Lifestyle

15 Medicinal Herbs You Can Grow In Your Home Garden That Will Help You Sustain Your Health

For culinary purposes, herbs are used in most food dishes across the planet. Just like salt or pepper, herbs are used to flavor a piece of… Simi - December 5, 2017

For culinary purposes, herbs are used in most food dishes across the planet. Just like salt or pepper, herbs are used to flavor a piece of food, this compares to vegetables which add actual nutritional value to a meal. Plants are full of exotic compounds called collectively phytochemicals. These are produced due to the stationary nature of plants; they need more internal defenses to fight off numerous forms of competition such as viruses, pathogens, and animals.

Chinese medicine has its’ base in herbalism, as do many traditional Indian, European and South American medicines. In a more modern capacity, the uses of cannabis in medical treatment have begun to be more accepted in both the medical fraternity and by governments. Cannabis contains a phytochemical called CBD which helps with the treatment of numerous neurological disorders.

Throughout history, many ailments have been cured or believed to be cured by herbs such as diarrhea, depression, flu, plague, fever, and colds. The spiritual aspect of herbs should be noted as well, cultures around the world use different herbs for religious ceremonies. Rastafarians and Hindus’ smoke Cannabis believing it allows them to communicate easier with their god. Myrrh and Frankincense (from the Bible) were used across the Middle East, Pagans and Christians both use herbs found across Europe indigenously, whilst North Americans use sage and cedar in their renowned ceremonies.

Many herbs with psychoactive properties are used in South America due to the Amazing rainforest and the diversity of plant life it offers on the continent. So which herbs can you grow in your own house/garden? We have a great list for you below…

Lemon Balm

The lemon balm is a native plant to the Southern Europe and Asia. It is a small plant that grows to a maximum length of 59 inches (150 cm). Its leaves have a wonderful smell of both lemon and mint. The herb is used to flavor tea, attract bees for honey production and as an aromatic in rooms. The oil of the leaves is extensively used in Aromatherapy.

The plant itself contains numerous useful chemicals such as rosmarinic, caffeic, protocatechuic acids, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds. These compounds are useful to the well-being of the body. The plant is used as a medicine to treat many infections. It has the capability to fight herpes (though it has not been scientifically determined yet how it does that). It’s used in treating stomach cramps, menstrual cramps, loss of appetite, headaches, colds, migraines, and toothache.

The plant itself is very tough and can handle both the acidic and alkaline soils. It cannot, however, survive frost so keep that in mind when deciding whether to plant it indoors or outside. Lemon balm is a hardy perennial shrub that is tolerant to USDA Zone 4.  it grows well in warmer climates and most people plant it outdoors. It is free seeding which means when grown in a pot, it will spread throughout the garden.

If you are considering growing it indoors, it won’t do well as it should like when grown outdoors.  Give it as much light as possible when grown indoors, possibly up to five hours a day. Although it needs regular watering, ensure there is good drainage. the plant requires free-draining soil and you can apply a weak liquid fertilizer throughout the growing season.    

Dill

The different parts of the plant are used in human societies. For instance, the leaves are used as a herb, whilst the seeds are common and loved spice. The dill is used extensively across Europe and Central Asia. It’s used as a traditional spice mostly for culinary purposes. Most people believe it has medical uses to alleviate jaundice, headache, lack of appetite, stomach problems, nausea and liver problems. The claims haven’t been scientifically proven yet.

Dill is known however to calm the bacteria that promote a gassy digestive system. It is also a great source of Vitamins A, C, and B-6 along with amino acids, copper.  Other benefits include fiber, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium and potassium, all of which are important for bodily purposes. Along with any digestive uses of Dill, it is also used to help to treat urinary tract disorders, bronchitis, migraines. Furthermore, it cures gallbladder infections, liver issues, and hemorrhoids.

Dill is best planted mid-spring, the plant itself needs a lot of sunshine, the more the better. Due to its relatively rapid growth (and death after it buds), dill needs frequent watering with a well-draining soil and little to no cold weather. Due to the hollow nature of the stems, the plant is also vulnerable to strong winds.

The efficient way to plant it is directly from the seeds rather than transplanting it. Planting it is easy and you just need to scatter the seeds in the desired location. This should be done after the last frost and cover the seeds with a light soil. It requires a lot of sunshine and doesn’t mind if it’s fertile soil or not.

