Herbs are fantastic. Not only do they add flavour to your food but they also have a stack of healthful properties. They are also easier to grow than fruits or vegetables and can be grown in much smaller gardens, on patios and even in sunny places indoors. Find out more about how and what to grow below.
Stodels suggests you should start by deciding what type of herb garden youwant to start. Herbs can be used ornamentaly or for cosmetic, medicinal or cullinary purposes. Once you have done this:
Rosemary is an excellent source of calcium, iron as well as vitamin B6. It enhances memory and concentration and helps protect the health of your brain. It can be grown in a pot and can do with less sunlight than other herbs so you can even grow it inside. Rosemary is great to use either fresh or dry on pizzas or baked potatoes. Studies have also shown that the Eucalyptol oil found in Rosemary will loosen a congested chest making phlegm easier to expel. It is also rich in anti-inflammatory tannins which are great for soothing a sore throat.
Thyme is a very popular and healthy herb. It can be left in alcohol for about a week in order to prepare a tincture – the anti bacterial properties of thyme can then be used to treat skin conditions such as acne. It has also been found to be effective in reducing blood pressure and makes a great substitute for salt. It is packed with vitamin A and C andis an excellent way to boost your immune system and is also rich in iron,copper, manganese and fiber. It’s also delicious in Pesto sauce which you can use as a condiment with pasta and rice and the fresh leaves or whole sprigs add a wonderful flavour to meat poultry or fish dishes.
Sage is great for treating digestive problems such as appetite loss, gas, stomach pain, diarrhea, bloating and heartburn. It has also been found to be good for treating depression, memory loss and even to combat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Woman have used it for generations to combat menstrual cramps and also menopausal hot flushes. It can also cure cold sores, gum disease, sore throats and blocked sinus. If you are cooking with sage use it sparingly because, especially if you are using dries leaves, it has a strong flavour. It goes very well with pork, beef, duck and chicken. The Italians love to chop it and mix it with melted butter to be used with pasta or gnocchi. The leaves can also be fried with liver or kidneys or even be used as garnish or eaten as a snack.
Parsley has high concentrations of important vitamins such as vitamin C, B12, K and A. These vitamins all help to keep your immune system strong, keeps bones strong and also keeps your nervous system healthy. Used regularly Parsley helps control blood pressure and the folic acid in parsley is great for the heart. It’s anti-inflammtory properties give relief for joint pain and scientists have also that eating Parsley can help protect you again cancer. It always makes a delicious addition to salads, tastes great in pesto and can be added to soup, stews, fishcakes, salsas and marinades.
Please read more in parts 2 and 3 (coming soon) where we talk about 5 more herbs and also how to grow them!