Grow Your Own Medicinal Herb Garden

Body + Soul May 2009


Chamomile, top left; Lemon Balm and Yarrow, top right;
Peppermint and Lavender, bottom left; Holy Basil and Thyme, bottom right

There's something so satisfying and enriching about growing your own herb garden. We've written about planting and caring for cooking herbs, like sage, sweet basil, and caraway thyme, and easy herbs to grow inside, like chives, parsley, and Vietnamese coriander. But we don't want to neglect the other healing herbs, like lavender, peppermint and lemon balm. You can use these herbs to create your own relaxing teas and bath mixtures, sachets and other home remedies. We'll show you how to get started...

All you need are healthy soil, abundant sun, water and food, adequate air circulation, and a good container. (Even an old watering can would work fine!) The May 2009 issue of Whole Living: Body + Soul has a great tutorial on how to get started growing the following seven healing herbs:

Peppermint: soothes indigestion, has mild stimulating and cooling properties. Great for peppermint tea or as a cooling body spray or foot soak.

Lavender: eases stress and boosts mood. Also naturally antimicrobial and antiseptic. Add to bathwater for a relaxing bath time, make a lavender sachet for your linens, or use cool lavender tea to alleviate itchy insect bites.

Tulsi (Holy Basil): supports immunity and eases stress. Makes a great tea, or use it to flavor a jar of honey.

Thyme: clears congestion, soothes sore throats. Put a few sprigs in a bowl of boiling water and let the vapors help clear your head.

Chamomile: stress reliever. Great stomach soother. Makes a classic, gentle tea.

Lemon Balm: mood booster. Use it to create an herbal bath mix by placing it in a tea ball and hanging it over the faucet while you run your hot bath water.

Yarrow: a natural antiseptic. It's also said to help stop bleeding.

For tips on how to grow, harvest and dry these herbs, as well as more ideas for using them in and around your home, go to Body + Soul to read the full article.

*NOTE: Pregnant women should avoid certain herbs medicinally, particularly thyme and yarrow. Make sure to check with your doctor first.

All images via Body + Soul