No matter if you are a beginner at gardening or using herbs for medicine, you will love these 13 easy-to-grow plants for the medicinal garden.
I am a lover of herbs and medicinal plants. I dream in shades of green, overflowing cottage gardens, and homegrown herbal-remedy-filled apothecary cabinets.
Of all the things, I love to grow, it’s herbs and medicinal plants that really have my heart. To be honest I do not know why. I know a handful of herbs won’t fill my family’s bellies or put any substantial amount of food on the table.
But there is something about herbs, I don’t know how else to put it, they are just magical. Take a basket and go out to harvest chamomile and lavender and you will be convinced they are magical too.
But in the case you can’t do that right now, we’ll just discuss all the reasons to love them. Then I may just have you sold out on planting yourself a medicinal garden.
Medicinal Plant List
When it comes to medicinal plants there are a ton, and I do mean a whole lot that could be listed for their great medicinal purposes. But for the purposes of this article, I wanted to focus on those that are easy to grow. No matter if you are new to gardening in general or just herbs, or you just need somewhere easy to start here is the perfect list for you.
1. St Johns Wort
If you are one who doesn’t consider yourself exactly a “green thumb” then you should be excited over this hardy herb. As a perennial, this long-beloved herb has been considered a hardy weed in many parts of the world. Along with other precious “weeds” like dandelion, most people find themself trying to kill it off rather than grow it. While it does tend to love dryer soil and full sun, it will tolerate just about anything. Just a little garden space and a tiny bit of love and you’ll go far.
Medicinally this herb has a very long-established and documented history dating back to the time of the ancient greeks. Historically it was prized for healing of external wounds. Whereas nowadays it is often used to treat mild depression, anxiety, and Seasonal affected disorder or S.A.D.
Hypericin, one of the herbs active constituants, increases the metabolism of serotonin and melatonin, which aid the body’s ability to revieve and store light. Hyperforin, another important constituent, contributes to emotional stability by slowing the uptake of those “feel-good” neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and noraadrenaline, allowing them to circulate longer in the body. This may explain, in part, St. John’s Wort’s ability to “lift the spirits” and relieve depression.Rosemary Gladstar- Medicinal Herbs
lavender is a favorite all around the world, and really does not need much introduction, but I’m gonna give you the down and dirty on it anyways.
On top of being a perennial, and pretty hardy at that, in zones 4-8, it is also a favorite plant of pollinators. Now it may be a little hard to start from seed, however, I have done it successfully several times, it just needs patience. If patience is not your exact cup of tea a few healthy plants from a nursery will do just as fine. And as it grows and thickens every year you can easily take some root divisions and start new plants elsewhere.
Medicinally lavender has a wonderful calming effect making it supreme for stress, tension and headaches, and fatigue. Lavender can be used in just about anything from skin creams to sleep aid teas. Diffused out into the air in a pot of boiling water during cold, flu, or allergy season will help to open up airways. Every summer I make up several little glass bottles of mosquito bite treatment sticks in rollerballs, one of the main ingredients is, you got it Lavender! A little DIY home remedy will help reduce those pesky bites both in annoyance and risk for infection. Much in part to lavender its all natural!
This dainty flower is such a prize to grow in any garden. This little flower can be easily grown from seed, but it will re-seed and spread itself wonderfully, even within the same growing season! Chamomile has a wonderful scent to it and in gardening, historically chamomile was known as the “plants’ physician”. It was often used as a companion plant as it is believed to cure the ailments of the plants around it.
Chamomile is known and has been used for inflammation, fever reduction, digestive and nervous system issues. This prized herb does so well at calming the nervous system that in many cases it can calm the body and soothe aches and pains as well as pain medication. So from soothing nerves, calming digestion, promoting sleep, reducing inflammation, yet the most powerful aspect of this wonderful herb is in its gentleness. Chamomile proves that gentle does not mean weak. Chamomile is so good at healing but highly gentle at the same time. Gentle enough to be used on children and infants.
