Gardening is a great way to become self sufficient and save money on things you need like food and medicine. Home gardening keeps the ecosystem happy as well as your wallet, body and mind. The cheapest and healthiest way to reduce your potential health problems lays in preventative medicine and minor care. With that being said here are the top ten plants with great health benefits and medicinal qualities.
Echinacea is a beautiful flowering plant to have in your garden for aesthetic appeal, with inverted bright purple or pink petals and a distinct conical shape. Medicinally the flower can be used externally for it’s anti inflammatory properties, helping rashes, cuts, bruises and eczema dissipate. Taken internally it is a strong immune system booster, when ingested at the start of a cold, flu or more serious conditions such as bronchitis and pneumonia it drastically cuts the severity and duration of the related symptoms.
Growing is simple in temperate climates, it grows well in most soils as long as it receives plenty of light and adequate hydration.
Ginseng is leafy plant with powerful medicinal properties. The tops and roots are used for homeopathic remedy. It acts as a mild nervous system stimulant, helping with concentration, stress relief, depression, and weight control. It lowers blood sugar, as well as being a natural remedy for erectile dysfunction and menstruation problems. It has anti aging properties as well.
Like goldenseal it is best grown in temperate forests with plenty of drainage and sun cover. They are often found within heavily wooded areas with some sunlight, or alternatively planted in beds with cover. Ginseng takes several years to mature.
Peppermint is chalked full of health benefits, peppermint oils and extracts are a top treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic gas, upset stomach, hay fever, shingles and chickenpox related pains, herpes, headaches, stress, muscle pain, asthma & other respiratory problems, bad breath, and the improvement of hair and skin quality. It is mostly due to the natural property menthol.
The herb can be crushed and steeped into teas, chewed, steamed over the face and rubbed into muscles. It is easy to grow and needs little attention once planted.
Ginger is a tropical plant, with most of the culinary and medicinal uses based upon the root. Flowering ginger can be used exactly as the root and has the exact same effects. Ginger has been proved to maintain blood circulation, remedy motion sickness, nausea, upset stomach. It also strengthens the immune system and prevents various cancers.
Ginger being a tropical plant needs plenty of humidity and sun to grow. It is a thirsty plant, but does not do well in waterlogged conditions. It is relatively simple to maintain and requires little effort.
Daily intake of raw garlic has been suggested for its general health benefits. Garlic helps to detoxify the body, improve bone health and maintain a healthy immune system. Garlic helps fight disease and prevents dementia and alzheimer’s in elders. It lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, in turn lowering the risk of heart disease.
Garlic is a highly nutritious superfood that is ridiculously easy to include in the diet because of its versatility in cooking. Growing is standard of bulbed roots, needing plenty of sunlight and water, good soil health and drainage.
Aloe Vera is widely known for its external use for healing cuts, burns, rashes, eczema and general inflammation. It is effective in soothing skin irritation and contains antiseptic properties to fight infection. It is great to have around for those minor injuries, eliminating the need for costly creams and ointments that most likely contain Aloe Vera juice.
Aloe Vera grows best in sunny and dry climates, in the American southwest and south America.
Chamomile is widely known as a herbal sleep aid, stress reliever and regulator in digestive health. The flower can be used to treat minor aches and pains as well. A herbal remedy to any gardener.
Sage is a delicious herb used in cooking as well as a very versatile natural remedy for anxiety, depression, sweats, excessive gas, indigestion and menopause symptoms. Externally it can be used to treat bug bites and infections.
You can grow it in your kitchen window, it it that easy.
Wild Lettuce (Opium Lettuce)
Opium lettuce is by far the most useful for its sedative/hypnotic properties, working to slow the nervous system it is an effective painkiller. It can be used to treat insomnia, anxiety, muscle spasms and indigestion. Much like the opium poppy when cut it will leak a milky substance which can be ingested or used much like opium. Unlike Heroin (opium poppy derivative) it will not cause an upset stomach or nausea.
Growing it is a little more difficult than your average herb, but the benefits of such a plant outweigh effort needed to grow it.
What list wouldn’t be complete without Marijuana. Although popular for recreational use cannabis is a power plant that has many documented healing properties. It can do everything from treating common aches and pains to eliminating seizures and improving skin health. It can be processed in numerous ways and used for many more. Marijuana is one of the most valuable cash crops, so selling your product can reap large financial reward.
Growing is somewhat complicated and illegal in some places, however it is growing popularity and legalization in states several states including California, Washington, Colorado and Oregon. As John Brunner the author of Stand on Zanzibar predicted, Marijuana would slowly take over the popularity of Tobacco and become more widespread in use and legality.
To Learn More about Medicinal Plants and Herbs Check out “Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America, Third Edition (Peterson Field Guides)“