Medicinal Plants

Nearly all plants have some healing properties as they do dangerous. At some point in time, all plants have been used to mend, soothe, emit a sap that will sanitise a sting, burn or irritation.

Chamomile (antitoxidant, antibacterial), rose hip (osteoarthritis, source of vitamin C) and ginger (anti -inflammatory, digestive) all used in teas too and said to have calming affects. Dock leaves (skin disorders), lemon balm (sleep disorders) equally to having soothing qualities. These plants are obvious choices so to give perhaps a mention to other plants often overlooked.

Borago officianlis – borage – an ancient plant but recently been used in ointments amongst other ingredients for the treatment of itchy and irritant skin. A mediterranean herb, it provides pink, blue and white flowers in the summertime. An annual herb, its longevitiy is by self seeding star shaped flowers. It can cope with no maintenance and is self sufficient. Moving the plant is unecessary since it will seed of its own accord other than where it was originally planted. It does prefer more sun than shade but can tolerate partial light. An informal addition to any perennial bed, be mindful that the soil is well drained and air circulating since it is susceptible to fungal infections. This is linked to lack of air and humidity.

Calendula officinalis – a marigold – the flower said to ease swelling from an insect bite or bruising from a fall. It has even been used to relieve fever, throat infections and ulcers. The plant usually flowers late summer through to early autumn. It is hardy but it is an annual and will die after it has flowered. Marigolds need sun but are relatively straightforward with most conditions. The plant might come back randomly if conditions were of neither extreme. Unfortunately, these beautiful shows are usually annihilated by snails, slugs and wet weather.

Tanacetum parthernium – Feverfew has positive neurological qualities. It will ease headaches and more seriously migraines and can provide treatment on a continual basis for sufferers. A summer flowering perennial offers flowers like daisies through this period. However, it is not good with too much moisture, problems can arise if incorrectly planted. The drainage must be improved, as humidity can cause problems. Other planting combinations can help with this.

Achillea millefolium – Yarrow can cause allergic reactions when in contact with skin, moisture and other organic material. It is toxic to a number of animals too. However, it was used as a method to treat open wounds since astringent properties would cause the skin to contract. It induces perspiration too but I don’t why that’s a good thing! A wildflower, supporting beneficial insects, a good informal shrub. However, a mindful eye is needed since it has a tendency to self seed in unwanted places. A full sun aspect is preferred but will tolerate partial shade.

Angelica archangelica – Angelica has digestive properties and used commonly in treatments for women with gynaecological problems. However, strictly speaking not for pregnant women but for hormonal balancing. This plant is good with beneficial insects too. It can be classed as a biennial (after two years) but worth the wait! It does prefer a slightly more shaded aspect though.

Echinacea purpurea – Coneflower has anti-inflammatory properties and used as a treatment for cold symptoms. It improves the bodies immunity to fight the infection and has antitoxidants to protect the body from further stress. It prefers a full bodied, humus rich soil. it will not tolerate a free draining and sandy soil. It does like its moisture.

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I'm Craft Gardener with several years experience. Due to the massive impact the internet has had on advice, forums and consultancy services - it seems knowledge and experience is everchanging and we should therefore share techniques and offer others alternative routes in pests, diseases and weed treatments. The very smallest alterations in aspect, soil conditioning and pruning can determine a plants vigour, health and lifespan hugely. My blogs and online assistance should motivate and interest even the most amateur of green fingered people. As my ex partner used to say "it's green isn't it"?