You don’t always have to reach for pills in the event of pain and illness. The healing power of plants has been proven for centuries and is no longer underestimated by scientific medicine. The good thing about it: They’re very easy to grow at home too. These medicinal plants turn your garden into an instant pharmacy.
Hundreds of years ago, the effects of medicinal plants formed the basis of naturopathy in monasteries. Writings from the Middle Ages prove that monks already relied on the healing properties back then and made sure that this knowledge was not lost. Nowadays natural medicines are made from around 500 medicinal plants. We have taken a closer look at five of these medicinal plants that you can easily plant yourself in the garden or on the balcony.
Herbal and medicinal plant thyme
Thyme is not only a popular herb for the kitchen, but also serves as an important medicinal plant for combating coughs. But thyme is not only used for respiratory problems. In naturopathy, it acts as the purest panacea. Its antibacterial, soothing, and anti-inflammatory effects are only a fraction of the healing properties of thyme. Thyme also has an antispasmodic effect and thus helps to relieve spasms in whooping and dry coughs. But also for the treatment of the digestive system and in gynecology, this plant is gaining more and more popularity.
Thyme tastes very delicious as a spice and thus contributes almost unobtrusively to health. Thyme can also develop its full healing power as an essential oil, tea or tincture when used internally and externally.
Originally, thyme was a plant that survived the Central European winter with difficulty and quickly froze to death. But now varieties have been bred, such as “German winter” that can easily withstand frost. However, these strains need a spot in the garden or on the balcony that offers them poor soil and full sun.
Sage: One of the oldest medicinal plants in the world
Sage is one of the oldest known medicinal plants. While 36 different types of sage are known in Europe, the common sage (Salvia officinalis) has established itself as a medicinal plant. Its leaves are often used for inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth and throat. They also have an extremely antiperspirant and disinfectant effect, promote the metabolism and stimulate digestive activity. All of its diverse areas of application make sage a real panacea.
Sage is usually drunk in the form of a tea. If the lining of the mouth or throat is affected by major inflammation, it helps to rinse and gargle with the brewed sage. And the essential oil of sage can also be absorbed internally. The oil can have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antibacterial effects. Applied externally, the sage oil can even relieve rheumatic pain.
But be careful! You should take great care not to take too high a dose. Sage should also not be taken for too long. Experts recommend an application period of a maximum of two to four weeks. Infants, pregnant and breastfeeding women are also not allowed to drink sage tea. The use of sage in these cases should therefore be discussed beforehand with the doctor or pharmacist.
The true sage needs a sunny and warm location to thrive. It should also be watered regularly, but not excessively. He can’t stand waterlogging.
Coneflower (Echinacea spec.)
Even if the coneflower is often only planted as an ornamental shrub, the purple flower has a healing effect. Sun hat has the ability to strengthen the body’s immune system and ward off infections in advance. This is achieved, among other things, by activating the phagocytes in the blood and tissue. For example, anyone who is prone to colds or suffers from chronic infections will benefit from this natural remedy.
It is usually given as freshly squeezed juice, tablets or as tea. Coneflower is also supposed to promote quick wound healing, which is why the flower is often applied in the form of a paste to poorly healing wounds. Even if there are no verifiable studies on the exact effect of the sun hat, naturopathy in Germany has been working with this medicinal plant since the 19th century.
Coneflower thrives particularly well on dry and sandy soils. It also prefers a bright to full sun location. So it is also very suitable for a place in the middle of the garden without any shadow, as well as a south-facing balcony.
Attention, risk of confusion! These plants from the garden can be poisonous.
Chamomile – anti-inflammatory, wound-healing, antispasmodic
The chamomile is one of the most famous medicinal plants. It is also one of the oldest herbal remedies and at the same time one of the best researched. Healers already knew in ancient times about the positive effects on human health.
Chamomile is anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antibacterial. Whether you have gastrointestinal complaints, colds or inflammation of the mouth and throat – chamomile flowers bring the necessary relief. Due to the mild ingredients, chamomile is also suitable for children. External compresses and poultices can be used for inflammatory areas on the body, as well as being taken internally in the form of teas.
Steam inhalation of brewed chamomile can also provide relief from flu-like infections as well as nasal and sinus infections. To do this, put a handful of flowers in hot, but not boiling, water. Cover your head over the bowl with a towel so that the steam cannot escape and you inhale it directly. Linger over the bowl for 10 to 15 minutes.
The chamomile prefers a sunny and warm place in order to be able to grow sufficiently. But as far as the soil is concerned, this plant is not very demanding.
Lavender: The Real Peace Maker
Lavender is a natural remedy for anxiety and stress. In the meantime, lavender is no longer just a remedy, but an approved drug that is mainly prescribed and used for nervous exhaustion, sleep disorders and anxiety. In most cases, this medicinal plant is processed into oil.
As a scented oil, lavender exudes a soothing aroma. But the external physical use of lavender oil is also healing. A few drops applied to the temples and massaged in can relieve headaches, for example. But a freshly brewed lavender tea made from flowers and leaves can also have a calming and even fever-lowering effect. If you also drink a lavender tea before going to bed, you will promote a deep and healthy sleep.
Lavender should always be harvested early in the morning. Then the fragrance content is highest. Since lavender is a plant from the south, it needs a sunny and warm location that offers it a nutrient-poor and well-drained soil. Especially in winter you should make sure that the lavender does not get too wet. Otherwise there could be sensitivity to frost.