Six essential herbs for home gardens, that are useful to us in one way or the other. Definitely, we must have a few of these plants, that we can grow easily.
Here, I am trying to introduce a few herbs, that are very common in tropical regions. You can grow easily in home gardens, either directly in soil or in pots. Along with your flowering or non- flowering plants, bonsai trees etc. you can try any of them in your garden.
Besides, most of these are shade loving plants. Hence, you can grow them either in your balconies or underneath the ornamental trees.
Uses of growing herbs in home gardens.
These herbs are really amazing home remedies for ailments. Especially, for life style diseases such as hypertension, anxiety, insomnia etc. In addition, they are great for culinary uses – adding flavor to many dishes. Moreover, we can use many of them against minor attacks from common cold, cough and fever.
Certain others are soothing herbs, that are effective for minor burns and wounds, allergic reactions insect bites etc.
Holy Basil or the Tulsi plant is commonly known as the queen of herbs. Owing to its spiritual relevance, holy basil is widely used for pooja purposes in temples. Also it is one of the most important constituents, for the preparation of ayurvedic medicines.
Through dried mature seeds, we can propagate the holy basil plant.
However, we can use its different combinations as remedies, for many ailments. Let us see a few examples
Turmeric Tulsi paste for insect bites.
Make a fine paste with a small piece of raw turmeric, and a few leaves of Holy basil plant. You can apply the freshly prepared paste, at areas of insect bites.
Surely, you will get a faster relief for the burning sensation as well as pain.
NOTE: Given above are examples of homes remedies, using the Holy basil plant. But these are not alternatives for medication, and you must seek medical advice, in cases of severe problems.
In addition to its primary use as a flavouring agent, this herb has a lot of health benefits. The first and foremost, is its property to reduce respiratory problems. The plant with a soothing fragrance, can give relief to those who are suffering from anxiety and stress.
Likewise, the leaves of the mint plant are packed with anti oxidants and vitamin A. It is one of the most effective remedies, for digestive disorders and hyper acidity. Above all, we can use it simply as a mouth freshener.
We can use it in the raw form, as well as cooked in dishes. For example, the coconut and fresh mint chutney is one of the most tasty side dishes . Preferably with dosa or idly, the healthy delicious Kerala breakfast.
Likewise, it is definitely relaxing and refreshing to have a mint flavoured lime juice, on a hot sunny day.
However, long term use of mint may cause certain side effects. Hence, you must seek advice before using it as a medicine.
We can use rooted stem cuttings, for the propagation of the mint plants. Though the plant thrives in cool climates, we can grow it anywhere, by providing a favourable environment. With proper caring, the plant can do well in a good growing medium, perfect lighting etc.
3. African coriander
( Botanical name: Eryngium foetidem )
The plant is known in different names such as Mexican coriander, Fitweed coriander etc. In Malayalam the name of the plant is African malli.
It is widely used as a culinary herb, in a lot of South Indian dishes. The flavour as well as the smell of the plant, has close resemblance to that of cilantro or coriander leaves. Hence, we can surely add this in dishes as a substitute for cilantro. Compared to cilantro, it is more pungent and hence we need to add only small quantities for flavour.
In addition, it has got a number of medicinal properties. For this reason, it is widely used in traditional medicines. Mostly, for the treatment of stomach ailments, hypertension etc.
For propagation, we can use saplings of the plant collected through the division of the mother plants.
4. Black pepper
Black pepper popularly known as black gold is considered as the King of spices. People all over the world use this wonderful spice, for adding flavour to cuisines.
At the same time, it is an important herb, that is useful to us in many ways. Black pepper, is truly one of the main ingredients for making ayurvedic medicines. Likewise, we can make home remedies for a lot of ailments, with black pepper as one of the main constituent.
In Kerala, black pepper is widely cultivated, preferably in the hilly areas. The climate, as well as the soil structure, are suitable for the proper growth of the plant.
You can definitely buy top quality black pepper, on your visit to Kerala, God’s own county.
Usually the the pepper plants are vines, that need supporting trees to climb. But we can grow it easily in pots, which is commonly known as the bush pepper. The most important advantage of growing bush pepper, is that you will get fresh corns round the year.
You can read here the simple tips for growing bush pepper plants in pots.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is popularly used for the preparation of ayurvedic medicines for hair care. Also this herb is an important ingredient in making cosmetics.
We can use the pulp taken from the fleshy leaves as an effective remedy for minor burns, allergic itching etc. Moreover, massaging raw aloe Vera juice on the scalp, can prevent dandruff.
Hence, having a few aloe Vera plants in your home garden is always beneficial in one way or the other. You can learn the simple tips to grow the plant here.
6. Sweet Basil
This herb is not very popular in south Indian cooking. But we can use it for flavouring soups, desserts etc.
However chewing a few leaves of this herb with a sweet fragrant, is refreshing. Certainly we can use it as a stimulant, especially during our depressed moments.
In addition, we can add the dried seeds of sweet basil soaked in water, to soft drinks and juices. It is really beneficial, for the proper functioning of our digestive system.
You can grow this herb very easily in your garden.
Mentioned above, are a few herbs that are essential for our home gardens. In tropical regions, we can grow these plants without taking much effort. Therefore, try to grow these herbs in your home garden, and enjoy the freshness of each of them.