Plants That HealMany of the herbs we use for cooking are actually quite potent as medicinal plants. 

The world’s most powerful natural antibiotics that you can grow in your kitchen

Medicinal Herbs: Plants That Heal

1. Basil

The name “basil” comes from the old Greek word basilikohn meaning “royal”. This “royal” herb is grown in many regions throughout the world and features prominently in Italian and Thai cuisine.

What does it do?

Basil is rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene. Beta-carotene makes vitamin A which maintains the health of our eyes, skin, and immune system. Basil can be used as a remedy for depression, indigestion, fevers, colds, nausea, and vomiting. 

How do you grow it?

Basil is easy to grow and comes in many varieties from lemon basil to cinnamon basil. Basil needs warm air, so if you’re still in the midst of winter like I am, start by planting the seeds in containers indoor. Sprinkle newly planted seeds with water twice daily. Once the basil has grown a few inches tall, transplant them to a larger container.

2.Bay

Originating from the Mediterranean, (Laurus Nobilis), bay leaves are often used in everyday cuisine like soup. I often add a dried bay leaf when I’m boiling pasta – it makes a big difference. But did you know that bay leaves can also be used as medicine?

What does it do?

Bay leaves were originally added to recipes to aid digestion. You can also prepare bay leaves in oil and use that for sprains and arthritic joints. Bay leaves also help with coughs and colds when you place a cloth or compress infused with bay leaf boiled water. In addition, a recent study shows that bay leaves can help with Type 2 diabetes by improving insulin production.

How do you grow it?

Bay leaves are grown as part of a tree, so you can imagine just how many leaves you can pluck over its lifetime. Bay leaves need rich water-retentive soil (ask your local garden center about your options) and grows much slower than basil. When potted, bay trees can grow up to 50 feet! It is best to plant bay leaves in spring.

3. Cayenne

Adding a great for a kick in your cooking, cayenne (Capsicum Annum) is usually in a pepper or powdered form. Originating from French Guiana, it is found in the spicy dishes, and  is great for your health. 

What does it do?

Cayenne has been shown to dissolve fibrin, a substance that leads to blood clots. As a result, you can apply cayenne topically to an open wound to staunch bleeding. Like many other hot peppers, cayenne is useful for enhancing your metabolism and promoting digestion. The ingredient in cayenne, Capsaicin, is also known to be a pain alleviate, as it is found in topical ointments; aiding shingles and back pain. 

How do you grow it?

Peppers need a lot of moisture to grow, so use a high-quality water retentive soil. As the need lots of heat, peppers grow best in full sun, so place them near a window with sun exposure. When planting in containers, make sure individual seeds are at least 2 inches apart. Spritz the soil with water to ensure the soil remains moist. 

4. Dill

Dill (Anethum Graveolus) originates from multiple places, including Russia and the Mediterranean. A good friend of mine grows dill in her garden. Every summer, I look forward to helping her pull out these fragrant herbs and using them in my cooking. They’re particularly great for barbecuing – for the eaters and the chef too!

What does it do?

Dill’s oils have been shown to have chemoprotective properties that protects the body from carcinogens from smoke. Dill has been used for colic and gas. 

How do you grow it?

Dill is an annual and will seed itself when planted outside. Indoors, dill is an easy plant to grow and will be ready for harvest within 6 to 8 weeks. Like the other medicinal herbs on this list, dill benefits from compost-rich soil. Since dill is drought resistant, you’ll only need to water them when dry. Dill needs at least 6 hours of sunlight, so keep them by the window with your peppers.

5. Ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale ) is known to be a powerful remedial ingredient in many countries including parts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.  A popular ingredient in cough and cold teas, ginger is my go-to solution when I feel a cold coming on. 

What does it do?

Ginger has warming properties which makes it particularly good for treating colds, stomach cramps, and menstrual discomfort

How do you grow it?

