Creating a lovely garden plot can be therapeutic in both its content and execution. Getting your hands in the dirt and nurturing living things can calm the mind, while harvesting and utilizing your vegetation can give you a sense of achievement and provide you with some real health benefits. Whether you want to grow herbs to use in poultices, to flavor your cuisine or to steep in a cup for tea, the flavors and health benefits of a variety of plants will keep you glowing and happy all season long. Increase your chance of success by paying attention to the light and water needs of each plant and harvesting leaves to keep them producing for months.
Healing Plant and Herb Garden
Fill a large garden plot with herbs that can heal anything from indigestion to menopausal symptoms. Consider your climate and the amount of fertile ground you have before making your plant selections.
The large, leafy rhubarb plant is a favorite in the Midwest. Rhubarb is not only tasty in a pie, it contains healing anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. You'll need a large space for this delightful stalk-plant; cut out the flowering head to continue leaf and stalk production.
Ginseng can reduce fevers and increase energy, but takes some patience to grow. Get some roots from a friend and plant them in a shady, moist area. Once you have an established ginseng plot, leave it alone. The roots can go dormant, but this perennial will produce again and again.
Cranesbills are geranium plants that are attractive bloomers. When harvested and ingested, cranesbill can cure diarrhea and canker sores.
Plant a witch hazel shrub at the back of your garden in full sunlight and harvest to help with irritable bowels, or use as a poultice for skin conditions. Milk thistle is considered a weed by some, but is a terrific antioxidant and can help with liver issues. Maintain this easy-to-grow shrub by pruning and trimming off thistles once they are dry.
Wild yam root is a perennial vine that does best in a mild climate. Used for centuries by the Aztec and Mayan people, the roots can be cooked and eaten to treat nausea, arthritis and cramps.
Healing Cooking Herbs
A cooking herb garden has two benefits in one. You can use the herbs regularly in everyday cooking and get all the extra healing health benefits. Though commonly known for its many uses in Italian dishes, oregano also boosts brainpower and is full of anti-oxidants and vitamins.
Fennel is used in many cooked dishes and has a licorice flavor that can help with weight loss, calm indigestion and support good vision. Rosemary is another useful aromatic herb that can be used fresh or dried. When harvested, this beauty can calm upset stomachs, get rid of headaches and even help prevent cancer.
Dill's lacy flowers and aromatic leaves dress up a pasta salad or season pickles, but also provide good calcium support and ease indigestion. Parsley helps prevent kidney stones and cleans your blood.
Healing Tea Garden
A healing tea garden is an aromatic choice for an outdoor plot or container garden that allows you to grow versatile flowering plants. Use any of the following herbs either dried or fresh and steep about 2 tsp. in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Add to a prepared green tea mix for extra flavor.
Peppermint grows in abundance, and when the leaves are steeped, the herb can help alleviate headaches and relieve indigestion. Easy to grow, harvest and dry, it is an ideal choice for a novice gardener. Holy basil and Tulsi are varieties of the easy-to-grow basil plant which can make rich tea on its own, or a sweet tea when honey is added. Used to relieve stress and boost the immune system, it's a terrific afternoon tea choice.
Thyme is a popular cooking herb, but also helps to soothe a sore throat when made into a tea along with sage leaves. The herb is useful in tea when you have a cold, but pregnant women should avoid using it unless allowed by their doctor.
Chamomile and lemon balm are two of the most well-known homegrown tea plants; when dried, they can help soothe and lift depression. Harvest these easy growers regularly to keep the growth going all season long.