How to Grow Your Own Medical Herb Garden

Medical herbs with aromatherapy essential oil and tincture in glass bottle.

Plant-Based Healing

Plant-based healing is an ancient practice that is quickly gaining momentum in the 21st century. As the spread of disease continues and obesity rises, many are turning to alternative forms of healing through the medicinal properties of plants.

Thousands of plant varieties exist. Each is beneficial to the body in a unique way. However, simplicity is key when starting a medicinal garden. By selecting a few plants and helping them grow you will become eager to grow other plants.

Popular Medicinal Plants

The following is a list of popular medicinal plants with the greatest health benefits:

  1. Aloe Vera – Treats burns, wounds and cuts, and skin allergies, and is also fit for consumption to help digestive problems.
  2. Marsh Mallow – The roots of the plant can be used to treat insect bites and aching muscles. It is also fit for consumption to treat urine problems and ulcers.
  3. Pot Marigold – Externally used for insect bites and sore eyes, and to aid in reducing fevers and infections.
  4. Chinese Yam – Known to treat fatigue, diarrhea, dry coughs, diabetes and poor digestion.
  5. Lemon Balm – Treats herpes, insomnia, upset stomach, depression and fevers.

Other medically beneficial plants include:

  • Siberian Ginseng
  • Sea Buckthorn
  • Tree Tea
  • Peppermint
  • Evening Primrose
  • Turkey Rhubarb
  • Milk Thistle
  • Feverfew
  • Fenugreek
  • Slippery Elm
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Angus Castus
  • Great Burdock
  • Gotu Kola
  • Chamomile
  • Globe Artichoke
  • Echinacea
  • Chickweed

Planning Your Garden: Three Factors to Consider

Once you’ve researched the plants you wish to grow you need to consider the three main factors of your garden: location, layout and plant purchases.

  1. Location

How much room do you have to dedicate to your garden? How well does the soil drain? How much sunlight is available? Review the needs of your starter plants to ensure they will grow in the environment you have available.

  1. Layout

If your plants will grow large, like Marsh Mallow, they need space away from other plants to avoid overcrowding. Chamomile and Chickweed thrive in raised beds and lemon balm does well in an individual container. Do your research and create a layout.

  1. Plant Purchases

Will you be purchasing seeds or plants? If you purchase seeds it is helpful to consult a local gardener about the optimal planting time for your garden plants. For example, some seeds do better when planted in the winter or stored in your freezer to germinate.

Regular Maintenance

It is easy to get discouraged if your plants don’t take off immediately or die after planting. As living organisms, plants require the basic needs to live (water, nutrients and sunlight) as well as special attention to other factors like weather and insects. Each failed attempt makes you better prepared for the next.

Your attempt to garden, whether successful or not, is beneficial to your health. Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies of Americans. A 2012 study reported that nearly half of all Americans gardened in the last year – approximately 164 million people. While tending to your garden you are in good company.

Additional Resources

  • Heirloom Herb Seeds, by My Patriot Supply





  • About Herbs, by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer center, available on iTunes for free
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