Our family relies on medicinal herbs to heal a variety of ailments and illnesses. I believe that modern medicine has its place in this world; it has done some miraculous things! I also believe that we can heal many things without turning to modern medicine.
If I feel a cold coming on, I prefer not to turn to over-the-counter medicine. Instead, I pick out one of my several dried herbs I keep in our home. Along with dried herbs, we keep infused oils, herbal teas and herbal bath satchels prepared and ready to go.
You could dedicate a huge space in your garden to medicinal herbs. We grow around ten, but some double as medicinal and herbal, such as basil. I can use rosemary for medicinal and culinary purposes.
I want to pick six of my favorite medicinal herbs and tell you how we use them! You might decide you want to give a few of these a try.
6 Medicinal Herbs for Your Backyard Garden
Everyone has heard of chamomile. It is a famed herb, known for helping adults and children get a peaceful night’s sleep. The reputation is true; chamomile is perfect as a sleep aid. There are other medicinal purposes such as:
- Fever reducer
- Treating colds
- Stomach illnesses and morning sickness
- Reduce inflammation
- Antibacterial and antifungal
- Relieve teething problems
- Reduce colic
- Stress reliever
There are several ways to use chamomile! Most of all, I use chamomile as an herbal tea, but you can create salves, vapors and as a wash or compress. You could also add dried chamomile to your bath water. That is an easy way to use the benefits for children.
Calendula produces a beautiful orange flower that will brighten up your flower garden. I grow calendula right amongst my flowers; it blends in perfectly. The petals are edible; toss some in your salads!
For centuries, people used calendula for a variety of purposes. You can use it to treat:
- minor wounds
- cuts and scrapes
- heal burn
- bee stings,
- Soothe rashes or skin irritation
If you want to have a medicinal herb around to use for your kids, calendula is perfect. Trust me; you will find ways to use it! Calendula is versatile, and you can use it in several methods.
My favorite way is to make homemade diaper rash creams, but you can use calendula in your bath water, as a cream or salve, compresses or washes, ointments, massage oils, teas, tinctures and more! Best of all, calendula is so gentle, perfect for children.
If there is one herb you want to have in your garden for flu, it has to be Echinacea. Native Americans first discovered the medicinal benefits of Echinacea. It is a coneflower that is native to many areas in the continental United States. There are several ailments that Echinacea will treat, such as:
- Heals wounds
- Kills off infections
- Treatment for the flu
- Reduces upper respiratory infections
- Kills the common cold
Echinacea is a powerful, immune-boosting herb that you need to grow. Don’t be afraid of its strength; Echinacea is truly easy to grow. The plant grows to 36 inches tall and is often an ornamental flower in gardens, attracting bees and butterflies. Try planting Echinacea near other plants that require pollination.
You can use Echinacea in several ways. Infusions, decoctions, herbal teas and capsules are a few of the common ways. If you go into the herbal supplement section in any supermarket, you will find Echinacea pills. Why buy it if you can grow in yourself?
If you are lucky, Feverfew might grow wild near to your home. Originally from the Balkan Peninsula, Feverfew now grows wild and in flower gardens around the world. The plant produces dozens of small, daisy-like flowers with white petals and yellow centers. You might confuse it with chamomile.
Historically, Feverfew treats several ailments. While the most obvious might be reducing fevers (due to the name), you can use Feverfew to treat:
- Most noteworthy – treat headaches
- Relieve toothaches
- Helps with menstruation and labor during childbirth
- Treats digestive problems
- Heals insect bites
- Treats arthritis pain
You can use Feverfew in a variety of ways. Our favorite method is to make an herbal bath. We fill a satchel with dried flowers and leaves. Then, I place it directly into their bath water. It is a fantastic way to help reduce a child’s fever (when necessary; fevers aren’t always evil).
- Lemon Balm
A member of the mint family, lemon balm is a famed essential oil and medicinal herb. While it is not native to North America, you can find lemon balm in most nurseries and backyard gardens. Herbalists rely on lemon balm to treat a variety of illnesses and ailments, such as:
- Reduce fevers
- Treat colds
- Reduce stomach aches
- Cure headaches
- Calm anxiety
Growing lemon balm is easy! You can start the plants with seeds indoors, or you can sow seeds late in the fall for a spring sprouting. The plant can spread out, reaching almost two feet tall. However, it doesn’t prefer full sun so keep it in an area that reduces shade, especially during the summer.
How can you use lemon balm? There are so many ways! One of my favorite ways is to make an herbal tea by pouring boiling water on top of fresh leaves. You can use dried lemon balm, but it does lose its scent faster. Just like other herbs, you can make herbal baths, tinctures and more!
Finally, my last favorite medicinal herb is rosemary, a sweet-scented shrub with pretty, pale blue flowers. The leaves look like little pine needles. Rosemary is a culinary and medicinal herb. We love to cook lemon and rosemary chicken or rosemary garlic bread! Delicious!
There are plenty of medicinal properties to rosemary as well. Here are the most noted.
- Aids indigestion
- Helps digest starchy food
- Relieves mental fatigue and forgetfulness
- Cures colds and chills
- Relieves flatulence
- Heart stimulant
- Reduces dandruff
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
I typically drink rosemary tea if I notice I have indigestion. Most of all, rosemary shampoo is wonderful for your scalp health! If you feel as if you are in a daze and need more clarity, rosemary is for you
These are just six of my favorite medicinal herbs. There are so much more that you can grow and dozens of ways to use them. I would love to know what is your favorite medicinal herb to grow in your backyard. Let me know in the comments!