There is this general love for plants and gardening in Singapore.
One can easily find greenery or potted plants at every turn on our tiny island.
Homes, Public spaces and even Offices. It’s like there’s this need in us to put some greenery in every environment.
However instead of growing edible plants like Herbs & Vegetables, many opt for Ornamental plants with some even go for “plastic greenery”. This is probably due to:
The lack of knowledge on how to grow Herbs & Vegetables (Ornamental plants seems to be easier)
Space constraint (the assumption that a lot of space is required to grow sufficient edibles)
Ornamental plants tend to be more colourful and thus more beautiful
To me, if I’m going to dedicate precious space at home to grow anything, it has to be useful. Beautifying up the place is not good enough, it must have a bigger purpose.
So here are my requirements for “the most useful plant to grow at home”:
Useful (either to feed my family or can be used as medicine to heal my family)
Does not take up much space (obviously)
Easy to grow (won’t die so easily, less maintenance)
Easy to use (does not require much preparation to use)
Safe (you’d be surprised that many plants commonly found in households actually actually contains toxins)
Indian Borage A.K.A Mexican Mint
Among all the herbs and vegetables that I’ve grown, the clear winner has to be Indian Borage. Indian Borage or Mexican Mint is a herb in the Mint family (commonly mistaken for peppermint). It is EASY to Grow, EASY to Use, Safe, and takes up no more space than a regular potted Herb. They can easily be found growing around Singapore and many Nurseries sell a pot for around $8.
The most amazing Feature about the Indian Borage is it’s many medical benefits.
Indian Borage wins all other plants in this category. While it is not a vegetable to fill your stomach, it’s medical properties can cure a large variety of common ailments that many Singaporeans experience from time to time.
Here are 3 ways Indian Borage works as an amazing treatment:
Treatment for skin
From the simple insect bites to itchy skin to Eczema and psoriasis. Indian Borage offers an effective remedy/treatment for these common skin issues.
It seems that Eczema is now a widespread problem in Singapore. Quick polls in my workshops reveal that close to 50% of participants have a family member or friend suffering from eczema.
The wonderful news is that after introducing Indian Borage to participants, I received phone calls from them sharing excitedly about how effective this herb was after only a few day’s use. It really is amazing!
Besides treating eczema, you can also treat those pesky mosquito/insect bites at home. It is natural, safer, healthier and maybe even cheaper than using pharmaceutical products.
Sore throat, Common Flu, Phlegm, Stuffy Nose, Sinuses
While it is common knowledge that chewing on the Indian Borage leaves helps to ease sore throats, there are also powerful compounds in the Indian Borage that eliminates mucus and phlegm from your respiratory system.
My family uses it even on our young children when they have the flu. By applying on the chest or drinking the liquid crushed from the leaves, it helped the little ones to breathe better with less whizzing. This resulted with a better night’s sleep for everyone. (Parents, take note!)
Stomach Upsets, Irritable Bowels, Stomach Cramps
While it is not the best natural remedy for stomach issues (I prefer using homemade enzymes), it is still very effective in regulating digestion, treating flatulence, stomach cramps and inflammation. Drinking Indian Borage Tea itself also helps to relieve stress.
Below is a list of other medical benefits of Indian Borage:
Detox the Body, Clear Toxin, Boosts your immune system, Anti-Inflammatory : reduces redness & swelling, Improve the Health of your Skin, Ease Pain, Relieve Stress, High Omega-6 content, reduce joint pain, Cancer Prevention
Like most herbs, Indian Borage doesn’t require much space. You can grow it in any container ranging from Bubble Tea cups, recycled waterbottles, regular pots and even directly into the ground which will give you a huge shrub. So it really depends on your preference.
Easy To Grow
GOOD NEWS! It’s ok if you have “murdered” multiple plants in the past, because Indian Borage is a very forgiving plant. Some people will tell you that, “It just keeps on growing!”.
It is also often labeled as one of the easiest plant to grow in Singapore. “Difficult” to kill!
Easy To Use
You don’t have to be an Ayurvedic or TCM Practitioner to use Indian Borage. Here’s 3 easy ways to use the herb:
1. Drink it as tea! Soak the leaves in hot water for 10 – 15 minutes before drinking the brew. This is the most commonly used method. Ideal for stomach issues, flu symptoms as well as general health improvement.
2. Chew on the leaves! It is a little more effective than drinking it as tea. Use this method if you want a more concentrated dose. Ideal for people experiencing Sore Throats.
3. Crush the leaves and apply/drink the liquid. Put a few leaves in a bowl and crush it with a spoon. Apply the resulting liquid on affected skin (eczema, insect bites, etc). You can also drink the liquid to receive a more concentrated dose as compared to drinking it as tea.
Unknown to many, there are a number of ornamental plants found in homes which contains traces of toxins or substances that may cause harm to pets. An example would be the Money Plant which can be found in homes. There are also plants like Bougain Villas or Lemon Plants which has sharp thorns that poses a risk to children and pets.
Indian Borage is classified as an edible herb and is therefore safe for consumption. It has soft stem and leaves without any dangerous thorns. In fact, it has a furry feel to it which is very nice to touch.
I hope you found this article useful and that it has inspired you to begin planting herbs like Indian Borage at home.
From nourishing food to medicinal herbs, I truly believe that nature has already provided us with everything we need for a healthy life. The question is whether do you want to let nature be your medicine.
If you’d like to learn how to grow Organic Herbs at home (even in HDBs), click on the Image or Red Button below!