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Starting a Medicinal Garden
by Sally Machin
Plant medicines often come in capsules, dried (for teas), or in liquid extracts. These are all great ways for people to have easier access to botanicals, but there is something special about growing and creating one’s own herbal products. Get started with these three easy-to-grow medicinal plants. They will add beautiful color to any garden and can be harvested to create one’s own herbal formulas. If growing these to make useful products, make sure to buy medicinal plants or seeds that will contain the right compounds.
Calendula officinalis (Calendula):
Now available in many different colors, medicinal calendula tends to be either vibrant yellow or orange. The flowers are medium-sized and make a beautiful cut flower. With regular dead-heading, calendula will stay in bloom throughout the spring and summer. Calendula is used medicinally to support wound healing—a perfect herb to have on hand.
Calendula Salve (to be used topically over cuts or scrapes)
Thymus vulgaris (Thyme)
The same herb used for flavoring soups and other meals, thyme also makes a delicious savory tea (or sweet if you add some honey) that can support the body while it’s battling a cough or cold. Thyme Tea
Lavendula augustifolia (Lavender)
Lavender is a well-known plant and for good reason. Its little spires of purple dance in the wind and even the image of lavender can calm an anxious mind. The very act of having a bath is soothing and can help relax tense muscles, but when lavender and Epsom salts are added, it enhances the whole experience.
Dr. Sally Machin is a naturopathic physician at Natura Medica, in Mystic, Connecticut. She uses nutrition, lifestyle counseling and botanical medicine to help patients of all ages, but has a special interest in women’s health issues. For more information, call 860-572-9566 or visit NaturaMedicaMystic.com.