If you have been following me for a little while, you would have seen me mention that I have grown my own herbs since I was about 12. I was given a herb book by my Nana and at the front of it is the most beautiful hand drawn illustrations of garden plans for creating your own herb garden. Something in those drawings and the descriptions simply captured my heart and began a lifelong love of herbs. I think everyone should experience the joy of growing herbs. They are some of the easiest plants to grow, if you are a serious brown thumb, these plants will love you. They are so resilient, a trait which can teach us all a thing or two.
The simple joy of having your own culinary herbs to draw from is number one for growing your own. I have a habit now of starting dinner, getting it on the burners and then having a wander out to the garden to pick the herbs I need and coming back and throwing them in the now warmed pans. I get a peek at the sun going down and I breathe in some fresh air. It takes me out of myself for a moment and gives me a sense of peace at the end of another busy day being a mum and a business owner.
However there is so much more to it than just that practical handiness of having your own fresh herbs right there to cook with. Tending a garden, connecting to plants and getting your hands in the dirt can have a very positive affect on your health and wellbeing.
We live in a world that is just so focused on technology, it can be so fast paced, with so much to remember and do on a daily basis. It is exhausting and a relatively modern development. Our brains may have been able to catch up somewhat, even though we are experiencing as a society high levels of stress and anxiety which affect our health in the most negative way. But our bodies are still in the prehistoric era. They still crave nature, they crave being one with the earth. It’s a basic primitive need for us to forage, to harvest and to tend to plants.
In Japan there is a trend for what is called Forest Bathing. The idea is simply to walk and sit in nature, among giant trees, in particular cedars and trees which give off aromatics. This is not just a trend. There are groups of scientists studying this and their findings support the effects that nature has on our bodies. When we breathe in the aromatics, the resins and such from these big trees our bodies actually increase in NK cells, the cells which are responsible for boosting immunity and fighting free radicals and viruses.
As Jacqui from Pachama Medicines has said “our bodies are physiologically tuned to the earth”. She has a fantastic video in her IGTV channel where she delves in depth about how nature can help us maintain our wellness. I definitely recommend you watch it (you can find it on her Instagram profile @among _the_wildflowers). There is a micro bacterium in soil which can act on our serotonin levels, helping with sleep, happiness and wellbeing. When we work with the earth, we inhale or even absorb this micro bacterium into our bodies. We also consume a little of this on our own grown and harvested food and herbs. Speaking of harvesting, even that simple act of harvesting increases our dopamine levels. If you have low dopamine levels you will find you feel a bit blah and have trouble finding motivation. That’s not all. Sitting with nature and just being with plants causes our bodies to produce Oxytocin! The love chemical. I find that just amazing. Jacqui goes into far more depth in her video so please go watch. I have a link to it on my Instagram story highlight “Community” as well.
So even if you live in an apartment and only have a patio or balcony, I encourage you to grow your own herbs.