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Rosemary Growing Guide

Rosemary Growing Guide

SHORTCUTS: Ideal Environment, How to Plant, How to Water, Companion Planting, How to Propagate, How to Harvest, Parts Used, Preparations, Uses, Key Constituents, Key Actions, Research.

Information

Rosmarinum Officinalis
FAMILY LAMIACEAE
Rosemary is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 1.5 metres high. It is very easy to cultivate because it is draught tolerant. It is one of the best herbs to use in the kitchen, a wonderful addition to any garden and it has various medicinal uses.

Growing Environment

Ideal Environment 

Rosemary can grow in a variety of soils, sandy loam preferred because good drainage is important and lots of sun.  Rosemary can also grow in containers outside or in a sunny window.

How to Plant

How to Plant 

Rosemary can be grown from seeds, cover lightly with soil and keep slightly moist until they are established with a few sets of leaves.  To speed up the process you can soak the seeds overnight and germinate them in a small greenhouse or covering the container with plastic.

Watering

How to Water

Once the small plants are established watering Rosemary will vary according to your local climate, generally in warmer areas water only once a week or less and do not water during the rainy season.

Companion Plants

Companion Planting 

Rosemary goes well with other herbs and is a great addition to any garden because it can draw bees year around (in warmer climates). In particular it is said to go well with sage, thyme, beans, carrots and cabbages.

Here are the Companion Plants by group: Herbs, Flowers, Trees, Vegetables, Berries, Fruit and Mushrooms

How to Propagate

How to Propagate 

Rosemary is easy to propagate from an existing plant, clip a 10 to 12 cm piece from soft new growth, strip the leaves from the bottom, use with or without rooting hormone and put them straight into the soil or in water until roots have developed and they can be transplanted.

Harvest

How to Harvest

Harvest Rosemary throughout the year to encourage growth and to shape your plants, strip the needle-like leaves off the main stem and use as required.

Medicinal Plants Parts Used

Parts Used

The green needle-like leaves are used and you can eat the flowers.

Medicinal Preparations

Preparations

Rosemary preparations include tinctures (about 5ml dose per day), infusions (a teaspoon per cup), ointments and oils.

Plant Uses

Uses

Rosemary is calming and can be used to increase vitality and memory.  It is also said to help with sleep and blood circulation.

Constituents

Key Constituents

Antioxidants, Volatile oil (borneol, camphene, camphor, cineole, limonene, linalool, isobutyl acetate, 3-octanone, terpineol, verbenol, etc.), flavonoids (apigenin, diosmin, diosmin, etc.), rosmarininc acid and other phenolic acids, terpenoids (carnasol, oleanolic & ursolic acid). (3)

Key Actions

Key Actions

Nervous system relaxant, sedative, anti-depressant, mild analgesic (topically), antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, diaphoretic, rubefacient, capillary tonic, circulatory stimulant, cardiotonic, carminative, choleretic, hepatoprotector, emmenagogue, diuretic, antispasmodic. (3)

Research

Research

In a 2013 study from Saint Louis University found that Rosemary can improve learning and memory, potentially helping with age-related cognitive decline. (23)


USEFUL LINKS: About the Growing Guides, The Medicine Garden, Companion Plants, Basic Preparations and Plant Constituents. Disclaimer. References.

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Hyssop Growing Guide

Hyssop Growing Guide

SHORTCUTS: Ideal Environment, How to Plant, How to Water, Companion Planting, How to Propagate, How to Harvest, Parts Used, Preparations, Uses, Key Constituents, Key Actions, Research.

Information

Hyssopus officinalis
LAMIACEAE
Hyssop is a shrub that is about 50cm high with dark green leaves 2 to 2.5 cm long. During the summer, hyssop produces pink, blue, or, more rarely white fragrant flowers.

Growing Environment

Ideal Environment 

Hyssop can grow in a range of soils with a more alkaline, sandy, well draining soil preferred.  Plants will thrive in full sun and they are draught tolerant.

How to Plant

How to Plant 

Sow seeds and cover lightly with soil.  Germination takes place in about 14 to 21 days.  Space plants about 30 to 60cm apart or plant in containers.

Watering

How to Water

Water regularly when there is no rain.  You can allow the soil to dry out in-between watering.  Hyssop tolerates dry conditions so be careful not to over water.

Companion Plants

Companion Planting 

Hyssop is often used for honey bees, and it also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.  It is said to be good companion for the cabbage family of plants and grapes.

Here are the Companion Plants by group: Herbs, Flowers, Trees, Vegetables, Berries, Fruit and Mushrooms

How to Propagate

How to Propagate 

Hyssop can be propagated by root division in the spring or fall, cuttings and seeds.

Harvest

How to Harvest

Harvest Hyssop when the plant is in full bloom, ideally during the spring and / or late summer.  The leaves and flowers are harvested and may be dried.

Medicinal Plants Parts Used

Parts Used

The flowering tips and the leaves are used.  They can be used fresh or dried.

Medicinal Preparations

Preparations

Hyssop is usually taken as an infusion, about 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup of water.  You can also make a tincture, dosage is about 2 to 5ml.   May also be used externally as an anti-fungal and to assist healing.

Plant Uses

Uses

Hyssop is said to relieve coughing and reduces inflammation associated with respiratory infections. Hyssop is also an aromatic relaxing herb with tonic and antiseptic properties (3).