Every Spring when the flowers are just starting to show up I will have a child come running to me to tell me where they found yarrow growing this year. So it would be no surprise to say that yarrow is a medicinal herb that I really prize around the homestead, and my kids have learned to love it as well!
Yarrow is a wonderful plant in the garden, and if you want to know about all of its amazing properties as a companion plant then check out this post. Yarrow is as easy to grow as just about any herb you will ever come across. Starting it from a seed in a cinch, and it will readily re-seed itself.
Medicinally speaking yarrow is amazing. It is absolutely top-notch at stopping bleeding. In fact, my kids know this so well they also preach it everywhere they go. When my boys are at boy scouts learning First Aid they point out to the troop leaders you can use yarrow if bleeding out in nature, of course, this gets a funny glance, but nonetheless, it is still true. On top of the ability to stop bleeding very well, it also relieves cramps, reduces fevers and inflammation.
If you want a beautiful flowering pollinator-friendly herb blooming first thing in the spring, as if to say Hello Spring, then you need some sage plants in your garden space. Sage is another herb that is super easy to grow, both from seed or nursery plants. This hardy herb will get thicker and fuller every year, enough to say that one plant should honestly be more than enough, but hey I don’t stop there either.
There are many reasons that sage is a valuable plant in the herbalist garden. From sore throat gargle to helping to reduce milk production in a lactating mother. As an antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial sage makes a powerful ingredient when one feels under the weather. It is also known for improving memory, improving blood glucose, and helping to alleviate menopause symptoms.
Sure we are all used to oregano in things like Italian seasoning mixes or in pasta sauces, but this is also one great herb to have in your garden or growing well just about anywhere. Bees and pollinators love this perennial herb which makes it great for growing near anything else that enjoys a little extra pollinator love. But it is also a gorgeous plant when it’s filled with its dainty little blooms.
Medicinally speaking oregano is one potent herb as well. It serves as an antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial. It can easily be added to soups, stews, and pestos to give your immune system a boost especially during the winter months. Additionally, it is such a potent antibiotic that many natural farming operations have found that adding it to an animal feed will help ward off livestock sicknesses without the use of harmful pharmaceutical antibiotics.
7. Lemon Balm
If you love teas or have an interest in growing herbs for teas, this is one you really want to look at. As a very carefree and hardy perennial in zones 4-9, lemon balm is an attractive garden plant with little to no work. This lovely bee-friendly plant will readily self-sow, meaning within a few years you may have lemon balm just about anywhere.
As a member of the mint family, lemon balm makes for a wonderful medicinal tea. lemon balm has long been known for depression, anxiety, and nervous disorders. Additionally, it has had a history of being very healing in the heart and the digestive system and is mildly sedative and mild enough for use on children.
Thyme in the garden is a powerful pollinator attractant and they look absolutely beautiful when covered in tiny blooms. This garden herb comes in many varieties, including one variety called creeping thyme, and looks like a beautiful carpet.
With a long-standing history in the medicinal realm of herbs, thyme has been used to treat everything from acne to treating sore throats. Historically thyme has been used to treat many ailments to include but not limited to dental issues, infections, chest complaints, digestive problems, intestinal worms, seizures, lice, worst, viruses, and inflammation. I have had a lot of success using thyme as a home remedy for common ailments.
If you haven’t tried to grow even a little pot of basil for a kitchen herb garden, you will love how easy this herb is to grow! No-fuss is basil’s motto. Not only is it super easy to grow either inside or outside, but it also is so versatile and adds well into so many dishes.
Basil has been a popular herb going all the way back to antiquity. Sweet Basil (which is the variety used in the kitchen) aids in digestion, easing gas pains, stomach cramps, and giving relief for Nausea. Interestingly it is also very well known and an extremely efficient herb for the nervous system. It has been used to treat irritability, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and in some cases even sleeping disorders like insomnia.
