Herbal Remedies you Can Grow

At one time, before scientists could create chemical compounds in a lab, physicians relied on herbal remedies for a wide array of ailments, many of which are still quite effective today. While you certainly wouldn’t opt to forgo the use of modern medicine if necessary, herbs and plants can be a more natural and gentle way to relieve many conditions. With a plot of earth and a little know-how, you can grow and prepare your own herbal tea, tinctures, or salves.  The most widely used plants are listed below.

  1. Arnica (Arnica Montana) – Arnica is a flower in the sunflower family and is native to Central Europe. It is used to treat bruises, inflammation, and joint pain and the flowers are most often used externally in the form of a salve. Arnica blooms in Summer through Fall though for best results you should harvest the flowers earlier in the season.


  1. Calendula (Calendula officinalis) – Calendula is a flower (marigold) whose flowers are used to aid in healing of minor wounds and skin conditions but can also be used to make a tea for stomach ailments. It has also been used as a dye and in the past was used in cooking, often called the “poor man’s saffron”. The flowers are edible.


  1. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) – Peppermint is a perennial favorite and grows well in moist soil. The essential oil in peppermint is used in a wide variety of cosmetics and food products and the leaves can be used to make a peppermint tea, good for upset stomach. A great tea for winter as it also supports the upper respiratory system during cold season.


  1. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – Thyme is a member of the mint family and is most often used to help fight colds and congestion in the form of a tea. It also has antibacterial qualities and can be used for acne. And of course, thyme is great for cooking.


  1. Lavender (Lavandula x intermedia – Lavandin or Lavandula angustifolia – English or French Lavender) – Lavender is an aromatic shrub that hails from the Mediterranean. One of the most popular scents worldwide, lavender is used to fight stress and has relaxing properties used often in aromatic oils, bath salts, and cosmetics. It is also widely used in cooking. 


  1. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) – Chamomile is known around the world as an herbal remedy for soothing the nervous and digestive systems. Often taken in the form of tea, it can also promote sleep. This species of chamomile is an annual and can grow up to 24” tall. Prefers a sunny location with sandy, moist soil. Can become a little “weedy”. Harvest the flowers when in bloom. The entire plant can be used but the flowers are the most potent.


  1. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – Rosemary hails from the Mediterranean and is featured widely in cuisine. Its aromatic oil is used in tinctures to help alleviate joint pain. As a tea, it can be used to support healthy digestion. It is often used in aromatherapy and can be quite invigorating.


Whether your interest is in herbal remedies, healthy and flavorful cuisine, or both, cultivated herbs are a great way to begin gardening. As always, check with a doctor or other qualified health provider first, before treating yourself or anyone else. Please speak to your doctor about the use of medications.