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While you probably know having an herb garden in your backyard can make your food taste amazing, did you know it can also make you feel better?
There are a variety of herbs that are not only great for eating, they’re also packed with medicinal qualities.
These medicinal herbs can relieve common ailments, like headaches, colds, and anxiety, making them a great addition to your garden. If you’re hoping to add a medicinal herb garden to your yard this summer, consider these eight best medicinal herbs anyone can grow.
Its beautiful purple flowers and lovely fragrance made lavender a popular choice for herb gardens.
Lavender is a great natural addition to soaps and lotions, but it can also be used in teas, baked goods and flavorings. This versatile herb is a powerful nervine that helps reduce anxiety, promotes relaxation, and is wonderful for relieving everyday stress.
Lavender plants grow well in full sun with well-drained soil and can be grown from seeds or cuttings.
Lavender typically takes a couple growing seasons to become fully established, so be sure to heavily mulch this perennial herb during the cold winter months.
To harvest lavender for medicinal use, remove the buds just as they are beginning to bloom but before the flowers are completely open.
Use a sharp knife to cut the flowering stalks off the plant a couple inches above the leaves, then separate the blossoms from the stalk.
This flowering herb is a great addition to your herb garden.
With an anti-inflammatory nervine that produces a calming effect on the nervous and digestive systems, chamomile is great for easing digestive issues or working as a sleep aid. And its antiseptic properties make it perfect for topical washes for the skin, eyes, and mouth.
And the best part about this medicinal herb is that it’s safe for children and adults.
Chamomile is an annual that grows in a variety of environments, but it truly thrives in cooler climates.
This hardy herb is pest and disease resistant and prefers to grow in full sun. Chamomile loves growing in well-drained soil with plenty of moisture.
To harvest chamomile for medicinal use, hand-pick the blossoms during full bloom every seven to 10 days.
The antiseptic qualities found in basil leaves are great for treating cuts and scrapes. And the herb can help relieve gas, ease PMS symptoms, and reduce the risks of low blood sugar when combined with other foods.
Basil is also known to help threat soar throat pain, reduce fever, and treat respiratory problems.
Basil plants love warm weather, making the summer months the ideal time to plant this medicinal herb. Plants grow best in full sun in rich, well-drained soil.
Basil can also be grown indoors in containers.
For a small harvest, remove a few leaves off each plant. When harvesting larger amounts, remove leaves from the top down and pinch off the branch above a leaf pair rather than leaving a stub exposed.
On top of being packed with vitamins A and C, parsley is also filled with a variety of amazing medicinal qualities.
This super herb is said to help reduce the risk of diabetes and make your bones stronger. It’s also great for strengthening your immune system and may also assist in stabilizing your blood pressure. Parsley can even be used to make your breath smell better.
Parsley can be grown from seed directly in your garden or transplanted as seedlings. Seeds should be planted in rich soil, and for best growth, the soil should be warm.
Parsley is ready to be harvested when the leaf stems have three segments. To harvest, cut the leaves from the outer portions of the plant as you need them, leaving the inner leaves to mature.
Another great herb to use in cooking, sage can provide a variety health benefits, too.
Sage is known to help relieve inflammation and assist the digestive system. Its antibacterial qualities can help heal skin infections and gum disease. And sage is also said to help improve memory and concentration.
Depending on your gardening zone, sage is both a perennial and an annual. In zones 5 to 8, for example sage is known as a hardy perennial. But in the humid southern zones, sage typically grows as an annual. Sage grows well in the temperate climates found in fall and spring and does not handle hot, humid summers well.
Plant your sage in a sunny spot with well-drained soil for best results. Sage can be harvested by pinching off a leaf at a time or by cutting an entire stem from the plant. To dry the leaves, hang a bunch of stems upside until dry, then strip the leaves from the stem.
Whether you use the leaves of the thyme plant to aid in digestion or the essential oils of the plant for aromatherapy, this herb has a ton of great medicinal applications.
Thyme can be used to treat stomach problems and relieve symptoms of the common cold, including cough, congestion, and sore throat pain. The herb also has amazing antiseptic qualities, making it great for healing minor cuts or using as a disinfectant in its essential oil form.
Thyme is a hardy perennial in most gardening zones, but loves hot growing conditions and full sun. Thyme can be planted from cuttings or by transplanting seedlings directly into the garden. Plant in well-drained soil for best results.
To harvest your medicinal thyme, pick the leaves just before the plant begins to flower by clipping sprigs directly off the plant.
The health benefits of rosemary include the ability to stimulate blood circulation, reduce inflammation and help detoxify the body. Rosemary can also help protect your body from bacterial infections and help relieve a variety of common skin conditions. And when used in its essential oil form, rosemary is amazing at boosting memory and improving your mood.
This aromatic perennial will add a wonderful fragrance and pretty blue flowers to your garden.
Rosemary can be planted as seed directly in your garden or as transplants during warm weather. It can also be planted indoors during the cold months to have rosemary year-round.
To harvest, prune the rosemary stems when the plant is young. You can harvest up to one-third of the rosemary plant at one time and dry the leaves for future use.
One of the easiest herbs to grow in your backyard garden, peppermint is also packed with a ton of health benefits. In addition to being a great source of potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, B, and C, peppermint is also wonderful for assisting your digestive system. This medicinal herb can also help ease gas symptoms, eliminate nausea, lower a fever, and relieve sore muscles.
Peppermint plants can grow in a variety of conditions, from large gardens to small containers, and in full sun or part shade. Mint loves moist soil and can even tolerate light frosts during the cooler months of the growing season. And while growing mint is simple, keeping this evasive herb under control can sometimes be a problem.
To harvest mint, pick the leaves at any point during the growing season. For the strongest concentration of essential oil in the leaves, pick the herb during midday.
What are your favorite medicinal herbs to grow?
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