Lavender

The plant is originally from the Cape Verde and the Canary Islands off the West African Coast. The Lavender’s official name is Lavandula. When one refers to Lavender, you could be referring to one of the 47 plants that are all closely related. They are found across the globe these days.

Lavender essence is used in many commercial products due to its’ aromatic nature which many people find very pleasant. It is commonly used in soaps, shampoos, creams, as well as many other cosmetic products. Lavender is also used in some foods to add flavor. The flesh lavender is recommended as the smell and medical components dissipate quickly as the herb dries out.

Lavender helps to fight upset stomachs. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat minor wounds or cuts. Due to its relaxing properties, Lavender is often used to treat stress disorders and to help people’s ability to relax and ‘’unwind’’. Lavender is best grown in sandy soils that are well drained and receive large amounts of sun. It can be grown indoors or outdoors but can be damaged by strong winds or cold, so keep that in mind when deciding where to pot the plant/seeds.

The plants are adaptable to many growing conditions but do well in warm, well-drained soil and with lots of sum. They need a lean soil to allow a higher concentration of oils. The alkaline or chalky soil is most suitable to intensify the lavender’s fragrance.  Once established, the plant is drought resistant. Consider applying a small quantity of compost in the planting hole and regular watering during the first season.   

Oregano

This plant is part of the Mint family (along with lavender, coriander, and many other herbs).  The oregano is commonly used in many Western Mediterranean dishes as well as Mexican foods. This is due to the influence of the Spanish on the local culture in the past.

It is a rich source of Vitamins A, C, E and K.  Oregano has numerous chemical properties that can assist humans in several ways. This includes working as antioxidant, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, carminative, diuretic, diaphoretic, expectorant and mild tonic properties. Additionally, Oregano can be used to help alleviate the following conditions: muscle aches, vomiting, fevers, bloated feelings. It can also cure menstrual cramps, loss of appetite, acne, dandruff, bronchitis, asthma, toothaches and a sore throat.

It is a Mediterranean plant that is grown as a culinary herb. It also makes a good edging plant and ground cover that needs small maintenance. It likes well-drained soil and full sun.  The rich soil has a negative effect on the plant as it dilutes the pungency of the flavor. Once established, you should pinch the flowers to keep the plants bushy. Pinching also prevents bolting to seed.

Oregano is a relatively small plant growing up to 60cm tall. It is best grown in the arid conditions. Moisture and over-watering can kill the plant so be careful on the herbs location. It also requires large amounts of sun. The herb is best planted in early spring and can be cultivated sometime during the summer of early autumn. In winter, you need to protect the plants by covering them with an evergreen bough. This will protect them from damage from the weather.

Parsley

Parsley is a native plant from the Mediterranean. it is a common ingredient in dishes around the Western world.  It is a small plant that grows to only 30cm in length.  It can be grown in either sunny or shady condition, though if exposed to a lot of sun, its best to keep the soil moist. The plant dislikes cold conditions so its best grown at the end of Winter.

Parsley is filled with antioxidants that fight the causes of cancer as well as flavonoids and folic acids. Parsley also contains the Vitamins C, B-12, K and A which all help cell functions in the body. Parsley is known to alleviate UTI’s (Urinary Tract Infections), constipation, Kidney stones, colic, jaundice, and diabetes. It cures the coughs, asthma, high blood pressure, and osteoporosis. Parsley can also be used as a breath freshener for those who need one during a long workday.

Parsley is used as a garnish in many culinary dishes across Europe, Asia, and Africa. It has become common in both North and South America as well as Australia and New Zealand. The plant is grown as dill, carrots, and celery. There are two types of parsley which are the flat-leaf and curly leaf. The flat-leaf has a strong flavor and is mostly used for cooking foods.  The seeds can be sown into the garden soil, three to four weeks before the last frost

Curly-leaf has a good flavor and it makes a colorful display in the garden.  The plant can grow equally well indoors when planted in a container. It is drought tolerant and uses the water sparingly. They need sunshine and make sure that they are exposed to the sun. If grown in the garden near other plants, they will transmit their flavor to them.  

Rosemary

When people talk of Rosemary, they could be discussing any one of 4 subspecies that are grown and cultivated around the world. Native to North Africa and the Western Mediterranean, the plant can grow rather large, often to sizes exceeding 1.5m. This large size means that though it takes time, entire crops of the plant are commercially viable. Its natural habitat being North Africa, the plant thrives in sandy or dry soils with good drainage. It needs a decent amount of sunlight and watering periodically. Any exposure to extreme cold will result in the plant quickly dying, it is just not adapted to cold climates.

