Grandma’s Healing Herbs

Written by Megan Church


Todd agrees to help clean up his grandma’s yard during his summer vacation. As Todd is cleaning the yard, his grandma notices that he is about to remove all her herbs, which Todd mistakes for weeds. Todd’s grandma gives him a lesson on how these herbs are healing.

Keywords: Healing Herbs, feverfew, chamomile

On summer vacations, Todd and his sisters, Wren and Rene, tried to get outside as much as possible, doing fun activities they could not do during school time. One late summer afternoon, Todd and his sisters were out swimming in their yard. They were bouncing around a beach ball until their mother came out with lemonade. Todd and his sisters got out of the pool for their nice refreshing beverage when their mother explained, “I just got off the phone with Grandma. She says she could use some help around her house. She could use some deep cleaning inside the house and some cleaning up in her yard. I figured you could all show up at her house bright and early tomorrow morning and help her out.”

Todd and his sisters looked at each other with disgust and disappointment. “But Mom, Wren and I wanted to go bike riding tomorrow morning,” Rene complained.

“Yeah Mom, then we were going to meet our friends at the lake and go kayaking,” Wren added. Todd really didn’t want to go help his grandma, but he didn’t have any plans. He thought, ‘If I don’t have anything better to do, maybe I should go help Grandma.’

“I don’t have any plans tomorrow,” Todd admitted. A smile grew on his mother’s face.

“Well Todd, you can go to Grandma’s tomorrow and help her out with her yard work. Girls, you’re getting out of helping her around the house tomorrow, but I expect you both to get out there sometime this week and help her deep clean the house and help her go through her storage.” Wren and Rene smiled and replied with “Thank you, Mom!” and “We’ll be sure to get out there in the next couple of days.”

Normally when Todd woke up early, he had big plans to go camping with his buddies or to meet some friends at the soccer complex, or to make a trip out to the lake for some peace and quiet. Not to go clean up his grandma’s yard. As much as Todd was dreading yard work, he realized that the earlier he started, the sooner he could get done and make some plans with his friends. ‘Besides,’ Todd thought, ‘yard work isn’t that hard anyway. You just mow the grass, weed whack the weeds, cut down vines and dead branches. It’ll take some time, but it won’t be too bad,’ Todd assured himself.

When Todd arrived at his grandma’s, he was immediately greeted with a hug. He hardly had time to set down his yard cleaning tools before his grandma attacked him with love. “It’s so good to see you, Todd! I really do appreciate you coming out and helping me with the yard work. It’s hard for Ol’ Grandma to stay too long out in the sun these days!” she laughed. “I just need the basic yard work done, just lawn mowin’ and weed whackin’. Don’t mind the garden, I usually take care of that myself. When you’re all done, come on inside and Grandma’ll make ya some lunch!” Todd smiled and said okay. Then, he got straight to work.

Todd mowed the lawn and weed wacked the corners the lawn mower couldn’t get. There were some vines growing along the house that he decided to trim. Farther out into his grandma’s yard, he noticed that there was a lot of weeds that needed to be taken care of. He dreaded it, but he was looking forward to Grandma’s lunch, so he started up the weed whacker to start taking out the weeds. He looked over and saw his grandma looking at him. He smiled and waved and went back to the weeds. Next thing he knew, his grandma was running through the yard. Todd had never seen an elderly woman run faster. Startled, he stopped the weed whacker to see what was wrong.

“What are you doin’, boy? I thought I told you to mind the garden!” his Grandma said in an upset tone.

“Well yeah I did, Grandma. I made sure to mow around your tulips and not trim the lilac bush. I’m just trying to get rid of these weeds over here.” Todd explained.

“Weeds?” his grandma replied with a concerned look on her face. “These aren’t weeds Todd! These are herbs.” Todd was confused. They were just leaves and white flower looking weeds. Herbs? What was this woman talking about?

“Grandma, these are just weeds. If they were herbs, what are you using them for anyway?” Todd asked.

“Why, I use these herbs for healing,” she protested. Todd couldn’t help but laugh. This sounded like the craziest thing he’s ever heard his grandma say, which is saying a lot.

“Grandma, what are you talking about? If you know so much about herbs, please, enlighten me on what these herbs are called and used for,” Todd scoffed.

“Well alright then,” his grandma said. “Get on down here, boy. Get a good look at these,” she said gesturing Todd to squat down and look at the weeds. “These pretty green leaves here are called Feverfew Leaves. Back in the day, we used them to treat fevers, but now we use it to treat your ol’ grandpa’s arthritis.”

“Do you expect me to believe this, Grandma?” Todd laughed.

“Laugh all you want, boy! Have you ever thought why your grandpa can still run around with all you kids at his age? These herbs right here,” she said. Todd realized his grandpa does get around very well for his age. “Ah and this little daisy-like plant here,” Grandma continued, “is called chamomile. I put this in your mom’s tea when she’s too stressed from work.” ‘Mom does always feel less stressed after a visit with Grandma,’ Todd thought.

“I’m sorry for almost taking out your herbs, Grandma. I should’ve checked with you first,” Todd apologized.

“Don’t worry, Todd. Here, let’s take some of this chamomile and put it in our tea for lunch! Come on, boy, let’s get out of this sun.”


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Humanizing Science through STEAM Challenges Copyright © 2021 by E.J. Bahng and John M. Hauptman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.