Health & Beauty

Published on July 25th, 2013 | by gatsbyadmin

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Plant a Medicinal Herb Garden!

We’ve covered farmer’s markets to find fresh herbs and a zillion different ways to grow your own herbs to cook with at home, but for those who want to take it a step further, try planting your own medicinal herb garden. Again, these gardens can be fashioned in a variety of ways – outdoors, indoors, raised beds, vertical gardens or hanging gardens – and are an awesome way to save not only money, but also your body from the harmful side effects that both over-the-counter and prescription medications can cause.
Gone are the days of humans producing all of one’s own food and medicine while learning and connecting to the rhythms of the seasons and to nature. Digging up a spot in the yard, or throwing some stuff in a pot indoors or outdoors is an awesome way to regain this natural connection between yourself and your environment.

 

When it comes to actually planting your medicinal herb garden, it isn’t much different from planting anything else. Remember when Grimey Gatsby last discussed how to make your own hanging herb garden? You easily turn one of those into your own hanging medicine garden. The seeds could definitely be a bit pricier, but in the end, they’ll just sprout faster! Here are some awesome herbs to include, and which ailments they help manage.

1. Basil
– Doubles for cooking!
– Calms the stomach. Add 1/2 a teaspoon of fresh basil to water to help calm indigestion and alleviate the feeling of fullness.
– Helps stings/bites. Chew up a basil leaf and apply to a bug bite or sting to help alleviate the pain and draw out the venom.
– Relieves coughing and colds. The Amish suggest chewing on basil leaves to calm coughing and dried basil tea to relieve cold symptoms.

2. Calendula
– Heals skin. It’s great for not only minor cuts or abrasions, but also for everything from chapped lips, to eczema, to diaper rash.
– Mouthwash, for gum and tooth infections.
– Gargle, for sore throats and tonsilitis.
– Tea, for bladder infections and stomach ulcers.

3. Ginger
– 
Doubles for cooking!
– Aids in digestion. Ginger helps break down proteins and fatty foods, and also clears the stomach and intestines of gas.
– Alleviates high blood pressure. Ginger’s warming quality improves and stimulates circulation and relaxes the muscles surrounding blood vessels, facilitating the flow of blood throughout the body.

4. Lavender
– Calms you. When seeds or flowers are put in pillows, they aid in sleep  and relaxation.
– Soothes the skin. Much like Calendula, Lavender is awesome for stings, bites, burns and sores.
– Treats acne, when diluted with water.
– Eases headaches when used in aromatherapy.

5. Horehound
– Cough supressant
– Indigestion – horehound can be used as a laxative and a cleansing agent. Go easy though, it can cause an irregular heartbeat in really high doses.
– Cleansing wounds – horehound has multiple antibacterial properties.

6. Mint – any variety
 – Doubles for cooking!
– Cleansing the skin. For a refreshing and cleansing face wash, take a handful of bruises mint leaves and let them sit for an hour in a pan of cool water in the fridge, then use as desired.
– Appetite stimulant. For those lucky enough to need to gain a few pounds, drinking mint tea an hour or so before meals will help you eat more.
– Pain and soreness. When used with a cold compress or rubbed in, mint can significantly reduce pain and stiffness.

7. Rosemary
– Doubles for cooking!
– Dandruff. Mix with borax to create a wonderful-smelling natural shampoo that can help alleviate dandruff.
– Salicylic Acid. This is a main ingredient in rosemary as well as Aspirin, which explains why rubbing rosemary onto joints can help alleviate arthritis pain.
– Skin disorders. Much like the way it treats dandruff, rosemary treats eczema, rosacea, rashes and bruises.

8. Sage
– Doubles for cooking!
– Lowers blood sugar. This is an amazing quality for diabetics – after a meal, sage tea can help lower your blood sugar without having to use any insulin.
– Stops lactation. Particularly good for mothers trying to stop breastfeeding, ingesting sage will eventually dry up the lactation process.
– Cooling action. Sage contains phytosterols, which producing a mint-like cooling reaction, and can help dull pain from headaches to menstrual cramps.

9. St. John’s Wort
– Depression. Studies have shown that St. John’s Wort, which contains Hypercium, performs better than the placebos for depression due to the inhibition of reuptake of certain neurotransmitters.
– Anti-inflammatory. These properties make this herb useful in treating sprains, strains, contusions, cramps and muscle spasms.
– That Time of the Month – or lack thereof. Because St John’s Wort acts as both an anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory, the 1983 British Pharmacopoeia recommended it for “menopausal neuroses”.

10. Thyme
– Doubles for cooking!
– Antiseptic qualities. These qualities make it useful for mouthwash, combatting tooth decay, and the treatment of wounds.
– Anti-fungal properties, which help treat things like Athlete’s foot and tinea versicolor.
– Anti-parasitic properties, which can eliminate issues such as crabs, scabies, and lice.

 

These are, of course, just ideas of some of the most basic and user-friendly medicinal herbs to get you started. For more ideas, this post on Frugally Sustainable was extremely helpful, as was this one from Bastyr University, and this one from Homestead Lady.

 

 

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