Most people just think of herbs for cooking but that’s not the only way to use these botanicals! Herbs can be used in homeopathic remedies medicinally for healing and soothing. Some herbs can be just straight away on burns, scrapes and other little boo boos. Some herbs can be combined with other ingredients to make organic and naturally derived medicinals and beauty products.
I know as I’ve used herbs in my own homestead practices AND I owned, operated, and created toiletries that I sold in my own online store for over a decade!
Here are a few plants to consider adding to your herb garden for their medicinal value.
Aloe Vera (A. barbadensis)
You’ve undoubtedly seen skincare products that contain aloe vera. Did you realize that you can use aloe vera straight off the plant? Just break or snip off a portion of a leaf and scoop out the inner gel. You can then apply this direct to a sunburn or other booboo. Aloe is very soothing to irritated skin and mucous membranes.
Aloe Vera is very easy to grow and doesn’t mind too much if you forget to water it. Aloe is a great plant for a beginner
Did you know that Aloe has been used for centuries? Alexander the Great sent soldiers to the growing grounds on an island to find and extract the plant for it’s healing properties so that ‘his’ wounded soldiers might benefit.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
You’ve heard that mints can take over a planting bed? When that’s true so when planting a mint consider putting it in a pot to contain it. One excellent mint to plant is peppermint. Peppermint is not only aromatic it’s also used for it’s calming effects, for mild gas and of course for it’s flavor.
Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia)
There are store-bought products in the health and beauty department that contain Echinacea. They’re most often found in products to boost immunity. Lots of people take echinacea extract to help ward off and fight colds.
Echinacea is an excellent addition to your herb garden. Not only do butterfly love the tops… so do birds! (I’ve witnessed little birds nibbling on the seedheads…)
Native Americans used not only the seeds but made poultices from the roots.
The plant itself is not necessarily a shoe-in for beginners. It might be best to start with a pre-potted plant. Around here, it tends to favor the areas with poor soil.
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)
Is lavender an herb? Well that depends on who you ask. My own grandmother used to make a sachet out of lavender flowers and would pin it to my dress.. to calm me down. Was I unruly? I’m not sure but I do know that lavender is relaxing, and helps ease both tension and anxiety. This is why you’ll find lavender in some sleeping masks, scented into pillows and in ‘natural’ room sprays.
I like to use an ultrasonic diffuser and diffuse lavender essential oil into the air. Am I still unruly?
I’ve also used lavender in balms, such as a sleep balm, and as a sachet at bathtime. Lavender is delightful in your garden and beautiful in mass plantings.
Herbs, and their uses as medicinals has been going on forever. We, as a people, live in conjunction with nature every day, even those in a big city. Every breath we take… every herbal flavor we add to food…medicines derived from food.
Ever wonder why we have ‘cherry’ flavored cough syrup? The Native Americans used wild cherry bark to flavor concoctions and we still use cherry flavor today. Pseudoephedrine for colds originated from the herb ma huang, laxatives contain psyllium seeds or buckthorn, aspirin was created from white willow bark.
We owe our continued existence to nature. Why not grow a little bit of it in your own herb garden?
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