Believe it or not, growing your own medicinal herbs at home is relatively simple for anyone to do. They are among the most rewarding of garden projects, providing fresh flavor to add to meals and additional health benefits.
Read on to learn about our three herb growing essentials and the basics for taking care of coriander, parsley and basil this week.
3 Herb Growing Essentials
Healthy Soil: Choose an organic, light potting soil; this provides good drainage and room for young roots to grow. (If you're starting plants from seed, you'll use a seed-starting medium.)
Abundant Sun: Unless otherwise noted, your herbs will thrive in full sun.
Water and Food: Water your plants daily (ideally in the morning), until water drains out of the bottom of the pot. If you're using a saucer under the pot, empty it of any water collected. The soil shouldn't stay soaking wet, nor should it dry out completely. Use a balanced organic fertilizer according to package directions. Keep in mind that plants can be killed with kindness; take care not to overfeed or overwater.
Health Benefits: The health benefits of coriander include its use in the treatment of skin inflammation, high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, anemia, indigestion, menstrual disorders, smallpox, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, and blood sugar disorders, while also benefiting eye care.
Growing Conditions: Coriander likes a sunny spot, well-drained soil and a steady supply of both water and fertilizer. It grows equally well in pots or in garden beds. If using pots, use top quality potting mix and sit the pots up on pot feet, so water drains away after each watering.
Ways To Use: According to OPRAH's suggestion, add the seeds to everything from fruit salads to pasta. Or try steeping toasted coriander seeds in olive oil, then tossing quinoa in the flavored oil.
Health Benefits: The herb contains no cholesterol; however, it is rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber, which help control blood-cholesterol, prevents constipation, protects the human body from free radicals mediated injury and from cancers.
Growing Conditions: Parsley grows well in a deep pot, which helps accommodate the long taproot. Parsley grown indoors requires at least five hours of sunlight per day or high output plant growing lights. This herb grows well in loamy garden soil rich in nitrogen, and does well in full sun or part shade.
Ways To Use: Try one of the New York Time's picks on how to use this green herb in your home cooked meals!
Health Benefits: Basil is considered one of the healthiest herbs. It's best when fresh, exuding a sweet, earthy aroma that indicates not only the promise of pleasantly pungent flavor, but an impressive list of nutrients. Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting, is one of them. Just two tablespoons of basil provides 29 percent of the daily recommended value.
Growing Conditions: Plant basil seeds outside when the ground is warm. You may start inside with individual pots, or with bedding plants. If you start growing inside, heat cables are helpful since this is a tropical plant that doesn’t take kindly to the cold. Be sure to plant in full sunlight and in well-drained soil, enriched with compost, aged manure, or other organic materials.
Ways To Use: Learn how the Food Network uses basil in a number of different recipes including soup, seafood and pizza.
- "Health Benefits of Coriander." Organic Facts. N.p., 2014. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.
- "How To Grow Parsley." Herb Gardens. N.p., 2012. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.
- "Parsley Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits." Nutrition And You.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Feb. 2014.
- "Wholeliving." Whole Living. N.p., May 2009. Web. 04 Feb. 2014.