It’s the middle of summer and herb/vegetable gardens are in full swing. I just got a beautiful batch of fresh-picked herbs (and a zucchini) from a backyard garden in Rockland and they are a-b-c-deeeelicious! Nothing says summer freshness more than crisp green plants.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to have gorgeous herbs growing in your backyard too, or perhaps you’re thinking about planting a balcony nursery if you live in the city (like me).
On the left are my balcony herbs when I first planted them in April, and on the right now 3 months later (with a pansy in the middle) :). The versatility, freshness, and ease of home-grown herbs will make your kitchen creations sing with glee, but did you also know herbs have incredible health benefits for your body? Read ahead to find out!
The 8 Best Herbs to Grow at Home
*If you have any medical conditions always make sure you ask your GP which herbs are safe to eat, as some might interact with drugs*
1. Lavender – of course. Lavender flowers have been used for centuries to help things like insomnia, anxiety, fatigue, digestive upset, burns, wounds, and skin ailments such as acne. You can make a tea with fresh lavender flowers and drink it to help sooth stomach upset and “butterflies in the stomach”. Rubbing the flowers between your fingers will release some lavender oil, widely regarded as an anti-microbial to ward off infection. For kitchen use, check out this website for all recipes lavender! My favourite is their Lavender Hot Chocolate ❤
2. Basil – promotes good circulation (good for varicose veins!), is a potent anti-oxidant, boosts the immune system through anti-microbial properties and is FULL of anti-inflammatory compounds to boost overall health!
3. Dandelion – if we ate dandelions instead of spraying and ripping them out, I can’t even imagine how many diseases and health concerns would be lessened, even eradicated. You keep ripping them up, and Mother Nature keeps popping them out for a reason! She wants us to eat them. Dandelion is best known for liver and kidney health (dandelion leaf enhances urinary tract and kidney health, and dandelion root enhances liver detox). It is also full of iron and calcium!
4. Sage – there is little more relaxing than waking up in the morning with a nice cup of sage tea. Sage is known (to me anyway) as the “wise” herb, as it is aptly named for inducing calmness, serenity and clear thinking. It is full of anti-oxidants, and is a natural remedy to reduce excessive sweating and hot flashes.
5. Rosemary – this is a potent anti-microbial herb, but is also showing lots of promising research with digestive disorders and memory retention. It also helps stimulate circulation, and can be made into a rinse to help with dandruff (just steep fresh rosemary in boiling water, then let it cool and pour over your head in the shower after shampooing).
6. Parsley or Cilantro – both these herbs help with halitosis (bad breath) so I would suggest eating these garnishes at the end of your meal instead of throwing them away! They are also known as heavy-metal chelators, which mean they help bind and remove heavy metals from the body. Cilantro (or coriander) and parsley also make good rinses for acne-prone skin.
7. Mint – who doesn’t like mint, seriously. It tastes great, battles halitosis, and is also widely used to help with motion sickness and upset stomach. Chewing some fresh mint after a heavy meal can help natural digestive processes and ease gas and bloating.
8. Thyme or Oregano – both very potent natural anti-microbial herbs and commonly known “oregano oil” is popular to help fight off infections like cold and flu. Thyme is commonly used in mouthwashes and can be found in a lot of natural cough remedies, as it helps expel phlegm and mucous from the lungs.
❤ aren’t herbs great?!
Herb Naming Contest
Can you name all 5 herbs on this cutting board? Write your guesses here or on my facebook page. a winner will be drawn to receive a delightful summer prize!