There are many medicinal herbs that you can grow indoors and harvest all year round. Whether you live in an urban setting with limited outdoor space or simply want to have medicinal herbs available through winter, here are 4 great options to consider growing.
Growing your own medicinal herbs indoors is a great way to have access to fresh herbs in late fall and dark of winter. It’s also a good way to learn about where our food comes from and what goes into growing it.
(And if you do grow herbs indoors, you could try making things like this simple thyme syrup for coughs and colds!)
Growing herbs as remedies for minor aliments is also an excellent way to connect with our bodies and expand our repertoire of natural remedies. Whenever you or a loved one feels a cold coming on, you’ll learn to know not only which herb to reach for, but also how to prepare it.
At least this is my personal aspiration. I have the goal of expanding my understanding of the health benefits of common herbs and how to better prepare them for medicinal purposes.
Whenever a loved one becomes unwell, I feel a sense of fear, largely due to the unknown nature of what is causing the sickness. By growing our own medicinal herbs, it will push me to learn more about what causes illnesses, and what could be a possible natural remedy.
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4 Medicinal Herbs To Grow Indoors
Here are 4 medicinal herbs to grow indoors if you’re just getting started in learning about natural remedies like me.
1. Lemon Balm
Medicinal Benefits of Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family and is a calming herb. It has been used throughout history to reduce anxiety and stress. It has also been said to assist with indigestion.
How To Grow Lemon Balm Indoors
Purchase lemon balm seeds and space them about 7 inches apart. Do not plant them deep, just about ¼ inch under the soil.
Lemon balm isn’t too picky about where it grows in terms of sunny or partially shaded. It’s most important to keep the soil moist but well-drained. Especially in hot sunny weather, make sure to keep the plant watered.
Lemon balm grows great outdoors if you ever want to replant it. If you do, make sure to water it well after moving it.
How To Consume Lemon Balm
If you’re growing lemon balm, the simplest way to consume it is as a tea. To make the tea, pinch off a small handful of leaves from your plant. Pour hot water over the leaves and let it steep for about 5 minutes.
It’s best to pick the leaves before the plant begins to flower.
How To Store Lemon Balm
You can also store lemon balm by drying the leaves. Simply pick off the leaves of your plant, put them on a baking sheet and let them sit on the counter, covered with a tea towel, for about 48 hours. If you prefer to dry the leaves faster, you can put the baking sheet into the oven for 1-2 hours at 180 degrees Fahrenheit or 80 degrees Celsius.
Medicinal Benefits of Parsley
Parsley is high in antioxidants such as vitamin C, A, and E. Parsley also has vitamin k which is very important for bone health. It can also be used to treat or prevent kidney stones.
How To Grow Parsley Indoors
Purchase parsley seeds and plant the seeds just under the surface of your soil. Try to space your seeds about 6” apart. Parsley does well in super sunny and partially shaded spots.
How To Consume Parsley
Simply snip off the parsley leaves you would like to consume with a meal.
How To Store Parsley
You can store it fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days or dry the herb in the oven. To dry parsley in the oven, put the stems onto a baking sheet into the oven for about an hour at 180 degrees Fahrenheit or 80 degrees Celsius.
Medicinal Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is a fantastic antioxidant. The antioxidant curcumin, which is found in turmeric, has been shown to help fight off free radicals in our bodies. Free radicals can cause damage to our cells. They are formed by natural processes in our bodies but also through external sources like cigarettes and air pollutions.
Consuming antioxidants can help to destroy them and curcumin is a great option.
Turmeric is also a natural anti-inflammatory. Again, curcumin is largely responsible for this and can help to reduce inflammation in our bodies. Examples of inflammation are symptoms like irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and more.
How To Grow Turmeric Indoors
Turmeric is a slow grower but it’s completely possible to grow indoors. Turmeric requires space, so you need to use a large pot (at least 12 inches deep).