Ginger is a low-maintenance herb that only requires partial sunlight. Purchased as seeds, ginger takes about 10 months to fully mature. Rich but well-draining soil is recommended for ginger. Misting it with a spray bottle should be enough and in a few weeks’ time you can expect to see shoots poking out of the soil. One of the best parts of growing ginger is that you can cut off a part of it and return the rest to the soil to continue growing!

6. Oregano

Also referred to as “marjoram”, oregano is often used in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine. You can often find bottles of oregano oil in health food stores – and for good reason!

What does it do?

Oregano has calming properties which help reduce tension. When prepared as a tea, it can be used to stimulate the appetite, digestion, and to relieve bloating. The oils in oregano can be effectively used as an anti-bacterial and can be applied topically to help ease swelling, aching, and bee stings.

How do you grow it?

Oregano thrives in warm temperatures and bright sun, so make sure to keep them in containers by a sun-exposed window. Let the soil dry out before watering it. With similar growing requirements, you can grow oregano alongside sage and thyme. 

7. Parsley

It comes to no surprise to me that parsley is the world’s most popular herb. Not a week goes by where I don’t use this vibrant herb to garnish my meals. 

What does it do?

To give you even more of a reason to use this medicinal herb, parsley is high in vitamins and minerals. Parsley is useful as a herbal diuretic which helps the body detox and cleanse. You can also eat or drink parley as a tea to relieve stomach cramps.

How do you grow it?

To grow parsley, keep them by a sun-exposed window and keep them moist. I like growing parsley in the kitchen, where the steam keeps the air moist. Parsley can grow alongside thyme, basil, mint, and oregano.

8. Peppermint

Peppermint is a personal favorite of mine for baking treats in the winter season, but you can use mint year round as a natural medicine.

What does it do?

Many studies have shown that peppermint oil has the ability to soothe your tummy by relaxing your stomach’s muscles. You can steep peppermint as a tea to treat nausea and flatulence.

How do you grow it?

Peppermint requires the same conditions as parsley to grow (see above). I recommend turning the pot around every three days or so to allow the plant to grow evenly.

9. Rosemary

Rosemary is a fragrant herb used to flavor a wide array of dishes. Available year-round, you won’t have a difficult time finding and growing this herb.

What does it do?

One of my favorites on this list to grow, rosemary contains compounds that stimulate the immune system, promote digestion, and are anti-inflammatory to boot! You can use rosemary to treat circulatory conditions, Alzheimer’s, indigestion, and stiff muscles. 

How do you grow it?

Rosemary requires plenty of light to flourish, so keep them by a sun-exposed window. Mist them with water to ensure they stay moist to the touch, but take care not to overwater. 

10. Sage

Like its sister herb, rosemary, sage is available throughout the year and holds a reputation as one of the best medicinal herbs for its health-promoting properties.

What does it do?

While it may be passing for some of us, sage is something to keep handy for flu season. Sage can be prepared as a tea and used as a rinse for treating a sore throat. Like rosemary, the volatile oils in sage also have anti-inflammatory properties. Go ahead, add some rosemary and sage to your dinner tonight and kickstart your health!

How do you grow it?

Sage requires the same care that oregano herbs need (see above). Harvest sage often to promote growth. 

11. Thyme

As a child, my mother always insisted on adding thyme to my veggies. While I had no idea then, I know now that thyme is a powerful antimicrobial – a natural antibiotic!   

What does it do?

With its antimicrobial properties, it can be used to treat nail fungus, athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. I like preparing thyme as an oil to treat sores. Thyme’s aromatic oils aren’t just for smelling, they can be beneficial in treating respiratory troubles like asthma. 

How do you grow it?

Thyme flourishes in the same conditions as oregano and sage. Use a clay pot to ensure that the soil dries adequately in-between watering.

Instead of filling up a medicine cabinet, why not give these 11 medicinal herbs a try this year? They’re simple to grow and are beautiful for decorating the home too!

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

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