Rosemary: Said to be named after the Virgin Mary, legend states that the shrub was where Mary laid the garments of the Christ Child on its branches, which caused the trees to suddenly blossom out of season. It is used to prevent headache, coughs and wrinkles.

Thyme: Symbolizing strength, thyme was said to be one of the plants growing around the manger. It promotes digestion and is used to improve liver function.

Rue: The herb is associated with St. Lucy who made crowns of wreath and candles to light her way as she delivered food to her fellow Christians. Dehydrated leaves of the rue herb are said to help cure stomach aches and is used as a sedative.

Santolina (Dwarf Gray): The herb symbolizing swaddling clothes, its branches can be used as an insect repellant.

Lavender: The symbol of purity, lavender was said to have been used by the Virgin Mary to wash and dry the infant Jesus’ swaddling clothes, and that her clothes turned blue from contact with the flowers. It is popularly used in aroma therapy to relieve stress, anxiety and fatigue.

Bedstraw: One of the herbs growing in the manger, it was said that the original white flowers of Bedstraw turned golden because of Jesus Christ’s presence. It is used to maintain bladder health and cure urinary infections.

Sage: According to legend, when the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph were escaping from King Herod to Egypt, the Sage helped them hide the infant Jesus, thus becoming the symbol of immortality and domestic happiness. Its medicinal properties include improving memory and curing skin ulcerations.

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Costmary (chrysanthemum balsamita): Commonly called Bible Leaf or Our Lady’s Balsam, it was said to have been used as a healing ointment by the Virgin Mary. Herbalists recommend it as a cure for insect bites and sunburns.

Horehound: One of the herbs growing near the manger that symbolizes giving of good health, its extract has also been used for treating intestinal parasites, and promoting urination.

Pennyroyal: The last of the herbs growing near the manger also capable of repelling insects, it is also beneficial in cases of spasms, hysteria and relieving stomach ache caused by gas accumulation. Julienne Krizia V. Roman

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