It has long been said that gardening is good for the soul. And nothing seems to taste as good as the vegetables you grow in your own garden. But what if you could grow your own pharmacy? In a sense, you can. Many culinary herbs also double as medicinal herbs. So not only can you use them to flavor your food, but you can also use them to treat a number of health challenges, especially these ten most important medicinal herbs to grow.
Peppermint, calendula, holy basil, lemon balm, echinacea, sage, oregano, garlic, chamomile, and ginger are the ten most important medicinal herbs to grow. With these herbs, you can manage a number of ailments such as headaches, stomach issues, viruses, and more.
In this article, ‘we’re going to take a look at the most important medicinal herbs to include in your garden. Many can be grown in containers, and some can even be grown as houseplants. Of course, you’ll always want to check with your doctor and pharmacist before using any medicinal herb and make sure you do proper research to use it safely and effectively.
One of my favorite perennial herbs, peppermint, is used to make tea, flavor foods, and for medicinal purposes. However, peppermint is easy to grow and can even be considered invasive. For this reason, you may want to grow it in a pot or raised bed so that it doesn’t spread throughout your yard or garden. Peppermint thrives in 6 to 8 hours of full sun and, once established, is pretty drought tolerant, as well.
Peppermint tea, made from fresh or dried peppermint leaves, can soothe headaches and ease digestion issues. It may also help with nausea and motion sickness. Peppermint may also help with menstrual cramps and clogged sinuses. In addition, it can help you feel more energetic and may also improve your sleep.
The best way to start a peppermint plant is to get some from a neighbor or friend. Make sure you get some roots as well as plants and water it well.
Calendula is also known as pot marigold. This medicinal flower has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, it has skin soothing properties, so it is frequently found in herbal salves and shampoos.
Balms made with calendula can improve healing and prevent secondary infections in wounds. It’s sometimes used to treat minor burns.
Calendula can also be used to soothe digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome. Tea made from dried calendula petals can soothe sore throats, as well.
Calendula is easy to grow inside and outside, in a pot or in the ground. It is both frost and drought-tolerant and grows equally well in the sun and the shade.
Be careful not to confuse pot marigold, or calendula, with common marigolds that are planted around gardens.
3. Holy Basil Or Tulsi
Holy Basil is an adaptogen which works to help your body deal with stress. This herb has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat conditions such as bronchitis, colds, and flu. Modern science needs more research but indicates that it may help with depression and anxiety, immunity, inflammation, and diabetes.
Be careful to get Holy basil and not variety of sweet basil that we put on pizza! Holy basil can be grown indoors or outdoors, in a pot or in the garden.
To make holy basil tea, pour a cup of boiling water over three holy basil leaves and allow them to steep for a few minutes. Strain out the leaves, and then, you can flavor your tea with honey or lemon, if you like.
4. Lemon Balm
I love lemon balm for its delicious fragrance when you crush it or step on it. Aromatherapy from smelling the crushed leaves is a great way to soothe stress. But lemon balm has also traditionally been used for reducing fevers, treating colds, flu, and coughs, and promoting sleep.
Lemon balm is a perennial in the mint family, and it spreads easily. You can grow it indoors as a houseplant if you have a very sunny window – otherwise, it grows easily in the garden and will come back every year. Be careful not to let it take over your entire garden or lawn.
To make a soothing tea with lemon balm, steep five to ten fresh or dried lemon balm leaves in a cup of boiling water. Strain out the leaves.
Echinacea is familiar to us for its immune-boosting properties. It can be used to stimulate the immune system, prevent infection, and soothe a sore throat. However, the roots are the most potent part of the plant, so you’ll want to wait until the plant’s second year to begin harvesting it. You can make a less potent tea from the leaves, flowers, and stems.
Echinacea petals can be added to salads for a splash of color and a dose of immune-boosting power. Simmer the roots for ten minutes to make a decoction which can be used for sore throats or in tea.
Most people think of sage as a means of cleaning negativity from their homes, but it’s also a delicious culinary herb. However, the medicinal use of sage dates back to the ancient Egyptian civilization, when they used it for menstrual problems and as a fertility drug.
You can chew on a sage leaf and apply it to a toothache or cold sore to relieve the pain and promote healing. Chewing on a sage leaf may even relieve a sore throat.
Drinking sage tea may reduce inflammation, control blood sugar, improve oral and heart health, promote wound healing, and reduce hot flashes. You can make sage tea by pouring one cup of boiling water over sage leaves and allowing it to steep until you reach the desired taste. Don’t forget to strain the leaves before you drink it.
Oregano is a popular cooking herb, but it is also a powerful medicinal herb. It is antiviral, antifungal, and high in antioxidants.
This perennial herb can be grown outdoors, in containers, and even indoors on a sunny windowsill. It is hardy and is both drought and frost-tolerant, and pollinators love it.
Infused oils made with oregano may help fight candida infections and even drug-resistant staph infections. You can also make it into a tea which can soothe a sore throat and stomach issues.
We often joke about garlic keeping away vampires, and we love to pile it on our Italian dishes. But garlic serves plenty of medicinal purposes, as well culinary ones.
Some people will eat a clove of garlic at the first sign of an illness to boost their immune system. You can also ferment garlic in honey to make an immune-boosting drink. It has antibiotic, antifungal, and antiviral properties to help you stay healthier and even fight infections. In addition, garlic may help fight off colds and can be used to treat the pain of tooth abscesses.
Plant garlic in the fall, so it is ready to harvest earlier in the year.
Chamomile makes a slightly sweet tea that helps promote relaxation and sleep. But it is also known to soothe upset stomachs and relieve gas pain. It is high in vitamins and minerals. It can also be used in skincare and lotions for its soothing properties.
Chamomile is an annual herb, but it does reseed and germinate easily. You can use the sweet flavored blossoms in desserts and even salads.
Chamomile is very gentle and is considered safe for children.
Ginger root is typically used in cooking, but it has medicinal purposes as well. It is well-known for its anti-nausea properties, especially associated with pregnancy and chemotherapy. It may also soothe sore muscles and ease arthritis and period pain. It can also help your body ward off germs.
Ginger can be grown by planting a piece of ginger root from the grocery store. Just make sure it has a little root nub to promote growth. Over time, the rhizome will grow, and you can slice it off to make tea. Ginger is usually grown indoors.
Ginger tea is made by boiling pieces of root for several minutes, then straining. You may want to sweeten ginger tea with a little bit of honey.
Final Thoughts on the Ten Best Medicinal Herbs to Grow
When you plan your garden, don’t forget to include herbs that do double duty as both culinary and medicinal herbs. As a result, you’ll get lots of immune-boosting properties, as well as help for headaches and stomach issues, and support for your oral and heart health.
Many of these plants look beautiful in the garden and attract pollinators, but they also grow well indoors as a houseplant.
Do medicinal herbs grow well in containers?
Yes, most of the herbs listed here will grow just as well in containers as they will in the garden. In fact, you may prefer to grow mint and lemon balm in containers, so they don’t spread.
Do medicinal herbs need full sun?
Most of these herbs do well in full sun. If you grow them indoors, just make sure to place them in a very sunny window, so they get enough light. Too little light might make them grow slowly or stretch towards the light.