I see more and more people turning from traditional medicine back to a more natural way of treating common illnesses and creating health through herbs and essential oils (I can help you with essential oils too). Let me start by saying education is KEY to using herbs successfully and safely. I find a lot of conflicting, confusing and down right WRONG information out there on medicinal herbs. Please, before you grow and buy herbs for medicinal purposes educate yourself.
Medicinal Herbs – Education
If a full course on herbal medicine isn’t what you’re looking for you can do some wonderful self-education with these books:
Now that is not an exhaustive list by any means, but a good place to start and expand your knowledge of healing with herbs.
The Best Medicinal Herbs to Always Have in the House
Herbs are wonderful additions to every garden – and I highly recommend growing your own organic herbs by seed. I like Seeds Now for organic, non-gmo seeds. But I do buy dried bulk herbs too. I also love to go to my local herb shop. Local shops are a great place to talk to more experienced herbalists too. It is important to support these shops so they stay in business! When I am stocking up on something I am not growing I usually get Frontier Co-Op herbs – they are organic and reasonably priced.
Why these herbs? I chose these because of they have a wide spectrum of uses and are powerful tools in ongoing health and healing. I think everyone’s list will be a bit different based on their personal uses and experiences; which you’ll get more comfortable with as time goes on.
Lavender is one of the most recognizable medicinal herbs. It has a huge array of uses from insomnia, stress and depression to its antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, analgesic and expectorant properties. Not to mention, it smells amazing and looks beautiful in the garden.
A powerful antibiotic, oregano is much more than a culinary herb! It is also anti-fungal, antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
Personally one of my favorite herbs. I love to make infused calendula oil and salves with mine. Calendula’s healing properties that can benefit the skin, inflammation, muscle spasms, healing of wounds, oral health, and is both antiviral and antimicrobial.
I love growing my own garlic, because nothing has the flavor of homegrown. But garlic isn’t just tasty – it is medicinal as well. Garlic is my first defense in building immune systems and fighting colds – I used it in my simple cough syrup. But studies show that garlic can help regulate blood sugar, lower high blood pressure and may help to battle some cancers.
Peppermint is fairly easy to grow, in fact you’ll have to be careful it doesn’t take over. Medicinally peppermint can be used to soothe an upset stomach or help with digestion. It has has both antimicrobial and antioxidant qualities that can help with immunity and cold fighting. Used in teas peppermint can help respiratory issues like congestion, coughing and difficulty breathing.
When most people think of chamomile they think of a calming tea to drink before bed; it is great for that. German chamomile has been used to treats wounds, inflammation of the gums, diaper rash and other skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Roman chamomile is wonderful for insomnia, stomach upset and menstrual cramps.
Elderberries have been used to treat a wide variety of ailments from colds, coughs and flu to viral and bacteria infections. They are a great immune booster (I used them in my immune boosting tea) and can even lower your cholesterol.
Not only does rosemary offer a wonderful flavor when you cook with it, it has healing properties as well. Infused into oil it can be beneficial to those who suffer arthritis and skin conditions like eczema. It is also said to promote healthy circulation.
Comfrey leaves can be infused in oil to create a salve to treat sunburns and wounds. As a tea it has been able to aid those with respiratory issues like asthma. It can also help to heal stomach issues and even some ulcers.
I have just recently been researching the health benefits of thyme and was happy to find that research is showing it to benefit the fight against breast and colon cancers. Most of its medicinal uses come from making an infused oil for acne, skin problems and yeast infections.
Before you undertake using roses as part of your medicinal herb regimens, make sure you are using the right variety. The rose flowers, petals, rosehips and roots can be used in a variety of ways. They have antidepressant
antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory uses. For more on medicinal roses see Botanical.com
Anise is often used for its licorice-like flavor in cooking. But can also aid in digestion and as an anti-flatulence help. Historically it has also been used to fight colds with cough.
One of my favorite herbs to grow and use! Basil is both a fabulous culinary and healing herb! Basil has long been used to help the nervous system, aid in digestion and easing gas as well as colic, cramps and indigestion.
Borage is an awesome companion plant for your garden! It’s flowers and leaves have been used to treat depression, sleep disorders, anxiety coughs and fevers (see Chill Out Herbal Tea). As an oil it can help skin issues, arthritis, PMS, diabetes and ADHD
Hyssop is a new herb in our medicinal kit. It is a beautiful addition to the garden and can be prepared in oils and teas to treat bronchitis, burns, congestion, cold sores and treat flu symptoms.