You can design your own herb garden plans using common sense and a little herbal knowledge. Growing herbs is immensely rewarding, especially when you select herbs with the medicinal and culinary properties that best suit your needs. Here's how to choose the right herbs for your garden.

When browsing the internet for recipes or remedies do you often come across requirements for herbal ingredients? Do you reach for the fridge door or the cupboard shelf? Or do you make use of herbs picked fresh from your garden? You might be surprised to realise how easy it is to grow some of these herbs yourself.

There are several reasons to go to the effort of growing your own herbs. Firstly, the convenience of having fresh herbs on hand when you need them. Secondly, fresh ingredients have added potency and flavour. Last but not least there's the pride and pleasure of self-sufficiency.

It seems sensible to grow the herbs you most commonly use. When choosing the best herbs for your own garden, think first of the recipes and remedies you most employ.

For example, if you cook a lot of Mediterranean dishes then fresh basil and oregano will enliven the plate. Asian dishes taste much more authentic when you use fresh coriander and lemongrass rather than the dried or bottled variety. If you have children, lemon balm and marjoram are handy in the middle of the night as remedies for restlessness and coughs. If you're a person who needs help soothing your anxieties or settling your mind for sleep then you'll find catnip and sage useful additions to your garden.

Herb garden plans can be focused on a particular purpose; culinary, medicinal, aromatic or ornamental. Go one step better and plan your selection of herbs so that you include plants that have multiple uses. The herbs listed below are some of the stand-outs in the multi-purpose category, but you'll find that herbs are often quite versatile.

* Basil: Did you know this tasty herb also has strong medicinal properties? Apart from being useful as a last minute herbal sleep remedy, basil can be used to treat headaches, reduce anxiety and tension and soothe nausea and indigestion.

* Lemon balm: Lemon balm is a gentle sleepytime herb that also reduces anxiety and relieves stress. It's gentle enough to use for children and has a pleasant, slightly lemony flavour. It's also useful in the kitchen and works well in salads or stir-fries or when cooked with chicken or fish.

* Sage: As well as being strongly aromatic and having small, pretty white flowers that attract bees, sage has strong medicinal and culinary applications. It has antiseptic and sedative effects, combating colds and flus, headaches and muscular tension. Sage is well-known for enhancing the flavour of meat dishes, but a handful of fresh sage also turns hastily prepared scrambled eggs or omelette into something special.

* Marjoram & Oregano: These two closely related herbs - so similar it's hard to tell them apart sometimes - pack a hefty amount of medicinal cures into their gorgeously green, oval-shaped little leaves. They contain powerful antioxidants that can help relieve pain and stimulate the immune system. The chemicals in these herbs provide relief for sore muscles, painful spasms or cramps, sore stomach or indigestion and pain associated with arthritis or rheumatism. Marjoram and oregano can be used to flavour just about any kind of food, from breads and pastas to soups and roasts.

* Lavender: When you think of lavender, you probably think first of the ornamental and aromatic value of its beautiful purple flowers. As well as providing aesthetic pleasure, lavender tea can lighten depression, aid sleep and prove useful for treating coughs and colds. Rub lavender oil onto your skin to treat headaches, muscular tension and soreness. Experiment with lavender in soups, stews and sauces - and even in desserts.

If you're new to the idea of using herbal remedies at home, then research the herbs that will provide solutions to your specific medical problems. Information is readily available on the internet but it's worth investing in an excellent herbal guidebook. A good guide should list herbs and their distinct culinary and medicinal uses in separate, easy to read tables. Also look for a guide that provides you with basic growing information about each herb.

Designing your own herb garden plans requires thought and research. If you follow through and grow your own herbs at home you'll receive a great deal of benefit and pleasure from your plants.

Of course, please use caution regarding the safe use of herbs. Some herbs are unsafe to give to young children. Check before using herbs for asthma and allergy sufferers, pregnant women or people with thyroid problems.

Author's Bio: 

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