Who doesn’t love a beautiful garden? What if you could have that and also grow plants that can actually help and heal you? That’s is my plan for this year, to grow a Medicinal Garden as part of my grow your own plan for a sustainable year.
Planning is a huge part of growing your own produce. Knowing what to set when and where is as important and what you are going to grow.
I am hoping to create two different area’s in my garden, one for healing and one for nourishment.
In this post, I wanted to share with you the first 10 herbs I am going to be growing in my medicinal garden and the properties these herbs have.
Herbs for my Medicinal Garden
Calendula or Marigold is an annual plant that grows to about a metre tall. It has vivid orange flowers similar to daisies. It’s one of the most versatile and important herbal medicines.
Calendula contains high levels of nitrogen, phosphoric acid and Vitamin A, also volatile oil, flavonoids, and triterpenes.
This type is not the same plant as French Marigold [Tagetes patula].
In herbal remedies, it is the fresh and dried petals that are used.
Calendula acts as an immune stimulant. It is anti-protozoa, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-spasmodic, anti-haemorrhage, anti-histamine and has an anti-bacterial effect, particularly against staphylococcus and streptococcus.
It is also anti-emetic, anti-cancer, and antiseptic, styptic, haemostatic, diaphoretic, anthelmintic, oestrogenic activity and a menstrual regulator.
Used externally, it has a rapid epithelisation process in damaged skin tissue, rapid wound adhesion and granulation without suppuration.
Useful for any skin ailments and bruises.
The flower rubbed on a bee sting is an old first aid remedy.
CAUTIONS: None [though some may be allergic to calendula]. People who suffer from hayfever may be allergic to this plant.
Cayenne peppers are also known as Red pepper, Chillies, and Chinese: Lachiao Powder. Perfect for adding to any medicinal garden.
This is a perennial herb that grows to about a metre tall with scarlet red conical fruits filled with white seeds.
Cayenne has 6 anti-asthmatic substances and is rich in vitamin C.
In herbal remedies, it is the bright red dried ripe pods that are used.
Cayenne is regarded by the professional herbalist as the purest and safest stimulant known.
Red peppers contain aspirin-like substances; it is anti-inflammatory, carminative, and rubefacient, and can prevent outbreaks of shingles and herpes.
It is also a strong painkiller. One of its constituents, capsaicin blocks the nerve signals to the brain by depleting them of substance P, a compound that causes pain.
It also opens up every tissue in the body to an increased flow of blood.
Cayenne produces natural warmth that equalises the circulation in the aged.
This is a stimulant and iron-bearer and it accelerates the oxygenation of cells.
Used for the treatment of poor digestion in the aged, wind, nervous depression and impotence.
It increases gastrointestinal secretion and thus improves the appetite. A mere pinch of the powder may be enough.
CAUTIONS: Do not exceed the stated dose and do not take the seeds on their own. Do not use in pregnancy and do not touch the eyes with the herb.
Garlic is a bulbous perennial plant that grows to about a metre with pale pink or green/white flowers.
It contains volatile oils, vitamins A, B, C and E, and iodine, selenium, and sulphur minerals as well as amino acids.
When used in herbal remedies it is the bulb and cloves that are used.
Garlic is anti-arrhythmic, anti-bacterial, a potent antibiotic, is anti-fungal, anti-herpes, anti-parasitic, anti-carcinogen, antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-viral and balances the blood sugar.
It is also bacteriostatic carminative, diaphoretic, fungicide, anti-thrombin, hypoglycaemia, hypotension, expectorant, anthelmintic.
Garlic is effective against the cold virus, anticoagulant – reduces blood platelet clumping, raises HDL.
It lowers total cholesterol after a fatty meal in normal subjects and as a vasodilator tends to reduce blood pressure.
Garlic is the best anti-clotting herb, and useful for heartburn.
Treats heart disease by lowering cholesterol and blood pressure and relieves inflammation and pain, useful for those who have burns and scalds and also for cancer prevention.
