If you grow, harvest, and eat your own herbs, then you know that food is more than just sustenance. Herbs can be a key part of your self-care routine—just make sure to start by ditching these 12 common practices.

1. Adding herbs to your diet: You might think that adding a handful of herbs to your diet will help improve digestion or boost immunity, but studies have found that most people don’t experience the intended effects from ingesting raw plant matter without cooking it first. To get the most health benefits, the National Institutes of Health suggests lightly cooking your herbs.

2. Growing tarragon in pots: Even if you have a sunny, south-facing window, tarragon may not make it through winter if it’s grown in a pot. Tarragon is a perennial Mediterranean herb that requires specific climate requirements to thrive (a cool and moist summer but cold winters with little light). To keep your tarragon from dying after a few seasons, plant it in the ground or in a large container.

3. Shoving lemongrass into your juicer: By now, you probably know that conventional citrus peels should not be added to a juice because they contain pesticides and other chemicals that can’t be washed off before juicing. Lemongrass is a popular herb for adding flavor to juices. But lemongrass is not as healthy as you might think, especially if you juice it first. Smells bad, tastes bad: Lemongrass can quickly become moldy, so it should never be juiced first—and certainly not in a citrus juicer!

4. Eating raw garlic: If you don’t cook your garlic before eating it (it turns brown), the volatile sulfur compounds in raw garlic can trigger an allergic reaction in some people. Although this happens to only about 2% of the population, it can cause severe stomach cramps and intestinal distress.

5. Freezing rosemary: Rosemary doesn’t do well in the freezer, so if you plan to use it for cooking, chop or crumble it before adding it to your recipes. Once you’ve cooked with your fresh or dried rosemary, try keeping it in the freezer—but don’t freeze fresh rosemary whole because it will become slimy when thawed out.

6. Piling your herbs on top of each other: If you’re growing your herbs in pots, then you typically want to plant them close together to help reduce soil moisture and prevent weeds from sprouting. But when you pile a bunch of herbs on top of each other, they compete for limited soil nutrients and water that could otherwise go to the plant’s root system. To conserve soil resources while still keeping your herb garden compact, stagger plants out by at least one extra pot size.

7. Growing basil with other plants: Basil is a good container plant for beginners, but it needs at least six hours of sunlight per day—and it only thrives if you also have hot weather (at least 60 degrees). If you grow basil in a container, make sure it gets lots of sun during summer and that the other plants in your garden aren’t blocking the sun as they grow. Basil also doesn’t thrive when grown near peppers or tomatoes because they produce ethylene gas, which can cause plants to turn yellow or brown.

8. Growing mint in a flower pot: Many herbs have a pretty low tolerance for heat, so if you are growing them in a flower pot to protect them from the sun, they’re likely to die from the heat rather than thrive. Even if you put mint in a pot, move it inside during hot weather and don’t water when the top third of soil is dry.

9. Adding basil to your salad bowl: Basil’s flavor is concentrated and strong and so it will turn your salads bitter if you add too many leaves at once. One or two basil leaves will give you the flavor you want, but if you add too many, you can also expect an unpleasant taste that may prevent your salad from being enjoyed.

10. Keeping oregano in your pantry: Oregano should be refrigerated in an airtight container to keep it fresh for about a week. If you don’t have enough room in the refrigerator, then you can store it on a countertop inside of a plastic bag.

11. Discarding dill flowers: While they aren’t edible, dill flowers are still pretty and make great additions to craft projects like dried flower arrangements. But if you accidentally pick a dill flower on accident when harvesting your leaves, don’t throw it away! The small green flower can be used to make tea and tinctures.

12. Omitting spices from your diet: Since spices and herbs have so many health benefits, it’s best to avoid them if you’re trying to lose weight or go on a detox diet. But if you want to enjoy the health perks of spices without adding extra calories and fat, make sure to use just a pinch while cooking. A little bit of spice goes a long way!

FAQS:

Which herb is the most popular to grow?

