TOP 3 HEALING HERBS

 

I like to say that herbs are the gateway plant to edible gardening — they are beautiful, easy to grow, and readily available. And, as it turns out, they have many healing properties that lend themselves to addressing upset stomachs, insomnia, rashes, stress, and inflammation. While I love all the herbs (how’s a girl to choose?), here are my top 3 healing herbs to start with.

One caveat: Please consult with your doctor before using any herbal remedies. While some herbs are great additions to your overall health plan, they may not take the place of necessary medications, and in some instances, can work against doctor-prescribed treatments.

 

1. Echinacea — Also known as coneflower, Echinacea is a gorgeous ornamental flower as well as a known health aid. Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia are purported to strengthen the immune system against bacterial and viral infections, although E. purpurea (purple coneflower) is typically easier to find at the garden center. Use the roots and dried or fresh flowers in teas and tinctures (a quick internet search will tell you how!).

2. Lemon balm — I love this herb! Its lemon scent is heavenly (the bees think so, too) and is used for treating a wide range of issues including fevers, insomnia, digestive problems, and muscle spasms. It’s a bit of a self-seeder, though, so be sure to cut the flowers off to avoid it going to seed and taking over your garden. Harvest as it’s coming into bloom, and use fresh or dried leaves for hot or iced tea.

3. Chamomile — This is an herbal powerhouse used for treating tension, digestive issues, muscle spasms, inflammation, and upset stomach. It’s also widely used as a gentle sleep aid, although research has not truly supported that yet. Brew dried chamomile flowers in a hot tea and drink 3-4 times a day for upset stomach, or 1 cup just before bedtime to put you in the sleep zone.

 

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