Throughout the centuries herbs have been used for more than just adding flavour and colour to your favourite dishes, they have been used by herbalists, apothecaries and even doctors for their healing and restorative powers…
What is a herb?
The Oxford Dictionary outlines a herb as: ‘Any plant where the leaves, seeds or flowers are used for medicine, flavour or scent’ Thus there are thousands we will never see in supermarkets but we could buy as seeds or plants and grow them ourselves at home.
With their healing properties in mind there are a variety of uses for herbs for simple ailments:
- Easing Digestion. Most of the time it is not until herbs are heated that their full aroma is released (that’s what makes your mouth water!). By making your mouth water your body releases saliva which helps prepare your stomach for food. The enzymes in saliva help to trigger the digestive process and relieve issues such as bloating, constipation and wind. Herbs that are best to use for this are Mint, Rosemary, Oregano and Thyme.
- Prevention of Tumours. Although not fully proven, some herbs like Rosemary, Sage, Mint and Caraway contain phytochemicals known as terpenoids which are thought to inhibit the growth of tumours.
- Boost the immune system. Some herbs high in flavonoids such as Sage, Thyme and Chamomile have mild anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic is known to be good for the immune system in particular as it may stimulate cells which attack invading organisms.
Growing Your Own
When looking at using herbs in your cooking and/or for medicinal properties there is nothing better than growing your own. People can often be intimidated by the thought of growing their own herbs and so resort to their shop-bought counterparts, however these plants will not last as long.
Plant them up in your garden, in a terracotta pot on your windowsill or in a bucket by your doorstep, most herbs can be planted anywhere, just make sure they have a bit of sunshine and a regular water supply. Even in the smallest of spaces you can produce a great crop!
If you’re unsure as to how to grow your own herbs just take a look at the infographic below. It will let you know when to plant your herbs, and how much to water them!
Thank you to Trago for writing this guest blog!