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Saturday, July 12, 2014


20 Medicinal Plants Worthy of Your Garden Space

Team - 7:07 AM

by Bembu

1. Milk Thistle

You’ll often see Milk Thistle in products labeled as being good for the liver, which could make it a very important plant to have because your liver has a big effect on your overall health.

It’s also a plant that has reported anti-cancer benefits thanks to the antioxidants it contains. To use it just add some of its seeds to a smoothie or other recipe, crushing them before use. Be sure to use up the stalks as well, which can be added to a salad or other meal.

Planting and Care Instructions

Early summer is the best time to plant Milk Thistle, and it grows well in sunny spots. You’re able to harvest seeds for a few weeks when it produces them.

2. Aloe Vera

This is one of the most widely used plants for medicinal purposes, and you’ll find it in the ingredients list of a number of skin care products from lotions to creams and gels.

An Aloe Vera plant is pretty much a must have, because there are a myriad of ways that you can use it, many of which are skin related, but you can also use it internally as a digestive aid, to improve heart health, and as an anti-inflammatory.

Planting and Care Instructions

You can grow Aloe Vera indoors any time of year, and you’ll want to use something that drains better than plain potting soil. You don’t want the plant soaking in undrained water, and often it’s better to mist them than to add water to the base.

3. Echinacea

Echinacea is a plant you’ll want to have in your arsenal, as a way of protecting you from getting sick, and speeding up the recovery process when you do get sick. It has antiviral and antibacterial properties, and can be used both internally and topically to help heal the body more quickly.

One remedy that Echinacea is used for is sunburn treatment. Along with aloe vera, Echinacea has been shown to heal sunburned skin more quickly than if left untreated.

Planting and Care Instructions

Plant echinacea in soil that is a mixture of sand, silt, and clay (loam). Place in an area that gets sun all day, or gets a bit of shade. Water it regularly, but don’t worry if you miss a few days or even a week, as it is quite resilient when it comes to infrequent waterings.

4. Astragalus

Just about anyone can benefit from including astragalus in their diet because it is said to bolster the immune system. This means that it’s not just good for helping to prevent colds and flus and in the short term, but can help prevent bigger diseases like cancer over the long term.

Astragalus even has anti-aging benefits, helping to strengthen the body at the cellular level and can bring down blood sugar levels in those looking to prevent or manage diabetes.

Planting and Care Instructions

You can plant Astragalus any time of year, but keep in mind that it will take a few years before it’s ready to be harvested, so this is one plant that requires some patience. Pick a spot that gets some shade rather than an entirely sunny one. Use a soil that drains well rather than standard potting soil.

5. Burdock

The cleansing power of Burdock is enough to merit space in your garden, as this plant has been used to help the liver do its job better and benefitting the digestive system. It can provide some relief from the toxic world we live in, and help the body rid itself from stored toxins.

Keep your supply of Burdock coming and eat it along with salad greens to meet your daily fiber needs. Burdock is a rich source of fiber, including inulin which helps keep your digestive tract clean and your colon functioning properly.

Planting and Care Instructions

You’ll love Burdock because you don’t have to tend to it much in order for it to thrive. However, the more you tend to it, the better it will grow and the more yield you’ll get from it. Place it where it will get the most sun.

6. Valerian

You should consider planting Valerian if you’ve been having trouble getting to sleep at night. Its root has been well-documented as a sedative that can help your body relax allowing you to drift off to sleep.

Valerian can also help calm you down if you’re suffering from some emotional stress. It can be made into a tea and sipped just like a normal tea to relax you and help your muscles unwind. This could be used a possible all-natural alternative for the treatment of anxiety.

Planting and Care Instructions

Plant Valerian seeds in the spring with your other garden items. Choose a relatively sunny spot for them, but make sure that they’re getting a fair amount of shade throughout the day as well. Keep it well-watered and use a soil that drains easily.

7. Marshmallow

When your throat is achy, reach for Marshmallow instead of a lozenge. This isn’t the S’mores ingredient, but the actual plant from which it was originally derived. It works because of its antibacterial nature, and can also be used as a cough suppressant.

It’s also been shown to have many possible digestive benefits, including heartburn relief, help with indigestion, and repairing of stomach ulcers. Of course for any health condition you’ll want to seek your doctor’s opinion, but using an all-natural plant like Marshmallow is a good start.

