We all know the health benefits of eating organic foods. So now that our cold crops are in and starting to grow, we have decided that it’s time to plant our first real medicinal garden. Our regular herb garden contains many herbs that are not only delicious but also have many healing benefits. In our everyday run-of-the-mill herb garden we have rosemary, parsley, peppermint, lavender, sage, chives, oregano and thyme. We utilize it daily throughout the year.
Alas, our medicinal garden is going to take a bit more effort. We will need to harvest the herbs, dry some of them for teas and tinctures and turn others into topical lotions and oils. Roots and flowers are harvested at different times of year for different purposes. Our learning curve is steep with this one but we are excited to replace the contents of our medicine cabinets with natural fixes.
In an effort to be more environmentally friendly, we are saying goodbye to the front yard and turning it into a lawn-free zone. This is a hard one for me because quite honestly I love lawns. Beautifully cared for pristine yards are my thing, so going native, as they say, is a whopper of a change. Our medicinal garden is going to line the walkway to our front door, not only making for easy picking but also becoming a bit of a metaphor for our new lifestyle; Welcome to Our Healing Home.
We have 64 kinds of seeds for our garden, all non-hybrid and heirloom. No way we can take all of it on at one so we’re starting with a few important ones for our family.
Stinging Nettle–Stinging nettle is great for thyroid regulation, bronchitis and bladder stones. We have also found it to be very useful with breathing related asthma difficulties. It can be made into a tea or tossed right in with your salad.
Echinacea–In addition to being an all-around immune booster, a tincture can be made for mouth aliments such as gingivitis, canker sores, toothaches, tonsillitis, and sore throats. A lotion with Echinacea will help with sores, cuts, acne, hemorrhoids, and
psoriasis. Use a tincture to help with internal infections like urinary tract infections, influenza, respiratory infections, snake or spider bites, and swollen lymph glands.
Borage– Borage is a member of the comfrey family and is high in potassium, calcium and mineral acids. The leaf is used to strengthen adrenal function. Oil made from borage seed has the highest concentration of gamma linolenic acid and is very effectively used as an anti-inflammatory for chronic rheumatoid arthritis. The oil is also used for skin disorder like psoriasis and eczema. It also greatly helps rehydrate sun-damaged and older skin.
Feverfew– Feverfew has been used as a natural fever-reducer as well as for digestive disorders, headaches and arthritis. Parthenolide is naturally found in feverfew. As parthenolide has been shown to induce apoptosis in cancer cells, this is a particularly exciting addition to our garden.
Milk Thistle– Milk Thistle has a unique ability to protect the liver. It is, in fact, the only thing used to treat poisoning with Amanita mushrooms. It is used to treat adrenal disorders and psoriasis (by increasing bile flow.) It also has an estrogen-type effect which is useful for men with prostate cancer as well as helping stimulate breast milk.
Yarrow– Yarrow can be used for a wide variety of things including use as an antiseptic. It improves digestion and helps to keep gallstones from forming. It is a natural and wonderful anti-inflammatory used for arthritis sufferers.
We’ll keep you posted on how we do and welcome any suggestions!