Medicinal herbs have historically been valued as a source of health-boosting ingredients. People have grown them for centuries to prevent and treat diseases, long before modern drugs were invented.
Even today, despite the existence of synthetic drugs created in laboratories, people turn to natural remedies to address minor health concerns.
So, having at least one of these wonderful plants in your garden is always a good idea, especially if you have specific health concerns such as insomnia, stress, or inflammation.
Ahead, we’ve rounded up the best herbs with medicinal properties that will not only improve your well-being but also become a beautiful addition to your garden. Learn how to create a classic apothecary garden where medicine and beauty exist in perfect harmony.
What is a Medicinal Plant?
A medicinal plant is any plant that contains substances that can be used to prevent or treat diseases and improve overall well-being. These plants include the following properties highly valued in medicine:
Both evidence-based and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use medicinal plants to prevent and treat a wide range of acute and chronic diseases.
Some medicinal herbs are widely used to synthesize modern drugs; many constitute the core ingredients of FDA-approved drugs. With the science behind many of these plants, you can be sure that your gardening effort will be rewarded.
Why Grow Medicinal Herbs in Your Garden?
For starters, growing medicinal herbs in your garden kills two birds with one stone: you get a good supply of herbs to satisfy your health needs and can enjoy these plants’ wonderful look and smell.
But also, there’s nothing like a feeling of growing something that can benefit your family and friends and making your self-care routine more conscious and environmentally friendly.
If you’re wondering what makes home-grown herbs different from their pre-packed counterparts in drug stores and supermarkets, it’s all in their quality.
In your medicinal herb garden, you can control the soil and water quality, eliminate the use of pesticides and other chemicals, and give your plants the love they need to grow strong.
As a result, they can accumulate as many vitamins as possible and gain a nice smell and taste. However, it is important to purchase seeds from medicinal-quality sources to make sure the plants are not only beautiful but also beneficial for your health.
When it comes to cultivating your own medicinal herbs, there’s another important factor that may inspire you. The thing is that many medicinal herbs, such as lavender, attract bees and other pollinators, serving as a vital source of food for them.
Given the current health crisis of honey bees, which suffer greatly from pervasive pesticide use and urbanization, your medicinal herb garden can become a safe haven for local bees.
5 Best Medicinal Herbs Worth Growing
Dozens of medicinal herbs can be easily grown outdoors. From melissa to rosemary, they all boast unique flavors, looks, and effects. Below is the list of five plants that are definitely worth your attention.
They are all easy to cultivate and provide so many wellness benefits that you will not regret adding them to your medicinal herb garden.
Mood-boosting yellow flowers of Calendula officinalis, also called Pot Marigold, can make any medicinal herb garden more cheerful. This “herb of the sun” is one of the easiest plants to cultivate.
All you need to do is plant it mid-spring and ensure it has lots of sun exposure. Calendula survives in almost any soil except over-dry and over-watered.
To benefit the most from calendula’s flowers, pick them in the heat of the day every two to three days. Dry them in a warm, well-ventilated place for about ten days. Voila! Your harvest is ready to be consumed.
This plant is incredibly versatile and can be used in tinctures, oils, and creams, as well as mouth-watering teas and lemonades. Golden calendula petals can stand up to cooking, making them an easy addition to everything from soups and sauces to roasted veggies.
As for the plant’s medicinal properties, calendula boasts the following:
- Wound healing
Consider using calendula if you have burns, skin conditions, gastrointestinal, gynecological, or ocular problems.
Add some color to your garden by growing echinacea’s lovely pink-purple daisy-like flowers. This perennial medicinal herb, known in science as Echinacea purpurea, grows best when exposed to sunlight for at least four to five hours a day.
Echinacea loves rocky soil and compost but does not tolerate wet soil. It is generally non-maintenance and does not require advanced hardening skills. This herb is planted in fall or spring and normally flowers during the second year.
You may want to cultivate echinacea for its immunostimulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. Simply speaking, if you often catch a cold and suffer from sore throats and coughs, this herb is great for alleviating nasty symptoms and bringing you back to life.
It’s packed with polysaccharides, glycoproteins, and alkamides that give your immune system a natural boost and make you more resistant to seasonal diseases.
These daisy-like flowers with large yellow centers make any garden look like a blooming summer field. Tanacetum parthenium L. grows well in almost any climate and requires only minimal involvement.
Plant the seeds in spring in a sunny place and expect full bloom between July and October. It is recommended to plant feverfew near entryways because this herb repels insects of all nature.
However, keep an eye on the bushes because they tend to reseed too well and may invade more space in your garden than you expected.
Harvest the flowers when they are in full bloom and dry them well before use. Feverfew helps best if consumed freshly dried, but you need to get used to its slightly bitter taste. Feverfew boasts antioxidant and antimicrobial properties and helps with the following conditions:
- Earache and headache
Feverfew is not recommended for pregnant women as it may cause contractions.
Terminology around hemp is confusing, scaring gardeners away from growing this incredible medicinal plant. Hemp belongs to cannabis species called Cannabis sativa, a cultivar grown for industrial and medicinal use.
Hemp cultivation is legal in the USA because it contains less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a psychoactive compound causing the high. Hemp is valued the most for cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating ingredient with numerous health benefits, such as the following:
- Sleep improvement
- Pain reduction
- Stress and anxiety reduction
- Tension release
You can find many CBD-based products online, such as pre-rolls. However, there’s nothing more rewarding than growing hemp on your own and enjoying a steady supply of CBD to amp up your self-care routine.
When it comes to cultivation, hemp is a bit more tricky than other medicinal herbs. It requires low humidity, excellent sun exposure, and many hot days followed by warm nights.
A long rainy season or an influx of pests can be bad for the harvest, so make sure the weather in your location is well-suited to growing hemp.
The floral fragrance of rows of purple flowers can be a welcome addition to any garden. If you have limited gardening skills, you can’t go wrong with growing lavender because it is a very low-maintenance plant.
As long as you plant it in late spring and ensure it has lots of sun and fast-draining soil, you’ll easily get your picture-perfect bushes. However, lavender is a slow grower, so don’t expect a high yield in your first year.
It’s best to harvest lavender when the flowers are fully open, and they’re at their most fragrant. The idyllic scenery produced by lavender is complemented by its amazing medicinal and wellness properties.
Lavender tea is well-known as a natural sedative, and the delicate smell of this plant makes it perfect for aromatherapy. Here’s how you can make the most out of lavender:
- Add dried lavender to the tea to promote sleep
- Add a handful of flowers to the bath to help the muscles relax
- Rub dried flowers into a mixture of vitamin E oil and salt to make a body scrub
- Wrap lavender in a piece of cotton or muslin and place it in the cupboard to repel moth
- Add it to oil to heal minor burns and bug bites
Denys Svirepchuk is a pro writer at AskGrowers, specializing in everything that concerns cannabis cultivation, both indoors and outdoors.
Denys knows all ins and outs of growing high-yield cannabis strains with therapeutic effects. He loves exploring the science behind cannabis growing and use and is always ready to share his tips with readers.
Summing Up Our Medicinal Herbs Guide
Upgrading your garden with medicinal plants is easy and incredibly rewarding. Each of the listed herbs is versatile and can be used for improving health and well-being.
What is more, their sweet smell and look will not disappoint you and encourage you to spend more time outdoors enjoying the buzz of the bees and a sense of complete bliss.