Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

5 Medicinal Herbs You Can Grow In Your Backyard

Food
5 Medicinal Herbs You Can Grow In Your Backyard

At its core, most of medicine is still herbology, according to Dr. Jenn Dazey, naturopathic physician at Bastyr University's Department of Botanical Medicine. And growing your own medicinal garden is easier than it might seem. In fact, you might already have one. Many common culinary herbs have a long history as traditional medicines.

1. Common Sage: Salvia officinalis

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Use it for: Cooling and drying body functions because of its phytosterols. This property makes sage useful in treating high fevers, diarrhea, and excessive sweating or phlegm, as well as throat inflammation, asthma, and bronchitis.

How: Dry and eat the leaves, or brew them fresh in a tea. For all medicinal infusions, make sure to cover the tea with a lid for at least ten minutes before drinking to avoid the evaporation of critical ingredients.

Grow it: Sage is a perennial that thrives in hot, dry climates but will grow in some milder conditions. Plant it in sandy soil in a sunny spot.

Interesting to note: Some studies show sage tea is effective for treating diabetes patients.

2. Peppermint: Mentha piperita

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Use it for: Relieving gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, dyspepsia, colonic spasms, and gastric emptying disorders. Peppermint calms intestinal muscles and improves bile flow.

How: The best medical use of peppermint comes from extracting the essential oil. Crush the leaves, pack them into a lidded jar, and cover them with vodka. Leave the jar to steep, shaking occasionally; the longer it steeps, the stronger the extract. Strain out the leaves, leaving only the extract behind.

Grow it: Peppermint will grow almost anywhere, but thrives in partial shade and in rich, moist soils.

Interesting to note: Like all mints, the primary active ingredient of peppermint is menthol, which is why peppermint tea is an effective decongestant and expectorant. It can also soothe coughing and sore throats.

Read page 1

3. Catnip: Nepeta cataria

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Use it for: Treating common psychological problems such as insomnia, anxiety, and addiction. It's also a natural sedative for children, particularly when they are sick, as it helps soothe the stomach and relax the body.

How: Dry leaves and mix with honey for eating, or brew in a tea.

Grow it: Catnip is a perennial that prefers rich, well-drained soil or loam and will grow in full sun or partial shade.

Interesting to note: Catnip can also be used as an insect repellant, although Dr. Dazey recommends avoiding it if you are planning to enter forests or jungles populated by large cats.

4. Rosemary: Rosmarinus officinalis

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Use it for: Increasing capillary circulation and antioxidant levels. Its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases of the heart and blood.

How: The most effective way of using it as a medicinal herb is brewing it in a tea.

Grow it: Somewhere warm and humid. Rosemary thrives in dry, well-drained soil and fails in extreme cold. In climates with heavy winters, plant it in a container that can be moved indoors.

Interesting to note: The carnosic acid active in rosemary helps protect against cellular and brain damage inflicted by free radicals. This makes it an effective preventative for headaches, memory loss, strokes, and neurological degeneration. Research is being conducted on rosemary's potential use in the treatment of conditions like Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's disease.

5. Hyssop: Hyssopus officinalis

Photo credit: Shutterstock</a

Use it for: Treating cuts, scrapes, and bruises. With its natural antiseptic properties, hyssop is effective for skin abrasions.

How: Dice the leaves by hand or in a food processor to use in a poultice. Alternatively, boil the leaves and soak bandages in the strained mixture.

Grow it: Hyssop is a perennial, drought-resistant plant. It grows best in warm, dry climates with well-drained soil and full sun exposure.

Interesting to note: Hyssop has many other medical uses that date back to ancient times, though accounts differ on whether the hyssop we use today is the same plant referenced in the Bible's Psalm 51.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

The Miracle Superfood You’re Not Eating

What’s the Verdict on Olive Oil: Is it Good or Bad for You?

10 Superfoods That Will Boost Your Energy

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will boost the immune system. Stevens Fremont / The Image Bank / Getty Images

By Grayson Jaggers

The connection between the pandemic and our dietary habits is undeniable. The stress of isolation coupled with a struggling economy has caused many of us to seek comfort with our old friends: Big Mac, Tom Collins, Ben and Jerry. But overindulging in this kind of food and drink might not just be affecting your waistline, but could potentially put you at greater risk of illness by hindering your immune system.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A graphic shows how Rhoel Dinglasan's smartphone-based saliva test works. University of Florida

As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less
A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch