Top 10 Medicinal Herbs to Grow Indoors
By The Headlines, January 5, 2023 | 03:53 PM
Do you need to grow herbs indoors? The answer is YES! They have a number of benefits. Not only do they provide you with year-round access to necessary ingredients, but they also don't take up as much space. Unlike traditional plants, medicinal herbs don't need much tending either!
Before there was a supermarket on every corner, windowsill herbs were the norm. Not only did it save you the expense of buying them but it meant that you always had what you needed for your cooking. With so many benefits to starting your own herb garden, why don't you get started today?
A lot of the herbs you should be growing indoors are the same ones you would use for cooking. Take a sprig or two from an outdoor herb garden and toss them in soup, casseroles or homemade sauces for a flavorful twist.
Why you should grow herbs at home?
Growing herbs indoors has been around for a while and includes various techniques. They are used for medicinal and cooking grade. This is a great way to not only have enough products around but also cut costs on purchased items.
They brighten up your place during the long, dreary winter and early spring with the beautiful flowers that many healing herbs produce once they mature.
Growing herbs indoors can help you cultivate hardier varieties of plants. Some of the benefits of indoor gardening are that they'll be more consistently watered, mature faster, have a lower risk of pest infestation, and will have a more predictable yield.
The mild, herbal scent can also make spirits much happier during the time of year when windows have to stay closed due to the cold weather outside.
When one of the members of the homesteading family wakes up who has a bit of a cough, you can put together herbal tea quickly just by going to the window sill or near your gardening table. They have their own grow lights so it will be easy to find some thyme and mint.
Minimum Space Required
Even homesteaders who only have a tiny space can grow a bunch of herbs indoors. You don't necessarily need to give them lots of room, but some do require larger spaces.
If you have any areas that get a lot of sunlight or a shelf nearby, consider using them to maximize your space. You can also use grow lights which will allow you to grow other things while still having an area dedicated to salad greens.
1. Lemon Balm(Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm is a herb that helps with breathing and insomnia and is also great for attracting pollinators. In the Middle Ages, people used this technique to reduce stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite and increase their digestion (including gas and bloating). Other reports mention that pain-relieving properties like reduced indigestion were also observed.
This herb has been used for centuries to naturally treat liver and digestive issues, and problems with the gut, and as both a sleep aid and a way to enhance digestion.
How to grow Lemon Balm?
- Plant seeds in the ground about one or two inches deep using potting soil. Cover them lightly to prevent the soil from becoming too dry.
- Make sure the seeds are only damp and not too moist until they germinate.
- Space seedlings out to 8 inches apart, then thin them to 18 inches apart after they've grown a bit.
2. Turmeric(Curcuma longa)
Turmeric should be a top priority for any homesteader who wants to have a robust indoor medicinal herb garden.
It is the only place in the world where you can find the extremely powerful antioxidant curcumin. You need to just harvest dried rhizome cuttings from it when it's growing.
For thousands of years, turmeric has been a popular remedy used by both home and professional herbalists. Turmeric is a key ingredient in natural remedies for muscle and joint pain and inflammation.
Another major application of turmeric is Golden Milk, an ancient Indian recipe that is an excellent treatment for health problems such as the flu or the common cold.
One reason turmeric is used in natural treatments for heart disease and other health conditions is because of its potential for improving blood vessel lining.
When used, this herb is also found in various herbal routines to treat depression or Alzheimer’s disease etc.
How to grow turmeric?
- You only need one turmeric root to start multiple cuttings.
- Always plant turmeric roots in soil that has been slightly moistened, but is not damp.
- Planting turmeric root is a lot like planting seed potatoes. All the parts of the root need to contain buds.
- Put one turmeric root (either cut into chunks with its 2-3 buds) in a 5-gallon pot or bucket that has drainage holes in the bottom. The general rule of thumb is, the larger the pot, the bigger your turmeric root will grow.
- Plant the turmeric root two inches deep in the soil.
- When it's possible, moving the indoor growing pots outside during the summer months can help make room for a bigger yield. It's important to remember that turmeric does best in full sun so when possible, try to relocate them.