Planting and Care Instructions

Although it thrives in marshes as the name implies, you can successfully grow Marshmallow in your garden. Make sure it gets lots of sun, lots of water, and it should grow to about 5 feet in height as long as it receives proper support.

8. Garlic

Let’s not overlook Garlic when it comes to medicinal plants. It makes a great addition to many dishes, and this is good news for those that want to bring down their cholesterol levels, one of Garlic’s benefits. The antibiotic properties of Garlic are what make it handy to have around.

Use fresh Garlic if you want to take advantage of its antibiotic nature to naturally treat Athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. Eating fresh Garlic is also recommended to get the most potency from it. Garlic supplements can be used if you find the taste to be too much to use daily.

Planting and Care Instructions

Spring is the best time to plant garlic, but it’s also a good idea to wait until fall for a better yield. It’s best to use garlic cloves from a local nursery so you are sure of the type you’re getting, rather than using store bought garlic meant for consumption.

9. Peppermint

Peppermint provides relief for digestive complaints ranging from Irritable Bowel Syndrome to general upset stomach caused by indigestion. You may have heard to chew a piece of peppermint gum if your stomach is hurting, but it’s better to go to the source than to introduce artificial sweeteners into the body.

Of course Peppermint also helps to keep your breath smelling fresh, and even just the smell of fresh peppermint can help improve memory and keep you more alert.

Planting and Care Instructions

Peppermint thrives in full sun, but you can also put it in a spot that gets some shade. It is a relatively easy herb to grow that shouldn’t give you any trouble. It can also grow indoors in an herb garden if you want to keep it handy for use in cooking.

10. Sage

If you’ve only used Sage as a seasoning in a recipe, it’s time to broaden your experience. It can help curb excess inflammation, and works as an antiseptic as well. It has the ability to help muscles relax and can clear up congestion in the lungs.

It’s also helpful with digestive problems involving intestinal pain by helping to relieve pressure from gas and bloating. It also works well for oral conditions, including throat infections and ulcers of the mouth.

Planting and Care Instructions

Use cuttings from an existing Sage plant to grow new ones, rather than using seeds. They’ll need to be watered on the regular until they’re full size. Be sure to prune them each year so they have a better chance at continual growth, and replace them every five years for best results.

11. Passion Flower

Grow Passion Flour if you’d like an all-natural remedy for anxiety, as it has shown positive signs when tested on animals. The best part of the results is that it works without undue side effects, with larger doses providing stronger results, also with no ill effects.

In a related benefit, Passion Flower may also help bring down blood pressure numbers, which can have a trickle-down benefit to a host of different diseases and conditions. When made into a tea, Passion Flower has also been shown to help you sleep restfully through the night.

Planting and Care Instructions

Here’s another plant that does well in the sun, as long as you keep it watered. You can use a well-draining soil and it’s alright to put it in a spot that gets some shade. If you’d prefer, you can grow this in a pot rather than directly in the garden.

12. Thyme

Thyme is a popular herb used in cooking, but it’s also an amazingly healthy plant to add to your garden or herb garden. The benefits it provides range from a possible anti-cancer agent to helping with common skin problems such as acne and rashes.

When made into an essential oil Thyme has shown promise as a remedy for yeast infections, and when used as an extract it has been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure levels. Further research is required, but early signs suggest it is an herb you’ll want to have.

Planting and Care Instructions

Grow Thyme in a sunny spot, and use seedlings rather than trying to grow it from seeds. You should use a soil that drains easily, and aside from that Thyme should be a pain-free plant that grows well without constant attention.

13. Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is a great choice for those looking to nature to help them with their anxiety. It’s a plant that helps calm you down and relaxes the mind, allowing you to perform mental tasks with more clarity, and fall asleep more easily.

It is also effective at treating herpes thanks to its antiviral nature, reducing the amount of time an outbreak lasts, and how bad it gets. It is also used to help improve thyroid health, which would help the entire body as well.

Planting and Care Instructions

Put Lemon Balm in a location that gets shade for at least part of the day. It’s a late bloomer, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see early blossoms. One trick is to cut it back if it’s showing signs of trouble, because it can regrow better than ever.

