We can grow a fabulous array of herbs an medicinal plants. So why go to a shop and buy supplements and “superfoods” when we can have them in the garden!
I ran a workshop on exactly this and here is the start of the focus plants, with recipes to follow. There are so many but these are the ones with the most health benefits that are easisest to grow ALL YEAR in our Darwin climate…Top tips on herbs for health
- Eat and use as many herbs in food as possible for fresh flavours and health benefits.
- Make the most of our climate and the herbs we can grow and use local herbs
- Grow as many herbs as you can, even if you have a balcony you can have some of the smaller herbs in pots.
- Get to know as much as you can about the health benefits and how to cook or ingest them best!
- PS- Officially herb refers to a plant that you use the leaf of or is a non woody stemmed perennial. Often “herbal medicine” refers to using any plant parts for health. In this instance we are looking at a combination of medicinal plant parts, including many leafy parts roots and flowers.
More plants information and recipes to come (this is extracted from the “Herbs for Health” handout by Emma Lupin).
NB. Nutritional information sourced from Isabel Shippard’s “Using Herbs in Your Daily Life” and various research texts which will be referenced later.
Here are the first five focus plants we can grow in Darwin Gardens and have fantastic health benefits:-
1) Moringa (Moringa oliefera)
Origins in Africa and Asia
Form- Medium Tree to 5m
Part Used- Leaf, seed pod can also be eaten
High in Protein (38%) and 8 essential amno acids.
Vitamin A, Bs, C, D, H and K, Calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and zinc
2) Mother of herbs (Coleus amboinicus)
Origins in Sub-tropical Asia
Form- Ground cover herb
Part Used- Leaf
Contains essential oils
High in vitamins A, B and C with minerals calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.
Used as an antiseptic, for sore throats, digestive and anti bacterial
3) Kaffir lime leaves (Citrus hystrix)
Form- A small tree/ shrub to 4m
Origins in Asia
Part Used– Leaf and fruit is also used in cooking.
High in essential oil
Contains vitamins B and C
Used as a digestive, antibiotic, antioxidant.
Used for coughs and mouth ulcers too.
4) Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Form- Herb to 1.5 m
Origins in SE Asia
Part Used- Root
Contains vitamin A and C
Active ingredient is curcumin – antiseptic, anti inflammatory, digestive aid.
Stimulates the adrenal glands and liver function
May help regulate menstrual cycle
5) Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
Form- Herb (grass) to 50cm
Part Used- Stem/ Leaves
Essential oils including citral, geraniol and nerol
Contains vitamins A, B and C and high in iron, chromium, magnesium
Used in Ayverdic medicine for coughs, colds. Expectorant and digestive.