In Summary
  • As we walk around his botanical haven right opposite Safari Park Hotel, five herbs stand out.
  • This herb is effective in treating common colds and pain and its sweet smell plays a therapeutic role if inhaled. He recommends peppermint spice in rice, juice and smoothies.
  • Lemongrass produces circuses, which are easier to plant and maintain and it also grows at an almost alarming speed with little to no special attention, according to Simon.
  • When it comes to watering your plants, the size of your jar or trough should determine the amount of water to use.

As age sets in, we begin to yearn for natural solutions. You will find yourself wanting to drink herbal tea straight from your garden, or cook with natural fresh spices rather than processed products in plastic containers. Natural plants not only provide health benefits but also add beauty and life to a space. Simon Ngata, a former chef and a skilled landscaping artist, understands and appreciates the benefits of plants.

Having worked as a chef, he highly recommends the use of natural plants as spices or for medicinal use. As we walk around his botanical haven right opposite Safari Park Hotel, five herbs stand out. You can also add glamour to your kitchen while living a healthy lifestyle by growing these five herbs indoors:

PEPPERMINT

his herb is effective in treating common colds and pain and its sweet smell plays a therapeutic role if inhaled. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

With an astounding resemblance to common weeds, peppermint is one of the sweetest smelling herbs in the market. You would recognise it with ease if your favourite candy or toothpaste has the “mint” flavour. Simon recalls using it as an additive in pineapple juice to mute the slightly bitter taste in pineapple pulp, during his time as a chef.

This herb is effective in treating common colds and pain and its sweet smell plays a therapeutic role if inhaled. He recommends peppermint spice in rice, juice and smoothies. When it comes to planting, all you need is adequate lighting and an ample supply of water. It also survives well alongside other common spices like rosemary as seen in Ngata’s garden.

STRAWBERRY

The most amazing bit about strawberries as Simon explains is their productivity. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

Strawberry is mostly famed for flavouring yogurt, ice cream and cake varieties, but there is more to this plant than we are told. The strawberry plant produces small fruits which can be eaten or used to flavour different pastries. They have numerous health benefits such as boosting the immune system and improving eyesight.

The most amazing bit about strawberries as Simon explains is their productivity. The produce their fruits at a very early stage thus limiting the time one has to tend to the plant before reaping. If you fancy vanilla rather than strawberry flavour, there’s nor harm ib havinf the latter in your kitchen, if only for its aesthetic appeal.

LEMONGRASS

Lemongrass can be used for painful joints and to ease symptoms of indigestion. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

This is one of the most common yet timeless herbs in African culture. It is what we would call a survivor plant since it needs very little attention to survive indoors as well as outdoors. Instead of adorning the house with plastic grass, lemongrass would be a great addition. It is commonly used to spice up tea and it comes with countless health benefits.

Lemongrass can be used for painful joints and to ease symptoms of indigestion. To cap it all, it makes great tea. Who would say no to a sizzling cup of tea that calms the nerves after a long day at work? Lemongrass produces circuses, which are easier to plant and maintain and it also grows at an almost alarming speed with little to no special attention, according to Simon.

ALOE VERA

You will find numerous cosmetic products in the market using the name ‘Aloe Vera’ to attract clients. PHOTO| FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP

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