Aloe vera is well known as a skin-friendly plant. It is one medicinal plant people really make use of, since it is generally safe and requires no processing before use. It is a must-have in every garden whether you grow it in pots or in the ground.
Aloe vera plants grow well in a sunny location in warmer areas where there is not much danger of killer frosts. Being a succulent, this drought resistant plant requires very little care and thrives in poor soil. It suckers freely, so you can start with just one or two plants sourced from a reliable supplier. There are several aloes around; not all of them are edible or have the medicinal properties attributed to Aloe vera.
The jelly-like, colorless pulp of mature leaves can be applied to minor cuts and burns and to dry, inflamed, or damaged skin due to eczema or other skin conditions. It is an excellent moisturizer with anti-inflammatory and mild antimicrobial effect. The leaf pulp can be eaten too. Regular use can prevent constipation and relieve other digestive problems, including ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome.
Thyme is easy to grow in a sunny location and thrives between rocks and boulders, braving summer heat and winter freezes. The characteristic scent of thyme comes from the volatile oil containing thymol, which gets released at the slightest touch. Many herbs contain this powerful antiseptic phenolic compound, but thyme oil has more than 50% thymol content.
Use an infusion of thyme as a gargle to get rid of bad breath and mouth sores. It can help with tonsillitis and laryngitis. Crushed fresh thyme applied on the neck is said to reduce throat infections. Inhaling the vapors reduces nervous exhaustion.
The most important use of thyme is to treat respiratory tract infections. Thyme extract is taken orally to relieve bronchitis, chest congestion, asthma, and whooping cough. A teaspoonful of thyme extract mixed with equal amount of honey can be given in divided doses to young children.
Rosemary is more of a woody shrub, but it deserves a place in every herb garden for its medicinal and culinary uses. Although it doesn’t look anything like other mint plants, it belongs to the same plant family. From the suffix officinalis, it is clear that rosemary has been counted as a medicinal plant from long ago, but in our medicinal garden, it is to be used for general health and wellbeing, rather than for specific problems.
Long known as the herb of remembrance, the claim that rosemary enhances memory has had a boost from recent research findings. The carnosic acid in the herb has been shown to prevent brain damage and neurodegeneration of the hippocampus induced by beta-amyloid peptides. These peptides are implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. In separate studies Rosemary oil has been found to improve cognitive function and reduce brain aging. Its potential in cancer treatment also has been promising.
Grow Rosemary in a pot or plant several in a line to form an aromatic hedge in the garden. Use the leaves regularly in cooking and herbal teas to derive maximum benefit
Pot marigold with its yellow and orange flowers is a delightful addition to any garden. Not very finicky about soil fertility or pH, it can be grown easily from seeds and can be treated as an annual or perennial depending on your growing zone.
The edible flowers can be used to treat almost any problem related to skin. Use a poultice of the petals to relieve sunburn and to clear up acne and blemishes on the skin. Use it as an antiseptic on cuts and bruises. It stops bleeding and reduces inflammation when applied on nicks and cuts. Many skin ointments contain pot marigold extract as the active ingredient.
A tea made of the flowers is taken to get relief from varicose veins and to ease digestive problems.