When starting out on a gardening venture, many tend to flock toward growing herbs as the first step toward gaining their green thumb initiation.
At Urban Food Garden we believe in the idea of food being medicine. So with the growing season around the corner, we have set about in giving you the knowledge to establish your own medicinal herb garden.
Medicinal herb gardens are edible, ornamental, and will flourish in pots making them great for small spaces. Most medicinal herbs enjoy full sun, which is fantastic in more temperate or dry areas of Australia, however, some are quite happy in partial shade or even indoors. Planting them in a range of small moveable beds and pots makes it easy for you to rearrange from season to season.
There are thousands of different herbs that possess medicinal properties, so we've picked our top 5 that will grow well throughout our harsh Australian Summer to help you get on your way.
The mother of floral herbs, lavender has a strong scent and is commonly used as an essential oil either diffused or applied topically. Lavender flowers look beautiful in a garden and can also be dried and infused as a tea.
Benefits: Treatment of anxiety and depression, relaxation, antifungal, antiseptic, settles digestive issues and stomach upsets.
Grow: Plant cutting or seeds in early Spring into a well-drained pot and water weekly. Once established lavender is drought tolerant and flourishes best in full sunlight.
The most common types of Chamomile are Roman and German. Chamomile flowers are perfect in an ornamental garden, or on its own in a pot. To utilise, harvested flower heads can be dehydrated naturally and infused as a tea or applied topically to soothe skin irritations.
Benefits: Holds powerful healing and antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Encourages sleep, treatment for colds and fevers helps relieve stomach cramps or digestive issues and soothes skin irritations such as eczema and itchy scalp.
Grow: Sow seeds in a pot in early spring or let flowers seed in a garden bed and transplant accordingly. Grows best in full sun.
A household name for its immune boosting properties, Echinacea is often overlooked in its botanical form and favoured as a store bought medicine or tincture. Not only much more potent in its natural state, Echinacea is easy to grow and manage, while its attractive flowers draw a diverse range of pollinators benefiting the growth of your garden.
Benefits: Anti-inflammatory and immune boosting used to combat viruses and soothe upper respiratory inflammations. Antimicrobial and antibacterial for healing skin wounds and insect bites.
Grow: Perfect for the harsh Australian sun, once established, Echinacea flourishes in hot weather due to their deep tap roots, which allow long-term water storage during drought. Unless controlled in a deep pot, Echinacea is best grown with ample room within the garden, herb or veggie patch.
Like blue jeans and dad jokes, peppermint is a classic amongst any household. Both culinary and medicinal, peppermint can be brewed and drunk as a tea added to summer juices and salads or applied topically as an oil or wash.
Benefits: Antimicrobial, aids in reducing digestive issues such as flatulence, gas and nausea. Reduces headaches, increases alertness relaxes muscles and cools the irritated skin.
Grow: Peppermint grows best in pots as it can become invasive and easily spread throughout a garden bed. Plant in full sun or part shade, ensuring regular water during dry periods.
Both a medicinal and culinary herb, Sage's genus name, Salvia, means 'to heal' and was first used by the Ancient Egyptians as a fertility drug. Sage is used in cooking to enhance culinary flavour and is still commonly used throughout Chinese medicine as a medicinal herb.
Benefits: Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial commonly used to soothe mouth and throat infections, as well as aid in combating fungal infections such as staphylococcus and candida. Sage can be ingested or applied topically as a therapeutic oil and acts as a digestive and nervous system stimulant when drank as a tonic or tea.
Grow: When plants are small keep soil moist and mist with water. As Sage plants prefer a drier environment, once fully established water only when soil is dry to touch. This tough plant can be grown in pots and prefers full sun.
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