BY: SAMANTHA TAPP
After you learn how to transform that old patch of dirt in your backyard into an urban garden, you’ll have to decide which type of garden you want. Will it be flowers? Veggies? Fruits? How about herbs?
An organic herb garden could be the perfect option for beginners. Not only are the herbs simple to plant and maintain, but the garden will act as both a garden for seasoning meals and one that offers tons of natural remedies to stay healthy. These are the ten best herbs to put in your urban garden.
How? Eat it. Basil can be consumed fresh or dried. For the best tasting result, toss in basil at the end of cooking a meal as heat damages the flavour. Or make it into an oil to take advantage of its anti-inflammatory effects.
Why? Basil is known to clam nerves, it has a detoxifying effect on the liver and it’s a good source of fiber. Basil oil is known for its many medical effects, including anti-inflammatory, deodorizer, topical antioxidant, anti-arthritic and it can also be used as an insect repellent.
How? This will be a staple in your organic garden because of its versatile herbal remedies. Use the natural oils from this plant or use the plant in baking or cooking.
Why? Lavender seems magical with all of the good effects it can have on your health. Lavender oil can help scalp conditions like getting rid of some pesky dandruff, an antioxidant found in the plant can help with poor digestion, it’s a healthy addition in your meals and more so, breathing in lavender can help you sleep by lowering your heart rate and blood pressure.
How? Thyme is a good cooking ingredient to mix with herbs like garlic, onion or parsley to add some flavour to your dish. This herb is basically calorie-free, which makes it an even better addition to your next homemade soup or salad. It can also be used as an antioxidant vitamin A or can be sipped as a thyme-infused tea.
Why? As a vitamin it can help with your nail, skin, hair and eye health. As a tea it is used as a natural fix for colds, sore throats, coughs and even for respiratory issues as serious as bronchitis. As an oil it helps heal acne, psoriasis and eczema. It also has the ability to act as an antiseptic, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.
How? Eat it. Fresh or dried, mint can be sprinkled over a meal to crate a fresh taste. Drink it. Brew the mint leaves into a tea or garnish a cold drink. Or make it into an oil for even more positive health effects.
Why? When mint is used as a herbal remedy it can relieve you of a headache, clear sinus congestion or help to relax you. In tea form the mint is actually a digestive aid and is known to help relieve menstrual cramps. This tasty herb also cleans up your breath and helps with nausea, asthma, pimples and even cavities.
How? Eat them. Chives have a mild-onion flavour that can be added to any dish; they can be used fresh or dried. Or you can use them as pest repellants. They have the ability to drive away pests like mosquitos from your garden.
Why? Most significantly the herb can help to boost your immune system. Chives are naturally high in sulfur, which is a natural antibiotic that can give anti-inflammatory and digestive effects. Even though it’s still debatable, multiple studies even suggest that eating allium veggies (chives included) can help lower risk of developing some types of cancer.
How? Eat it. Parsley is most commonly used sprinkled onto the top of meals once its prepared to add in some extra flavour. Parsley is loaded with nutrients; one tablespoon of parsley equals t more than half of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K.
Why? Just like chives, parsley can give your immune system a natural boost and it can even help with your bad breath. Just like some of the other herbs, parsley is also a antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, which is best used to elevate digestion problems.
How? Eat it. You’ll know this herb as the little green leaves on top of tacos, or basically any Mexican and Asian disk. The entire cilantro plant is edible: the leaves, brown seeds and roots can all be used in different dishes. Beware, cilantro is as strong tasting herb.
Why? This herb is full of antioxidant vitamin C, which fights against digestion and inflammation. Cilantro also plays an important role in removing heavy metals from our bodies and instead supplying fiber and iron.
How? Eat it. Rosemary is a popular herb used to flavour baked goods, meat and roasted vegetables. Different sizes and slightly different flavours can be produced from each plant, however, all of their leaves and steams can be used. Or turn it into an oil for some natural health remedies.
Why? This herb can be another natural remedy for indigestion, fixing your bad breath and taking away body pain. Rosemary oil can sooth irritated skin, clear your scalp of dandruff and help it grow longer. Sniffing rosemary can also have a calming effect and help relieve daily stress.
How? Eat it. Sage is an easy herb to dry up and preserve. The dry leaves are traditionally used to pump up the flavour in savoury meat dishes. Or drink it. Sage-infused tea provides its own list of natural remedies.
Why? Drinking sage is a magical drink used to defy the inevitable aging process. It’s used to reduce greying hair and is in many beauty products because of its antiseptic and antioxidant elements. It can also be used to reduce anxiety and boost energy levels.
How? Eat it. There are different types of oregano, but it is generally agreed that the leaves have the strongest flavour in the summer. You can also keep the leaves dried, which holds their flavour well.
Why? Oregano leaves are a natural remedy for digestive issues, respiratory problems and parasitic infections like fungal infections, muscle aches, joint pain and skin conditions like dandruff and psoriasis.