Each month at our general QHS Meetings we feature a Herb-of-the-Month. Members choose a herb that holds a particular interest for them and often share their personal experiences in regard to growing, cooking or the medicinal benefits of a herb. For others it’s a great chance to research a new herb and share their new found knowledge with others – Learning by Sharing!
Botanical name: Rungia klossii
By Sarah Heath
A culinary herb, Mushroom plant is very versatile, adding a mild mushroom taste to foods. Used both raw in Salads or as garnish and cooked in anything you want! The Mushroom flavour increases slightly when cook but can also be cooked out. So best to add in the last minutes of cooking.
TRY IT IN: Stir fry’s, soups, stews, spaghetti bolognese and other pasta sauces, risotto, omelette, meat balls, vegie burger patties.
Botanical name: Pogostemon cablin
By Elspeth Davies
Patchouli is a part of the Lamiacae family along with Mint, Lavender and more.
This perennial erect herb grows to about a metre tall. It has brown woody stems and produces pink/white flower spikes that fade and form capsules of brown seeds. The leaves, flowers, seeds and cut stems all give off its delightful aroma.
It likes to grow in well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. It suits tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate climates. It can also be used as a houseplant. Like mint it likes a good drink but if left for a time recovers well.
Propagation is by seed, cuttings or root division in warmer months. Patchouli is a good aromatic companion plant to deter pests. It is native to tropical regions of Asia and is now cultivated widely.
Botanical name: Zizyphus spinosa
By Bettina Schmoll
Ziziphus spinosa (red date) is a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for its mild sedative action and calming effect on the nerves and mind.
The fruit is an edible drupe, yellow-brown, red, or black, globose or oblong, 1–5 cm long, often very sweet and sugary, reminiscent of a date in texture and flavour.
Botanical name: Taraxacum officinale
By Fiona Cameron
• Native from northern hemisphere introduced by the early settlers
• Classified as a weed in this country
• Look for toothed leaves (lions tooth)
• Tap root
• One flower head per stalk
• Seeds spread by wind
• Germinates readily
Photo by Sandra Nanka
Food as medicine
• Leaves are edible and have a bitter taste
• Leaves are more diuretic
• Flowers can be added to salads
• Dried roots can be mixed with chicory & or coffee to make a refreshing drink
• Roots have more of cholagogue action