7 Indoor Medicinal Plants to Keep You Healthy in India

Indoor Medicinal Plants in India

Since prehistoric times, plants were used to treat diseases and keep one’s immunity strong. History of medicinal plants being used is found in abundance in ancient India in Ayurveda.

Thousands of years of research till early 19th century has given us rich knowledge about them. Before the early 19th century, these were the only source used to cure mankind and keep ourselves healthy.

The modern chemical industry is based on extracts from many medicinal plants.

And even today a quarter of medicines used worldwide come from these medicinal plants

Around 80% of the world’s population relies on traditional methods of keeping healthy by using medicinal plants. Some animals like sheep ingest these medicinal plants when ill.

If you love keeping indoor plants, you can also consider keeping a few medicinal indoor plants as well. These can serve as readily available medicine/herb, and regular use of it will keep you healthy.

Medicinal Quality of Plants

Plants produce phytochemicals for defense against fungus, insects and attacks from herbivorous animals.

Thousands of compounds are produced by them, which have been studied for many years proving their benefit to human health.

The four major compounds found in plants for human benefit are:

  1. Alkaloids
  2. Glycosides
  3. Polyphenols and
  4. Terpenes

Medicinal plants can face problems due to climate change and habitat destruction. These problems can be overcome by having medicinal herbs grown indoors.

Fact for Nerds: This practice of having medicinal herbs garden started with Benedictine monasteries

Benefits of Keeping Medicinal Plants

Indoor medicinal plants are cheap and affordable when compared to drugs.

They save time and energy by being easily available at home.

They have thousand years of scientific evidence as back up.

On a larger scale, it can be a source of continuous income if one prefers to grow it on a larger scale. Regular use of them keeps family and near ones in good health.

According to one’s taste and preferences, one can choose what to grow. The best part is that it reduces dependency on drugs.

7 indoor medicinal plants to keep you healthy

Here is a list of 7 indoor medicinal plants that you can easily find in India and can keep in your homes for a long and healthy life.

Turmeric

It is an also called as haldi in India.

Turmeric is used as a spice in Indian kitchens mostly because of its amazing health benefits

Health Benefits of Turmeric

  1. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant nutritional supplement.
  2. It has been shown to prevent, reduce and destroy cancer cells, prevent Alzheimer’s and helps treat depression.
  3. It helps in arthritis by being the most potent anti-inflammatory medicine rivaling ibuprofen.
  4. It has antibacterial properties and is an excellent blood purifier.

Growing and Maintaining Turmeric

  • It is super easy to grow turmeric plant. Turmeric is grown from rhizomes. Cut a rhizome into small pieces. Each piece having two or three buds.
  • Fill the pot with rich organic well draining soil
  • Place the rhizomes 2 inches under the soil with bud facing up.
  • Water it once in two days. Keep soil moist but not soggy
  • Fertilize it twice a month.
  • Place it in the area of partial shade. In a month or so, sprouting will begin.
  • Wait for eight to ten months before digging up the harvest. Once the plant starts getting dry and yellow, it is time to harvest.
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Aloe Vera

It is the most common medicinal plant grown in Indian homes. It is widely used for its excellent medicinal properties. Most of the cosmetic creams and lotions have aloe vera as a gel base. It is widely used as a medicine in Ayurveda.

Health Benefits of Aloe Vera

  1. It is a safe, skin-friendly plant
  2. Its jelly-like pulp can be directly applied for glowing skin, minor cuts, and burns.
  3. It also cures dry, inflamed and damaged skin conditions like eczema
  4. It has anti-nflammatory and antimicrobial properties
  5. It is a good moisturizer
  6. It helps in constipation
  7. It helps in digestion related issues in ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
  8. It boosts the immune system and it helps in diuretics

How to Take Care of Aloe Vera

  • Use a cactus potting mix as aloe vera is a succulent. It likes a well-draining soil and a dry mix
  • Aloe vera needs 8-10 hours of sunlight.
  • If leaves are growing flat and low, increase sunlight
  • If leaves turn brown at tips, decrease sunlight
  • Fertilize once a year
  • It is a succulent hence drought resistant and can survive neglect
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Ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose root or rhizome is called ginger and is used for spice and medicinal purpose.

It originated in the tropical rainforest forests of the Indian subcontinent. It has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal plant.