10. Valarian Root
Though less common, this herb proves to be very powerful and useful herb for an herbalist garden. Valarian can grow from 1-5 feet in height depending on soil conditions. Since most gardens are grown intentionally you will find this plant to grow tall and be very easy to grow. It makes a great eye-catching plant anywhere with which a little height is acceptable.
Valarians’ medicinal uses over the years have proven that the powerful roots of this plant have a variety of uses. Valarian has most commonly been used as a sleep aid or for insomnia. However, it has also proven helpful companion for treating anxiety, panic attacks, depression, nicotine withdrawal, menstrual cramps, lowering blood pressure, and OCD.
Echinacea has a near and dear place in my heart, as it was the first herb I ever grew with any kind of success. This experience fed my “green thumb dreams” and I bloomed into a full blown herb nerd. That being said I probably don’t need to say this, but I will, echinacea is easy to grow and doesn’t need to be babied. Did I mention echinacea (AKA Purple Coneflower) is a perennial and will return every year. To top it all off they look absolutely stunning in a garden.
Echinacea is most notably known for the immune boosting properties, which is true. However that is not where this purple flower stops. With powerful antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral properties it makes a wonderful herb for external burns, and wounds. Additionally echinacea can be used to treat spider bites, insect stings, and even snake bites it is said to be good at neutralizing the poisons from them and reducing pain. Echinacea is also a viable answer to common ailments such as colds & flu, allergies, and asthma.
This bright little flower is just about one of my favorites. In fact, in this post, I talked in great detail about the benefits of calendula for garden, health, and beauty. It is not really my personality to tell you you ‘must’ garden like this, I think there are many ways to a successful garden. That being said if I could pick any one plant that should be a must, it’s this one. Calendula is an absolute MUST-HAVE for any home garden. From companion planting, and the extremely useful healing properties, I think every household can benefit from this beauty.
Calendula is very powerful at healing wounds and repairing cell growth. This flower is both anti-septic and anti-inflammatory. It can be used both internally or externally to keep infections at bay. Calendula has most commonly been used in salves, creams, or ointments. And very useful in treating bruises, burns, cuts, scrapes, ulcers, infections, and even rashes.
Even though many people don’t consider garlic an herb as much as a vegetable. I don’t think we can talk about medicinal plants without adding this one in. As one of the most versatile herbs, this gem can be grown just about anywhere in the world. Garlic might just be the Queen in the herb world, for she deserves a place of royalty. Garlic can be so easily grown you may have even discovered bulbs trying to sprout while still in the fridge.
Medicinally speaking garlic has many strengths but the top of those strengths is the fact that it stimulates the production of white blood cells lending a boost to the body’s immune function. Garlic is a powerful antiseptic, antimicrobial and antibacterial. This is the main reason that garlic has been found to be successful at fighting antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This health-promoting bulb is also helpful at expelling intestinal worms, treating bronchitis, and congestion. Studies have shown garlic improves cholesterol, lowers blood sugar levels. Is also has been found useful in treating thrush, yeast, and fungal infections.
Did I mention that garlic is also a very helpful natural ear infection home remedy? Moms of little’s with frequent ear infections you can thank me later (wink, wink).
Medicinal Herb Garden
We often think that medicines all come from the store, pharmacy or doctor. However in the history of the world medicine has usually come from plants. Only in the last 100 years (give or take) have we been taught differently with the advent of petroleum based pharmaceuticals. Thanks to John D Rockefeller and his financial interests in controlling and thereby changing western medicine, we no longer view medicine the way our ancestors did.
The really cool and empowering thing is thats plants put the power in your hands and control over many issues in your life. Yeah sure they can make great companion plants and herbs for making great tasting dishes. But medicinal herbs can also give you the freedom to know you have historically-proven healing modalities at your fingertips. So go on, get some seeds and give into that tuging desire to plant a beautiful, bee attracting, nature loving herbalist garden. You wont regret it, I promise, pinky promise ♡♡♡
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Beth is a mother of 6 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.