In ancient times, healers dispensed herbs. The Middle Ages replaced herbs with prayers. The Renaissance replaced prayers with medicine. Today many say medicine is too strong, too expensive and too late. Give me that herb! In short, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

And ‘under the sun’ is exactly where herbs grow. Herbs protect themselves from intense sun, since they can’t move to the shade. Herb sunscreens are the same nutrients the human body uses to protect against sun-damage and other forms of accelerated aging.

These sunscreens are sometimes called antioxidants because they stop the oxidizing chemical process. Oxidation is what causes fat to go rancid, fish to smell fishy, bleach to bleach and pennies to turn green. Eating herbs is like applying sunscreen.

Said differently, Nature uses green wrapping paper. This wrap job is so clever, even science hasn’t been able to guess what’s inside. Science is still unwrapping. Here are some examples. 1. Two servings of greens a week protected against eye diseases better than a daily multiple vitamin. 2. The recently discovered antioxidant called lutein a homing device for the eye. How lutein concentrates itself in the eye is still unknown. 3. Then there are the carotenoids, hundreds of chemicals, not all yet known. These colorful antioxidants make carrots orange, flamingos pink and autumn leaves colorful. My herbs have lots of carotenoids, hidden in the verdant green of other nutrients.

Herbs contain vitamin K, which interferes with a blood-thinner medication known as Coumadin™. Some of my patients taking Coumadin™ don’t eat greens. This is dangerously incorrect, as persons with health conditions requiring Coumadin™ often need green herbs the most. Patients on Coumadin™ should eat greens consistently and adjust Coumadin™ dose with their doctor accordingly.

My herb garden attracts butterflies, which make it a caterpillar cradle. Interestingly science has discovered that the human cradle also needs herbs. A yet unsung virtue of herbs is the rich source of folate. Folate is the B vitamin critical to the nervous system of the unborn child. Herbs may also improve the function of progesterone, a hormone which science now thinks can enhance intelligence of the unborn child. Herbs can improve insulin control, protecting the unborn from adulthood obesity.

Some people think herbs are time consuming. I disagree. I even put thyme in a bottle. Only in my garden can I plant an herb, phone in a prescription and say a prayer. It’s a multitasking healer’s paradise. Even more, business courses recommend that someone look in the mirror to stay calm during a stressful phone conversation. Why look at my own reflection when I can reflect in Nature’s mirror, my herb garden. Reducing mental stress also protects against oxidation.

Enjoy your harvest. Eat herbs fresh. Dried is also a good choice. Store thyme and other dried herbs in an airtight glass bottle, away from sunlight, heat and moisture. Do not keep the herbs by a window, stove or dishwasher. Do not freeze them, since thawing causes moisture. Herbs should last for 2 years and your health for many more.