Grow Your Own Medicinal Herbs

Most people buy their herbs at a health food store, but many herbs are easy to grow, whether you’ve got a big backyard or just a few pots on a porch.

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Used properly, herbs offer a safe, natural alternative to many drugs – to energize, relax, help wounds heal, etc.

Gardening is Good For You

Gardening is a wonderful antidote for psychological stress, a source of solitude, a respite from everyday problems, etc. With all the digging hoeing, etc., it gives a pretty good workout, too. Anything you’re growing from the ground up is also automatically a much healthier choice.

Herbs can be grown from seedlings or seeds. You can get them from a local nursery or a mail-order company.

Below are some common herbs that you can easily grow in your own personal garden to treat you and your family’s common ailments:

Chamomile

This plant produces daisy-like flowers on stalks that grow up to three feet tall. Full sunlight is best, but it tolerates partial shade. German chamomile grows erect and can be planted six to eight inches apart. Roman chamomile is low, with creeping stems. Allow 18 inches between plants. Chamomile tea, prepared from freshly picked or dried chamomile flowers, is quite relaxing. Taken 15 minutes before bedtime, it induces sleep. Chamomile tea also calms cranky toddlers and eases teething pain. As a word of caution, though, if you’re allergic to ragweed, you should avoid chamomile tea.

Fennel

This herb grows up to five feet tall, with tiny yellow flowers that appear at midsummer. Plant six inches apart, preferably in full sunlight. Fennel tea aids in digestion. It also reduces colic in infants and flatulence in children and adults.

Feverfew

This hardy two-foot perennial bears white daisy-like flowers. Plant seedlings in full sun or partial shade, spacing them 12 inches apart. Feverfew thrives even indoors in a pot, as long as it gets direct sunlight. A tea of feverfew leaves has been shown to reduce the severity and intensity of migraine headaches. It can be drunk up to three times a day, between meals, or simply one to four fresh leaves a day. You should stop using feverfew if you develop mouth sores.

Lavender

This plants grow up to two feet tall. Its lovely flowers yield a sweet, clean fragrance. Plant in full sun or partial shade, one to three feet apart. It will grow in containers, too. Lavender tea calms jangled nerves. A cold lavender tea compress relieves headaches.

Lovage

One lovage plant, which grows up to six feet tall, can supply your needs for a full year. It prefers partial shade. Use lovage as you would use celery, in cheese and egg dishes, soups, stews, salads, etc. You can apply lovage tea to wounds as an antiseptic, or drink it to stimulate digestion.

Marjoram

This plant grows one foot tall, with tiny, white or pink blossoms. Space seedlings six to eight inches apart, in full sun if possible. It will grow in containers. Marjoram tea helps settle an upset stomach. Use it lukewarm as a gargle for throat inflammation.

Thyme

Thyme grows up to 15 inches high. Set groups of plants one foot apart, in full sun or partial shade. Thyme tea settles the stomach. Also, add to bath water. Thyme’s antiseptic qualities help raw, rough skin.

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