One of the first things I would do whenever I moved to a new place was to re-start my herb garden. These herbs could be carried along with my belongings in a small packet to be replanted in my new garden. However, if not lucky to have a garden then in small pots or containers on my balcony or kitchen counter.
These herbs don’t need much water and can withstand tough conditions. Moreover, the best part is they multiply and spread very fast. Very soon you have a mini herb farm. My must have 5 useful and easy to grow herbs:
1) Mint or Pudina (Mentha piperata)
You can use it for seasoning your salad, adding it to your cup of black tea or grind it to make ‘pudina ki chutney’. Mint can be used to flavor both food and beverages. It is refreshing. I always add a sprig of mint to my fresh lime-soda. Ah, refreshing.
Besides, it also relieves indigestion, Helps relieve cough and cold, good for allergies and skin infections. And it is very good for oral health – get that fresh minty breath.
To grow mint you just need used stalks. Stick them in a pot or in the ground.
2) Miracle Leaf or Panfuti (Bryophyllum Pinnatum )
Bryophyllum pinnatum, is also known as Panfuti in Hindi . It is known as the miracle leaf because not only can you propagate it from a leaf but it has always miraculously cures kidney stones. It is used for medicinal purpose both, internally as well as externally.
The leaves are frequently used for an array of human disorders including hypertension, diabetes mellitus, bruises, wounds, boils, burns, sloughing ulcers, opthalmia, corn, diarrhea, dysentery, vomiting, abscesses, insect bites, arthritis, rheumatism, joint pains, headaches, antifungal, antibacterial, body pains and acute inflammation. The leaves are also used for lymphadenitis and ear disease.
Externally, the pulp of the leaves or the juice is applied to traumatic injuries to arrest the bleeding and promote the healing of wounds. The juice of its leaves contract the minute arterioles and arrest bleeding which may be external or internal. On traumatic wounds, the heated leaves are crushed and applied. It reduces the edema and promotes the wound healing without leaving a scar.
To grow Panfuti just take a leaf from a friend and drop in a pot or garden soil and soon you will have multiple plants coming from all the grooves of the leaf.
3) Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has many health benefits for your skin, hair, and overall health. Aloe vera juice in limited quantity is beneficial for your health and drinking in the morning is a great way to start your day. It is good for the skin and hair.
However, pregnant and lactating mothers should strictly stay away from aloe vera juice because of its irritant qualities. It may stimulate uterine contractions in pregnant women. This may lead to birth defects in your child or even miscarriage.
To grow aloe, you can get a small plant which usually grows at the roots of the parent plant. Or, you could take pieces of leaf-cutting and plant it in the soil – takes longer though.
4) Ajwain/Owa (Carom) Plectranthus amboinicus
The ajwain plant is very easy to grow and is equally good to look at. Ajwain is often called Coarse Leaf Thyme. This beautiful and fragrant has multiple medicinal properties and can be grown in the garden, the kitchen, or medicine cabinet. The beautiful ridged leaves of the ajwain plant are edible and an easy home remedy for tummy upsets. Add to raita and chop into salads for a herby, fresh taste or chew a few leaves for an instant natural mouth freshener!
To grow ajwain just take a cutting and stick it into the soil. In fact, one cutting can be made into 2 or 3 cuttings.
5) Lemongrass (Cymbopogon)
Lemongrass is a potent lemon-citrus herb. Common as a seasoning in Asian cuisine, it also works great as a tea. You can also use lemon grass in soups, stews, and stuffing. It has a fresh lemony scent and a light flavor without the tart bite of the lemon fruit. Lemongrass teas have become a very popular drink.
This herb has a slight, fresh lemony flavor. Lemongrass has long, slender greyish-green leaves and a fibrous base. The oil of lemongrass is used in many perfumes, soaps, and body lotions. The plant has been shown to have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
To grow lemon grass, just lightly dig out a stalk with its root intact and re-plant.
Try growing these herbs, believe me, they are really easy to grow and very useful to have around your home.