Thursday, March 13, 2008

Creating a Medicinal Herbal Garden

After much research and searching, I decided on Richters Herbs in Ontario, Canada, who carry medicinal, culinary, and aromatic herbs of all kinds.

I wanted to have a variety of plants for each body system growing right in my own backyard. We live in a small space and there is no grass at the back, so we have decided to do container gardening. All of the herbs are organic and grown without the use of chemicals.

The following information comes from my own experience as well as a variety of external sources. Our list of herbs includes:

Ashwagandha Withania somnifera – adaptogen, tonic, used to increase vitality, energy, endurance, stamina, promote longevity, and strengthen the immune system without using the body’s resources

Betony Stachys officianalis – general tonic, relieves headaches, sedative, calms kids, astringent, and antiseptic

Calendula Calendula officianalis – heals wounds, treats chronic infection, great for all skin conditions, good for kids, calming to the digestive system, detoxifying, crush a live flower to place over bee sting

Catnip Nepeta cataria – helps control fever, colic, pain, great for kids, chronic bronchitis, diarrhea, sedative

Dusty Miller Senecio cineraria – is useful in clearing cataracts

German Chamomile Matricaria recutita – tummy issues, irritable bowel, reduces inflammation, antispasmodic, sedative

French Dandelion Taraxacum officinale – cleans the blood, stimulates the immune system, strengthens kidneys, diuretic, increases bile to the intestines, helpful with ‘lack of appetite’. Leaves are edible in salads.

English Daisy Bellis perennis – gentle laxative, helps with inflammations and burns, strengthening to stomach and intestines

Gotu Kola Hydrocotyle asiatica – revitalizes brain cells and helps to retard the aging process, great for wounds, scars, helpful with connective tissue issues. Leaves are edible in salads.

Heartsease Viola tricolor – helpful for epilepsy, eczema, asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, rheumatism, and cystitis. Flowers are edible in salads.

Wild Indigo Baptisia tinctoria – roots are antiseptic so good for mouth sores, sore throat, respiratory system, and skin issues

English Lavender Lavandula angustifolia – helps with stress headaches, relieves gas, calms muscle spasms, gentle for kids, stimulates blood flow, antiseptic, antibacterial, depression

Goldenseal Hydrasis Canadensis – fights infection, heals gastro-intestinal tract, tonic to spleen, cleanses urinary system, heals bruises and wounds

Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis – proven effective against herpes zoster, which shows itself as cold sores on the lip; relieves muscle cramps and spasms, nerve tonic, helpful for headaches, depression, good for kids

Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria – useful for gout, rheumatism, arthritis, fever, contains salicylic acid, anti-inflammatory

Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca – strengthens the heart, calms palpitation, good for circulation, helpful for PMS symptoms and menstrual pain, calms the entire nervous system

Marshmallow Althaea officinalis – soothes irritations and inflammations of the skin, oral cavity, throat, digestive and intestinal systems, calms the respiratory system

Dwarf Nasturtium Tropaeolum minus – the whole plant is antibiotic, antiseptic, diuretic and expectorant; useful in chest conditions as it breaks us congestion in the respiratory system, promotes the formation of blood cells

Greater Plantain Plantago major – astringent, diuretic, expectorant, useful in respiratory and gastro-intestinal issues, externally for ringworm, crush live leaf and cover bee sting, and shingles

California Poppy Eschscholzia californica – used to help toothaches, bronchitis, colds, coughs, insomnia

Passionflower Passiflora incarnate L. – reduces anxiety and relieves depression, great for kids, expels worms, lowers blood pressure, increase urine output, allays pain, enhances libido

Rosemary Rosemary officinalis – refreshes the mind, good for memory, stimulates blood flow, anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral

Sage Salvia officinalis – relieves excess mucus, astringent, lowers blood sugar in diabetics, eases mental exhaustion, soothes the nerves, good for sores, sweating, styptic

Skullcap Scutellaria lateriflora – good for headache, neuralgia, insomnia, restlessness, great for kids, hysteria, and convulsions.

American Senna Cassia marilandica – expels worms; taken with coriander or ginger, it is an effective and immediate laxative

Sheep Sorrel Rumex acetosella – anti-cancer, fever, inflammation, diarrhea, expels worms, astringent, good for proper liver function

Soapwort Saponaria officinalis – rinse for skin irritations or itchiness, shampoo, rinse for delicate clothing

St John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum – used to treat nerve pain, neuralgia, multiple sclerosis, trauma, concussions, bruises, and shingles. Use caution when employing this herb especially if you are taking MOA inhibitors. Check out the contra-indications for yourself regarding any drugs you are using.

Stevia Stevia rebaudiana – herbal sweetener, free of calories, does not affect the blood sugar adversely, inhibits dental caries and plaque, useful in the treatment of diabetes, candida, obesity, high blood pressure, reduces tobacco/alcohol/carbohydrate cravings, useful with kids

Speedwell Veronica officinalis – useful for coughs, catarrh, slow-healing wounds, and skin eruptions, relieves itching

Sweet Violet Viola odorata – leaves reduce swelling and sooth irritation, some anti-cancer properties, laxative, arthritis, gum disease.

Vicks Plant Plectranthus purpuratus – the leaves smell like this beloved remedy for chest colds and are used to make ointment that decongests

White Yarrow Achillea millefolium – useful to reduce fevers, helps respiratory/digestive/nervous system, enhances liver/gallbladder/kidney functions

Zhi Mu Anemarrhena asphodeloides – useful in bronchitis, fever, irritability, pneumonia, insomnia, infections, anti-diabetic, antibacterial

Zuta Levana Micromeria fruticosa – useful in the treatment of stomach ulcers, wonderful minty tea. Do not take this herb if you are trying to conceive.

As usual, before using any of these or other herbs, do your research especially in regards to the contra-indications. There are several herbs that you should not take if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, are lactating, or have major organ damage or disease. Please use caution and common sense.

12March2008 One week after planting, half the seedlings have sprouted and sent up little shoots. I am excited beyond words. I’ll keep you posted as to how it is going over the next few months and on into blooming.


  1. Wow Lyn, you are quite ambitious to start that many plants from seeds. I hope they grow well. I'm anxious to hear more about them. Your list includes many interesting one's that I am not very familiar with. I'll reread your list several times.

  2. Hi, Cindy, thanks for your comment. The good news is that about 65% of them have sprouted in under two weeks. There are celebratory feelings running through me every day as I watch these little guys make their way into the world. WoooWhooo.
    Warmly, Lyn