Homegrown Herbal Remedies
Labels on store-bought herbs rarely indicate how the plant was grown, how long the material was exposed to light and heat when stored in a plastic container. Grow your own to ensure the best quality and potency of your herbal medicine.
“The main benefit is the ability to develop a relationship with the herb,” says John Bredesen, an herbalist and professor at the California School of Herbal Studies. Even the novice gardener can use Bredesen’s list of nine medicinal herbs to prepare simple home remedies like tea and brine.
Calendula (Calendula Officinalis)
Calendula may also be known as Pot Marigold. It has been an antifungal, antiseptic and healing ally for centuries. Like daisies, the petals of these cheerful yellow-orange flowers add soothing properties to many natural beauty products and diaper creams.
Calendula is a perennial plant that blooms throughout the season. It is a great addition to a full sun garden. Choose fresh petals. You can also cover and dry the whole flower overnight before sowing.
Cilantro (Coriandrum Sativum)
Cilantro boasts has a unique flavor that people either love or hate. The leaves often garnish Mexican and Thai dishes. Its seeds, called coriander, are an important ingredient in Indian curries.
Coriander grows best in a cool, moist garden and grows quickly in warm climates.
Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)
The oil, tannins and bitterness of lemon balm’s aromatic leaves and flowers have a calming and antispasmodic effect on the stomach and nervous system. According to a 2008 study, when applied topically, it can help fight viruses like herpes simplex.
Lemon balm is quite palatable and mild for babies when made into a glycerin-based tea or tincture.
This calm and thriving perennial makes a beautiful bright green spot in the garden and is an excellent plant for keeping cool. Dried herbs lose some potency after six months.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
Spearmint and spearmint are common flavors in toothpaste and chewing gum. Both have a very refreshing aroma, but the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) reports that mint is more potent than its culinary cousin.
When consumed as a tea, mint relieves digestive problems such as indigestion and vomiting. It can also relieve muscle pain when applied topically as a liquid or lotion.
All mints are widely distributed in the wet garden. Consider planting each plant in its own large pot. Pick the leaves just before flowering. A little longer and they will start to taste bitter.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary is an excellent healer. This woody perennial boosts energy and confidence and boosts memory and concentration by providing more oxygen to the brain. It’s a highly stimulating alternative to caffeine when you need a second wind.
This row of hardy, drought-tolerant plants makes a bee-friendly perennial hedge. All you need in your garden is a plant – a little help.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Mullein’s soothing properties can help treat bronchial respiratory infections. The leaves are commonly added to cough medicine.
Make room for this beautiful and spectacular biennale and be amazed. Strong yellow flower stalks rise from dense, finely hairy rosettes of leaves, reaching about 6 feet into the sky.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
The thin stems and small leaves of this ground cover do not match the great strength with which medieval Europeans associated it. Many people believe in the herb’s ability to increase courage and prevent nightmares.
Modern herbalists rely on the antibacterial and antiseptic properties of thyme oil to protect against colds and winter flu. In addition to the pure species, there are many varieties, including sweet-tasting citrus fruits that are perfect for treating children’s gastroenteritis.
Long known for its sweet scent, lavender also has medical benefits as a mild antidepressant, which according to several studies can also benefit your nervous system. Add lavender oil to your bath to relieve stress, tension and insomnia. It is also used in creams to treat sunburn and acne.
Lavender woody plants prefer warm, sunny and dry environments. Fresh flowers are delicious in small amounts in salads, honey, butter, lemon, and even shortbread. If you’re experienced, try making an herbal heating pad or eye pillow with fragrant dried flowers.
German chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Delicate apple-scented chamomile proves that gentle doesn’t mean ineffective. It is mainly grown for its small yellow flowers.
NCCIH You Source reports that chamomile is one of the best herbs for treating pain, nervous tension, infections and indigestion in children. In fact, the chamomile tea that Peter Rabbit’s mother made for him after he chased Ann. Stinging McGregor!
Herbal Garden Allies
This easy-to-grow herb is great for your garden and your family’s health. Many of these attract beneficial insects, including bees. They can also help repel harmful insects from more susceptible nearby plants.
Make sure you choose plants that are suitable for the light, water and temperature conditions in your garden. For example, rosemary, lavender and mullein are best for warm, dry areas in full sun. Cilantro and mint prefer rich, shady areas.