Perhaps you’ve picked up a book about common herbs and other types of plants and felt amazed by how many of them can help heal everyday ailments. The good news is that you don’t have to necessarily have a huge herb garden to benefit from the healing advantages.
Like Personal Growth on Facebook
Many therapeutic plants, including those described below, may be growing in your backyard without you even realizing it. Even if they aren’t growing in your garden yet, you can easily plant them, watch them flourish, and potentially feel better as a result of your efforts.
This herb has a very high potassium content, which makes it particularly good for your urinary tract and kidneys. It also has a lot of magnesium and calcium, meaning it’s very rich in some of the things that could help you stay healthier every day.
Nettles may lower blood pressure, though, so if you’re already taking medicines to reduce blood pressure or characteristically have low blood pressure, ask a doctor before regularly consuming nettles. This herb thrives in moist environments, so you may even find them growing near your compost heap.
Nettles should be harvested before they start to flower, and although you can’t eat raw nettles, they’re suitable for cooking or drying. When picking nettles, be sure to wear rubber gloves. The herb has a part that can be irritating to touch, but it’s no longer an issue after the nettles are dried or cooked.
Wild roses grow everywhere, from beside the road to within grassy fields. Use the petals to make a tea that acts as a mild sedative. It can also be used as an anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic agent. Furthermore, the petals used for the tea promote heart health and might lower cholesterol.
Drink the tea if you have a sore throat or want to stimulate appetite. The tea can also be applied externally to rashes, cuts and other kinds of wounds. Also, if you let some of the flowers ripen into rose hips, you have a second form of an antioxidant-rich ingredient that’s loaded with vitamins like A, D and E.
Plantains are also common garden dwellers, but not the sort you may be thinking of, which are like smaller versions of bananas. These kinds of plantains have large leaves and may be growing in your lawn, but they’re also sometimes nestled between sidewalk cracks.
The leaves are edible, and you can add them to salads. As far as medicinal benefits, the leaves help ease poison ivy and other types of skin irritation and are additionally good for burns, cuts and scrapes. The plantain’s leaves have active chemicals in them, including an antimicrobial ingredient that reduces pain. When the leaves are used to make tea, they’re known to relieve diarrhea, while the root is useful for fevers.
Chickweed should be harvested in the spring. Besides using it in your first aid kit, chickweed is edible, and you can add it to salads or use it as a garnish.
Dandelions are perhaps one of the most recognizable sorts of weeds, and many people mistakenly go to great lengths to get rid of them. What they probably don’t realize is that the dandelion promotes good liver function.
This plant is part of the mint family, and it has a similar leaf style, but is smaller and has purple flowers. Surprisingly, this plant is usually considered a weed, but it has healing properties, although you should not eat it if you’re expecting a child or nursing.
Yarrow is a plant with light purple flowers that has been used for a variety of reasons around the world. In Scotland, yarrow is a common ingredient in wound ointments. You can also munch on the leaves to make toothaches better, add it to a poultice if you suffer from hemorrhoids, and sip a yarrow tea to soothe colds.
This appropriately named plant is a skin healer, and you don’t even have to prepare it before benefiting from the plant. The stem contains a substance that soothes cuts, burns and insect bites, among others.
Simply cut open the stem and put what’s inside directly on the area that’s ailing you. Interestingly enough, Jewelweed tends to grow in the same places as poison ivy, so if you pick it, be careful not to accidentally brush up against a patch of poison ivy in the process.
A popular sight in yards during the spring and summer, red clover is thought to be beneficial for treating things like the bothersome symptoms of menopause, bronchitis, asthma and colds. It’s sometimes offered in tea blends, so be sure to keep a lookout for it on packages of the teas you already like to drink.
Now that you know so many different medicinal plants that you can either begin growing or start harvesting now, it’s time to learn about how to pick them responsibly. Firstly, take a look and gauge the total amount of a given plant in your garden.
It’s best to only pick 30-40 percent of all you have. When possible, leave seeds so there is a better chance of replenishing what’s there. Also, be cautious if you’re getting the plants from anywhere other than your own yard.
There is always a small chance that an area where you spot the plants in the wild is lawfully protected, meaning you may get a fine or warning for picking them. Furthermore, there may be issues with chemical contamination if you get the plants from the side of the road, where they may have been in frequent contact with gasoline fumes and exhaust fumes.
In the case of some of the plants discussed above that are commonly thought of as weeds, there is also the possibility that they were sprayed by a toxic substance by someone who wanted to get rid of them, and the surviving plant is just particularly hardy.
Also, don’t pick more than you can feasibly use or do so too early. Generally, these plants should be used or prepared for storage within 24 hours of removing them from nature. Finally, be very careful that you’re harvesting the right kind of plant, because many of the medicinal plants look similar to toxic ones.
When in doubt, don’t pick the plant, and better yet, buy a field guide or similar resource in app form.
If you have any medical conditions that may be exacerbated when you eat these plants, ask a medical professional before consuming them. Also, as already mentioned, some of the examples on the list above may not be appropriate if you are pregnant or nursing.
Hopefully, you now have a renewed appreciation for many of the plants that may grow in your garden already or would be easy to introduce. Happy harvesting!