When we’re looking to use herbs in our cooking, we go to the grocery store. When we want to use them for their potential health benefits, we go online or to the natural health food store for supplements. But there’s another way to find herbs, and that’s to grow them at home.
Growing herbs is surprisingly easy. While the step will vary slightly based on what herbs you choose, these simple steps provide a good baseline for how to grow herbs at home.
- Choose some pots – Pots are versatile and can be placed anywhere – indoors or out – to meet an herb’s specific sunlight needs.
- Choose your herbs – Parsley, mint, oregano, parsley, thyme, and basil are simple start-ups, but your local hardware store or plant nursery will have a wide variety of either seeds or baby plants to choose from. Unless you’re an experienced gardener, go for the plants – it’s much quicker and easier.
- Choose the soil – Use potting soil instead of garden soil. Potting soil drains water better than garden soil.
- Take care of your herbs – Follow the instructions for how much sunlight, shade, and water each herb should get. Water on a consistent schedule. Harvest your herbs often, as this supports continued growth.
Of course, there are many plants and herbs that are bigger and more complex to grow. Still, because of their beautiful garden presence, and the potential health benefits that come from them, you may be interested in growing them at home, too. Two examples of these plants are rehmannia and chaste tree.
Rehmannia glutinosa, better known as rehmannia or yellow Earth, is a popular herb used in traditional Chinese medicine that you can grow at home. That’s because it’s such a versatile herb; in fact, rehmannia supports the healthy functioning of the immune system, normal blood glucose levels, skin and tissues, bones, the brain, the heart, the liver, the kidneys, the adrenal glands, the digestive tract, the nervous system, and the female reproductive system.
Rehmannia is winter hardy in USDA Zones 7-10; it grows best in loose, moist, rich and well-drained soils. It can thrive in near shade, but can also grow in full sun, provided it receives consistent moisture during its early years. When planted from seeds, Rehmannia flowers should bloom within the first year. The fully grown plant will grow to 2-4’ (sometimes up to 5’) with medium green oblong leaves.
Growing Chaste Tree
Even beginning gardeners likely recognize the chaste tree: it’s a distinct plant that can grow from a bush to a tree and is recognizable by its pink, white, or lavender flowers, and small brown berries. Also known as Vitex chaste tree, chasteberry, or Abraham’s balm, monk’s pepper, or its scientific name, Vitex agnus-castus, chaste tree can grow anywhere from 3-9 feet, though some chaste trees have been known to reach heights of 20 feet.
Beyond its presence in the sunny parts of the garden, chaste tree has also been used in herbal medicine dating back to Ancient Greece and Rome during the Renaissance. However, modern scientists have also found the potential health benefits of chaste tree. Often indicated in women’s and men’s reproductive health health, chaste tree may support healthy hormone balance, a healthy menstrual cycle, offer PMS relief, provide prostate support, and provide antioxidant support.
If you want to grow a chaste tree at home, you need to be able to provide it enough space: chaste trees are technically shrubs or small trees, but (although they can be much smaller) they can reach spreads of 10-15 feet and heights of 15-20 feet. Chaste trees thrive with full sun and well-drained soil. Soils rich in organic matter are not ideal for chaste trees. Given the right conditions, chaste trees are easy to grow: once yours is established, you likely won’t need to water it. For maintenance, chaste trees should be fertilized once every one to two years. Chaste trees freeze and die to ground level in severe weather, but don’t worry: they regrow quickly from their roots.
Herbal Supplements from Xymogen
If you want the health benefits from plants and herbs, but don’t have the time or space to grow them yourself, herbal supplements from Xymogen may be the solution. Xymogen is a professional-grade brand of dietary supplements formulated for licensed healthcare providers and their patients. Xymogen’s products range from essential multivitamins and minerals to complex, targeted health blends for men and women of all ages, including blends with both chaste tree and Rehmannia.
Products like PMS Smooth and Femquil utilize chaste berry (from the chaste tree) in their formulation to provide PMS and hormonal support.
SerenX contains Rehmannia root and may support physical and emotional responses to stress.
Which herbs do you grow? Which supplements do you take?