Let me first begin by saying that I am not a medical expert and the information provided in this article is from my personal use and research. Before using any of the information in this article please seek a professional medical opinion.
In ancient times medicine consisted of a variety of herbs and natural concoctions. The power of plants is (and always has been) enormous, and it is estimated that around 80 percent of the world’s population still use plants as their main remedies for ailments (keep in mind much of the worlds population live in regions where modern medicine is difficult to obtain). The components of plants which are used in natural remedies are often even used within new pharmaceutical drugs. Truth is, you can harness many of the benefits of these plants in the comfort and convenience of your own garden. Here are some of the best medicinal plants that you can grow.
1. Aloe Vera
One of the most commonly used medicinal plants around the world is Aloe Vera. I have vivid memories of my grandfather using this plant for burns and cuts. This cactus plant does best in drier climates but with proper drainage and soil composition, it can do well anywhere.
This plant is used for many purposes and can be either internally digested or rubbed onto the affected area externally. The sap from Aloe Vera is a great remedy for wounds, cuts, burns, and even eczema, as it is extremely helpful in healing, reducing inflammation, and also reducing the risk of infection. When it is internally digested it can be used to help relieve digestive issues, chronic constipation, and even ulcerative colitis.
Another great plant used for medicinal purposes is ginger. Ginger is very well known for its anti-nausea effects, along with its anti-inflammatory properties. Not only can ginger help relieve nausea and inflammation, but it is also thought to be able to assist in fighting diabetes, asthma, and even cancer.
It is also a great natural anti-nausea remedy for anybody who suffers from motion sickness, morning sickness in pregnancy, or even for those who are going through chemotherapy as a result of cancer. Some people use ginger regularly in their cooking or add it into a cup of tea, in order to reap all of the health benefits that ginger possesses.
Another fantastic plant to grow is turmeric. Turmeric, or ‘Olena as it’s called here in Hawai’i, is a fairly easy plant to grow. Aside from a beautiful flower, turmeric offers many health benefits such as anti-inflammatory properties, improved liver function, arthritis relief, and has been tied to lowered risk of some types of cancers.
Although the main use of turmeric is in powder form, turmeric can be incorporated into your diet in a variety of ways. Many people use it as a spice in cooking, but some people (including myself) use it as an additive for teas and smoothies.
Turmeric also has teeth whitening properties (hard to believe). Brush your teeth with turmeric, rinse and spit, then brush again with toothpaste. Turmeric is not only a beautiful visual for your garden, it has amazing benefits as well.
Garlic is another fantastic medicinal plant. It is commonly thought that eating a clove or two of garlic will keep the doctor away. This is because garlic possesses many medicinal properties as it offers anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral and immune-boosting benefits. This means that garlic is great for anyone who suffers from osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, or cancer.
It is even thought that garlic may be effective against drug-resistant bacteria where common antibiotics are no longer effective. Garlics medicinal benefits also make it one of the top seven anti-aging foods.
Garlic is fairly easy to grow. The next time you buy garlic, save a bulb specifically for planting. These cloves will become full bulbs after harvest.
Chamomile is one of the most well known and ancient natural medicinal plants. Chamomile is a flower which is best known for it’s relaxing properties and can help with anxiety, insomnia, and muscle spasms. It has also been used to treat inflammation, fevers, and colds. Aside from it’s health benefits, chamomile can be used as a natural air freshener.
Chamomile flowers are dried then steeped in boiling water. Dry chamomile flowers in a cool and dry place. Once dry, store the chamomile in a moisture free environment such as a mason jar.
Echinacea is also a very well known medicine which also happens to be fairly easy to grow. Echinacea has been used to alleviate cold symptoms, boost immune system, treat inflammation, and treat respiratory issues. It is also believed to fight cancer and act as a natural laxative.
Peppermint has probably been used mostly to freshen breath, but it is much more than a hygiene supplement. Peppermint, like most of these plants, has been used for centuries in natural healing remedies. Peppermint has a cooling effect which helps with muscle pains. Peppermint is most popular today in it’s essential oil form. The essential oil is extracted from the peppermint leaves and can be used topically. Rubbing some peppermint oil on pressure points can help alleviate nausea and vertigo.
Although there is some controversy if it is safe to ingest, I personally put a few drops of peppermint essential oil in my water. Peppermint capsules are also available at many health food stores.
If you’d like to purchase peppermint oil, I recommend Aura Cacia Essential Oil, Peppermint, 0.5 Ounce. This is what I personally use.
Sage is a beautiful plant to add to your garden. Sage has been used to treat high blood sugar, high cholesterol, indigestion, muscle spasms, and inflammation. This herb also has a mystical element to it as it was (and still is) used as a ritualistic herb. Some people use it for it’s hallucinogenic effects when smoked, or to purify their homes from negative energies.
If there is a plant that contributes to overall wellness it is probably, lavender. Lavender is nice to look at, nice to smell, and has been used for centuries to treat many symptoms. Some of the things that lavender has been used for are insomnia, migraines, diabetes, and stress relief. It can also be used as an air freshener like chamomile.
Lavender can be dried and used in teas or refined to an essential oil. I personally use lavender as an essential oil to help me sleep and calm my little one. A few drops in a diffuser helps to put me in a relaxed mode and achieve a good night sleep. Be careful not to overload the diffuser as lavender does produce a very strong scent.
Once again, I recommend using Aura Cacia Essential Oil, Lavender, 0.5 Fluid Ounce.
Ginseng has been used in Asian cuisine and medicine for centuries, even millennia. Ginseng has great healing powers for ailments such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar, weakened immune system, fatigue, and insomnia. Ginseng truly is one of the great natural medicines around today.
Ginseng though, unlike the rest of this list, is extremely difficult to grow. It requires specific conditions to thrive and even then takes years to get to a harvesting stage. For someone who meets the growing conditions of ginseng and is in it for the long haul, ginseng is a plant worth cultivating.
There are many plants which are great and have many medicinal purposes, and these afore mention plants are only a small number of them. Some other good medicinal plants include dandelion, marigold, lemon balm, and tea tree. Using these plants to try to fight common ailments, or even prevent them, is a step in the right direction. In my opinion, using natural plants and remedies is always a better option than turning to modern medical options, as they may have fewer side effects and can be a lot healthier for your body.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
Author: Brennan Young
Thank you for stopping by! I started The-Urban-Farmer.com to share my love for creative gardening, healthy living, and home DIY’s. If you enjoy the content on this site, I encourage you to follow The-Urban-farmer.com via social media (below). I’d also love to hear from you so feel free to contact me!