The Little Green Window Apothecary

The first stirrings of spring are starting to happen in the Northern Hempishere and our thoughts turn to green things; plants, flowers, vegetable gardens and herbs!


Now many of you will already be accomplished gardeners and some of you may as yet not tried out your green thumbs. For those who live in apartments or have restricted growing spaces I would say start out small.  If you only have a window then hang some baskets or put some pots on your windowsills, or use window boxes to start a few herbs that can provide you with both culinary delights as well as herbal medicines. 


For the lucky few with balconies you can grow both herbs and veggies in some creative ways using vertical space.


For this project I have suggested four easy to find herbs to grow and information how to use their medicine.



Thyme is a wonderful herb with an aromatic scent that is a delicious addition to foods. 


Thyme contains a potent essential oil called thymol which has long been used in traditional medicine as an antimicrobial; helpful against bacteria, viral and fungal agents. This antimicrobial property helps with upper respiratory complaints by helping rid the body of unwanted critters, and helping to move mucus congestion out of the lungs.


As thyme is antimicrobial, it also can be used in salves as an antiseptic for cuts and wounds. 

There are many ways to administer thyme that you can easily make.     


  • Make a syrup with lemon for sore throats and colds
  • A herbal honey with made with thyme to add to your teas or just take straight off the spoon
  • An antiseptic salve
  •  Liniment  for sore muscles
  •  Tea for gas, indigestion
  •  Tincture
  •  Gargle for sore throats, laryngitis 


Even though rosemary is a humble common herb, it was considered one of the essential medicines by the Arabic, Greek and Roman physicians. European folk medicine has valued rosemary for a long time and is still used for many physical and mental imbalances. Every apothecary should have this versatile herb in stock. 

We know that rosemary is a superb tonic for memory, increasing mental function and acuity by increasing blood flow and stimulating the brain. This stimulation action has been used as a folk remedy for anxiety, depression, insomnia, lethargy, exhaustion, stress, nervousness and headaches.


Also, rosemary's aromatic scent tells us it contains antimicrobial essential oils, much like the thyme mentioned previously. So actually mixing these two herbs, thyme and rosemary, makes for a great antiseptic salve.


Rosemary it is a superb culinary herb!


You can make:

  •   Rosemary honey for coughs, colds and the flu
  •   Tea for digestion
  •   Infused oils for cooking, salad dressings
  •   Make an antiseptic salve
  •   Hair rinse
  •   Vinegar for salad dressings


Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a truly a balm for the spirits and is used to soothe anxiety, nervousness, and depression: it is said to gladden the heart and bring light where there is darkness and softness where there is tension.


Children love lemon balm, and it will calm restlessness and nightmares. It is also employed to improve memory and concentration.


Lemon balm will assist in getting a good night’s rest for those with sleep disturbances and is even better used in combination with sedative herbs like valerian and passionflower.


An amazing herb to ease digestive issues, including cramps and flatulence; due to its mild antidepressant properties, it is especially indicated for digestive upset related to anxiety or depression.

Herbalists also commonly use lemon balm's antiviral action to address issues such as cold sores, shingles, and chickenpox.


Great to use as a culinary herb because of its lovely lemon taste!


You can make:

  •  Tea (hot or cold)
  •  Tincture
  •   Salve
  •   Use as a bath soak
  •   Make a herbal honey



Peppermint is an herb of duality; it provides a cooling sensation and a warming sensation, making it a unique herb indeed.


Peppermint is used as a culinary ingredient in smoothies, summer salads, pestos, desserts, garnishes, and herbal blends added to flavour recipes and improve digestibility.


It has long been used as a flavouring agent for candy, gum, toothpaste, mouthwashes, and medicines.


Peppermint is a well-known digestive and is helpful for digestive disorders associated with pain and spasm, from gas and colic and cramps to diarrhea, due to its stimulating action on the digestive organs and its ability to relax tension.


As peppermint is part of the mint family; it is rich in minerals and vitamins. It contains magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron, niacin, potassium, sodium, selenium, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, vitamins A and C, and protein. Most of these vitamins and minerals are water-soluble, so the best way to enjoy the nutrient profile of peppermint is in a water-based extraction, such as tea.


I find peppermint great to use as a steam for nasal and chest congestion as the cool menthol is so soothing and will break up mucus and reduce coughing. Just a note, spearmint is a better option for children as peppermint is a little too strong for them.


Peppermint is both relaxing and stimulating to the nervous system. Its relaxant action calms anxiety and relieves tension, and its stimulating action can be used to wake up in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me-up to recharge vital energy. It also increases mental clarity and aids concentration.


You can make:

  • Salve for chest congestion from colds and flu (safe for kids if using peppermint as an infused oil, not an essential oil)
  • Steams
  • Teas (hot or cold)
  • Tincture


Disclaimer:  The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen.

The owner of these written materials makes no claims as to the accuracy or completeness of any of the information, including any links. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information.