Beautiful, medicinal, mystical: Healing herbs to grow in your garden
It’s easy, grow your own!
Nothing beats the feeling of growing your very own herbs and being able to harvest them to make a fresh herbal tea or herbal medicine salve. Plus they can make a beautiful accent to any garden and some even have mystical properties like helping with lucid dreaming. The hardest part is deciding which herbs to grow. Read the list below to find out about some of my favorite medicinal and mystical herbs recommeded from some of our prractitioners at Well Balanced Center For Integrative Care, that can be grown in a Pacific Northwest garden.
Note: Always research an herb before harvesting and consuming a plant to understand how to safely utilize its medicinal properties and properly identify it.
Easy to grow and safe for most
Some easy to use and grow and pretty to look at favorites are chamomile, calendula, culinary lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), echinacea and peppermint. These five basics are safe and effective for the vast majority of people when used as simple teas, poultices or salves. Here is a great recipe for a personal favorite, lavendar calendula hand salve, click here.
Mystical, unique and nootropic plants to grow in the PNW
Let us take a closer look at other fun plants of a more mystical nature you can grow in your Pacific North West garden that you may not be aware of. These include, the mildly nootropic and dream enhancing mugwort, the delightful tea plant camellia sinensis, the wonderfully delicious and potent anti-viral elderberry and super healer yarrow.
Mugwort (Artemesia Vulgaris)
An herb commonly used in chinese medicine, also known as mugwort. The parts that grow above ground are used for medicine. People take artemisia to stimulates blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus; some stimulate menstruation. Calm or stimulate the nervous system it is a nervine which benefits the nervous system, in both ways depending on ingestion. It also promotes the appetite or aids digestion. It has been used traditionally for parasites and mystically for dream enhancement, like lucid dreaming. Some species are nootropic, meaning they enhance memory and cognition Mugwort propagates easily from small fragments of rhizome, it is know to spread rapidly like a weed and loves plenty of sunlight, consider planting in a planter.
Tea plant (Camellia Sinensis)
Black, white, oolong, green, did you know it all comes from the same plant? Yup thats right, Camellia Sinensis can not only easily be grown in a planter or your back yard garden but it also thrives in Oregon’s climate. Depending on how you prepare the leaves, will decide which kind of tea you have. Although it takes years for tea plants to mature thier beautiful white fragrant flowers look and smell incredible. It flowers in the fall so it can liven up your yard after the summer months. Click here to learn how to harvest and dry the plant.
Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra spp canadensis)
This plant grows over 10 ft tall and spreads out, so make sure to give it plenty of space. And beware, don’t cut the plant down without asking permission. A poplular belief held in some cultures is that the plant is used to ward off evil and cutting it down will bring a curse upon those that do. But don’t fret, if you need too cut it or prune it back, here’s the chant. Make sure to only consume ripe, properly cooked berries, as the uncooked berries and stems are toxic when ingested. Not only has elderberry shown to be effective in healing 10 different strains of Influenza, but it also, “has for a long time been used in folk medicine as a diaphoretic, antipyretic and diuretic agent. In recent years it was also found to have antibacterial, antiviral antidepressant and antitumour and hypoglycemic properties, and to reduce body fat and lipid concentration.”
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Okay okay so Yarrow grows EVERYWHERE, in our lawns, in fields all over the PNW, everywhere. But you’ll want to make certain you have some in your yard after reading this. Not only does it benefit wildlife but its roots go deep with historical significance. Our pollinators such as butterflies, moths and catapillers love it. It has been used centuries ago to dress battle wounds and historically in teas, poultices and salves. The list for medicinal uses of Yarrow is huge including, wound treatment, stops bleeding, digestive herb, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, removes excess mucus from the body, reduces fevers, lowers blood pressure, stimulates blood flow in the uterus, antimicrobial, can aid in the treatment of pnemonia and rheumatic pain. In my opinion you will want to have some yarrow tincture on hand, here’s how to make it.
Where to source locally
If you live in the Eugene/ Springfield, Oregon or outside of Corvallis, Oregon here’s where to source your plants
Some local favorites are:
Seeds can be found through Mountain Rose Herbs website
Written by Kileen Swenson LAc MAOM practitioner at Well Balanced Center For Integrative Care