When it comes to medicinal herbs, there are many options to choose from. From gingko to turmeric, flaxseed to tea tree oil, and echinacea to peppermint, each herb has its own unique properties and benefits. Here is a list of the top 10 medicinal herbs and their uses.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis). Calendula is known for its soothing properties and is often found in herbal balms, body washes, and shampoos.
It has a beautiful flower and is a great addition to the garden. Although the taste of calendula is not the best on its own, when combined with something like mint, it is an excellent tea.
English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia “Vera”). English lavender is one of the oldest tree species and a key herb in Chinese medicine. The leaves are used to create capsules, tablets, and extracts, and when dried, they can be consumed as tea.
It is believed to have anti-cancer properties and may prevent mutations.
Gingko (Gingko biloba). Gingko is perhaps best known for its ability to improve brain health. Studies say gingko can treat patients with mild to moderate dementia and may slow cognitive decline in dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The gingko is considered a living fossil, with fossils dating back 270 million years ago.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa).
With its bright orange hue, it's impossible to miss a bottle of turmeric on a spice rack. Turmeric has been used as a medicinal herb for 4,000 years and is a tentpole of an Indian alternative medicine practice called Ayurveda. Studies have found that turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and may help with conditions such as atopic dermatitis and joint arthritis.
Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum). Flax seed is one of the safest options among plant-based dietary supplements.
Harvested for thousands of years, today flax seed is praised for its antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies have found that flax seed may help prevent colon cancer and lower blood pressure when consumed.
Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera biennis). Evening primrose oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to help with conditions such as atopic dermatitis and diabetic neuropathy. It can also help with other health problems such as breast pain.
The caveat is that it can interact with several medications.
Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia). Tea tree oil has antimicrobial superpowers in wounds and topical infections. Studies suggest that it can be used to treat acne and scalp problems. Wilson recommends that tea tree oil, like all essential oils, be diluted in a carrier oil.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea).
Echinacea is much more than those beautiful purple flowers that you see dotting gardens. These flowers have been used for centuries as medicine in the form of teas, juices, and extracts. Studies suggest that echinacea may help shorten the symptoms of the common cold.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita). Peppermint is wonderful for stomach upset and can even help with motion sickness.
It is a very refreshing herb made in herbal tea or tincture. Some people need to be careful when planting peppermint because it can invade and spread throughout the garden.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis). Lemon balm also belongs to the mint family so sow wisely! If I had to choose just one herb to plant in my garden, I would choose lemon balm for all the medicinal uses it has. It can be used to treat colds, anxiety, insomnia, indigestion, headaches, and more.
Elecampane (Inula helenium).
Elecampane is an excellent herb for bronchial problems. If you are prone to constant bronchial infections, this would be a fantastic medicinal herb to grow in your garden. It can also be used as an expectorant for coughs.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Ashwagandha comes from the plant Withania somnifera, also known as ginseng from India or winter cherry from India.
This evergreen shrub has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. Ashwagandha is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to increase energy levels, decrease anxiety and stress, reduce pain and inflammation, improve male sexual health, increase testosterone levels in menopausal women, and more.