Medicinal plants are used to alleviate a variety of health problems, from headaches to intestinal parasites. Portions of medicinal plants are often made into teas or applied to the skin. Roots, berries and leaves of medicinal plants may also be consumed, depending on the plant and how it is used. There are many commonly used medicinal herbs that are not difficult to find and are easy to grow in most of the U.S.
Aloe vera is a succulent plant that is used for a variety of skin ailments. It is applied as a topical agent directly to skin to alleviate the pain from sunburn and insect bites. It is also used for a variety of rashes and fungal infections. The juice from aloe plants is often taken internally for digestive problems and as a general detoxifier. Aloe vera grows well in a sunny location in warm climates, but must be protected from freezing temperatures.
The flowers and first 3 inches of a chamomile plant's stem have medicinal value. This portion of the plant is made into a tea that is used for stomach and digestion problems. It is often used as a sleep aid for insomnia, and chamomile tea is widely commercially available. Chamomile is a tender perennial that should be protected from freezing temperatures, but can be grown in partial shade in moist, average garden soil.
Coneflower, or echinacea, is considered a natural antibiotic and is often used to treat colds and flu. The dried root system of a plant that is several years old is commonly used for medicinal purposes. It is consumed as a powder or a tea. Coneflower is also used for acne, kidney disease and blood purification. Cone flower is a tough perennial that can be grown in most parts of the U.S. if given adequate moisture.
Mint is consumed for stomach ache, fever and cataract prevention. It is one of the easiest herbs to grow in average moist garden soil. There are numerous varieties available, such as peppermint, spearmint and Swiss mint; each variety has differing levels of beneficial oils.
Lavender is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries as an anti-fungal and antibacterial agent. It is also used for insomnia and depression when made into a tea or used in aromatherapy. Plant lavender in full sun in well-drained soil.