Feature Archive

Harvest Your Own Herbs

Bypass the drug store and plant your own herbs.

By Lynda Liu
WebMD Feature There's nothing you like better than a cup of herbal tea to begin each day. So you're thinking how much better it would be if you brewed it from fresh herbs, instead of dropping one of those prepackaged bags into boiling water. Or maybe you're tired of sifting through the aisles of herbal products in health food stores and want to know exactly where your remedies come from.

Whatever your reason, you've decided to take spade in hand and grow your own medicinal herbs.

You're certainly in for some fun. But before you become the Martha Stewart of botanicals, make sure you've researched and learned about the herbs you're growing -- and taking.

Is Geography on Your Side?

First, choose herbs that will grow in your climate. "Most seed companies will be able to tell you what can grow where," says Cris Bosted, R.N., L.M.P., a garden manager and third-year student at Bastyr University. Catalogs will usually tell you how much light and moisture a plant needs.

Seeds grown in your area are the most likely to agree with your climate and soil, so look for local sources. Bosted recommends organic ones, too, on the principle that you're better off not drinking pesticides, hormones, and other additives along with your tea. "The closer you get to being toxin-free, the better and the more comfortable you'll be putting that product in your body," she says.

The Harvest