By Suleyka Montpetit on June 27, 2016
Yes, you can grow Ayurvedic Herbs in your backyard garden. Some of the more common western herbs are also revered in Ayurveda.
If I ask you to name some Ayurvedic herbs, what comes to mind? Perhaps Turmeric? Or spices such as cardamom, cinnamon and ginger found in chai? Or maybe you’re thinking about the world’s most popular herbal medicine,triphala? While these Ayurvedic herbs have incredible benefits, they are not easy to grow in a modest herb garden in a temperate climate. Fortunately there are many herbs that are highly valued in Ayurveda. Some of these herbs you might have overlooked, that are easy to grow in your own garden or balcony.
5 Potent Ayurvedic Herbs –
1. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Balm is a perennial herb in the mint family. It has antiviral, antioxidant and calmative properties. In Ayurveda, lemon balm is often used as a warming, clearing, and soothing herb tobalance the Vata dosha.
Melissa officinalis has been used for centuries in traditional European herbalism for-
- Stomach problems
- Vata complaints
A simple infusion of fresh or dried leaves, with its delicate lemony flavor, may help relieve tension and support restful sleep. Lemon Balm grows vigorously and will easily spread into other plantings. Be sure to give it either its own bed, or keep it in a container with plenty of room to grow.
2. Common Sage (Salvia officinalis)
While we may think of Sage as an old-fashion flavoring in European cuisine. However, due to its expectorant and diaphoretic actions, sage can be a powerful ally against-
- Sore throats
- Lung ailments
Taken hot, it is duaphoretic and expectorant and is good for Kapha and Vata.
Taken cold, it is astringent and diuretic and is better for Pitta. (1)
In this way, sage is an important tridoshic herb that should not be overlooked. Sage prefers a warm, sunny location, and is very happy growing in containers.
3. Tulsi, Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)
We’ve talked about our love of Tulsi many times! It is so beloved, it is sometimes called the “Queen of Herbs.” Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties.
Tulsi is considered to be an adaptogen, balancing different processes in the body, and helpful for adapting to stress. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, it is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of “elixir of life” and believed to promote longevity.
If you can grow basil, you can grow Tulsi! As other basils, it prefers a rich soil with good drainage, frequent watering and plenty of sun. LA Yoga describes in detail how to grow Tulsi as part of a devotional practice.
4. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Fennel might not be ideal for container gardening (but possible) due to its size. However, this highly aromatic, easy-growing perennial brings beauty to any garden or border. It has towering flowers and will provide a quantity of delicious fennel seeds every fall.
It’s not a coincidence that fennel seeds are offered all over the Indian subcontinent as mukhwas, an after-meal digestive and breath freshener.
- Fennel seeds are considered one of the best herbs for:
- Dispelling flatulence
- Strengthening Agni without disturbing Pitta
- Encourages menstruation
- Promotes milk flow in nursing mothers
5. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Thyme is another herb that often gets overlooked. Both Hippocrates and Dioscorides discussed the medicinal use of thyme in their ancient writings.
In Ayurveda, Thyme is recognized for its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, astringent, antispasmodic and expectorant effects. Thyme is also a powerful detoxifying agent, making it one of many liver detox foods.
What’s more, the herb is a great immune system booster that encourages white blood cell formation while increasing resistance to foreign organisms. Thyme is a perennial herb with very small leaves and tiny flowers. The colors range from white through pink to deep rose-magenta.
Give these 5 Ayurvedic Herbs a try in your garden!