As previously mentioned in the first article that’s making up this miniseries about common plants with healing properties, nature always comes to the rescue; it’s only a matter of knowing where and when to look. But getting your hands on a variety of medicinal herbs is more complex than simply gathering what you find in the wilderness. Although nature is a good provider, you can take this whole deal a step further by becoming not only the beneficiary, but also the provider. There are many herbs / plants that will deal will all sorts of illnesses and symptoms which do extremely well in a plain home garden. Most of these plants aren’t exactly pretentious and can be grown just as easily as most vegetables. Perhaps you have been growing some of them already without fully grasping their potential; as far as natural remedies go anyway. Here’s a list of some of the best healing herbs you could add to your garden.
Thyme (Thymus genus)
Description: Thyme is a pretty common yet versatile plant. It’s known worldwide for its culinary and medicinal properties, but its multitude of florets makes it a decent ornamental plant as well. It’s a fragile looking plant, with delicate stems, paired leaves white florets gathered in clusters. It’s played a part ever since the dawn of human civilization; the Egyptians used it for embalming, the Greeks used it as the main incense for temples, whereas the Romans used it pleasant fragrance to nullify the unpleasant smells of taverns. Thyme oil is regarded as a very potent natural medicine.
Medicinal properties: Thyme can be used in many ways. Whether as an oily extract or dried and ground powder, it will do wonders for circulation, the heart, eyesight, the immune system; in some cases it will work as a stress reliever.
Precautions: The only known side effect to thyme is that it can cause stomach cramps for people with sensitive stomachs.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Description: Medicinal rosemary is an evergreen plant which has a tolerance for “extreme” temperatures. Its name is derived from the not-so-forgotten Latin language and it translates into “the dew of the sea”. The plant is actually an aromatic shrub with pretty distinct foliage and easy to spot: it has needle-like leaves, like most of the evergreen plants. It’s perfectly adapted to withstand draughts and long periods without water, so there will be no harm done if you will miss a few watering sessions. It has small and oddly-shaped flowers, which can range in color from white to pink to purple. Its tiny flowers are responsible for a pleasant fragrance, which make it one of the main ingredients for all sorts of aromatic products: shampoos, soaps, perfumes, scented candles and oils etc.
Medicinal properties: Oily extracts from the flowers and leaves have been known to have beneficial effects on the human body. Rosemary has a great reputation as a stress reliever, immune system fortifier, stomach soother, breath freshener, blood flow stimulant, detoxifier and pain relief.
Precautions: The oil shouldn’t be consumed raw; it’s known to provoke mild allergic reactions.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
Description: The name of the common chamomile derives from Greek and roughly translates into “earth apple”. It too has a fragile aspect. It consists of an erect and smooth stem, covered every here and there with composed leaves. What makes the plant stand out is the easily-recognizable flower. The flowers are made out of a white corolla (cumulus of petals); the petals are narrow and elongated. They are placed all around a bright yellow disk. The flowers bloom early – midsummer and release a pleasant and specific fragrance.
Medicinal properties: Chamomile tea and extracts have been known to have various medicinal properties; they are perfect for skin health, immune system fortification, stress relief, menstrual relief, diabetes relief, anti-allergenic and even for overall hair health.
Precautions: Even though it works as a general anti-allergenic, it has known to provoke mild allergic reactions in certain people as well. Pregnant women should avoid the use of chamomile, as it’s known to provoke uterine contractions which could lead to miscarriages.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Description: Basil (aka. Saint Joseph’s wort) has made quite of a reputation for itself, as it can be deduced from its name, which roughly translates from Greek into “king of all herbs”. Basil is one of the most cultivated plants in the history of mankind; researchers claim that it was cultivated in India at first, over 5 millennia ago. It’s a plant that grows quite tall due to its green stalks; it has opposite green leaves which are silky on the surface. Its flowers are small and white and are placed on a terminal spike. It’s sensitive to cold and it will do best in dry, warm to hot conditions (temperate and subtropical climates). Dried or fresh basil leaves make for one of the most famous spices on the face of the earth; its unrivalled flavoring ability can only be matched by its medicinal potential.
Medicinal properties: Basil has well-known antibacterial properties, anti aging properties and possibly anti-inflammatory properties.
Precautions: Pregnant women and small children should avoid consuming large amounts of basil, as it’s known to cause lower the levels of blood sugars, blood pressure and in some cases can increase hemorrhaging by slowing down blood clotting.
There are plenty more herbs for you to add to your garden’s “medicinal isle”. First thing’s first: you should plant and grow the plants that would help and already existing condition that you or a family member or friend might have. If there still room left, feel free to add whatever else your heart desires.