Growing herbal medicines in your garden provides plenty of benefits. Aside from cutting down the cost of buying these products online or at a store, herbal medicines off many health benefits as well, with garden cures just a few feet away. That’s why more and more people are now growing their own herbal medicines right in their own backyard (or even indoors).
Herbal Medicines Used Throughout History
Natural plant products and home-remedies have been used throughout history for many purposes. Sage, for example, was used as a detoxifier and to “clear negative energy,” as well as a remedy for spasms, cuts, bruises, and abdominal cramps. Sage, also, makes a very refreshing tea and is another exceptional healing plant that’s easy to grow!
There are many herbal medicines with powerful healing properties which are easy to grow right at home. Here are a few popular plants to consider.
Turmeric is known in some parts of the world as “yellow ginger,” possibly because of its outward similarity to ginger root. However, don’t let the earthy appearance of this magical root fool you. Turmeric is very popular in Indian culture, frequently included in curry dishes, and has many medical/health benefits, including treatments for:
- Stomach pain
- Many More
Turmeric can be grown either directly in the yard or in a pot/planter. Originating from India, this super plant grows best in warm, humid climates so if you live in the northern part of the US, you may want to use a greenhouse or plant indoors with an appropriately-sized pot.
Sage offers a unique scent that can transform your potpourri, but a little known fact is that sage can also help to soothe coughs and general throat irritation. Sage is known to reduce the length and the severity of colds and sinus congestion, sometimes-preventing infection and it’s one of the best antiseptic herbs.
These multi-cloved bulbs pack a powerful, healthy punch and they’re super easy to grow herbal medicines. In fact, you probably already have all you need to get started: a few cloves of garlic, a well-draining location for planting, and something that can be used as mulch.
Experts have determined that garlic’s magic happens when the clove is chopped, smashed, or chewed, releasing sulfur compounds that aid in:
- Digestion problems
- Fighting common ailments like cold or flu
- Reducing blood pressure
- Improving cholesterol levels
- Combating Alzheimer’s Disease
- Many More
Garlic should be planted in Autumn and covered to protect it during the winter. Harvesting generally happens around the beginning of August, after the leaves have turned brown. Aside from the health benefits, this herb is great for flavoring just about any savory dish!
This is not just a beautiful, purple plant that is easy on the eyes. Aside from helping you fall asleep, lavender also provides wonderful health benefits such as:
- Stress/anxiety relief
- Improving blood circulation
- Pain relief
- Treating Acne
- Much more
There are different species of lavender and the type you choose, depends on which climate you live in. HGTV suggests cooler climates are ideal for the English varieties and humid climates are more suitable for the French and Spanish varieties. They thrive in a few hours of direct sunlight per day, in a well-drained area of fertilized soil.
One of the most popular herbal medicines, Aloe Vera can be found in many health and beauty products for hair and skin but it is not just a great treatment for smooth skin, shiny hair, and premature wrinkles. Having the sprigs of aloe vera reaching out from your garden is a rewarding sight when you have a minor burn, cut, or scrape. But the benefits of aloe don’t stop there! Aloe can be used to treat:
- Much more
Aloe can be grown indoors, too, when you live in a climate that is not conducive to the warm weather it thrives in. Be sure you have a well-draining pot/soil and don’t overwater aloe. The roots of the aloe vera plant spread wide, rather than deep so it’s best to make sure you have a wide pot to plant it in, in direct sunlight.
Peppermint is well known for being an excellent choice for soothing stomach upset and can help promote positive digestion. The refreshing taste of peppermint tea is known to help soothe stress and tension, and ease headaches related to both. Drinking peppermint tea can improve your overall digestive system and help improve the absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat.
The nopal cactus (also known as the Prickly Pear cactus) is a super easy, healthy plant you can grow by sticking a pad right into the ground! In contrast to bushy, flowery plants, the nopal can grow as tall as a small tree and add an interesting contrast to your garden. The gel from inside the nopal plant can be used as a beauty treatment and the leaves themselves can be used as a healthy addition to a balanced meal. Nopal has been used to treat:
- Liver conditions
You can grow Nopal from seed but this will take quite awhile. By taking a healthy pad from an existing plant and simply sticking it in the ground, your nopal can grow quite big, and pretty quickly too!
Rosemary is known to help boost memory, concentration, and even your mood! Rosemary contains two key ingredients: rosemarinic acid and caffeic acid that are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents, and it’s a natural breath sweetener.
Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family, has a fresh lemony scent, and can help soothe anxiety and nervous tension. When steeped in tea, it can help promote positive and peaceful sleeping patterns and can help soothe and speed the healing process of cold sores.
Moringa originates from India and is a huge health secret that needs to be taken seriously! The leaves of the moringa tree (“Miracle Tree”) can be used to make a tea or eaten raw, right off the branch! This marvelous tree has been used for thousands of years as herbal medicines for:
- Increasing antioxidants
- Reduce inflammation
- Lower cholesterol
- Treating liver problems
- Boosting immune systems
- Much more
Moringa grows best in fast-draining, sandy soils. They are quick growers and – in the right growing conditions – you could have a moringa salad with your eggs in the morning within a couple of months. Although they can be grown from seed, the easiest method is to grow from a cutting. When your moringa reaches maturity, be sure to break off existing branches to plant the next one.
Catnip is coveted by cats but it’s loaded with plenty of healing properties for humans, too! Catnip tea is known to be a great detoxifier for the body. It’s also known for relieving headaches, especially migraines. Although it drives cats crazy (in a good way), to humans it has a very relaxing effect. Catnip is also known for balancing the digestive system, provides relief from toothaches and is a great anti-inflammatory.
From as long ago as 3,000 B.C., indigenous people have been using the healing properties of nature. It is rumored that American Indians learned the healing properties of plants by watching how animals used them to treat ailments.
No matter how these practices were learned, thankfully the knowledge has been passed down and now, healthy plants are a rewarding part of any garden – indoor or outdoor.
Although any garden has health benefits, the pleasure of knowing you have an all-natural remedy growing right at home is tough to beat. The gain of doing a low-cost (or free) healthy garden can’t be measured and just think: you’ll have all of these healing remedies without a prescription!