GROW: The Book
I have very limited space. I would like everyone's opinion as to what would be the best medicinal herbs I can plant in my garden?
If you could give more details like soil type and amount of sun that would help narrow it down. 🙂
I have 2 raised beds. I put bags of garden soil and potting soil mixed. Both beds get morning sun to about noon, then are shaded from noon on.
@dalans What zone are you in and how big are the beds?
I think it depends on what medicines you would like to make. I would stick to the smaller, more compact plants that don't spread easily. Mints will quickly take over a space. Horseradish roots can grow very large and spread from small bits of roots left in the soil. Marshmallow roots can also get very large if you don't harvest them regularly.
@torey I am in zone 6. The beds are 4 foot long x 4 foot wide x 2 foot deep each. As to what medicines, I'm not sure, just good basics medicines to have on hand. Then I can get more specific as I know and grow in making herbal medicines.
I can think of a few that might work, Echinacea is one. It has a nice vertical growth habit, beautiful blooms and doesn't spread excessively. Many or even most culinary herbs have medicinal properties. One of my favorites is sage it makes a great tea for coughs and sore throats. Most herbs will do best in full sun for 6-8 hours, but I have had to make do with less and found they did OK. I would avoid mints as they are usually aggressive spreaders as is comfrey. Here is a good link for the medicinal uses of some culinary herbs. I think they are great, kind of a twofer. https://nourishedkitchen.com/culinary-herbs-medicinal-uses/
@dalans A couple more which may interest you, parsley, holy basil, nasturtium, lemon balm, oregano and calendula. All handy for making, oils, teas, salves, lotions etc. With that and foraging, I think you're on your way. All the best.
Rosemary is a great herb for both culinary use and medicinal. Great for the respiratory system, throat, mind/memory plus great tasting. Just not sure about your zone
I would try and do ones that are double duty for culinary and medicinal. Probably rosemary for sure, oregano, sage, thyme, holy basil, echinacea, feverfew, calendula, nasturium, chamomile. Mints are invasive so if you had pots they are very useful for many things, stomach, respiratory, etc. I'm not sure what your area is like, I'm in SoCal and all these do very well in my garden! Good luck!!!!
I would add yarrow to the list. It can spread when it's happy, so you'll have to keep it in check. Also consider lavender (make sure you get on that is hardy in Zone 6; some aren't). Cayenne wasn't mentioned but is very useful.
I would suggest thinking about what ailments you (and your friends and family) typically experience. And then see which plants are good remedies for those conditions. Plant those--that way you will get the most use out of your space.
@dottile46 @torey @VickiP @jodienancarrow @Jaylene @COWLOVINGIRL @lmrebert @Melissa Swartz Thank you for all of your input. It's nice to know there are so many willing to help. You are all great!!
I tried a combination of herbs this year for my first herb garden. I did Holy basil, Sweet basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, dill, garlic chives, calendula, echinacea, and stevia. I guess I needed a bigger bed for them. LOL
@dalans You are very welcome! That is what we are here for. To help each other become better at whatever new project we have chosen to do. There is so much knowledge here on TGN! Its amazing to have such a group of talented people all together.
One other thing. Appreciate the gifts that Mother Nature will give you. It can be wonderful surprises to find lovely medicinal "weeds" coming up where you least expected them. Plantain, chickweed, lamb's quarters, mullein, dandelion. You just never know.
Holy basil and lemon balm are very high on my list, as they both have a lot of medicinal uses and are good for general health. I've been stocking up, also, on bee balm, thyme & hyssop in case I need them for respiratory viruses over the winter. Oh, and yarrow. All of those are easy to grow and less invasive than mint. If you have a space that can be easily isolated, peppermint or spearmint will grow like weeds and have lots of medicinal uses. You don't want to plant them with your other herbs, though, because they will wipe everything else out.
@torey I second that idea - to see what Mother Nature offers. One of my favorites is wild lettuce. It's not very pretty and almost everybody will try to get rid of it when they see it. But it's great for pain relief. And dandelion, of course.
