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Whether you are new to gardening or have a lifelong green thumb, you are missing out if you don’t have an indoor herb garden. Growing your own herbs is a satisfying hobby that provides vibrant flavor for your meals and trusted health remedies at your fingertips. Other advantages of growing herbs indoors are the mild aromas and natural beauty they bring to your home.
Even if you have a small indoor living space, you can grow herbs indoors throughout the year. Most herbs only need a sunny windowsill, well-drained soil, and consistent watering to work their magic.
Here’s our list of 15 medicinal herbs you can grow indoors year-round.
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For centuries, herbalists have used rosemary to ease muscle pain and headaches. This herb can help enhance memory retention, boost the immune system, and reduce stress. As an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, rosemary, in the form of an essential oil, can also aid in the healing of minor wounds, insect bites, and other skin irritations.
Rosemary prefers full sun but tolerates partial shade. It needs well-draining soil. Here are tips for growing rosemary indoors.
2. Lemon Balm
Often used as a natural breath freshener, lemon balm has more than its sweet smell going for it. It also can serve as a digestive and sleep remedy. It’s also used in lip balms to help treat cold sores. Here’s a recipe for soothing lemon balm tea.
Lemon balm needs a spot with full bright light and soil with good drainage. Here’s more on growing lemon balm indoors.
Turmeric’s deep yellow color that gives many curries their appearance and flavor also can be used as a natural dye.
You need only one turmeric root (rhizome) to start multiple cuttings. The rhizomes produce foliage above the soil level. Turmeric does best in full sun with good drainage. Plant the root two inches deep into the soil. Here are more tips for growing turmeric indoors.
There are a variety of herbs in the mint family, and all can thrive in an indoor garden. Mint helps soothe stomach upset and reduce nausea.
Spearmint, for example, can be used as an ingredient in homemade toothpaste and mouthwash, in which its antioxidant compounds contribute to a healthy mouth. Spearmint also is high in vitamin C and may help protect the skin against damaging free radicals.
Mint does best in full sun to partial shade and prefers moist, well-drained soil. Here’s more on growing mint indoors.
Known as a flavorful ingredient in many Italian dishes, oregano contains calcium, iron, and manganese, which are crucial for bone health. This herb also helps aid digestion, lowers inflammation, and is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, including Vitamin K.
Oregano prefers bright, indirect light and quick-draining soil. For more about growing oregano indoors, here’s a helpful link.
You may know this herb best for the flavor and color it adds to Mexican dishes, but cilantro has many antioxidant properties.
Every part of this herb is edible and beneficial. Herbalists use it to help lower blood sugar, aid digestion, and improve sleep. Cilantro also is used to treat toothache pain.
As with most of the other herbs on our list, cilantro requires full sun and well-drained soil. Water cilantro only when the soil feels dry to the touch. For more on goring cilantro in an indoor herb garden, read here.
This herb has been used for centuries to treat minor wounds, burns, and insect stings. It is high in antioxidants and has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-parasitic properties.
There are more than 60 varieties of this flavorful herb, which you may know best for its use in Italian dishes. Basil grows best in full sun and well-draining soil that has a neutral pH level.
Herbalists have used it over the years to help treat high blood pressure, bladder infections, urinary tract infections, cold symptoms, constipation, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, and asthma.
Parsley does best in full sun and well-drained soil with good air circulation between the plants. Learn more about how to grow parsley indoors here.
Over the centuries, herbalists have used tarragon to treat toothaches, digestive problems, insomnia, water retention, and lack of appetite. This herb is rich in manganese, iron, and potassium.
Tarragon may help decrease blood sugar by improving the way your body metabolizes glucose. It also may help reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis.
Overwatering is perhaps the biggest mistake gardeners make when growing tarragon. Try planting tarragon in a clay pot with good drainage to avoid root rot. For more tips on growing tarragon indoors, check out this article.
This lovely flowering herb has been used throughout the centuries to boost the immune system and treat cold and flu symptoms. It grows well in full or partial sun and well-drained soil.
As a time-honored (pun intended) medicinal herb, thyme has antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antibacterial compounds. It is used to help boost the immune system, improve vision, and reduce stress.
Drinking thyme tea can help reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Thyme grows best in full sun and prefers lightweight, well-draining soil. You’ll enjoy its tiny green leaves and delicate purple flowers as it matures. Here’s more information on growing thyme indoors.
Known for its color and calming scent, lavender also has healing properties.
Aromatherapists use lavender to help treat headaches, exhaustion, and nervous conditions. Herbalists use this medicinal herb to help treat fungal infections (like candidiasis), wounds, eczema, acne, as well as joint and muscle pain.
Plant lavender in a spot that gets full sun, and be sure to avoid overwatering. Also, it is susceptible to overcrowding, so give it plenty of room for air circulation. Give the plants 6 hours or more of full sun each day. Here’s an article that offers more tips on growing lavender indoors.
This often underrated medicinal herb contains antioxidants and flavonoids associated with fighting free radicals and toxins in the body.
Marjoram is an ingredient in many natural remedies for dizziness, muscle pain, headaches, stomach cramps, cold and flu symptoms, reduced blood circulation, depression, and water retention. Here’s a recipe for brewing soothing marjoram tea.
Like other herbs, marjoram prefers well-draining soil and full sun exposure. Learn more about how to grow marjoram at home here.
You probably associate this medicinal herb with calming teas. But it has other medicinal benefits, including the treatment of the following:
- muscle spasms
- minor wounds
- dry skin
- muscle and tendon pain and inflammation
- menstrual pain
- gastrointestinal disorders.
Here is a video that demonstrates the harvesting and making of chamomile tea. Hint: you use the daisy-like flowers to make the tea.
This medicinal herb boasts attractive gray-green leaves and flowers ranging in colors from blue and purple to pink and white.
Known for the flavor it adds to stuffing recipes, cured meats, winter squash dishes, and creamy pasta creations, sage also provides a variety of health benefits. It is high in vitamins K, A, and C and contains magnesium, zinc, and copper. Herbalists use it to improve memory retention and overall brain function.
People who drink sage tea also have been linked with lowered LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increased “good” cholesterol levels. Sage’s antimicrobial abilities make it effective as a mouthwash ingredient.
Now that you know more about how easy it is to grow herbs indoors all year, what are you waiting for? The main ingredients for success are a sunny windowsill, pest-free potting soil, pots with good drainage, healthy seeds or seedlings, and a readiness to be mindful of your plants’ needs.
Here are more in-depth resources for the indoor herb gardener that you may find helpful.
- The Herbal Remedies & Natural Medicine Bible by Lena Farrow
- The Native American Herbalist’s Bible by Linda Osceola Naranjo
- Herbal Houseplants by Susan Betz
- Growing Herbs for Beginners by Benjamin Green
- Indoor Kitchen Gardening Handbook by Elizabeth Millard
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