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Coronavirus: Plants you can use to improve your home environment

Chantal Sajan on 16 Feb 2020

The Straits Times


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Want to improve your home environment now that you are spending so much time indoors?


Get one of these medicinal plants highlighted by horticulturists from National Parks Board (NParks). They can be readily found at plant shops and nurseries in Singapore, and are relatively easy to grow in apartments with spots of moderate to direct sunlight.


• The information above should not be taken as a substitute for professional medical advice. Readers should always consult a doctor before consuming medicinal plants.




The Indian Borage, also known as Mexican Mint, is highly aromatic and its leaves are commonly used to add flavour to meat and bean dishes.


The plant is traditionally used as a treatment for cough and inflammation or swelling. This plant will thrive in well-drained soil in a semi-shaded area with moderate watering. 




Gotu Kola is a herb commonly used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine.


Its leaves are used in Indian medicine for healing of wounds and burns and the Chinese use it to aid digestion and to treat sores and ulcers.


It requires little light and grows well in moist soil with regular watering. 




In Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and China, this plant is used in folk medicine to treat insect and snake bites, rashes and herpes simplex virus-induced lesions, as well as diabetes and gout. It contains antioxidants and compounds with anti-viral, anti-inflammatory or anti-diabetic efficacies.


However, more research is needed to determine how the plant can be used medicinally.


The plant thrives in well-drained soils with moderate watering and can be grown in full sun or semi-shade.




The aloe vera's leaves contain a clear, tasteless tissue which is often diced up and added to beverages and desserts.


The clear gel in its leaves can also be applied to minor cuts and burns to promote healing and is commonly added to skin moisturisers.


The hardy aloe plant requires little watering, and is best placed outdoors or at the balcony where it can receive direct sunlight. 




The leaves of the spearmint plant are used to flavour teas, desserts, candies, vegetable dishes and sauces.


Aside from culinary uses, it is commonly used in the production of essential oils, especially to relieve cold symptoms.


Drinking tea made from fresh spearmint leaves is believed to help relieve headaches, fever and digestive problems.


This low-maintenance plant should be planted in well-drained soils and requires only moderate watering. It can be grown in full sun or in semi-shaded areas.


Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.


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