Indoor Herb Gardening for Winter – The Fabulous Five

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to soothe a sore throat or headache with a snip of the scissors? Before old Jack Frost makes an appearance, you could have a winter’s worth of herbal home remedies.
 
Many medicinal plants, especially these five, grow well indoors. I recommend starting with thyme, chamomile, mint, lemon balm and sage. Each works well as a tea for sore throats, headache, coughs and colds.

To brew a tea, add 1 teaspoon of dried- or 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs to 1 cup of boiled water; steep several minutes, then remove the herbs. All five of these herbs aid in digestion. Always consult your physician before trying to treat a health problem with herbs.
 
Start with a medium size planter if space is limited. Fill a clean pot with sterile potting soil. Sow seeds or use small starter plants which are still available in garden centers.
 
Unless you have an area that gets 4 to 6 hours of sunlight each day, you’ll need to invest in grow lights. Buy inexpensive, full spectrum light bulbs sold at places like Wal-Mart and Home Depot.
 
Plants grow best if the daytime indoor temperature is between 70 and 75 degrees, and the night time temperature about 10 degrees cooler. Make sure there is a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot so excess water can drain away from the roots. Don’t over water the herbs. Soggy soil can lead to mold, mildew, and insect problems. Take care of your indoor herb garden, and it’ll return the favor.

Lemon balm tea on a cold, snowy night is delightful. Chamomile produces a restful sleep, and thyme, sage and mint all soothe sore throats, tummy ache and winter chills.

Even if no one gets the sniffles, your thyme and sage will be there to spice up that stew you were planning to serve on a cold winter’s night. And chamomile, lemon balm or mint tea to sip before you hop under the covers.

–Azul

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