We Let’s outline some beautiful healing herbs that are easy to grow, starting with the humblest herb of all – Parsley!
I’ve included some health benefits with each herb also; as always make sure you check with your practitioner before using any herbs for any medicinal purpose – my information below is not intended to replace medical advise.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
I know Parsley is super common and many of you are probably growing it already, but there are some incredibly health benefits (and culinary benefits too; the stuff tastes great!) about Parsley that you may not know.
Parsley is very easy to grow; it’s a true adapter. Choose the curly leaf type parsley in cooler climates, and the Italian version in warmer climates. Both taste great, and although the curly leaf can look a little more decorative on a plate, they’re both great with similar benefits.
You may find that Parsley will grow as an annual in cooler climates. It will set seed and die. In warmer climates Parsley will continuously grow but I like to let them self-seed (which they do readily) and grow where they please.
Self Seeded Parsley
We all grow best where we choose to be, and I’ve seen huge differences between the plants that grew where I planted them, and the ones that rebelliously chose their own spot. Without fail, the self-planters grow faster, look better and are more resilient. So if you’re lucky enough to have one self seed, leave it be!
Parsley in the garden
Parsley prefers a sunny position, but it definitely benefits from shade in hot climates. Here in northern Queensland, they love the morning sun and appreciate protection from the hot afternoon sun. You’ll find most herbs are like that, with the exception being the Aloe species and other succulent-type herbs. They love sun, can’t get enough of it, even up here in the tropics.
Parsley will grow well in both pots and garden, but I find they prefer the garden. Then again, I prefer the garden so maybe I’m a little bit biased. I like the fully closed eco system outside in the garden; the worms, the birds, the dropped leaves from other plants, micro climates…
Planting in pots is more finicky in my opinion as you’ve got to be on top of the watering, fertilising etc. and your healing herbs aren’t as self-sufficient as they would be in the garden. But, that’s just me maybe. Parsley is quite forgiving; it’ll grow well either way.
Soil wise it likes rich soil, but once again most herbs though. They can’t grow all that healing power without decent fertile soil and adequate watering, so make sure you’ve mulched (that’s my number 1 tips for growing great healing herbs! Mulch, mulch, mulch!), apply some organic fertiliser like Organic Xtra, and water when they need it.
This is my favourite enhancement for gardens. All gardens. Pretty much without exception, except maybe some rock gardens. It has a huge amount of benefits for your soil, and your plants, including:
- Increasing microbe and insect activity in the soil, which helps unlock nutrients, loosens the soil and enriches it with lovely bug poo.
- Moisture stays where it is needed.
- Keeps sun off the soil directly above the root system, preventing overheating and heat stress.
- Your plants’ root system is protected from frost and cold weather.
- It breaks down, providing your plants with lots of nutrients.
- Increases earth worms with their awesome worm juice and worm poo.
- Keeps fertiliser where you want it without run off.
- Helps water soak into the soil rather than running off to the lawn next door.
Yes, mulch is magic. Pretty much the cheapest, easiest way to improve your soil. You can even plant straight into it, preventing the need to dig holes! Throw a whole bale of mulch on the ground, leave for a few weeks (watering regularly) and voila – gorgeous garden soil.
What is the best mulch?
My favourite mulch is sugar cane, but I’m currently using rain-ruined Rhodes hay and it is working very well. With hay though, make sure it is really old or composted, or at least ascertain it is weed free. I’ve used hay before and that particular batch sprouted a whole lot of grass right through the garden. Not ideal.
Other than the weeds, hay will give the same results as sugar cane. I’m not a fan of wood chip, although it looks fantastic in the garden. Wood chip doesn’t break down as fast and that means you don’t get all those great nutrients. Also, wood chip can rob your soil of nitrogen, so make sure to feed extra nitrogen if you do use wood chip.
Rocks as mulch is a total no-no for me. They get way too hot in the sun and causes lots of damage to plants. Cacti and succulents may appreciate that, and other plants may also in cooler areas, but here in the tropics it’s pretty much certain death.
If you do not want to grow the seed, snip the flower heads so the plant puts more energy into growing rather than setting seed. Or let 1 or 2 go to seed and snip the others. My kids love walking around with the fully ripe seed heads and blowing the little fluffy umbrellas all over the garden. A great way of getting many more free Parsley plants!
Parsley Healing Herb Uses
Parsley is so amazing I won’t be able to outline every single benefit, but I’ll list some of my favourites. For starters, it’s packed full of Vitamins and minerals. A, B, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E, K, calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and sodium.
Parsley’s powers go way back, being used as protective herb against the plague in the middle ages! And, as per my favourite herb book ‘How can I use Herbs in my daily Life?’ by Isabell Shipard, a saying went:
“They’re in need of parsley”
Meaning they were seriously ill or close to death.
Parsley, with its rich vitamin C – Iron balance, should be part of your first defence again colds and flu. It’s great for cleansing and building your blood and a general detoxifier for clearing toxins. We need copper to properly process iron, although we only need a tiny amount to get our body started. Parsley has both elements. Kickstarting that iron process rebuilds and restores the body with fresh oxygen; carried to every cell of the body by iron.
Parsley is very high in potassium and parsley tea is often used for arthritis or fluid retention.