To start, I looked for an appropriate forum for this subject and couldn't find a perfect one, so I'm putting it here in Organics, because that's the best way to grow your own Anything. (Maybe it is a subject that needs it's own sub-forum?)
2nd - standard disclaimer - always check with your licensed medical provider before starting a new substance -
And now the meat of it!
I have long been a student of what is often thought of as "alternative" medicine; finding the herbs, roots
, flowers, barks and such that have been the basis for our current form of (Big Pharma) medicine. Until recently I have stuck to a few safe choices of herbs to cover what I have typically run into as a mom. Chamomile is great to settle nerves and an upset tummy. It also is soothing when consumed as a hot tea with milk
(probably the warm milk) to help one settle for sleep!
Spearmint is my preferred mint, but peppermint is also among my homegrown remedies for upset stomach.
I don't grow my own raspberry leaves, but I've used plenty in various teas, looking for relief from girl pains! Red Raspberry leaves are also rich in potassium, iron, magnesium and B vitamins.
Calendula flowers I do grow, and harvest, and dry. I use them in my all natural herbal ointment that can be used for just about anything, and just about everywhere you have skin!! (I find that needing to add to the label to avoid eating it must mean that there are more dumb/stoopid people
out there than ever before!) I also use these flowers in teas just as a general tonic!
most folks who can keep aloe vera and are interested in natural options for medicines, do keep aloe growing somewhere nearby. I have 2 kinds; one is the "safer" variety that has little if any thorny parts. But I also have many plants of another, much more thorny variety. These are a remnant of my mother's yard
, and they grow like weeds, sending pups off rapidly. In a single calendar year, after planting just 3, I had a whole patch of them. They work just as well as the non-thorny variety!
I also gravitate towards garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cilantro. But while I've grown garlic and cilantro successfully, the ginger and turmeric were more difficult for me. I'm still not sure what the trouble was, how to fix it. They started growng, and I was excited to see them begin to sprout up. Then they just failed. I suppose it could be that I live in a very hot summer part of the United States (inland southern california).
I used to have a fennel plant that my children would nibble the seeds every year. I gathered as many as I could when they were ripe. I've added crushed fennel seeds to a tea as well, giving it a bit of black licorice flavor. Fennel helps with nausea, and can pass through breast milk to help settle a colicky baby, though by the time I was growing my own, there were no breast-feeding babies!
With my upcoming move to a very different environment (West Virginia), I have been researching many other medicinals I hope to grow or wild-craft some home remedies from. I have purchased plenty of comfrey, both leaf and root
, and used it in that above-mentioned ointment. I have now ordered roots for that property and have had my daughter get them planted ahead of my arrival! They are looking good. I will divide them after I get there and put some just about everywhere for all the possible uses that comfrey is well known for, not just the medicinal
qualities, but for critter forage and top-dressing green manure!
I understand there is a ton of Japanese Knotweed there as well, and it has some medicinal uses too! My research says that while not all parts are edible, those that are have a short window of usefulness. Gather young shoots in April and May, while they are still tender enough
to eat. Most of it's medicinal properties are related to the Resveratrol content, which it is reported to have a cognitive impact, keeping brain pathways energized. AND it can be eaten by goats with no ill effects.
Elderberry will grow there, and I ordered a pound of them from a mail-order source at the beginning of this outbreak of Covid-19 to make a syrup for us if we should
need it. I have ordered seeds sent to that daughter, but she is so busy there hasn't been the time to get them started! If you aren't familiar with Elderberry, it boosts the immune system. Elderberry is antioxidant, antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.
I look forward to growing hawthorn for the berries that are a heart tonic, and my own witch hazel.
Common Mullein is already growing there, and my daughter didn't know what it was before she cut it down, but did think to use an app to ID the plant. I'm finding it is a good herb to use for respiratory ailments. Sometimes as a tea/infusion of the leaves or flowers, sometimes as a root decoction, and even by smoking the leaves in an ordinary pipe to alleviate asthma!
Once I finally get to my new location in the hills of WV, I hope to greatly expand my experience
and repertoire of herbal alternative medicines. I hope to create a minor apothecary available to us, and to educate at least 1 of the 4 grandchildren I will have access to! It's all about passing on the knowledge, right?