Starting a herbal garden was something I wanted to try ever since I visited this place in late 2019. My mother, born with a green thumb, encouraged me and over the last few months, we started work on it together.

We grew some from kitchen ingredients, borrowed cuttings from friends and neighbours, bought some from plant nurseries and some were gifted by the abundant monsoon that we were blessed with these last few months.

Gardening is not only therapeutic but also helps educate others on how different plants can be grown and nurtured.

Click on each heading to know more about the herb.

Tulsi (Holy Basil)

In India, we have a festival dedicated to this sacred plant known for its abundant medicinal properties. Worshipped as a avatar of the goddess Lakshmi, the holy basil is well-known for water purification, insect repellent when dried and mixed with stored grains, and health benefits when eaten raw. Prayer beads are made from Tulsi wood and it’s aromatic flowers are also used in traditional medicines.


If you are an Indian, you may know how turmeric is a remedy to almost all common ailments- Flu, skin problems, body hair, heart, pancreas and even some types of cancer. This fairly easy-growing plant is a must-have in your herbal garden. Even the leaves of the plant are used to make delicious sweet dishes called Patholi.

Doddapatre (Big Thyme)

These strong-flavoured leaves with a fresh odour are used as a substitute for oregano in many dishes. Traditionally, the leaves are crushed with a bit of sugar as a remedy for cough. Also an excellent mosquito repellent. One of the easiest herbs on the list to grow and propagate.

Pandan (Pulao leaves/Screwpine)

Chop a piece of these blade-like leaves and add them to your rice-based cuisine. At our home, Biryani and Pulao are incomplete without these. These leaves are also known to be used in traditional medicines.

One team in Netflix‘s Drink Masters shares an interesting cocktail recipe using these leaves.

Nelanelli (Gale of the wind)

I was pulling these abundant growing little plants from the nooks and crannies of our garden when my mom told me they were not weeds. In fact, they have a lot of medicinal uses. Also known as stonebreakers, these plants help cure kidney and gallbladder stones. Some claim that it helps reverse liver diseases as well.

(PS: Please consult an expert before you decide to use these in your food)

Nelabasale (Malabar spinach )

This is a recent addition to our garden and I haven’t had a chance to use it in a dish yet. There are dozens of videos with interesting recipes that primarily use Malabar spinach. However, a few claim that these leaves are meant to be consumed only by those suffering from Kidney ailments or gout.

Either way, these are good to have plants. The little purple flowers atop these pretty-looking leaves will look great in your garden.

(PS: Please consult an expert before you decide to use these in your food)

Bhringraj (False Daisy)

The anti-inflammatory property of these herbs is believed to help reduce dandruff. Hence makes a great ingredient for hair oils. As a child, I remember my grandmother prepared hair oils with these leaves along with a dozen other ingredients.

Ekpani (Centella)

These heart-shaped leaves are a regular part of our diet. There are many recipes that use these herbs as primary ingredients. Bhrami-coconut chutney, a weekly cuisine at my home, is one.


It was only a few years ago that I learnt of the benefits of wheatgrass. The tender grass strands, just before they turn dark green, can be ground and strained with any citrus fruit to make a healthy drink that is high in nutrition and antioxidants.

The best part? Just take a handful of wholewheat from your kitchen and soak it overnight. Then sow it in a pot filled with potting soil. You should have your wheatgrass in less than a week.

Curry leaves

Not a day goes by without plucking a few leaves of this tree and using it in a variety of dishes.


From tea to curry to homemade cough drops, Ginger is a must-have herb in your garden.

Aloe Vera

Haven’t used Aloe Vera in the form of food, but works magic on skin with minor burns and sun tan. A semi-tropical plant that thrives on neglect.

Pudina (Mint)

What is a refreshing glass of lemonade without a hint of mint in it? Easy to grow with minimal care, these plants grow in abundance and hence need to be contained in a pot.

Patchauli (Pachkanasu)

These herbs will make your garden smell heavenly. You can feel its presence from several feet away. It is used in perfumes, essential oils and natural insect repellants.


Started growing this a week ago, mainly for the love of Methi Parathas which are made by mixing Fenugreek leaves with wheat dough. One of the easiest herbs to grow. Just sprout a handful of Fenugreek seeds overnight and sow it in a potting mix. Germination happens in a day or two.

Dhaniya (Coriander)

A must-have kitchen ingredient that I personally find hard to grow. Also, it does not grow in abundance if you use regular seeds from your kitchen. You need double/triple harvest seeds that are available in the market.

For my first try, I used normal Dhaniya seeds from my kitchen. After ten days, I finally see germination happening.


I haven’t used this herb for anything yet. Traditionally, it is used in the treatment of many ailments due to its blood-purifying properties. Also a great insect repellant.

Patra (Colocasia)

Used in making the Konkani delicacy Pathrode, these leaves are also known to have great nutritional value.

Beetal leaves

When an Indian says ‘Paan’ it is the leaves of this vine, a cousin of pepper. They are often consumed with a piece of areca nut and mineral-slaked lime. They also hold great traditional value in many Indian cultures.

Mango Ginger

These herbs look very similar to turmeric. In fact, it is only after we harvested the root that we realised it was something different. My aunt makes delicious pickles out of these.

Soon to join our little herbal garden – Ashwagandha, pepper, Lemongrass, Oregano and Dill.



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