What is better than a beautiful garden? A beautiful garden that can also treat your health problems, right?
Well you have come to the right place as today we are going to be looking at 6 medicinal plants you can grow at home that make for an excellent alternative to modern medicines.
There are a lot of people, myself included, that choose to steer clear of modern medicines as much as possible and with good reason. Many of those prescribed have lots of possible bad side effects. I don’t want to take the risk and would much prefer a more natural way of treating my medical problems. If you are like me then read on…
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is an incredible plant that can be used for a wide variety of different things. They thrive indoors and require very little attention from you which makes it a great plant to start with, even for beginners. These plants have been used for centuries and are only growing in popularity as the years go by.
The great thing about this wonder plant is that many of the medicinal claims that have been made can be backed up by rigorous scientific studies.
The Aloe Gel can be extracted by simply cutting a leaf from the plant and slicing it open to reveal the gel. So how can Aloe Vera be used? Here are just a few of the many ways…
Aloe Vera for Burns
In an article written for the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association, a team of plastic surgeons stated that when compared to 1 percent silver sulphadiazine cream, second-degree burn wounds that were treated with Aloe Vera gel healed significantly quicker. It was also shown that those treated with the Aloe gel had much better pain relief.
“Thermal burns patients dressed with Aloe vera gel showed advantage compared to those dressed with SSD regarding early wound epithelialization, earlier pain relief, and cost-effectiveness.”
Aloe Vera for Tooth Cavities
In a study published in General Dentistry pointed out that Aloe vera in tooth gels is just as effective, and in some cases more effective as toothpaste in fighting tooth cavities.
Aloe latex contains anthraquinones which are compounds that heal and reduce pain through natural anti-inflammatory effects.
It was stated however that the Aloe Vera gel must contain the stabilized gel that exists in the center of the plant to be effective.
Protection From UV Irradiation
Scientists at Kyung Hee University Global Campus, South Korea, set out to find whether Aloe shoot extract could protect the skin from the aging effects of sunlight.
They tested with both baby Aloe shoot (BAE) extract which comes from 1-month old shoots and adult Aloe shoot extract (AE) from 4-month old shoots.
In an article published in Phytotherapy Research, the authors concluded: “Our results suggest that BAE may potentially protect the skin from UVB-induced damage more than AE.”
I think everybody knows the unmistakably clean and refreshing smell of Lavender and studies show that it also has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Medicinally it has been used for centuries as a remedy for digestive issues, headaches, grief and stress.Lavender thrives in areas that receive the most sunlight with well-drained soil and ample airflow.
Lavender as a Gentle Sedative
Lavender can help with anxiety, stress and insomnia. It is often used in formula for the herbal treatment of depression as it has more immediate effects as compared to many of the slower-acting tonic antidepressants. It can be combined with lemon balm and lemon verbena in tea to help lift the spirits.
Lavender for Headaches
It can also be very effective when used internally as a tea or externally as an essential oil, rubbed into the temples to deal with headaches. I prefer to use Lavender as an essential oil as I find the taste too bitter for my liking.
Lavender can also be used in the treatment of intestinal gas, irritable bowel syndrome, and nausea.
You will know that Peppermint is widely used in dental hygiene products, mouth fresheners, soothing balms, etc. It is an easy plant to get growing in the garden but will require plenty of room so that it can spread and will need an area where it can get plenty of water.
Peppermint has been used for thousands of years and one of the many medicinal uses of this plant is to help with stomach upsets. Simply make a tea using a handful of the leaves. You can also sniff on the leaves to help prevent nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness when traveling.
Due to the cooling effect that it has on the skin, you can make a poultice of the leaves and apply it on the skin to relieve itching and burning resulting from skin allergies and inflammatory conditions.
Anybody that has even thought about getting their own medicine cabinet started will have heard of the benefits of Chamomile. A tea can be made from the flower heads to help with a troubled mind and a colicky baby (young children only need a tablespoon). You can also dry the flower heads and store them for later use. To make a tea, simply:
- Place a handful of flowers into a bowl and pour boiling water over them
- Leave to steep for 20 minutes and then drain
- Enjoy your brew!
There is more than one type of Chamomile but the one you will want to start growing at home is the Roman Chamomile Chamaemelum nobile.
5. Pot Marigold
Pot Marigold makes for a great addition to any garden due to its beautiful yellow and orange flowers. They are very easy to grow and seem to do well in most soils and Ph levels. If you have any issue relating to your skin, this is the plant that you need to be including in your medicinal garden.
- Sunburn/acne/skin blemishes – make a poultice from the petals
- Cuts and bruises – use it as an antiseptic. It stops bleeding and reduces inflammation when applied on nicks and cuts.
- Varicose vein relief – make a tea from the flowers
6. Lemon Balm
A good garden isn’t just about the looks but also the smells that are created too and the lemony and minty smell of lemon balm does not disappoint. This herb will grow very easily in rich, moist but well-drained soil with partial or full sunlight though will also grow in acidic or very alkaline soil with a little fertilizer.
No space in the garden? No problem. Providing it is placed in an area that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day, you can easily grow Lemon Balm in the home.
Medicinally, Lemon Balm is a natural antioxidant, antiviral, astringent, anti-tumor, antimicrobial, antihistaminic and antispasmodic agent. The leaves contain health-promoting compounds like rosmarinic, caffeic, protocatechuic acids, phenolic compounds and flavonoids. It can be used to treat herpes, stomach pain, migraines, toothaches, insect bites, headaches, fever, colds and coughs among other things.