Perhaps you may have thought about ways to improve your health. If that’s the case, why not try your hand at a few medicinal herbs that you might have read so much about. They can be used in a variety of forms. Let me supply you with some of the most popular of the herbs. Not only have I included the herb and the growing conditions it likes best, but I’ve also included how it may improve your health as an herbal nutritional supplement.
Here’s my “top five list” of medicinal herbs for gardeners. Some are fairly common, some of them you may not have heard about unless you know your healing herbs — and a few may come as a complete surprise!
The nettles plant family has been used for generations (and then some) as an effective aid against inflammation due to allergies, arthritis or even lupus. It has also been used successfully as a tonic for helping alleviate the symptoms of anemia. Nettles are very rich in iron and vitamin C so no wonder it’s so effective. Herbalists not only use the leaves of this plant, but they also have put the roots to good use by treating other symptoms as well. The plant is abundant in various antioxidants, as well as flavonoids — all health-giving properties that medicine is only now beginning to appreciate.
Nettles are a plant that “reseeds” itself, which is wonderful because you’ll have access to it all year round. They are very easy to grow. But be careful where you plant this herb. If not pruned back, this plant grows to over six feet, which means it may just squeeze out some other plants in your herb garden. If you begin your first season by growing nettles from seeds, be sure to germinate them for 10 to 14 days before you place them in soil. Keep the seeds at room temperature but start your planting in the spring. You will then have to transplant the seedlings to your outdoor herb garden area where they will receive full sun or perhaps just partial shade. Keep the plants at least eight inches from each other, preferably 12 inches apart.
When harvesting this plant for medicinal purposes, you’ll want to be sure that the ones you choose are “sticky.” This indicates the presence of resin, which is its active healing ingredient. Sometimes called stinging nettles, you’ll want to be sure to wear gloves when you harvest. Nettles can pack a good sting, but even though harmless, it still hurts. You’ll find that you can harvest nettles several times throughout the year, with gloves of course.
This plant, with its bright flowers, is an important part of many medicinal herb gardens. You never heard of it? Ah, but I’m betting you have seen it. You probably call it a marigold. That’s right! It’s also called calendula and is one of the most versatile healing herbs available.
Starting with its striking orange bloom, which is used by many as a soothing skin wash, a tea or salve, Calendula is a staple in my own home herb garden. The overall gentle healing qualities of this plant makes it a great ingredient for — you guessed it — diaper salves as well as other baby-related skincare items due to it’s natural ingredients.
Calendula is also edible, so feel free to brighten up your next salad by garnishing it with the calendula/ marigold. Scientific studies show that calendula may actually help stimulate your immune system, and support and improved microcirculation – that’s the circulation of your blood right down to those tiny, little capillaries!
Calendula/marigolds are easy to grow from an herbs seed. Plant the seeds early in the spring and cover them lightly with about a quarter-inch of garden soil. Once the seedlings pop up, you’ll want to transplant them so they are about 15 inches apart from one another. You’ll discover that they germinate early as well as grow quite quickly.You’ll be pleasantly surprised that they produce their very first blooms by mid-summer. The best part of this wonderful plant is that it reseeds itself. Once you’ve planted them the first time, they will grow for years as long as you don’t disturb them.
Calendula love rich, well-drained soil. They are hardy and can live in just about any type of soil. While they might sound like the perfect herb – or a gorgeous flower, with many healing qualities and a hardiness to survive in just about any terrain — the plant does have one drawback–they attract insects.
Aphids seem especially fond of calendula. But don’t let that discourage you. Simply wash the calendula with an insecticidal soap or place the calendula next to a companion herb that repels aphids. Always make sure that before you bring them indoors, inspect them thoroughly for the presence of insects.
You may be hard pressed to find this herb in most gardens, but including it in yours will make your backyard herb garden all that much more distinctive. Sometimes burdock is referred to as gobo, but if you haven’t heard it as either name, I’m not really surprised. Though not native to this country, burdock grows freely in many areas. It was brought over by the original settlers during early colonial times.
Burdock tea, moreover, is beneficial for your gastrointestinal tract. Many have even used it to boost a slacking appetite. The tea has additionally been known to help restore liver function in alcoholics.
