With Spring right around the corner, here are 5 great medicinal plants you should consider including in your garden.
Normally grown as annual or herbaceous perennial, the Calendula does well in the garden or in pots. Both a medicinal and a culinary plant, its petals are used in salads and as a substitute for saffron.
How to Use: The petals can be brewed as a tea, dried, used to make a tincture, or eaten fresh on a salad.
Treats: When applied to the skin, it can treat acne and skin inflammation, cuts, varicose veins, bruises, burns, and mouth ulcers. When taken as a tea it can be used as a liver remedy, a diuretic, stomach cramps, ulcers or other inflammation.
Warning: Pregnant women should avoid ingesting Calendula.
These daisy-like flowers are the most widely known and commonly used medicinal herb. It is also one of the most versatile medicinal plants you can grow.
How to Use: Commonly infused as a tea and served with honey or lemon. It can also be used topically as a wash.
Treats: Drink as a mild sedative, to calm nerves, treat stomach or menstrual cramps. In frequent and larger dosages it can be taken as a laxative or treatment for cold, flu, sore throat or allergies. Chamomile extract has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antigenotoxic and antihyperglycemic properties. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help treat arthritis, sun burn or aching muscles. Infuse into a wash to treat sun burn, aching muscles, swollen joints, hemorrhoids or wounds.
Feverfew also has a daisy-like appearance. This rapidly spreading plant has citrus scented leaves and was widely grown in older gardens.
How to Use: Its bitter flavor precludes its use as a tea, but 3-4 leaves can be added to a salad. It can also be used as an ointment, syrup or dried and used in capsules.
Treats: Headache, arthritis, rhumatism, migraine, muscle spasms, fever reducer, mentral and stomach cramps, an anti-gas agent and digestive aid. Long term use can reduce effects of rebound headache, and muscle and joint pain.
Warning: Avoid if pregnant or on blood thinners. Can cause allergic reaction in some people.
While known for its culinary uses, garlic also has a wide range of medicinal properties
How to Use: Eat one fresh chopped garlic clove per day. Garlic that has been cooked, dried, or powdered has a significant loss of potency, as does garlic oil. Avoid the peeled and chopped garlic sold in grocery stores as it has a similar loss of potency.
Treats: Colds and coughs. Shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. Shown to reduce and help inhibit aortic plaque deposits in patients with high blood cholesterol. Fresh garlic is shown to significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels without hurting beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. Helps regulate blood sugar. Used as antiseptic to prevent gangrene during WWI and WWII. Used to treat infections, chest problems, digestive disorders, and fungal infections
This beautiful ornamental plant has been used for centuries as both an aromatherapy and a medicinal plant.
How to Use: Use the flowers in a tea. Use essential oil directly into the skin, or ingested by placing 1-3 drops onto a cube of sugar. The essential oil can be inhaled by placing 2 drops into 2 cups of boiling water.
Treats: Shown to have antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsive, and anti-depressant properties. Use internally to treat anxiety, colds, depression, digestive problems, exhaustion, headaches, irritability, gas, migraines, insomnia, stress, upset stomach, liver and gallbladder problems, loss of appetite. Use as a mouthwash to freshen breath. Inhaling the essential oil can induce relaxation and sleep and help ease depression. Essential oil can be used on the skin as a treatment for cuts, scrapes, burns, insect bits and stings, rashes, muscle aches, rheumatism, arthritis, cold sores, canker sores, blisters, bruises, athlete’s foot, and rubbed directly into the temples to ease headaches or migraines.