Buying a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers is one of the most popular Mother's Day gift combinations there is. Instead of the traditional arrangement, why not change it up a bit this year? A container herb garden looks beautiful and, unlike flowers, will last a long time. To makes things even easier on Mom, herbs require very little maintenance and thrive is most climates.
Here are my five favorite herbs for Mother's Day -- just put them in pots, water regularly and enjoy!
1. Choose lavender for peace of mind
I don't know about you, but with two young sons, I could use a bit of relaxation every now and then. Lavender is the ideal herb for soothing your senses, as its aroma is renowned for relieving tension. While lavender is known for being calming, it possesses many skincare benefits. Lavender comes from the Latin term “lavere”, which means to wash. This is appropriate because lavender is a great cleansing, antibacterial ingredient. That is why you’ll find lavender in acne skincare products as well as products formulated to calm irritated skin.
Fun fact: The Egyptians used lavender in the mummification process and the Greeks & Romans used it as a perfume and to scent their homes. It was even used to help treat infections when the Plague was occurring during the Renaissance.
2. Sage for improved clarity
Whenever I think of sage, I think of homemade Thanksgiving stuffing. This herb has so many other benefits, though, including aromatherapy. Do you ever feel like you have a mental fog? Or like you have so many thoughts going through your head that it is hard for you to concentrate? If so, sage is the herb for you! Anecdotal evidence suggests that the act of smelling sage provide more mental clarity.
Skincare Use: Sage can help to remove impurities and excess oil and is ideal for acne prone skin.
3. Balm mint
Also called Melissa or lemon balm, balm mint is a member of the mint family and is a perennial. Balm mint has a soft lemon aroma and is the perfect companion to your homemade pesto recipe. It also benefits the skin and is used to gently treat acne flare ups.
Tasty Tip: Try adding balm mint to your hot or iced tea. It adds a brightness to the tea. The next time you pour yourself some tea, skip the sugar and try adding balm mint and see how you like the fresh, citrusy flavor without the calories.
4. Wild Thyme
Thyme is most known for its culinary use. I add it to my poultry dishes and it is a key component of the popular spice blend called Herbes de Provence. Thyme is often used in alternative medicine as it is believed to be antiseptic, anti-fungal and antibacterial. When used in skincare, it can help to gently cleanse the pores and help with acne.
Did you know? In the Middle Ages, thyme was placed under pillows to help prevent nightmares and promote a good night's sleep.
No herb garden is complete without parsley. From flat leaf to curly, it really does not matter which one you choose. People tend to associate this herb with the standard garnish on a restaurant dinner plate, but it really is a fabulous herb. It freshens the breath and is rich in Vitamins A, C, and E. Add it to homemade sauces for a fresh flavor.
The herb of champions -- Greeks believe that Hercules wore a garland of parsley around his neck, so it is often placed around the necks of winning athletes, even in modern times.
Use herbs to create a luxury milk bath.
If you're feeling a bit adventurous, there are some easy do-it-yourself recipes you can try using the herbs from your garden. When I'm in need of some R & R, I like create a home spa experience. One of my favorite DIY recipes is a simple milk bath. Soaking in the tub with herb-infused milk will help calm your senses. You don't need many supplies and you can use a mason jar to store your creation.
Why a milk bath? Milk contains lactic acid, a form of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). It helps to gently exfoliate the skin and milk will soften and nourish.
I like to add fresh herbs to the milk because the liquid becomes infused with aromatherapy benefits. If you need to relax, use lavender. Sage will help clear your mind if you need to regroup prior to starting a project. Add balm mint if you need to feel more energized.
To make a milk bath:
- Pour 3/4 to 1 cup of milk into a bowl.
- Add a handful of fresh herbs to the milk.
- Mix the herbs and milk with a spoon. Pour into a closed container.
- Let steep for several hours for the milk to be fully infused.
- Strain loose pieces from the milk while you run your bath water.
- Pour milk under running bath water.
For a more spa-like experience, dim your bathroom lights, add a couple of candles and turn on soft music.
Balancing a career, home, driving carpool and attending school events are all in a day's work for most moms. Be sure to pamper that special woman in your life this Mother's Day!