Justine writes from her home located in Michigan. Her interest in herbs led her to become a certified herbalist in February of 2019.
Interested in Plants With Healing Powers?
Whenever possible, I look to heal my families ailments with natural remedies. I began researching plant-based healing many years ago and became a Certified Herbalist in 2019. Since then, I have been replacing as many pharmaceuticals as possible with plant-based remedies.
Here are five plants that you can grow easily in your garden and are easy to take care of. Honestly, with my busy lifestyle, I forget to water some plants for days. But luckily, most the plants on this list can tolerate a little neglect. You may be surprised to discover which everyday ailments can be treated with a simple plant instead of pharmaceuticals.
Lemon balm has been medicinally used since the 17th century. The essential oil is quite expensive at the store, but it has so many uses. It helps to calm palpitations in the heart, it reduces blood pressure, and it really can be a lady's best friend; by that I mean it has a lot of uses during the female cycle. It requires regular watering; though when the plant gets established and has a bigger root mass, it can stand a bit of dry weather (Shealy, 2002).
Some uses of lemon balm include:
- Good for heart-related issues. (Calms palpitations, reduces high blood pressure, and rapids breathing.)
- Potential treatment for shock. (Because of the calming properties and ability to lower heart rate.)
- Helps with menstrual cramps. (Try putting fresh leaves in a hot bath or shower to let the essential oils of the plant fill your bathroom.)
- Regulates menstrual cycle. (Make lemon balm tea and sip twice a day.)
- Treatment for nausea and indigestion.
- Antihistamine properties. (Good for bug bites or other skin reactions.)
- Very uplifting effect. (Used in aroma therapy for the treatment of depression, sadness, or loss.)
- Calms the nervous system.
This plant does extremely well just growing in a windowsill because it really likes sun. I keep this one indoors all year long so we can take however much we need, and we love having good herbs on hand. It requires a bit more water, so frequent, even watering is ideal. Not only can it be used in cooking, but it has several healing benefits as well. Basil can be used for the following:
- Aids in digestion.
- Helps fight depression.
- Slows release of sugar in blood. (Good for diabetics.)
- Helps to detoxify the body.
- Supports liver function.
- Reduces bloating and water retention.
- Good for an upset stomach.
This is another herb that I grow right along side my basil. They are like two little companions really. I can't seem to grow one without the other. Growing up, my family thrived on Italian food. So the smell that omits from the two plants is pleasing to me and takes me back to a happy place. Oregano grows like crazy and has an amazing amount of medicinal properties. This is a super herb in my opinion, because it's useful in treating respiratory tract disorders. Some other uses include:
- Oil of oregano is used to treat many stubborn skin conditions such as warts, athlete's foot, and other skin blemishes.
- Treats insect bites. (Just rub the leaf on the bite. It's also a good mosquito repellent.)
- The leaves can be crushed to release the essential oil of the plant, and as mentioned above, can be used in aroma therapy to treat upper respiratory disorders like bronchitis, allergies, asthma, or just the common cold.
- Can be ingested to obtain healing benefits as well, as it's thought to aid in digestion and ward off parasites or other bad bacteria and viruses in your intestinal system.
Another easy-to-grow herb in your garden is thyme. Once established, it can grow pretty abundantly. The smell is really pleasurable and kind of peppery. It grows well in very sunny areas and will tolerate dry or rocky soil. There are many different varieties, and it has many uses besides cooking.
- Treats coughing or phlegm that is stuck in the airway. (Make into a light tea and sip while inhaling the aroma or mixed with honey and ingested.)
- Indigestion or intestinal infections. (Again, sip tea slowly or ingest with food.)
- Has antiseptic, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties.
- Thought as a treatment for thrush. (Used as a wash or gargle.)
Otherwise known as coriander, cilantro has a strong, distinct smell. Really, you either love or hate cilantro. For me, it's a lifelong love and I could never give up my cilantro. This is my favorite herb on the list, so I saved it for last. It loves the sun but craves moist soil because of the delicate leaves. Coriander seeds were found in the Egyptians tombs, and the herb was even thought to be used by the Ancient Greeks (Shealy, 2002).
Some healing uses of cilantro include:
- Great for arthritis, muscular pains, and circulation issues. (Can be used as a rub. Crush the leaves, mix with olive oil, and let sit overnight, or use essential oil with olive oil.)
- Helps with digestive issues. (Flatulence, nausea, stomach cramps, or spasms, and is even found to be an appetite stimulant.)
- An aphrodisiac. (Warming, emotionally stimulating effect.)
Hopefully you are ready to go out and start growing your own herbs. Maybe you stumbled upon this article while doing research for your garden, or you are trying to steer away from treating yourself or family with pharmaceuticals. Whatever your reason may be for being here, I hope you now have some general knowledge to bestow upon your children and help teach your community to live healthier and better lives. Happy growing!
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Shealy, C. Norman M.D., Ph.D. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies. Hammersmith, London: Element Books Ltd.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Justine Nalbach (author) from Michigan on August 25, 2020:
Thank you Rebecca! I love my kitties too!
Rebecca Bowles on August 24, 2020:
Great tips. Cats love lemon balm as well as many of the other varieties.