You probably have heard of the globally popular Chinese herbal medicines or the Indian Ayurveda medicinal system. If you haven’t, you at least know that people all over the world travel to Asian countries for their ancient healing practices. But what if we told you that you don’t have to travel halfway across the world for medicinal herbs? Well, thanks to the growing field of science, you can get herbs in the forms of capsules, pills, or powder, at your neighborhood drug stores. You can even create your own medicinal herb garden at home be it indoors or outdoors, even in the harshest of climates.
Notable Medicinal Herbs to Grow At Home
The possibilities are endless here. These are just a few options to get you started:
- This herb is popular for its cardiovascular health benefits. Some people add it into drinks/tea to stimulate their immune system or into food for its flavoring benefits. And although research is not conclusive yet, scientists believe that chamomile can provide protection against cancer.
- This ancient herb is now legal in many parts of the world, particularly in the US and the Caribbean. It is popular for its ability to treat inflammatory bowel diseases and to keep PTSD, ADD, and ADHD symptoms in check. The medicinal herb is also great in stress and depression alleviation, and managing chronic pain. Research is still being conducted on the possible impact of marijuana in the field of oncology.
- Mostly used in kitchens for its garnishing and flavoring properties. It is also very nutritious- very rich in vitamins. But this herb is more than just a kitchen ingredient; it has antibacterial properties, it’s good for the bones and eyes, and supports heart and kidney health.
- Many homeowners keep it as a houseplant for its aesthetic appeal; its refreshing fragrance and beautiful flowers. But the herb also has many astounding health benefits. It’s great in alleviating headaches and toothaches, reducing anxiety, preventing hair loss, and treating skin irritations.
Key Steps to Growing Medicinal Herbs At Home
You’ve already chosen your herb, but how do you grow it in your healing garden? Different herbs require different care and maintenance practices, but this is a nutshell of what you need to do:
Step 1: Choose the right growing container
Unless you have an outdoor garden, you will need to pick a container/pot in which you will grow your herbs indoors. Choose a container that is not too big to the extent of your herbs struggling to grow their roots. It should also not be too small to the point of hampering the herbs’ nutrition.
Which is the best material for a grow container? Anything from clay, metal, wood, or resin would be fine for as long as there is enough drainage to let excess water escape.
Step 2: Get the right soil or growing medium
You will need to get potting soil for your herbs, which is way better than garden soil both in terms of nutrition and water-draining abilities. Most herbs also do well in advanced hydroponic setups. If you intend to grow cannabis, apart from soil, you can use coco coir or clay pebbles as your growing medium.
Step 3: Get your starter plants
Starter plants are the better alternative to seeds because unlike the latter, they don’t require you to be an experienced gardener. Starter plants significantly boost your chances of a successful harvest.
Step 4: Watering
Incorrect watering is the most common mistake beginner gardeners make when growing herbs. Too much watering brings fungus and root rot and sometimes causes nutrient lockout. Too little water dehydrates herbs and consequently stunts healthy growth.
What is the correct watering frequency? This varies from one herb to the other. The general rule of thumb, however, is to dip your finger into the growing medium and if the top 3–4cm feels dry, your herbs could use some watering.
Step 5: Caring for herbs
Different herbs suffer from the different stem, roots, and leaves diseases. Pests are also a great threat to your healing garden. Consult your local gardening store on the best pesticides to use for your specific herb.
Step 6: Harvesting
When is the best time to harvest your herbs? It differs depending on the plant, but mostly the size and flavor of a given herb determine maturity. Marijuana, for example, should be harvested before its potency starts to degrade. Just when the leaves start turning yellow and the normally white pistils start turning brownish orange.
Step 7: Selling
For a herb with many legal complexities like cannabis, you will need help from a cannabis consulting firm in regards to licensing. Consultants will also help you optimize your facility design and develop your cannabis business.
Choosing Grow Lights for your Indoor Healing Garden
Most herbs require lots of light to be healthy and nutritious. Some of the best grow lights in the market today include Compact fluorescent lights (which are great for seedlings), HID (high-intensity discharge) lamps, and LED grow lights as well. Your choice will, of course, depend on your budget and the specific lighting needs of your plants.
Do You Need A Grow Tent?
In the case of marijuana, yes! You will also need an oscillating fan in there for a constant flow of fresh air. Stagnant, humid air is the leading cause of mold in grow tents. Fresh air also keeps pests like mites and fungus gnats at bay.
Growing herbs is not only medicinally helpful, but also a great family activity if you have kids. It is therapeutic if you ask any gardener. For optimal results, however, you need to be considerate of the climate and your availability to care for the herbs. You do not need to be a professional gardener to grow your healing garden, but you will need to commit both in time and resources if you are to succeed in this venture.