Nothing beats growing your own herbal remedies: it is satisfying, fun, and saves a lot of money, but choosing and obtaining medicinal herb seeds can be a challenge. With WishGarden’s new herbal seed blends, it’s easy to grow an herbal apothecary, right in your own backyard!

Deep Stress Seed Blend combines three effective and easy-to-grow herbs to calm, relax, and support your immune system. Here’s how to get the best results from your seeds.

Tulsi
Also known as holy basil, this herb is revered in its native India as a powerful nervous system tonic and is used by herbalists to support healthy blood sugar levels, ease the effects of stress on the heart, and soothe coughs and cold symptoms.

holybasil_2

In most parts of the United States, tulsi is best grown as an annual. Tulsi makes a great container plant (in India they even have specially designed pots just for this herb) so it’s a great herb choice if you are gardening in limited space.  Like its cousin, pesto basil, tulsi likes lots of light and plenty of water, so choose a sunny spot, ideally close to the house where you’ll remember to water it and can enjoy its aromatic fragrance and taste. You can also sow the seeds directly in the ground once the soil has started to warm in spring. Or get a head start by sowing into seed trays on a sunny windowsill.

Harvest flowers as they appear (these are edible too!) and pick small amounts of leaves regularly. This will keep your plants vigorous and productive all summer long. Both leaves and flowers make a delicious tea — used fresh or dried. At the end of the season leave a few flowers on the plants so that you can collect and dry seed for planting next spring.

Skullcap
Skullcap has unique properties. It eases anxiety and stress without making you feel drowsy. As a member of the mint family, it grows well in most climates, though it can take a year or two to get established.  To get the best results, prepare your seeds by placing them in a sealed ziplock with a piece of damp kitchen towel for a week, before sowing them into prepared seed trays somewhere warm and bright. Plant them out as soon as true leaves appear. Skullcap prefers dappled shade in moist, but well draining soil.

scullcap

Skullcap is a perennial, so it will die back over winter and then spring back to life as soon as the weather warms. Mark where it is growing in the fall to avoid accidentally digging it up while it is dormant. Over time, it will spread into a clump, which can be divided in fall or early spring for more plants. Harvest leaves and its beautiful deep blue flowers and dry or use fresh for tea or tincture.

Milky Oat
Better known as a food, unripened oat seeds nourish and support your nervous system when taken as a tea or tincture.

milky oat

Oat is a cool weather plant, so in warmer climes it is best sown in early spring or early autumn, to enjoy a fall harvest. Plant the seeds directly into a prepared bed in a partially shaded spot. The soil should be kept moist to encourage germination, but once established, oat is fairly drought tolerant, only needing water when the ground dries out.

Milky oat seed is best for medicinal purposes, so as the plants start to go to seed, regularly test the grains for readiness by squeezing – when the seeds exude a milky-white juice, it is the perfect time to harvest. Carefully dry them for tea or make a fresh seed tincture to take daily to build and strengthen your nervous system.

**Oat makes a good cover-crop and will add nutrients to the soil.

Writer Paula Grainger is a highly regarded British Medical Herbalist. After graduating with first class honors from The University Of Westminster, she created Lemon Balm, a popular Herbal Apothecary and Clinic in London’s Camden Town. She has worked with people of all ages using herbs to enhance their health and wellness and has a wealth of experience in communicating the power of plants through her workshops and writing. In 2011 she moved with her husband (the novelist Michael Marshall Smith) and their young son to Santa Cruz, California where, when she is not growing herbs or making herbal preparations, she continues to share her love and expertise of plant medicine with people on both sides of the Atlantic. Her first book INFUSE (co-written with Karen Sullivan) will be published in Spring 2016.