Herbs are a big part of ayurveda. By now, you probably have a growing stash! The only thing better would be a fresh supply whenever you need it. With a home garden, this is totally possible. A backyard isn’t necessary. Herbs can thrive in small pots, and they’re really easy to care for. No wonder windowsill gardens have become so popular.
To make it ayurvedic, grow herbs with medicinal properties. Choose plants that can heal everyday ailments like cuts and headaches. This way, you can replace the store-bought staples in your medicine cabinet. Examples include ibuprofen, antibiotic ointment, and bug repellants. Ready to grow your own medicine? Here’s how to start an ayurvedic herb garden.
Basic Ayurvedic Garden Herbs
1. Peppermint & Spearmint
As a tea, peppermint and spearmint will treat stomach issues like gas, nausea, and diarrhea. The same tea can also cure headaches, cramps, and sore throats.1 2 Feeling down? Sniff either plant for a stimulating pick-me-up.
Lavender flowers can be used in tea, candles, or salves. They release such a beautiful scent! The aroma can calm your central nervous system, helping reduce stress and promote sleep.3
A citronella plant doubles as a mosquito repellant. To use it, crush the leaves and add to candles or salves.4 It’s a gentler alternative to N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET), the harsh active chemical in commercial repellants.
Tulsi, or holy basil, is a miracle herb. ayurveda uses it to regulate blood glucose, improve memory, relieve stress, and protect organs. It’s also an antimicrobial, making it useful for healing salves.5
Chamomile has tiny, daisy-like flowers. When dried, they can be consumed as tea for anxiety, insomnia, and sore throat. In creams and lotions, chamomile will soothe eczema, psoriasis, and acne. German and Roman chamomile are different species, but they’re used in the same way.6
Valerian is another sedative herb. Researchers think it increases gamma aminobutyric acid, a brain chemical that controls nerve cells. However, unlike prescription sleeping pills, valerian doesn’t have side effects.7
No, this isn’t the white puffy treat. The marshmallow plant has leaves that soothe irritated mucous membranes. When dried and made into a tea, it helps asthma, sore throat, cough, indigestion, and stomach ulcers. Meanwhile, the roots can be used in ointments for irritated skin.8
The Basic Essentials
No two home gardens are the same. That’s what makes them so beautiful! Yet, you will need a few essentials.
1. Herbs Require Light
Most herbs thrive in bright light, so choose a well-lit spot. A windowsill is the most obvious choice. If you have a porch or balcony, make space near the window. Over time, some herbs curve toward the sun. Regularly rotate them so the stems don’t bend and break.
2. Herbs Need Water
Many herbs need to be watered once a day. Some might need more or less, especially when it’s humid. Double check the care tag on the plant or seed packet. Avoid overwatering your herbs, because more isn’t always better. Too much water will cause root rot.
3. Drainage Holed Pots Are Good
To prevent root rot, use containers with drainage holes. Place each pot on a tray to collect extra water. Some pots come with built-in trays. Recycled containers work just fine. Examples include plastic milk jugs, juice cartons, and yogurt cups. Pierce drainage holes with a knife or scissors.
4. Good Quality Soil Is Important
Use good quality garden soil. If you’d like, add compost from your kitchen. Tea bags, fruit peels, and egg shells work great. You can even fill each container with half soil and half compost.
When you have an herb garden, you won’t have to go far for natural medicine. You’ll also save money by ditching store-bought products. Plus, the act of gardening will kick stress to the curb.9 An ayurvedic garden can truly transform your life.
|↑1||Spearmint. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine.|
|↑2||Peppermint. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑3||Lavender. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑4||Webba, Cameron E., and Isabel MR Hessc. “A review of recommendations on the safe and effective use of topical mosquito repellents.” Public health research & practice 26, no. 5 (2016).|
|↑5||Cohen, Marc Maurice. “Tulsi-Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons.” Journal of ayurveda and integrative medicine 5, no. 4 (2014): 251.|
|↑6||German chamomile. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑7||Valerian. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑8||Marshmallow. University of Maryland Medical Center.|
|↑9||Van Den Berg, Agnes E., and Mariëtte HG Custers. “Gardening promotes neuroendocrine and affective restoration from stress.” Journal of Health Psychology 16, no. 1 (2011): 3-11.|