The herb itself contains numerous phytochemicals such as phytonutrients, anti-inflammation compounds, essential fatty acids and anti-allergenic compounds. It is also a great source of calcium and iron for those who have said deficiencies as well as Vitamin B6. The herb has an aromatic scent that coon sooth headaches. It also helps alleviate depression, muscle spasms, dandruff, indigestion, gout and oddly enough premature baldness.

For cooking, Rosemary is often used to complement the cooking process of meat dishes.  The cooking process releases a mustard-like flavor that works well with pork, beef, lamb, duck, and rabbit. It also works well with Fish. Rosemary tea is also popular for those like a slightly bitter taste.

It is easy to grow in a pot and you can bring it indoors during the winter. The plant is propagated through cuttings and it can also be rooted in a glass of water. In warmer weather, it can grow in the ground for the whole year. It needs sandy and well-drained soil. You will help it flourish by allowing it get 6-8 hours of sunshine.

Mint

Mint is one of the world’s most popular herbs and is used both for culinary and medical purposes. Popular in many teas and drinks, mint adds a freshness and crisp to any liquid that many find very pleasant. The herb can also be used in many desserts such as jellies or ice cream. Mint chocolate is one of the bestselling confectioneries across the globe. Mint is an essential ingredient in many medical remedies and cosmetic items such as toothpaste, chewing gum, mouth rinses and medical teas.

Mint is known to lessen the effects of stomach cramps and an effective counter to irritable bowel. Mint can also help clear nasal passages whether caused by hay fever or the common flu. Mint also contains Iron, Calcium, Manganese and the Vitamins A as well as C which both help promote a healthy immune system.

This is a fast-growing plant that spreads extensively. When planted ensure that you provide them a lot of space to spread or plant them is a pot. They send out runners that go above and underground. This forms a big, lush green patches. Some homes grow them in tighter areas such as pave-ways. When you brush them while walking the leaves produce a nice fragrance.

Mint is planted in the spring or fall in areas where it doesn’t frost. They can also be grown in a pot and place it in the kitchen to keep an eye on it. Water can be added to moist the soil. Should you prefer growing it in a garden, choose a damp area where there is full sunlight or part shade. The plant flourishes well with a bit of fertilizer.

Basil

This is another member of the Mint family. It is thought but not confirmed that Basil is native to parts of India and spread through the Old World. this was done through the trade routes before the Bronze Age Collapse. There is documented evidence of Basil being traded from over 5000 years ago.

Basil is a cooking herb that one can easily grow in gardens with sufficient sunshine. As with other members of the plant species, is vulnerable to cold and is best grown when spring has sprung. The plant also spreads eastward and is a common addition to both Asian and South East Asian dishes. Despite being used on cooking; basil is best added right at the end of the cooking process as the natural flavors. This breaks down quickly when exposed to the prolonged heat. Basil is also used as a dressing or part of a sauce when chopped into very fine pieces. It is very popular as part of a pesto. The seeds of the plant are used in the production of many traditional Asian drinks.

Basil is packed with many helpful nutrients: Vitamins A, C, and K are found in higher than normal quantities. The others include manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, copper, iron, and calcium. Numerous phytochemicals that the body uses for processes are present too, including antioxidants, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Basil has been traditionally used to treat a lack of appetite, nausea, kidney stones, flatulence, and acne.

The plants require 6-8 hours of sunlight when grown. They need protection from frost. They thrive in rich, moist and well-drained soil. When planting considers applying a little fertilizer.   In hot weather, use large pots to prevent the plants from quickly drying out.

Sage

Native to Southern Europe, Sage has been naturalized around the world for centuries now. The local varieties are being used according to the geographic location. The seeds produce small plants at most 0.6m tall, with aromatic purple flowers. The leaves are harvested for their slight peppery taste as well as the crispness they add to cooking dishes. Most homes use them for flavor by adding to their food.

It is more common in the Southern and Eastern Europe. The plant is used to flavor meaty dishes as well as starter courses in restaurants.

The plant grows best in well-drained and fertile soil and it does not mind dryness. It can be grown year-round, though the cold does decrease the yield of available material from the plant. Sage is a natural stimulant with antibacterial, tonic and anti-diabetic properties. The herb also contains Vitamins A and K as well as volatile oils and flavonoids.

