Why do we need a garden? Probably first and foremost for health, mental, physical, and spiritual. In a garden, the body is working and the soul is resting. That is to say, it is good for an organism, whichever way you look at it.
It is useful to eat more vegetables, fruits, berries, and herbs. In addition, on your own location, you can plant something super useful, such as lemongrass or ivory grass, and then be healthy, rosy, cheerful in a pale colleague and subject to the fear of the next virus.
This article will present garden plants that can help us fight for our own health. Not only about plants.
WHAT ARE WE REALLY FIGHTING FOR?
The weakest point of almost all modern humans – the immune system. This is our own body’s ability to fight off all unfriendly and frankly malicious intent. As we age, it actually weakens. This is exacerbated by diet, bad habits, and the absence of good habits.
But immunity is internal when pathogens have broken through the external defenses. There is also the first line of defense – the skin, mucous membranes, nasal hairs, and cilia, which also need care and attention.
And the invisible, but huge and important part of the defense is the microbiome. Those microorganisms (fungi, viruses, bacteria, protozoa) live on the surface of our body and inside it.
They live in different ways: there are symbionts (mutually beneficial), there are commensals (beneficial to one and harmless to the other), there are parasites (beneficial to the parasite and harmful to the host), and there are neutrals, well, they live, let them live! They live in different ways.
The microbiome is directly and immediately involved in protection. It does not do so out of selfless love for the host but does its best to prevent competitors from colonizing its territory. Fighting is serious, although we don’t always notice it.
Of course, if you eat something rich and unusual in microflora (like yogurt at home), the war of the microbiota in your stomach can be very sensitive.
Also, it is not a bad idea to organize a healthy environment – healing air.
WHAT CAN HELP?
The garden will help. It will help not just once, but for a lifetime. Especially if we add medicinal garden plants to the mix – there will be enough for both grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Wild plants can be a great help. Keep in mind that the useful substances in wild plants are always set in culture than in the same garden plants grown in.
Garden plants do not accumulate everything for us, but take care of themselves: vitamins, antioxidants, and phenolic compounds – protect garden plants from external enemies and unfavorable conditions. There are many times more difficulties in the forest than in the garden, where garden plants are trained from an early age.
Unfortunately, not all particularly useful plants can be found in the surrounding forest (in some places even healthy forests are difficult to find), and it is safer to plant them. There are many things growing in the garden, just not everyone knows the medicinal value of this or that plant.
There is a wide selection of medicinal plants, but not all of them are easy to grow (ginseng, for example) and many of them can cause some additional problems (poor growth or thorns). Therefore, match your garden plants to your garden and your possibilities.
There are other factors – pine or cedar on the plot has all the wonderful qualities that few people can afford. And in some cases, useful results will be obtained after a few years. From this point of view, both annual and perennial garden plants are worth getting.
Just in case, I remind you that medicinal plants should not be treated with pesticides, fungicides, and insecticides. It is best to create the most natural conditions for them, then they will have beneficial qualities.
Early spring brings many beneficial weeds, and it is highly likely that gardeners will take a liking to them rather than treating them negatively. Weeds will be the first to emerge anyway. It is the weeds that will sustain our frail bodies through the winter while we wait to plant and sow.
Nettles are known to most gardeners. Nettles are no less beneficial to humans. The plant contains silicic acid, which helps in the production of lymphocytes. A complex of minerals, phenolic compounds, vitamins, and antioxidants promotes tissue regeneration – skin, hair follicles, mucous membranes.
You can use fresh leaves (macerated in boiling water, which does not burn), and dry. With regular use, nettle ceases to be a weed and becomes an ideal garden plant for every site.
The same silicic acid contains couch grass – a headache for gardeners. In addition to stimulating the immune system, it helps to purify the blood and also makes the skin better!
Many of you have probably seen dogs and cats eating wheatgrass. In addition to being a mineral and vitamin supplement, wheatgrass also acts as an anti-parasite. Its root is more useful than its leaves because it regenerates mucous membranes, improves metabolism, is immunomodulatory and adaptogenic.
