top 5 medicinal herbs sage

The Top Five Medicinal Herbs to Grow in Your Garden and How They Heal

Medicinal herbs are not only easy to grow but they can also be beautiful and health-promoting too. Here are my top five herbs to grow in your garden to appreciate for their medicinal qualities as much as their flowers and foliage.

The top medicinal herbs that everyone should grow in their home garden

1. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)Calendula One of the Top 5 Healing Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

Calendula, also known as pot marigold, is an annual with bright yellow and orange flower heads that shine like the sun in your garden.  An edible flower that can be added to salads and used to decorate cakes, calendula is one of the most commonly used herbs in herbal oils, salves, and creams.  Calendula is used in cosmetic and skin preparations for its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and skin-healing properties, for everything from acne to eczema.

Calendula has also been used topically for varicose veins and gum disease, and is often included in natural vaginal lubricants for vaginal dryness and for recurrent candida yeast infections.  Like all marigolds, calendula also helps to protect other plants in your garden from pests like aphids.

 

2. Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea or angustifolia)Echinacea One of the Top 5 Healing Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

Echinacea, also known as coneflower, is a tall prairie flower with bold pink to purple flowers.  Native to North America, this perennial medicinal herb is both heat- and drought-tolerant.  Its long, rigid flower stalks make it a great flower for flower arrangements.

Medicinally, echinacea is primarily used to boost immune system responsiveness in bacterial and viral infections. It is used both preventatively and for acute treatment of colds and flus. Echinacea’s antibacterial and antiviral effects have supported its use in treating vaginitis, chronic upper respiratory tract infections and other viral and bacterial infections. Topically, echinacea is used to prevent infection of skin conditions, as well as for boils, cuts and poorly healing wounds.

 

3. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

The top medicinal herbs that everyone should grow in their home garden

Sage, like lavender, has a distinctive aroma when you brush up against it in your garden.  It is also notable for its greyish-green foliage that provides a welcome contrast to the brighter green leaves of other plants.

Thanks to its astringent properties, sage is most frequently used for sore throats and gum disease, and also to reduce hot flushes during menopause. Astringency is also the reason why lactation consultants and midwives have long warned that large amounts of sage will decrease milk supply. Sage tea can help ease the transition to weaning, especially in cases where weaning is abrupt or after a perinatal loss.

 

4. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)st johns wort - One of the Top 5 Healing Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

St. John’s wort has bright yellow flowers and leaves with translucent spots. Both literally and figuratively, St. John’s wort allows the sun to shine through, alleviating mild to moderate depression. Research has also shown that St. John’s wort is great for depression that occurs as a premenstrual or menopausal symptom, in conjunction with anxiety, or because of a concussion. St. John’s wort’s antiviral and skin-healing properties make it useful for herpes, genital warts, nerve pain, sunburns, muscle pain, and wounds.

Although St. John’s wort is a beautiful herb to include in your garden, it is also an herb to use cautiously. St. John’s wort may lead to photosensitivity and speeds up the metabolism of many pharmaceutical drugs. Consult with a health-care provider before taking St. John’s wort. Of course, that shouldn’t stop you from growing it in your garden.

5. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)lavender

Lavender is an easy to grow non-invasive perennial to add to your garden. It is a great flower for using as a border around a garden or along a path, where you can get the most out of its fragrance. The relaxing scent of lavender comes from its essential oils, which are also the part of the plant which provides its medicinal qualities.

Lavender is also an excellent herb for reducing anxiety, whether the anxiety is acute and specific or more chronic and generalized. Most of us already think of lavender as a relaxing scent, in part because it is commonly stuffed into dream and eye pillows to encourage a good night’s sleep.

Lavender flowers can be enjoyed for their aromatic and calming scent in the garden, or added to your bath to help ease both emotional and physical tension.  Lavender is also great when mixed with other garden herbs and made into a calming tea such as the Anxiety-Relieving Tea from my book, The Essential Guide to Women’s Herbal Medicine

Women's Herbal Medicine

Courtesy of The Essential Guide to Women’s Herbal Medicine by Cyndi Gilbert © 2010 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. Available where books are sold.

About the Author

Dr. Cyndi Gilbert, BA (Hons), ND is a Naturopathic Doctor with an inclusive, clinical practice which focuses on women’s health and mental health.  Cyndi is also faculty at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, where she teaches Botanical Medicine and supervises student interns at one of the school’s teaching clinics.  She received her BA in Cultural Studies from Trent University, and her ND from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine.  Cyndi resides in Toronto, ON.

Grow these medicinal herbs in your flower garden - they are beautiful and have amazing healing properties too

  1. TwoPlusCute
    TwoPlusCuteJuly 6,15

    Oh oh, I pin this!

    Very helpful post, I love using nature’s remedies. :)

  2. Tana
    TanaJuly 29,15

    Great article. Thank you.

    What is the middle plant/herb hanging upside down in the main photo for the article?

    • Cyndi Gilbert
      Cyndi GilbertAugust 3,15

      Hi Tana, The plant in the middle is tansy (Tanacetum vulgare). It’s a beautiful and easy to grow perennial that makes for nice cut flowers but it is quite poisonous. Traditionally, it was used for intestinal worms but has been known to cause miscarriages and even death. Nowadays, it is usually grown as a companion plant to help keep pests away or used to make insect repellent.

      Thanks for reading, Cyndi

      • Stephanie
        StephanieAugust 7,15

        Thank you for your wisdom, Cyndi. It’s a good reminder that herbs are powerful, and should be treated with care.

  3. Gary
    GaryAugust 1,15

    Thank you for writing this article, I enjoyed it. I feel that the way modern medicine is going that it is best to learn as much about herbal medicine as possible.

    • Cyndi Gilbert
      Cyndi GilbertAugust 3,15

      Hi Gary, Glad you enjoyed the article. So much of modern medicine as we know it has been derived or extracted from herbal medicine. It’s great that you are interested in learning more about using herbs for health. All the best, Cyndi

  4. Damian
    DamianOctober 24,16

    I loved reading this article, it´s very informative! I am a 55 years old man and I have prostate problems such as frequent urination. Do you know any remedy for it? I am taking a natural supplement for it called alpha ris, it has helped me a lot, yet I still want to complement this supplement with herbs and a healthy alimentation. I would appreciate any recommendation. Thanks

    Damian

  5. Damian
    DamianOctober 24,16

    I loved reading this article, it´s very informative! I am a 55 years old man and I have prostate problems such as frequent urination. Do you know any remedy for it? I am taking a natural supplement for it called alpha rise, it has helped me a lot, yet I still want to complement this supplement with herbs and a healthy alimentation. I would appreciate any recommendation. Thanks

    Damian

    • Stephanie Rose
      Stephanie RoseOctober 24,16

      Hi Damian, perhaps try a naturopath in your area? I think that these specific issues require personal attention. All my best in health and gardening! Stephanie

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