Herbs have played an important part in the existence of Man for millennia’s. These are the foremost constituents of Ayurveda: translated as Science of Health, that is probably the oldest existing system of natural healing in the world. Nearly suppressed by the English during their occupation of India, Ayurveda is finally making significant inroads of acceptability throughout all countries of the Western world. To fight biopiracy and unethical patents, the Government of India, in 2001, set up the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library as repository of 1200 formulations of various systems of Indian medicine, such as ayurveda, unani and siddha.
In this article, we will take you through a few common herbs that can be easily grown in your homes and provide details on the ailments that these plants help against.
Also known as the king of herbs; grows between 30–130 cm tall, with opposite, light green, silky leaves 3–11 cm long. Although basil grows best outdoors, it can be grown indoors. They grow best in strong sunlight however; they can be grown under fluorescent lights as well.
In a square feet, 2-3 basils can be grown. If its leaves have wilted from lack of water, it will recover if watered thoroughly and placed in a sunny location. Yellow leaves towards the bottom of the plant are an indication that the plant has been stressed; usually this means that it needs less water, or less or more fertilizer.
Basil helps curing the following ailments: cough, asthma, bronchitis, fever, toxins, vomiting, lumbago, gastric distension, genito-urinary diseases, ringworm and skin diseases. They attract butterflies and have proven to be toxic to mosquitoes.
Mints are aromatic and will grow 10–120 cm tall and can spread over an indeterminate area. Due to their tendency to spread unchecked, mints are considered invasive. Due to their invasive nature, they should never be planted in your garden or beds, but in cans and pots. In a square feet 3-4 mints can be grown. The Leaves are used to treat stomach ache and chest pains, and it is commonly used in the form of tea as a home remedy to help alleviate stomach pain. Mint leaves when boiled in water and subsequently cooled acts as an excellent mouth freshener when gargled.
Mint repels pest insects and attracts beneficial ones but is susceptible to whitefly and aphids.
Dill is a perennial herb that grows to a height of around 40-80 cm with slender stems and alternate, finely divided, softly delicate leaves. They are used mostly as a stomach soother and anti-gas remedy. It is also said to increase mother’s milk and help treat breast congestion from nursing.
Dill requires high levels of sunshine with rich, well drained soil. Around 9 such plants can be grown in a square foot and loves the company of Broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, lettuce and marigold. The plant is ready to harvest in 60 – 80 days. The seed is harvested by cutting the flower heads off the stalks when the seed is beginning to ripen.
A table spoon of dill seeds has approximately the same amount of calcium as in 1/3 rd cup of milk.
Author: Vaibhav Dugar
Me, I am a Green Warrior and yes you are either with me or against me! On paper I’m a telecommunication engineer but professionally, a farmer. Work takes me setting many-a-farms, tilling many-a-lands and playing with soil which I thoroughly enjoy. I love playing football (avidly), going cycling, watching Formula 1 and writing!
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