Herbs can make a simple, delicious addition to a wide range of meals. They’re also easy plants to grow for beginner gardeners, and great for those with little space for a veggie patch! If you have a small balcony or windowsill and you wish to grow some plants, a few herbs like basil, parsley, chives, thyme, oregano or sage are a great starting point.
Did you know that herbs can also have multiple health benefits? These plants not only taste great but can be packed full of benefits for the human body!
In this article we take a look at just a few of the amazing health benefits of herbs.
Antioxidants are a compound said to help the body fight against damage from free radicals. Free radicals can cause stress and damage to the body, and have been linked to aging, as well as issues such as heart disease. Foods that contain higher levels of antioxidants include berries like blueberries and strawberries, veggies like beans and kale, and of course, a variety of herbs! Herbs such as sage, oregano, thyme and cloves contain high amounts of antioxidants.
It's important to note that fresh herbs are known to contain higher antioxidant levels than dried or processed herbs - and you can't get any fresher than homegrown herbs!
Having a small thyme plant on the kitchen windowsill can be an easy way to remember to incorporate a food rich in antioxidants into meals. Thyme can be added to a wide variety of dishes, from roast veggies to soups, homemade breads and even desserts!
Some herbs are said to offer a great, natural remedy when you’re feeling nauseous. Herbs such as peppermint and ginger may help fight feelings of nausea in the body. Many studies have been conducted showing ginger to be effective in treating feelings such as postoperative nausea and morning sickness during pregnancy. Although ginger is technically a vegetable, it is often referred to as a spice or herb, and can be incorporated into many dishes from stir-fries to soups and even smoothies!
Growing ginger at home can be a relatively simple task, as the plant can be grown from a piece of organic ginger. Just place the knob a few inches into some damp soil (ginger likes to be kept moist but not wet), ensure the “eyes” of the knob are facing upwards to allow the plant to sprout easily through the dirt, provide it with regular watering and voila, your ginger plant should start growing! If you like, you can first plant the knob in a pot in direct sunlight, and then move it into a spot with filtered light once the plant has sprouted. After several months, the leaves of the plant should begin to yellow and die off, indicating that it’s ready to harvest.
Having high cholesterol levels has been linked to an increased risk of problems such as stroke and heart disease, which is why it’s important to monitor cholesterol levels. The good news is some herbs and also spices may help to lower blood cholesterol levels. In a study published by the American Diabetes Association, cinnamon was shown to reduce glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.
According to Better Health Victoria, garlic, linseed, fenugreek and lemongrass may help to lower cholesterol. Some studies also show the positive effects of garlic use in individuals with elevated total cholesterol levels.
Herbs can make a wonderful addition to a garden or kitchen benchtop, and they can have many positive benefits for the body too! It’s super simple to get started with herbs, and with such a variety to choose from, you’ll be able to add a healthy boost to homemade dishes in no time!
Tip - Aim to harvest half of your herb plant at a time - and let the other half go to flower. That way the bees will have some lovely food to forage on - and you can collect the seeds to regrow your favourite herb plants again and again!
Love the idea of growing some herbs on your windowsill? Try our Micro herbs Windowsill Grow Kit by Urban Greens!
"Gardening gives me fun and health and knowledge. It gives me laughter and colour. It gives me pictures of almost incredible beauty." ~ John F. Kenyon