10 Herbs To Grow In A Natural Remedies Garden

10 Herbs to Grow in a Natural Remedies Garden


Below are ten of my favorite plants to grow for crafting herbal remedies and homemade body care products. This is not an exhaustive list; there are so many other wonderful herbs and flowers out there to explore! However, if you’re just starting out and looking for some relatively easy-to-grow plants with a wide variety of uses, then this should be a great place to start.

If you’re unable to garden where you live, check your local farmer’s market or grocery store produce section for fresh herbs in season. You can also buy high quality dried versions of all of these, with the exception of spilanthes, at Mountain Rose Herbs. (For spilanthes, check Jean’s Greens.)


 

calendula flower

1. Calendula

How to Grow It:

Calendula is an annual that’s extremely easy to grow. Sow seeds in regular garden soil in spring, after the last frost date for your area. Here in US Zone 7, my calendula flowers bloom all summer and even past the first couple of light frosts in the fall. Heavy frost will kill the plant, but it often reseeds itself and will pop up in unexpected places the next year. Reliable and high quality seed can be purchased from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

Health Benefits:

Calendula flowers are well known for their antimicrobial and skin soothing properties. A salve made with calendula infused oil is a safe and gentle treatment for diaper rash, insect bites, rashes, scrapes and minor cuts. A wash (or tea) made with calendula can help soothe skin that’s irritated or inflamed by sunburn, poison oak or ivy, flea bites and eczema.

Recipes:


Lemon Balm Leaves

2. Lemon Balm

How to Grow It:

Lemon balm plants can usually be found at your local nursery or garden center. You can grow it from seed, but just one plant will keep you well supplied once it’s established. Since the plant will take over whatever spot you place it in, be sure to give plenty of room to spread. Lemon balm is a perennial that likes well drained, moist soil and responds well to being cut back several times during the growing season.

Health Benefits:

Taken internally, lemon balm is excellent at calming jitters and is a gentle, mild way to promote relaxation and sleep. It’s also a wonderful anti-viral and one that I turn to consistently in the winter for cold and flu symptoms. It’s a premier herb for treating cold sores (which are caused by a variation of the herpes virus.) Additionally, it’s a reliable treatment for upset stomach and colic.

Recipes:


 

Mint Plant

3. Mint

How to Grow It:

Mint is a flowering perennial that prefers a moist spot in the garden. Once established, a single mint plant will supply you with tons of leaves to use and experiment with. Because they tend to be aggressive spreaders, you may want to locate your mint plant in a container or out of the way corner of your garden. There are a multitude of mint varieties available: peppermint, spearmint, orange mint, chocolate mint. pineapple mint and so forth. I use most of them interchangeably in recipes and home remedies.

Health Benefits:

Mint is a cooling herb that helps calm inflammation and pain. A minty salve is wonderful for rubbing on sore muscles, or on your forehead and temples to relieve the discomfort of a headache. It’s also a classic remedy for upset stomach and nausea. Just the smell of mint can uplift and energize your spirits.

Recipes:


 

Spilanthes

4. Spilanthes

How to Grow It:

Spilanthes (toothache plant) is a tropical perennial, that’s grown as an annual in most of the US. It prefers full sun and good garden soil. I planted spilanthes in one spot in my garden and it has consistently reseeded itself for around seven years now. You can buy the seeds HERE from Horizon Herbs.

Health Benefits:

Spilanthes is one of my top five favorite herbs. I plan to never go through a winter without it again! It’s incredibly effective against all manners of stomach bugs, colds and other viruses. It’s also anti-bacterial and useful in the fight against ear infection, malarial spirochetes and Lyme Disease. A dropperful of tincture in a glass of water makes an excellent antiseptic mouth wash for treating inflamed gums, mouth sores and other dental conditions. If you’ve overeaten and have indigestion, a few drops of tincture in a spoonful of raw honey will help bring relief. Spilanthes is a powerful, but indiscriminate antimicrobial and will wipe out good bacteria in your gut as well as bad. For this reason, don’t use spilanthes on a daily or regular basis. Consider it a “big gun” to pull out, as needed.

Recipes:

  • I mainly use spilanthes as a single tincture or one combined with echinacea and/or lemon balm. I have more information and directions HERE.
  • Herbal Throat Spray

 

Echinacea Flower

5. Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)

How to Grow It:

Echinacea (purple coneflower) is a popular perennial landscaping plant that can be found in most garden centers. You can also start it from seed, but it requires at least a four to six week chill period first, so sow in late fall directly in the garden. Echinacea likes sunshine and average, loamy garden soil and is very heat and drought tolerant. It has a long bloom season and in the fall, the seed heads attract beautiful goldfinches to my garden.

