Herbal medicine has been around for much longer than Western medicine, and with interventions like chemotherapy being only 2% effective at the 5-year mark, many are already looking to use mother nature instead of or in addition to radiation treatments to help cure ailments. That isn’t to say you should not undergo chemotherapy, it means only that many are looking out for their health by using nature and diet to affect the appropriate changes in their bodies.
The use of traditional remedies increases when conventional medicine is ineffective in the treatment of disease, such as in advanced cancer and in the face of new infectious diseases. Furthermore, traditional medicines are widely perceived as natural and safe and non-toxic. Although that isn’t necessarily true, especially when combining herbs with chemically made medicines, each person should still decide for themselves if they would like to begin growing medicinal herbs. If you decide that’s right for you, here are three herbs that anyone can grow in the comfort of their own home!
Aloe vera plants have many benefits, and not just for the skin. Most people know of using aloe vera gel to soothe a sunburn. When you snap open an aloe vera leaf, you’ll immediately notice the clear gel inside. That gel is packed full of nutrients that are great for common skin ailments such as cold sores, minor cuts, and rashes. Aloe gel will help soothe the pain and itching and speed up healing.
Because of its skin-soothing properties, aloe is also an excellent addition to homemade beauty products like soaps and lotions. Aloe gel can help heal tissues in the digestive system, too. The one caveat here is that you need to be careful ingesting too much of the aloe latex (the yellow-ish sap that seeps from the leaf when cut.) It tastes bitter and can act as a strong laxative for some people.
Aloe is also readily available. Check at any store near your home that sells plants, and it’s likely they’ll stock aloe. If you prefer to grow it yourself, consider first that aloe is a succulent – a desert plant and prefers a loose dry soil and they thrive without regular fertilizer. These plants also like sunshine and warmth. Consider growing aloe in a sunroom or on a window sill in a warm space. Aloe plants are rather difficult to kill, however, if you manage to kill an aloe vera plant, it’s probably because you overwatered it. Aloe plants don’t like being wet, so you want to make sure your pot has plenty of drainage holes and your soil is amended with lots of perlite or sand. You can also buy special potting soil designed for succulents. Allow the soil to go completely dry before watering.
Lemon balm is an herb that smells and tastes fantastic in a tea. It can help with mild depression and acts as a very calming sedative.
Lemon balm is a great anti-viral with amazing relaxing properties that are helpful for soothing frayed nerves and calming hyper children. Traditionally, it’s been used to gently treat colic and upset stomach in everyone from infants to elders. A leaf can be chewed to freshen the breath or crushed and placed on a bug bite to help ease the itch. Leaves can also be dried an made into a tea. Lemon balm is also a natural mosquito repellent. Rub a few leaves on your clothes or skin and those blood-sucking critters will stay away!
Lemon balm is hearty and one plant can easily take over your garden! That’s why you could consider growing it in a pot inside. It would be easier to simply buy a plant at a store, or you could grow your own. Lemon balm likes good quality soil, lots of sunshine, and regular watering. It will thrive inside next to a sunny window, but it doesn’t mind a little bit of shade either.