For the first time this year, we are dedicating a large garden space to herbs and spices for culinary and medicinal purposes. There are hundreds of herbs which can be grown easily in our climate and produce a wide variety of helpful tinctures, flavors, remedies and teas.
There are many overlooked uses for herbs and spices in healing. While our garden is somewhat selected by what grows best in our area and plants that I am familiar with, most of them have specific medical purposes as well. It’s amazing how many wonderful health benefits there are to so many different plants, even ones which you wouldn’t expect to have medicinal uses. Below I’ve listed some of the plants that we are starting to grow this year and their benefits in maintaining and promoting your health and well being.
Basil – A tasty garnish that makes a wonderful pesto, you can also use basil as a rub for muscle tension and pain.
Oregano – Commonly a spice for baking and adding flavor to a meal, oregano can be applied topically to prevent acne.
Thyme – A tasty spice that also provides great ground cover in the garden, thyme can be eaten to help soothe a sore throat, cough, or bronchitis.
Marigold – This beautiful yellow blossomed plant can also be used in a tincture for burns, or as an anti-inflammatory rub for bruises and cuts.
Chamomile – Famously used in teas, chamomile is a delicious way to help soothe an upset stomach or cramps.
Echinacea – The echinacea plant is used as a remedy for many types of infection, and can be taken daily as a preventative or at the onset to relieve symptoms.
Dill – Usually a salad garnish, dill helps to reduce gas and also can prevent congestion and other symptoms of a cold.
Tarragon – Tarragon is useful for reducing lingering pain such as toothaches, and can also promote sleep.
Mint – A fresh, delightful flavor that is perfect in a summer iced tea, mint is helpful relief for a wide range of digestive issues, from vomiting and nausea to childhood colic.
Parsley – A yummy garnish, parsley can be used as a rub for insect bites and chapped skin, as well as helping to reduce high blood pressure. It’s also rumored to be effective as an aphrodisiac.
Rosemary – Rosemary can help to reduce many aches and pains, including heartburn and toothache. Additionally, it is said to help reduce age related memory loss, as well as headaches and high blood pressure.
Lavender – This aromatic plant is very popular as an essential oil and fragrance. It is especially helpful at reducing insomnia and nervousness, as well as relieving migraines and other headaches.
Chives – Chives are very similar to garlic, and although we usually don’t take them in great enough quantities, they can help to relieve the common cold.
Sage – Sage is not only delicious, but also can be taken to help with depression and memory loss. Additionally, sage is said to reduce hot flashes in menopausal women, and menstrual cramps.
Corriander – Also known as cilantro, this leafy green can be used as a rub to reduce joint pain and muscle aches.
Catnip – In addition to driving your feline wild, catnip also has some pleasant effects on humans. It is most commonly used to help with insomnia, anxiety, and migraines.
There are a number of common plants with some wonderful health benefits. There are many more which I haven’t listed here, some of which you may grow already and just not know about how good they can be. A garden isn’t just a way to get some fresh food, it can also keep you healthy.