It popularly used in tea to enhance flavor (and also soothe sore throats).

The root or rhizome of ginger plant is consumed much like rhizome of turmeric.

Health Benefits of Ginger

  1. It is a good medicine for many diseases due to anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antispasmodic action
  2. It helps in nausea, motion sickness
  3. Keeps the gut in good health and relieves gas
  4. It is a great painkiller because of its analgesic action
  5. It helps fight fever and swelling.
  6. Helps relieve cold and flu
  7. It reduces cholesterol and boosts metabolism.
  8. Reduces the risk of blood clotting
  9. It helps maintain good sugar levels for diabetes patient. Can be crushed, powdered, sliced, made into a tincture, teas etc.
  10. It is a powerpack of vitamins and minerals. Scientific analysis show ginger contains hundreds of compounds for good health and healing.

How to Grow and Maintain the Ginger Plant

  • Take a good live ginger root from a nursery or buy the plant online.
  • It should have many buds. Soak it overnight in warm water
  • Take a well draining potting mix with good drainage hole pot.
  • Cover the ginger root with 2 inches of soil. The bud should be facing upwards.
  • Place it in a warm area away from direct sunlight.
  • The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged
  • Apply rich compost monthly.
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Mint

The scientific name for mint is mentha.

It’s used in culinary across the world and also have excellent medicinal properties.

They are also used in the cosmetic industry.

They are also used as an environment-friendly insecticide for their ability to kill ants, cockroaches, and wasps.

As a plant, it grows in wet conditions and moist soil. They grow very fast producing runners and are considered invasive.

Health Benefits of Mint

  1. Mint is rich in nutrients.
  2. It helps boost memory
  3. It’s rich in antioxidants
  4. It helps in bad breath
  5. It helps in digestion
  6. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties
  7. It helps in pain, fever, headache, and vomiting
  8. Commonly used in aromatherapy for its soothing scent

How to Take Care of the Mint Plant

  • Choose an area which receives morning sun and partial afternoon sun.
  • It grows in direction of sunlight so rotate every 3-4 days
  • Soil should be kept moist
  • Once a while uses liquid fertilizer. Make sure not to over-fertilize as it might change the taste of mint
  • Pluck off the leaves in 2-3 weeks and make sure not to harvest more than one-third at one time.
  • Fresh leaves should be used immediately and can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and can also be frozen in ice cube tray.
  • Dried leaves should be stored in airtight container and put in a dry, dark cool place.
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Cilantro

Cilantro is also called as coriander or dhaniya in India.

All its parts are edible. Usually, its fresh leaves and dried seeds are used in food.

The leaves are 92% water and are rich in Vit A, C, and k. The seeds are rich in calcium, iron, and dietary fiber.

Health Benefits of Cilantro

  1. Helps in growing strong bone, teeth, and hair
  2. It is an antidiabetic plant .it lowers blood sugars.
  3. It helps lower cholesterol
  4. It helps lower blood pressure
  5. It supports healthy cardiovascular function
  6. It rids the body of heavy metals
  7. Protects the body against oxidative stress through its high antioxidant effect
  8. Helps relieve anxiety and improves sleep
  9. Prevents urinary tract infections
  10. Helps in digestion.
  11. Protects against neurological inflammation and degeneration
  12. Protects against colon cancer
  13. Soothes skin irritation and allergies through antihistamine action.

How to Take Care of the Cilantro Plant

  • It is quite easy to grow cilantro in a pot. Spread the seeds in a wide and deep pot with well-draining soil.
  • It needs full sunlight to grow. Place it near a window receiving a good amount of sunlight.
  • Within 7-10 days seeds will germinate.
  • Keep soil moist. Once the plant reaches a height of 4-6 inches it is ready to be harvested.
  • Cut two-thirds of the leaves each week to help it keep growing.
  • By this method, one can harvest up to four crops of cilantro from a single pot.
  • As heat decreases the flavor, use it on top of cooked dishes just before serving.
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Basil

Basil is a great medicinal herb used worldwide as is known as the king of herbs.

It is also used in food across all cultures. It is consumed fresh as cooking destroys its flavor.

Indian form known as holy basil or tulsi is also revered in Hinduism.

