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The Best Medicinal Herbs to Grow

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The Best Medicinal Herbs to Grow

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Medicinal herbs are easy to grow and are classified as annual, biennial or perennial. Medicinal herbs require some form of processing before they are useful as a curative. Most herbs are easily grown from seed. A 12- to 18-inch square of well-drained soil per herb in your garden is sufficient in size. Herbs like room for their roots, so loosen the soil to a depth of 15 inches.

Oregano

Oregano is a perennial plant with woody stems that grows up to 2 feet tall. The plant spreads easily, can be grown from seed and will produce more foliage if the flowers are cut back. Oregano most often is thought of as a culinary herb, but it is one of the oldest medicinal herbs. Oregano leaves can be pressed to produce oil, which is used as an antioxidant when mixed with water. The oil applied topically also help with skin infections. Fresh leaves can be infused in a tea, a hot bath or used in a poultice. Oregano has been used historically as an anti-inflammatory and a fungicide.

Holy Basil

Holy basil is an annual that is easily grown from seed or transplant. This variety of basil likes a lot of sun and water. Holy basil is purple stemmed and aromatic. The plant is more compact than culinary basil. Holy basil is thought to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Leaves and flowers can be added to bath water for cleansing. The scent is thought to keep insects from biting.

Hyssop

Hyssop is a woody perennial that likes to be in full sun. It is grown from seed or transplant. Hyssop is thought to be an anti-viral that is generally used in tea. It can provide comfort as an expectorant when the common cold strikes. Pressed leaves are used as an essential oil for their expectorant properties.

Chamomile

Chamomile can be sown by seed or transplant. It is an aggressive plant, easily encroaching into other areas in the garden. The flowers have a daisy-like appearance with a yellow center and white petals. Chamomile leaves usually are ingested as a tea in the evening because of to the tea's sedative value. In addition, chamomile also works for anxiety and teething in children. The flowers are used in shampoo and make-up.

Peppermint

Peppermint can be started from seed or transplanted easily. It is quite invasive in the garden and will need to be thinned. The plant can grow up to 30 inches tall and produce purple flowers. Older plants can develop woody stems. The leaves are used in tea for their digestive quality, quelling a stomach ache. As an essential oil peppermint is thought to help with irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint also is used in gum, toothpaste and in chest rub. It can have a calming and numbing effect.

Keywords: curative gardening, medicinal herbs, homeopathy

About this Author

Cheryl Swayne is a writer and farrier based in Kansas. Her articles have appeared in publications including "Kansas Wildlife and Parks Magazine." She worked in national and state parks for 20 years. Swayne authored the nonfiction book "Wildflowers and Forbs of Sandhills State Park." She holds a Master of Science in business management from Baker University.