Like To Grow Your Own Medicinal Herb Garden?
Having a ready supply of fresh herbs at home is a must for any self-respecting food lover. Herbs not only add a fantastic depth of flavour to meals they also contain medicinal properties that have a wealth of health benefits. So, if those slightly limp or ready bagged supermarket offerings don’t exactly fill you with the desire to throw on an apron and cook up a storm, why not cultivate your own medicinal herb garden at home? We’re sharing some of our favourite garden herbs that pack some punch at the dinner table and can also help boost your wellbeing.
A classic accompaniment to lamb, the most fragrant ingredient in a good mojito and an age-old cure for indigestion. This pungent, versatile herb has been used to help with everything from insomnia and muscle spasms to nausea and cold relief and may also help kill off bacteria and viruses. A few fresh leaves steeped in boiling water for 5-10 minutes are a great antidote to after-dinner bloating. Gardeners are warned though, peppermint can be pretty pushy and has a tendency to take over if given the chance, so keep it isolated in a container of its own.
This strong, fragrant herb is used widely throughout the Mediterranean – just one whiff and you’re instantly transported back to sunny holidays abroad. Equally delicious when added to meat or vegetable dishes, rosemary is packed full of antioxidants and known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Apparently, rosemary tea is a sure-fire remedy for clearing the mind, boosting immunity and relieving a hangover (so it’s worth having some to hand for after-party emergencies).
A traditional staple in stock, stuffing, soups and casseroles, thyme is also a classic accompaniment to chicken dishes. As well as its delicious flavour, thyme is often used to help relive colds and congestion as it has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. A tea made with hot water, thyme, lemon and honey may help soothe common cold and flu symptoms like a sore throat, blocked nose and tight chest.
The fragrance of this punchy herb, probably most synonymous with sausages and stuffing, adds a lovely earthy flavour, especially to hearty winter dishes. It’s often used as a medicinal herb to help with flatulence and other digestive issues and is reputed to help ease menopausal symptoms. It also has anti-microbial properties – steeping sage leaves in hot water can create an effective natural mouthwash.
Whether you’re adding it to meals or making a herbal tea, marjoram has a wide range of compounds that can enhance wellbeing. Great in Italian inspired dishes or added to salad dressings, this delicate herb is often described as tasting like a milder version of oregano. Among its many health benefits, marjoram is said to boost circulation, help ease migraines, pain, dizziness, digestive problems and help with nervous conditions and hormone imbalances.
No pesto or mozzarella salad is complete without a few handfuls of this pungent, hearty herb. But as well as being delicious, it has some powerful anti-inflammatory properties, is full of essential vitamins and minerals and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids too. It’s often touted as being helpful in helping to lower the risk of conditions like heart disease and arthritis.
A great all-rounder, lemon balm’s lovely citrus flavour complements fish, meat and vegetable dishes. As well as adding a zingy, lemony taste, this herb is renowned for its mild sedative and anti-depressant effects and is often used to help treat conditions like insomnia and anxiety. It’s also said to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that can help treat cold sores and fungal problems. It makes a very refreshing hot or cold tea.
Enjoying the benefits of home-grown herbs
Whether you dedicate a patch in the garden to your favourite herbs, pop them in pots or make them nice and comfy in the greenhouse, having your own plants to pick fresh leaves from is a definite bonus. While you’re getting creative in the kitchen and amping up the flavours, you’ll also be reaping the health benefits of these incredible plants. You can even dry surplus leaves to use later or make your own essential oils if you’re feeling adventurous.
If you’d like to know more about how a Harvst smart greenhouse could help you create the ultimate herb garden, get in touch!
Disclaimer: As mentioned, herbs can have very powerful properties, so it’s best to seek the advice of your doctor before using them if you have a health condition, are pregnant, breastfeeding or on any medication.