8 Natural Medicines You Can Grow in the Garden

Long before the days of pharmacies and appointment waiting lists, people were using herbs to soothe and heal common ailments.

It was a simpler time, perhaps? Not really – but you will be amazed at how many natural medicines and home remedies you can grow in your own back yard. You’ll probably be amazed at how many natural remedies you’re already growing in your back yard.

After reading this article, wasting petrol on impromptu trips to the pharmacy will be a thing of the past. If you’ve got a headache – forget about reaching for the paracetemol; think basil instead and get ready to kiss* your doctor goodbye**!

*Don’t actually kiss your doctor.

**Don’t actually kiss your doctor goodbye – you will definitely need them at some stage.

1. Basil – Headaches

Basil works fantastically well on a pizza and growing your own is easy – you can do it from your windowsill. As soon as the white flowers appear, make sure to pull them off to stop them going to seed.

A perfect remedy for headaches, just crush up a few basil leaves and rub them on your temples. If you’ve been standing up all day then pour some boiling water over a few leaves and soak your feet in a pain-relieving foot spa.

2. Aloe Vera – Sunburn

Aloe Vera has been used medicinally since the first century AD and today it is widely used in cosmetics (Think ‘because you’re worth it!’). You should grow your own in pots and leave them in full sunshine, making sure to water well.

Once your plant is the glorious looking one in the picture, break open the thick leaves and use the gel that seeps out to soothe sunburn.


3. Marigold – Ulcers

These gorgeous orange plants are easy to grow and bloom in spring, summer and autumn. You should sow them directly into your garden once the soil is warm and they need full sunshine to thrive. Just make sure you’ve got a decent gardening watering system in place.

Once you’ve got it going, marigolds are perfect for treating sunburn, blemishes and the plant also soothes ulcers and other digestive problems.

4. Lavender – Antiseptic

Lavender is a plant that really loves the sun, but is also one that demands good drainage. Make you use a small pot with gravel and a very light soil.

If you have got a few zits or blemishes, then why not try rubbing a bit of the oil found in lavender on them. With its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities, lavender is also perfect for steaming your face. Just crush a few of the heads and add them to a bowl of boiling water. You’ll ‘lave’ it!

5. Lemon Balm – Cold Sores

Those who suffer from cold sores, suffer from herpes. So I’ve been told, anyway. But fear not because with lemon balm you can actually prevent cold sores or heal those that have flared up already – Just rub the leaves directly onto your skin!

When it comes to planting, take note, lemon balm MUST be done in pots because otherwise they’ll take over your garden and you’ll never get rid of them.

A lot like herpes, actually!

6. St. John’s Wort – Depression

By far my favourite in terms of its name, St-John’s-Wort can grow in relatively poor soil. It can grow in such poor soil that it is widely considered to be a weed! But before you reach for your garden weedkiller I put it to you – do your common-or-garden weeds double up as antidepressants?!

That’s right – St-John’s-Wort can help you get over anxiety and sort out mild depression! However some studies have shown that the plant can actually interfere with the use of other drugs, so be careful!

7. Sage – Sore Throat

Sage needs to be planted in dry sandy soil and needs a lot of sun in order to flourish. In fact, if you can get your sage flourishing then according to the Roman Empire your finances will flourish as well!

Sage is ideal if you have a sore throat: just make a broth out of hot water and a quarter of a cup of leaves. Now that’s sage advice! (Sorry).

8. Ginkgo – Memory Loss

Ginkgo is often referred to as a ‘fossil tree’ because of its distinct lack of plant relatives and it can grow well in urban environments. Make sure your plant is kept in full to part sun, though don’t worry too much because it can survive in a number of different conditions.

Ginkgo is good for preventing memory loss so why not try a few leaves the night before an exam!


Do you know of any more plants with medicinal qualities?! And no, marijuana doesn’t count! Let us know below!

Gavin Harvey

Gavin Harvey is a personal trainer with a passion for travel. When he's not busy touring the world, he can be found in the gym or at home with his partner and two cats. You can keep up with his latest adventures by following him on twitter.

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