Grow Your Own ‘Healing Garden’ With Medicinal Herbs

Plants.

The pandemic hobby that’s been sweeping the globe, and for good reason. Plants are amazing, beautiful, and improve air quality in your home.  Growing things is good for us.

Plants can be used for more than just looks and in fact, people have been using them for medicinal purposes for a long time. Plants, when incorporated properly, are good for our well-being, healing, gardening, food, beauty, and even ceremonies in our lives.

As it so happens, Mother Nature is a brilliant chemist and our predecessors have used plants and herbs in particular due to their ability to heal and promote good health. You can start growing your own garden and create treatments for common ailments at home.

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Have you ever wondered which plants were used for what?

I wanted to create a ‘healing garden’ but I had no clue where to start. I did a little research and now I have figured out what I want to grow and why. If you want to grow your own medicine cabinet, check out what I learned by reading on. You might be surprised to learn just how many uses herbs and plants can have. If it can save money your money and improve your families’ health along with giving you a hobby, why not try it out.

Always discuss herbal treatments with a qualified medical professional, particularly if using in combination with prescription medicines, if pregnant or nursing, or for children.

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Parsley

Parsley is a herb. I’m not particularly fond of it as a topping or garnich, which is where I usually see it used.

However, parsley can be used to help stimulate your appetite and improve digestion, increase urine production, reduce spasms, and increase menstrual flow. People have been known to use parsley on their chapped lips, to stimulate hair growth, to relieve insect bites, and on dark skin patches.

Lemon Balm

This perennial herbaceous plant is part of the mint family and has a prime spot in my healing garden.

The first documented use of lemon balm was over 2000 years ago by the Greeks and Romans who called it the “elixir of life”.  Nicholas Culpeper, a herbalist in 1655 suggested lemon balm should be for weak stomachs, to cause the heart to become merry, to help digestion, to open obstructions of the brain, and to expel melancholy vapors from the heart and arteries.

Lemon balm can be used alone or as or with other herbs. People use it to alleviate anxiety, stress, insomnia, indigestion (dyspepsia), and more, however, there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.

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I find it to be the perfect mosquito and tick repellent! Mosquitoes have a sensitive sense of smell, and those herbs overpower anything else. The flowering plant will mask and overpower the smell of your skin, meaning they’re less likely to come near you.

When growing this plant, make sure you provide it with good quality soil, water, and lots of sunshine. You should avoid lemon balm if you have a hypothyroid because it can negatively affect your thyroid medications.

Sage

With woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers sage is another member of the mint family with a long history of medicinal and culinary use.

Sage has been used since ancient times for warding off evil, snakebites, increasing women’s fertility, and more. and more. The Romans called it the “holy herb”.

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These days, people mostly use sage for its savory, almost peppery flavor. Sage is very high in vitamin K, and it also contains vital minerals like magnesium, zinc, and copper. Sage is said to help with the overall health of the body and can act as a sedative, helping you to fall asleep faster.

One study found that drinking tea made from sage both raised antioxidant defenses and lowered LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Women who drank two cups of sage tea every day saw these benefits, as well as an increase in good cholesterol levels.

Rosemary

This famous star of the culinary world with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers comes to us from the Mediterranean corner of the world. It’s another member of the mint family.

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Rosemary is as old as time and was first mentioned in 5000 BC. It was used by Egyptians as part of the burial ceremony. Before learning about its medicinal uses, I thought of it primarily as a way to season roast lamb. However, rosemary was considered sacred to ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks.

Rosemary is high in antioxidants and has mild analgesic (pain relief) properties. Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your summer fun, for repellent purposes, the live plant, cuttings from the plant, and rosemary essential oil are all effective at repelling mosquitoes.

People with high blood pressure need to exercise caution using rosemary medicinally.

Thyme

Thyme is an aromatic perennial evergreen herb that is part of the mint family. With culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses I already had some growing. First used by the Ancient Egyptians for embalming, thyme was also used in baths by the ancient Greeks and Romans for air purification.

In my humble opinion, this is one of the best herbs you can grow in your garden.  Not only does it smell great but thyme also has disinfectant properties, and can be used as an effective wash for skin infections or as a great sore throat rinse. People have also been known to use it as a preventative treatment for coughs, congestion, indigestion, and gas.

