The healing power of plants has been proven for centuries and is no longer underestimated by scientific medicine. These medicinal herbs turn the garden or balcony into an instant pharmacy.
Already many hundreds of years ago, the effect of medicinal plants formed the basis of natural medicine in monasteries. Today, natural medicines are made from around 500 medicinal plants. We have taken a closer look at eight of these medicinal plants, which you can easily plant yourself in the garden or on the balcony.
- Lemon balm
Grow medicinal plants: Thyme
Thyme is not only a popular spice plant for cooking, but also serves as an important medicinal plant for fighting coughs. However, thyme is not only popular for respiratory ailments.
In naturopathy, it acts as the purest panacea. Its antibacterial, soothing and anti-inflammatory effects are only a fraction of the healing properties of thyme.
In addition, thyme has an antispasmodic effect and thus helps to relieve spasms in wheezing as well as irritable cough.
But also for the treatment of the digestive system and in gynecology, this plant is gaining popularity.
Thyme tastes very delicious as a spice and thus contributes almost inconspicuously to health. Also as an essential oil, tea or tincture, thyme can develop its full healing power when used internally as well as externally.
Originally thyme was a plant that survived the Central European winter with difficulty and quickly froze. But now varieties have been bred, such as “European Winter”, which can easily withstand the frost. However, these varieties need a place in the garden or on the balcony, which will provide them with lean soil, as well as full sun.
Lemon balm as a medicinal herb from the garden
Lemon balm is a popular medicinal herb in the garden. The lemon-scented leaves are toothed and look very similar to the leaves of stinging nettle.
Lemon balm originated in Southern Europe, but has long been native to Central European gardens in cultivated form. Lemon balm has fairly low requirements and is a robust and easy to care for plant.
In the kitchen, lemon balm is used mainly in desserts and fruit salads, but also as a garnish in cool drinks or with fish. Lemon balm is also popular as a medicinal herb.
Lemon balm is mainly known for its calming and mood-lifting effects.
In addition, it has a deflating and antispasmodic effect.
In addition, lemon balm has an antibacterial and partially antifungal effect.
Lemon balm is used as a medicinal herb from the garden especially often in tea. Two to three cups of tea can be consumed per day.
Tip: Strong lemon balm tea also has a soothing effect on mosquito bites. To do this, simply dab the tea directly onto the bite with a cloth or cotton ball.
Medicinal plants in the garden: Sage
Sage is one of the oldest known medicinal plants. Its leaves are often used for inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. In addition, they have a pronounced antiperspirant as well as disinfectant effect, promote metabolism and stimulate digestive activity.
Sage is usually drunk as a tea. If the mucous membrane of the mouth or throat is affected by major inflammation, it helps to rinse and gargle with the brewed sage.
The essential oil of sage can also be taken internally. Among other things, the oil can have an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antibacterial effect. Used externally, sage oil can even relieve rheumatic pain.
Caution. You should urgently take care not to take too high a dosage. Also, sage should not be taken for too long a period of time. Experts advise a duration of use of no more than two to four weeks. Infants, pregnant women and nursing mothers should also not drink sage tea. The use of sage in these cases should therefore be discussed in advance with the doctor or pharmacist.
To thrive extensively, the true sage requires a sunny and warm location. It should also be watered regularly, but not excessively. It cannot stand waterlogging.
Marigold as a medicinal herb in the garden
Calendula not only looks beautiful in the garden with its brilliant yellow to red-orange flowers, it is also an important food source for bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
Marigolds prefer heavy, nutrient-rich soil and a sunny location. They bloom from June to October, although the blooming period can be extended if you remove faded flowers.
Calendula is especially popular as a garden medicinal herb for its healing properties. In 2009 it was the medicinal plant of the year.
Particularly well known is its use in calendula ointment. In fact, the positive effect on burns, wounds and ulcers is even scientifically proven.
As a tea, calendula is also effective for gastrointestinal problems, stomach ulcers and menstrual problems.
Tip: Collect only the fully developed flowers, they have the greatest healing properties.
Besides marigold flowers are edible. The plucked petals can be used in salads or baked goods, for example.
Growing medicinal plants: Echinacea spec.
Even though echinacea is often planted only as an ornamental perennial, the purple flower has a healing effect. Thus, echinacea has the ability to strengthen the body’s immune system and ward off infections in advance. This is achieved, among other things, by activating the phagocytes in the blood and tissues. Anyone prone to colds or suffering from chronic infections will be well served by this natural remedy.
Usually it is administered as fresh pressed juice, tablets or as a tea. Echinacea is also said to promote rapid wound healing, which is why the flower is often applied in the form of a paste to poorly healing wounds.
Even though there are no verifiable studies on the exact effect of echinacea, naturopathy in Europe has been working with this medicinal plant since the 19th century.
Echinacea thrives especially well in dry and sandy soils. It also prefers a bright to full sun location. Thus, it is also quite suitable for a place in the center of the garden, where no shade falls, as well as a south-facing balcony.
Attention, danger of confusion! These garden plants can be poisonous.
A good, clean pair of pruning shears is definitely part of the tools of the trade when harvesting medicinal plants from the garden. You can find a selection of the best here:
Grow medicinal herbs in the garden: Chamomile
Chamomile is one of the most well-known medicinal plants of all. It is also one of the oldest herbal remedies and at the same time one of the best researched. Even in ancient times, healers knew about its positive effect on human health.
Chamomile has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antibacterial effects. Whether for gastrointestinal complaints, colds or inflammation of the mouth and throat – chamomile flowers bring the necessary relief.
Due to the mild ingredients, chamomile is also suitable for children.
It can be used both externally wraps and compresses for inflammatory areas on the body, as well as in the form of teas to be taken internally.
Steam inhalation of infused chamomile can also provide relief from flu-like infections and nasal and sinus infections.
To do this, add a handful of flowers to hot, but not boiling, water.
Cover your head over the bowl with a towel so that the steam cannot escape and you inhale it directly.
Remain over the bowl for 10 to 15 minutes.
Chamomile prefers a sunny and warm spot to grow sufficiently. But as for the soil, this plant is not very demanding.
Medicinal herb or weed? The nettle
A medicinal herb, probably planted deliberately in the rarest of cases, is the stinging nettle. Especially in the natural garden, stinging nettle may come up. Do not uproot the plants: Nettles are an important food source for insects and pollinators. In addition, nettle is an effective medicinal herb.
Nettle tea has a flushing and draining effect and is therefore often used for bladder infections.
Nettle seeds have a stimulating effect and are full of valuable vitamins and minerals. They can be consumed pure, in a smoothie, muesli, salad or on bread.
Caution: do not drink nettle tea if you have heart disease or kidney weakness.
Grow medicinal herbs yourself: Lavender
Lavender is a natural remedy for inner restlessness and stress. Meanwhile, lavender is no longer just a remedy, but an approved medicine, which is mainly prescribed and used for nervous exhaustion, insomnia and anxiety. In most cases, this medicinal plant is processed into oil.
Thus, lavender exudes a soothing aroma as a fragrance oil. But the external physical application of lavender oil is also healing.
A few drops applied to the temples and massaged in can relieve headaches, for example.
But also a freshly brewed lavender tea from flowers and leaves can have a calming and even fever-reducing effect.
Drinking a lavender tea before going to bed also promotes deep and healthy sleep.
Tip: Lavender should always be harvested in the early morning. That’s when the fragrance content is highest. Since lavender is a plant from the south, it needs a sunny and warm location that provides it with nutrient-poor and well-drained soil. Especially in winter, care should be taken not to over-wet the lavender. Otherwise, it could be susceptible to frost.