Interested in learning about the potent healing properties of herbs first hand? Try growing these traditional herbs in your own garden. They are easy to care for once they get started and provide a wealth of medicinal and culinary value.
It is important to note that different herbs have different light, soil, and drainage needs, so you will want to pick the herbs that are most suited to the conditions in your garden.
Nettle is a perennial favorite that grows well in a variety of soil types. It prefers partial to full shade, but will also grow in sun. It likes to spread, so it best to give it a small bed of its own or keep it in a container.
Nettle provides iron and trace minerals. You can make a tea or tincture, blend it in green smoothies, or steam it like spinach. It can treat bladder irritation, diarrhea, and other digestive disorders. Nursing mothers can drink nettle tea to help their milk flow, and it can help relieve menstrual and muscle cramps. It can also relieve pain in arthritic joints.
Some varieties of nettle can cause skin irritations (stinging nettles), use gloves or tools when working with these varieties.
Cilantro is a delightful herb that has both culinary and medicinal properties. It will grow easily from seed and produce more seed, which can be dried and used as a spice (aka coriander) or replanted. Cilantro is hardy and adaptable, though it likes full sun and well-drained soil.
Cilantro draws heavy metals out of the body and is great for supporting the bodys natural detoxification processes. It stimulates the production of more digestive enzymes and acids. It also reduces inflammation, lowers blood sugar, provides trace minerals, and eases mood swings and menstrual cramps. And cilantro is high in anti-oxidants and has anti-septic and anti-fungal properties. I like to put a big handful of cilantro in my smoothies everyday, as the cleansing benefits increase over time.
Rosemary is another easy to grow herb that is great in the kitchen and medicine cabinet. It likes sandy, well-drained soil. Once it is established it will thrive with minimal care, and prefers to dry out between waterings.
Externally, rosemary can be used to treat dandruff, dry scalp, and skin irritations. As a natural preservative, it is an aromatic addition to homemade lotions and salves. Rosemary has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also supports the liver and helps balance estrogen levels. Preliminary tests indicate that it may be effective in helping to prevent breast cancer, leukemia, lung cancer, and prostate cancer.
Peppermint brings a distinctive fresh scent to the garden. It will take over any space it is given, so it is best to grow it in pots or an isolated bed. Peppermint likes moist, well-drained soil and full sun, but beyond that it is happiest when left alone. You can harvest leaves anytime once they mature, and no replanting will be necessary mint is the gift that keeps on giving.
Peppermint tea is a fabulous digestive aid. It can help upset stomach, indigestion, diarrhea, cramps, and nausea. Applied topically in a poultice, salve, or tincture, it relieves muscle spasms and inhibits the growth of bacteria and viruses.
Parsley is another useful herb that also doubles as a food. It grows well in most types of soil and enjoys full sun or partial shade and moderate waterings.
Parsley is very, very high in vitamins C and K, and contains a good amount of iron, vitamin A, and folate. This gives it potent anti-oxidant properties. The volatile oils in parsley inhibit tumor growth and neutralize the benzopyrenes carcinogens found in cigarette and charcoal grill smoke.
Comfrey makes a great border plant, as it both protects the garden from encroaching weeds and adds nutrients to the soil. Comfrey likes rich soil, but is adaptable to different soil types and watering schedules. It likes full sun to partial shade.
Comfrey has been used traditionally to promote external and internal healing. It can be used to treat wounds, cuts, colds, fractures, and broken bones, though there is some debate that it may be toxic when taken in large amounts internally.
Chamomile is a sweet-smelling, tiny flower that will attract bees and butterflies to your garden. It is easy to grow, though it likes full sun, slightly cooler climates, and well-drained sandy loam. If you leave a few flowers on each plant, chamomile will re-sow itself and provide another harvest or two before winter.
Chamomile makes a mild, relaxing tea that is excellent for soothing stomachs and insomnia. It is gentle enough to give to children and elderly people, as long as they are not allergic to plants in the daisy family. Strong teas and tinctures of chamomile can be used to treat inflammation, colic, infection, tension, and muscle spasms.
You can turn your yard into a thriving natural medicine cabinet with these healing herbs. The burst of scents and color will provide comfort to your heart, while the medicinal and culinary properties will enhance your meals and support your health.