Basil is the most popular herb to grow, but it’s also easy for newbies because it requires about six hours of sunlight—and that’s all you really need to grow in the majority of your herb garden. Basil takes a few weeks to mature, and if you live in a hot climate, then you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy fresh basil for salads and other dishes.

Which herbs can be planted together?

Spices, like oregano and basil, need plenty of sunlight to grow. But there are still some herbs that work well together like lavender and chives. Since they are both edible, it’s best to keep them in pots so their roots aren’t competing for the same nutrients and water as your herbs.

What herbs grow all year round?

You can grow all your favorite herbs all year round, but they’ll need plenty of sunlight and warm weather to thrive. Basil will bloom yellow and wilt, while certain herbs like thyme will start flowering in the fall and then lose their leaves. If you plant an herb garden for the fall harvest, make sure you take those plants inside if it’s getting too cold in your house.

What are the 7 Holy herbs?

7 Holy herbs are all the herbs most commonly used in cooking. Basil, thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary and marjoram all grow well in your herb garden. But take care when choosing which one you’d like to grow!

What are the 4 seasons of bloom?

There are four seasons of bloom for your herb plants: springtime (May–July), summertime (June–August), fall (September–October) and wintertime (November–January).

What can you do with excess leaves?

The easiest thing to do with extra sage leaves is to make fried sage leaves. Here’s how: pinch the leaf, roll it up and fry it in a pan with some coconut oil. They’re delicious on their own or you can rub them on your meat before grilling!

What herbs go together well?

Herbs are best grown solo so that they don’t have to compete for nutrients and water. But there are some herbs that go better together than others. There’s no scientific reason for this, but rather it’s just a matter of pleasing the eye and nose!

What type of pot is best for herbs?

Make sure your herbs have plenty of space to grow. Herbs like oregano, mint, sage and basil will need room to spread out and grow tall, so they’ll need either a large plant pot or to be planted in your garden.

Are basil plants ever-bearing?

Basil plants produce flowers in late summer and fall, so naturally they won’t be bearing any fruits in wintertime. In fact, when the cooler temperatures hit, their flavour will intensify and become more pungent.

What are the best herbs to grow in pots?

Basil, mint, oregano and sage can all be grown in pots. Make sure that you give them plenty of room to grow, especially basil plants, because they have a tendency to get very large.

Are herbs ever-bearing?

In dry climates herbs will lose flavour during the winter months and once they’re harvested in summer. But if the climate is milder and there’s enough water available then they’ll produce year round! Oregano can stay green all through fall when it’s kept watered.

Are herbs edible?

The majority of herbs are safe to eat when picked from the garden or pot. If you’re growing them for culinary purposes, make sure their leaves and stems are a deep green colour before they’re harvested. To see if a herb is edible, pinch off one of the leaves and smell it or taste it. The leaves of most herbs have an aromatic flavour that’s pleasant in small quantities with meals. Also, if you taste a little bit (maybe half of a leaf), you can get an idea of how strong the flavour is and whether or not you enjoy it.

If a recipe calls for the leaves or flowers, generally use 1-2 teaspoons per serving. Add to salads or soups. Herbal tea bags are available for those who enjoy using tea.

Herbs are known to boost and balance our body’s natural functions, such as helping with digestion, congestion, fluid retention and more.

Types of herbs?

Herbs are the leaves of plants that have a distinct aroma and flavour. They are used for medicinal purposes, culinary dishes and crafts.

Health benefits?

Herbs are known to boost and balance our body’s natural functions, such as helping with digestion, congestion, fluid retention and more. Herbs can help to kill germs, balance digestion or lower blood pressure. They can also help reduce stress and anxiety caused by a poor diet or depression.

Herbs are generally used to help or cure a certain condition. Some herbs can be toxic when ingested in large doses, so consult a herbalist before consuming them.

The best way to use fresh herbs is to put them in your cooking, since your body can absorb the nutrients through digestion. If you don’t like the taste of herbs or if you’re using them for their medicinal purposes, then it’s recommended that you make an herbal tea by steeping dried herbs in hot water for five minutes. Many people also enjoy drinking herbal teas as part of a healthy lifestyle.

The most important thing is to always keep your soil moist.