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The Medicinal Herb Garden

Grow these 10 medicinal herbs in your garden, and enjoy having the keys to natural wellness just outside your door.

| March/April 2015

  • Grow the 10 herbs in this article for a well-rounded homegrown apothecary.
    Photo by Snapwire
  • Echinacea roots make an effective anti-inflammatory tincture.
    Photo by iStock
  • Recent studies suggest that American ginseng is safe for long-term use by diabetics to help regulate blood sugar levels.
    Photo by iStock
  • Goldenseal is endangered. Grow this potent medicinal to ensure its survival.
    Photo by Alvita
  • Take care in learning about which plant parts are medicinally effective in your herbs.
    Photo by iStock
  • Grow your own medicine and health with easy-to-grow herbs that are native to your region.
    Photo by iStock
  • Peppermint has wide variety of medicinal uses.
    Photo by iStock
  • Train beautiful, vining passionflower up a trellis.
    Photo by iStock
  • A prairie native, blue vervain grows well in damp garden areas.
    Photo by GAP Photos
  • The wildflower yarrow may help lower blood pressure.
    Photo by iStock

Imagine having a living, aromatic medicine chest right outside your back door.

We can ensure a steady supply of high-quality medicine and a beautiful garden by growing our own collection of medicinal herbs. Throughout the world, native healers have traditionally eaten a bit of the native medicinal plants in an area where they are working to “calibrate” themselves to that environment. In similar fashion, you can “calibrate” your health to your own unique environment by using herbs from your own garden to support your health.

Although the herbs listed here will grow almost anywhere in North America, select plant varieties that are native to your region. If a particular herb does not grow well in your garden, think of the actions of that plant and consult with local herbalists to discover herbs with similar properties that grow well in your region. Goldenseal, for example, is native to the woodland forests of the northeast and central northern regions of North America and loves moist but not soggy growing conditions. Oregon grape root, with its high berberine levels, has similar medicinal properties and grows exceptionally well in the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. Choose plants that thrive in your local region and are suited to the conditions in your garden.

Peppermint (Mentha xpiperita)

Indigenous to Europe and Asia, peppermint is a rapid grower that has naturalized throughout most of North America. Peppermint has square stems with dark green leaves and spikes of white flowers that bloom throughout the summer.

Peppermint has a wide variety of medicinal actions. It’s effective for pain management: Recent research with mice demonstrates peppermint tea can reduce central nerve pain; and menthol-rich peppermint applied topically reduces muscle and joint pain. For the digestive system, peppermint also offers a wide range of beneficial effects: Used externally, peppermint oil reduces the nausea often associated with chemotherapy and surgery (but not pregnancy); peppermint relaxes the muscles lining the digestive tract and reduces pain, making it helpful for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome; and in studies, infants with colic responded as well to internal use of peppermint as to the pharmaceutical simethicone. Cell studies have demonstrated peppermint has bacteriocidal effect on Helicobacter pylori, the primary cause of stomach ulcers. (Avoid using peppermint late in the day as it can aggravate acid reflux.)

Grow it: Peppermint will grow almost anywhere but prefers damp ground. Peppermint is a cross between water mint and spearmint and, like many hybrids, its seeds are sterile. It spreads via rhizomes—roots that move horizontally under the soil. You can also propagate peppermint by dividing or making cuttings. If you want to grow other herbs in your garden, contain peppermint in a clay pot. Once peppermint is established in the garden, it will happily colonize the entire plot. Although peppermint will tolerate partial shade, it will have higher essential oil content and more potent medicinal properties if grown in full sun.

3/31/2015 3:41:37 AM

Apart from normal gardening here we have found medicinal herb gardening. Basically herbs are the most essential products and very useful for human being; especially medicinal herbs which is quite beneficial for us. Medicinal herbs are really helps to reduce so many diseases and therefore in most of the countries these herbs are using for the treatment of several diseases.

3/25/2015 1:10:57 AM

I love growing herbs, now I will be able to use them inside of just looking at them.



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