Dripping oil into the ears have been shown to fight fungal infections, works against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and high in biotin, and quercetin.
It is a non-sedating antihistamine and bacteria do not become resistant to it.
Garlic is an anti-biotic herb but can cause skin irritation, goldenseal and berberine are also anti-biotic but not so skin irritating.
Can be taken for any bronchial, respiratory or digestive infection alongside normal drugs, though see cautions below.
CAUTIONS: Known to thin the blood which can be a good point but means that when having an operation it is best to stop taking garlic a few days beforehand or tell the surgeon. Do not take at the same time as warfarin or aspirin.
Ginger is a perennial plant that grows to two-thirds of a metre with lance-shaped leaves and spikes of white or yellow flowers.
It contains phenolic compounds, gingerols, mucilage, volatile oil.
Shogaols are found in ginger, this chemical reduces pain and inflammation.
As a herbal remedy, the dried or fresh rhizome is used.
It is anti-inflammatory, carminative, antispasmodic, expectorant, vasodilator, anti-cholesterol, circulatory stimulant, anti-emetic and diaphoretic.
Ginger is a traditional ingredient in prescriptions to ensure absorption through the stomach to all parts of the body.
Ginger is a potent antioxidant, it is antibacterial, antidepressant and can be taken over long periods of time without side effects.
It is also a carminative, anti-fever, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-rhinovirus, anti-viral, is phytoestrogenic and helps menstrual issues, as well as alleviating problems caused by having too much cholesterol in the blood by balancing it.
Asian communities use it to combat migraines, and it is also used for asthma relief.
Contains bromelain, which is useful for the treatment of bursitis and is high in cineole.
Ginger in a compress relieves mouth problems if placed on the affected spot, Chinese sailors chewed ginger to combat seasickness.
Now known to be the number one aid for alleviating motion sickness, it is also ideal for any digestive problems.
As an oil, it is used in a massage to relieve pain from fibromyalgia and arthritis.
It is known to be as effective as aspirin and garlic for preventing blood clots in the blood.
Hot compresses made from concentrated ginger tea alleviate the pain of kidney stones if placed on the painful area.
Taking ginger can successfully treat angina, it also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
Ginger root can be taken by anyone, even those with autoimmune disorders.
Ginger can also alleviate cold and flu symptoms.
CAUTIONS: Contra-indicated in kidney disease. Best taken with food.
Lavender is a small shrub-like bush that grows to around a third of a metre high. There are many colours of lavender, but the true lavender is violet-blue. Contains flavonoids, coumarins, triterpenes and volatile oil.
In herbal remedies, it is the flowers that are used. This is a lovely plant to add to your medicinal garden.
It can be used as an inhalant, it is anti-depressive, antispasmodic, cephalic and a pleasant antiseptic.
It is also carminative and a sedative.
Lavender oil is anticonvulsant and rubefacient.
Lavender oil will heal any burn but if it is a large burn, go to a hospital straight away.
It can be used as a first-aid remedy, and like honey, lavender will alleviate much of the distress and skin scarring.
Lavender oil is such a good all-rounder that it is hard to find anything that it does not treat.
The herb is an anti-depressant, high in cineole, phytoestrogens, stimulating in large amounts and carminative in low doses, and excellent for burns.
CAUTIONS: None, but never take the oil internally.
Lemon Balm is a perennial plant that grows to about two metres tall with tiny white flowers and deeply veined toothed leaves.
It contains a volatile oil that smells like clean lemons, flavonoids, triterpenes, polyphenols and tannins.
When used as a herbal remedy whole aerial plant is used.
It is antispasmodic, antidepressant, antihistamine, an antiviral for topical application, anti-stress, anti-flatulent, a febrifuge, a mild tranquilliser, a nerve relaxant, and has a heart-sedating effect.
Lemon balm or Melissa is anti-viral, carminative, sedative and anti-herpes.
For herpes, use the oil neat three to four times each day for prevention and cure.
It is phytoestrogenic and suitable for alleviating menstrual issues.
