Glossy, fresh, anti-aging basil from last year's garden!
If you're like me, the sight of budding leaves and blooming flowers gets you thinking about planting something of your own. While it's still a bit early to plant some seedlings outdoors, there's no harm in planning ahead. Whether you have a rolling green lawn or a sunny windowsill, you can—and should—try your hand at a beautifying herb garden this year. I'm obsessed with herbs for beauty; they're easy to grow (mostly- check out #6 below), packed with beauty nutrients, and inexpensive. They multiply the flavor and beauty benefits of your meals without a load of calories, sugar, or sodium. I bet you already love one or more of my favorite beauty herbs, below.
I cook with fresh herbs all year, but I'm always a little frustrated when I pay top dollar for a few sprigs of wilting herbs at the grocery store in the fall and winter, since I grow more than I can handle from May to October! Below, you'll find my top 6 picks for beautifying herbs to put in your garden. Since you really can't go wrong with herbs, you should absolutely add your own favorites!
Top 6 Beautifying Herbs in Your Garden:
- Oregano. Surprisingly one of my favorite herbs for beauty! This bacteria-fighting herb boosts immunity (oregano oil is a popular cold-fighter) and is incredibly high in antioxidants that fight off aging free radical damage. It's also a good source of beauty minerals and vitamin C. I like to dry leftover oregano in the fall to use in cooking all winter long.
- Mint. Last year I missed out on growing mint and I regretted it all summer. Mint leaves are for more than just cocktail muddling—steep a few large springs in boiling water and you have the freshest mint tea that tastes even more incredible iced. Mint helps with digestion, reduces bloating, and promotes natural detox, so add a few springs to smoothies and some fresh leaves to salads as well.
- Parsley. This herb makes it into my green smoothies every day, so it saves me tons of money when I grow it fresh. Parsley is packed with iron and chlorophyll, and helps freshen your breath.
- Basil. Even if you aren't planning to eat fresh pesto straight into fall, basil's a must! It's a major anti-aging herb that reduces inflammation, has antibacterial properties, and protects cells and chromosomes from UV damage. I love using handfuls of basil to make this Frosty Basil Lemonade every summer.
- Rosemary. The energizing scent of this herb boosts mood and enhances memory, and it's thought to help remove excess estrogens from the body and balance hormones. You'll use it for roasting veggies and grilling fish.
- Cilantro. Cilantro is a fabulous digestion booster that also detoxifies heavy metals from the body. BUT, it's pretty tricky to grow! I've never been able to keep mine alive very long before it turns to seed, so I'll try again this year, and buy bunches of fresh cilantro if I fail. Keys to growing healthy cilantro are just barely damp soil and lots of light (but not direct sunlight), as well as regular cutting.
What are your favorite herbs for beauty? How do you use them in your beauty food recipes?