The backyard medicine cabinet

Many of today’s most profitable medicines utilize natural ingredients and their chemical derivatives. There are many free benefits available to you in your own backyard medicine cabinet. Please note that the following herbs are not intended as cures, medicines or anything that you would normally rely on a doctor to prescribe to you. Even though many of these plants, herbs, sprouts and roots have been used by humans for thousands of years, consult with your physician prior to adding any of the listed plants to your diet.

  • Arnica montana (Arnica) Breaks down into a cream or ointment which can be effective in soothing muscles, reducing inflammation and healing open wounds. When it is brewed as a tea, it can relieve stress, sleeping problems and emotional trauma.
  • Actaea racemosa (Black Cohosh) It is known for relieving menstrual cramps and symptoms of menopause, hot flashes, irritability, mood swings and sleep disturbances.
  • Eupatorium perfoliatum (Boneset) May be able to treat symptoms of influenza and is helpful in treating aches, pains and fever.
  • Calendula officinalis (Calendula, Marigold) Widely used for relieving upset stomach, ulcers and menstrual cramps. A tincture made with calendula leaves can help heal wounds. Calendula is a high-end ingredient in many expensive cosmetic products.
  • Nepeta cataria (Catnip) Has been used as a digestive aid for centuries. A natural sedative which also helps ease digestion, colic and diarrhea. Can also be brewed as a tea.
  • Capsicum annuum (Red Pepper) Aside from its edible form, red pepper can treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and shingles. A very diverse item.
  • Anthemis nobilis (Chamomile) Soothes and calms. Even known to prevent nightmares, explaining its popularity with children. A tea brewed from the leaves and flowers of the chamomile plant can help ease stress, anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Cichorium intybus (Chicory Root) A natural sedative and anti-inflammatory which can be used to treat jaundice. It helps the body resist gallstones and liver stones and aids in reducing the levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Can be very useful in ridding the body of parasites.
  • Symphytum officinale (Comfrey) Can be used as a first aid treatment for external wounds. Can reduce inflammation associated with sprains and broken bones.
  • Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) Used for over four centuries in treating infections, wounds, blood poisoning, malaria and diphtheria. Echinacea tea helps the body regain strength and rids it of the common cold up to three times faster than doing nothing. Easily grown.
  • Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) Great for eczema, dermatitis and other skin related allergies and ailments. Reduces inflammation, eases bloating caused by menstrual discomfort and strengthens functions of the liver. It can also alleviate some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and other nerve disorders.
  • Foeniculum vulgare (Fennel) The Chinese have used it for centuries to treat hernia, indigestion and abdominal pain. Chronic cough can be alleviated by brewing it as tea. Fennel oil can be used as an external pain reliever for sore muscles.
  • Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew) Helps relieve migraines and prevent constriction of blood vessels in the brain, one of the leading causes of migraines.
  • Hyssopus officinalis (Hyssop) You know if it is mentioned in the Bible it must be good. It is a great expectorant and stimulant. It is often used for relief of muscular rheumatism, as well as, for bruises and contusions. Tea made from the flowers of this herb can be helpful for asthmatics.
  • Lavandula officinalis (Lavender) – Though popular in soaps, shampoos and fragrances; Lavender is also a natural remedy for insomnia, anxiety, and depression. It is known for its soothing effects and is even thought to be able to help prevent hair loss.
  • Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm) – It is a member of the mint family and is used to help treat sleep disorders when brewed as a tea. It can also be rubbed on the skin to ward off mosquitoes.
  • Althaea officinalis (Marshmallow) – Useful for treating asthma, bronchitis, sore throat, cough and the common cold. It can aid in milk production for breast feeding mothers. It also helps to dissolve kidney stones and improves kidney function.
  • Valarian officinalis (Valerian) – Used as far back as the 2nd century A.D. in treating insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, seizures and epilepsy. Valerian is a natural anti-anxiety remedy. Also useful for treating headaches and migraines.
  • Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) – Used for treatment of minor bleeding, inflammation, fever and infection. You can use it topically to ease discomfort of hemorrhoids, stop bleeding, and as an anti-inflammatory to ease swelling. Tea brewed from the flowers and leaves will help stop diarrhea and purge the body of bacterial infections.
  • Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) – Used for help with indigestion, to treat muscle pains, arthritis, and to improve circulation. Tea brewed from its leaves can slow brain degeneration resulting from Alzheimer’s disease. It is also thought to be able to counteract the nerve degeneration caused by Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Seed quality is just as important as seed type. You can have all of the aforementioned seeds stocked and neatly prepared, however they will do little good if their nutritional and holistic benefits are gone before they are ever planted.

Happy Gardening!


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 Guest post by Darren - Bylands Key Account Sales

I am originally from Edmonton but relocated to Kelowna in 2011. Most recently is was working for Danone where I was the Business Development Manager and was responsible for promotional plans, in store displays and business reviews. I studied at the University of Alberta whilst working at Greenland Garden Centre.  This sparked my interest in the horticultural industry.