Indoor Medicinal Herb Garden
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Sharon Bailey
Posted on: September 18, 1999

I am interested in starting a medicinal herb garden indoors. I am a beginner at this and would like to know what herbs I should start with – herbs that I can make teas from. The herbs I’m interested in would be for colds, sore throats, congestion, stress relief, insomnia and other everyday complaints.

Indoor conditions limit what can be grown successfully. The two biggest factors are limited light and limited room for the roots to grow. When compared to growing outdoors in the garden, indoor-grown herbs do not produce as much foliage, and consequently there is less foliage to use for tea.

Another point to consider is that some medicinal herbs are grown for their flowers or roots, and rarely are these practical to grow indoors. For example, chamomile is unlikely to flower indoors except in a greenhouse or under strong artificial light, and in any case, you need dozens of plants to get enough flowers for a couple of cups of tea. Medicinal roots such as echinacea or ginseng are not practical to grow indoors because they need lots of room for the roots to develop.

What medicinal tea herbs can one grow indoors then? Here are some:

* Catnip – leaf tea used for insomnia

* Lemon balm – calms nerves, stimulates heart

* Damiana – aphrodisiac, flavouring

* Eucalyptus – respiratory and sinus congestion

* Mints, e.g. peppermint, spearmint – excellent digestive tea made from the leaves; grows vigorously and easily.

Please keep in mind that each of these does better in the garden than they will indoors. If you have grown mint outdoors before be prepared for smaller harvests than you are used to.

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