Herb-a-licious
19 Sep

Herb-a-licious

If you are a novice like me and lack a little somewhat in the green thumb department (I once killed my cactus) then you will find Herbs among some of the easier plants to grow at home. Herbs require very little maintenance and are particularly great if you live in a small space. They grow well in containers on your window sill and are totally convenient when cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Not to mention inexpensive comparatively to buying bunches of herbs at the supermarket. Bonus! Here are my top 5 Herbs to get your own herb garden started at home.

My top 5 Herb choices all belong to the Lamiaceae family and have been used all over the world for their culinary enhancement, but if flavour isn’t enough of a reason to get your kitchen herb garden growing then check out the amazing health boosting benefits that herbs can offer.

rosemary2

Rosemary

Rosemary is perfect for your kitchen herb garden. You can use it fresh or dried and you can either strip the leaves from the stems or use the whole sprigs. Rosemary is quite strong in flavour so a little bit goes a long way. Its flavour is usually best described as a piney aromatic flavour.

Rosemary is ideal for cooking roasts or on the summer grill and is amazing when infused with oil and garlic … yum!

  • Rosemary flower tops contain phenolic antioxidant rosmarinic acid, along with some super essential oils that have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial & antiseptic properties.
  • Rosemary is rich in Vitamin B complex & contains high levels of folate, folate is important for our DNA and can prevent neural tube defects in babies.
  • Vitamin A found in Rosemary can help to maintain healthy vision & healthy skin.
  • Fresh Rosemary leaves contain Vitamin C which assists with our immunity as well as helping with the production of collagen.
  • Rosemary is a rich source of iron, potassium & magnese. These minerals can help with our circulation and our heart health.

THYME2

Thyme

Thyme is easy to use and easy to grow and is described as having a spicy, clove type flavour with hints of lemon and mint – how delicious does that sound? Same goes for this little herb as rosemary,  a little bit goes a long way when it comes to flavour, so remember not to over do it.

It is perfectly paired with Rosemary when cooking and is great for stews, flavouring meat and creating sauces.

  • Thyme contains thymol which is an essential oil found to have antiseptic & antifungal properties.
  • Thyme has one of the highest antioxidant levels among its herb friends.
  • Thyme is rich in potassium, iron, magnesium and selenium which can help our blood pressure, heart rate and cell formation.
  • This herb contains vitamins like beta carotene,  A, K, E, C & B6 which are great for maintaining healthy brain function & helping to eliminate stress all while boosting our immunity, improving our eye health, cell production & helping to keep our skin looking young & fresh.

mint

Mint

Mint is a favourite in the herb world and is easy enough to grow at home, however be warned that if not confined to a small container this herb will spread and take over your whole garden. Its quite enthusiastic.

Mint has a refreshing, sweet flavour with a hint of lemon. The flavour of mint is often paired with lamb but is super tasty with a variety of fruits and vegetables and gives your favourite beverages a little some somethin’.

  • Mint is rich in essential oils and dietary fibre, helping to control our cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • The essential oils found in mint like menthol are particularly great for helping relieve the symptoms of colds and can either be inhaled or applied topically to the skin.
  • Compounds in the peppermint can help act as an anti-inflammatory for our muscles and our skin. It is also commonly used as a digestive aid & can help with tummy aches thanks to its anti-spasmodic nature.
  • This herb is an excellent source of vitamins A, B complex, K, C & E as well as minerals like iron, calcium, potassium & magnesium. These vitamins & minerals help maintain healthy cells, boost immunity, help to maintain healthy vision and skin as well as keep our blood circulation & heart healthy.
  • Mint is widely used as a breath freshener. Thanks to its antibacterial nature mint can help with oral care & hygiene.

oregano2

Oregano

This powerful herb thrives best with a bit of sunshine and can be used fresh but is more commonly used dried. Its flavour can be descirbed as a mild floral, lemon flavour.

Oregano is used famously in Italian cooking, You will find it used in pasta sauces, sprinkled over pizzas and to flavour fish and chicken dishes. It is also used in a lot of mexican dishes too.

  • Oregano is rich in fibre & has no cholesterol making it great in helping control our blood cholesterol levels.
  • Oregano leaves are a strong antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, diaphoretic, expectorant & stimulant… woah, this means it can help relieve symptoms of upset tummy’s, indigestion and colds.
  • Oregano is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, iron & magnesium which help control our heart rate & blood pressure as well as assist with the development & maintenance of our bone health.
  • Contains good levels of Vitamin C which help to boost our overall immunity & fight infection.

basil

Basil

Basil is known as the king of all the herbs, being one of the oldest & most widely used. Basil grows best in warm climates & its flavour is described as peppery with a sweet anise.

It is very commonly used in Asian cooking, in particular yummy curries!

  • Basil leaves contain essential oils like eugenol, lindalool, citral & terpineol which can have anti-inflammatory & antibacterial benefits.
  • This herb is particularly high in beta-carotene & Vitamin A helping fight free radicals in the body.
  • Zea-xanthin, a flavonoid in Basil is particularly good for helping protect & maintain our eye health.
  • Vitamin K found in Basil assists in the bone strength.
  • Basil has a variety of minerals like magnesium, copper & potassium that help to control our heart rate & blood pressure.

herb garden

Other herbs worth an honourable mention that you may want to include in your herb garden at home are:

  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Coriander
  • Dill
  • Arugula
  • Tarragon

Happy Herb Growing!

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