If you don’t have room for a full-fledged garden, growing herbs in containers or pots is a simple solution to growing your own herbs. You will need some medium or large pots, available at the home and garden section of your local store, some potting soil, and some seeds to get you started. These can be purchased at a seed bank or your local department store. Different varieties of herbs require different nutrients, so look carefully on the packaging of your potting soil to find out what kind you need to grow your different plants. They may take up to two months to grow in order to be made ready for picking the leaves. These leaves can be used for cooking, or in herbal teas for a medicinal alternative to the health and medicine choices available at your pharmacy. Different herbs do different things for one’s well-being, from helping to alleviate flu symptoms to achieving a better libido or emotional balance. The facts and myths about herbs have often been intertwined, and interpreting fact from fiction can sometimes be difficult. Some of the most basic types of herbs are passion flower, valerian, both the leaves and roots, skullcap, and chamomile. These can be drank in a tea or swallowed in salad or capsule form. They contribute to a good night’s sleep. For men’s health, saw palmetto, horsetail, pipsissewa and echinacea help to promote prostate health and can reduce the risk of prostate cancer. St. John’s Wort helps with emotional well-being and concentration. Milk thistle helps your liver to stay healthy and licorice and ginger help with digestion. All of these can be purchased at alternative health stores and your local department store. You can prepare large batches of these herbs during the growing season and store them for the winter months.
Growing these herbs is much the same as growing any other types of plants, such as fruits and vegetables. You will want to make sure the pot is big enough to give the roots room to take hold and expand. Also, dig a hole large enough to place the knot of roots underneath the surface of the soil. With potted plants, weeds are rarely a problem, but if they appear, you can kill them with a mild chemical spray, or remove them by hand. You can also supplement the nutrition of the soil by purchasing some recommended plant food and mixing it with water when you water your herbs. When it’s time to pick the leaves, leave the stem, removing the entire leaf. For storage purposes, you can get some glass jars with airtight lids to keep the moisture in. It is recommended, however, that you allow the leaves to dry out first, for a minimum of five days. You can do this by hanging the leaves in a well-ventilated area, or by leaving them out on your kitchen counter on paper towels. You could also put them in an oven for a few minutes. If you wish to keep the root of your plant for medicinal purposes, such as the valerian root, these should be given extra time to dry, then shredded by hand or with a small putty knife. You can buy little sacks like tea bags to put them in when you want to serve your herbs in tea form. Let the leaves or roots brew inside the cup, just as you would with tea. This is called serving by infusion. Another way to enjoy your herbs is by decoction. This is done by putting the amount you want in a saucepan, adding three cups of water, and simmering with the lid on for ten to fifteen minutes. After it is done cooking, pour it into cups and serve. You could brew your herbs fresh, also, if you would like, but for long-term storage, drying them out and storing in mason jars is the best method.