Herbs: a natural pharmacy Herbs: a natural pharmacy

Herbs: a natural pharmacy

All natural 2 June, 2017 Ana María López de Mesa

Growing herbs at home makes it easier to use them to treat illnesses and to cook more naturally.

Medical Advisor: Francisco Alberto Cañón Prieto. Physician, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare

In addition to being used to alleviate the symptoms of certain illnesses, herbs can also be used as condiments, in dressings or in hot beverages in the kitchen. They can serve as a salt substitute because they help flavor food, and can be used in teas or caffeinated beverages as a benefit to the nervous system.

“Herbal teas have been used for health and wellbeing reasons since prehistoric times. They are part of many family traditions and popular culture continues believing in them,” states Francisco Cañón Prieto, physician and specialist in German biological medicine. Some herbs that can be grown at home include sage, thyme, basil, mint, chamomile, lemon balm and calendula. It can be useful to know the different uses of these herbs.

Sage reduces anxiety, lowers fever, aids digestive problems and slows the appearance of gray hairs. It can be used as a condiment or as a tea, and its leaves and flowers (which are edible) can be used in salads and desserts.

Thyme is a good source of vitamin A and regenerates the nails, hair and skin. It is an anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiseptic and can be used to treat the flu. Its oil can be used to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Basil is an anti-inflammatory, helps relieve arthritis, is a source of vitamins A, C and K, as well as minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium and potassium. It can be used as an insect repellent and as a condiment in the kitchen.

Lemon balm helps calm the nerves and can be used to treat insomnia, headaches, the flu and viruses such as oral herpes. It acts as a sedative, aids in digestion and serves as an insect repellent. Chewing its leaves after you eat can help prevent halitosis (bad breath).

Chamomile tea can help calm the nerves and is helpful in digestion. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-allergy and sedative properties.

Mint can be used to keep ants, spiders and rodents away. It also relieves congestion, headaches, migraines, menstrual cramping and improves digestion. In the kitchen, it can be used as a tea and can be added to sauces, soups and desserts.

Flower-pot garden

Because of all the benefits herbs provide, it can be helpful to have your own garden. As Francisco Cañón says, “It’s like a natural pharmacy. These plants are fragrant and can be used as a garnish. In addition to this, watering them and talking to them can be therapeutic.” This also serves as an incentive to cook at home in order to consume less-processed foods. To start your own flower-pot garden at home, consider the following tips:

1. Identify where you will plant the herbs, when the sun will hit them and how strong the wind is.
2. Buy dirt, a substrate mixture and sand, and mix them all together.
3. If you are planting the seeds of the herbs, place them in small recipients, plant them, place them in the sun, and water them in the morning. When these seedlings reach 5 cm, transfer them to flower pots.
4. For those herbs that need a lot of light, avoid placing them in direct sunlight. Leave them in the balcony when it is good weather, and bring them into the kitchen when it is cold. Add humus or natural fertilizers to them once a month. They should be replaced every year.
5. In order to keep ants away, spray them with a solution of liquid soap, lavender or nettle extract.