Growing Herbs For Home Use
By Lawrence Reaves
Using herbs to increase your health and wellness is a simple and effective form of alternative medicine. One of the things that makes herbalism so appealing to people is the fact that very few supplies are needed to successfully practice it. While it’s perfectly fine to purchase the remedies you wish to use, some people want to get a little more hands-on with their home herbalism.
Growing Herbs at Home
Herbs are characteristically hardy plants and they usually don’t need much encouragement to grow. However, by carefully planning your medicinal herb garden and overseeing its integrity, you will be ensuring that you have a bounty of the highest quality herbs possible.
It’s best if you can use a dedicated space on your property for your herb garden. This space should be protected from agricultural run-off, animal waste, drainage water, and any other source of contamination. If you have never grown anything in the space you’re intending to use, consider planting something else there first; a patch of ground may have problems that aren’t immediately obvious that could affect your herb gardening efforts. Instead, use large flower pots or planters to grow your herbs in.
The reason that you should be picky about your site selection is two-fold. First, your herbs will be drawing sustenance from the soil they’re planted in. If that soil is contaminated by chemicals or waste, your plants may be unhealthy, if they grow at all. Second, while it is unlikely that an herb will become so contaminated that it can’t be consumed, you have to remember that these plants will be put on or in the bodies of you and your family. Taking steps to ensure the quality of your soil is a necessary part of practicing safe home herbalism.
Choosing Your Plants
Most herbs will happily grow wherever they’re planted, though keep in mind that your local climate may not be conducive to growing all the herbs you wish to add to your home remedy cupboard. Do some research to determine what herbs will grow best in your area and in the kind of soil you have available; if outdoor conditions are not idea for a certain plant, consider growing it indoors.
Herbs can be started from seeds, though if you are impatient to start stocking your herbal remedy kit, you can buy young plants that are ready to be put in the ground. If you are relatively new to herbalism, select plants that have a range of uses. Mint, parsley, and lemon balm all have multiple medicinal uses; these make excellent first additions to your medicinal garden.
Using Your Plants
Though many herbs are at their most powerful when they’re fresh, you will only have access to the fresh substance during the plant’s natural growing season. To prolong the usefulness of an herb, it has to be prepared for storage. Dried herbs will retain their potency for several weeks, even months in some cases. Oil infusions, tinctures, and extracts require more involved preparation, though will give you excellent results with only a minimum of effort.
Home herbalism is a very rewarding practice. Taking responsibility for the health of your family is empowering; it isn’t necessary to turn to a doctor to treat every complaint. Instead, you can be more certain about the kind of medication you’re receiving and make informed decisions about the kind of care you want.
Lawrence Reaves writes for Solstice Medicine Company, an online store that sells traditional chinese medicine to help relieve all types of symptoms and illnessess from the common cold to arthritis. For more information about Solstice Medicine Company click here.