11 Multipurpose Healing Herbs To Grow in Your Home or Garden
Our great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents relied on the healing herbs and spices that grew in their surroundings to heal any ill that came their way.
If you think about it, it’s actually more convenient to step into your garden for medicine than to go get a check-up and run to the nearest pharmacy. Much cheaper too!
Below are a few healing herbs you can grow indoors and outdoors, harvest, and store to keep you and your family healthy all year long!
These herbs will happily grow and thrive a sunny windowsill or in your garden.
This beautiful purple-flowered plant comes in a large variety of colors: from white, to pale pink or purple or even dark blue or violet. Plus, it has a lovely, soothing fragrance.
Use it in the kitchen, sprinkle in your bathwater, or simply enjoy the smell by growing it at home.
Lavender has proven antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s commonly used for anxiety, depression, agitation, intestinal problems, insomnia, headaches, and pain.
To use, diffuse a few drops of lavender essential oil in water, steep a cup of tea made from the leaves or flowers, or add the oil or flowers to your bath. Drinking the tea and inhaling the steam is best to ease strong emotions or promote calmness while topical application of the oil works best for pain.
Lavender loves to be placed in a warm, sunny spot. The plant is actually quite hardy and even does well in dry, poor soil. However, you should fertilize it with high-quality compost once a year and water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. Make sure to plant it in a well-draining pot.
Basil is not just a seasoning, it’s a potent home remedy. Drink basil tea to ward off head colds, warts, and worms. The herb also acts as an appetite stimulant, carminative, and diuretic. Add fresh leaves to salads or cook with your favorite meals to improve kidney function, calm down stomach spasms, and promote circulation. Most surprising of all, used by a seasoned professional, it has the ability to treat snake and insect bites.
Additionally, you can rub crushed leaves on your temples to relieve headaches or boil in hot water to make a soothing foot bath.
This sweet-smelling herb should get between 6 to 8 hours of full sun daily and thrives in moist, well-draining soil. Basil should never fully dry out, as this will make the leaves limp and dry. Once your plant flowers, pick them off to prevent the leaves from getting too bitter. If you’re growing it outside, plant 10-12 inches apart and harvest before the first frost of the fall.
Thyme can be used both fresh and dried with similar results, although it’s typically found in an infusion or a tincture. In fact, the herb is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, broncho spasmolytic, carminative, sedative, diaphoretic, and expectorant. This makes it perfect for treating bronchitis, laryngitis, whooping cough, chronic gastritis, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. You can even use it externally to treat joint pain, skin problems, and superficial wounds. However, you should stay away from thyme if you’re pregnant.
Thyme is hard to grow from the seed, so buy a plant or ask a friend for cuttings instead. Thyme likes to dry out in between waterings since it’s prone to root rot. Trim the plants regularly and plant in a well-draining soil for best results.
4. Lemon Balm
This herb has soothing effects against stress, anxiety, and insomnia. It’s also a digestive tonic that eases indigestion, gas, bloating, colic, and poor appetite. Plus, some studies suggest it works wonders on cold sores too!
Drink a cup of pure tea, or use it in combination with valerian, chamomile, and hops. Topically, apply some chilled tea to ward off mosquitoes and soothe bug bites.
This herb is a perennial that can grow up to 12-24 inches high, it’s also a very quick-spreading plant. Plant in full-run in a well-drained, sandy soil. It will always do best if planted in cool weather in the early spring or late fall. Water regularly and evenly, keeping the soil slightly moist.
Parsley herb and seed tea are reportedly used to treat jaundice, menstrual difficulties, asthma, coughs, indigestion, and dropsy. You can also drink up to ward against gallstones, dyspepsia, dysuria, and rheumatic conditions. Alternatively, chew fresh leaves to freshen your breath in between meals.
Parsley requires moist, rich soil and full sun. Make sure to fertilize with compost once a year. If planting outside, germinate 10-12 weeks before the last spring frost and plant 6-8 inches apart.