It contains selenium and antioxidants and is a cure for insomnia.
The body’s cells have receptors that viruses latch on to, the polyphenol in Melissa has the ability to latch on to cells thus taking up the space the virus would normally occupy, hence the virus cannot enter the cells.
CAUTIONS: Never ingest the essential oil
Oregano, also known as Wild Marjoram. This is a great addition to your medicinal garden.
This is not the same plant as the sweet marjoram.
The oregano is an upright perennial that grows to about 80cms tall. It has square-ridged stems with elliptical leaves and clusters of deep pink flowers.
Wild marjoram is amenorrhoea, anti-asthmatic, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, carminative, expectorant, 9% bacterial and is a member of the mint family.
It also helps to lower blood pressure.
Oregano contains volatile oil, tannins, resin, sterols, and flavonoids. Both carvacrol and thymol are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
When used in herbal remedies the Aerial parts, and the essential oil is used.
It is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, choleretic and anti-asthmatic.
The herb is used to treat stomach disorders, respiratory problems, throat and mouth infections and asthma.
CAUTIONS: Do not ingest the essential oil. Do not take when pregnant.
Peppermint is a strongly aromatic square-stemmed herb ideal for any medicinal garden. It grows to about two-thirds of a metre, it has serrated leaves.
It contains essential oil, flavonoids, azulines, carotenes. Tannin contains glycyrrhetinic acid and glycyrrhizin that heals mouth sores.
Herbs that are high in tannin include bearberry, eucalyptus, liquorice, peppermint, raspberry, and sage, St Johns Wort, tea.
Tannins are the common name for tannic acid and are an antiseptic with broad-spectrum antibacterial and antiviral activities.
Tannins give herbs their astringency and the ability to bind or contract tissues, reduce intestinal inflammation, hence impeding the reabsorption of toxic materials.
If used as a herbal remedy, the oil is distilled from fresh flowering tops.
Peppermint is digestive, carminative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, anti-emetic, a mild sedative and a peripheral vasodilator.
It is also a source of potassium, magnesium and enzyme activators. Externally used as an insect repellent and is antiseptic.
Peppermint alleviates any problems of the gut and is beneficial to those suffering from certain heart disease.
It is anti-fungal, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, carminative and high in cineole.
CAUTIONS: The oil should never be ingested.
Rosemary is a strongly aromatic herb that is perfect for a medicinal garden. It will grow to about two metres high, it has narrow dark green, pine-like leaves, small, pinkish lilac flowers, and is known as a symbol of fidelity.
Contains flavonoids, diterpenes, volatile oil, rosmarinic acid.
When used in herbal remedies, The leaves are gathered and used for oils, or dried for use as a herb.
Rosemary is a stimulant, astringent, nervine, anti-inflammatory, and carminative.
Rosemary is 5% bactericidal, it is also amenorrhoea, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant, carminative, high in cineole and a food preservative.
It is known to alleviate cataracts and stops fats from turning rancid.
It is part of the mint family and is known as the herb of remembrance.
When used as a scalp massage it is said to encourage hair growth.
Rosmarinic acid is found in all plants of the mint family.
CAUTIONS: Do not take rosemary if suffering from high blood pressure.
Thyme is an aromatic shrub that grows to about half a metre with woody stems and small leaves and pink flowers.
It contains a valuable essential oil (thymol).
When used in herbal remedies, the dried leaves and flowering tops are used.
Thyme is antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic, antispasmodic, antifungal, tonic, carminative, expels worms, anti-oxidant, expectorant, anti-cough and antiseptic.
It is used to treat infections of the respiratory organs, throat, bronchi, urinary tract, and to reduce spasmodic dry cough, whooping cough, irritable bowel, worms, overwork and bed-wetting in children.
Thyme is amenorrhoea, anti-ageing, anti-histaminic, antiseptic, carminative and anti-fungicidal and high in calcium.
Thyme oil is rich in thymol and carvacrol, thus making muscles relax.
CAUTIONS: Avoid in pregnancy.