Healing plants have been a part of human culture for thousands of years. Before there was modern medicine, natural remedies were the standard for treating most ailments. While today the emphasis is on modern medications more people are becoming concerned about the side effects they produce. This has brought renewed interest to medicinal plants that have been around for centuries. If you already garden, you may even have some of the ingredients needed for homemade natural remedies.
You Might Be Surprised at What You Will Find in your Garden
Surprise! Some of the favorite flavors you toss in your dinner meal are important ingredients in natural remedies. Most people know that herb gardens are a great place to find medicinal plants you can use for any number of natural remedies. We also know how important it is to eat our vegetables every day. What is not as well known is that many of your average vegetables figure prominently in herbal medicine. Medicinal plants are everywhere from your carefully tended garden to the weeds in your lawn. While you may not want to eat your weeds for lunch there are several ways you can tap into the healing powers of these plants.
Surprising Natural Remedies From your Garden
Ginger, horseradish, peppers, and garlic are all popular plants that are well known for their health benefits. While these are common plants you can to an assortment of different cuisines, each of these plants also has strong healing properties. They are also popular as natural remedies in many areas of the world.
Ginger – This spice is a staple of Asian cooking and has historic value as an herbal medicine in many countries. It is popular to calm an upset stomach and is a powerful anti-inflammatory which is beneficial for arthritis and pain. Garlic is also known to help fight colds and the flu and as a powerful antioxidant.
Horseradish –Horseradish has antibiotic qualities and has been effective in treating congestion in the sinuses. It is also currently under study by researchers as a potential cancer-fighting remedy. A study at the University of Illinois shows that horseradish contains glucosinolate Hydrolysis which activates enzymes involved in detoxification of cancer-causing molecules. The study concludes that the high level of this substance in horseradish could increase human resistance to cancer.
Peppers – Hot peppers, green peppers, and red peppers – they are all good for you. Even better they contain several compounds that make them a must for adding to natural remedies. Capsaicin is a popular remedy for pain, but researchers say it also gives a boost to the metabolism. Which means eating more peppers can help you in your weight loss efforts! CH-19 Sweet is a similar compound to capsaicin which has sweet pepper lovers rejoicing. CH-19 provides similar benefits to capsaicin without the heat that is present in hot peppers. In addition to helping with pain, peppers can help lower cholesterol and lower your risk of breast cancer. They are also chock full of B vitamins, so they help lower women’s risk of death from stroke and coronary heart disease.
Garlic – Garlic is also popular throughout history by east and west societies, including the Greeks, Babylonians, Romans, and the Chinese. Garlic helps boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and it contains antioxidants that may help to prevent dementia.
Don’t Forget a Dash of Seasoning
The list of medical plants in your herb garden is long, but there are a few that stand out hands and shoulders above the rest. Even better some of them are some of the most common herbs that are likely to be in your garden.
Parsley – This Mediterranean spice is a part of every spice rack and is so easy to grow. Most gardeners toss in a plant or two for the pleasures it brings to their cooking. But parsley is much more than a pretty leaf, it is known to help high blood pressure, allergies and is an anti-inflammatory. Parsley is full of nutrients and is good for your eyes, heart, bones and more. As a natural remedy it is often in teas, concoctions, or juiced where it can become concentrated and provide the highest benefits.
Rosemary – As a natural remedy, it hard to beat the medicinal properties of rosemary. It helps digestion, boosts immunity and regulates blood sugar. Rosemary is also a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Scientists have recently found that it can also be good for brain health. Among medicinal plants it is one of the best and is easy to add to teas, juices, and other herbal remedies.
Lavender– Once popular as a sachet in clothing drawers, lavender has much more to its resume than its wonderful smell. To be fair, the smell of lavender is therapeutic as well, and is popular for reducing anxiety and stress. Lavender is a natural remedy that is equally as good externally as it is internally. Make it into a skin balm, lotion or use it in a tea or tincture. It also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities as well as a popular addition to your hair care.
Trying Natural Remedies Out
Fire cider is a great easy natural remedy that capitalizes on the immune boosting, anti-inflammatory properties of some of these plants. You will find most of the ingredients in your garden or they obtainable at your local grocery store. Steep the ingredients in apple cider vinegar for 4 weeks. Use the resulting concoction in small doses throughout the day or add it to dishes or dressings for your salad. It has a spicy flavor you can adjust by the amount of peppers you add to it.
Fire cider has a warming quality to it and is great for winter days when you are feeling chilled. Use it to help when you feel a cold coming on or just as a preventative to help boost your immune system.
- ½ lemon thinly sliced
- 1 thinly sliced orange
- 1 Habanero chili – or you can use an equal amount of cayenne or Jalapeno peppers adjust to your personal taste preferences.
- 3 large cloves of garlic cut in half lengthwise
- 1/4 cup of chopped ginger
- 1/3 cups horseradish
- ¼ onion
- ¼ cup turmeric
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 3 sprigs Parsley
- 3 springs Rosemary
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- ¼ cup raw honey
Chop everything except the parsley and rosemary to a coarse but small enough size to fit easily in a quart size jar. Crush the parsley and rosemary to release the oils. Pack a one-quart jar as tightly as possible and pour the apple cider over top to cover by an inch or two. Seal the jar tightly and store in a cool dry place for 4 weeks. Strain everything from the liquid and add ¼ cup raw honey. Pour into small jars with droppers to use it as a daily remedy or mix to taste in food or dressings. Shelf stable, you can leave this in your pantry for 2 months.
Use this balm for your lips or your skin. The amazing smell and healing properties in this natural remedy will leave your skin and lips feeling amazing. The medicinal plants – lavender, comfrey ,and calendula, improve wound healing, reduce pain in muscles, and have an anti-inflammatory action.
- 2 ½ cups olive oil or any other oil of your choosing such as coconut
- ½ cup of beeswax
- ¼ Comfrey root
- ½ cup dried calendula
- ½ cup dried lavender
- A small crockpot
- Small jars for storage
Add oil and herbs to a small crockpot and allow to steep for several hours. This is to allow the herbs to infuse into the oil. Do not add beeswax until right before you are ready to put it into the jars, it burns easily. Add the beeswax and stir until melted and combined with the oil. Immediately strain the herbs and add the liquid into jars to cool.
Alternatively, you can put the herbs in a quart jar and pour the olive oil on them allowing them to sit for a couple of weeks. You will still need the mixture warmed in order to melt the beeswax.
The Possibilities are Endless
These are just a tiny fraction of the different natural remedies you can use your garden produce and herbs for. There are many more herbs, wild plants, and garden produce you have access to that can be of use. Medicinal plants are in endless supply and even if you are a beginning gardener, there is plenty for you to harvest and do. You can make natural remedies such as teas, tinctures, concoctions, balms, lotions and more with what you have in your yard and a few basic supplies.