To grow turmeric, you only need to purchase one turmeric rhizome. You can usually find these at a health food store or larger grocery store. If you would like to grow only one plant, you can use the one rhizome. And if you would like to grow many, or to immediately consume part of the turmeric you purchased, you can chop us the rhizome.
If you chop up the rhizome for planting, each section you plan to plant must include a bud.
Fill your pot with soil and water the soil until it is moist.
Plant one bud per container about 2” deep in the soil.
Turmeric will do best in full sunshine and the soil should remain moist.
Turmeric will take about 9 months to mature.
You will know your turmeric is ready to harvest when the plant begins to struggle to retain water. The leaves will brown and dry.
At that time, simply trim off the top green leaves and gently pulled the stalk gently upwards. You will see a larger set of rhizomes. Just wash these and use them whenever you would like to. You can also replant a portion of these for the next year.
How To Consume Turmeric
My favourite way is to simply chop off a small section of the rhizome and throw it into the blender whenever I’m making a kefir smoothie or milk shake or soup. In my experience the flavour isn’t over-powering.
You can also grind it and store the powder turmeric. To do this, boil the rhizomes for about 45 minutes. You can rub off the skins or keep them on. Let them sit out for about 24 hours until they are dried. Then use a grinder or mortar and pestle to grind them into a powder.
One important thing to know about consuming turmeric for medicinal purposes, is that in order to maximise the absorption of curcumin in our bodies, we need to consume it with black pepper.
If you are adding chopped turmeric to a soup, simply add black pepper into the soup before blending. If you are grinding turmeric for future uses, remember to add black pepper to those applications.
There’s no harm in not consuming black pepper, but your body will gain more benefits from the herb if you do.
How To Store Turmeric
Simply put the rhizome(s) into the fridge. They will last for about 6 months. If you grind your turmeric, store in an airtight container in your pantry.
Medicinal Benefits of Thyme
Thyme is said to be beneficial to respiratory health, including being a helpful with cough suppressant. Thyme essential oil has also been used traditionally as a sore throat remedy.
How To Grow Thyme Indoors
Plant thyme seeds into moist soil about ¼ of an inch deep. Space each seed about 2” apart. Thyme likes full sun so they’ll do well in a sunny window.
It’s important to have the soil well-drained so the root system doesn’t sit in excess water.
Using a clay pot for your thyme is a great option because it will help to draw the moisture out of the soil.
How To Consume Thyme
The simplest way to consume thyme for medicinal purposes is as a tea. Add several sprigs to a mug and fill the mug with boiling water. Allow the thyme to steep for 6-8 minutes. You can strain off the tea if any leaves have fallen off.
Another way to consumer thyme is as a powder. You can use the powder in cooking applications or as a tea.
To create the powder, dry the herbs in the oven on a baking sheet at 180 degrees Fahrenheit or 80 degrees Celsius for about an hour. You can also hang dry the herbs by tying a bundle of sprigs and hanging them upside down for about a month.
Once dried, use a mortar and pestle to grind the herbs into a powder.
To make a tea, use about 1 teaspoon of ground thyme per mug of water.
How To Store Thyme
Store in an airtight container for about 12 months.
Yes – so many! Here are some other ideas: mint, thyme, chives, garlic, oregano, cilantro, basil, tarragon, and chamomile.
It’s important to note that when consumed, garlic and chives can be toxic to cats. If you are growing these indoors, either keep them covered or in a space that your cats do not access.
It can take as much or as little space as you would like. It just depends on what, and how much you grow. If you are growing turmeric for example, you need a larger pot and therefore a larger space.
But if you are growing small pots of lemon balm, mint, thyme, rosemary, etc., you can have a couple windowsills full of herbs and call it a day!
The main tip is to understand where you light is coming from. Find a south-facing window to maximise the sunlight your herbs will have access to.
Yes. You can move all of the above herbs outside if you wish. Make sure to water them well after you transplant them.
Other Ways To Consume Less
Please understand that I am not a medical professional and do not intend to provide medical advice in this post. Please always do your own research and speak to your doctor or paediatrician.