Healing From Nature
Did you know from weeds such as the common dandelion to easily grown flowers such as calendula or mint, you can have a natural medicine chest growing in your own backyard?
Below you will find a list of 10 common weeds and garden herbs that you can plant and harvest right out of your garden. If not in your garden, then these healing herbs can be found on a walk close to home. Just a note, be sure to know which wild plants you are picking. Some wild plants have look a likes that are poisonous. If you don’t know, don’t pick. You can use a good field guide to wild plants in your area. Also, be sure to collect in areas that are not sprayed with chemical fertilizers, or weed killers.
All Weeds Are Not Created Equal
Poor Dandelion. Most people think of dandelion as a weed, and try to kill it all summer. They don’t realize it has powerful healing benefits. The leaves are used as a diuretic for water retention, and make a great addition to a spring salad. The roots of the dandelion are used for digestive issues, as it stimulates the digestive process. This is very beneficial to the health of the liver. Dandelion root can be used as a decoction to cleanse the liver of everyday toxins. It also helps ease constipation.
Plantain is a common weed that many people try to get rid of. Would they do it, if they knew how beneficial it is? Plantain helps to heal wounds with it’s mucilage content. Got a bug bite? Chew on a plantain leaf to make a poultice. Apply to the bite, and it will instantly stop the pain and itch from a bug bite. It can be made into an infused oil for lymphatic massage. Plantain, taken as a tea, can reduce phlegm and is a calming expectorant.
In A Little Herb Garden
If you don’t have much space for a garden, not to worry. These herbs can be planted in a container on a patio or terrace.
Calendula flowers are edible and can be eaten in salads and soups. When taken internally as a tea, calendula can help to heal gall bladder issues. By infusing the petals into an oil, the oils has strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties. The oil, or a salve made from the oil, can be used on cuts, scrapes, minor burns and even helps to heal cradle cap. Calendula ointment is one of the best healing remedies for dry, itchy skin.
Lavender is used as an ornamental garden herb. It helps to attract bees to your garden, which benefits the whole garden. The flowers are used to relieve stress and tension. Taken as a tea, it will help to relax you. The flowers can also be infused into an oil for a wonderful massage oil for sore muscles. Lavender is antiseptic, and the essential oil can be used to treat bites, stings, wounds, cuts and scrapes.
Lemon balm is a calming or herbal nervine. Made into a tea, it can help reduce anxiety and tension. The tea will also help with spasms in the digestive track. Made into an infused oil, it can be used as a massage oil for sore muscles. Lemon balm is also the go to herb for cold sores. It is a member of the mint family, so it will take over if not planted in containers. Lemon balm is also a wonderful culinary herb. You can make lemon balm syrup for pancakes or ice cream, and when added to butter, it makes for a delicious condiment.
Peppermint is a perennial herb, which if left to it’s own devices, will take over your garden. It’s leaves are used as a digestive aid to help dispel gas. Make either fresh or dried leaves into a tea, and drink as an after dinner tea. It can be used to help alleviate nausea. An infused dried leaves into an oil for a warming massage oil. Peppermint is a rubifacient, which means it brings heat to the skins surface. This aids in healing muscle strains and sprains faster. The essential oil can keep ants out of your house.
Herbs In The Cupboard That Heal
Garlic is widely used as a spice in many dishes. Did you know that it is also considered a healing herb? Herbalists use garlic as nature’s antibiotic. As strong as many prescription antibiotics, garlic can be used to treat ear aches, sinus infections, as well as other bacterial infections in the body. Eating one raw garlic clove a day (2 if the infection is bad) is equal to taking a dose of penicillin. Garlic is also used by herbalists and natural healers to lower cholesterol. Garlic is available in tablets or capsules, but the herb in your cupboard can be used as well. It can actually be taken in a tea, but fruit herbs should be added to make the taste more palatable.
Thyme is easy to grow, and is one of nature’s best anti-fungals, antivirals, and antibacterial herbs. Thymol, which is it’s main natural chemical is actually what is in Listerine. When thyme leaves are steeped in brandy, you now have a home made mouth wash. Thyme, taken as a tea, can be drank for congestion and is a wonderful home remedy for bronchitis and other respiratory infections. Thyme can be used as an antibacterial wash for cuts and scrapes. Make an infusion and clean the area well. Bandage if necessary.
Cautions of Each Herb
Dandelion: People taking blood thinning medications should not use dandelion leaves.Yarrow:
Red Clover: Should be avoided by those with estrogenic breast cancers. Avoid if taking blood thinners.
Nettle: Wear gloves to pick fresh nettles. Should not be used by people taking blood thinners.
Calendula: A member of the daisy family. If allergic stay clear
Lemon Balm: Should not be used by people who take thyroid medication.
Peppermint: Should not be taken by children under 5.
Garlic: Should not be taken by people who take blood thinning medications.
Thyme: Can cause vomiting if taken in excess.
Learn More About Healing Herbs
Online Herbal Encyclopedia :: Guide to Alternative Medicine and Health is a comprehensive guide to herbal knowledge. Herb history, key actions, and components. Learn medicinal parts, cautions and traditional uses used for centuries.
This article is intended to inform, but not treat or diagnose. It is an overview of each herb and their actions. Not all cautions are listed. It is important for you to learn about what herb you are using and how it will affect you. Contact your doctor before starting an herbal remedy.