Medicinal plants have been used for millennia for their health benefits and restorative properties. So, with many of us at home looking for ways to improve our immune system, the answer may just lie at our (green) fingertips. Here are some of the plants with amazing healing properties that you can grow in your garden or balcony.
Aloe hardly needs an introduction. One of the easiest houseplants to grow, it has a long range of health benefits, and would make a great addition to your home apothecary. You can use it to soothe irritated skin, sunburn, acne, psoriasis, reduce scarring, and can even be used as first-aid in minor cooking accidents, such as cuts and burns. To keep your aloe vera happy, remember that it’s a succulent, so give it plenty of sun, warmth, and water it sparingly.
There are countless products that have lavender in them, from cosmetics to scented candles, so why not cut out the middleman and grow your own? Lavender tends to grow better outdoors, but if you have a room that gets plenty of sunshine, it can easily become a houseplant. Some of its health benefits include reducing blood pressure, helping you sleep better, reducing stress and anxiety, and even helping with migraines.
Echinacea flowers are gorgeous enough to grow as a decorative plant, but the blooms have also been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. It is typically used to combat flu and improve the immune system, yet it also has its use in other respiratory ailments, such as bronchitis. Echinacea can also help manage anxiety, lower blood pressure and inflammations, as well as keep your blood sugar levels in check.
A staple of Mediterranean cuisine, rosemary is both an easy herb to grow on your windowsill, as well as a medicinal plant. Not only does it improve digestion while also making food taste better, it is also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Rosemary is also linked with enhancing memory and concentration.
Chamomile may not be the prettiest houseplant to have around, but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in medicinal uses. It often grows wild, on the side of the roads, and its unpretentious nature makes it a very beginner-friendly plant. The flowers can be dried and turned into tea, which helps promote sleep, treating cuts and skin conditions, boosting the immune system, as well as relieving pain.
Best known for their stunning orange flowers, marigolds are an all-around winner when it comes to benefits. Growing them in your garden can act as pest control, but they also make an easy to keep houseplant. The dried flowers are packed full of antioxidants, and you can enjoy their benefits either as tea, or even a homemade ointment. Benefits include healing wounds and skin ulcers, improving skin health, as well as antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Unlike the basil used in Italian dishes, tulsi doesn’t add much to a marinara sauce, but it is a wonderful medicinal plant. Its leaves contain minerals, as well as vitamins A and C, and can be eaten raw, or used dry. Fresh leaves can help boost your immune system, while tulsi tea can be used to relieve stress, improve your metabolism, lower your blood sugar levels and cholesterol, combat stress-induced ulcers, and can even be used as homemade mouthwash.
Growing ginger at home is a whole lot easier than you think! In fact, you can use ginger root (or rhizome) bought from bio and organic stores to grow your own indoors. Not only will it make a fiery addition to your Asian dishes, but it can also be used, fresh or dried, for its many restorative properties. Ginger can be used to ease coughs and sore throats, relieve indigestion, ease nausea, lower cholesterol, as well as give your immune system a boost.
Like ginger, turmeric can be grown from rhizomes, and has been used as a household remedy in Indian traditional medicine for millennia. Even though it’s a popular cooking ingredient, turmeric root also has a wide range of health benefits. It is an excellent way to boost your immune system and even ease pain caused by inflammatory diseases.
A lot of medicinal plants can be grown indoors, and it’s easy to enjoy their health benefits in your own home. Yet it’s always best to check with your doctor and make sure you’re not allergic to any of them, and remember that they do not substitute a healthy diet and lifestyle, as well as prescribed medication.