This earth is pretty amazing. She feeds us, replenishes us, and gives us everything we need to survive. The best part is that this food is often healing. From ginger to parsley to the ever plentiful dandelion, some of the easiest products to find are the ones that are the best for us. Thankfully, you don’t have to be an expert gardener, or gardner at all, to enjoy the benefits of herbs.
In honor of National Gardening Week, we decided to round up 13 herbs with medicinal and healing properties for you to try, eat, drink, or grow. Check your local health food store or Mountain Rose Herbs to grab these babes, or try growing them yourself for extra love.
You’ve probably used aloe vera before for a sunburn because it’s perfect for treating minor burns and skin eruptions. You can break off a leaf of the plant and squeeze its gel directly onto the affected area, or buy it from your local pharmacy. Aloe is also good for bug bites, and you can ingest the gel for heartburn or constipation relief.
Calendula, also known as marigold, is an ancient remedy for wounds and skin irritation. It can also be used to treat minor burns, skin inflammation, and cramps. You can prepare the bright yellow flowers as a tea, salve, or tincture.
Dandelion root, which may be roasted like coffee, help keeps the liver, kidneys, spleen, and gallbladder functioning healthily. You can also eat the herb and flowers, and make it into a wine or salad, which can help cleanse the liver resulting in a diuretic effect.
Also known as coneflower, this herb helps to stimulate the immune system and can help prevent colds. Echinacea can also be used as a laxative and as an anti-inflammatory. This herb is taken as a tea, tablet, or tincture.
Fennel is a hard worker, helping to treat arthritis, coughs, gas, and indigestion, among other things. It is also good for your heart and blood pressure. You can use fennel seeds for tea or eat them raw. You can also eat the stalks and leaves of the plant.
Ginger is a root that supports stomach health. It helps to ease indigestion, headaches, and menstrual pain. It is also an antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant. Ginger can be eaten fresh, dried, and as a tea.
Garlic is a one-plant wonder, helping treat colds, coughs, gas, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and infections. Garlic may be eaten raw or cooked.
Mint can help with weight loss as well as help ease nausea, headaches, and congestion. The leaves can be used to flavor teas, or as a tea, and may be added to food and drinks. Mint can also be used as a salve to wear externally.
Rosemary has anti-inflammation, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. The herb even helps to lower the risk of breast cancer. The leaves of the plant may be steeped in wine or used in cooking.
Sage can help treat infections, spasms, indigestion, and fevers. The tea may also help treat coughs and sore throats. Sage can be burned to cleanse an area. You can make a tea, garnish a dish, or make a tonic with the herb.
Thyme has many health benefits, including helping to treat coughs and colds, stomach aches, diarrhea, and arthritis. Thyme can be dried and brewed into a tea, and can also be used in cooking.
Valerian can help treat insomnia, anxiety, sleep disorders, and stress. The naturally relaxing herb can be made into oil, or mixed into cold water as a cold tea.
Parsley is useful in treating constipation and encouraging digestion, and it is helpful in keeping your bones healthy. Parsley also helps ease joint pain since it’s an anti-inflammatory. You can eat it raw, cook it, dry it, or take it as a tea.
Happy National Gardening Week! Now go out there and eat and grow some herbs!