During the early 1990’s Country music was in full stride thanks to acts like Garth Brooks, Brooks and Dunn and Joe Diffe. Suddenly it was cool again to be a cowboy. The traditional lines of classic rock and country music were being played in harmony and new rock and roll fans were singing country songs.
One of the new artists during this time was Tim McGraw and his first hit out of the chutes was called “Indian Outlaw. Maybe you remember the song. “I’m an Indian outlaw, half Cherokee and Choctaw, my baby she’s a Chippewa she’s one of a kind…” About ¾ through the song, McGraw pays homage to a classic rock song called “Cherokee People’ by Paul Revere and the Raiders. This was one of the first times in Country music where a pop song had been sampled in a country song. This just blew me away. Look for both the official video to Indian Outlaw and Cherokee People on You Tube.
Recently, while I was listening to this song, it got me to thinking about what herbs were in common to both of these Native American tribes and also sold by Moss Greenhouses. Native Americans knew early on what herbs and another 2,000 medicinal plants, and trees could do for them. The medicine men called Didanawisgi in Cherokee Nation and Alikchi in Choctaw Nation spent their entire life’s studying, collecting / harvesting, experimenting, and preparing for use herbal remedies. These medicine men wrote about them and passed their knowledge down to their people.
Most Native American Indian tribes used many of the common herbs found in our area today including, Catnip, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Savory, Stevia, Sage, and Mints. They were used in hot teas, tinctures (alcohol and water extracts), and cold soakings know as macerations. They were also used as powders, oils, ointments and yes, some were smoked.
Of these herbs, mints have a long line of healing properties and were widely used. Mints were used in teas, as an aid for digestion, to help lower blood pressure and used in cold compresses for bruises. If mint leaves were placed on the forehead it was said to help with headaches or migraines. I found it interesting that when mint leaves were thrown in a warm bath it would help relive itching skin. The flowers of mint plants will attract bees, hummingbirds and butterflies.
For 2015 Moss Greenhouses is growing the following mints for both our wholesale operation and retail store.
Apple Mint- this mint has a sweet apple scent and can be used in salads, as a refreshing cold drink on a hot summer day or equally well as a hot tea in the winter. The crushed leaves of Apple Mint have been said to help relive bee stings. It grows to about 18” tall and grows extremely well in containers.
Chocolate Mint- Think Junior Mints here! This mint has a sweet chocolate mint fragrance and beautiful pink flowers in the spring. Uses are mainly in teas as it will help settle upset stomachs. It grows to about 16” tall
Orange Mint- This has a nice orange fragrance when brushing the leaves. This variety of mint is a little spicier than most and has a stronger taste, so a little will go a long way. This variety will grow to about 18” tall
Peppermint- One of the most popular of mints. It has great flavoring and thrives in full sun. Uses are said to be in teas, cold compresses, aroma therapy, and insect repellent to name a few. Plants can reach to 36” tall
Spearmint- Another popular mint. In commercial applications used for toothpaste and chewing gum, but I’m thinking about the old classic “Mint Julep”. This mint grows to about 24” tall.
If you have never grown mints in your herb garden why don’t you make 2015 the year of the mint. You will be amazed at how well you do with these and the aromas from these plants will fill your senses. Caution- mints can be aggressive and if you have never grown them before it might be best to start your new herb garden featuring mints in containers. Until next month I would like to leave you with this old Native American quote.
“All plants are our brothers and sisters. They talk to us and if we listen, we can hear them.” Arapaho Proverb.
Dave Holley is the Director of Operations at Moss Greenhouses and has been in the greenhouse industry for over 27 years.
Important Dates to Remember
March 14, 2015 Opening Day for the retail Store.
March 21, 2015 seminars and tours of the greenhouse.
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