Kitchen Herbs for Food & First Aid

April 2020 - Health & Wellness

Year-round, a culinary and medicinal garden can be as close as your windowsill—the perfect light-filled ledge to put fragrance, flavours, and first aid at your fingertips. Try your green thumb with these easy-to-grow favourites.

Popular basil is packed with beneficial antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial herb properties, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Whether green, purple, small- or large-leaved, Italian or Thai, plant basil in regularly fed, well-drained soil in a sunny window. Keep it moist and snip just above a leaf node to encourage branching.

A physic gardens staple, chamomile is known for its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties—for skin issues, upset stomachs, to aid sleep, and ease menstrual pain.

Dry the leaves to make a delicious tea or to splash on your face for a soothing toner.

Grow Roman chamomile in sandy soil, in a south-facing window, and water once a week.

Chop raw chives into egg, fish, and potato dishes, salads, and soups for a pop of oniony flavour.

This member of the allium family offers the same detoxifying, anti-bacterial benefits as garlic to ease digestion, lower cholesterol, and boost immunity.
Grow in a sunny window, mist frequently, and water when the top of the soil feels dry.

Also known as Chinese parsley, cilantro leaves and stems are wonderful in any spicy dish.

Just a quarter cup of anti-inflammatory cilantro contains five percent of the daily requirement for vitamin A.
Place in a sunny window, in a terracotta pot of sandy soil. Keep moist and snip full stalks from the outside.

Chop mint into hot, steamed potatoes or into yogurt for a refreshing dip, brew a refreshing hot or cold tea—lovely with a drizzle of honey, or muddle into a mojito or mint julep.

Mint’s cooling, anti-microbial properties sooth digestive upsets, headaches, and stuffy noses. Chew raw for a natural breath freshener.
Keep this invasive plant in its own pot of moist sandy soil, in an east-facing window in summer, and south-facing in winter. A clipping also thrives in a glass of water.

Curly or flat-leaved parsley balances flavours in any cooked or raw dish and makes a gorgeous garnish.

Slightly bitter, it aids digestion, freshens your breath—especially after eating garlic, and is a great source of vitamins A and C.

Start from seed in a deep pot to accommodate its long tap root, and keep it moist and misted in a sunny window. Harvest full stalks from the outside of the plant.

Infuse thyme’s fragrance into egg, vegetable, bean, lamb, and poultry dishes. Don’t forget to add a sprig or two to your stock pot.

Active ingredient thymol supports the immune system with anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties, and clears congestion. When stressed, bruise leaves and breathe deeply to feel calmer.

Grow thyme in a terracotta pot full of well-drained, sandy soil, in a sunny window. Allow to dry out completely between waterings. Cut back regularly to encourage thicker growth, especially after blooming. 

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