HEALTH CENTER

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Sow Your Own Herb Garden and Reap the Health Benefits by Venissa Ryther

Venissa (640x427)If variety is the spice of life, then fresh herbs should be added to make it livelier.  Have you ever thought about growing your own herb garden?  Growing and tending to your own herb garden offers direct health benefits.  First of all, herbs offer disease-fighting antioxidants.  Also, the hobby of gardening is physically active and a great workout.  You will be planting, shoveling, and taking in the fresh air being outdoors.  Gardening promotes healthy eating since you will have organic, preservative and pesticide free herbs.  Growing your own herb garden is rewarding and a nice break from a busy day.

Consider these 3 key elements before you begin:

1.)        SPACE – Determine the space. Herbs need at least 6 hours of sun per day.  Usually a good outdoor space would be a ground soil area at least 3 feet across and 3 feet in length. You may also use a pot, but you will have to consider how tall and how spread out your herbs will grow.  If you choose an indoor location, remember that herbs need sunlight, so typically a window sill or bay window is ideal.  Be sure to measure the size of the window sill.  Usually a flower box or indoor planter (ceramic or terra cotta) will work best.

2.)        TIMING – Herbs can be delicate and temperamental. Be sure to choose herbs that you can attend to on either a daily or weekly basis. They will need water, care and attention.  Plus, the more time you tend to your herbs, the more they will grow and thrive.

3.)        PATIENCE – Just as beautiful roses take time to bloom, herbs take some time to flourish.  Be patient and tend to them regularly. 

Are you ready to plant?

Here are some basic everyday herbs with their health benefits that you may consider growing:

BASIL – Basil is rich with antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory enzymes that may help with arthritis.  Use it in cooking to have a spiced-velvety taste to pasta, salads and sandwiches.  Basil can be used fresh or dried. 

CHIVES – The baked potato’s friend and a distant relative to the onion family, its crisp and mild crunch is great for soups and sautéed vegetables.  The hidden benefits of chives? They carry plenty of vitamin K, which in low quantities may help boost immunity.

CILANTRO – Used in most fusion cooking from Asian to Mexican, cilantro is perfect for dressings, salads, soups, marinades and rubs for meats and seafood.  Cilantro is a rich antioxidant which also is a digestive aid, so it’s easier on calories and on the tummy.

DILL – Due to its unique flavor, dill may be a required taste, but it’s a perfect seasoning for seafood, vegetables and chicken. What’s the health benefit?  It has antimicrobial power which prevents harmful toxins, and may help increase immunity.

MINT – It’s aromatic and pleasing to taste. Mint is also a carrier of vitamins A, C and B-12. Mint is great for cakes and pies, brewing in teas, and it has been used in medicinal purposes such as stomach cramps and heartburn.  Mint also provides naturally fresh breath and after washed, it can be eaten right off the stem!

PARSLEY – Not only a garnish, cooked parsley is just as good with potato or pasta salads and seafood.  High in antioxidants and an antimicrobial, parsley’s benefits may make you consider using more when cooking your meals.

ROSEMARY- A distant cousin to the mint family, rosemary has a fresh aroma and bitter taste that enhances flavor to a variety of cooked meats, vegetables and as a seasoned tea.  There are many benefits of rosemary.  It has become very popular because of its holistic uses as a skin and beauty aid and its possible medicinal properties to fight heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

SAGE – Known as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, sage has been used to aid in rheumatoid arthritis and may help with bronchial asthma. Researchers are still studying the facts if it’s proven to help enhance memory which can aid in Alzheimer’s disease. Sage is great to cook with meats and seafood, and can be used even in hot brewed tea!

Since the early beginning, herbs like rosemary, basil, and sage have been used for medicinal and culinary purposes throughout the world.  Herbs have fascinated historians, gardeners, and mainstream culture; they have become a staple for most foods and their seasonings. Your future herb garden will provide delicious meals with health benefits- plus you can share with others. Enjoy!

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.