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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.

Basil
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.

Chamomile
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.

Chives
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.

Cilantro
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.

Mint
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.

Parsley
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.

Thyme
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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