The language of herbs

Stormy Stewart


The healing powers of herbs have long been known. And, in addition to their medicinal properties herbs, like flowers, speak a silent, symbolic language. While in recent times, flowers have become the more popular way to convey messages of love and caring, in ancient times, and even as recent as the Victorian era, herbal bouquets were exchanged to express that which words could not.

Some herbs have many meanings, even varying in interpretation by
different sources. Others have very specific messages, such as Rosemary which symbolizes remembrance
says, "Your presence revives me." A considerate nosegay of Chives asks, "Why do you weep?"
Verbena's reassuring message is "You have my confidence." Abor Vitae conveys unchanging friendship saying, "Live for me." Mugwort bestows sentiments of happiness and travel, telling its recipient, "Be not weary." Sage speaks of domestic virtues, long life, and good health. Its potent message is, "I will suffer all for you."

Alas, not all herbal messages are loving or even uplifting. Borage
speaks of bluntness and says, "Your intentions only embarrass me."
Lemon Balm begs, "Don't misuse me," and the spiciness of Savory tells
it like it is, "The truth may be bitter." Goldenrod offers a little
more encouragement while sending a message of indecision, pleading,
"Allow me time to decide."

Still, the language of herbs can be light-hearted and humorous. The
common cooking herb Parsley stands for useful knowledge, festivity,
joy, and victory while
claiming, "The woman of the house is boss." Sweet Marjoram tells a persistent admirer, "Your passion sends blushes to my cheeks."

pinch tips: Basic Knife Skills


the following offers the symbolic messages of other herbs:

Directions Step-By-Step

Balm - sympathy
Basil (sweet) - good or best wishes, love or serious intentions
Bergamot (Monarda, Bee Balm) - compassion, sweet virtues
Betony - surprise, healing
Calendula - sacred affections, joy, remembrance, grief
Catnip - intoxification with love
Chamomile - energy in adversity
Cilantro (Coriander) - hidden worth
Cowslip - pensiveness, happiness
Dill - good spirits
Elder -zealousness
Fennel - worthy of praise or flattery
Geranium - present preference
Gloxinia - a proud spirit
Hop - injustice
Ivy - friendship, matrimony, fidelity, constancy
Lavender - acknowledgment, suspicion, devotion, loyalty
Mint - grief, homeliness, wisdom, eternal refreshment
Marigold - despair, grief, honesty
Nasturtium - optimism, splendor
Pennyroyal - flee away
Peppermint - cordiality
Santolina - protection
Sorrel - affection
Southernwood - bantering jest
Spearmint - warmth of sentiment
Tansy (Tannacetum) - resistance, life everlasting, hostile thoughts
Thyme - thriftiness, happiness, courage
Herbs heal on many levels and offer us a way to convey our sentiments through their beauty and fragrance. Herbs may be combined with other herbs or flowers in a posy or nosegay to convey just the sentiment you wish to express to someone you care about.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Other Appetizers
Other Tags: Quick & Easy, Healthy