When you hear about someone who grows herbs for medicine, perhaps you picture a big garden and someone who has nothing to do all day but work in the garden. While that is a picturesque and perhaps enviable scene, most of us do not have that kind of time and space.
The good news is, you don't have to let the lack of time and space discourage you. There are many valuable medicinal herbs that are easy to grow in small spaces and/or containers. Here are some ideas.
1. Rosemary grows very well in a pot, and overwinters indoors. This herb not only tastes good, but it is a powerful antioxidant due to the rosmarinic acid it contains. It also has compounds to help keep your mind sharp.
2. Lemon balm is very easy to grow – in fact, growing it in a container is advisable since it tends to take over a yard or garden. It is a very powerful antiviral herb that can be used to stave off colds and flu.
3. Fennel is an easy-to-grow perennial herb that can be planted in your yard. Its feathery foliage and licorice-like scent make it pleasant anywhere. Consider planting it by your front porch or back door. Fennel helps increase milk flow in nursing mothers, and it also helps treat gas and other digestive upsets.
4. Lavender can be grown in containers or in the yard. It likes its environment to be sunny and well-drained, even dry. Lavender flowers help promote relaxation and sleep.
5. Bee balm (Monarda) is a perennial that thrives in sun or shade, but prefers partial shade. The aerial parts of this plant make a tasty, memory-enhancing tea. It tastes something like the citrus oil of bergamot used in Earl Grey tea, which is why bee balm is sometimes called bergamot.
6. Mints are the ultimate easy growers. They do fine in containers or open ground. All mints make good digestive aids, and mountain mint is an effective insect repellent.
7. Basil grows well in pots or open ground, but it is not cold-hardy. You will either have to plant new basils every year or bring your potted plants indoors before frost. Basil is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
8. Oregano will sprawl into a lovely ground cover or thrives happily in a pot. Its pink blooms attract beneficial bees. Oregano has antibacterial properties and is rich in antioxidants.