Home' Outdoors : WAs Best Outdoors and Gardens 2009 Contents 78 WA's Best Outdoors & Gardens 2010
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ere are loads of plants out there that can have a
profound effect on your health, but unless you're a
serious gardener with knowledge, space and time,
it can be hard to know where to start.
Plus, many of them are only useable when in
extract form, rather than the plant material itself.
Assuming you're not in the market for a
backyard science lab and wanting to retrieve plant
extracts yourself, here's a shopping list for some
easy to grow, useful, plants.
Perfect for the WA climate, aloe vera is widely
recognised as a great healer.
e plant loves arid climates having originated
in Africa, and its succulent nature makes it a
perfect garden pal for many popular landscaping
plants such as agaves.
While it is widely used in a commercial sense,
it is also used in traditional herbal medicine in
China, Japan, Russia, Jamaica, India, South Africa
and the US.
e most common claims to aloe vera's fame is
that is has superior healing abilities when the sap
inside the leaves is applied to cuts and burns.
So if you have kids who are constantly running
around (and into things), it might be a nice
addition to your medical arsenal.
For the domestic user, lavender is great to purify
the air at home, or when dried can be put in cloth
and stored in clothes to ward off moths (which is
far better for you than using toxic mothballs).
Sweet smelling lavender is however at its most
useful when in essential oil form.
is powerful oil can boast that it helped out
in WWI by being the primary source of cleaning
walls and floors in hospitals at the time.
Going back even further to Roman times,
lavender flowers were sold at 100 denarii per pound,
which was equivalent to 50 haircuts from the local
barber, so revered were these powerful flowers.
e flowers were commonly used to scent the
water at Roman baths -- its latin name lavandarius
comes from lavanda (things to be washed) and the
verb lavare (to wash).
Rosemary has a long and colourful past. During
various plagues of Europe, rosemary was burned
to clear the air of infectious disease -- possibly not
the best defence against the plague, but it must've
Rosemary also enjoyed its name up in lights
thanks to Shakespeare mentioning it as an aid for
memory, and it's also been reputed to increase
hair growth by stimulating the oily secretions of
By steeping the fresh flowering tips in hot water
you can make a good gargle for throat and mouth
e tea can also be used for treating nerves and
with circulation problems.
As an essential oil, rosemary's powers are even
stronger, boasting talents in pain relief, anti-
bacterial properties, decongestant, circulation
problems, mental fatigue, colds, fluid retention
is is another wonder herb, often found used in
Asian cooking pastes.
Not your regular pesto-style basil, this fine-
leafed variety is effective at reducing stress,
relieving indigestion and headaches. Early research
has shown it could also inhibit breast cancer.
To use it at home, pour two cups of boiling water
over 10 to 15 fresh holy basil leaves, steep for five
minutes, then remove the leaves before drinking.
See our herb guide on page 80 for more information
about growing herbs at home.
ASSUMING YOU'RE NOT IN THE MARKET FOR
A BACKYARD SCIENCE LAB AND WANTING TO
RETRIEVE PLANT EXTRACTS YOURSELF, HERE'S
A SHOPPING LIST FOR SOME EASY TO GROW,
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