Grow fresh herbs in your home garden

Sylvia By Sylvia , 14th Feb 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1m5ha_ux/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Herbs

Ever since the time man discovered that certain plants were edible, probably through trial and error, herbs have played an important role in healing diseases.

Herbs and its uses

History
From ancient times, man has used wild herbs for medicine and food. Ever since the time man discovered that certain plants were edible, probably through trial and error, herbs have played an important role in healing diseases. Superstition and magical beliefs were kept alive by medicine men mostly to their benefit, taking advantage of the hallucinogenic properties that some herbs and berries had. Even during the early Biblical days herbs were used by the Hebrews. The ancient Egyptians used herbs to anoint. The earliest recorded mention of herbs was in 2000BC in Babylon.

Ceylon Cinnamon
One such herb which is more a spice than an herb is Ceylon Cinnamon. Its leaves are used as an herb. Ceylon Cinnamon was found no where else in the world but right here in Sri Lanka. Early Arab traders, who discovered it growing in Ceylon, kept it a closely guarded secret weaving a myth around it to explain where it was found. One such myth was about the fabled Phoenix bird that was fond of eating raw meat, had gathered the rare spice to build its large nest. The cinnamon gatherers would place large chunks of meat on high rocks tempting the birds to carry it up to their nests in the dessert, whereupon the nest would break with the added weight and fall to the ground, enabling the cinnamon gatherers to collect the precious spice.

Ceylon Cinnamon should not be confused by other forms such as the cheaper and freely available Cinnamomum aromaticum, called cassia or Chinese cinnamon. Cinnamomum zeylanicum was valued very much more than any precious metal and was traded amongst royalty and the rich and famous noble men and women. Whole empires were built on the riches the trade of Cinnamon brought, exploited during days when fierce, bloody battles were fought for supremacy of the trade. Cinnamon has the power to preserve meat and was used by Moses to cleanse the Tabernacle as instructed by God Himself.

Sri Lanka is known to have several varieties of the plant. Incidentally the Sandalwood tree is also a member of the cinnamon family. It takes over three years to grow and harvest cinnamon.

Murraya koenigii (curry leaf)
The Murraya or karapincha or curry leaf as it is popularly known is also known to neutralize poisons and venom. It is widely used in Ayurvedic medications. Together with garlic, it is ground into a sambol and is said to have curative powers in reducing high levels of harmful cholesterol. There are two varieties. One is a smaller leaf which is much more fragrant than the larger leaf variety. Both varieties are found growing wild in the jungles and forests especially in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. I have them growing all over the garden, germinating from seeds found in bird droppings. If you have them, allow them to grow a little before transferring to a nice sunny location.

The famous three-some in Sri Lanka cuisine are karapincha (curry leaf) , rampe and sera (lemon grass) . It can be found growing in almost every home garden in Sri Lanka. They are an important set of can’t do without herbs in Sri Lankan as well as in other South Asian cuisine, just as important as the combination of garlic, ginger and green onion. The three are sun loving varieties and does not require much attention to grow once they are firmly established.

Purslane is considered a weed as well as an important herb and was found growing on roadsides and wastelands. It has many curative uses and their little fleshy leaves can be made into a vegetable or used in a mixed green salad. They are good for strengthening cartilage and are high in Omega-3.

It is a universally recognised herb and used in many ways, in pickles, sandwiches and salads apart from its many medicinal uses.

“The whole plant is used, except for the roots, is gathered in summer and autumn and used fresh.

Except for the roots, the entire plant is used as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anthelmintic. It is used in treating bacillary dysentery and dysuria, in a dose of 250g of fresh plant in the form of a decoction. A combination with equal parts of euphorbia thymifolia is also used. The juice extracted from 100g of pounded fresh plant and diluted with water serves as an anthelmintic against oxyuriasis and ascariasis. It is administered in the morning for 3-5 days. Poultices of fresh leaves are used to treat mastitis, boils and impetigo” .

Tags

Culinary, Culinary Herbs, Culinary Purposes, Herbs And Spices, Herbs For Healing Diseases, Herbs Health, Herbs That Heal

Meet the author

author avatar Sylvia
I like to write, I write poetry and prose. I write on nature, the environment, in fact I write on any subject.

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Comments

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
31st May 2014 (#)

Good evening, Sylvia; I did not know there were several types of cinnamon. Thank you for the information. You mentioned lemon grass and I do use that. Again, thanks for an interesing education about herbs. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sylvia
31st May 2014 (#)

Hello again Marilyn, Thank you for reading this. I am glad you found my article informative, I am writing a book on herbs and spices. 10 chapters are already up for editing and a lot more to go! I am also considering whether to turn each into an affordable eBook. This can be seen in my portfolio accessed through my profile page on http://www.fanstory.com/sylvia_page
The best to you and Blessings.
Sylvia

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