One study on mice even found the herb was comparable to anti-inflammatory drugs – but more research is needed for humans.

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Echinacea

These stunning flowering plants are believed to be great for the immune system. Did you know it was a member of the daisy family? Adding echinacea to your daily wellness routine may boost your immune system and give you an extra layer of protection against catching a cold.  

Echinacea has been used medicinally to treat a variety of ailments, including infections and wounds, it’s certainly a popular herbal supplement, though, as of 2017, the benefit, if any, appears to be small. When taken by mouth, Echinacea does not usually cause side effects but has interactions with various drugs prescribed for diseases so check with your doctor before

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Lavender

Where would we be without the lovely lavender? There is a color named after this beloved member of the mint plant family. Commercially, the plant is grown mainly for the production of lavender essential oil.

Lavender is also used in cooking as a spice or condiment in portions of pasta, salads, dressings, and desserts.

Since ancient times, lavender has been used to treat many different ailments and is said to benefit your health in a variety of ways including:

  • mental health issues
  • anxiety
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • headaches
  • hair loss
  • nausea
  • acne
  • toothaches
  • skin irritations

However, many of its uses are not conclusive.

Calendula

Meet another member of the daisy family. The calendula is one of the two birth flowers for the month of October, the other being cosmos.

Though calendula was not considered a major medicinal herb, it was used in historic times for headaches, red eyes, fever, and toothaches. The petals are edible and are often used in salads or on top of cakes.

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Calendula oil is still used medicinally today, often as an alternative remedy to treat various skin conditions as well as improve the quality and appearance of the skin. Calendula extracts have antiviral, antigenotoxic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Caution: Calendula plants are known to cause allergic reactions and should be avoided during pregnancy.

Aloe Vera

This fabulous succulent is cultivated and grown worldwide for its agricultural and medicinal uses. Fun fact, it is a member of the same plant family as garlic and onions.

This “miracle plant” has been used for centuries for medicinal and beauty purposes. It was said to be the secret to Cleopatra’s beauty. Widely known for its ability to treat sunburns and to help heal wounds. There are so many ways you can take advantage of this plant that we have a whole article on it.

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Chamomile

Ah, chamomile. My favorite bedtime tea. Did you know that it’s easy to grow and cultivate yourself? Chamomile tea is simply an infusion made from dried flowers and hot water.

Chamomile has been used as a traditional medicine for thousands of years to calm anxiety and settle stomachs.

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Mint

Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow and should definitely be one in your garden. Like many of the mint-family members, this herb contains strongly aromatic oils. There are many safe uses for mint including cooking, in baths, as a salve, in a tea. The list goes on.

Loaded with antioxidants and vitamins that may help with digestion, inflammation, and pain, mint is also used widely for treating nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain at home.

Ginger

Ginger is a flowering plant whose root is widely used as a spice and for its medicinal qualities. It belongs to the same family as turmeric.  Ginger is a tropical plant, and it’s fairly hard to grow in regions that are less warm and humid. If you want to grow it and you don’t live in a tropical climate, it will need to be done indoors.

Ginger makes a great addition to teas, tinctures, and fermented foods, as well as in meals. Ginger is highly effective against nausea and has anti-inflammatory properties. It is also said to be decongesting and increases circulation. Ginger has been shown to lower blood sugar levels and improve various heart disease risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes.

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Dandelion

Though most gardeners are not fans of the pesky dandelion, this plant has long been used in herbal medicine to aid in digestion and help stimulate the appetite. Every part of the plant is edible.

Herbalists today believe that dandelion is of use to many ailments, including acne, eczema, high cholesterol, heartburn, gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, and more. Some of the claims are better supported by research than others.

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Valerian

Valerian is a plant that bears sweet-smelling pink or white flowers in the summer. The root of the valerian plant has been used since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates even spoke of it.

Valerian was traditionally used for sedation or pain relief but studies have shown mixed results. Perhaps it’s all in the head, but when I have consumed the tea, I do feel sleepy.

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BONUS:

There’s a super simple way to freeze your herbs in olive oil so that they will be as fresh as the day you cut them any time of the year.