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#5 Healthy Spices And Herbs You Can Grow At Home

Spices and herbs are very common ingredients in daily meals, since they can be used in many dishes whether they are savory or sweet. Sauces, soups, meats, ice creams and pies, for example, can have spices and herbs as some of their ingredients. It can also be mixed in juices and smoothies or used to make teas and cocktails.

The key distinction between those ingredients is that herbs are the fresh part of the plant and spices are harvested from the dried portions. Both of them also offer many benefits to our health, preventing some diseases and helping to treat others.

While these products can be used in many different forms and offer a lot of benefits to our bodies, some can be very expensive in regular grocery stores and sometimes they are not readily available. With that in mind, here are some spices and herbs you can easily grow at home and some benefits they can offer:

Garlic

Eating dishes with garlic can help treating diseases such as diabetes because it reduces cholesterol levels, and it can help lower blood pressure too. Garlic can also be used to relieve sore throats and improve the immune system, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

When planting garlic, you should take one clove and place it in a small container with the pointed side up. It’s important to keep the soil wet but not soaked, and to leave it somewhere where it receives sunlight for a few hours every day. Once the leaves start to turn yellow and fall, it means that the garlic is ready to be harvested, which happens around 20 weeks after planting it.

Ginger

Ginger has so many benefits to our bodies that we will not attempt to list them all here. Let’s begin by stating that ginger is one of the best natural anti-inflammatories foods that one could find, which makes this spice very good at helping with cramps and ailments like arthritis. It also treats cough, helps in cases of flu and bronchitis, and fights inflammatory diseases in the mouth like gingivitis and sore throat. In addition, ginger also helps the body to produce more insulin, which is good for people who suffer from type II diabetes. Like garlic, ginger is sometimes referred to as a spice (dried ginger powder) and sometimes as an herb (fresh root).

In addition to all of this, ginger is very easy to grow. You just have to cut off a piece of the rhizome that is beginning to sprout and place it in the soil with the sprout exposed. In a few weeks some leaves will start to grow, and when they turn yellowish, your ginger is ready to be harvested.

Mint

Mint is very easy to cultivate at home specially because it doesn’t need direct sunlight, so it can be kept indoors, but requires daily watering. Its leaves can be used to make teas, juices and to be added to many other recipes.

Amongst all its benefits, mint aids digestion, balancing the production of enzymes and reducing flatulence. This herb reduces coughs and nasal congestion as well. Due to its refreshing flavor, mint tastes very good in salads, juices and flavored waters.

Rosemary

Like mint, rosemary is more commonly referred to as an herb because both of them have aromatic leaves. This herb is a great choice for anyone who doesn’t really know how to take care of plants, since it only needs to be watered twice a week and grows well under direct sunlight. If you need rosemary for a recipe, you can cut the tips of the branches and use its leaves to make teas and season meats.

Rosemary tea improves memory and can help reduce stress. It can be used to relieve coughs and cramps as well. In addition, this tea (without sugar) is good for the hair, because rosemary can control dandruff and make the hair grow faster and stronger.

Basil

To grow basil at home you should put it in a sunny place and water it every day, because this plant likes wet soil. When needed, you can pick some leaves and new ones will grow in their places. It tastes very good with tomatoes and can be used to make delicious omelets and salads.

This plant has many nutrients that are beneficial for our health, such as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and E, calcium, iron and phosphorus. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties helps to treat diseases like arthritis.

It’s also important to say that these herbs and spices can’t replace medicines and shouldn’t be used excessively. In addition – with the exception of garlic – women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and children under the age of 5 should be cautious when eating them because there are no studies regarding their effects on babies and small children.

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The article above was edited by Nicole Leslie.

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Mariana Torezan

Casper Libero '24

Brazilian journalism student at Cásper Líbero who loves movies, TV series and all kinds of books.
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