14. Pot Marigold

The antiseptic properties of Pot Marigold make it a prime candidate for your garden. It helps wounds heal more quickly by keeping them clean and improving the flow of blood to the affected area. At the same time it acts as an anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling and pain.

It also has a wide range of uses, including the ability to soothe a sore throat when gargled in a mouthwash, and can treat hemorrhoids thanks to the anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties discussed above.

Planting and Care Instructions

Pot Marigold needs full sun, so put it in the sunniest part of your garden. Spring is the best time to plant, but make sure there’s no more frosts in the forecast. Keep the soil moist, but avoid watering it too much, a regular misting is enough.

15. Comfrey

Get some Comfrey growing in your garden if you want a plant that can help wounds heal and bones mend. This is due to its anti-inflammatory properties, and also because of a chemical compound called allantoin which may provide additional benefits.

This isn’t a plant that you’ll want to ingest or make a tea from, simply use it externally by placing its leaves directly on the area, or making a poultice out of it.

Planting and Care Instructions

Your local nursery is the best place to go to get started with Comfrey, as the germination process is rather involved and takes 2 years in some cases. Once you have the plant in place water it regularly, but don’t stress if your forget because Comfrey isn’t picky.

16. Basil

Basil is not just a great-tasting herb that will enhance your cooking, it’s loaded with healthy properties that can help in a number of ways. It is an anti-inflammatory, helping any condition caused by or worsened by inflammation in the body.

One of the more pressing reasons to add basil to your herb garden is due to its anti-cancer benefits. The antioxidants it contains help to battle back free radical damage and keep your cells healthy and undamaged.

Planting and Care Instructions

Putting Basil in a spot that gets both regular sun and shade works best, especially if the shade comes in the afternoon. Basil also does well in a container, and is the perfect plant for an herb garden. Be sure to keep the soil moist for best results.

17. Oregano

Another herb that is famous for its ability to improve the taste of a meal, Oregano has some important health benefits that make it a medicinal herb as well. The antimicrobial property of Oregano makes it highly effective against bacteria and fungi in the body.

It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, and because of its high antioxidant count it improves the immune system. It has specific phytochemicals that show promise in the battle against cancer.

Planting and Care Instructions

In most regions you can keep Oregano in full sun, but if you live in the southern zones you may want to make sure that it’s getting some shade each day as well. Keep it watered regularly, but use a well-draining soil to prevent rot.

18. Ginger

Growing Ginger is a good idea if you suffer from gastrointestinal problems, as it has a natural cleansing ability once consumed. It is often used as a remedy for motion sickness, as well as morning sickness for pregnant women.

Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory benefits, and has proven effective against specific cancers. Overall, it is an asset to your immune system, helping to keep you free from a host of diseases and conditions.

Planting and Care Instructions

You can elect to grow ginger in a pot or in the ground, and either way can bring success. You can use fresh ginger root from the store, soak it overnight, and plant it just below the surface if using a pot, or with the buds turned up if planting in the garden.

19. Flaxseed

Growing your own flaxseed is an economical way to get the benefits it contains. Specifically it’s the omega-3s that we’re after. These are the plant-based omega-3, not the kind found in oily fish like salmon. Nonetheless it’s an important component of a healthy diet, and flaxseed contains plenty of it.

Flaxseed is also a quality source of fiber, containing both types of fiber needed daily, insoluble and soluble. The seeds are very small and easily added to a meal or smoothie to get the nutrients it contains.

Planting and Care Instructions

Flax needs full sun, and water them regularly, but lightly. Some parts of the country are better suited for growing Flaxseed than others, and if you live too far south you may have trouble growing it because of the hot temperatures.

20. Blessed Thistle

If you suffer from any sort of digestive problem, you’ll want to make sure to save some space for Blessed Thistle in your garden. It helps keep the digestive system clean, helps the liver to detoxify itself, and works as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body.

You can use up just about all parts of the Blessed Thistle plant, including its stems, leaves, and blossoms. You can also find this in supplement form at health food shops.

Planting and Care Instructions

Plant Blessed Thistle in a sunny spot of your garden, in just about any type soil. Once the flowers bloom you should pick it and either use it up while it’s fresh, or let it dry so you can store it and use it later.


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