Most people start burdock from an herbs seed. Start planting in the early spring — the earlier the better in fact. Cover the seeds with one half to one-quarter inch of fine garden soil or seed starting soil. If the soil seems dry when you plant, then you’ll want to water it as well. The seeds germinate quickly, so you should notice some sprouts in about four to seven days. Take the seedlings and thin them until they’re about three inches apart. Replant them in rows separated by at least two feet. This plant prefers the full sun, but is hardy enough to tolerate some shade.
If you’re considering growing burdock, then you also need to consider the soil in which you place it. This plant needs a rich well-drained soil. The soil itself should be loose and definitely free from rocks and stones. And that’s not just on the surface. Be sure that the area below this plant, at least several feet in depth, is rock-free. This allows the burdock’s root to take hold securely. It does possess a big, strong root. And yes, you can eat this herb too. Pick the leaves when they are quite tender, then cook them just like you would spinach.
If you’re planning on using the burdock root for medicinal purposes, then you’ll have to wait for a while. They take a good long time to grow. Some herbalists say you need to wait about 100 days. Don’t pick the roots before they’re at least two feet long. Then you simply peel them. You can either eat the root raw or cook it. Many people use the root in soups, salads and even in stir-fry dinners.
This is perhaps one of the best known of all the healing herbs, thanks to the commercialization, marketing and popularity of chamomile tea. You may have already drank this tea prior to going to sleep at night, or when your nerves seem agitated. The plant is best known for its calming effects on the human body.More recently, scientific studies from England are discovering additional healing powers on this already beloved plant. Drinking chamomile tea may do more than just make you sleepy, it could also boost your immune system, making you more resistant to colds, flu as well as other infections.
Did you realize that you can actually grow this fascinating herb and make your own tea? Use the flowers to brew tea. You can also add the flowers to other kinds of tea to make a more light and refreshing blend. Serve the tea hot or cold, or be imaginative and serve this mixture in a punch.
This herb is easy to grow from an herbs seed. It loves the full sun and does well in average soil — but really thrives in a rich environment. You’ll want to plant your seeds in the spring. Once they grow into seedlings, thin them 15 to 18 inches apart from each other. They require very little care. When harvesting this herb, you’ll want to wait until the flowers reach their peak bloom. For remedies, you can use the plant either fresh or dried. Drying the flowers is quite easy by the way. Simply spread them out in a cool and well-ventilated place. That’s all you need to do!
This healing herb definitely deserves a chance in any medicinal herb gardens. You have no doubt heard about the wonderful properties of this plant. Echinacea has been noted for the last several years as a powerful booster to your immune system. Herbalists also use this plant for respiratory infections. In Europe, it’s not unusual for medicinal doctors to prescribe Echinacea to their patients for a variety of remedies.
Many individuals take this herb in capsule or tablet form as a natural dietary supplement, especially during the winter months to avoid contracting a cold or flu. Enchinacea is found in many herbal cold remedies. Instead of getting a flu shot towards the winter months (boy do I had shots), I take a daily supplement of chamomile and echinacea to boost my immune system. It’s all natural and better for the body.
This plant, with its large, bright flower is also known as the purple coneflower. There are three distinct varieties of Echinacea: Echinacea pallid, Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea pupuea. All three have similar medicinal effects.
You might think with all these wonderfully effective health benefits, Echinacea would be nearly impossible to grow (aren’t we conditioned to believe there’s a catch behind every good thing?). Well nothing could be further from the truth. It’s actually quite simple to grow. One of the most amazing aspects of the herbs success is their tolerance for dry conditions. You can actually grow this amazing plant from an herbs seed with very little trouble. Plant the seeds when your soil reaches between 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring.
You needn’t do anything more initially than sow the seeds on the surface. Within 10 to 20 days, you should notice the seeds germinating. Once this happens, then you’ll want to cover them with about one-eighth of an inch of soil. Additionally, when they reach the seedling stage, you’ll want to thin the plants so they’re about 18 to 24 inches apart.
This plant prefers shade rather than full sun. You may also want to test your soil’s pH balance before planting your seeds. This plant prefers neutral soil, with a rating of six to eight. Echinacea blooms from June to October. And oh yes, they attract the most beautiful of butterflies! Even if you don’t use the plant for health reasons, its presence in your garden lifts your spirit when you’re able to watch the butterflies hovering around!
There are my Top 5 Medical Herbs and Their Uses. I have dedicated 2 books to medicinal herbs: “101 Holistic Remedies” and “Herbal Medicinal Cures”. Both books are Free Bonus Books Here that you can be downloaded immediately.
Kali S Winters
Learn more about Home Herbal Remedies Here!