Constituents

Key Constituents

Volatile oil (pinocamphone, alpha & beta-pinene, linalool, cineole, limonene), Terpenoids (marrubiin, olanolic acid, ursolic acid), Flavonoids (glycosides of hesperidin & diosmetin), hyssopin glycoside, tannins, resin (3).

Key Actions

Key Actions

Stimulant, Antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, sedative (3).

Research

Research

A 2011 review on Hyssopus officinalis found that Hyssop has moderate antioxidant and antimicrobial activity against bacteria together with antifungal and insecticidal antiviral properties in vitro. Animal model studies indicate myorelaxant, antiplatelet and α-glucosidase inhibitory activities (25).


USEFUL LINKS: About the Growing Guides, The Medicine Garden, Companion Plants, Basic Preparations and Plant Constituents. Disclaimer. References.

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Basil Growing Guide

Basil Growing Guide

SHORTCUTS: Ideal Environment, How to Plant, How to Water, Companion Planting, How to Propagate, How to Harvest, Parts Used, Preparations, Uses, Key Constituents, Key Actions, Research.

Information

Ocimum basilicum
FAMILY LAMIACEAE (MINTS)
Information Basil is a green or red herb with a unique sweet yet sharp taste, its subtle liquorice flavour is earthy, full, and fresh. Most varieties are treated as annuals but some are perennial in warmer climates. There are many varieties and related species or species hybrids also called basil. The type used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil. Others include Holy Basil and Lemon Basil.

Growing Environment

Ideal Environment 

Basil prefers full sunlight (6+ hours) and a warmer climate (15 degrees C and up), so it is best to start them indoors (3 weeks before the last frost) if it is cooler.  They like well drained soil, compost and will grow in a wide range of soils (pH levels between 5.1 and 8.5), between 5.5 and 6.5 is considered ideal.

How to Plant

How to Plant 

Sow basil seeds thinly and covered with approximately 0.2 – 0.5 cm of compost or good soil. Germination occurs about a week later. Once the seedlings have two pairs of leaves they can be thinned out. Plant at least 30 x 30cm apart, or one plant per pot.

Watering

How to Water

Basil generally likes to have moist soil (not soggy because over-watering isn’t good either), I do not let the soil dry out, especially when they are young, once they are more established they can be watered twice a week. Water around the plant and not the leaves.  

Companion Plants

Companion Planting 

Basil helps tomato, peppers, oregano, asparagus, onions, chives, parsley, carrots, nasturtiums and petunias.  Basil is helped by chamomile and anise because it is said to increase their oils, and it is possible that growing them close to alliums (onion family of plants) can repel insects and rodents.  

Do not plant basil with plants that require little water.

Here are the Companion Plants by group: Herbs, Flowers, Trees, Vegetables, Berries, Fruit and Mushrooms

How to Propagate

How to Propagate 

Basil can be purchased as seedlings in plugs and pots ready for planting but they are easy to grow from seeds or cuttings placed in water.  To harvest your own seeds for next year you can let some of your plants go to flower, cut the flowering stems when they have dried up (usually turning brown), then rub the stem between your hands to break open the pods and release the small black seeds. Store seeds in a cool and dry place, ideally in an air tight container or packet.

Harvest

How to Harvest

Start using the basil leaves as soon as the plant can spare some and collect from the tops of the branches, cutting off most of the stem. They bruise easily so handle carefully.

Use basil when it is fresh, and if you have extra you can make a puree (by adding a little water) and freeze them for use in sauces, soups, pesto etc. Basil pesto can also keep in the fridge for a week or so, ensure that there is a thin layer of olive oil ontop.

Medicinal Plants Parts Used

Parts Used

The leaves are usually used fresh or dried.

The seeds are also soaked and used in drinks, but I have not found scientific research about their constituents.

Medicinal Preparations

Preparations

You can make basil infused oil, pesto or just use fresh leaves. Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) is said to be more medicinal but sweet basil is a close relative. Preparations for holy basil include a juice for skin infections (1oml applied to the affected area twice a day, a decoction is used for fevers and the powder can be used to rub into mouth ulcers (1).

Plant Uses

Uses

It is easiest to use basil as a culinary herb in food. Holy basil is said to be used for diabetes (reduce blood sugar levels), to improve vitality, used in reducing fevers, infections and in reducing stress (1).

Cooking options are virtually unlimited with fresh basil, always add your fresh Basil at the last minute to preserve the full flavour. Tear the leaves rather than cutting them because they discolour easily. Basil flavours combine really well with tomato, garlic and eggplant, and works great in soups, stews and sauces.

Basil can also be an insect repellent, rub crushed leaves on the skin and keep a potted basil plant in the kitchen to keep flies at bay.

Constituents

Key Constituents

Basil contains various volatile oils like Eugonol and Camphene. Basil is also said to be rich in antioxidant vitamins and phenolics, and a source of Protein, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Riboflavin and Niacin, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese (9).

Key Actions

Key Actions

Antioxidant, antiviral and antimicrobial.

Research

Research

Basil (and oregano) apparently contain large amounts of (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which might have a use in treating inflammatory bowel diseases and arthritis (11). More than one scientific study has established (in vitro) that compounds in basil oil have potent antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties, and potential for use in treating cancer (10).


USEFUL LINKS: About the Growing Guides, The Medicine Garden, Companion Plants, Basic Preparations and Plant Constituents. Disclaimer. References.