Three Ancient Herbs With Health Benefits You Can Grow at Home
Humans Have Used These Beneficial Herbs Since Ancient Times
Aloe vera, flax and garlic are ancient herbs that have medicinal uses dating back centuries. The earliest documented use of these herbs dates back over 2,000 years. The following easy to grow ancient herbs have modern health benefits. They are as popular today as they were with our ancestors.
The use of aloe vera has been documented in ancient Egypt. Although the particular species used by the Egyptians does not resemble the aloe vera plant of modern times, they are nonetheless related. The juice of the aloe vera plant was an important component of the embalming process. Modern day uses of aloe vera range from sunburn relief to reducing the pain of insect bites.
Aloe vera is a succulent that is easy to grow in containers at home. Unless you live in Hawaii or Florida, plan to grow aloe vera indoors. The plant requires 6 hours of sunlight. Use a potting mix designed for succulents for best results. Water one a week or when soil is dry to the touch. Aloe will require repotting. Plan to repot the plant once a year into a slightly larger planter.
Another ancient herb with modern health benefits is flax. Fragments of this plant have been dated back 9,000 years. It is mentioned in the Torah and the Christian Bible. Linen, made from the flax plant, was a critical element in the ancient Egyptian mummification process and flax seed oil was used in embalming.
Flax seed oil contains high amounts of antioxidants and it is rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Alpha-linolenic acid is found in flax seed. It is an anti-inflammatory agent and it is believed to have cancer fighting properties.
Flax is best grown outdoors in a garden as the plant can grow tall. It is planted in the same manner as wheat. In order to have enough for fiber or seed a large plot should be grown. Broadcast the seed over a large garden bed and cover with straw. Harvest when the plant is dry. Argentine is the best variety for fiber and Culbert is a hardy variety grown for flaxseed.
Botanically speaking garlic is a bulb. It has uses that date back prior to biblical times. Ancient populations used garlic to increase virility. At one time garlic was used to cure everything from indigestion and snakebites to depression. We use it in cooking and as a dietary supplement. Beneficial chemicals found in garlic are ajoene; which prevents clogging of the arteries and allicin; a chemical that has anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.
Garlic is planted outdoors in the fall and wintered over. It will start growing in spring. Harvest it when the tops droop over and dry out. Dig up the bulbs and let them cure outdoors for a few days before storing.
Aloe vera, flax and garlic played critical roles in the lives of ancient populations. They used them for everything from food to clothing. We use these herbs in many of the same ways as our ancestors did. Growing them is easy and fun. Why not give it a try.
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