Noma Nazish , Contributor | Nov 14, 2017 @ 02:11 PM
Soft wet earth. Unfurling green leaves. A blend of mellow and strong floral fragrances together with the humming of bees and glorious bird songs filling the air. Gardening is indeed a feast for the senses.
The popular outdoor hobby isn’t just a great form of physical exercise but also doubles as an amazing stress-busting activity. In fact, according to a study conducted by Wageningen University and Research Center in The Netherlands, gardening can beat stress better than other leisure activities such as reading.
Growing Ayurvedic herbs at home combines the goodness of both gardening and Ayurveda.
What’s Ayurveda you ask? The term ‘Ayurveda’ means ‘the science of life’ (it’s composed of two Sanskrit words, ‘Ayur’ which means ‘life’ and ‘Veda’ which translates to ‘knowledge or science’). Native to India, Ayurveda is one of the oldest medical systems in the world. The nearly 5,000-year-old system of natural healing relies on the use of special diets, herbal compounds and mindfulness practices like yoga to achieve optimal health and wellness.
And now, without further ado, here are four Ayurved-approved herbs that fight stress (along with easy-peasy tips on how to grow them yourself):
Chamomile has been used in herbal medicines for ages by ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans because of its calm-inducing properties. According to a study published in 2005, a yellow compound called apigenin, one of chamomile’s phenolic flavonoids, is linked to tranquility-enhancing and sleep-inducing effects of the herb.
You can brew chamomile tea using its dried flowers and drink it to soothe your frayed nerves in a jiffy. Alternatively, you can prepare an herbal tea using a combination of chamomile and lavender or chamomile and lemon balm.
How to grow it? Chamomile can be grown both indoors and outdoors. While the plant thrives in sunlight, it can survive in partial shade as well. However, the seeds do require proper sunlight during germination. It is a drought-resistant herb that grows best in soil with a neutral pH range (between 5.6 and 7.5).
Lavender has numerous health benefits, including the ability to improve mood and promote calmness and restful sleep. It lowers the levels of stress hormones in the body. Merely inhaling the scent of this purple-hued herb produces soothing and sedating effects.
You can ground lavender leaves and flowers and apply it topically to calm your mind and soothe your body or brew lavender tea to achieve the same effect. Putting some dried lavender flowers in a small bowl on your nightstand before going to bed can do wonders if you have trouble sleeping.
How to grow it? Since lavender is a large plant, it’s best to grow it outdoors. You can sow the seeds in a pot and transfer the plant outside later. Lavender blooms in summertime and needs light pruning. The plant requires well-drained soil and plentiful sunlight for proper growth
3. Holy Basil
Also known as Tulsi, holy basil is native to tropical Asia. It’s one of the most sacred plants in India. Being an adaptogen herb, it helps the body combat stress effectively and reduces cortisol or stress hormone levels. The aromatic compounds present in holy basiland dinners.
How to grow it? Holy basil can be grown indoors; just place the seeds over the soil in a large pot. The perennial herb grows best in well-drained loamy soil. It is frost-sensitive and requires at least four to five hours of sunlight daily along with light pruning throughout the year.
Smelling its aroma as well as consuming the herb has a soothing effect on mind and body. Peppermint contains an organic compound called menthol which has antispasmodic properties that help relax muscles. Also, the invigorating aroma of peppermint tea helps you relax without feeling drowsy. Other than alleviating stress, peppermint can also clear sinus congestion, improve digestion and relieve menstrual cramps.
You can drink peppermint tea or cool peppermint infused water with a spoonful of honey and lime juice. Adding a strong cup of peppermint tea to your bath is a great way to soothe sore muscles after a long day.
How to grow it? Peppermint can be grown using seeds or cuttings. The herb grows quickly and can become invasive if left unchecked; this is why it’s best to grow the herb in a large container. Peppermint needs to be watered regularly. It requires soil with adequate drainage and lots of sunlight.
Starting an herb garden is much like starting a new hobby. It requires time and effort to get things right, but the rewarding outcome is well worth it. Brb, I’ve got some gardening to do!