Cards With an Herbal Flair
I love herbs; not just cooking with them or growing them. For me, herbs are a wonderful component to my daily life. They beautify my garden, provide a pleasant aroma and give beneficial insects the necessary nourishment they need. Most of all, herbs have an air of romanticism about them. Previously, I wrote about how to use fresh herbs; today I will talk about the significance of my four favorite ones.
The Meaning Associated With Herbs
Herbs have a rich history of meaning associated with them. Most of the meaning attached to an herb stems from a religious significance. Herbs were often credited with providing protection from evil spirits, ghosts and illnesses. Long before we started to use them to flavor our pasta or spice up roasted chicken, herbs were used for important ceremonies or for medicine.
Although some of an herb’s historical significance is used for special celebrations today, the meaning is lost for most. If you are looking for an unusual card to gift someone special, consider giving one of these four herbal themed cards. Which one? Well, let’s explore the meaning behind each of the four herbs.
Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, means dew of the sea. It is derived from Latin word Rosmarinus, “dew” (ros) and “sea” (marinus). This is my most favorite herb. I love the way it smells, tastes and looks. It’s a hearty herb that originated in the Mediterranean. Rosemary is in the mint family and is used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Rosemary is the emblem of remembrance.
This aromatic evergreeen shrub has been used since the time of the early Greeks and Romans. Ancient Greek scholars wore a wreath of rosemary on their heads during exams to help improve memory. In the middle ages, rosemary was considered a love charm. In weddings, the bride would wear a rosemary headpiece and the groom and wedding guests would all wear a sprig of rosemary during the ceremony. It was also used during funerals. Mourners would throw springs of the herb in the graves of the deceased to commemorate the dead.
This pesto staple has a double meaning: love and hate. If it’s Sweet Basil, then it means love. Common basil represents hate. Basil’s etymology is unclear. The botanical name for common basil is Ocimum basilicum. Some say it derives from the Greek word basileus, meaning king; it’s considered the King of Herbs. Another plausible source is from the Latin word basilisk, meaning dragon. However basil got its name, it’s a delicious herb that is also in the mint family.
Basil has a religious significance in many cultures. In Hindu, holy basil, Ocimum tenuiflorum, signifies purification, protection, love and eternal life. In the Greek Orthodox Church, it is used to sprinkle holy water. Basil was also used in many burial rites in many cultures to ensure safe passage of the dead into the after life. Whether you cook with it or grow it, it’s good in my book.
Another mint family member, sage ( Salvia officinalis), is native to the Mediterranean as well. Sage has a long history of medicinal and culinary use. Its name, Salvia, derives from the Latin salvere (to feel well and healthy). It’s more noted meaning is wisdom.
Sage has been used for centuries to ward off evil, increase fertility, to cure common aliments such as sore throats and coughs and much more. Sage has long been associated with wisdom. In classical philosophy, a sage is someone who has attained the wisdom which a philosopher seeks. According the the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a sage is defined as “wise through reflection and experience”. Whether you use if for your roast chicken, in baked bread, or a as tea for a sore throat, it’s a handy herb to have around.
Thyme ,Thymus vulgaris, is a Mediterranean native and mint family member as well. It was spread throughout Europe by the Romans. Its name is from the Greek word thymon, meaning courageous. It enjoyed a long association with bravery and for cleansing.
The ancient Egyptians used thyme as an embalming herb. The Romans used it to purify their rooms. The Greeks used it as an incense in their temples. Throughout history thyme was used in message oils, bath waters and mixed in drinks to ensure courage. As with most herbs, there are several varieties of thyme. I particularly love lemon thyme and use it for salad dressings and on roasted poultry and pork.
Print herb cards individually to frame or in card form (at the bottom). I printed mine on cream cardstock. To print, click on the photo below. It will open in a new browser. Then, right click on the image and save to your local computer.
Or, if you prefer you can download all the files at once; click here to download the Herb Cards in pdf. Feel free to share, but link back to this original post for download. I omitted the copyright/watermark I normally put on my printables for aesthetics. These cards will make great Mother’s Day cards for gardeners. Gift it along with a batch of homemade pesto or DIY Healing Lotion Bars.