For thousands of years, herbs and plants have featured prominently in traditional and folk medicine around the world. The healing properties of plants have garnered great attention in recent years, with many of these plants making their way into home gardens for personal use. Easy to grow and utilize, here are five medicinal plants you can add to your garden this year.
This perennial herb that produces clusters of small bell-shaped blooms is also called boneset or knitbone due to its reported use in the treatment of broken bones. It contains allantoin, a chemical compound that is an anti-irritant and aids in wound healing. It is also reportedly beneficial in the treatment of arthritis. The most common cultivar is Russian comfrey, Symphytum × uplandicum, as is recommended for topical use only.
Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa, not only has medicinal uses, but also attracts bees, hummingbirds and butterflies to a garden. Native Americans utilized the plant to treat infections and digestive problems. As it is said they possess both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. The lavender flowers are also quite flavorful and can be added to fresh herb sauces and salads.
Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)
This herbaceous perennial, reported to possess immune-boosting properties, is easy to grow and drought-tolerant. It was used by Native American Plains tribes to treat cold symptoms, including sore throat, coughing, pain and fever. One analysis in 2016, did report that use of Echinacea reduced the risk of repeated respiratory infections.
Also called caltrop, bullhead, goathead, Mexican sandbur, Texas sandbur and puncture vine, Tribulus terrestris is a plant used in both Chinese traditional and Indian Ayurveda medicines. It enhances the libido, aids in the reduction of swelling and has been shown to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels in people with Type 2 Diabetes.
One of the oldest medicinal herbs used by man, peppermint has many beneficial qualities. Whether ingested, as a part of aromatherapy or as a topical solution both are beneficial. Peppermint tea can calm the stomach, while peppermint oil has been shown to the relieve the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The oil can also be used topically to treat headaches and muscle pain.
Whether they’re growing in containers on an urban patio, in pots on a rack inside the house, or in a larger garden, these five plants should get you started toward a healthier you, especially when paired with the fresh air and exercise that gardening provides.