Medicinal herbs can be grown in a specialized garden that focuses on a particular illness. This is one medicinal herb garden for Respiratory Illness.
The backyard is a great place to start a medicinal plant garden. These plants aren’t just healthy; they can be beautiful additions to an already thriving garden or the inspiration for a section all their own. The aesthetic value of some of these plants may even rival their healing benefits.
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An Outdoor Medicine Cabinet
Depending on what type of medical condition the garden is meant to help with the groupings of plants can vary extensively.
If the medicinal garden is meant to help someone with respiratory ailments or cold and flu symptoms, it is likely to have any number of the following herbs or plants: Angelica, Betony, Black Cohosh, Butcher’s Broom,Elder, Elecampane, Garlic,Ginger, Goldenseal, Hyssop,Lobelia, Motherwort, Mullein, Nettle, Parsley, Pennyroyal, Rose, Rosemary, Safflower, Sage, Sarsaparilla—Honduras, Savory, Saw Palmetto, Sweet Cicely, Vervain, or Yellow Dock. Of course this is only one type of ailment specific garden, there are many more.
A quick search on any of these plants will give a plethora of information concerning its viability in different growing regions. Designing a garden around a theme like this one is simple and utilitarian.
The only caution is that they be clearly marked (especially for those who are new to medicinal gardening), preferably with a reference picture, so that the plant is not confused with another, possibly dangerous, garden member.
Possible Planting Combinations
Angelica is a biannual that grows up to six feet tall. It has bushy green flowers that appear in the second year. It can be used as the backdrop for several other flowers or as a singular space dividing feature.
Betony, when placed in front of the Angelica, can be a show stopper. It grows to about two and a half feet and culminates in a dramatic, club like purple cluster of flowers. A small clump of dwarf white yarrow could easily complete this small planting.
Another option would be a traditional herb garden with garlic, rosemary, sage, and savory for the respiratory purposes and addition of basil, oregano, and thyme to complete a simple culinary garden. Here the benefits are two-fold, both medicinal and culinary.
Year Round Container Garden
If a traditional outdoor garden isn’t an option due to lack of space (living in an apartment or an urban area), limitation of daylight, or simply the amount of physical labor required an indoor garden may provide a healthy alternative.
A small self watering container garden could be the perfect home for a selection of healing herbs. Perhaps an indoor variety of a raised square foot garden would work.
In any case the medicinal plants that are chosen for an indoor garden are free from the zoning problem as the interior can be kept at whatever temperature the plants need.
The advantages to an indoor garden are almost all in the environmental control area. There will be minimal weed invasion (mostly coming from the potting soil or other mix used in the planter), no animal or bug damage, no concern of frost, and no chance of trampling by neighborhood kids or pets.
The plants will be available year round so there is no need to store herbs for use at a later time (of course this is still an option).
Why Grow Herbs When They are Available at the Health Store
In Karen Baar’s article “Grow your own pharmacy,” Jim Sensenig, N.D., a naturopath in Hamden, Connecticut says, “The operating principle with herbs is that as you move away from fresh plants, the exposure to oxygen and light will deteriorate some of the essential components and diminish the herb’s effectiveness. For the casual herbalist using fresh [herbs] is preferable, and drying your own is the next best thing.”