Most Important Medicinal Herbs To Grow In Your Garden


Medicinal Herbs

When you think of a home garden, you probably first think of commonly grown plants such as zucchini, strawberries, and basil. But there are so many more things you can grow in your garden than vegetables! Medicinal herbs are a great addition to any garden to help provide gentle remedies to everyday illnesses. 

Peppermint, lavender, calendula, chamomile, echinacea, lemon balm, sage, oregano, ginger, and garlic are the most important medicinal herbs to grow in your garden. They are generally easy to grow and can remedy a large range of illnesses and discomforts. They are also great options as a majority of them are also culinary herbs that are great to cook with as well as heal. 

Before you dive in and plant new things in your garden, be sure to try them to make sure you like them and you are not allergic. Some of these plants can have an acquired taste or are a part of plant families that are common allergies, so purchase some from the store or find a fellow gardener with excess before you invest time and space into growing your own. 

Peppermint

Peppermint

Peppermint is arguably the most common medicinal herb as it can be used in a number of different ways. Peppermint also grows quickly and spreads out, so you shouldn’t struggle to have enough peppermint for everything you decide to do with it. It is important to have in your garden as it is a fast and powerful remedy to the most common issues such as nausea, headache, and indigestion. 

Peppermint grows best in full sun to partial shade and can be grown from seeds or cuttings. Peppermint leaves should be harvested just before the flowers bloom. You should leave the bottom few inches of the plant intact so that it can regrow and you can harvest your mint again. 

Peppermint leaves work best fresh off the plant. Crush them up a bit and brew them in a tea or even chew them like you would gum. They are also very aromatic and have amazing benefits just by smelling them. 

Peppermint can help with:

  • Nausea 
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Indigestion 
  • Cold and Flu Symptoms
  • Morning Sickness 
  • Menstrual Pain

Lavender

Lavender

Lavender is a beautiful plant that can add color and fragrance to your garden as well as heal wounds and skin issues. There are many types of lavender, but English Lavender is the most common type used for medicinal purposes. English Lavender grows well in full sun and well-draining soil. They are flowers that can grow back each year as well, so you will have plenty of lavender for years to come. 

Lavender works best after it has been harvested and dried. Dried lavender is beneficial when smelled, brewed in tea, or steeped in oil to rub on your skin. Harvest the lavender by cutting the stems a few inches from the ground. Make sure to leave a few sets of leaves intact so that the plant can regrow. Bundle all of your lavender stems together and hang them up to dry before using. 

Lavender can help with:

  • Wounds
  • Eczema 
  • Acne
  • Anxiety
  • Inflammation
  • Insomnia

Calendula

Calendula

Calendula is a small yellow flower that looks similar to a marigold. They grow best from seeds and do well in full sunlight. Calendula blooms in only 1 – 2 months if well taken care of and if they were planted after any chance of deep frost, so make sure to wait until mid spring.  

When it comes to using calendula, harvest only flower petals and leaves. These can be crushed, boiled, brewed, or steeped to release their medical benefits. Calendula flowers are important to have due to their antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. They are so versatile and can be used for both preventative and curative care. 

Calendula can help with: 

  • Infections 
  • Wounds
  • Sore Throat
  • Menstrual Cramps
  • Cancer
  • Diaper Rash
  • Inflammation
  • Digestive Issues

Chamomile

Chamomile

Chamomile is a small white flower that is commonly used as ground cover in addition to its medicinal purposes. Chamomile seeds are generally simple to start indoors, and then should be transplanted outdoors after the last frost. Chamomile can spread easily and quickly, so be sure to plant it in a contained box or in an area that you don’t mind if it spreads. 

Chamomile is most commonly used as a tea but can be eaten raw or infused in oil. Chamomile can be used frequently, even daily, to ease digestive discomfort. This could be very important in emergency cases if your diet changes without time to prepare. The flavor can take some getting used to but you can always mix it with lemon, honey, or even vanilla to even it out. 

Chamomile can help with: 

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • IBS
  • Digestion
  • Sore Throats
  • Ulcers
  • Hemorrhoids

Echinacea 

Echinacea

Echinacea is a purple or pink flower with a big brown center that is a part of the daisy family. They naturally grow in wooded areas, but can also thrive as potted plants. They need a lot of sunlight but are generally low maintenance. Depending on where you live these plants can take a long time to mature, so don’t lose hope if they have not bloomed after one season. 

