When it comes to principles on natural health, it can get confusing just trying to figure out where to start. There are many herbs considered 'essential', but you'll only need a small handful to deal with If you want to grow them in your backyard for easier access, you can certainly do so. Here are several herbs that will make a nice addition to your garden.
1. St. John's Wort. Touted as a natural treatment for menopause symptoms, this plant with bright yellow flowers can be used to improve sleep. It can also help alleviate anxiety, mild depression, and mood swings. Both the leaves and blooms are the active parts of this herb.
2. Peppermint. This minty-smelling herb provides relief for a variety of conditions, including headaches and indigestion. It also contains menthol, which can help treat colds and nasal congestion. The leaves are the main source of its healing properties.
3. Thyme. Commonly used to flavour soups and stocks, this herb can also be used to treat bronchitis, emphysema, and even asthma. Like peppermint, it can help treat indigestion as well. Just as in cooking, the leaves are the active parts of the plant when used medicinally.
4. Parsley. Often found as a garnish on pasta dishes, this humble-looking little leaf is packed with nutrients that help with flatulence and bad breath. In addition, it's a good source of folic acid, which is important for cardiovascular health. It goes without saying that it's the leaves you'll want to use.
5. Chamomile. Anti fungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory, chamomile is used for heartburn, indigestion, colic, and to help people relax. Those with peptic ulcers regularly find relief by drinking chamomile tea. The whole plant may be used, but most of its healing properties centre in the flower heads.
6. Sage. Another culinary herb, its genus names reflects its earlier use in medicine. In fact, it's considered something of a panacea (all-around remedy) due to its wide range of uses. It's said to help in treating Alzheimer's, managing Type-2 diabetes, and improving memory. Again, go for the leaves.
7. Black cohosh. It may take a while for this plant to establish itself in your garden, but once it does, it spreads with relative ease. A natural remedy for menopause symptoms, the root of this herb can also be used to help with palpitations and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).