Adding medicinal herbs to your garden not only adds beauty to your garden, but allows you to make plant medicine with your harvests. (Most culinary herbs can also be used in plant medicine too, you can see my must grow culinary herbs here.) When we grow our own herbs for herbal preparations, just as any food we grow, we are impacting our foot print on this Earth. We are also connecting to the past and the way things were when our grandparents or great grandparents were growing and foraging their own herbs for plant medicine. My great grandma was known as a medicine woman according to my mom and the stories of how she lived. She would take my mom around as a little girl and forage for herbs, which makes me feel connected to her, though I never met her. Medicinal herbs play a special part in the garden for all they can do. I could go on and on with my list of must grow medicinal herbs, but I will keep it to a few that grow well in smaller spaces. They can all be grown in containers if needed.
- Anise Hyssop – Also known as licorice mint, it can also be used both as a culinary herb and medicinal. When you grow enough of your own, you can dry it for culinary dishes with a light anise/mint/licorice flavor. (It is not related to anise though.) It is fantastic for attracting pollinators to your garden. *There are many medicinal uses.
- Bee Balm/Wild Bergamot – This medicinal herbs flowers remind me of fireworks. The flowers are edible, which you can add to salads. Another fun way to use edible flowers is to freeze them in ice cubes. A culinary use for their leaves is mixed in with basil for a fantastic pesto.
- Calendula – Long used in slaves for soothing skin, calendula is a beautiful addition to any garden. Their orange flowers are edible and you can use them to make a gut soothing tea.
- California Poppy – This plant will reseed year after year. I have two color varieties in my garden, the more known orange and a beautiful pink. When used as a tincture, it can be a gentle sedative.
- Echinacea – Also known as purple cone flower, all parts of this plant can be used for herbal medicine. Mainly known as an immunomodulator, it is quite popular for use with colds and flus. It can be made into many preparations like teas, tinctures and poultices.
- Holy Basil/Tulsi – This is a favorite herb of mine and it had to make the list. Pinching back the stems will help the plant become bushy just like with culinary basil and other flowers. It carries quite a powerful herbal punch with its many uses.
Planting medicinal herbs allows you to easily prepare your own plant medicine. It is extremely important to know exactly how the herbs were grown, especially when they will be slathered on your skin or ingested. A huge bonus is that every medicinal herb listed here will add beauty and attract pollinators to your garden. I would love to know your favorite medicinal herbs to grow and your favorite ways to use them.
*Always consult with your health care provider and a qualified herbalist before attempting to use any new plant medicines.