Five grow-your-own medicinal herbs and spices
Herbs and spices are not only fun to use in cookery, but they may also contain medicinal values. These are five selected herbs and spices to grown in your own herb garden!
It's the root… That's what you take when using ginger in your kitchen. Gingerroot is renowned for its medicinal qualities; it's supposed to be pain-relieving and will lower blood-pressure and stimulate digestion. Moreover, ginger relaxes airways and is quite often used to fight nausea, especially by expectant mothers. The taste of grated ginger lifts any dish. Alternatively, brew a lovely ginger-tea by peeling some gingerroot and cutting off a few slices. Put them in a tea-glass, fill with boiling water and Bob's your uncle!
Grow-your-own ginger: ginger does not tolerate frost and prefers a warm, shady spot. Plant a piece of gingerroot in a large pot, enabling it to grow. Water regularly: ginger loves moist soil, not wet. In due course harvest your ginger simply by digging it up.
Basil is a delicious herb, much used in (Italian) cookery. There are dozens of species, all varying in colour and taste. This versatile herb is medicinal too, as you may use it to battle colds and infections, or even skin problems such as acne and psoriasis. Basil is rich in eugenol, magnesium and potassium. Understandably, essential oils are made from basil too.
Grow-your-own basil: basil adores a warm, sunny spot, either out in the (sheltered) open or in the greenhouse. Sow basil in mid-May and harvest either sprigs or leaves from late June onwards. This wonderful herb is not frost-resistant.
Just like ginger, the edible part of turmeric (or curcuma) is its root. Should you prefer, you can of course buy dried turmeric, as a powder. Turmeric is largely used in oriental dishes like curries. It contains a medicinal substance called curcuminoid, which can help solve all sorts of health problems: it reduces inflammations and risk of cardiovascular disorders and it is also said to have a positive effect on digestion.
Grow-your-own turmeric: grow turmeric like ginger, it's just as easy. Put a turmeric root in a pot filled with potting-soil, give it a warm spot and take care the soil stays moist but not wet. Eventually a plant will grow from its root, which you can dig up; use its small roots.
For ages and ages we've known the medicinal effect of chamomile. This herb soothes and relaxes, hence its use in all sorts of herbal teas. Chamomile may conquer insomnia, and it also aids in relieving anxieties or stress. Furthermore it has a positive effect on the digestive system, even helping to prevent inflammations.
Grow-your-own chamomile: chamomile is a hardy perennial, simply sow it in your own garden, preferably in a sunny spot. Harvest from May till the end of summer, simply by picking the flowers only. Use this wonderful herb in teas, salads or stews.
This very versatile herb is famous for its many varieties. Mint is used on an almost daily basis in Indian, Arab, Turkish and Greek cookery, and tastes lovely both in hot and cold drinks. Mint is a perfect aid to relieve nausea, as it calms the stomach and digestive system. And as we all know, it helps to fight bad breath too…
Grow-your-own mint. Mint is very easy to grow, especially when you sow or put it in half-shade. Harvest mint by picking its leaves or small twigs. Do read on about growing mintin your garden.