9 Food Cures You Can Grow at Home

Put your green thumb to work by growing a first-aid kit that will keep you healthy all summer

Why burn a quarter-tank of gas running out to the drugstore for Pepto when you can pluck some relief from your window herb garden? Besides adding another dimension to your cooking, freshly harvested herbs can soothe dozens of common health problems.

Look for seedlings for these plants and herbs at any garden store, or if you’re really ambitious, buy a packet of seeds and try sprouting your own.

Aloe Vera

Growing it: Use well-drained soil. Plant seeds in pots located in full sunshine. Water well but infrequently.

Using it: Break open the thick leaves and apply the gel that seeps out to your skin to soothe sunburn. “It’s 96 percent water and 4 percent active ingredients, including amino acids and enzymes that nourish damaged skin,” says pharmacist Margo Marrone, founder of The Organic Pharmacy in the United Kingdom.

Note: Aloe could be grown successfully in vertical Garden Tower® 2 planting systems, but it’s not a recommended plant unless you plan to grow a strictly perennial xeric Garden Tower® 2 system themed with desert flora. A xeric plant community Garden Tower® 2 system would use a high ratio of lightweight soil amendments to improve drainage and aeration, such as perlite.

Basil

Growing it: This sweet, fragrant annual is ideal for growing in pots. Pull off the white flowers as soon as they appear to keep it from going to seed and your herbs from tasting bitter.

Using it: Rub crushed leaves on your temples to relieve headaches. Pour boiling water over basil leaves for a pain-relieving footbath.

Note: The Garden Tower Project can’t say enough about growing basil in the Garden Tower® 2 planting systems! It’s extremely easy to grow, the semi-woody roots structure is not too aggressive and it is easy to remove annually. It will turn your Garden Tower® 2 system into a bush if you’re not careful! A top plant recommendation.

Lavender

Growing it: This sun-loving plant needs good drainage. Use a small pot filled with gravel and a light soil.

Using: Lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Crush a handful of the heads and add to a bowl of boiling water to use as a steam bath for your face. You can also dab the oil from the flowers on blemishes, says Marrone.

Note: Lavender makes a gorgeous addition to vertical Garden Tower® 2 planting systems with its delicate, smooth leaves and wonderful blossoms.  It is a very low maintenance plant choice and easy to grow!

Lemon Balm

Growing it: Pot it, or it will colonize your garden.

Using it: Use for healing and preventing cold sores. Also, rub leaves directly onto skin as a natural insect repellent or to soothe bites.

Note: Lemon Balm is in the mint family, see note below about use in a vertical Garden Tower.

Mint

Growing it: Use a sunken pot, because it grows vigorously.

Using it: Mint is ideal for treating the collywobbles, which you might know as butterflies in the stomach. Sip tea made with fresh peppermint leaves to soothe stomach cramps, nausea, and flatulence. For a natural decongestant, place a fistful of mint leaves in a shallow bowl and cover with boiling water. Lean over it, drape a towel over your head, and breathe the steam.

Note: Many mints are hardy perennials which will develop woody root structures, a consideration for container gardening with a vertical Garden Tower® 2 system. Because mints grow fast and aggressively, removing the roots system and starting anew every year is highly recommended for yield and ease of maintenance. Mint performance in the Garden Tower® 2 system is extremely good, but the entire plant should be removed before winter.

Parsley

Growing it: Thrives in a pot in the sun as long as the soil is kept moist. Feed with organic fertilizer.

Using it: Immune-system booster. Eat one tablespoon of chopped flat leaf or curly parsley daily. Chewing parsley neutralizes mouth odors.

Note: This biennial is very highly recommended plant for the Garden Tower® 2 planting system because it tolerates shade and can be planted under bushier plants; plus, it grows actively in the cool seasons for extended-season performance! If you don’t like the strong taste of typical parsley, try a more mild and enjoyable Italian variety!

Rosemary

Growing it: This hardy perennial loves basking in the sunshine.

Using it: Tea made from a thumb-sized piece has been known to lift spirits in people suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and hangovers. Infuse warm red wine with rosemary, cinnamon, and cloves to soothe winter colds.

Note: This perennial is very woody and will develop a woody root mass which is a consideration during planting in a vertical Garden Tower® 2 planting system!

Sage  

Growing it: Needs full sun and a dry sandy soil. Sage means “to be in good health.”

Using it: Gargle with a broth made from a quarter-cup of leaves (and cooled) to relieve sore throat.

Note: This perennial is best grown in the center or top rows of a vertical Garden Tower® 2 system!

Thyme

Growing it: Plant in dry, light soil. Needs sun.

Using it: A powerful antioxidant as well as an antiseptic. Drink a tea made from lemon thyme to treat colds before bed. Warning: Don’t use thyme when pregnant.

Note: Very high performer as a perennial in a vertical Garden Tower® 2 system; easy to grow and winter hardy in many zones!

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