Epazote, or Dysphania ambrosioides, is an indigenous Mexican plant with a seasoned history. Its use in food and medicine dates back to Aztec times. Although one common name for epazote is Mexican Tea Plant, the leaves have been used medicinally all over Latin America for intestinal ailments and issues. Nowadays, the epazote leaves are primarily used to cure the hanger of well-cultured bellies, with a place in nearly every classic and contemporary Mexican dish.
Growing your own Epazote plant will produce more than enough herb for your personal cooking needs, so our advice is to begin collecting epazote recipes now! For holistic use, dysphania ambrosioides makes a delicious and nutritious tea with herbal notes of mint, oregano, and anise. If you want to keep things simple, just try adding a leaf of epazote for an extra kick to Mexican-style meals you know and love.
Vana Tulsi, or Ocimum gratissimum, is one type of Holy Basil. Holy Basil plants are the key to holistic life, according to Ayurvedic medicine. While plants as medicine are nothing new to traditional medicinal practices, some cultivars like Ocimum gratissimum give skeptics a run for their money with its proven antimicrobial effects. You could say Ocimum gratissimum is easy to grow, given its history of cultivation in South Asia and Africa for thousands of years.
Ocimum gratissimum has a shrubby growing habit like most basils, reaching 2-4 ft tall at maturity. Vana Tulsi blooms in the late summer, with ripples of tiny white flowers. The roster of strong aromatic oils of Vana Tulsi include Eugenol, Oleanolic Acid, Ursolic Acid, Rosmarinic Acid, and Linalool. These help make it a natural pest repellent, and contribute to the sensory healing powers of Tulsi — Sometimes, smelling, feeling, and tasting is believing. Grow Vana Tulsi to complete your collection of Holy Basil.
If you are looking to turn over a new leaf and make self-nurture your nature, meet Krishna Tulsi, Ocimum tenuiflorum. This is one type of Holy Basil, a highly aromatic perennial ayurvedic medicinal herb, which is praised by practitioners in Ayurvedic medicine. An Indian derivative of holistic medicine, Ayurvedic practices incorporate biodiverse plants, exercise, and good diet for the makings of a healthy lifestyle.
Like most basils, Ocimum tenuiflorum has a shrubby growing habit and will reach 2-4 ft tall! Tulsi has delicate pink flowers, hairy stems, and green leaves. Within the first two months of growing Krishna Tulsi, you can pick leaves and flowers fresh from Ocimum tenuiflorum to make your own "elixir of life" tea. Its cool and mellow flavor profile will invigorate your senses as you indulge in its bold familiarity to peppermint, cloves, licorice and lemon. In fact, occasional harvesting of this plant will encourage its growth even more.
Holy Basil, The Miracle Worker in Your Garden: Ocimum tenuiflorum has a number of practical uses, and makes an excellent companion plant! Its strong aromatic oils like Eugenol, Oleanolic Acid, Ursolic Acid, Rosmarinic Acid, and Linalool make the plant medicinally valuable, and act as a natural pest repellent.
Despite the common name false cardamom, Alpinia mutica is a plant that will truly earn its place in your garden, your kitchen, and yes, your heart. This lush, green bundle of tropical euphoria will gently lure your senses with its aroma of cinnamon and citrus. ‘False’ varieties of cardamom are harvested for their leaves, not seeds as when you grow ‘true’ varieties of cardamom. Use Alpinia mutica leaves the same way you would use other cardamom plant varieties to spice up your life: The leaves add flavoring to warm teas, desserts, rice, fish, and more.
Alpinia mutica will add a gentle wave of green to your garden. This plant prefers a warm, shady climate, where it can thrive without much fuss. It will thrive in warm, humid conditions that are similar to its swampy, native forest habitats in Southeast Asia.
Celosia argentea, or Lagos spinach may be the “prettiest of all vegetable crops,” but like many of the plants cultivated for food in parts of tropical Africa, it’s more than just a pretty face. Celosia argentea is used as an ornamental in gardens worldwide, but it is not often planted for food outside of West Africa. It is an important source of spinach in Nigeria and Benin. The nutritious composition of this African spinach, and its nature to flourish in malnourished soils make it a good contender for food forests.
Lagos spinach grows naturally in the humid lowlands of Africa, where rainfall and sunshine are abundant. Celosia argentea is a fairly easy-to-grow plant that will grow easily, despite its glossy, frivolous-looking flowers that will bloom in the late summer.
The rare Pandan Leaf, also known as Daun pandan or screwpine leaf, is a perennial medicinal and culinary herb widely used in Southeast Asian cooking and is a must grow for anyone who enjoys traditional Asian cuisine. Pandan is grown and cultivated for it ornamental, culinary and health benefits however is most popularly used as incredible addition to rice for it's simple and delicious aroma.
Pandan is fast growing and spreads from it's tubers, however does very well in containers for indoor and outdoor gardening. Pandan isn't difficult to use or care for and is easily propagated through division.