Herbs At Home

By TheHindu on 23 Jun 2015 | read

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If you haven't been up to anything new for sometime now in your home, consider this. Apart from studying, watching TV and playing games, see your life change by adding this to your routine. You are going to get your own herbal garden ready. Yes, and it is not going to be difficult.

You don't need to have a piece of ground to enjoy doing this. Find a little space, preferably on the balcony, to place one mud pot, or more.

The method

Fill each pot with a mixture of soil, a portion of red earth and some manure. You can also get this prepared soil from any nursery garden. Once the pots are set, the seeds can be sown or the saplings planted.

Here are four plants considered essential to any home. Tulasi, Adathoda, Karpooravalli and Nilavembu are plants with medicinal qualities that benefit the respiratory system. They are called the same in most south Indian languages. So, finding them will not be an ordeal. All of these plants can be grown in pots with minimal care. The leaves are mostly used for cold, cough, fever and viral infection. You can follow a standard way of using the leaves as medicine.

First, take a few leaves and soak them in water. After about ten minutes, wash the leaves under running water. Grind the leaves, filter the juice, and add honey or jaggery to it. You now have a syrup that is not only good for health but will also effectively treat your condition.

Tulasi ( Ocimum sanctum) known as Holy Basil is also “The queen of herbs.” There are many species of this plant which has been around for thousands of years. It belongs to the family Lamiaceae. The tulasi seeds germinate easily. It is the first tulasi sapling in the pot that is generally thought of as “sensitive” and difficult to survive. Actually, in a few weeks, you will find many sprouts in the same pot. The tulasi plant needs lot of sunlight and well nourished soil to grow.

Adathoda ( Adhatoda vasica) called Malabar Nut tree is a small, evergreen bush - the leaves, flowers and roots are used for treating chronic bronchitis and asthma. The plant grows throughout India and belongs to the family Acanthaceae.

It propagates by stem cuttings and grows in all types of climate. The leaves when fresh and dry are bitter. Goats do not eat the leaves of this plant which is how the plant got its name Adu (goat) thoda (will not touch).

Karpooravalli ( Coleus ambonicus) smells like camphor and hence derives its name from “karpooram”. The leaves are succulent and aromatic. The juice is a potent remedy for cough, allergic conditions and insect bites. It grows easily in a pot from stem cuttings and does not need much water. Like Tulasi, this plant belongs to the family Lamiaceae.

Nilavembu ( Andrographis paniculata) is used as an antibiotic. The juice of the leaves is given for all types of fever, even chikunguniya. It is a blood purifier. Chewing the leaves twice a month is supposed to help keep infection away. The plant needs plenty of sunlight and water, and is raised from seeds. It belongs to the family Acanthaceae.