Health Benefits of Basil

  1. It has good anti-inflammatory action.
  2. It is anti-aging and a good antioxidant
  3. Its vit k helps in strong bones
  4. It helps in reducing spasm and is helpful in epilepsy
  5. It is antimicrobial and antifungal
  6. Good for eye health as it contains beta-carotene
  7. Improves digestion
  8. In Ayurveda, it is used to treat chronic infections and immunological disorders.
  9. Its oil has insect repellent properties.

How to Take Care of the Basil Plant

  • Basil plant requires 6-8 hours of sunlight. Place it near window having good light.
  • Keep rotating plant every 3-4 days so it does not bend one direction
  • Water the basil twice a week. Water on the soil.
  • Use a good organic fertilizer
  • Once your plant has three sets of leaves, prune the top set just above the leaves set to encourage it to grow
  • Harvest your basil before it starts flowering. If flowering starts, pinch off the flowers to help the plant focus on growing more leaves.
  • Try not to remove more than third of the leaves at one go.
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Oregano

This plant is one of the best natural antiseptics because of its high thymol content.

It is used in food and medicine for thousands of years. It is popular across countries and can be used fresh or dried.

Health Benefits of Oregano

  1. Oregano is a powerful antioxidant and has antibacterial properties.
  2. It has good anti-inflammatory properties
  3. It has anticancer properties
  4. It is effective against muscle pain and toothache
  5. Helps in bronchitis
  6. It helps when you have intestinal parasites
  7. It soothes allergies
  8. It repels insects
  9. Useful in sinus infections and cold
  10. It can be used for the treatment of acne and dandruff
  11. It helps in stronger bones, nails, and teeth

How to Take Care of the Oregano Plant

  • Oregano plant needs six to eight hours of sunlight per day
  • It needs to dry in between of watering spells
  • It should be fertilised every two weeks with a water-soluble fertiliser.
  • It is a good companion plant.
  • You can harvest it when required. The best flavour of leaves is just before flowering.
  • It can be dried and stored easily and used for months
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Challenges in Keeping Indoor Medicinal Plants

Like all indoor plants, it can be a victim of soil-borne diseases, insect damage, and molds.

It can have fertilizer issues since the mud is limited to the pot. Plants usually receive less sunlight indoors which can have an effect on their photosynthesis.

Less humidity indoor can be a challenge in growing medicinal plants indoors. As most medicinal herbs are Mediterranean and like a good amount of humidity to grow.

Another challenge indoor potted plants face is that of overwatering. Overwatering can lead to waterlogging and ultimately death of the plant.

Since indoor plants are under our control, we can overcome the challenges by creating the right environment for them to flourish.

Useful Tips for Indoor Medicinal Plants (precautions and suggestions)

  • Herbs are very sensitive to temperature fluctuations.
  • Never place them near dry heat areas like a stove, air vents etc
  • Water herbs only when the soil surrounding them is dry to touch
  • Make sure you have the right potting mix and right PH of soil for the plant you want to grow.
  • Never use garden soil as it might bring pests with it and herbs can’t breathe in such compact soil.
  • Medicinal herbs require a good draining pot. Retention of water can cause problems and destroy the health effects.
  • Water them 3-4 times a week. Slow infrequent watering works best for them.
  • Most of the herbs require good natural sunlight. So a good idea is to place them on the balcony or windowsill having lots of sunlight. Another option is to purchase LED grow lights.
  • Herbs need 6-8 hours of strong sunlight daily. The stronger the light, the sharper the flavour of the herb.
  • Indoor herbs thrive in good humidity. Daily mist them. If your home is dry, use a humidifier.
  • If your herb tips turn brown, it is a suggestion of over fertilization. Water them till water comes out of draining holes and repeat this process 2-3 times. finally, dry them by keeping them out in the sun. All the fertilizer salts will wash away.
  • Prune them regularly. Pruning helps them grow thicker. Make sure they have grown at least 3 sets of leaves and do not prune more than 30% of the plant at one time.
  • Once the herbs flower, it is a sign that the growth period has stopped. To prolong the growth period a little more, cut the flower as soon as you see them.
  • Use natural pesticide neem oil once weekly to keep pests away.
  • A good gap around each herb and a different pot for each herb help them have good air circulations and healthy growth
  • Fertilize them once a week.
  • Keep rotating the plant every 3-4 days as the growth bends towards the light. So this way it will grow evenly.

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