Picture this, you suddenly find yourself in the third week of a widespread disaster, your daughter has a sore throat with a slight fever, your son has just burned his hand on the stove, your husband is complaining about stomach aches and even though she hasn’t said anything you can tell grandma’s arthritis is acting up. Drug stores and pharmacies are all but out of over-the-counter remedies while overcrowded hospitals are hardly worth the effort. What can you do? Luckily you thought to plant medicinal herbs alongside your prepper garden this Spring.
What, you didn’t? Well, thankfully, this is just a product of a good imagination. There’s time to plan for the upcoming growing season. And here’s some advice to get you going.
Begin with a plan and start small. There’s no need to plant a whole spectrum of herbs that won’t meet your practical needs. Consider what herbs will grow in your area then whittle that list down by their use and growing requirements (some are finicky). Think about the size of your family and the ailments you will most likely need to treat. This will help you gauge how much of each herb to grow. From there determine the amount of space you have available. Do you have space to plant in an existing garden? Do you have room for a garden? Will your crop be limited to flower boxes hung from a windowsill? Will the plants you want grow in pots, inside or outside? How much light and water will they need? Which herbs provide benefits to other plants you intend to grow? Some herbs grown next to vegetables will keep certain pests away.
Okay, that’s a lot of questions to ask yourself along with hours of research trying to weed out reliable information from all those Google results. Let’s see if we can help narrow the search a little with a set of 10 starter herbs that will cover a range of maladies.
- Rosemary: Known for treating congestion (works as an expectorant), sore throat and headaches. Stems are the useful parts and it grows well in planting zones 7-10.
- Mint: Take mint to settle an aching stomach. The leaves are the useful portion of the plant and grow easily in containers.
- Chamomile: Works as a general calming agent for the nervous and digestive systems helping with headaches, sore throats and body aches due to the flu or bad colds. Chamomile is also a blood thinner so do not use when pregnant or if you are prescribed any related medication. Made into an oil, it works to alleviate muscle pain and helps with arthritis. The flowers are the plant’s useful parts and it grows in all growing zones in the U.S.
- Lavender: As with chamomile, lavender has numerous uses. The herb acts as a nervous system calming agent and can even be used as an anti-depressant. It will also work for cough, diarrhea, menstrual pain and maintaining low blood pressure. Its oil is effective in treating burns and skin wounds. The flowers are the prominent part to use and it will grow in zones 3-24.
- Coneflower (Echinacea): This is a great plant for overall immune support and should be used for any illness. Use this herb for mouth sores, toothaches, insect bites, cuts, respiratory infections, among many others. The whole plant is of use but especially its flowers. It grows well in all U.S. growing zones.
- Ginger: This is a root herb great for treating nausea and other stomach issues. Your ginger crop can start with a visit to the grocery store, buying the knobby root with a few (still green) “fingers” and planting it. Generally, it will be ready for harvest in 18 months. Ginger will grow in all zones but its leaves will die off in colder climates.
- Garlic: Garlic serves as an antimicrobial and will work against respiratory infections. As most know, its bulb is the useful portion of the plant and it will grow in all planting zones.
- Calendula: Also has a wide range of uses as an immune system supporter, can treat stomach ulcers and bladder infections. As an ointment, it is good for rashes and skin wounds. Calendula is a hardy, cold resistant, marigold-type flowering annual. Its leaves and flowers are useful and it keeps aphids away from vegetable plants.
- Yarrow: Works as an astringent, anti-inflammatory, fever reducer and even helps with insomnia. Its leaves and flowers are the important parts and will grow well in zones 3-9 but be aware it can be an invasive species, so do contain its growth.
- Parsley: Parsley is best known as an effective diuretic but it is also a great source of vitamins K and C. Primarily, the leaves and roots are used but there are some uses for parsley seeds. This plant will grow well in all planting zones in the US.
These herbs can be utilized in a variety of ways with just as many uses. Of course, these are medicinal plants but they will also add flavor to the food we eat. They can be used fresh off the vine, so to speak, cut up and dropped in a saute pan, or infused in oil used for cooking. They can be dried for similar uses in oils or teas. Either fresh or dried they can be infused in alcohol to make tinctures (herbal medication), poultices, salves or ointments and lotions. A note to remember is that some of these herbal, or essential oils, need to be combined with carrier oils (such as almond, avocado, coconut, olive, sesame, jujube or cocoa butter) due to the concentrated nature of the essential oils that can cause burns if applied undiluted. Carrier oils have their own medicinal properties that work in tandem with the essential oils added to them.
In order to prepare the herbs you grow, there are some special tools of the trade. A mortar and pestle are used for grinding fresh and dried leaves and stems. A coffee grinder is useful for grinding some specific herbs and spices. Once the herbs or oils are prepared you will need to store them Consider glass bottles or jars, as they are reusable and will not react with the contents (as some plastics do) or absorb odors.
Other useful herbs:
As you become familiar with the starter herbs and wish to expand your expertise consider the following to add to your stock;
- Comfrey: used to treat bruises, muscle aches and joint pain
- Cayenne: good for congestion.
- Cilantro: helpful for fatigue and joint pain
- Oregano: useful for treating menstrual cramps
- Dill: helps with gastrointestinal (GI) problems
- Aloe Vera: One we’ve all heard of, excellent for the treatment of burns, sunburns and psoriasis
- Dandelion: Acts as a diuretic but also has anti-inflammatory properties and dandelion root combined with the leaves of uva ursi, can prevent urinary tract infections in women.
Click The Link Below To Check Out Which Medicinal Herbs Grow Best In Your Area…