As the weather gets warm I see more and more people start their annual outdoor gardening. It is fun and rewarding to plant flowers for beauty and vegetable plants for tasty, fresh nutrition. Herbs for cooking and health benefits can also be planted and will provide medicinal benefits and flavor in the months ahead. Many can be dried and put aside for the winter months too.
A few common herbs to plant this time of year are:
Coriander or cilantro- this herb has anti-fungal properties, which help heal skin disorders such as eczema. Also coriander is said to be able to lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Tulsi - otherwise known as Holy Basil. This herb can lower fever. Tulsi is rich in antioxidants and is able to regulate blood sugar absorption resulting in a natural way to prevent diabetes. Another benefit of this powerful herb is it reduces uric acid levels in the blood and helps break down kidney stones.
Aloe Vera – a powerful antioxidant, good for sunburn, rashes and household burns and skin irritation. Also good for reducing dental plaque, mild relief of constipation, and for intestinal cleansing. Another use is to increase collagen on the skin and reduce wrinkles.
Curry leaves- has anti-inflammatory properties along with anti-diabetic properties. Curry leaves also help to relieve diarrhea and works to lowered LDL cholesterol, and strengthen hair roots to promote hair growth.
Dandelion root – a natural diuretic and anti-microbial, can be used as a tea.
Growing these medicinal cooking herbs is very satisfying and some of them can help guard your vegetables and flowers against invasive insects.
At the Acupuncture Center of New Jersey, we will often prescribe traditional Chinese herbal medicines for our patients. We love to make nutritional and dietary recommendations and, whenever possible, to find ways to encourage our patients to use natural activities like gardening to augment their health year-round!
Here’s a useful website to help get you started: http://www.herbgardeningtips.com