Herbs as everyday medicine

Herbs and spices contain an abundance of compounds called phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that can neutralise the cell damage which leads to ageing and disease.

 

Population studies have shown that diets rich in herbs and spices are linked to lower rates of certain chronic diseases.

 

Many powerful phytonutrients are unique to herbs such as turmeric and rosemary, they are not found in fruit or vegetables.

Garden Fresh

The most basic form of herbal medicine is to eat herbs straight from the garden, to cook with them, and to make them into herbal teas. ​​

It doesn't have to be expensive to eat herbs every day. There are many herbs that you can grow at home in the garden, or even in a pot on a sunny balcony or windowsill.

Grow your own herbs

Where to plant
Simone Jeffries Sydney Herbalist
Soil

Medicinal herbs require healthy, organic soil that has not been treated with pesticides or artificial fertilisers.

Using artificial fertilisers may help the plant to grow quickly and look healthy, however if you plan to the eat the leaves, you should ensure that only organic materials are added to your soil.

Herbs can easily be incorporated into an already established garden. Many herbs such as lavender, echinacea and yarrow have lovely flowers that compliment other flowers in the garden.

If you have a vegetable garden, there are a number of herbs that can grown as companion plants because they benefit the vegetables in some way. These benefits are many and varied and can include attracting pollinators, exuding a fragrance that deters pests and adding nutrients that benefit the surrounding plants. Examples are calendula, chamomile and thyme.

I have dug up the lawn underneath my clothes line and now grow a variety of herbs and vegetables there. I pick my herbs and vegetables for dinner as I bring in the washing each afternoon! Chives, shallots, oregano, baby spinach, dill and basil all grow under the clothes line.

Herbal balcony garden

If you don't have a garden, many medicinal herbs will grow quite well in a pot:

~   basil

~   calendula

~   lavender

~   lemon balm

~   peppermint

~   rosemary

~   sage

~   thyme

~   yarrow

One advantage of growing herbs in pots is that you can move them around during the seasons to place them in areas where they will receive the right amount of sunlight.

Plants on Terrace

Click for more information about growing medicinal herbs:

Basil Leaves

Basil

Ocimum basilicum

Lemon balm

Melissa officinalis

Image by Mitosh

Thyme

Thymus vulgaris

Sage

Salvia officinalis

Chives

Allium schoenoprasum

Image by Hanna Stolt

Parsley

Petroselinum crispum

Rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis

Image by Eleanor Chen

Mint

Mentha piperita

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