Would you like to create a garden full of healing herbs? What you should put into it might surprise you. Many useful herbs grow abundantly and well in your garden already. In fact, many might call them weeds. However, these plants are only weeds because they grow vigorously in places they’re not wanted. They’re sturdy, tough plants that have wonderful healing properties, and if you know how to use them, they can be a very useful part of your homesteader’s garden.
Why Grow Your Own Healing Herbs?
As I mentioned, many of these herbs are ones that might grow wild as weeds. I like to grow them intentionally. In large part, this is so I’ll have control over what I eat and use. Wild plants might be sprayed in an effort to control weeds, people might step on them, and dogs and other animals might run over them. While I’m not adverse to harvesting many plants from places outside my garden, for ground-dwelling plants I feel more comfortable getting them from a place where I know that they’re from a pesticide-free, relatively clean source.
Plants for First Aid
There are a number of “grab and go” herbs that are incredibly useful to have in the garden. These herbs require minimal preparation. If you or a family member has a need for minor first aid, you can just head out into the garden. As with all medicines, watch carefully for allergic reactions and ensure that any wounds are clean before you treat them.
Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus)
This plant is amazing for stings and bites. If you’re suffering from a nettle sting or swelling from a mosquito bite or other skin irritation, mash the leaf in your mouth or between clean fingers until the juice comes out, then place it on the swelling. It is very soothing.
Broadleafed Plantain (Plantago Major)
This weed likely lives in your lawn if you have one, and it’s difficult to get rid of. That’s all right, because you want to keep it and encourage more to grow! Like dock, plantain makes a remedy for mosquito bites or bee stings. It’s a little tougher to get the juice out, but the leaves are smaller and easier for children to handle.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
While many people plant yarrow, others roll their eyes at the pervasiveness and somewhat invasive tendencies of this plant. Use it on the skin for rashes or bleeding, or create a yarrow and mint tea for colds and fevers. Avoid using this plant if you are allergic to ragweed.
Comfrey (Symphytum officianale)
This wonderful and powerful herb can be used as a poultice to treat sprains and sore muscles. It’s also used to treat small skin irritations and burns. When you’re done with the leaf, toss it into the compost as a compost activator.
Simple Teas to Grow
Other simple healing herbs require minimal preparation and can be used as teas. These gentle herbs are good for healing and soothing.
Mint (Mentha spp)
Use mint leaves to create a refreshing tea that’s also good for the digestion. Mint grows prolifically, so you don’t need to worry much about overharvesting. To make a tea, steep the leaves in hot water when they are fresh or dry.
You can learn a lot more about herbs at
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
Chamomile is a relaxing herb that’s good for inducing sleep. Like mint, it is also good for the digestion. To make this tea, dry chamomile flowers and place them into a cup with hot water.
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Nettles are a little tricky to harvest: due to their sting, you’ll need to wear gloves. Dry these herbs in an oven or dehydrator and they’ll lose their sting. Nettles make an iron-rich tea that has an intense flavor.
Rose Hip (Rosa canina)
The big, seed-bearing hips of the rose bush are packed full of vitamin C, and they’re a great asset during cold and flu season. Dehydrate the hips and shred them in a food processor. Place them into hot water to steep for 15 to 20 minutes, and you’ll have a vitamin C rich tea.
What simple and useful healing herbs do you grow?