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How to grow medicinal herbs in your garden

Updated on September 9, 2013

A herbal garden

A herb garden - let your garden heal you

Nothing can be more satisfying than growing your own pharmacy. It is both educational and fun to do, and I love popping out in the garden to fetch a remedy for myself or a friend.

Spending this weekend in the garden inspired me to share some of my favorite herbs and herbal plants with you.

There are many suitable plants and herbs you can grow.

Many of them are low maintenance as well, and best of all they love being used. The more herbs you pick the more they grow.

When I select herbs for my garden I also make sure they are interesting as well as useful. Adding herbs which grow to different heights, and flowers in a multitude of colors creates interest and catches the eye.

What herbs to grow and herbal remedies

Here is five of my favorite herbs and herbal plants to get you started:


Bergamot

Bergamot flowers can be made into a nice tasting tea which relaxes and helps if you have sleeping problems.

Dry the flowers and put into a small sachet, and put into your pillowcase into time of stress.Also great for scenting drawers and when it is cool these flowers last a long time in a summer bouquet.

Sadly this is a bit of a neglected herb and is becoming very rare. Butterflies love this herb so you would be helping wildlife when you grow Bergamot.

Angelica

Angelica root is often made into an infusion and used to treat coughs, colds, sore throat and bronchitis. It may also help with flatulence and colic, and soothe an upset stomach. Angelica grown close to a bedroom window will keep bugs and mosquitoes away.

Angelica one of the herbs you will spend a lot of time talking about to your friends and garden visitors. Most people are unfamiliar with Angelica however it looks amazing, and I have seen them grow to 6 feet tall. People just seem to love looking at Angelica and touching it.

Consider planting it close to a seating area as it aniseed smell keeps bugs away and leaves you to enjoy your garden in peace. A word of caution if you are diabetic never use this herb.

Lemon balm

A lemon balm infusion is a fantastic way to treat flues and virus infections. The tea has a wonderful calming effect, and it's wonderful scent will make you stop feeling sick. It is antispasmodic and if you are pregnant it treats morning sickness very effectively.

It is also said to improve mental agility and helps you to concentrate. A solution of lemon balm can be used to clean wounds and it is very calming for insect bites.

I love this herb in my garden because it attracts bees, and bees are the best pollinators in the garden.

Lavender

Lavender is known as the healing plant as it oil is said to heal a range of problems. Inhaling lavender oil or applying the oil are both effective treatments. Use externally to heal wounds, bites, bruises, aches and pains.

When inhaled lavender calms the mind, increases perception and brings about balance.

This is one of the most user friendly herbs in the garden. You can easily make your own remedies such as lavender water by putting the flowers in warm water and dabbing the water on your pulse points.

Use lavender water as a rinse to treat skin conditions or as a scalp rinse for irritations of the scalp.

Place dried lavender flowers in small sachets and put under pillows for peaceful sleep or hang up in the wardrobe to keep moths away.

If you have an open fire collect the lavender stalks and put them on the fire.

This herb has endless uses and it is also a great companion plant. Planted next to roses it does not only look great but it keeps pests away.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a stimulant, and is great for increasing circulation and blood supply.

In ancient Greece students were said to wear a garland of rosemary to stimulate their mental powers.

Rosemary tea is an excellent aid for digestion and it can also moderate appetite.

It will help with headaches and depression, and also try it for nasal congestion. Inhaling the scent of the tea will soon start to unblock your nose. Rosemary is also said to help with snoring.

Rosemary water is particularly useful for dandruff, and antiseptic for skin infections. Place rosemary around the home to scent rooms naturally.

Caution if you are epileptic do not use this herb.

A herb wheel layout

Herb garden design

Using a wheel like design for a herb garden is a very easy and efficient way of growing herbs.

Remember to leave some spaces so that you can easily walk around your herbal wheel garden to harvest your herbs and talk to them.

Herbals wheels look great planted or situated on a slight mound.

Place drought proof, or herbs that need less water, on top of the herbal wheel or in the center. Around the outside put the herbs that need more care and more water.

Rosemary is fantastic herb to use to create shade for other herbs and it also hangs on to soil. Why not put a seating area in the middle and sit in the middle of you medicinal garden.

Make one walk way a bit wider for easy access.Plant Lavender and Bergamot close to the center, and an Angelica in a large pot -just to show off.

Recommended reading

Here's some great books which will inspire you and get you started

Your Backyard herb garden by Miranda Smith - my husband bought me this book as a birthday present. It is great for someone who is new to herbal gardening, as it walks you through almost everything you need to know step-by-step.The book is really user friendly and contains easy to understand charts and nice photographs. To sum it - Miranda Smith makes it easy to get you started.

The Cook's herb garden by DK Publishing - I keep going back to this book for ideas as I love including fresh herbs in my cooking. Nice step by step photographs. It is a really guide if you are interested in growing herbs in pots, in small spaces or on window ledges.

Homegrown herbs by Tammi Hartung - super introduction and a really hand chart. I love the section about garden design and the strong focus on natural pest control. There is also user friendly information on how to use herbs for medicinal purposes and personal care.


Herbal gardening in a hanging basket

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