Five Healthy Herbs to Grow

 Health Tips with Karla Heintz (BSc), Nutrition Educator


Five Healthy Herbs to Grow

As the sun tackles to remove our winter filled clouds it is a perfect time to start planning for indoor herb gardening.  Not only is it easy to drop some seeds into a pot or planter, but too you can experience all organic freedom nature has to provide at a fraction of the cost.

First – select a sunny, warm location inside as herbs love summer heat and some prefer six hours of direct daylight. Second, decide what herbs you want to plant, as the trend is to mix herbs of various textures and growth habits for the most appealing look.  Basil or rosemary make nice centers that other vine like herbs can grow around and droop over the containers side.

Here are my top five picks on the healthiest herbs that are compatible with Canadian climates:

  1. Oregano – with a warm aromatic flavour, it is popular on pizzas, in salad dressings, omelets, and garlic bread.  It is a great source of Vitamin K, and contains some iron and fiber.  The main credit this herb deserves it its antioxidant punch. Packed with phytonutrients including thymol and rosmarinic acid, measured on a per gram basis, it has 42 times the antioxidant activity of apples and 12 times that of oranges! A definite addition to your plate.
  2. Rosemary – with a piney like fragrance and flavour it is often served with meats like chicken, roasts or lamb.  Some people like the kick it adds to baking such as breads, and many soups and sauces.  It contains substances that kick starts the immune system and increases circulation for those cold hands and feet.  Word of mouth is that it can stimulate the bowels, as some people like to chew the leaves in the evening for this desired bedtime effect.
  3. Cilantro – used in salsas, sauces. It is known to aid in digestion, assist with lowering bad cholesterol (LDL), and lowering blood sugar levels.  Continue to plant it every two weeks to keep the supply constant. 
  4. Parsley – chopped and sprinkled into salads, sautés, meat rubs and added to many classic dishes.  It is literally packed full of Vitamin A, C and K.  Containing two main components (volatile oil and flavonoids), it has been shown to inhibit tumor formation and bind to many free radicals in the body to reduce cellular damage.  As the worlds most popular herb, many countries serve fresh parsley after the entrée as it acts as a mouth cleanser to freshen breath for the after dinner kiss.
  5. Basil – an Italian staple in almost every meal dish, it goes well with sauces, soups, dips and eggs.  It is known to provide protection against unwanted bacterial growth, have a calming effect on people and assist in digestion.

Karla Heintz (BSc) Nutrition Educator and Author of

‘Picky! Not Me Mom! A parents’ guide to children’s nutrition.