Mixed aquaponic herbs! Credit: Don LaVange (Flickr)
Mixed aquaponic herbs! Credit: Don LaVange (Flickr)
April 27, 2015 Aquaponics No Comments

Allopathic medicine is a great thing, however many of us are too quick to head to the drugs cabinet for day to day minor ills, which is criminal really when there are SO many natural solutions that work brilliantly!

In days of yore, people’s gardens doubled up as a pharmacy, but this traditional knowledge is quickly being forgotten. What most people don’t realize, is that a huge amount of the active components in today’s drugs actually came from plants in the first place. So the trick to opting for a more natural lifestyle is just knowing what to take and when!

With the promotion of aquaponics, we also hope to remind people of nature’s rich bounty, and how plants are so much more than just food. Here are 7 of our favourite medicinal plants that you can grow in your aquaponics system and will keep you healthy!

1. Peppermint

Image credit: Hisako TANAKA (Flickr)

Image credit: Hisako TANAKA (Flickr)

This bright green herb not only smells wonderful, but it is also a famous digestion aid. It has even held its own in Irritable Bowel Syndrome studies, which showed it can significantly alleviate symptoms.

It works by relaxing the muscles in the intestines, reducing colonic spasms, and allowing gas to pass through whilst easing abdominal pain.

Try steeping a few leaves in hot water to make a refreshing tea, or adding a few leaves to salads and other dishes.

2. Rosemary

Rosemary is a wonderfully fragrant herb that has been used since ancient times for its health benefits. You may have only ever used it for cooking (it’s a delicious addition to sooo many recipes) but is also known by herbalists to stimulate the digestive, circulatory and nervous systems that all work to cleanse your body.

Rosemary.  Credit: Alice Henneman (Flickr)

Rosemary. Credit: Alice Henneman (Flickr)

It is also a rich source of antioxidents and anti-inflammatory compounds, which help boost the immune system. As if this wasn’t enough, scientists have found that consuming rosemary on a regular basis improves brain function and cognitive abilities due to levels of carnosic acid – so it can actually make you more intelligent!

3. Thyme

Thyme flowers, leaves and essential oil are commonly used to treat stomach ache, arthritis, flatulence, and repertory problems such as coughs.

It’s antibacterial properties have also been found to be effective in acne treatment. Click here to learn more.

Fun fact! In ancient Egypt, Thyme was used for embalming dead bodies and in ancient Greece it was used as incense in temples.

Lavender.  Credit: Patrick Colgan (Flickr)

Lavender. Credit: Patrick Colgan (Flickr)

4. Lavender

An unmistakable scent and beautiful blue flower make lavender a true favourite.

It’s known primarily for its relaxing properties, and it turns out this is not just an old wives tale, but actually backed up by science. Research shows the distinctive smell lowers your heart rate and blood pressure.

If you have eczema or irritated skin, try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to your skin cream. The natural anti-inflammatory properties mean it will reduce redness and itching. For the same reason, the essential oil can also be put on mosquito bites.

If you suffer from bloating and poor digestion, this could be a sign of bad bacteria in your gut. The polyphenols in lavender can help reduce this bacteria. Try sprinkling dried culinary lavender into yoghurt to reap the benefits. You can also try baking it in biscuits!

5. Parsley

Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. Unfortunately though, its status as ‘garnish’ has seriously undermined its power as a medicinal plant.

Fresh Parsley!  Image credit: Koali (Flickr)Fresh Parsley!  Image credit: Koali (Flickr)

Fresh Parsley! Image credit: Koali (Flickr)

Not only is it vitamin rich, but its volatile oils (especially myristicin) have been shown to inhibit tumor formation. It is also a good source of folic acid, which is essential for a healthy heart, and the high vitamin C levels can prevent arthritis.

So, next time this wonder herb appears on your plate as a lack-lustre garnish, we hope you recognize its true worth. (Oh, and at the end of your meal it works as a breath freshener!)

6. Tulsi

Also known as holy basil, this herb is considered sacred in numerous traditions, and is commonly used in ayurvedic practice. The fragrant leaves are primarily known for aiding digestive function.

100mg per kilo of body weight supposedly reduces acid secretion, protects the mucous membrane of the stomach and heals ulcers.

The leaves are antiviral, antioxidant and antibacterial, which means regular consumption will give you a first class immune system.

Rose petals.  Credit: Shig . . (Flickr)

Rose petals. Credit: Shig . . (Flickr)

7. Rose

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” says Juliet in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and although roses (also known as gulab flower) have been the definition of beauty for centuries, they have also been appreciated for just as long for medicinal reasons.

Ok, so this is a flower not a herb, but the chemicals within the colourful petals can reduce depression, help with headaches and be used to soothe allergies such as asthma.

Rose water is an effective astringent that helps reduce blood capillaries (so it’s commonly used in face creams). Rose petal tea can be effective in cleansing the gallbladder.

Click here for instructions for how to make rose oil – which can be inhaled or used to make your own beauty products.

Aquaponics in India will soon be offering consultancy services. Please get in touch for more information.

Pippa Woodhead
Written by Pippa Woodhead
Being a health-nut, London born Pippa has struggled to adjust to the lack of availability of lettuce and kale since re-locating to India. Previously naive to the extent of the worlds food struggles, she has now become obsessed with sustainability in food production and especially in India where it needs it the most (plus she’s also hoping to get her hands on some kale any day now). When she’s not writing for Aquaponics in India, she is usually found with her head in a book or in the kitchen experimenting with new vegetarian recipes.