The therapeutic effects of gardening have been well documented; whether it be a simple distraction from the rigors of daily life, the satisfaction of seeing your work come to life or just getting outside for a few hours – gardening is a great activity for your well-being and mental health. But what if what you are growing in your garden could improve your health even further?
We suggest planting some of the following herbs, not only for their famous flavor profiles but for their lesser-known medicinal properties. These can be grown all over Australia and are ready to be planted in April and May.
This herb needs no introduction – its taste and smell will be well known to you, but you may be unaware of some of the health benefits of its consumption. Its antibacterial properties help with fresh breath, but this is just the tip of the iceberg! Mint has also been demonstrated to ease anxiety and muscular tension, relieve headaches and nausea, boost energy and aid in digestion. Still not convinced? Mint is a low-maintenance plant that, left alone, will grow rampant, giving you a bounty of leaves for your own herbal teas, salads and cocktails! Mojitos anyone?
Well known and loved for its use in famous foods such as tabouli, pesto and any number of Italian dishes. The most common forms you’ll find in Australia are the curly and flat-leaf varieties, both of which are rich in vitamins, freshen your breath and can even reduce anxiety. Cooking with parsley has never been so good for you! Parsley prefers to grow in semi-shaded areas, either indoors in a pot or outdoors in planter beds.
A Mediterranean herb, famous for its strong scent, is the perfect companion for roast meat and vegetables. Unlike most herbs, once mature rosemary can tolerate harsh conditions and survive a number of seasons, making this hardy herb an easy installation in your garden. What makes rosemary all the more remarkable are its medicinal properties which are known to promote healthy skin, give relief from pain and stress and improve memory function. There is current research being conducted which even links rosemary to improving cognitive function for elderly sufferers of dementia and Alzheimers!
Resisting all urges to use a pun, thyme’s usage is as old as time itself! The Ancient Egyptians used it for embalming their mummies, so it should come as no surprise that this herb has anti-aging properties! You can use thyme in natural skin remedies; its oils contain more potent antibacterial properties than benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient in most prescribed acne treatments. This herb is a natural cough suppressant and can even be used as a mosquito repellent. Grow your thyme in a sunny spot in your garden, sheltered from the wind and harvest to be paired with lemon for amazing tasting dishes, especially chicken!
An apple a day keeps the doctor away? Keep them away forever with oregano! One small serve of this delightful herb packs a whopping 42 times the antioxidant effect of an apple. Oregano can also be used in the treatment of respiratory infections, has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-fungal benefits. To top it all off, it adds spectacular flavor to any number of your favorite plates freshly picked from your garden. Trimming your oregano regularly will ensure a thriving bushy plant that can be harvested whenever you require.