Wheatgrass can be eaten fresh and dried, in the form of infusions and decoctions. Fresh greens can be cut into salads, they just need to be quite fine – it’s rough.
From the root of the greens, pre-washed, you can make a version of the smoothie. If you get into the taste, the wheatgrass in the plot will soon run out! By the way, the decoction of nettles and wheatgrass added to the bath perfectly nourishes and revitalizes the skin.
In general, most bad and not so bad weeds can be eaten – in the spring, their young leaves will give the body the necessary and sure bioactive substances, more than any medicine or imported fruits and vegetables. Also, and different microbiomes.
Dandelion leaves can be soaked in saltwater and added to salads and smoothies. Marigold does not even need to be soaked and can be put into salads right away. Young spring horsetail buds – to the same place.
All of these weeds can be added to cakes, scrambled eggs, and pancakes for seasoning, but are best eaten raw. Use unrefined oil. A little at first, so that unfamiliar microbes don’t openly clash with the existing gut microbiota and slowly penetrate. And the garden will be cleaner.
Learn more about the mucous membranes, which are the first line of defense. They also have lymphocytes guarding around our bodies. So they are produced in the gut. And they are stimulated because of the high amount of chlorophyll in the greens.
So any green garden plants that would be planted, grown, and eaten add protection to the periphery. Maybe that’s why they live so long in the Caucasus? After moving to California, I got hooked on green garden plants myself, but I’m still far behind the native Europeans in terms of variety and quantity.
We started with a variety of green onions, radish leaves, young garlic sprouts (which I planted in some places for greenery), watercress, cumin, and leafy greens. Then cilantro, dill, and garden portulaca (which is a weed here) pulled up.
Perennial garden plants – mint, melon, thyme, oregano, sage, hyssop. Cilantro and celery are growing up, asparagus is coming out of the ground. Cabbage of all types is particularly tasty.
It is also customary in the Caucasus to pickle spring vegetables, such as spring mix, which, like all fermented vegetables, is invaluable for the benefits of our intestinal microbiota.
GARDEN PLANTS: HEAVY ARTILLERY FOR IMMUNE SUPPORT
There is a class of garden plants that can literally “boost” a weakened immune system, and I think it’s a good idea to have them in your garden.
Well known, but not losing its status. The variant with the most vitamins is Rosa rugosa, which grows in green areas of the United States. A thorny shrub with wrinkled leaves and very fragrant flowers.
During our stay in some areas of California, we planted it along the perimeter of our neighborhood. The shrub is no higher than 5 feet (1.5 m), sprawling, healthy, and never frosts in temperatures as low as 45°F (-43°C) and “black frost” (no snow) to -13°F (-25°C).
It blooms once in June with semi-large, abundant flowers and willingly bears round apple-shaped, large 1.2inch (3cm) dark orange fruits.
The fruits are no less ornamental than the flowers. They are easy to pick and delicious to eat, right from the bush – the fruit has a thick, sweet, and tart flesh. A remarkable treasure trove of adaptogens, immunostimulants, and useful substances.
Sounds like a garden plant fan from eastern California told me, but the following is also from there. Schisandra Chinensis is a stunningly powerful and elegant garden plant. Its shoots are 32-50 feet (10-15 m) long and its trunk is no more than 0.8inch (2 cm) thick.
The shoots are very thin and curl around the support. If the support ends, they hang down gracefully. The bark is bright brown and the leaves are cheerful green in summer and lemon yellow in autumn. It spreads vigorously from the roots and you have to limit it. We just cut off the excess.
The plant is a single plant with male and female flowers. It is interesting that in some years the male flowers may dominate, and in other years – the female flowers. The lotus itself decides which sex it will be this year.
In the adult state, this problem is solved to some extent, and every year it comes to fruition. There are very rare cases when a vine is unambiguously a male or female plant.
Planted in a shady spot, in the sun, the lemongrass comes out on its own. in June, it produces white fragrant flowers, and in September, it ripens into bright red clusters of berries. Combined with the lemon leaves it is a spectacle.
