The Green Report, January 3rd, 2012 by Susun Weed
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) can be smoked to relieve menstrual cramps; catnip tea or catnip honey in hot water works well too.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaves in salads or as a tea help brighten grey winter days. The tincture strengthens the nerves.
Wild mint (Mentha aquatica) tea eases indigestion from rich holiday meals and sparks ones interest in leafy greens when added to salad. A hearty addition to a smoking mix.
Ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), also know as creeping jenny, ale hoof, and that-*!#!*-weed-in-my-garden is always willing to lend a hand to cheer you up and soothe your nerves. I add her leaves and flowers to salads all year long. Midwives use the tincture of the plant in bloom to hasten delivery of the placenta. Lovely in smoking mixes.
Bergamot (Monarda didyma) can be found both wild and cultivated. I prefer the red-flowered variety over all others for use in salads, honeys, vinegars, teas, and smoking blends, but the purple- or magenta-flowered ones may be used to your tolerance for the taste of oregano.
Wild oregano hunkers down but is still available for salads. Since my wild oregano is rather scentless and kinda tasteless, I use the purple-flowered bergamot when I want rich, sharp oregano flavor.
Lavender, rosemary, and thyme (Lavendula off., Rosmarinus off., Thymus off.) overwinter in the ground or the greenhouse for most of us. They appreciate a winter pruning unless you cut them back late in the fall. Use your prunings to make vinegars, honeys, teas, and to dry for smoking.
Seal-heal (Prunella vulgaris) is also heal-all. This scentless mint grows everywhere: in the city and the country, in the lawn and along trails in the forest. The leaves are a little tough for salads and useless for teas or honeys but add flavor to smoking blends.
Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is not acceptable in salads, teas, or honeys due to its bitterness. It makes a tasty vinegar though if harvested before it starts to flower. And an important herbal medicine tinctured during flowering, so tolerate it in your garden, please.
Ajuga (Ajuga reptans) is generally cultivated, scentless, tasteless, and not medicinal. It does add a beautiful color to the winter garden.
Nettle (Urtica dioica) looks a lot like a mint at this time of the year. The sting and the lack of scent will set you straight though. Added to smoking mixes, it has a mild hallucinogenic effect.