Have you always wanted to grow a medicinal herb garden but weren’t sure what to plant? There are many herbs you can easily grow in your backyard. Or you can even grow them in pots on your balcony or verandah. Herbs can be used, not only in cooking, but also to assist with your health and wellbeing.
I’ve recently been working on my herb garden. This is so I have fresh herbs to cook with and a supply of medicinal herbs. These can be used for tea blends, salves, tinctures, infused oils and honey, and poultices. Plus working in the garden is a great way for me to ground myself.
I have noticed that a lot of advice from other countries regarding wild harvesting herbs for your medicinal needs isn’t relevant for those of us living in Australia. Most of these plants do not grow wild here. So creating a herb garden is something that will make sourcing the herbs I want much easier.
There is a huge assortment of herbs you can grow at home, but here are my favourite 12 medicinal herbs that you can grow in your backyard.
I love a cup of chamomile tea, and this little companion plant, is not only pretty , it’s perfume and white flowers helps to attract pollinators to your garden and to deter pests.
Dry the flower heads and make a cup of tea to aid with relaxation and assist with troubles sleeping. It is also great for digestive issues, so drinking camomile tea after dinner can help with gas and indigestion.
Chamomile also contains anti-inflammatory properties making it useful for swelling, arthritis, joint pain & menstrual cramps. Use a chamomile tea bag as an eye pack to ease sore, inflamed eyes.
Mint is an easy medicinal herb to grow in your garden. But beware, it can get out of control and become invasive, so best to grow it in a pot and keep it in check (I have seen mint growing in Australian National Parks bushland).
Mint is great for digestive issues. Sip on a cup of mint tea, add some to your peas, or serve some mint jelly with your roast lamb.
3. Lemon Balm
Crush some lemon balm leaves and rub them on your skin to help deter those annoying mosquitos when sitting outside. Make a poultice to assist with healing wounds and insect bites. Sip a tea made with freshly picked lemon balm leaves to help heal colds, headaches, menstrual cramps & stomach pains.
Lemon balm is a gentle and effective nerve tonic. It helps to alleviate tension, general exhaustion, stress, anxiety, grief and mild depression.
4. Aloe Vera
Not exactly a herb, but Aloe Vera is a great plant to have in your medicinal garden. This plant is nearly invincible and very hard to kill, and does well in pots on the verandah. You could even bring this plant indoors.
Snap a leaf and use its liquid flesh to relieve sunburn. Aloe Vera also assists in healing the skin by restoring damaged tissues.
Sage, apple and pork is a combination made in heaven. A great herb for cooking inthe kitchen but medicinally can also a wonder.
Sage can help to regulate excessive sweat and relieve excess gas. Sage is also used as a preventative against many of the diseases of old age, including dementia.
No longer a plant only found in grandmas garden, lavender has many uses. The flowers can be used in cooking and desserts, making potpourri, or added to cosmetics and soaps for a relaxing fragrance. If you have ever seen a lavender plant, you know the bees love their gorgeous purple flowers.
Lavender oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that help to heal burns and insect bites and is great for use in facial care products for those with sensitive skin.
The fragrance of lavender helps to improve mood and and promote relaxation. Plus it has been scientifically proven to help reduce anxiety.
Rosemary is a staple in our kitchen. This herb had great medicinal qualities. Sipping a cup of rosemary tea can help improve circulation & increase memory.
Rosemary also is known to stimulate circulation, enhance memory, increase blood glucose uptake into muscle, and improve insulin resistance. Sprinkle some rosemary on your roast vegetables as an easy way to get some of this amazing herb into your diet.
Not only for our feline friends, catnip is very easy to grow. This medicinal herb is said to have a sedative effect on both cats and humans. You can easily make a cup of catnip tea to help you relax. Plus it is known to help alleviate a cold, fever, headache and stomach pains and gas.
Normally considered a weed, the dandelion has many medicinal qualities. The flowers are known to be a great muscle relaxant. Make a herbal infused oil with the flowers and massage into areas where you need to release tension. Dandelion root can be dried and make into a tea This helps to assist with healing problems of the liver and as a blood purifier.
It can also be used to reduce swelling, treat urinary tract infections, as a laxative to promote digestion, and as a general tonic.
The chrysanthemum is a beautiful flower, still sold in bunches in the supermarket. It has been a staple of Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Chrysanthemum makes a lovely tea and can be used to treat respiratory problems, hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure. It is also used to reduce inflammation, ease fever and cold symptoms and calm the nerves.
Also known as pot marigold, calendula is super easy to grow and has pretty bright orange flowers.
Calendula is a skin healing medicinal herb and makes a great addition to skin care and wound healing slaves. A calendula infused oil encourages new tissue growth and repair. It can be used for bruises, burns, sores and rashes.
Makes some tea with dried calendula flowers to assist with gastrointestinal issues such as stomach aches and diarrhea.
Thyme is one of my favourite herbs, and it goes so well in a steaming bowl of chicken soup. We all know chicken soup is a much loved remedy for a cold, so there is no wonder thyme assists the immune system. Thyme is beneficial for colds and flu helping to relive sore throats, cough and stiffness from chill.
Thyme also has anti-microbial properties. It can be used as an antiseptic topically for acne, wounds, infections and athletes foot.
By just growing a few medicinal herbs in your garden you have immediate access to a multitude of ways to improve and support your health and wellbeing. Which herb will you be planting first?
NB- Please consult with a doctor, health professional or herbalist to check dosages of all herbal remedies and medicinal herbs before consuming.