Medicinal herbs are powerful healers and have been used for centuries in traditional medicine. Western culture as a whole is just starting to catch on to the incredible benefits of using plants on a daily basis to enhance wellbeing, boost energy, soothe and overcome illness and strengthen the various systems in the body.
All you need is a little space, some good dirt and a few of these fabulous herbs to get you started!
#1 Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Studies have found rosemary to show strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. It is a particularly good herb for protecting the liver. Rosemary is also believed to help with circulation and may help to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Rosemary grows best in well-drained soil, but should be kept in a container or indoors in wintery climates.
#2 Common Sage (Salvia officinalis)
Research has shown that this herb may be useful as a supplement to help prevent type 2 diabetes because of its ability to help lower plasma glucose levels.
Sage is full of phytosterols, which help cool and dry the body, making it useful in helping one overcome fevers and excessive sweating. Sage has also been used to treat diarrhea, throat inflammation, asthma and bronchitis.
#3 Lavender (Lavandula)
Lavender has been researched and found useful for its neuroprotective activity and may help to prevent strokes.
Many enjoy lavender for its soothing effect on the mind and body. It is an excellent herb for calming stress, relieving tension and helping one to fall asleep. Lavender is also useful when added to creams intended to soothe sunburns.
#4 Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)
This herb is most well known for its many benefits to the digestive system. Peppermint is effective at soothing an upset stomach, calming the intestinal muscles, soothing symptoms of colonic spasms and IBS and is believed to help with dyspepsia.
To make your own peppermint essential oil: Crush fresh peppermint leaves and seal them in a jar filled with vodka. Leave alone to steep for several days or even weeks.
Peppermint can grow easily in almost any garden but prefers moist soil and some shade.
#5 Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Studies have found thyme to have potent antioxidant, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It tastes wonderful in cooking (especially after being picked from your own garden!) and helps to strengthen the immune system against infections like the common cold or flu.
Thyme prefers a hot and sunny environment and grows best in well-drained soil.
#6 Catnip (nepeta cateria)
Research has shown catnip to have antimicrobial activity against certain bacteria and fungi. It is most commonly used as a natural sedative because of its relaxing properties and is safe for children. Catnip is also useful in helping those with insomnia, anxiety disorders, depression and restlessness. It is also useful in aiding those with addiction recovery.
Catnip likes to grow in well-drained soil and can tolerate either full sun or shade just fine.
#7 German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
This herb has been studied for its powerful anti-allergenic properties and has been shown to help inhibit the release of histamine in cells. It is also an excellent herb to use when dealing with stress or related symptoms like stomachaches and infections brought on by a stress-weakened immune system.
It prefers well drained soil.
#8 Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
This herb has been studied for its muscle-relaxing capabilities and may help to treat intestinal disorders. Hyssop is a powerful antiseptic and is commonly used to soothe bruises and other skin damage.
Hyssop grows the easiest in dry climates and prefers full sun.
#9 Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Research has shown this herb to be a powerful antispasmodic, anti-tubercular and wormicide. It is commonly used to soothe respiratory infections such as bronchitis and asthma. Mullein is a common ingredient in many natural cough remedies.
Mullein is a particularly beautiful herb to add to your garden as it grows up to six feet in height and has lovely flowers. It is a tough plant and can flourish in many different soils.
#10 Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Studies have shown this herb to contain over nineteen different carotenoids. Research has found that people who eat a diet rich in carotenoids from natural foods tend to be healthier and more free of chronic illnesses.
Calendula also has antiseptic and antifungal properties and has a soothing effect on the skin. This herbs loves full sunlight.
#11 Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
Studies have found that this herb may be a useful remedy in the management of Alzheimer’s disease due to its memory-improving properties. Cilantro is also soothing to the digestive system and works as a potent detoxifier.
Cilantro grows best in a moist environment.
#12 Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
This herb is calming to the nervous system as well as the digestive system. It is believed to have antiviral properties and may be beneficial in preventing such conditions as herpes.
Lemon balm prefers mild growing environments; not too hot and not too cold. May be easiest to grow indoors if outdoor temperatures fluctuate often.