- Turmeric needs to be watered every 2 days. You can also use a mister to provide moisture if it starts drying out. Make sure you never leave turmeric sitting in excessively wet dirt.
- Turmeric should mature within eight to 10 months. Remember to save some of the harvested rhizomes to use as a starter for future plants
3. Spearmint(Mentha spicata)
One of the best ways to use Spearmint is in homemade toothpaste, toothpowder, and mouthwash. This medicinal herb contains tons of antioxidant compounds that leave your mouth feeling fresh and healthy like rosmarinic acid and menthol.
You may want to consider adding spearmint to your diet. Two tablespoons of the herb provide 2% of the recommended daily intake of vitamins C-and it may also help counteract free radicals on skin cells.
How to grow Spearmint?
- Spearmint needs nutrient-rich soil and either full sunlight or partial shade.
- This herb needs to be watered at the soil level and cut back regularly to keep it healthy, prevent a loss of nutrients and space, and encourage new growth.
- You can harvest sprigs of the spearmint plant as and when the need arises. They mature to be just a few inches tall.
4. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil is good for topical healing, and also contains some anti-parasitic properties. This can reduce the need for natural dewormers in people and animals.
This common herb is also a traditional remedy for kidney issues, stomach spasms, loss of appetite, water weight retention and warts. It's also been used historically to help with headaches.
Mothers have traditionally used basil for a number of reasons to make sure everything goes smoothly. Basil can also be used after giving birth to ensure that the flow of milk is as it should be. Native Americans also used basil to help with properties as diverse as snakebites and insect bites.
Basil is rich in vitamins and minerals and contains antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin. Basil owes many of its health benefits to these components, as well as its essential oils. If you can get it, fresh basil contains much more nutrients and beneficial compounds than dried basil.
How to grow Basil?
- To get the healthiest plants, Basil plants need to be planted one-fourth of an inch deep in moist soil with a neutral pH level.
- This medicinal herb grows best in full sun.
- Do not water the basil until the soil underneath it is dry when touched. Always water from below, never from above.
5. Tarragon(Artemisia dracunculus)
Tarragon helps with a variety of health problems, it's also great for enhancing flavour in cooking. You can use tarragon to reduce digestive problems, and toothache pain, and regulate blood sugar levels. It is also good at reducing water retention and improving sleep quality.
Tarragon is used to make medicine. The parts of the tarragon plant that grow above the ground are used for this process.
Tarragon has been used traditionally in recipes to promote sleep and is well-known for its digestibility benefits. It is also used to treat menstrual irregularities, water retention and toothache.
Tarragon is used as a spice in food products, primarily as an addition to foods and beverages.
Tarragon is used as a fragrance in many soaps and cosmetics in the manufacturing industry.
How to grow Tarragon?
- For the first step, tarragon seeds should be planted in a medium-sized container about 4-6 inches deep.
- This medicinal herb will thrive when planted in a light and moist potting soil mix.
- A paper towel or cotton cloth should be used to cover the planted tarragon seeds until they sprout.
- When the shoots have grown to about two inches tall, pinching them back helps spur growth. Plant the sprouts in individual containers.
6. Rosemary(Salvia rosmarinus)
Probably one of the best-known plants in the culinary world, Rosemary is also a member of the mint family. Ancient herbalists used it to soothe muscle pain, boost immunity and blood circulation, increase hair growth and even enhance memory. It's still widely used for these purposes today!
Not only does it make your breath smell fresh and maintain a healthier mouth, it can also be used to create homemade toothpaste, mouthwash, and even natural healing oil (that may help heal minor wounds!) for external injuries.
How to grow Rosemary?
- Sprouts are an easy way to get one's hands on this tough-to-grow herb. Not only do they offer the same health benefits as a seed-grown rosemary plant but they are easier to nurture and maintain.
- Plant rosemary seeds by sprinkling them on the surface of the soil, covering them with about half an inch of seed starter mix, and then filling in the rest of your container with the remaining soil.
- Always keep the seeds moist, not allowing them to get soggy.
