Medicinal plants are an old way to treat illness without the side effects of prescription medications. Having a few healing herbs on hand is essential for maintaining health, and you can grow some of these in your garden.
Tulsi (also known as holy basil) is an adaptogen that helps your body manage stress and improve energy levels. It’s also great for immune system support and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Thyme is a herb commonly used in cooking, but it is also helpful for medicinal and ritual purposes. It can treat digestive disorders such as indigestion, respiratory ailments, and skin conditions.
If you want to add thyme to your garden, plant it in an area with plenty of sun. The plant handles hot and dry conditions better than excellent, damp soil.
In addition to its culinary uses, thyme is believed to be effective against Candida infections. It is a natural source of antifungal chemicals such as azoles and echinocandins.
Culinary thyme is cold to zone 4, while creeping thyme is hardy to zone 5. Mulching around thyme plants can help prevent growing weeds and keep the soil moist. Using limestone gravel or builder’s sand as mulch can improve drainage around the plants and avoid root rot.
2. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a perennial herb that earned Herb of the Year in 2007. It has heart-shaped leaves and a pungent lemony scent and can be used to make herbal teas.
Like mint, it grows incredibly fast in rich, well-drained soil that receives lots of suns. It can even be grown in containers and transplanted to new locations once established.
The lemony scent of this herb attracts beneficial pollinators and deters pests such as gnats and mosquitoes. Lemon balm is also known to be soothing for the nervous system.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a common herb that grows worldwide. It has a variety of uses and medicinal properties.
It can help stop bleeding, soothe skin irritations and bee stings, and heal wounds. It is also used to produce tinctures and elixirs.
You can grow a yarrow as a ground cover or low hedge. It is a great plant to attract pollinators and beneficial insects to your garden.
It is best grown in an area with full sun to encourage compact growth and a large, colorful bloom. Too much shade can cause the yarrow to grow leggy and unsteady.
Rosemary is a long-time favorite herb for both culinary and medicinal uses. It enhances dishes while offering a wallop of benefits for the body, from soothing skin irritations to improving memory.
It’s also a great companion for various other herbs, as it thrives under similar growing conditions. For instance, rosemary works well with sage, as both herbs thrive in similarly moist and fertile soil.
Plant rosemary outdoors or in a container (if necessary during the winter). Water regularly to keep the soil moist, but give the plant enough time to replace its growth before trimming it back.
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a popular perennial herb that’s easy to grow and has small, pointed leaves. It also features charming flower spikes that attract pollinators.
This herb grows well in full sun and tolerates poor soil conditions. Plant it in a sunny spot with good drainage and work in some organic matter before sowing.
Seeds should be sown outdoors in late summer or early fall after the threat of frost has passed. Space seedlings 12 to 18 inches apart, and water regularly until established.
Hyssop’s anti-inflammatory properties make it helpful in treating many kinds of muscle aches and pains. It also helps improve circulation and digestion while killing bacteria and parasites.
Spilanthes, also known as toothache plants, are perennial herb that grows best in tropical climates. It is a favorite of folk medicine in India, where it has been used for generations to reduce pain from toothaches and gum infections.
In addition to their numbing properties, spilanthes have an immune-boosting effect that can help prevent colds and other respiratory conditions. It also contains various antioxidants and flavonoids that can help prevent free radical damage to cells.
Plantings of spilanthes can be used in borders, as accent plants, or as containers for hanging baskets. They are low-maintenance and thrive in full sun. They are a heavy feeder and prefer rich soils; use a side dressing of organic compost before planting. Water regularly until mature.
Borage is a prevalent herb for gardeners, but many don’t realize it is also medicinal. This herb is used to help with various ailments, including weak adrenal function, fevers, colds, flu, congestion, and bronchitis.
It is also helpful for the digestive system. It is high in calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.
Borage attracts bees and other pollinators to your crops as a companion plants. It also adds trace minerals to the soil and aids any plants it is interplanted with by increasing their resistance to pests and disease.
It is a good companion plant for strawberries, squash, and tomatoes. It deters slugs and snails and enhances the growth and flavor of these fruits. Its broad leaves act like a living mulch, helping to cover bare soil and protect it from runoff and erosion.
Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) is a perennial plant native to Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. It grows up to 6 feet tall and has light pink flowers.
Its leaves and roots are used medicinally. It is a mild anti-inflammatory used to relieve pain and swelling in the respiratory tract.
Historically, marshmallow root has been used to treat coughs and sore throats. The heart is filled with mild mucilage, which helps soothe mucous membranes in the body.
It is also known for its ability to heal wounds and prevent gangrene. It is also an excellent natural remedy for urinary tract infections.
Sage is a perennial herb grown in the garden or containers. It requires full sun and well-draining soil.
It can be propagated from cuttings. Make softwood cuttings in early summer and place them in well-draining soil. Water them until roots develop.
Using sage in cooking adds an earthy and herby flavor. It can season various dishes, including roast chicken, eggs, and pasta.
It’s a great companion for other edible plants such as tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, and cucumbers. It also helps to attract pollinators and repels pests that harm these plants.
Safflower is a thistle-like plant that produces a cluster of 12 to 15 flower heads with chaffy, prickly bracts surrounding golden orange florets. The plant is native to parts of Iran and Eastern Europe but was introduced to the United States in the early 20th century as an agricultural crop.
Its seed oil is a good source of fatty acids, mainly monounsaturated oleic acid. It also contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that protects cells against damage caused by fats.
It is drought tolerant and grows well in most soils but needs drainage to prevent root rot. It is best sown in the early to mid-spring in full sun. Sow seeds thinly, 8 inches apart.