How To Grow Your Own Medicinal Herbs

Herbs

Growing Your Own Medicinal Herbs

If you are looking to start a healing herbs garden, it naturally needs to start with the actual growing of the herbs.

Medicinal Plants to Grow in Your Garden

Until recently, the idea of growing a garden meant growing fruits or vegetables alongside flowers of various types.

In recent years, more and more people are moving toward the idea of growing their own medicinal plants to help with homemade remedies and natural options for health and daily well-being.

If you have been considering this yourself, you may be confused about what plants are best to maintain and grow in your garden for long-term and multi-tasking use.

Here are just a few to start with.

Teas

Any type of tea that you can grow should be grown in your medicinal garden.

Try to stick with teas that have multiple uses such as chamomile.

You can also find various forms of black tea producing plants that will be easy to grow as well.

You can create a tea garden that contains chamomile, honeysuckle, mint, and chai as well as green tea varieties.

If you aren’t sure what teas to grow in your area, consider either a tea garden kit or an indoor tea kit that can be grown in an herb garden type atmosphere.

These are usually made for window areas, so keep that in mind.

Mint

Mints

Peppermint, spearmint, and sage are all part of the mint family and all have their healing properties and benefits to natural medicine cabinets.

Most mint plants are small, but you can find some that spread out and vine, which means you only need a few plants rather than a multitude to get the yield you are looking for.

The key to keep in mind with this is harvest time and sun allowances.

Mints can also be grown in window gardens or vertical gardens indoors and sometimes have higher yielding harvests with this method.

Mints can be used to help sooth the stomach and clear congestion.

Ginger

Ginger root is incredibly easy to grow and inexpensive to start.

It can help with soothing intestinal issues and constipation as well as nausea from illness or pregnancy.

Ginger root is available at most grocery stores and one root can produce several plants. Simply buy a ginger root and cut it up into several root pieces.

Point the root tip up and cover with soil.

You will need to place the ginger at least three inches down and it does take several months to see a harvest.

You can cut and reuse the roots for several years if maintained properly.

The idea behind growing these types of medicinal plants first is that they are easy to maintain, can be grown indoors, and can be used in a variety of methods.

You can enhance your garden later by adding more specific plants and ones that can also be stored easily.

3 Medicinal Herbs to Always Have On Hand

You already know about some of the important herbs to include in your garden.

There are some other herbs though that you may never consider for various issues and ailments.

These herbs are either easy to find in your local grocery store spice and herb section, or easy to grow in your home throughout the year.

Here are those herbs and what you need to know about each one.

Basil

Basil has a multitude of uses and most people think of it as a go to herb and must have.

This particular herb is easy to grow indoors, is found in most home herb garden kits, and can be dehydrated for storage.

Basil helps with inflammation, reducing pain, and can even help with boosting your immune system.

This makes it a go to remedy if you are on a budget or new to herbal medicine.

You can add it to your food, take it in a tea, infuse it into water, add to your smoothies, add to juicing, or take it in a capsule form daily.

Herb Tea

Chamomile

If you have problems sleeping, with anxiety, or if you have a child that has problems sleeping then chamomile may be the ideal option to always have on hand.

You can find it in pure form, grow it in window gardens year round, or you can buy in organic teas.

One way that some parents use it with children is to dilute the flowers into a safe tincture for their children.

You can give this in a small dropper or add it to water or juice to help calm them.

You can also add honey to a chamomile tea to help soothe sore throats and ease tension out of the body.

Garlic

Garlic is something that is so easy to keep in hand because it is cheap and easy to find.

Garlic can be used in foods to help with your immune system and can be used with honey to help with cold and flu symptoms.

One of the easiest ways to keep it on hand for the cold and flu season is to use it with honey. Simply cut up the garlic and peel it.

Crush the cloves and place them in a jar of organic honey. Mix together and put in the refrigerator.

Spoon out some and place in hot water when you need a soothing throat soak or have severe cold symptoms. Drink the mixture and eat the garlic if you can stomach it.

Each of these herbs can be dehydrated and placed in airtight jars to keep throughout the year.

Make sure to keep them in dark containers in a cool location or in a cool dark location of your home such as the back of a pantry or closet that is not located in your kitchen or bathroom.

Tips For Growing Herbs For Medicine

There are some cases when you want to have herbs on hand for different medicinal and health recipes.

Unfortunately, most of the herbs you may want may be difficult to find in a fresh form or in a form where you know what was used to help dehydrate them and bottle them.