- Sprouting time: 2-3 weeks. Rosemary likes partial shade to full sun, and lightweight, well-draining soil.
7. Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
Parsley, a popular herb in remedies, can be used to treat kidney stones, high blood pressure and other illnesses. Its roots and leaves are also edible.
Parsley is rich in vitamin K which is essential for optimal bone health. Consuming foods high in this nutrient has been linked to a reduced risk of fractures and improved bone mineral density. Parsley is rich in antioxidants, like flavonoids and vitamin C. It may provide potential cancer-fighting benefits.
It is rich in lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, plant compounds which have been proven to protect eye health. Experts suggest you may also reduce your risk of age-related eye problems. It is also an excellent source of folate, a B vitamin that is important for your heart health.
How to grow Parsley?
- Plant your seeds 1-2 inches below the surface of fertile, renewable soil.
- If planting in pots, place each parsley seed or plant six to eight inches apart.
- Parsley thrives in variable degrees of sunlight.
8. Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)
Aloe vera has a wide range of therapeutic benefits, most notably as an ointment for the skin.
There are two methods that people can use to access aloe vera gel. Aloe vera juice is a different form of this product, with different uses.
Oral options should preferably have a natural decolourized whole-leaf extract of aloe vera for minimizing the risk. There's some evidence that aloe vera juice might be good for you, but there are also potential health concerns. It is best to contact a healthcare professional before ingesting any juice into your diet.
Aloe vera hair masks benefit people with many different hair types. The use of aloe vera in hair care is backed by some evidence to combat dandruff, dry or oily hair, or thinning hair. It is a type of plant with soft leaves that can be used in a variety of ways, including hair masks. Specialized products or the leaves themselves can be used to the same effect.
How to grow aloe vera?
- Aloe Vera plants should be watered with a diluted solution of fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, phosphorus & potassium.
- Fill the enclosure with a cactus potting mix or your own mixture- it should contain equal parts soil, sand, and gravel. Ensure that the soil does not hold the standing water.
- Once you've planted the aloe vera, cover the root ball with soil but make sure it doesn't touch any of the green leaves. They'll likely rot if they do.
- Aloe vera needs to be watered after planting, but don't water them for a few days otherwise, the plant will start to wilt.
9. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
This is another great medicinal plant to include when growing indoor plants.
Oregano is best known for its bactericidal action, but it has many other medicinal uses. In addition to being a natural antibiotic and painkiller, oregano may also be a natural anti-inflammatory, showing signs of effectiveness as both a treatment for high cholesterol and gut health
Oregano is a herb often used to flavour foods. It may cause discomfort in large doses, but is generally considered safe in reasonable amounts. It has a green colour and purple flowers that relate it to other herbs like mint, thyme and marjoram. Oregano has a range of benefits including but not limited to its potential use as an antiviral and antibacterial agent. Studies have shown that it can also be used to reduce the intensity of a cough or mild bronchitis, boost vitality, and help with digestive issues. It is advisable to consult with a health professional before taking oregano in case you have any
How to grow Oregano?
- This herb grows in well-draining soil.
- Oregano needs at least a little sun to grow well – the full sun will also intensify its flavour.
- Do not provide oregano with too much water.
- To grow oregano well, place it six to eight inches apart in containers.
10. Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)
Peppermint is used to treat a number of women's health problems, including menopause, menstrual cramps, nerve and muscle pain, flatulence and bloat. Useful for indigestion or digestive problems treatments.
It is easy to make into an oil, which can then be used as the base ingredient for all sorts of natural home remedies. It is a herb that can be consumed as a tea, used as an essential oil, or taken in the form of capsules.
A study published in the Journal of Pain Research found that peppermint may help to address some stomach ailments, headaches, and nausea.
How to grow Peppermint?
- This medicinal herb prefers to grow in partial shade, but it will tolerate full sun if given the proper amount of water.
- Peppermint should be grown in well-draining, moist but not soggy soil.
- Seedlings should be planted 18 - 24 inches (45 cm) apart.
- You can start peppermint growing by using runners or planting seeds.