Are you looking for something different to plant in your herb patch this year? Many lesser-known medicinal herbs make easy-to-grow, attractive additions to any herb garden or container. They also come with a variety of unique uses and health benefits.
The following are some under-used herbs that deserve recognition. You can generally find seeds or starter plants for these herbs at your local garden center or online.
Scientific Name: Withania somnifera
Uses: Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years to increase vitality, reduce stress and inflammation, and improve quality of sleep. Ashwagandha is what’s known as an adaptogen, a type of plant that’s said to help your body deal with stress and maintain physiological balance. The roots are typically harvested at the end of the growing season, dried, then added to food. You can also make tea out of the leaves or roots.
Hardiness: USDA Zone 9. It can be grown as an annual or indoor plant in colder climates.
Growing Tips: A mature ashwagandha plant is a small shrub that grows about 3 feet (1 meter) tall in one growing season. It can reach 6 feet (2 meters) over time in hotter climates. Ashwagandha grows well in hot and dry conditions and makes red berries you can collect for seeds to grow new plants.