Growing medicinal plants to improve health

Chamomile herb and tea.
Chamomile herb and tea.

NOT just a source of visual pleasure and place of tranquillity, gardens can also help improve our health.

Horticulturalist Angie Thomas from Yates shares five medicinal plants to grow at home (and no, Cannabis is not one of them).

 

Chamomile: Its lovely yellow and white daisy flowers can help fight fatigue.

Infuse flower heads in hot water for a relaxing tea that may help you fall asleep, and aid digestion.

Grow in full sun or light shade in pots or garden beds.

 

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Garlic: May boost your immune system and benefit cardiovascular health.

Autumn is planting season, so start your patch now.

Buy cloves at garden centres or online and plant about four centimetres deep into well-drained soil or a pot filled with good quality potting mix.

It takes about eight months to mature, with bulbs harvested once the leaves start to turn brown.

 

Lemon Balm: Known to be helpful for people suffering anxiety and insomnia, it can be made into a delicious and refreshing tea or added to poultry and fish dishes, salads and desserts.

Grow in a garden bed or pots, in a sunny or partly shaded spot.

Sow seeds five millimetres deep into soil and seedlings will begin to emerge within five-10 days. Feed weekly with a specialised liquid plant fertiliser and keep soil well watered.

In early spring, give the plant a thorough prune and pull out any unwanted seedlings as this plant can spread throughout the garden.

 

Turmeric: Claimed to reduce risk of cancer, benefit cardiovascular health, improve blood sugar levels and reduce effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

You can grow it at home in frost-free areas in a warm and partly shaded location in a garden bed or in pots.

Before planting, enrich soil with organic matter. Plant rhizomes in spring, around 40 centimetres apart, water well and keep moist.

Richly coloured rhizomes are harvested after about nine months.

 

Ginger: A perennial plant liking warm climates, it’s reported to have anti-inflammatory and blood sugar regulating abilities, and reduce nausea.

In spring, before planting ginger roots, enrich soil with an organic soil improver for the best possible start.

Plant ginger roots or pieces around 20 centimetres apart, five centimetres deep and maintain regular watering.

As the weather cools, foliage will start to die down and the ginger roots can be dug up, separated and made into a zesty tea, added to dishes or used in cakes and desserts.

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Check with your health care professional about the potential for some plants to affect medications.

For gardening tips and inspiration visit www.facebook.com/angiethehappygardener/.