Monday, January 19, 2015

How I use herbs - Herb Robert

Last year I start my review of herbs in my garden, both to give some ideas for readers about how herbs can be grown and used, and to force me to read some of the herb books on my bookshelf!  So far I have reviewed some fairly common herbs:

How I use herbs
How I use herbs - Mint, Peppermint and Spearmint
How I use herbs - Aloe Vera
How I use herbs - Basil
How I use herbs - Ginger, galangal and turmeric
How I use herbs - Marigold, calendula and winter taragon
How I use herbs - Soapwort
How I use herbs - Comfrey
How I use herbs - Nasturtium
How I use herbs - Parsley
How I use herbs - Borage

This year, I'm keen to start writing about some of the more unusual herbs in my garden.  For a start, have you heard of Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)?  Of my four herb books, one does not mention it at all, and two only have a brief paragraph, which doesn't tell you much.  Fortunately, Isabell Shippard included a lengthy section in her book "How I Can Use Herbs in My Daily Life", which details example after example of Herb Robert helping people and animals with cancer.  I know that they are only anecdotes collected by one herbalist, but this herb grows so easily and doesn't taste bad, so why not add it to your garden and your diet?  Maybe it will strengthen your immune system, maybe it will just be another bit of vegetable on the plate, it doesn't really matter though.

eight acres: how to grow and use Herb Robert
The tiny Herb Robert flower
Sadly Isabell Shippard died recently, and we are so lucky that she took the time to record her knowledge in several books and DVDs (still available from her website).

How to grow Herb Robert
Herb Robert is one of those wonderful plants that self-seeds easily, and once you have it in your garden, you will always have some popping up somewhere.  I was first given a plant, as the seeds are a little tricky to collect (but it can be done if you spot them at the right time).  And now I have to weed it out when it gets into places I don't want it to grow!  It certainly does well in the sub-tropics and I've noticed it growing wild in the bush around Wellington (New Zealand).  Does it grow where you live?

How to use Herb Robert
Apparently Herb Robert is also known as "stinking bob" because of its smell, but I can't say I've particularly noticed a smell or a taste.  Herb Robert is just one of the main herbs in my garden that I pick to add to casseroles, soups, gravy, salads, nearly everything!  Depending what's in season, I also add parsley, chervil, nasturtium, gotu kola and herb robert.  I will also add mint if I'm making a yoghurt sauce.

Herb Robert can also be used fresh or dried to make tea.  I add it to the dried herbs I use as a tea mix, also including mint, lemon balm, calendula and various other herbs in the garden.

eight acres: how to grow and use Herb Robert
Chopped herbs to add to everything
As I said above, Herb Robert has been credited with curing cancer and supporting the immune system, but the information is limited.  If you want to read more about this aspect, part of Isabell's article is reproduced (with her permission) on this blog.  There is also more detail in this youtube video about the ellagic acid and germanium content of the herb, and its properties as an adaptogen.

Have you heard of Herb Robert?  Do you grow and/or use it?  Do you have any unusual herbs in your garden?

7 comments:

  1. i've been eyeing off the herb robert from mudbrick cottage, think it quite the curious little herb, good to know it self seeds easily as this is what i look for now when purchasing, i want herbs, flowers & vegies to literally grow wild in my gardens. have lost a few herbs from the extreme heat & wet, evening primrose & both chamomiles died but will try & get seeds next time as i think they may adapt better.
    a great post

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  2. oh wow, I just googled mudbrick cottage herbs, I didn't know about them, I'm very keen to visit, looks AMAZING! If it makes you feel any better, my evening primrose and chamomile didn't survive either, but herb robert seems to be tougher, give it a go!

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  3. I have not ventured into herbs much.....this article sure got my interest however. Time to do some research me thinks.

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    Replies
    1. Isabell Shippard is a great place to start, especially if you're in Australia, she goes through everything you need to know!

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  4. I bought Herb Robert from Isabell's farm a couple of year's ago and try to remember to eat six or so leaves a day. I am in a bit of shock as I just read that she had died. I can't believe it as I only spoke to her on the phone last year about a problem I was having with my Brahmi. What a loss! Her books are fabulous and so very informative. I hope her family continues to run the herb farm now that she has gone.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, yes it was a shock when I found out too, I hadn't been lucky enough to meet or speak to Isabell, but I've read her books and seen her on the DVD and admired her from afar. I really do hope that the farm continues, it is such a wonderful resource and I'm so grateful for her legacy of herb information.

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  5. I was recently gifted some Herb Robert seeds. Before then, I had never heard of it! I haven't planted them as yet because I wasn't sure when was the ideal season to tuck them into the soil or what sort of aspect to grow them in. I will have to have a look at Isabell's information and learn some more.

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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