Quantcast

5 Medicinal Herbs You Can Grow In Your Backyard

Food

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

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

(L) 3D graphical representation of a spherical-shaped, measles virus particle that is studded with glycoprotein tubercles.
(R) The measles virus pictured under a microscope. PHIL / CDC

The Pacific Island nation of Samoa declared a state of emergency this week, closed all of its schools and limited the number of public gatherings allowed after a measles outbreak has swept across the country of just 200,000 people, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Austin Nuñez is Chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation, which joined with the Hopi and Pascua Yaqui Tribes to fight a proposed open-pit copper mine on sacred sites in Arizona. Mamta Popat

By Alison Cagle

Rising above the Arizona desert, the Santa Rita Mountains cradle 10,000 years of Indigenous history. The Tohono O'odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Hopi Tribe, among numerous other tribes, have worshipped, foraged, hunted and laid their ancestors to rest in the mountains for generations.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
The Navajo Nation has suffered from limited freshwater resources as a result of climate, insufficient infrastructure, and contamination. They collaborated with NASA to develop the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Native Americans are disproportionately without access to clean water, according to a new report, "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States: A National Action Plan," to be released this afternoon, which shows that more than two million Americans do not have access to access to running water, indoor plumbing or wastewater services.

Read More Show Less
Wild Exmoor ponies graze on a meadow in the Czech Republic. rapier / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Nanticha Ocharoenchai

In the Czech Republic, horses have become the knights in shining armor. A study published in the Journal for Nature Conservation suggests that returning feral horses to grasslands in Podyjí National Park could help boost the numbers of several threatened butterfly species.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Despite huge strides in improving the lives of children since 1989, many of the world's poorest are being left behind, the United Nations children's fund UNICEF warned Monday.

Read More Show Less
At least seven people have died in a Bangladesh pipeline explosion. Youtube screenshot

At least seven people were killed when a gas pipeline exploded in Bangladesh Sunday, and another 25 were injured, the Associated Press reported.

Read More Show Less
The Shell Puget Sound Refinery in Anacortes, Washington. John Westrock / Flickr

The Washington Department of Ecology responded to an oil spill that took place Friday night when a Crowley Maritime Barge was transferring five million gallons of oil to the Shell Puget Sound Refinery, CNN reported.

Read More Show Less