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A Good Garden Equals Good Health

Growing herbs at home is a fun, money-saving hobby that also happens to be good for your health. In addition to flavouring up your favourite dishes, herbs are filled with antioxidants and essential nutrients.
 
Planting herbs in a pot is a creative alternative to the ground for those who are lacking the space of a garden, or if you just want to add some spice to the herb patch.
 
Rosemary

Rosemary is rich in nutrients like iron, calcium, vitamins and antioxidants. It has stimulating properties that refresh, rejuvenate and energise. Rosemary is easy to grow and once it has taken root, it will thrive for years. It adapts to most growing conditions and is quite hardy. It grows in many different soils and does best in a warm to hot, fairly dry climate. All you need to do is touch it and it'll release its very fragrant aroma.



§  Boil a cup of rosemary into a concentrated solution and use as an after shampoo rinse.
§  Rosemary makes a deliciously soothing cup of herbal tea, relieving stress, depression and anxiety. It helps with arthritis, rheumatism, diabetes and chronic pain. It even improves concentration and memory. Drink a daily cup (with a break of about 3 or 4 days every 10 day period) for overall well -being.
§  This pretty, aromatic herb contains compounds, such as carnosic acid, that have been shown to fight cancer cells. What's more, the smell of rosemary may even improve your memory. In recent studies, people performed better on various memory tasks if rosemary scent was pumped into the room.
 
Lavender

Lavender isn't just a pretty plant; it's also packed with health benefits. Lavender is soothing and antiseptic, excellent for burns, psoriasis infections and sensitive skin. Lavender needs sun and can thrive in dry, poor soil. Water sparingly and avoid feeding with rich fertilizer. Lavender is a relatively large plant that grows best outdoors. Keep it in a sunny area that gets eight hours of light each day. Lavender requires well-drained soil, so if you do opt to plant indoors, make sure your pot has holes in the bottom to provide adequate drainage.



§  Lavender oil can be rubbed into the temples to relieve a headache.
§  Decant cooled lavender tea into a spritzer bottle and use as a calming face mist. Alternatively use distilled water and few drops of lavender oil.
§  Its fragrance is soothing (helping you to fall asleep), and it contains antioxidants known as polyphenols that fight belly bloating.
 
Sage

Sage is rich in calcium and vitamins. Sage is a relatively high-maintenance herb. To thrive, it needs plenty of sunlight, good soil, watering every other day, good drainage and good air circulation. When plants are small mist them with water to keep the soil moist.



§  Sage oil is an effective ingredient in deodorants inhibiting the action of sweat and saliva glands.
§  A strong tea infusion can be used as an antiseptic mouthwash and gargle for inflammations in the mouth.
§  Many beauty products include sage on their ingredient lists, and it's no wonder: Sage has antiseptic and antioxidant properties, which can help in the fight against early aging—a bonus for any beauty product.
§  Sage has also been used as a natural remedy for anxiety and fatigue, and is thought to be a memory enhancer.
 
Chamomile

Chamomile tea has amazing healing, antioxidant, cleansing and moisturizing properties. Sunny locations are best for chamomile but they will manage with a little bit of shade as well. Although it is an annual plant that only lasts a year, it readily reseeds itself if you leave a few of the blossoms on the plant.



§  It is known to been used as a disinfectant as well as to soothes irritation and sunburn.
§  Use a strong tea solution as a final rinse after conditioning hair. This will brighten blonde hair and add a golden shine to brown hair. Chamomile also prevents dandruff and soothes an irritated scalp.
 
Thyme

Thyme has anti - inflammatory and healing properties. It is a perennial herb that needs full sun and a dry, gritty soil. Small but plentiful flowers make this herb a pretty option for your home. Thyme's well suited for indoor growing because it stays small in size. Just make sure it has access to plenty of sunshine.



§  Thyme has long been used as an herbal remedy for respiratory problems such as bronchitis, and it also has antiseptic properties. (Thymol, one of the compounds it contains, is a key ingredient in Listerine.)
§  Even better, thyme is virtually calorie-free and provides a delicious boost of flavor to soups, salads, and just about any other recipe you can think of, even champagne.
 
Starting your garden

Getting started is simple. Any nursery will have all the tools you need, and many farmers' markets sell already-sprouted starter plants for R20 each.
 
What you need:

§  For planting indoors, you'll need a planting tray, organic potting mix (100% organic is best), and seeds or small starter plants.
§  For planting outside, you'll need all the same items, but instead of a planting tray, a 60cm by 250cm wooden box bed works best.


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