Echinacea leaves and flowers are the parts of the plant most commonly used, but the entire plant can be used. You can also use echinacea fresh or dried, so it is a versatile plant. 

Echinacea can help with: 

  • Cold Symptoms
  • Flu Symptoms
  • Sore Throat 
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Constipation

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a lovely leafy green plant that looks very much like mint but smells like lemons. It grows low to the ground, but does not spread out like mint. It will instead just grow into a bigger bush. Lemon balm can survive the winter and can thrive indoors, so it is a great plant for harsher climates. 

Lemon balm can be harvested anytime to use fresh, just pick a few leaves off the stem. If you are planning on drying a large amount of lemon balm, harvest it right before the flowers bloom so you have the strongest flavor. Lemon balm leaves can be used in teas, eaten fresh in salads, or mixed into lotions and oils. 

Lemon Balm can help with: 

  • Cold Symptoms
  • Cough
  • Insomnia
  • Stress Relief
  • Anxiety
  • Colic 
  • Upset Stomach
  • Cold Sores
  • Bug Bites

Sage

Sage

Sage is a beautiful plant with grayish green leaves and small purple flowers. It is a common herb found in holiday food, but has wonderful medicinal benefits as well. Sage leaves also look similar to mint leaves, but are more oblong. Sage is best grown in full sun and well draining soil, as it will begin to rot without enough heat and airflow.

Sage is harvested similar to lemon balm. You can pick off a few leaves any time from the stem to use fresh or wait until it is about to flower to harvest a large amount of leaves. Dry sage leaves in a food dehydrator or by hanging in a dry place with good circulation. Leaves take about 5 – 10 days to dry if left out to air dry. 

Sage can help with: 

  • Digestion
  • Heartburn
  • Gas
  • Diarrhea 
  • Memory Loss
  • Sore Throat
  • Depression
  • Mucus

Oregano

Oregano

Oregano is a great beginner plant as it is very forgiving. Oregano needs full sun to partial shade and comes back year after year. It is also one of the herbs that can survive a full frost, so it can be planted in early spring. Oregano does well in containers or as ground cover. 

While oregano is usually a staple for an herb garden for cooking, it is also an important medicinal plant as it has antibiotic and antifungal properties. Oregano should be harvested just before or as the flowers are blooming. Harvest the leaves from top down but be sure to leave at least a few leaves on the bottom for it to regrow. Oregano can be harvested many times if cut properly. 

Oregano can help with: 

  • Wounds
  • Infections
  • Kidney Stones
  • Cholesterol
  • Cough 
  • Digestion

Ginger

Ginger

Ginger has been used for medicinal purposes for many years as it contains both antibacterial and antifungal elements. It is a main ingredient in many over the counter products, so having it in your garden is very important as it will be used frequently.

Ginger is grown from tubers, so you can plant a section of ginger you buy from the store. Ginger can be eaten raw, put in teas and other drinks, or used in cooking depending on how you like it. Ginger can have a very strong flavor, so make sure you can tolerate the flavor before you dive into a ginger tea or eat it raw! 

Ginger can help with: 

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Nausea 
  • Digestion
  • Cold Symptoms 
  • Pain
  • Inflammation
  • Weight Management

Garlic

Garlic

Garlic is a very common herb that is hard to mix up as it has such a unique smell. Garlic is simple to grow but can be tricky to harvest as it is a bulb that grows underground. Garlic cloves from the store can be planted individually to produce new garlic bulbs. 

Garlic takes a good while to grow and should be planted in fall for a summer harvest. It is a hardy, underground plant that can survive a frost so get it in the ground before it is too cold that the ground is already frozen. Harvest your garlic when the leaves have turned brown. Pull up one or two to make sure your garlic is ready before you uproot your entire supply. 

Garlic can help with:

  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Digestion
  • Motion Sickness
  • Morning Sickness
  • Pain 
  • Weight Management

David

Hi! I’m David. For most of my life I have been interested in emergency preparedness. Over the many years things have changed a great deal. From freeze dried food, to LED lanterns, preparing for an emergency has never been easier. The continual research I have done over the years have become the basis for this website. Now it is one of the most trusted sources to learn about emergency preparedness. Read More

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