List of healing herbs you can grow at home that thrive in the ground or in a container herb garden. Plus easy ways to use these medicinal herbs.
Growing healing herbs is not only easy, but extremely satisfying and rewarding. Small herb gardens are not off-limits to anyone…all you need is a pot of fresh soil. Many herbs can be grown indoors and all year round. In addition to their culinary uses, most herbs have healing qualities as well. The following six herbs are my favorites, and each one has its own special characteristics.
Healing Herbs You Can Grow at Home
To grow chamomile, it’s best to plant seeds by broadcasting, and then lightly rake them into the soil. Wait until well past the last frost, and the earth is warm. Once established, this daisy-like herb is very hardy and will grow, in good conditions, up to 30 inches tall. Chamomile can really take over your garden, so be careful where you plant it. I’ve grown chamomile in a large vintage wash tub, and it grew like crazy. Just make sure to give it enough room. Harvest the blooms when they are new and hang them in a cool, dark spot to dry. The blooms can also be snipped from the stem and dried on their own.
Chamomile helps you relax, eases anxiety, and can also soothe an upset stomach. The best way to use it for health benefits is to make a tea. Click the link below to learn how to make tea from dried chamomile.
No list of healing herbs would be complete without feverfew, a flowering perennial that closely resembles chamomile. It can be grown in the garden or in a container. Seeds can be started indoors and transplanted outside, or you can sow the seeds directly into the garden soil after it has warmed. Sprinkle the seeds on top of loose soil and gently press them down…but do not cover them with the soil. Lightly mist with water so you don’t flood the seeds away. You should see sprouts of green after about 14 days. Feverfew will grow in any type of soil, but prefers a sunny spot. Small bedding plants can also be purchased online or at any nursery that sells herbs.
Feverfew’s main healing property is headache prevention, specifically migraines. The leaves can be harvested and eaten like salad greens. Just two to three small leaves per day are recommended to help keep migraines away. It is recommended to NOT use feverfew to make tea, as it’s bitter and harsh.
Rosemary is, without a doubt, one of my favorite healing herbs. It has so many wonderful qualities. It smells amazing and is super easy to grow. Small bedding plants can be purchased or it can be propagated from an existing plant. Just snip a 6 – 8 inch branch and strip the needles from the bottom 2 inches. Plant the shoot directly in fresh potting soil.
The most common use for Rosemary is in cooking. A few sprigs of rosemary can take potatoes from tasteless to delectable! Not only does it add an incredible taste to many different foods, it also has health benefits.
- Adding rosemary to meats and vegetables can reduce inflammation, boost liver function and lower blood sugar.
- Add several fresh sprigs to a hot bath to soothe tired muscles. (I have personally done this and it’s amazing.)
- Rosemary tea can be used as a pain reliever and digestive stimulant. Cooled, it can be used as a germ-fighting mouthwash.
To make Rosemary tea: Strip the leaves/needles from 2 or 3 rosemary stems. Steep 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves in 2 cups boiling water for 5 or 6 minutes. Strain the leaves before drinking. Add honey or lemon for extra flavor.
There are so many different kinds of mint, but they all have one thing in common. They are very fast-growing. Mint can be planted in the spring from seedlings, or bedding plants are readily available at garden centers. Spread it out in a garden bed that won’t mind the invasion, or plant it in pots on a sunny deck or porch. Pinching the tips back regularly will keep the plants from getting out of control. Sometimes mint has a mind of its own, so if it starts to take off, just cut it back.
Mint is the most popular of all the healing herbs to calm an upset stomach. Tea can be made by steeping several leaves in hot water. Or, add several leaves to a jar of fresh water and set it in the sun for a few hours. Poured over ice, it can be enjoyed as a cold, refreshing drink at the end of a busy day. (Add a little fresh lemon juice as a finishing touch.) Mint is a natural stimulant, so inhaling fresh, crushed mint leaves can ease tiredness and increase alertness.
Lemon balm looks very much like mint, and is actually part of the mint family. Its bigger leaves are perfect for steeping in hot water for tea. Used fresh, lemon balm adds a lovely flavor to chicken and fish recipes. Add it at the end of the cooking time because it loses much of its flavor when exposed to heat.
The health benefits of lemon balm are opposite those of mint.
- Where mint is a stimulant, lemon balm is used to relax and aid in falling asleep. A cup of lemon balm tea at bedtime will almost guarantee a good night’s sleep.
- Like other healing herbs, the lemon balm leaves can be crushed and inhaled as relaxing aromatherapy.
- Add fresh lemon balm to a jug of water, refrigerate and enjoy at the end of a busy day.
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I’ve saved lavender until last because it is, without a doubt, my favorite herb. The scent is like no other, and when used in cooking or baking, it adds a fresh, delicate flavor. I use dried lavender buds in homemade lavender sugar scrub and in lavender sachets. When it comes to healing herbs, lavender’s qualities are many.
- My favorite way to use lavender is to add lavender essential oil to unscented lotion. Applied at bedtime, the relaxing scent can help you fall asleep. Use as much or as little lavender oil as desired to make the lotion aromatic.
- Add lavender essential oil to bath water to help relieve stress at the end of the day.
- A calming tea can be made by steeping dried lavender buds in hot water. Strain and add a spoonful of honey for the most delicious bedtime drink.
- The taste of lavender in cookies and breads is delightful. Just combine it with sugar and crush in a food processor before using in recipes.
Grow Your Own Healing Herbs
If you are interested in healing herbs, but have never planted an herb garden, there is no better time than right now to give it a try. If you want to start with just one herb, I would recommend either rosemary or mint. Both can be grown in a pot, either inside or out. Once you get started, I can pretty much guarantee that you will become an official herb gardener!
*Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. I am not a certified dietitian. This post is based on information found online, as well as my years of experience growing and using herbs. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any type of illness or pain. Always consult your personal physician for specific medical advice.