Thursday, January 29, 2015
Save yourself a trip to the drugstore with these four medicinal plants that you can grow in your garden.
A favored all-around remedy, popular since the time of the ancient Egyptians. This multipurpose succulent can banish skin irritations, inflammations, and relieve other minor damage to the epidermis. Use it to treat sunburn, eczema, rash, insect bites, and minor burns -- simply apply the clear gel found in its leaves on the affected area. The same gel has laxative properties, too. Take it (or turn it into a juice) to relieve indigestion or constipation. You can also use it as a light shampoo, a bath gel, or as a moisturizer for your skin or hair. Place in a well-drained pot, under medium light.
Like aloe vera, this herb has functioned as a go-to remedy for centuries. Often taken as a sweet, soothing tea by brewing the flowers, chamomile can relieve an array of bodily aches and pains -- headaches, muscular pain, menstrual cramps, indigestion, abdominal pain, and irritable bowel syndrome, to name a few. Its calming effect on the body makes it ideal against insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness. Turned into an oil, chamomile is also used to relieve acne, rash, eczema, burns, and epidermal allergies. The plant can be grown indoors or outdoors. Place under plenty of sun in well-drained soil.
A staple in oriental folk medicine. The dried root can be consumed as is, or brewed into a tea. It is prized as a stimulant; the Asian ginseng is believed to be an aphrodisiac to boot. It stimulates the central nervous system, leading to increased physical and mental energy, stamina, and endurance. It reportedly aids in improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels, especially among the elderly. Plant ginseng in moist soil, under shade.
Salvia officinalis, sage's scientific name, points to its healing properties. "Salvia," taken from the Latin root word "salvere," means "to save" or "to heal." In traditional medicine, sage is crushed and added to boiling water. The fumes are inhaled to relieve a host of upper respiratory infections, including asthma and colds. Sage is also a tea: take it to soothe irritations in the mouth, respiratory tract, stomach, or intestines. It can be planted indoors or outdoors. Place under plenty of sun in well-drained soil.