Lady’s Bedstraw: Mary used this to line the manger and lull Jesus to sleep.
Chamomile. Apple scented chamomile was a very popular herb during Victorian times. People dried the flowers and brewed them into a tisane, a tea to calm the nerves and reduce headaches. This tea was used to keep Baby Jesus calm.
Lavender. Lavender was used to freshen linens just like we do today, and bedding and sick rooms.
Rosemary relates to the story of the Holy Family’s hurried flight from Herod. Legend has it that rosemary shrubs were silent as they journeyed through the Egyptian countryside while the other bushes crackled and snapped as they passed through them. The rosemary bushes parted very quietly so they could pass through them, and then closed behind them so that the soldiers could not see where they had fled.
Mary was grateful to the rosemary bushes, so she hung her cloak on a rosemary bush and the formerly white flowers turned blue in her honor so, like lavender, rosemary was given special significance.
Pennyroyal, a type of mint, was also used as a manger herb. Supposedly, the pennyroyal burst into bloom the minute Jesus was born, and ever since then, it has bloomed, and the flower is the color of royalty: purple.
Horehound, one of the bitter herbs, hinted of Jesus’ future sorrows.
Mary cried when she saw horehound in with the manger plants. Joseph had brought it to her since it has very soft leaves. Horehound was believed to have healing powers (and it is a wonderful herb for sore throats) but the plant also foretold of the sorrows in Jesus’ future.
Thyme. Mary put this in the manger to guard against disease. Thyme is like a medicine chest in a plant.
ROASTED SWEET POTATOES WITH GARLIC AND THYME
Garlic was eaten as a vegetable during Bible times!
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1-1/2” rounds
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dry
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (opt)
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375-400. Toss potatoes with oil, thyme, garlic, red pepper and salt. Make a single layer on baking sheet. Roast until tender and starting to brown 40-45 minutes uncovered. Garnish and serve.
Blend together and store in cool, dry place away from light:
1/4 cup dried thyme leaves, not powdered
2 tablespoons dried marjoram or 1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, minced
1 tablespoon dried savory leaves, not powdered savory
2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 dried bay leaf, crumbled
This makes a delicious coating for pork and poultry. It also goes well with grains, potatoes and veggies. I like to rub pork tenderloins with olive oil, sprinkle on this blend and roast at 425 until temperature reaches about 150 or so, about 25-30 minutes. Yum!1 cup fine grain sea salt
3-4 tablespoons Herbes de Provence