Medically speaking, Sage can be used to treat many diseases including depression, stomach pain, heartburn, and asthma. Other uses include treatment of excessive sweating (clammy hands), gum disease (gingivitis) and menstrual cramps.

The plant does well when planted in a sunny place, well-drained soil. If you have clay soil, consider mixing it with sand and organic manure. This will lighten the soil and improve drainage.   You can promote their growth by pruning it in the early spring of each year. By cutting off the oldest growth, you promote the new growth. Eventually, you will see little pink or purple flowers in the late spring. After 3 to 5 years, the plants grow woody despite pruning.  In such cases, you need to plant new plants.

Thyme

Thyme is a close relative of Oregano but is more relatively easy to grow. Thyme does not mind whether it is grown in acidic or alkaline soils. It just needs good drainage and a generous amount of sunshine to flourish. It is vulnerable to cold, frost and wind. It is found in Egypt and the Levant. It spread to nearby areas via ancient trade routes. It is now naturalized across the so-called ‘’ Old World’’.

Thyme played an important role in the ancient Egyptian burials. It was very popular in Greece too at the time. In the middle ages, thyme was used to help sleep and ‘’chase away’’ nightmares. Thyme can be used both dry or fresh, though most people prefer the fresh variety. It is often found along with meat dishes that are common across the Mediterranean.

Thyme is a powerful antioxidant, it also has great antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties. It has been used in common medicine since the ancient days. Rich in Vitamins A and C, it can be a great addition to a well-balanced diet. Iron, Manganese, and Copper can all be found in trace amounts. Unlike other herbs, Thyme can also be a great source of fiber. Thyme has traditionally been used to treat coughs, indigestion, diarrhea, acne, arthritis, a sore throat, and bronchitis.

The plant can be grown in the garden such as the edge of a walk or in containers. When planted along the walkways, when you are walking, they will release a nice aroma.  It does really well in full sun and well-drained soil. The slow release fertilizer can be applied when or before planting. Good drainage is the key to their doing well, therefore, mulching with limestone gravel improves it.

Chamomile

Chamomile has been used as a medicinal herb since the ancient times. It was used in Egypt, Greece, and Rome but it is now being grown throughout Europe, Egypt, and Morocco. Its popularity has grown since then and is used to treat different medical problems.

The plant contains flavonoids and oils that include bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A and B and matricin. It acts as an antiseptic, antispasmodic, antipyretic, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-allergenic. It is normally used in tea to treat ailments such as fevers, colds, stomach ailments, and anti-inflammatory. In some cases, it is used as a sleeping aid and boasts the immune system in your body.  It can be used internally or externally.

There are two types of chamomile which can be grown in a garden. These are Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)and German chamomile (Matricaria recutita). the Roman type is considered as the original plant that was used in the ancient times. However, both types are used for the same functions and they are grown in the same way.

These are creeping plants and are perennial. To grow them, you will need to plant a seed or plants in the spring. Chamomile grows well in cool conditions and should be partially in the shade. They will also grow well when planted in the full sun. They are drought tolerant and you can only water them in situations when there is a prolonged drought. They don’t need to be fertilized and doing that will affect their growth. Once they are established, they need little care until you start harvesting them. They resist the pests and you might consider planting them together with other plants.  

Feverfew

Feverfew originated from Asia Minor and the Balkans, but it is now grown globally. In the old days, they were using the leaves for their medicinal purposes. Its leaves are dried to be used for medicine. You can also use the fresh leaves and its extracts to treat various infections.

The leaves contain many significant chemicals that are useful to the body. One of the most important chemicals is called a parthenolide. This chemical has the capability to treat migraine headaches. The compound is highly concentrated in the leaves. The leaves and flowers are taken as tea, or chewed. It treats fever, arthritis, skin problems, allergies, asthma, dizziness, and nausea. The herb can treat many more other diseases including treating migraine headaches, anemia, cancer, common cold, stomach problems, liver problems.

Feverfew seeds are used to grow the plant. They can be planted in small pots that have loamy soil. They can also be grown directly in your garden. The process of growing them is the same. The seeds are sprinkled into the pot and you should place the pot in sun. In two weeks, you should see the plants growing and they can be transplanted when they are 3 inches tall.

