Green Living

Growing Herbs In Your Home

Can turn your windowsill into a medicine cabinet. The nutrients and antioxidants in herbs help boost immunity, protect your heart and brain, and calm your nerves.

Growing Herbs In Your Home
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Experiment with these five herbs: They're easy to grow in regular potting soil and versatile in the kitchen, says Gayle Engels, education director of the American Botanical Council.



HerbsHow to GrowHow to Use
SAGEPlant seeds or cuttings in spring a few weeks before the last frost in sunny, well–drained soil or in a container on a sunny windowsill.Soothe coughs by sipping fresh sage tea: Place 6 to 8 clean leaves in a mug, crush them with a spoon, add hot water, cover, and steep to release the leaves' essential oils. Remove the leaves when the tea is cool enough to drink.
BASILRich in antioxidants, basil (Ocimum basilicum) is antimicrobial; in 2007, Brazilian researchers found that basil essential oil added to drinking water helped kill the common parasite Giardia lamblia. Basil is used to reduce stress, ease tummyaches, and fortify immunity.Plant seeds ( sells organic ones) in a sunny spot a few weeks after spring's last frost in soil that drains well. Potted basil thrives in a sunny window.
ROSEMARYIf you live in a frost–free climate, place cuttings in a warm area in soil that drains well. Or grow it yearround in a container.Versatile rosemary pairs well with chicken, fish, and potatoes. When grilling, place a few fresh stalks (stripped of leaves) on the coals to add aroma and flavor to foods. You can also use fresh sprigs instead of skewers.
LEMON BALMPlant seeds or cuttings in spring in full sun or partial shade. Lemon balm can proliferate quickly; to contain it, grow it in pots outdoors.Make a cup of calming bedtime tea (follow the directions for sage tea).
PEPPERMINTIn a partially shaded area, plant seeds or cuttings in moist soil in late spring or early summer. The plant can take over a garden if not harvested regularly, so pinch off larger leaves as it grows.Sip a cup or two of peppermint tea (follow the directions for sage tea, page 16) after dinner to help ease or prevent tummy trouble. To relieve congestion, place 8 to 10 leaves in a pot of boiling water, tent a towel over your head, and inhale the minty steam for several minutes.