Demi Moore drinks it to curb her appetite and Gwyneth Paltrow sips it for wellbeing. No, they're not on the maple syrup diet these celebs are simply fans of herbal tea. Here, the healing properties of natural herbs growing in your own garden, most of which can be brewed for an afternoon cuppa, sprinkled on meals or simply sniffed to cure common ills.
Praised by Confucius and used in recipes by Nostradamus, ginger has been revered as the "universal medicine" for thousands of years. Today, it remains a remedy for nausea, indigestion, fever and infection and has qualities that may prevent heart attacks, aid digestion, prevent colds, flu and skin cancers and aid weight loss.
How to use it: Brew tea from grated ginger root and add lemon to taste.
This wonder drug has a reputation in folklore for preventing everything from the common cold and flu to the plague. Raw garlic is now used by some to treat acne and others as a mosquito repellent. Adding garlic to your diet is also known to lower blood pressure, suppress cholesterol production in the liver and even prevent cancer.
How to use it: Garlic is most beneficial eaten raw (or applied to the skin), as some of the healing properties become lost during the cooking process.
As one of nature's best antiseptics, it comes as no surprise that this herb is used in Listerine and Vicks Vapour Rub. Take it in tea-form to help heal sore throats, coughs, bronchitis, laryngitis and whooping cough.
How to use it: Brew tea by steeping a fresh bunch in hot water.
Apart from sweetening your breath, this common meal garnish can help prevent T-cell lymphoma, eliminate toxins in the liver, treat allergies, asthma and bladder infections.
How to use it: Eat raw or use in sauces.
Medicinal uses range from soothing upset stomachs to lowering fever, relieving congestion to aiding digestion. A US study also revealed that some people taking prepared lemongrass capsules daily for three months experienced a significant reduction in cholesterol levels.
How to use it: Drink in tea or capsule form to ease the above ailments, apply oil to ease the symptoms of cuts, acne, sprains, tendonitis and circulatory problems or rub crushed leaves on skin to repel insects. Alternately, place a handful of leaves in a mesh bag and place it in the bath for a soothing aromatherapy soak.
Well-known for its ability to sooth the digestive tract and reduce the severity and length of stomach aches, mint can also ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and slow the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi.
How to use it: Take as supplements, buy readymade teabags or pour hot water over fresh leaves to make a DIY brew.
The word "dill" comes from the old Norse word "dilla", meaning "to lull", which explains the calcium-rich herb's traditional use: to soothe and relieve. It's known to treat insomnia and also has strong antibacterial properties.
How to use it: As a seasoning or take as a supplement.
This shrubby herb is largely cultivated for its essential oils which calm the nerves, soothe headaches, ease dizziness and help relieve depression and stress. In ancient times, women often clutched a sprig of lavender to ease the pain of childbirth.
How to use it: Smell a fresh bunch or take internally lavender's antibacterial and antiviral properties help dispel harmful bacteria and other microorganisms in the intestines. Alternately, use as massage or bath oil, a household cleaner, insect repellant and even a mouthwash.
Always consult your doctor before embarking on a new course of medication.