Top Herbs For Your Garden This Spring: Dr. Mao's Wellness Living

Sunday, 31 Mar 2013, 6:00:00 AM

Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

This spring when you are thinking of starting or

renewing your herb garden, remember that herbs not only infuse your food with

flavor, but also give you better health!

Herbs have been part of every culture

and medical tradition since the earliest humans walked the earth for treatment

of everything from colds to digestive issues to depression.

They are easily

grown in your own home so you can have them on hand to use whenever the urge to

cook strikes you.


Rosemary has been used as a brain tonic in Chinese

traditional medicine for thousands of years. Rosemary contains oils that help

stimulate brain activities and increase brain alertness. One compound it

contains, cineole, has been found to enhance the ability of rats to navigate

mazes. So skip the harsh coffee and spice up your energy level with rosemary.

Other benefits include perking up your immune system and using it as a

digestion aid. Steep it as tea, use in your poultry dishes and soups – or just

crush some up to fill your home with an energizing scent.

Growing tips: Rosemary needs to live

in a very sunny window and may even need supplemental light. It is sensitive to

over watering so keep it on the dry side.


Peppermint, spearmint, and other mint-family plants are

considered one of the most versatile herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.

Peppermint has many well-documented properties: It increases healthy gastric

secretions, relaxes the intestines, soothes spasms, settles the stomach, and

alleviates gas. In a culture marked by poor diet and digestion – and the

heartburn that comes with it--peppermint can be your best friend. Additionally,

peppermint is rich in antioxidants that support good vision and also cleanses

your liver, helping to eliminate harmful toxins from your body. Steep

peppermint as a tea and drink it a half an hour after mealtimes for untroubled


Growing tips: Mint is an

easy-to-grow herb that is invasive, so be sure to grow it in its own pot.


When you’re suffering from a cold or the flu, steep

oregano in a pot of water and inhale the vapors, which are antibacterial,

antiviral and decongesting. This immunity-enhancing herb also settles digestion

and prevents bloating.

Growing tips: Oregano needs a lot of

light to grow so find a window with direct light or grow out-of-doors.


Chinese traditional medicine has long used sage to help

prevent the loss of mental function that comes with age. Sage has been found to

increase oxygen to the brain cortex and to help improve concentration. Sage is

easy on the digestion. Cook it up in soups and poultry dishes.

Growing tips: Sage can be a bit

difficult to grow. It is very sensitive to over watering because it is more

susceptible to mildew than other herbs.


A member of the garlic and onion family, chives have

been used throughout history for natural healing because they contain a

substantial amount of vitamin C as well as essential minerals such as

potassium, calcium, iron and folic acid. In Chinese medicine they are used to

clear stuffy noses, prevent bad breath, ease stomach aches, strengthen the

lower back, and improve poor circulation that gives you cold hands and feet.

Some serving suggestions? Chop up chives and add them to stir-fries or mix in

with ground poultry to stuff ravioli or dumplings.

Growing tips: Chives are

fairly easy to grow because they don’t require as much light as other herbs.


A favorite herb in Italian cooking, basil’s scent can

perk up your energy level and it is filled with luteolin, a bioflavonoid that

studies have shown to be the best protection of cell DNA from radiation.

Growing tips: Basil can be more

difficult to grow. Your best bet is to grow it during warm, bright summer


May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni,

best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and

board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake

Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. 

Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his

associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena.

Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than

25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. 

To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or

you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his

tip-filled newsletter please visit

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