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.
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
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:
~ lemon balm
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.