perplexes my senses.
So there you have it. 5 herbs your garden or balcony can easily accommodate and so beneficial. It would be a self-selection starter kit of your own making.
In addition, you could make your own Chamomile tea. Yummy.
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