Health Benefits:

Echinacea is best known as the herb to take when you first feel a cold coming on. For this purpose, it’s good to take small, frequent doses every hour for the first four or five hours, then taper off as you start to feel better. All parts of echinacea are edible and have varying medicinal qualities. In the past, I dug up the root to make tincture, but now find it easier to just gather the leaves, flowers and seeds for the same purpose. When infused in oil, echinacea can be turned into a salve for treating minor scrapes, abrasions, bug bites and sores. An echinacea rinse or tea can be used to clean wounds and as an antimicrobial mouthwash.

Recipes:


 

Lavender Flowers

6. Lavender

How to Grow It:

Lavender is a perennial that prefers full sun and well drained soil. It doesn’t like high humidity or overly damp climates. You can grow lavender from seed, but it’s rather tedious to do (at least in my experience), so look for plants at your local nursery or garden center.

Health Benefits:

Lavender acts as a gently uplifting herb, for those who are feeling anxious or sad. Conversely, it also has sedative action, promoting relaxation and help with insomnia. Lavender salve can be rubbed onto your forehead and temples to help relieve a tension headache. Lavender can be taken internally, in moderation, and is sometimes used in baked goods.

Recipes:


 

Chamomile Flowers

7. German Chamomile

How to Grow It:

Chamomile is a carefree annual that likes a sunny spot in the garden and light, well drained soil. It can be sown directly in the garden, once danger of frost has passed.

Health Benefits:

Chamomile is a calming, soothing herb. It’s useful for those who are nervous, fretful, teething or suffering from indigestion. It has a tonic effect on smooth muscles in the body, making it helpful for both stomach and menstrual cramps. A healing tea made of the flowers offers anti-microbial, cooling relief for skin irritations. It’s one of my go-to nervine herbs for my senior albino dog who is easily frightened by loud noises and rainstorms. Chamomile also has mild anti-parasitic properties that work gently over time. I use herbal broths to get chamomile in my dogs and cat, but that method is useful for humans too! (Herbal Broth recipe is below.)

Recipes:


 

Yellow Rose

8. Rose

How to Grow It:

Roses require full sun and well draining soil. Though I do have an assortment of varieties at my house, my favorites are the carefree Foxy Pavement roses that I bought from a local nursery called Edible Landscaping. They bloom all summer, off and on, and have beautiful rose hips in the fall. I like that they’re not fussy at all, smell heavenly and come back reliably, year after year, needing nothing more than an occasional pruning in early spring.

Health Benefits:

All roses have some degree of medicinal properties, but for their aromatherapy benefits you want strongly scented blooms. The petals can be used in skin care and beauty projects. The leaves are more astringent than the flowers and a tea from them can be used to make a wash for your pet’s itchy skin or flea bites. Rose glycerite is a gentle and uplifting anti-depressant. It’s also anti-spasmodic, so may be helpful for stomach or menstrual cramps. Always use homegrown or organic roses as ones from the florist are sprayed heavily with pesticides that you don’t want on your skin or in your body.

Recipes:


 

Violets

9. Violets

How to Grow It:

You may already have violets growing around your home or in some surrounding forest area, and just think of them as a common weed. They are so much more than that though! If you don’t have any growing around, check with neighbors and family members until you find someone who does. I dug up four or five plants from my sister’s house a decade ago, and now violets grow entirely across the shady side of my house. Violets like cool, damp locations and rich, moist soil. Johnny-jump-ups and pansies are in the same family and are also edible.

Health Benefits:

Violet is a gentle herb, cooling and healing. It’s very safe, though ingesting too much at once can have a laxative effect. A rinse of violet tea is helpful for skin conditions such as cradle cap, hives and rashes. An oil infused with violet leaves can be used to treat eczema and other dry, irritated skin conditions. Both internal and external use of violet has been used to treat breast cysts and even oral cancers.

Recipes:


 

Dandelion Flowers

10. Dandelions

How to Grow It:

This one should be no trouble to grow. Many homeowners find these cheerful little flowers the scourge of their perfectly manicured lawns. If you’re reading this far, you probably aren’t caught up in outward appearances like that though, so should have a ready supply of dandelions each spring.

Health Benefits:

Dandelions have numerous health benefits. I find it exciting to read studies like THIS ONE that shows how dandelion may fight chemoresistant cancers! Dandelion leaves have diuretic properties and are quite nutritious with lots of vitamins and trace minerals, including potassium. The root can be used as a gentle liver tonic. The flowers are high in lecithin and have mild analgesic properties, making them perfect for use in salves and balms for hard working hands.

Recipes:


 

Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech   Herbs for Pets book

For Further Learning:

The following two books taught me much of what I’ve written above; I highly recommend them for your herbal home library:

If you want to dive more deeply into herbs and herbal preparations, check out the classes at the Herbal Academy of New England. I’ve taken their Intermediate Course and learned so much!