Peppermint is wonderfully soothing for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), other digestive problems such as flatulence, nausea, and cramps. Thus, peppermint tea is a great follow-up to a large meal. You can also inhale mint steam to improve a common cold, sinus inflammation or headaches. Alternatively, cure a headache by applying the oil to your temples or soothe sore joints by applying it where you experience pain.
Peppermint is a perennial that loves light soil with good drainage. Place it in indirect sun and top with a bit of organic compost every few months. Water regularly to keep moist. Outside, peppermint can grow up to 4-feet in its first year, so make sure to prune and harvest regularly.
Rosemary has the ability to:
- Improve memory
- Relieve muscle pain and spasm
- Stimulate hair growth
- Support the circulatory and nervous systems
- Soothe indigestion
- Heal muscle and joint pain
- Improve concentration
- Fight cancer
Rosemary actually produces lovely blue flowers and pine-like leaves. Provide them with well-drained, sandy soil and at least six to eight hours of sunlight and they will thrive. Plant in terra cotta to make sure they always stay on the dry side. Rosemary doesn’t like the cold, so keep it in a draft-free space. After it’s bloomed, trim rosemary by up to one-third, cutting just above a leaf joint.
Sage means “to be in good health” so it’s no surprise that it has plenty of health-promoting effects.
Sage is used as a tonic, digestive, antiseptic, astringent, and antispasmodic agent. It also promoted milk flow treats nervous conditions, trembling, depression, and vertigo dysmenorrhea, diarrhea, gastritis, sore throat, and insect bites. It’s best taken as a tea or chewed raw.
Sage grows well, even into the late fall. Give it plenty of sun and its leaves will reach their peak in flavor. Seeds aren’t straightforward to plant, to grow from cuttings instead. Grow in well-drained, sandy, loamy soil, and if possible, in soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. Plant in sage in medium to full sun and do not over-fertilize. Very forgiving, wilted leaves will perk up after a watering.
9. Aloe Vera
Break open the thick leaves and apply the gel that seeps out to your skin to soothe sunburn and other burns. Topical application also works on rosacea, herpes, psoriasis, and acne. Better yet, apply some gel directly to your teeth and gums to heal cavities and gum disease. You can even scoop out the gel and add it to smoothies to treat poor digestion, diabetes and alcohol-induced liver disease.
As a succulent, aloe loves full sun and should dry at least 1 to 2 inches deep between waterings. Watering too often will result in root rot. Transplant offsets or plantlets to grow a whole new plant. Keep away from a draft or excessive cold.
This flower is the go-to anti-anxiety herb. Chamomile tea doesn’t just work against anxiety and stress: it also treats stomach problems muscle spasms, skin conditions, and mild infections. It also works well against nausea, vomiting, heartburn, and gas. Chamomile is even used topically to reduce inflammation from cuts, eczema, gingivitis or hemorrhoids.
To use chamomile tea as a natural insecticide, brew a strong (triple strength) batch of tea and let it steep for up to 24 hours. Pour the tea into a spray bottle with a targeted sprayer. Use the tea to spray infested plants, but be careful not to spray the plant when bees or other beneficial insects are present. Also, don’t spray during the heat of the day or when the plant is in direct sunlight.
Marigold, also know as calendula, are a popular garden plant with distinct orange flowers. Some varieties are more daisy-like in shape while others resemble a carnation.
Use a poultice of the petals to relieve sunburn and to clear up acne and blemishes on the skin. Use it as an antiseptic on cuts and bruises. It stops bleeding and reduces inflammation when applied on nicks and cuts. Many skin ointments contain pot marigold extract as the active ingredient.
Marigolds need lots of sunshine and tend to thrive in moderately fertile, well-drained soil. Aways water them from the base of the plant. Do not fertilize these plants, since it will cause the leaves to grow at the expense of the flowers. Actually, marigolds bloom better and more profusely in poor soil. Plant in your garden to repel animals, insects, nematodes, and other pests.
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