After spending a lifetime getting your medicine from the pharmacy, it’s easy to forget that nature has already provided many medicinal herbs. If you look closely, you might even find medicine in your own backyard. And if not, you can at least plant them in your backyard. Practice identifying these herbs now because there may come a time when you desperately need them. Here are 10 of the best medicinal plants.
1. Alfalfa – This grows in many places, but is commonly found on farms because it makes good feed for livestock. Eating the leaves can treat nausea, urinary discomfort and kidney pain. It is also a great diuretic.
2. Basil – This herb can be used to help a variety of ailments including: cramps, nausea, fever, colds, headaches, and acid reflux. You can also use the oils from the plant to treat acne. Basil is a great spice to add to almost any meal.
3. Blackberries – These are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, but they aren’t just for eating. The leaves and roots can be used as a great treatment for diarrhea, dysentery, and cuts. It is also a great anti-inflammatory for the mouth.
4. Catnip – Not just for making your cat act goofy. Catnip can: relieve cold symptoms, break a fever, treat gas, stomach pain, and headaches. (Note: It can also stimulate contractions, so pregnant women should not eat it.)
5. Feverfew – This anti-inflammatory not only treats arthritis and headaches, it can relieve general anxiety because of its ability to inhibit serotonin. It can also reduce bruising and swelling and makes a great pain reliever when nothing else is available.
6. Lady Fern – Many people use these to decorate their homes. They grow all over but particularly in areas with lots of rain. Simply crush the leaves and rub the juices all over minor cuts and burns for pain relief.
7. Oregano – The main benefit of oregano is its ability to cause perspiration which is a great help to people with colds, fever, or the flu. Oregano tea can help relieve menstrual discomfort and clear the lungs and airways.
8. Peppermint – Tea made with this helps cure indigestion and reduces flatulence and bloating. Peppermint is also known for helping ulcers and reducing headaches. The oil is used in balms that increase blood flow.
9. Rosemary – This wonderful herb can be used to lessen headaches, bad breath, upset stomachs, and relieve menstrual cramps. Crush the leaves and mix it into foods with meat or dairy to help prevent food poisoning.
10. Sage – One of the most useful herbs in the world. Sage can aid digestion, reduce diarrhea, relieve cramps, fight colds, reduce swelling, soothe burns and cuts, kill bacteria and many other things. Keep an eye out for this treasure.
Warning: Do not use or consume a plant until you are positive you know what it is. Hopefully this will get you started in the vast world of naturally occurring medicines. If you would like to learn more, check out the book, Backyard Medicine.