 

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For a visual index of all of my herbal and floral projects to date, check out my “Herbs, Flowers & DIY” page.

Links to Mountain Rose Herbs, Amazon.com and the Herbal Academy of New England are affiliate links. If you click on one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission for sending a customer their way. This helps to keep my site ad free and lets me keep doing what I’m doing. Thank you! :)

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32 Responses to 10 Herbs To Grow In A Natural Remedies Garden

  1. Shannon says:

    thank you so much so such great information and DIY recipes! I am eager to plant some of these and make some really great products!

  2. good morning, this is an excellent post thanks much-I have shared it on facebook and also pinned it
    Kathy

  3. Michelle says:

    What a great list! I also grow breadseed poppies – both blue and white seed types – for use in my soaps. :)

  4. Avgustina says:

    Very useful information! Thank you! I am going to plant Calendula this year. I want to make my own Calendula infused olive oil and benefit from its skin-regenerating properties. I have St. John’s Wort oil and I highly recommend it for skin healing and scars reducing.
    Oh, I love dandelion greens salad :)

    • Jan says:

      Hi Avgustina, I’m happy that you like the information! Calendula is such a useful and pretty plant to grow. St John’s Wort Oil is wonderful too and another one that could go on this list! (And I can’t WAIT for dandelions to start appearing in a month or so!) :)

  5. Liz Peterson says:

    This is incredibly useful and thanks for all the recipes! I’m planning on growing both calendula and chamomile this summer and look forward to trying some of your suggestions.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Liz, I’m glad you found it useful and hope you have a wonderful gardening season! Chamomile particularly is one of my favorite flowers to harvest. You have to pick them one by one and it’s almost meditative and very enjoyable. :)

  6. Ruth says:

    Hi Jan,
    I just wanted to say thank you for all your wonderful recipes. The spring violet soap was first soap I had ever made . It turned out great. Have friends waiting for it this spring. Have made your rosé soap and u made soap with melted snow this winter. Great stuff.
    Thank you,
    Ruth

    • Jan says:

      Hi Ruth, I’m so happy that you’ve had success with the recipes! I’m looking forward to making my first batch of violet soap this spring too – not much longer now! :)

  7. Jill says:

    Thank you so much for this overview on the herbs. I am wanting to have a more extensive herb garden this year and this gives me some great ideas! I had never even heard of Spilanthes but definitely going to try and find it. Thank you :)

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jill, I’m glad you like the article! Spilanthes is an excellent herb to grow – I hope you love it as much as my family does!

  8. Vernel says:

    I enjoy your information so very much. Thank you for sharing. On the dandelion soap, I was wondering if one could cut the recipe in half and still get winning results?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Vernel, You sure can! You’ll want to mix it in a container that’s more tall and deep to ensure that the head of the stick blender is fully submerged. (Otherwise, it might splatter raw soap batter and/or mix in too much air.)

  9. Vernel says:

    Thank you ever so much. Looking forward to what you share next.

  10. Kathy says:

    This is so helpful to have how to grow the plant, benefits, and usages all in one place. With so many choices available it was good to have your input on where to start.
    Thanks for the great information!

  11. Felicia says:

    Just wanted to add that I followed the affiliate link for seeds – they sent me a free package of seeds with my order – and my Calendula and Chamomile are coming up beautifully! I don’t have a green thumb – just threw them in the ground. Lemon Balm and Bee Balm I started in the house and it’s doing well also! My bees will be thrilled!

    • Jan says:

      How wonderful! You will be able to make so many fun things! I love the free packet of seeds they send too. Last year they sent the prettiest hollyhock and a couple of years before, they sent what turned out to be one of my favorite peppers ever. It’s always fun trying out new varieties I might not have known about otherwise. Happy Gardening! :)

  12. Iris Mathers says:

    Thank you for the 10 Herbs to Grow. I was pleased to find that I have eight of them in my garden. I plant lots of herbs and choose flowers that attract bees. I don’t have violet yet and since I live in Scotland UK I doubt if I could grow Spilanthes since we certainly don’t have a tropical climate! I enjoy all your books and use lots of your recipes.I am making Dandelion vinegar just now. Thank you for your inspirational books and website.

  13. Pingback: Growing Heirloom Tomatoes

  14. Foodbandid says:

    I have always wanted to get into herbal teas. Thank you

  15. Melissa says:

    I just found this site searching google for reasons why my lemon balm turned brown while drying. I’ve downloaded the calendula e-book and subscribed to your news letter. I have 7 of the plants in my garden – calendula and lemon balm are my favorites. I’m biased when it comes to lemon balm as we share names ;)

  16. Connie says:

    I liked the specific ideas that were given on uses for each herb for health There are many good ideas.

  17. Renee Fuller says:

    Thanks for sharing this list. It really is informative and inspiring to learn more about using plants.

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