If you can keep a pot of herbs growing in your home, and turn to them, rather than popping pills for soothing a sore throat or a headache, there could be nothing better. Plant some indoor herbs, and you can have folksy remedies at hand.
Several medicinal plants, particularly herbs, grow well indoors. As recommended by Amy Jeanroy, who runs a greenhouse business and writes and teaches about medicinal herbs, thyme, chamomile, lemon balm, mint and sage are best to begin with. Each of these works well when taken as tea.
You could grow, cut, and dry them for use all through the year, or use fresh herbs. To brew a tea, add one teaspoon of dried or three teaspoons of fresh herbs, to one cup of boiled water. Allow to steep for several minutes, and then remove the herbs. Herbs such as thyme, chamomile, mint, lemon balm, and sage can aid digestion.
Some common indoor herbs that can come in handy are:
Thyme – can soothe a sore throat and prevent coughing. Thyme also has excellent anti-viral properties and can hence it good to drink thyme tea when travelling.
Peppermint – is a good home remedy for an upset stomach. In fact, it has the ability to cover up the strong or bitter taste of other herbs too.
Lemon balm â€“ can counter headaches, when drunk as a tea, and can be added to other medicinal teas too, to cover up the unpleasant taste. It can be steeped stronger to make a topical, antiseptic cleanser for a skinned knee, or a bug bite.
Basil â€“ The holy Basil has amazing healing powers. It is used as herbal medicine in ailments including common cold, fever, cough, and sore throat.
Chamomile – can help deal with the crankiness that kids get when they are feverish.
Sage – can soothe mouth sores and bleeding gums.
Tips to grow indoor herbs:
Start with a small indoor garden. You should be aware that the plants are not likely to last longer than 18 months. Use a large, clean pot filled with sterile potting soil. Sow seeds or use small starter plants that are often inexpensive at this time of the year.
Ensure that the plants get six or more hours of sunlight. Else, you may need to invest in lights, says Jeanroy. It is better to buy inexpensive full-spectrum light bulbs sold at home improvement stores, which can be popped into a table or a floor lamp. The plants will require 14 to 16 hours of this artificial day light every day.
Plants grow best if the daytime indoor temperature is between 70 and 75 degrees and night temperature is nearly 10 degrees cooler. Ensure there is a drainage hole in the pot, and donâ€™t overwater the plants, as soggy soil can lead to pest problems.
Finally, take good care of your indoor herb garden, and it will surely return the favour. You will find that the whole process of picking the herbs, their good smell, and heating water to make tea, will by itself be healing.
The concept of medicinal gardens are centuries old. The whole idea is to teach people how to keep themselves healthy, so that they donâ€™t depend solely on drugs when they are sick, said Mazikowski, who grows indoor medicinal garden that goes beyond common herbs.