By Jacki May, Contributing writer
I didn’t grow up gardening. I certainly never pictured myself gardening. My dad grew carrots one year in our flower bed in town, but that was about the extent of my experience with gardening. Then I got married and my husband and I had got this crazy dream to live in the country with some animals and a garden. Shortly after that, I started my studies in herbalism. I knew that growing our own medicinal herbs was the way to go.
Why Grow Your Own Herbs?
1) They Will Be Extremely Fresh
You can’t get fresher than walking out and picking a handful of lemon balm leaves for tea. You can walk with a tea cup of hot water out to your plant, slightly crush the leaves, and drop them in your tea.
2) You Can Ensure They Are Organic
You are the one taking care of the plant so you know exactly how your plant is being grown. While there are many herb stores that are certified organic, and are great herb stores, growing your own really puts you in control.
3) You Begin to Know Your Medicine.
Seeing the plant from the beginning helps you to know your herb and connect with your medicine on a different level. It gives you a sense of empowerment knowing that you can grow your own medicine.
4) It is a Great Way to Get Your Children Involved in Herbal Medicine
Many of us grew up not really understanding how to use herbs as medicine and many generations of herbal knowledge was lost. By introducing your children to herbs young, they can grow up knowing how to use herbs (and even basic botany) and herbal knowledge can get passed down from generation to generation again.
What Herbs Should I Grow?
Keep it simple. It is better to grow 1 plant really well than to try and grow 10 herbs that are not really thriving.
Chose herbs that you use regularly. If you never use Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), don’t grow it. I have included my 5 herbs to grow based on my thesis project for the Advanced Herbal Course through The Herbal Academy.
Find out what herbs grow naturally in your area and work on foraging those. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Nettle (Urtica dioica) grows abundantly here, so I definitely don’t need to grow those.
Without further ado…
5 Herbs To Grow
1) Lemon balm (Melissa Officinalis)
Oh how I love this herb and my children love this herb. It is a wonderful antiviral herb and is also a nervine herb that is wonderful for anxiety. It is very easy to grow.
2) Peppermint (Mentha Piperita)
This is great in tea for upset tummies and helps with digestion. My husband loves Peppermint tea and it is safe for sipping during the first trimester. For those worried about drinking Peppermint during lactation, you would need to drink quite a bit for you to dry up your milk, so a cup of Peppermint tea is nothing to worry about.
3) Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis)
This is great for both culinary and medicinal purposes. I use Rosemary in my apple cider vinegar hair rinse, in my Green Power salve, and infuse it in oils for muscle rubs. It helps stimulate blood flow and it is antimicrobial. This is not for internal use during pregnancy.
4) Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia)
Known very well for being relaxing, Lavender is a beautiful herb to grown. It can be used in teas to help with headaches as well as in salves/ointments to help soothe acne and irritation. I add it to my postpartum bath blends and perineal rinses.
5) Calendula (Calendula Officinalis)
This is just a plant of sunshine! I have two of these plants in my kitchen garden box right now. You can add the blooms to salads (it adds just a slight spice) but Calendula shines on its external uses. Salves, ointments, herbal baths, perineal rinses, dry skin, irritated skin, bug bites….the list goes on and on. I often find myself having to order because I can’t grow enough. In my herb kits, Calendula makes its appearance very often. Not for internal use during pregnancy.
Tips for Making an Herb Garden – The Herbal Academy
Designing an Herb Garden – The Herbal Academy