Horticulturist, Tammy Huynh, from Leaf an Impression shares with us the benefits of herbs and how to grow them in your home.
Did you know the humble aspirin (salicylic acid) is derived from the bark of the willow tree (Salix babylonica)? And the glorious cure for most of days’ #firstworldproblems – caffeine – is harvested from coffee beans (Coffea arabica) and tea leaves (Camellia sinensis)? Most plants contain properties that are beneficial for our health and wellbeing. Herbs are wonderful examples. Depending on the herb, they may contain medicinal properties which can help with reducing inflammation, lower stress, and aid digestion. Plus, their delightful aromas and flavours can be used for variety of culinary uses, too.
Leafy herbs like mint and oregano can be grown inside, provided they receive at least 6 hours of sunlight. Fruiting and rooting herbs and spices need at least 6-8 hours of full sun and are better grown in pots on the balcony or garden beds.
Spice up your life with the fiery flavours of cayenne! These red-hot chilli peppers are said to help boost metabolism (this does not give you permission to binge eat – it’s not going negate those excess calories!), improve blood circulation and are packed with antioxidants to help prevent damage by free radicals. Take care though, they’re hotter than jalapenos, so if you can’t handle the heat, keep them out of the kitchen. Grow them in the garden or pot and make sure they have at least 6-8 hours of full sun.
This tiny herb packs a big punch! Not only is it a wonderful addition to Mediterranean cuisines, but it has been long been used to assist with indigestion, colds and cramps. It’s also rich in antioxidants, and the oils extracted from this herb are touted to be high in antibacterial properties, so it’s great when you feel a sore throat coming on. A word of warning though: only a few drops are needed as it’s incredibly potent and you’ll feel a burning sensation for a couple of minutes. Grow a pot by a windowsill where you can easily cut and come again.
How refreshing is a sprig of mint? Freshly eaten, mixed into sauces, salads, cocktails, mocktails, tea or even to simply flavour water. This powerful herb can help sooth an upset tummy or aid digestion (especially peppermint) and is said to contain anti-inflammatory properties. And if that doesn’t entice you, just crush a small amount in your hands and inhale. You’ll instantly feel relaxed and refreshed. Mint grows well in pots and likes a lightly shaded spot.
Turmeric is the latest buzz word. It’s not surprising, when its history is steeped in Ayurvedic medicine. This amazing spice is said to be high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and may assist with treating depression, diabetes and easing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. It’s also great for enhancing the flavours of curries, fish, and chicken. Plant rhizomes (the underground stems) in a pot or garden and position in full sun. Only grow this one if you’re patient though – it can take 8-10 months before your first harvest. But, the savings are worth it!
If you have a windowsill, you can grow microgreens. These fabulous miniature plants are the sprouts or seedlings of vegies and herb, like beetroot, rocket or mustard. They can be harvested after 14-21 days and despite their small stature, are said to contain a higher concentration of nutrients when compared to their mature forms. Microgreens are super easy to grow – simply scatter the seeds in a tray, pot or similar filled with potting mix, lightly cover with soil and mist to water.
Keep up with Tammy @leaf_an_impression.
If you’re looking to start your own vegie and herb patch or just want to introduce greenery into your home, contact Tammy.