Advice for growing your own medicinal herbs

Medicinal herbs are thought to be gentler on the body than over-the-counter and prescription medication. While you can buy medicinal tinctures and teas at a health food store, it’s also easy to grow your own at home.

Advice for growing your own medicinal herbs

Growing medicinal herbs

  • Plant medicinal herbs in a sunny spot and make sure they are well drained.
  • Some can be used fresh, but you'll want to preserve most for later use.

Harvesting and preserving herbs

  • Pick herbs just as they begin to flower.
  • To dry, tie herbs by the stems and hang them upside down in a warm, airy place. This will keep mould and mildew away.
  • Once dry, pick the leaves off the stems and store them in an airtight container.

Common medicinal herbs

If you're considering growing herbs with healing properties, you might want to consider the following common varieties.

  • Aloe vera: Aloe vera has both antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also helps heal cuts and burns. To use, just break open a leaf to access the gel.
  • Calendula (Calendula officinalis): Calendula is widely used to heal wounds, burns, insect bites, eczema, skin ulcers and rashes. It is often used in commercial ointments.
  • Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile): Chamomile flowers can be dried and used to make a tea that soothes nausea. It is also used as a sleep and relaxation aid.
  • Feverfew (Chrysanthemum parthenium syn. Tanacetum parthenium): Feverfew is used to alleviate headaches.
  • Garlic (Allium sativum): Garlic is said to lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure, reduce the risk of cancer, treat infection and enhance the body's immunity to infection.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Ginger helps to alleviate digestive ailments, motion sickness and nausea. It can be used to make a refreshing tea.
  • Valerian (Valeriana officinalis): Valerian has traditionally been used to treat anxiety, stress and insomnia. For a relaxing soak, add it to a warm bath.
  • Lavender: Best known for its fragrance, lavender is also used to treat insomnia, anxiety and depression. It can also serve as a natural household disinfectant.

With a mini-garden of medicinal herbs at home, you can enjoy ready access to natural treatments for some common ailments.

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