I came home from my sister’s wedding with a myriad of herbs, so I added them to my fire escape herb garden. We have a shared backyard, but the closer I keep them, the better care they get and the more frequently I end up using them in my cooking. So the fire escape it is!

I use herbs in every way. For their culinary purposes, medicinally and as aromatherapy. Here is my first little Herb 101 class.

Thyme, (above and below) is one of the healthiest herbs and serves many homeopathic purposes. A simple tea mixture aids gastrointestinal problems, gives a boost to the immune system, and helps kick coughs and congestion. For culinary use, thyme enriches dishes like fish, cake, cookies, soups and deviled eggs.

I will use the fresh mint below to make water, mojitos or lemonade even more thirst-quenching. Eating a sprig of mint aids with digestion and helps with chest pains. Find more recipes with mint from foody blog Epicurious. Mint is invasive in the garden so be sure to give your plant plenty of room for fast-growing roots.

Sage is used to shift energy in new homes or spaces and can be done by having a dried bunch and burning the ends. Sage has many medicinal purposes as listed here. Try sage in fish, on a crostini or any of these recipes.

Basil is perfect for summer caprese salads, panini sandwiches and mixed greens. There are countless recipes, so get started at the Joy of Cooking’s list. As part of the mint family, basil is used to help with coughs, indigestion and has a sedative effect, so can help relieve stress and insomnia.

Rosemary is delicious in potatoes, breads or meat and adds an enticing aroma wherever it is. Rosemary’s medicinal purposes include improving memory, relieving muscle pain, and stimulating the circulatory and nervous systems.

Oregano oil is an amazing immune booster. Add 2-3 drops to a shot of water to fight off colds or the flue. This is truly the most effective way I have found to give my body a natural kick when it feels run down. Oregano adds wonderful flavor to pastas, sauces or meat. Here is a recipe list with oregano as an ingredient from Every Day Food.

What herbs do YOU have and how do you use them? Do you have any killer Summer recipes that require herbs? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!