You open the door to find some medicine to settle your tummy. You find another medicine to soothe your frazzled nerves. And, while you are at it, you may as well doctor that sore throat, and let the dog in. The door you opened was not to the medicine cabinet in your bathroom, but your back door. Growing your own medicinal herbs is not difficult. Plant herbs within your flower or vegetable garden, or use pots with good soil in a sunny spot. Herbs add beauty and aroma to a garden. Fresh leaves taste better than dried, and your backyard does not have a line at the cash register.
Chamomile is well know for calming stomachs and nerves. It eases tension headaches, and decreases fevers. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory properties.Use as a tea. Steep dried flower heads for 10 minutes in a tea infuser.
Mints are traditionally used to calm upset stomachs, reduce fevers, and relieve sore throat pain. Mint is lovely in teas and salads, and gives a delightful flavor to meat dishes. Peppermint and spearmint prefer a sunny spot. They are vigorous perennials with a lively, fresh scent. That fresh scent is a deterrent to garden pests, such as ants.
When I think of sage, a savory addition to soups, and stuffing comes to mind. This herb, also freshens breath, and eases sore throats. It is a hardy, pretty plant with gray-green leaves and spikes of purple or white flowers. Sage chases away cabbage moths and carrot flies.
photo courtesy of Paul
An evergreen shrub that has a sweet scent with woody undertones describes lavender. This shrub thrives in sunny to part sunny locations. It explodes with color and fragrance, as a mature plant. Widely used for centuries as a stress reducer, and a natural relaxant, lavender is also a natural skin tonic. Esters are compounds that ease swelling and soreness, fight fungal infections, and prevent scarring. Lavender contains esters. Add dried flowers or oil to warm water for a healing soak. A dried lavender sachet under your pillow will help you float off to an aromatic dreamland. However, the lavender scent is a nightmare for insects.
Greek oregano has a spicy fragrance and grows well in a sunny spot once established. Harvest leaves sparingly, in the first year, to keep the plant strong. Leaves may be used in a tummy tea or boiled, placed in cheesecloth, to make a compress for treatment for eczema or psoriasis. And, of course it is a must for pasta sauce.
To make herbal tea, pour 1 cup of boiling water over 6 leaves herb of choice. Steep for 5 minutes, strain and enjoy.
A few resources to get you started on your Medicinal Herb Garden are Herbal Remedies for Dummies by Christopher Hobbs and horizonherbs.com