There are hundreds of remarkably common herbs, flowers, berries and plants that serve all kinds of important medicinal and health purposes such as anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, insect repellent, antiseptic, expectorant, antibacterial, detoxification, fever reduction, antihistamine and pain relief.
In ancient times, monks and physicians grew gardens specifically full of healing herbs called Physics. A physic garden is a place where plants with medicinal properties grow. For thousands of years, people have been using plants to cure all kinds of ills.
A physic garden brings an array of healing herbs into one potent place and becomes a space for learning, research, and experimentation. I have listed four great herbs to help you start your own physics garden. You do not need a large backyard and you don’t need to have a green thumb. These herbs can be grown in pots and require little maintenance.
Mint Health Uses
Mint is one of the most common and easiest to grow herbs. There are various types of mint including peppermint, spearmint, Korean mint, apple mint and regular old mint (avoid pennyroyal, it is poisonous). Most mints are enriched with vitamin A and C and contain manganese and iron.
Mint is perfect for soothing headaches, fighting nausea and reducing nervousness and fatigue. It can also treat fevers and flatulence as well as making a great mouthwash.
Peppermint Herbal Mouthwash
1/2 c. Aloe Vera juice
1/4 c. water
1 Tsp. witch hazel
1 Tsp. baking soda
10 drops peppermint essential oil
You can make your own peppermint essential oil by crushing the peppermint leaves and adding them to almond oil. Leave the oil on the window sill in the sun for 2-3 days. Shaking occasionally then filtering through a fine muslin cloth.
Combine the Aloe Vera juice, water, and witch hazel in a bottle. Gently add in the baking soda, being careful that a reaction doesn’t overflow. Add your drops of peppermint essential oil, cover, and shake vigorously. Store in a cool, dark area for up to 2 weeks.
Sage Health Benefits
Sage is an incredibly useful herb, widely considered to be perhaps the most valuable herb. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antifungal. Sage or Salvia officinalis, is derived from the Latin word, salvere, which means ‘to be saved.
Sage aids digestion, relieves cramps, reduces diarrhea, dries up phlegm, fights colds, reduces inflammation and swelling, acts as a salve for cuts and burns, and kills bacteria. It has also been used to ‘unblock’ menopause.
Due to its astringent quality, too much sage tea can cause a dry mouth, and skin irritation can occur with topical use. So when making a calming tea, it is advised to blend sage with catnip (Nepeta cataria), lavender or mint.
Sore-throat sage gargle
Put a large pinch of dried sage leaves into about a half cup (100 mL) of water. Bring to a boil and infuse for 15 minutes. Strain, sweeten with honey and use as a gargle twice a day.
Marjoram/Oregano Health Benefits
Marjoram and oregano are often used interchangeably, but the aromatic sweet marjoram is slightly different. The Greeks called it the “Joy of the Mountain” and it was revered throughout the Mediterranean for its fragrance, flavour and medicinal value. Marjoram has many uses (it’s a famous digestive aid) but it is effective as an antifungal, antibacterial and disinfectant treatment in a pinch.
Another benefit of Marjoram is the enhancement of the cardiovascular and circulatory system. It helps by eliminating common risks associated with cardiovascular disease. With sedative and antidepressant qualities, Marjoram has a variety of psychological and neurological benefits.
Strong Marjoram Tea
Add two teaspoons of Marjoram to a cup of 7 ounces of cold water. Let it soak for 24 hours and add honey to it. An even stronger tea may be made by adding 6 teaspoons Marjoram to 7 ounces of water. It has a calming, anti-depressive effect.
Feverfew Health Benefits
Feverfew is a plant that has well-known and documented health properties and medicinal benefits. This anti-inflammatory can treat rheumatism, arthritis and, most famously, migraine headaches and tension headaches. It’s also good for alleviating tension and general anxiety (it is a natural serotonin inhibitor).
Feverfew Medicinal Uses
It also helps to reduce swelling and bruising. Feverfew is most effective when taken daily. Feverfew medicinal herb can help with flatulence, lack of appetite, cuts, and scrapes. Harvest the young leaves of this annual plant as needed.
Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 Tbsp. fresh or dried feverfew leaves and steep for 30 – 60 minutes. The longer you let it steep, the stronger the feverfew medicinal tea. Allow yourself to be guided by your body’s wisdom in how long to steep it. It is a very bitter tea, but I would prefer it over a migraine. While bitter flavours are not that popular in our modern culture, bitters are actually a tonic that boosts and stimulates the body as a whole.