I just learned about sage as a medicinal herb. Have grown it, horseradish, and mints in pots for years to control the spread. Plus, you can dump the pot, harvest and replant very easily.
@vickeym Yes I thought I had plenty of room for the ones I chose...NOT lol. I've transplanted out some of them to other areas but I didn't even make a dent. But sometimes we just have to let Nature do what she will do...and learn the lessons she teaches us.
@vickeym I can only hope mine looks that good! How long ago was that bed planted?
@torey Thanks, I try to be grateful for all that comes into my life, especially Mother Nature. One never knows how long or short our paths will be. Being a nurse I see that every day.
lobelia makes a good anti-spasmodic tinvture. a must according to Dr patrick Jones. I believe it will tolerate the half day of full sun nicely.
I started them all from seed indoors and got them started late as I only have a tiny space to start them and we are off grid so hard to set up lights. Was amazed they all started. Did not get them outside into this bed until last week of June. Normally we plant outside here on or about memorial day, so beginning of June. I had stuff so leggy it was horrible. My tomatillos were almost 3 foot tall in solo cups. I was amazed we got anything to actually produce. My dill has bolted already, and both of my basils are flowering as well. Hard to keep up with my calendula. I have a large tray of blossoms drying and need to pluck more tomorrow as the plants are full again.
Beautiful beds @vickeym!
Nasturtiums, lemon balm, basil, oregano, catnip, horehound, borage, chamomile, and throw in an elderberry start in a corner somewhere😊
"One of my favorites is wild lettuce. It's not very pretty and almost everybody will try to get rid of it when they see it. But it's great for pain relief"
Have you harvested and used wild lettuce for pain relief?! I read that it is very tedious because you can't just chop it up like some people will tell you. You actually have to "bleed" it an inch at a time all the way down the plant. I'm willing to try it but I like to hear from people who have done it first.
@nicksamanda11 I had not heard that about bleeding the wild lettuce. I chopped mine. Perhaps that is why when I've tried it I get some pain relief but not much and it doesn't last. I may have to experiment with that. I do have one I've let bloom in my front flower bed. Thanks!
Seeker- you're welcome. I liked Practical Self Reliance article on wild lettuce. She went through the whole process step by step.
Definitely lemon balm, a lovely, pleasant tasting herb, excellent nervine. Works as a tea, or a tincture even a glycerite (not my favourite). Likes more shade than sun. Easy to grow, it does spread. It can be controlled. Will not withstand a heavy frost. Calendula is a beautiful plant, Easy to grow. Beware it self seeds Like Crazy! Maybe grow in pots?
What kind of ailments are you looking to treat?
Thank you for the link, @VickiP I use a lot of herbs and spices just because they are so healthy but it's good to know what each plant does.
@torey I sometimes deliberately don't weed out some of the good weeds--we have a few bits of plantain growing, I know where there is a patch of nettles, our yard is full of dandelions and lamb's quarters.... Sometimes I think there is more health in the weeds than in the things I plant! :)
Sorry I've been quiet for several days. Last Friday I went down the back steps wrong and tweaked my back. I had to rely on extra pain meds, muscle relaxers, and hot pad then tore up my stomach from the extra meds. I finally got up and around today.
@tilathehunn August 5
The main problem I have is with my back. I've had 3 back surgeries with discectomy, so between 3 sets of vertebra I'm practically bone on bone. I have spinal stenosis. I have tremendous sciatic nerve problems. I had to learn how to walk again, as I can't feel most of my right leg. I don't know when my foot is on the floor or not. I also have exertional foot drop when I walk very much. When I have to hit my meds hard then I end up with stomach problems. That's one of the reasons I would like to find something more natural to help. The other reason is the cost of the prescriptions. My other problem I need to address is weight loss. With all my back problems I can't do to much to exercise. I work 40+ hours a week, so when I get home, it's mostly a recliner and hot pad. My diet is okay, I try to really watch what I eat.
Other than that, I'm looking for just a good all around collections of plants that would take care of most general ailments that people have from time to time.
With limit space I would start with the culinary herbs that have medicinal properties as mentioned above, @jodienancarrow, @vickeym and @lmrebert have good lists.