When to Plant Medicinal Herbs: A Guide for Beginners

Growing medicinal herbs is a great way to start the season and get your garden off to a healthy start. Whether you choose to start your seedlings indoors during late winter or wait until early spring and plant the seeds directly into the ground, there are many easy-to-grow and use herbs that you can harvest and prepare to treat minor illnesses. Each medicinal garden should include chamomile, yarrow, lemon balm, echinacea and mint. The generally accepted definition of herbal medicines is that they are any plant that is used for medicinal purposes, so this may mean that some medicinal herbs are not what we normally call “herbs” at all.

Traditional culinary herbs such as basil, thyme and rosemary can be medicinal herbs, but also wild cherry bark, ginger root and cayenne peppers. There are literally thousands of plants that humans have been using as medicine for thousands of years. Before starting any new herbal protocols, it is always important to consult with a health professional trained in herbalism, especially if you are taking any pharmaceutical products, which from time to time may interact with herbal medicine. Centella asiatica is also used topically as an infused oil, compress and poultice to cure a variety of skin conditions, such as insect bites, skin rashes, seborrheic dermatitis, herpes sores, eczema, psoriasis, and dry and irritated skin.

Once the seeds and plants are in hand, it's time to start up that garden and take care of it. I'm looking forward to planting my garden this year. I grow aloe as a potted patio plant in warm weather and carry it indoors during the colder months (aloe is sensitive to frost). I cut a whole plant, place it in a gallon wide-mouthed jar and pour about one-fifth of 190-degree grain alcohol (never wood or isopropyl alcohol) and a quarter of water, just enough to cover the plant material.

When planning the design of the garden plot, it might be interesting to include some medicinal plants to grow. Pay attention to the water requirements that the plant has, what kind of soil it needs and what kind of winter and summer temperatures it can withstand. There are some online sellers who sell medicinal herb plants, but unless you have a very small yard and a very large budget, having a herb garden complete with mature plants will cost prohibitively. In addition to the plants grown above, some medicinal herbs are considered weeds, although those who know them use them for all kinds of things. The truth is that you don't need to be an expert gardener to successfully grow a few basic medicinal herbs or be a trained pharmacist to easily prepare them for use.

The addition of all those other plantations also opened my eyes to how many plants that I had never thought of before have herbal actions. Finally, I'll include a list of some of the less common plants you can add to your herbal medicine garden if you want to expand your homegrown herb apothecary. I have been growing perennial medicinal herbs such as lemon balm and catnip, as well as annuals such as borage and calendula for years, and I make the most of the medicinal weeds that have settled in my garden, including creeping Charlie, wild violets, blades, yarrow, dandelion, plantain and clover.

Andrea Pedraza
Andrea Pedraza

Hardcore music specialist. Avid social media nerd. Hardcore pop culture lover. Devoted zombie practitioner. Hipster-friendly communicator.

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