In those cases you may want to start growing your own herbs for medicine.

If that sounds like your viewpoint, then you will need to know how to grow them, the best methods, and how to harvest them. Here are some tips to help.

Try Hydroponics

Hydroponics is an easy way to grow herbs in your home and get a huge return on your efforts.

It is ideal for beginners and the items you need can be purchased in ready made kits.

The hardest part of hydroponics is using the pH strips to check your water levels and maintain those levels for the plants with a solution that you purchase from a hydroponics store.

Most people use hydroponics because it does not use soil and you can double or triple your harvest with year round harvesting instead of seasonal.

Keep Like Herbs Together

An ideal starting point for beginners and herb growing is to keep like herbs together.

There are some herbs that can take on the characteristics of other nearby plants.

For example, mint plants with lavender and other similar fragrant plants. The mint can blend in and cause a smell you may not prefer.

You will also want to keep your like herbs together to cut down on pests.

Certain bugs are attracted to one herb and not to another. You do not want your crops destroyed because of one misplaced herb.

Also, certain herbs have different growing times and harvest times. By keeping them together, you can ensure you are harvesting at the right time.

Try Growing Vertically

If you want to grow a multitude of herbs, and you have very little room, then consider vertical gardening.

This type of gardening can use the window of an apartment or small home, a fence wall, or an outside wall of the home.

This uses an area that you would not normally use and uses it to the full advantage of your herb garden.

You can also make sure that if your herbs need full light, they are in the right location such as a window or outdoor fence.

There are some companies that make indoor growing stations that work well for indoor herb growth.

These use mostly an aquaponic method that uses very little soil and pH balanced fertilized water.

These systems start under $100 and can take up as little room as a coffee pot.

These have a learning curve, but they can help as you grow more accustomed to growing your own herbs for medicine.

Vertical Farming

 

How to Dry Your Own Herbs

Herbs can be costly, especially if you are using them in soaps and home remedies.

Though purchasing most herbs already dry is an option, some people prefer to dry their own so they know they are getting this highest quality herbs and only the herbs they want in their dried mixtures.

If you are new to drying herbs, there are a few steps you can take to get started. Here are the basic methods of drying herbs and what you need to know about each method.

Dried Herbs

Food Dehydrator

The most common way to dry your own herbs is to use a food dehydrator.

This is primarily due to the quantity and the ability to control the level of dehydration of various herbs.

A benefit of food dehydration methods is there is no real preparation or detailed knowledge required, making it a perfect method for beginners.

Ideally you want a dehydrator with several tier trays and possibly with trays that have a mesh lining for smaller herbs that may fall through the vents of the trays during the dehydration process.

You can choose higher quality dehydrators that use fans to dehydrate the herbs while keeping them secured in an oven like box.

These also only require that you choose the setting for herbs, fruit, or vegetables and are still suitable for beginners.

Food dehydrators take approximately four to ten hours to dry most herbs to a point they are ready for storage.

You do not need to apply anything to the herbs to help speed the process or preserve the herbs.

Oven Drying

Oven drying dehydration methods require more finesse than a typical food dehydrator.

Depending on the herbs you are drying, you will need to know the temperature you need to dry them and for how long.

You may know that it will be a low temperature, usually between 150 and 250 degrees F, but you will need to keep an eye on the herbs to ensure they do not burn.

You also can not leave them in the oven like you can with a food dehydrator.

Oven drying works well, but it does require racks, pans, and diligence in making sure that the herbs are dried and not burning.

Sun and Air Drying

If you do not want to use the oven and you do not have a food dehydrator or want to use one, then you can do things the old fashioned way with the sun and air.

For this method you can tie bundles of herbs together, such as rosemary, and hang them in your kitchen.

If this is too humid, you may want to consider purchasing an outdoor dehydrator.

This is usually a three to four tier hanging mesh dehydrator.

It helps keep bugs and debris from getting to your herbs while they dehydrate with the power of the sun and air.

This is the simplest technique with the longest amount of drying time, usually taking several days.

Once your herbs have dried, you will need to store them properly.

If you plan on using them in cooking or in herbal recipes, then you will need to remove them from their roots or stems and place them in airtight jars.

For tinctures, you will need to place the dried herb dark glass bottles filled with vodka.

Allow them to ferment and cure for several weeks to several months before using. For medicinal oils and cooking oils, consider storing the herbs either in your vegetable oil, olive oil, or alternative oil base.