10 Herbs To Grow In A Natural Remedies Garden

Here are 10 herbs to grow in your garden for making herbal remedies and natural body care products!

basket filled with purple coneflowers

Below are ten of my favorite easy-to-grow plants 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! (Check my Plant Inspirations page for more ideas.)

You may also want to explore this listing of my favorite gardening and homesteading books for inspiration! (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)

row of gardening books

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 begin.


calendula flower

1. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

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.

Some people confuse calendula with marigolds, since calendula is sometimes called pot marigold. It gets confusing! Check out this article: Calendula vs Marigolds The Differences.

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 (Melissa officinalis)

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. (It also grows like crazy in a our dry heavy clay soil, so it’s not too picky!)

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 (Mentha spp.)

How to Grow It:

Mint (peppermint, spearmint, etc) 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 body care projects.

Health Benefits:

Mint is a cooling and refreshing herb. 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 (Acmella oleracea)

How to Grow It:

Spilanthes (also called 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. I purchased my seeds from Strictly Medicinal.

Here’s a great article on growing spilanthes: Spilanthes – Growing and Care.

Health Benefits:

Spilanthes is one of my top five favorite herbs. I hope to never go through a cold and flu season without it again! I’ve found through personal use that it’s incredibly effective against all manners of stomach bugs, colds, and other viruses.

It’s also anti-inflammatory and has painkilling properties. Making Plant Medicine, by herbalist Richo Cech, reports that spilanthes “has an immune-enhancing effect, which is of utility in the case of beginning phase infections, both viral and bacterial… acts as an oral antiseptic… prophylactic and curative for blood parasites, including malarial spirochetes, and is of assistance in treating 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 mixed with a spoonful of raw honey (and an optional pinch of ground ginger) will help bring relief.

Recipes:


Echinacea Flower

5. Echinacea (Purple Coneflower) (Echinancea purpurea)

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 eczema, minor scrapes, abrasions, bug bites, and sores. An echinacea rinse or tea can be used to clean wounds and as an antimicrobial mouthwash. Try using it to make your own soothing lip balms.

Recipes:


Lavender Flowers

6. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

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 you may find it easier to 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. 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 is sometimes used in baked goods. The leaves are useful too!

Recipes:


Chamomile Flowers

7. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

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, or in the fall and allowed to overwinter. In my garden, it reseeds itself year after year.

Health Benefits:

Chamomile is a calming, soothing herb. It’s useful to improve sleep quality and for those who have generalized anxiety. It’s a classic children’s tea for tummy aches and teething. It was one of my go-to herbs for my senior albino dog who was easily frightened by loud noises and rainstorms. It’s healing and soothing when included in skin care products (assuming no allergy to chamomile.)

Recipes:


Yellow Rose

8. Rose (Rosa spp.)

How to Grow It:

Roses require full sun and good well draining soil. (See The Organic Rose Garden book for greater details.) I have an assortment of roses at my house – from antiques to modern knockouts. I love them all!

Health Benefits:

All roses have some degree of medicinal properties, but for their aromatherapy benefits you want strongly scented blooms. For most body care products and label appeal, you can use anything from knockout roses to antique roses.

Rose 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 with pesticides not suitable for human consumption.

Recipes:


Violets

9. Violets (Viola odorata,Viola sororia)

How to Grow It:

You may already have violets growing wild as a weed around your home, or you can purchase plants from Strictly Medicinal Seeds.

You could also check with neighbors and family members until you find someone who has some. 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. Pansies are in the same family and are also edible and can be used in skin care products, though they don’t have the same medicinal benefits as violets.

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 leaf 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. Violet oil has been studied for treating insomnia. In another study, V. odorata syrup significantly improved insomnia symptoms and the scores of depression and OCD. In traditional herbalism, both internal and external use of violet has been used for breast cysts and oral cancers.

Recipes:


Dandelion Flowers

10. Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)

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 don’t have any growing where you live, you can buy dandelion seeds at Strictly Medicinal Seeds.

Health Benefits:

Dandelions have numerous health benefits. I find it exciting to read studies like The Efficacy of Dandelion Root Extract in Inducing Apoptosis in Drug-Resistant Human Melanoma Cells that shows how dandelion may fight chemo-resistant 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:


If you enjoyed this post about herbs to grow for your garden, let’s keep in touch!

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive my best flower and herb projects, DIY body care recipes, and natural soap making ideas sent straight to your inbox, about once or twice per month. No spam ever and you can unsubscribe at any time. 

10 Herbs to Grow in a Natural Remedies Garden was originally published in February, 2015 and updated March, 2020.

Looking for more creative ways to use flowers and herbs? Check out my Big Book of Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home!

Available from your favorite bookstore or the following book sellers:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Jan
 

Jan Berry is a writer, herbalist, soapmaker, and bestselling author of The Big Book of Homemade Products, Simple & Natural Soapmaking, and Easy Homemade Melt & Pour Soaps. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family and a menagerie of animals, where she enjoys brainstorming creative things to make with the flowers and weeds that grow around her.

  • 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!

  • Kathyinozarks says:

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

  • Michelle says:

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

  • 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!) :)

  • 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. :)

  • 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! :)

  • 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!

  • 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.)

  • Vernel says:

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

  • 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!

  • 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! :)

  • 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.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Iris, It sounds like you have a wonderful garden! I’m happy to hear that you like the books and website too! :)

  • Growing Heirloom Tomatoes says:

    […] 10 Herbs to Grow In A Natural Remedies Garden […]

  • Foodbandid says:

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

    • Jan says:

      Hi Foodbandid, I’m glad you liked the article and I hope you get to explore herbal teas more soon!

  • 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 ;)

  • Connie says:

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

  • Renee Fuller says:

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

  • Dianna says:

    I’m so curious about ways to use my garden as more than just food. Thank you for this information! I’m checking out the seed link right now.

  • >