Sunday, 19 April 2015

Grow a Health Garden

It’s that time of the year again when all you gardening and health enthusiasts grow herbs while the sun shine. Add a fresh zing to your food everyday, all through summer simply by growing your own fresh herbs.

Don’t whine - it is not rocket science. Growing herbs is quite easy with the rise in gardening tricks, tools and techniques. We will also tell you why a certain herb is nutritious and how you can use it. 

Mint / Pudina:
A common herb used in the kitchen - mint adds freshness to a dish like no other herb.

How to grow:
Besides being the freshest, mint is by far the easiest herb to grow. Simply wet the fertile soil in your planter and push the mint stems (even if they are leafless) slightly into the soil. You can also use stems that are almost dried. The mint plant loves moist soil so keep watering the pot a little everyday until the leaves sprout. This might take two or three weeks. Once the plant blooms, be sure to harvest it every few days for new leaves to grow.

Benefits of Mint:

  • Helps in digestion
  • Good for pains and aches
  • Helps to ease morning sickness during pregnancy 
  • Helps to fight cancer in the long run
  • Rejuvenates the mind and reduces stress
Use mint in fruit salad, yoghurt dip, cocktails, rolls and non-alcoholic drinks like ice tea. An ideal way to start your day is by brewing mint leaves in your tea.

Basil /Tulsi:
A native plant of Indian culture as well as a sacred one.

How to grow:
Basil can be grown by directly planting seeds in the soil or by germinating them first. Basil loves to grow in a warm environment and moderate amount of water. Basil can also grow from cuttings (of stems) and rejuvenates itself with a little water and some sunshine if it is almost dried out. Like mint, you need to harvest basil so new leaves can grow. This plant also produces seeds at the top of the stem which can be used to grow more basil if the plant dies.

Benefits of basil:

  • Reduces swelling in the body
  • Rich in antioxidants 
  • Used in ayurvedic medicine
  • Used in treatment of arthritis and IBS (inflammatory bowel syndrome)
Use basil in pasta sauce, olive oil dressing, salad seasoning, stir fry and pesto.

Coriander (cilantro) / Dhania:
Another staple in the kitchen, in almost all cuisines, coriander or cilantro matches mint in its freshness quotient. Although cilantro is quite similar to parsley, the former is more citrus-y.

How to grow:
Lightly beat the seeds and directly sow in the planter. The seeds will take anywhere between a week to ten days to germinate. The plant requires fertile soil, just enough water to keep the soil moist and enough sun.

Benefits of Coriander:

  • A natural antiseptic and disinfectant. Has antioxidant and anti fungal properties that help to clear fungal skin infections
  • Lowers the level of bad cholesterol (LDL)
  • High in iron content so prevents anemia
  • Stimulates digestion
  • Reduces Blood pressure

Use coriander in almost anything - tacos, curries, salads, dips, chutneys, grilled and baked meat and seafood.

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