By Ash Stevens
Summer is almost behind us but that doesn’t mean you have to stop growing. In fact, the fun is just beginning! There are herbs that have uses and benefits that go above and beyond cooking. Get ready to make room in those windows! These herbs are worth every inch of sunny space.
When it comes to cold season this is the plant to have on hand. Peppermint contains menthol which acts both as a decongestant (eases breathing) and an expectorant (helps loosen and clear mucus within the lungs). Peppermint eases cold pains by making coughs more productive so you can get over them faster. Even better, it can save you the pain of sleepless and congested nights. A chest rub with peppermint oil or a sachet under the pillow will have kids and adults waking up much happier.
Peppermint also has quite the reputation with indigestion. It’s even used to treat IBS. In addition, it’s claimed to be effective in taming appetite, relieving allergies, and soothing headaches. I’ve used peppermint for my own headaches, and it’s something I turn to again and again.
This herb is great both fresh and dried. If you’d like to get crafty, or you’re in need of relief on the go, then why not make your very own tincture? They’re easily made with alcohol, or an alcohol-free substitute, and they can keep for a surprising length of time.
This stout, leafy plant is reputed to relieve dandruff, ease coughing, and even repel insects like mosquitoes. Thyme’s compounds give it powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. So much so, that scientists are actually studying the power of Thyme oil against antibiotic-resistant superbugs like MRSA! It’s just the kind of advocate we need for cold season.
Thyme is well-known for its ability to enhance soups but it has even simpler uses in the kitchen. Eggs, meat, fish, and beans all serve as excellent candidates. Thyme will boost flavor and, at the same time, you can help lengthen your dish’s life as a leftover.
If you’re interested in relaxation and beautification, then this is the herb for you! The charming little flower’s sedative traits make it a symbol for rest and relaxation. Chamomile is a treasure in any tea cupboard but the tea is just as good on the skin as it is in the belly.
Chamomile is an absolute gem when it comes to matters of the skin so this flowery plant really is a must for all of us ladies. It soothes irritating conditions like eczema and diaper rash, and it also serves as an affordable and fabulous beautifier. Chamomile also acts as a single stone when it comes to getting a full night’s sleep when you’re sick thanks to being an antibacterial and antispasmodic (eases stomach pain).
If Chamomile had a sister it would be Lemon Balm. This darling of an herb has a lovely citrus aroma that will have your nerves tamed before even the first sip. Its relaxing traits make it superb for easing nerve and muscle tension, inflammation and the pains of gas and upset stomach.
As precious as this plant appears it actually puts up an impressive fight against viruses and has been studied for its use against cold sores. This makes it a great herb to have around for wounds. Swelling and infection can easily be addressed with a simple and easy compress or poultice.
Greens like kale get a lot of credit for their health benefits but parsley is just as worthy of attention. Medical News Today says that just ten springs of parsley will give you 17% of your daily Vitamin A requirements, 22% of Vitamin C, and an astonishing 205% of Vitamin K. That’s in just ten springs! These health benefits haven’t gone unnoticed by scientists and they even see parsley playing a role in cancer treatment.
Immunity boosting aside parsley is also a notable antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, digestive aid and detoxifier. It can even serve as an emergency breath booster. Parsley is ideal fresh so that its beneficial vitamins aren’t damaged during the cooking process, so try adding it last if you’re in need of its health aspects. The herb can also be juiced or blended to create a tonic that gets right to work.
Now that you have a list of herbs to have on hand, take some time to get to know them. The key to herbaceous plants lies in their light, water, space, and soil requirements. Problems can still arise in the form of pests and fungal infections so make sure you’re using quality soil and checking your herbs for problems.
Growing herbs indoors really can be as simple as it is fun and beneficial. Take pride in your herbal garden by putting up some fun new shelves, getting creative with your flower pots, or making some creative home remedies that you can gift to friends. Everyone will be impressed by your kitchen garden, and your family will be all the healthier for it.
Ash Stevens is a gardener, a writer, and a fan of all things green. Her love for health and sustainability began with her journey into motherhood, and it’s grown exponentially ever since. She’s passionate about living a healthy lifestyle through gardening, cooking, and spending time outdoors. If she isn’t writing or reading up on exciting green trends, she’s probably playing Connect Four or swimming in the river with the kids. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.