“Let food be thine medicine and thine medicine be food.” The Father of Medicine, Hippocrates himself, set down those words and we should take heed. Western medicine is so focused on using synthetic pharmaceuticals to treat the side effects of health conditions that we tend to overlook the fact that many herbs can actually help address physical and mental health issues, while simultaneously helping to balance your diet, as well.
Of course, this begs the question of which herbs are right for you. And, for those without much outdoor space or wondering how they can keep a ready supply of these herbs year round, there is the question of how to grow them. We’ll address all of those concerns within this guide.
Pleasantly pungent and useful in both food and in cleansing the mind and body, sage has been used for thousands of years in both culinary settings and traditional medicine. Sage’s benefits go much deeper than adding a bit of flavor to your food and help improve whole-body health.
For instance, recent scientific studies have found that this herb contains compounds that help support health brain function, preserving cognitive function and even improving neurological function in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Sage is also easy to grow at home, too, and doing so in a hydroponics setup ensures that you’re able to enjoy it all year long on dishes like chicken and steak, in salads, and even in soups.
Nettle might not look like your traditional culinary herb, but it has been used for thousands of years as both food and medicine. Stinging nettle is the most common variety, but there are others.
This herb offers a host of vitamins that help support whole-body health, including vitamins A and C, E, and a range of B vitamins, too. It has been used to treat a number of health issues, as well, including asthma, prostate health, allergies, and more.
Adding nettle to your diet can be as simple as growing it at home and eating it in salads. However, you can also extract its essence and use it similarly to essential oils, which allows you to more easily consume it and benefit from its properties.
Basil is one of the quintessential Italian herbs used for flavoring. It’s bright and delicious, and plays a central role in foods ranging from margherita pizza to spaghetti. It’s also very easy to grow on your own in a hydroponics system.
In terms of health support, you’ll find that basil brings a lot to the table (pun intended). It is a good source of zinc and calcium, but also vitamin K, which can help heal bruising. Potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber are also found in abundance.
Basil can be added to salads and sandwiches, much like you would lettuce. It can be used to top pizza, or even just eaten on its own if you like.
If you haven’t heard of this herb, you’re not alone. While it has a history that dates back into prehistory, it is not very prominent in the West. However, it has been used in Ayurvedic tradition for a very long time. This herb is linked to improvements in mental health and clarity, and modern science shows that it can help to combat oxidative stress in animals.
In terms of diet and nutrition, you’ll find that gotu kola includes significant quantities of potassium and calcium, which can support bone, eye, and kidney health. This herb is also easy to grow at home, and because it is a close relative of parsley, it can be used easily in a wide range of dishes.
Useful in teas or even added to salads and sandwiches, lemon balm is an easy-to-grow herb that offers plenty of health benefits. The bright, lemon-like flavor also makes it ideal for addition to tea and other beverages.
Lemon balm contains high levels of flavonoids, which have strong antioxidant properties. It is also antiviral and antibacterial thanks to the high levels of tannins in the plant. Notably, lemon balm can even be used as an antispasmodic treatment. It has also been traditionally used in treating depression.
Growing Your Herbs
Now that we’ve explored some of the best herbs to grow for improved health and a balanced diet, we need to take a closer look at how you can grow them. Yes, you can do this in a traditional garden or raised bed, but that puts you at the mercy of the seasons and the elements. In addition, some people lack the outdoor space for even a small herb garden. Thankfully, hydroponics provides an answer. You don’t have to invest in a massive indoor growing system, either.
One of the most beneficial solutions out there is the AeroGarden Ultra LED. This tabletop hydroponics system uses LED lights and an LCD control screen to help you grow up to seven plants at a time right in your own home.
The manufacturer has tuned the light wavelengths to the ideal spectrum for photosynthesis rather than just illumination, which helps support strong growth and good plant health. And, because this is a hydroponics system, there’s no need for dirt. Your herbs grow right in the water and nutrient mixture. The LCD screen provides you with prompts to help guide you through the entire growing process, so even novice gardeners have nothing to worry about.
Balancing your mind and body, supporting a healthy diet and improving your health can be as simple as ensuring that you include these five herbs in your meals. Growing them is simple thanks to modern hydroponics technology that ensures even those without a green thumb can grow healthy, vibrant plants. There are also many other herbs that you can add to your indoor garden, such as chamomile, dill, turmeric, and ginseng.