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5 Best Herbs For a Medicinal Herb Garden

Grow Your Own Medicinal Herbs

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Growing your own medicinal herbs is a great way to incorporate good health into your life. These herbs are recommended for their wide range of health benefits, and basic healing properties.

1. Nettles

©2008, A. Jeanroy, Licensed to About.com
Nettles are easy to grow, full of micro nutrients and add a healthy punch to many dishes. Try growing nettles in an area that you can allow them to reseed themselves. If you are continue to harvest the small plant, you will end up with fresh greenstuff throughout most of the growing season. Don't forget to wear gloves when harvesting. Nettles have a harmless but unpleasant sting, if brushed. Because nettles can be harvested multiple times, they can be planted in front of taller landscaping plants. If left to their own devices, nettles will grow over 6 feet tall. They are not tasty at this stage, so unless you are growing them for a plant barrier, keep them pruned to a more controlled level, and enjoy.

2. Dandelion

Dandelion
©2008, Flickr user General Wesc
Dandelion is often considered the bane of a lawn lover's existence. This is a shame. Dandelions are one of the most multipurpose herbs there are. The leaves are eaten as a tasty spring green.The blossom is used to make jelly, fried in the bud stage as a delicious side dish. The delicate petals are added to salads and as a lovely edible flower addition to summer dishes. The root is also used, dried and ground as a substitute for coffee. As a medicinal plant, the blossom is added to oil and infused, to relieve aching muscles. The leaf and root are used in teas, tinctures, salves and oils as a liver tonic, soothing skin and muscle herb. Full of promise, these cheerful plants make a great addition to the herbalist's garden.

3. Calendula

Calendula Herb
© 2008, Flickr User Orgazmika
Calendula is an important addition to a healer's garden. Its striking orange flowers are used as a soothing skin wash, tea and salve. They are edible for a cheerful addition to a salad as well. Because it is so gentle, calendula is often an ingredient in diaper salves and other baby related skincare items. Calendula offers a beautiful spot of color in any landscape. The flowers will readily reseed themselves, so consider this when planting. Look for plants that are sticky with resin, for this is the medicinal quality that you need. There are many cultivated varieties that may or may not work in the medicinal sense. Look for Calendula Officinalis, to be certain it is the right variety.

4. Burdock

Burdock Plant
©2008, Flickr User Soxophone Player
Burdock, often called Gobo, is a common herb that is overlooked in American gardening. Its root used as a blood purifier and an overall medicinal vegetable. The leaf can be applied as a poultice to draw out infection. The seed is a much stronger medicine, and should be used with caution. Because this article highlights a beginner's herbal garden, only the root and leaf are addressed here.

5. Chamomile, German

Chamomile Flowers
©2005, Flickr user Eggybird
Chamomile is a sweetly scented, light tasting herb. Its many uses have been known for many years. Chamomile is a gentle soother for teas and skin washes. There has been some discussion about contraindications of this well known herb. As a disclaimer, if an individual has an allergy to ragweed, they may react to chamomile with the same symptoms. This is rare, but should be mentioned. Another effect that should be at least mentioned, is that there is some proof that chamomile is a blood thinner. This would not apply to an occasional cup of tea used as an evening treat, however, if someone was on blood thinning medication, they should bring their tea use to their medical provider's attention.
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