Medicinal Herb Garden
Using medicinal herbs for healing is a growing trend in healthcare. However, buying herbs can sometimes stretch the budget. Also, since herbs sold in stores are usually grown elsewhere and shipped to the store, they may be less effective at treating ailments when compared to fresh herbs. Growing medicinal herbs yourself is an option to both save money and ensure peak performance of your herbal medicines.
When growing medicinal herbs, you should take into account your needs, how much time you have, and the type of soil and sunlight your garden has. For those with little time or space for gardening, low maintenance herbs are best. Arnica, calendula, lemon balm, and yarrow are only a few of the plants you can select for your medicinal herb garden.
Arnica is an excellent addition for herb gardens at high altitudes. It is sown in the spring in a mixture of sand, loam, and peat moss. It needs full sun and moisture to grow well. The orange-yellow flowers can be harvested whole and dried. Some gardeners also choose to harvest the rhizome, or root, after the flowers die down in fall. A tincture can be made from the flowers or root to treat bruises, strains, and sore muscles.
Calendula is one of the easiest plants you can have when growing medicinal herbs. Seeds are sown in April in warm soil and plants begin to flower in June. It grows well in most soils, provided the location offers partial to full sun. Other than weeding and occasional thinning to keep plants 9 to 10 inches apart, calendula requires little care. It will reseed itself, increasing each year. The bright orange flowers can harvested as needed through the year. Leaves should be gathered in the morning after the dew has had a chance to dry. An infusion made of flowers can help break a fever. A freshly-picked flower applied to stings can offer fast relief from pain and swelling. The leaves can be chewed and applied to the skin to relieve sprains.
Lemon balm can be sown outdoors in fall or early spring in partial shade to full sun. It requires minimal watering and will grow in normal garden soil. As a tea, it can promote sweating to ease a fever. Mixed with salt, it is used to relieve gout.
Yarrow is another easy to grow herb. Seeds can be sown directly in early spring. It should be planted in full sun and watered sparingly. This plant grows well in any soil. The entire plant has medicinal properties. The leaves can be used to encourage clotting, making yarrow an effective treatment for nosebleeds, cuts, and scrapes. A tincture of the flowers can be used as part of a salve to be rubbed on the chest for relief of colds and the flu. A decoction of the whole plant can be used to treat hemorrhoids and aid kidney function.
Growing medicinal herbs is rarely difficult. It’s fairly easy to include a few medicinal herbs in your garden. For those without garden space, such as those that live in the city, there are many herbs that grow quite well in pots placed on a balcony or in the windowsill timber frame. If you’d like to know exactly how I grow my herbs, medicinal and other types as well, find more information here.