Growing healthy food, free of pesticides and chemicals has been a huge goal of mine for many years. Each year I’m able to grow more and more food and get closer to my goal of being self sufficient. As my love of plants has grown, my knowledge of plants and their uses has also grown. I now grow plants with medicinal properties and make it a priority to learn how to use these herbs to benefit my family. Growing a medicinal herb garden should be a goal for everyone! You know the saying, “Food is medicine”? It’s so true! So many of our culinary herbs also have medicinal properties.
Below is a short list of my favorite herbs that I grow on the farm that have medicinal properties.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)- The flower Petals of Calendula are incorporated into topical oils and salves for healing wounds, rashes, burns, acne, eczema, and dry skin. It is also the herb most likely to be found in diaper rash ointments and creams. Calendula is also commonly added with Chamomile for a sleepy time tea.
Chamomile - This Herb is very well known for its benefits as a sleep aid. It’s very calming and helps with relaxation. But Chamomile has many other benefits as well. It helps in reducing menstrual pain, lowering blood sugar for diabetics, cancer treatment and prevention, inflammation, osteoporosis, and treating cold symptoms.
Echinacea or Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea or angustifolia) - It’s roots, seeds, and fresh flowers are all medicinal, and can be made into a tingly tasting, immune-stimulating tea or tincture. Echinacea is customarily used in treatment for the common cold, coughs, bronchitis, upper respiratory infections, and some inflammatory conditions.
Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) - Used for its antioxidant activity to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis.
Garlic (allium sativum) - Widely used in Culinary dishes but also has a place in a medicinal herb garden. Raw garlic is the most potent, so try eating it uncooked for the most health benefit. Garlic is used for preventing heart disease, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, and is used as I digestive aid.
Hibiscus (Sabdariffa, Roselle) - Roselle Hibiscus has been used as a therapeutic plant for centuries. Traditionally, it treats toothaches, urinary tract infections, colds, and even hangovers. It’s high in vitamin C and is great in tea and punch. It’s also A great, healthy alternative and my personal favorite substitute for Cool-Aid! The kids love it!
Holy Basil (Tulsi) - This close relative of common basil and has gained recent popularity as an herbal tea. Holy basil is highly aromatic and antimicrobial; its leaves and flowers are used as a medicinal tea for colds, coughs, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, headaches, arthritis, diabetes, stress, and anxiety. It also helps with increasing energy and mental clarity and focus.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) - A very Fragrant herb excellent for reducing anxiety, easing tension, and encourages a good nights sleep.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) - Lemon Balm is a lemon-scented herb that comes from the same family as mint. Lemon Balm is used to help alleviate stress, help you to relax, and boost your mood. It’s also very tasty in tea!
Mint (mentha × piperita) - A popular ingredient in several foods and beverages, ranging from teas to sauces, salads and desserts and even alcoholic beverages. But mint also has a wide range of medicinal uses. It is used as a digestion aid and has a relaxing affect on the muscles in the digestive tract. Study’s show that it may be effective at relieving other digestive problems such as upset stomach and indigestion. Mint also helps with brain function, easing breastfeeding pain, aids cold and flu symptoms, a nasal decongestant, not to mention the most common use.... bad breath prevention.
Moringa (Moringa Oleifera) - Moringa is considered the super food of all super foods and is by far my most favorite plant. It’s commonly called the tree of life or the miracle tree. It has so many nutrients and antioxidants (92 Nutrients and 46 antioxidants to be exact) and is a complete plant protein. Moringa is used in the treatment and prevention of cancer, protecting the liver, and has anti inflammatory properties and may help arthritis. Moringa helps in the reduction of kidney stones and promoting kidney health. Studies are currently being conducted on the use of Moringa for blood sugar issues and balancing and regulating blood pressure. It is also believed to be helpful in treating depression, anxiety and fatigue. The powerful Antioxidants found in Moringa may help prevent cardiac damage and has also been shown to maintain a healthy heart. Moringa is high in iron and is believed to help in the absorption rate and helps with anemia and sickle cell disease.
Passionflower (Passiflora Incarnata) - A native vine to the southeastern United States, with gorgeous flowers. The leaves and flowers are an important nervine sedative and are used to help promote sleep and alleviate pain, such as menstrual cramps and headaches. The stems, leaves, and flowers can all be gathered for medicine, and used fresh or dried in tea or tincture form.
Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) - Rosemary is full of vitamins and minerals that help support many different functions in the body. Rosemary is great for improving memory and also supports hair growth. It also reduces inflammation, improves blood circulation, supports liver function, and treats bad breath.
Sage (Salvia officinalis) - Sage has long been used in food but it also has astringent properties, sage is most frequently used for sore throats and gum disease, and also to reduce hot flushes during menopause. Astringency is also the reason why lactation consultants and midwives have long warned that large amounts of sage will decrease milk supply. This is why breastfeeding mothers use it for transitioning in weaning.
Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) - Originating in India, turmeric is believed to have anticancer properties and can prevent DNA mutations. It has powerful anti inflammatory properties because it contains curcumin. Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. So it helps to consume black pepper with it to get the most out of this herb.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) - Yarrow is used for fever, common cold, hay fever, absence of menstruation, dysentery, diarrhea, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal (GI) tract discomfort, and to induce sweating. Some people chew the fresh leaves to relieve toothache.