Very powerful adaptogen and immunostimulant for the whole plant – berries, leaves, stems, roots, and even petioles. All parts of the plant have a lemon scent.
The Chinese put it in second place for its uses, after ginseng.
Hippophae rhamnoides is a plant, undetermined whether it is a shrub or a tree – it can be both. And with growth, it’s a different story.
In some areas, an adult male tree does not exceed 10 feet (3 meters) and a female tree does not exceed 5 feet (1.5 meters). And in California, I have seen 10foot (3m) tall trees with fruit in the garden. In general, it depends on the species, population, and territory.
The plant is a dicotyledonous plant. There must be male plants and female plants within 100foot (30m) you can grow many, different species. The plants have beautiful thin, narrow silvery leaves that work exceptionally well against a backdrop of green leafy garden plants.
The flowers are visible only to the most curious, but the berries can be eye-catching in a variety of shades from pale yellow to orange to red. The branches of the female plant are covered with berries. A beautiful sight!
Hippophae rhamnoides is very frost-tolerant, light-loving, does not like humidity and grows well in dry places. A significant disadvantage – it gives a lot of root shoots at a significant distance from the main stem, and you need to limit it.
But it reinforces slopes well. It is very prickly and difficult to collect. Nowadays there are many varieties, and it is quite possible to pick up low prickly children with dried berries separated.
This is a treasure trove of vitamins and useful substances. Living in California, we are ready to grind it raw in the winter, add sugar – freeze it. In winter, a few spoonfuls in a glass of water will give amazing results. Every winter, children happily drank it and did not miss school because of colds or viruses.
The benefits of Hippophae rhamnoides oil for the skin and mucous membranes cannot be overestimated: from burns to stomatitis – it cures everything and tissues regenerate quickly.
Also, homemade Hippophae rhamnoides oil is simple: the dried oil cake after juicing is ground in a coffee grinder and poured into refined oil in a ratio of 1: 1, to be adhered to for 2 weeks, stirring well. We put on a diffuser so that the process will be more interesting. Then squeeze and store in the refrigerator.
HOW ELSE CAN THE GARDEN HELP?
Spring starts with a lot of gardening activities. In other words, a sedentary lifestyle is replaced by an active one. There are no habits and sometimes complications. It is not difficult to prepare and at the same time stimulate immunity and relax in winter. As with exercise, a warm-up is necessary.
The maximum change of movements during the morning exercise will stretch the muscles and joints and disperse the stagnant blood. Nothing but blood can take away everything unnecessary from the muscles and organs without bringing in what is necessary. That is why it is necessary to hurry. There is no need to make a fuss, just get active.
To decentralize the lymphatic system, there is a good way – in the morning rub with a stiff bristle brush (blondes – not so stiff, their skin is thinner) from the fingertips to the torso, along the torso – in the direction of the lymph nodes (under the navel, under the arms, on the palms of the hands under the neck).
As an added bonus, you will improve your skin, reduce cellulite, and visibly tone your entire body.
Whenever the weather permits, it is best to do the procedure in the garden. Not only in terms of air baths, but also because all garden plants emit phytohormones into the air.
Not all of them smell like conifers: birches and oaks, for example, emit no fewer phytohormones than conifers, but you shouldn’t notice it (but a birch or oak bath broom does!). Phytochemicals destroy pathogens in the air and on the surface of the body. And also on the surface of the nasopharyngeal mucosa.
More about phytoncide: Living plants produce the greatest amount, especially when they have something to destroy. It is a form of defense of the plant and is beneficial to those around it. In nature, there is always something to be destroyed: by the wind, by insects, by birds.
This, by the way, is why cuttings smell so good – at this time the phytic acid is dark and the body feels it.
Garden work, especially in the spring, is the best way to prevent diseases (including viral ones) by regularly picking and eating spring greenery. More than six thousand viruses have been identified and described, and according to scientists’ rough estimates, there may be as many as a hundred million!
We live among them and will continue to do so. The human immune system has been adapted to them for millions of years, and one just needs to keep it in working order.
Good health to all! And a garden to the rescue!