10 Herbs You Need To Grow
Fresh herbs have a long history of medicinal and culinary uses. And some herbs, have both properties. Depending on your goals, these 10 versatile herbs are ideal for most gardeners.
A herbaceous plant (herb) is a plant that has leaves and stems that have no persistent woody stem above ground and die down at the end of the growing season. They may be annuals, biennials or perennials. In general usage, herbs are any plants used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume.
Herbs can be grown in beautiful pots, in the ground, and a few – like mints and lemon balm, should be grown in a pot in the ground to prevent the invasive nature of these plants from taking over your garden.
• Basil – Ocimum basilicum, an annual grows in hardiness zones 1-10 (depending on Basil type) in full sun
Culinary uses: Salads, pesto, pizza, sauces
Medicinal uses: helps with flatulence, lack of appetite, cuts, and scrapes. Harvest the young leaves as needed, make sure you keep pinching off the flower heads so that the plant will keep producing new leaves all season.
• Chives – allium schoenoprasum, a perennial grows in hardiness zones 3-9 in full sun to partial shade
Culinary uses: chives to add oniony flavor, so use in soups or on eggs for a nice flavor, as well as vinegar, chive-butter, cheese spreads
Medicinal uses: beneficial effect on the circulatory system.They also have mild stimulant, diuretic, and antiseptic properties
Garden uses: insect-repelling properties that can be used in gardens to control pests
• Gotu Kola – centella asiatica, a perennial grows in hardiness zones 7-11, in full to partial sunlight
Culinary uses: salads
Medicinal uses: used to treat bacterial, viral, or parastitic infections such as urinary tract infections, shingles, leprosy, cholera, dysentery, syphilis, the common cold, influenza, H1N1 flu, elephantiasis, tuberculosis, and schistosomiasis, fatigue, anxiety, depression, psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, wound healing, trauma, sunstroke, tonsillitis, pleurisy, hepatitis, jaundice, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), stomach pain, diarrhea, indigestion, stomach ulcers, epilepsy, asthma, wound healing and reducing scars, including stretch marks caused by pregnancy. Called “A potential cure-all”, this herb natural to ask has many proven medicinal properties, as well as culinary applications. Here’s one study.
• Lavender – lavandula angustifolia, a perennial grows in hardiness zones 5-8 in full sun (note – the roots can be hard to pull and they tend to take over an area, pot plant these if you are worried about invasiveness… and I have grown them like crazy underneath trees, so full sun is YMMV)
Culinary uses: flavoring
Medicinal uses: Lavender is used for restlessness, insomnia, nervousness, and depression. It is also used for a variety of digestive complaints, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, intestinal gas, and upset stomach. Hair loss in a condition called alopecia areata when applied to the scalp in combination with oils from thyme, rosemary, and cedarwood. There is some evidence that this combination might improve hair growth by as much as 44% after 7 months of treatment.
Home uses: aromatherapy, potpourri, toilet water, cologne, wreaths, dried flower arrangements
• Lemon Balm – melissa officinalis, a perennial grows in hardiness zones 5-9 in full sun
For complete details, click here: Why You Need Lemon Balm In Your Garden
• Parsley – petroselinum crispum, a biennial – grown mainly as an annual, hardiness zones 3-9, in full sun
Culinary uses: as a garnish, in stock, and soups
Medicinal uses: Parsley is a source of flavonoid, antioxidants, folic acid, vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin A.
• Peppermint – mentha piperita, a perennial grows in zones 3 to 11 in full sun to partial shade (pot plant these if you are worried about invasiveness)
Culinary uses: tea, flavoring, candy
Medicinal uses: calms nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and bloating
Garden uses: peppermint flowers are large nectar producers and attract honey bees
• Rosemary – osmarinus officinalis, a perennial grows in zones 8 to 10, in full sun. Note: if you grow rosemary up north, grow it in a pot and bring it inside for the winter.
Culinary uses: tea, lamb, Italian dishes
Medicinal uses: improves memory- has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, is an antiseptic
• Sage – salvia officinalis, a perennial grows in hardiness zones 5-9 in full sun
Culinary uses: Stuffing, sausage, flavoring,
Medicinal uses: used for digestive problems, reducing overproduction of perspiration and saliva, and for depression, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease
Home uses: aromatherapy, potpourri, wreathes
• Thyme – thymus vulgaris, a perennial grows in hardiness zones 4-9 in full sun
Culinary uses: gumbos, bouillabaisse, stuffing, and beef dishes
Medicinal uses: thyme oil is used as a germ-killer in mouthwashes and liniments; it is also used as a diuretic
Home uses: aromatherapy, potpourri, wreaths, soaps, perfume
Garden uses: attracts bees
Note: I am neither a herbologist nor a physician, so consult your local professional before using a herb for medicinal, or culinary endeavors.
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