Garden Spaces: Grow These Herbs for Health in Your Immune System Strengthening Herb Garden

Plant these eight herbs for health to kick-start your garden and your body.

| December/January 2012

  • This garden plan plant key will help you sail heartily through winter.
    Illustration by Gayle Ford

These herbs for health help your body from building your immune system to having antibacterial effects.

Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia or E. purpurea). A tough and beautiful hardy perennial, this daisy-like flower can be grown easily from seed. Commercial echinacea is extracted from the roots, but you can also make a tea from its flowering tops.

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana). This hardy perennial wants a moist, deep, rich soil. Think twice before letting it loose in your garden, unless you’ve got lots of space to fill, as it can be aggressive and hard to get rid of because it sprouts from any little root piece left behind; try it in a large container.

Garlic (Allium sativum). Indispensable in the kitchen, garlic is also a potent medicinal, especially in the winter, to build the immune system and fend off colds, flu and infections. Grow from cloves planted 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart in late winter, as soon as the soil can be worked.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum or O. heracleoticum). Mainly thought of and used as an aromatic culinary herb, it has also been traditionally used medicinally in a variety of support roles. This hardy perennial is easy to grow from divisions or cuttings.

Sage (Salvia officinalis). Rock-hardy perennial, can be grown from cuttings or divisions. The leaf dries and stores well and can be added sparingly to recipes and tea blends.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). Reliably hardy only in winters that stay above about 10 degrees. Easily grown from cuttings. A culinary classic, it also has some antibacterial effects.

Thyme (Thymus spp.). Thyme is a traditional medicinal herb that finds its way into a variety of teas, in addition to its obvious culinary merits. Hardy and low-growing, it is easy to find a place for in the garden.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale). This tropical perennial is hardy only to about Zone 9, so it is grown in greenhouses or in containers that can be overwintered indoors. The rhizome is the part of the plant that is dried for steeping into a warming, healthful winter tea.

These eight herbs for health are wonderful and useful additions to your garden.

Contributing Editor Kathleen Halloran is a freelance writer and editor living and gardening in beautiful Austin, Texas. 

Click here for the main article, Garden Spaces: Grow an Immune System Strengthening Herb Garden



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