Plant them together with the pot in the garden where there is sun. They need to be watered regularly. They flourish growing outdoors but can also be grown indoors. Being a perennial plant, you need to cut it back to the ground after frost so that it can regrow in the spring. It re-seeds and you will have the opportunity of getting new plants. Managing the reseeds helps the plant have enough space to flourish.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera has been used as a medicinal herb for some time. Aloe vera plants (Aloe barbadensis) has been grown for hundreds of years. Different parts of the world use it for various reasons. For instance, in the traditional Indian medicine it is used to treat constipation, skin problems and as a remedy for colic. The Chinese medicine uses it as a treatment for fungal diseases. While the rest of the world, it’s being used in industries including the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food industries.

Aloe Vera has anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Its uses include treatment of burns, cold sores, constipation, boosts the immune system and works as an antioxidant. It acts as a moisturizer of hair and scalp. It contains the amino acids, vitamin B1, B2, B6, vitamin A and vitamin C

For instance, the aloe latex is used as a laxative. It has the anthraquinones that significantly increases intestinal water content, intestinal peristalsis and stimulates mucus secretion. It normalizes the acid/alkaline balance and reduces the growth of yeast. The vitamin A helps to maintain a healthy vision and skin. The vitamin C prevents the cardiovascular disease and vitamin E acts as an anti-oxidant that reduces the free radicals.

Aloe vera is easy to grow both indoors and outdoors.  It is a succulent plant that does well in dry conditions. It needs to be grown in a cactus potting soil and the pot should have drainage holes. They don’t need a lot of water to grow but make sure that they are receiving plenty of sunlight. You can water them only when the soil is completely dry. If you water them too often the plant will die.

14. Echinacea

The echinacea was used as medicinal herb decades ago by the native Indians. Mostly, it was used as a painkiller. It has recently grown in popularity, thanks to the revelations of its medicinal properties. It was once used as an alternative drug for preventing the common cold. However, it is being used for different treatments.

It’s used when treating cancer, boosts the immune system, used as a painkiller, laxative, anti-inflammatory and treats skin problems. The other uses include relieves upper respiratory problems, mental problems and treats infections. The use of echinacea alongside or as a replacement for chemotherapy is now being recommended for those suffering from cancer. It treats the bowel pains, headaches, pain from measles, pain from snake bites, sore throats, stomachache, and toothache.

It cures skin problems such as arthropod bites, eczema, skin infections, stings and promotes a faster wound healing. It can be used to treat those suffering from depression and anxiety. Furthermore, it cures acute sinusitis, flu, asthma, cold, diphtheria, tuberculosis and whooping coup. The echinacea can be taken as tea or you can make a paste from the dried herbs. This should be rubbed directly to the area that is affected.

The favorite plant that is grown in most of the gardens is the purple coneflowers. The name refers to the way the petals incline backward, away from the center, forming a cone. This is a perennial plant that should be grown in the sandy soil. It requires a lot of sun and normal watering. It’s drought tolerant, late blooming and comes in different colors. As they start growing, there is a clamp of basal leaves that send up flower stems in mid-summer. The shape of leaves depends on the variety of the echinacea.

15. Marigold

The marigold (Calendula officinalis) is native to Egypt and some parts of the Mediterranean. It has been as a treatment for various infections ever since its benefits were realized. It’s now being grown across every continent. It’s yellow-orange in color and produces small florets of petals. These flowers are what are used as medicines when harvested and dried.

The plant has some active ingredients that include antioxidants and volatile oils. These are what gives the plant’s flowers their bright colors and strong smell. It is known for its medicinal uses and has been used to treat various ailments.

They have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and anti-fungal properties. The flowers are used to make herbal ointments, teas, tinctures and topical treatments. In some cases, they are planted in gardens to repel bugs, add beauty to the garden and get the pleasant smell. Some of the uses include treatment of rashes, allergies, eczema, dermatitis, pain, swelling, muscular injuries, eye inflammations, and itchiness.

The plants are easy to grow and you can start by planting the seeds. They are normally used as border plants because they are short but can also be grown in containers. This can be done indoors or outdoors. However, they grow faster when they are outdoors. The plants start growing when the weather is warm. When they have grown, you don’t need to do a lot of maintenance but will need regular watering. Eventually, as they grow they become drought tolerant. They resist pests and in some gardens, they are used to keep the pests away from the other plants. To get the best flowers, you may need to water them now and then but not excessively.

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