Last week we welcomed autumn like a big cosy jumper and thick socks. But aside from the joys of oversized knitwear, pumpkin spiced lattes and crunchy leaves; we’re heading straight into sniffle season where many of us are not so lucky to glide through the winter without catching the dreaded lurgy.
However, as well as your local pharmacy, some alternative remedies can be found happily growing within the comfort of its little plant pot on your windowsill or garden. And in addition to treating colds and coughs, herbs have a number of other awesome healing properties you may not have realised beyond your dinner plate.
Read on for our top ten healing herbs to grow at home. *
As well as producing a mean pesto, basil has heaps of medicinal benefits. Originating in India and belonging to the mint family, this sacred herb packed with vitamins A, K and manganese can be used to ease inflammatory conditions, prevent a variety of skin conditions, and even promote a youthful appearance. Not only that, having a good sniff of this antioxidant wonder can increase your energy levels, and when enjoyed as a cuppa, can relax the mind due to its cortisol-reducing compounds.
Any excuse for more pesto, right?
One of the easiest herbs to grow, eating enough of this stuff will have you radiating good chives all day long.
High in vitamins A, C and K, as well as calcium and manganese, chives can aid digestion, maintain bone health, lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Containing enough vitamins and minerals to see off a pharmacy, this ferny foliage is packed with vitamins A and C, iron, manganese, and folate. Its healing properties known for centuries include calming nerves, maintaining bone health, soothing upset stomachs and getting rid of hiccups.
Serve up some of this dill-icious herb at your next dinner party and impress your friends with this encyclopedic wisdom.
The great grandfather of herbs dating back to 5000 BC, coriander has enormous medicinal properties. The leaves, known as cilantro, are a source of numerous nutrients including vitamins A, C, E and K, along with manganese and iron.
Bursting with goodness, coriander is known to lower cholesterol, as well as regulate blood pressure. And if this wasn’t enough, this love it or hate it herb contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat skin problems, preserve eye health and help treat food poisoning by killing salmonella bacteria.
What can’t it do?!
5. Lemon Balm
A relative of the mint family, this easy to grow herb has a reputation for invading your garden. However, look beyond this and you’ll find a wonder of health benefits.
This bushy herb is believed to have calming effects that can help you catch some zzz’s, treat anxiety, sooth cold sores, improve digestion and help treat skin inflammation.
Not just a garnish, parsley is armed with nutrients including vitamins A, C and K, calcium, as well as being extremely rich in iron.
The immune boosting herb can help strengthen teeth and bones, heal the nervous system and flush excess liquid from the body, making it a staple in many celebrities’ cupboards because of its ability to reduce bloating.
If you’ve got an exam coming up, reach for the rosemary as this pretty, aromatic herb belonging to the mint family has been used for thousands of years for its brain boosting qualities. There was good reason why Shakespeare said “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.”
High in vitamin A, as well as minerals magnesium and iron, rosemary can be added to your tea to freshen breath, inhaled to reduce symptoms of a migraine, or used to soothe an upset stomach. Full of antioxidants, this prickly genius can also give your immune system a boost when eaten on a regular basis.
This legendary herb meaning “to save” belongs to the aalvia family and is packed with vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese.
Sage has a long history of being used medicinally to improve digestion, relieve a sore throat, and maintain bone structure. But it’s also known as a little self-care product – rub it onto your pearly whites to give them added sparkle or as a natural deodorant to stay as fresh as a daisy.
Another golden oldie, this cooling herb high in vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron has been used for thousands of years.
Along with its other minty siblings, peppermint contains the active ingredient menthol, known to calm stomach upsets, as well as soothe travel sickness, relieve skin allergies and a stuffy nose.
Pretty cool huh?
Renowned for its calming properties, this purple powerhouse is rich in iron, as well as vitamins A and calcium.
Adding flower power to your diet may help relieve stress, fight insomnia, treat burns and support wound healing. If you’re feeling creative, sew some dried lavender into a pillow for a relaxing nights sleep, or add it to honey, lemonade, or sprinkle on a cake for a floral edible treat.
*Excessive use of herbs may be harmful to your health, especially when pregnant, breastfeeding, or if you have an allergy. Always consult a doctor when consuming herbs for medical conditions.
Fiona holds a degree in Marketing Management and when she isn’t working, you can find her fell running in the Peak District, developing a new gluten free concoction in the kitchen, or spending time with her 18-month-old son.