Feeling a little under-the-weather? Try growing these 3 medicinal plants for a healthier winter season next year!
Winter is a great time to plan next season’s garden, but unfortunately, it’s also the season for colds, the flu, and other nasty germs. When planning out your new garden, why not include some traditional medicinal plants that may actually help to improve your health? Many medicinal herbs also have beautiful flowers and attract beneficial pollinating insects to your garden – it’s a win-win all around!
Not only will these plants look beautiful in your garden, but when used properly, they may also help to boost your immunity, relieve symptoms of illness, and help you enjoy a healthier and happier winter season next year! Most of these are quite easy to grow and will even do well in pots on your balcony or patio.
Here are 3 medicinal plants to try growing in your garden next year:
Calendula is a beautiful flower that ranges in color from orange to yellow. It’s an annual, which means you’re going to need to plant it from seed in the garden each year. But, it’s actually fairly cold hardy and will last well into the fall.
It’s also a prolific bloomer, meaning you’re going to get lots of blooms all summer long and into the fall, which is fabulous. And when the flowers dry up, they leave behind the seed pods which are very easy to just crumble off into your hands and save the seed to replant next year.
Calendula is also a great addition to a pollinator garden. The bees love it, and of course we always want to attract and help out our honey bees. And finally, it’s got some great useful and medicinal purposes to it too.
Benefits of calendula include:
- Easy to grow and save seeds for replanting
- Prolific bloomer
- Attracts pollinators
- Used as a natural dye (often used to dye clothes and even cheese)
- Anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory
- Helps to soothe skin
- Can be infused in oil to create homemade salves, balms, soaps and creams (this is my favorite calendula based wound healing salve recipe)
(Also known as purple coneflower. Medicinal varieties are E. purpurea, E. pallida, and E. angustifolia.)
Echinacea is of of my very favorite medicinal flowers to grow because it’s a perennial, which means I only have to plant them once and they keep on providing me with a bountiful harvest year after year after year. So I love perennials both in my flowers and my herbs, as well as with my fruits and vegetables…
Echinacea is a beautiful flower and, like calendula, it’s rather cold hardy. So it will send up blossoms in the summer and go all the way into the fall until your first hard frost. And after the plant gets established, you will get some blooms and some flowers within the first year.
All parts of the echinacea plant are medicinal, so everything from the roots to the leaves to the flowers. I harvest the blossoms and the leaves -and you can harvest them at any age of the plant- and I make the leaves and flowers into a tincture. The root is typically what we see in things like echinacea tea.
You typically wouldn’t want to harvest the root until the plant is at least two to three years old, and you harvest that in the fall after it’s gone through its first hard frost. The bees love this one as well, so it’s a great for attracting pollinators. And of course, medicinally, echinacea is really well known for helping to aid or boost the immune system.
Now, you can grow echinacea from seed, but it’s one that the seeds require stratification. Stratification means that the seed needs to go through a cold time, as well as a certain moisture level in order for it to germinate well. So I found it easiest to just go ahead and grab a couple of starts.
Benefits of Echinacea:
- Perennial plant
- Cold tolerant
- Attracts pollinators
- All parts of the plant are medicinal
- Helps to boost immune system when taken orally as a tincture or tea
The final plant on my list today is sage. Sage is one of my very favorite plants. I love the sage leaves: they’re almost velvety to the touch! And they’re a very pretty silvery green. It’s also a perennial, so once you plant it, it’s going to keep coming back..
One of the best things about sage is that I can still go out right now and harvest a few sage leaves. Now, I’m not getting any new sage leaves, but whatever was growing, it just gets halted when the really cold temperatures and hard frost hits. Then in early spring it will start producing again.
Sage is one of my favorite herbs to use in cooking. Medicinally, it’s also an herb that I always grab and add to tea whenever I start to feel a bit of a scratch or I need to help soothe my throat.
Benefits of sage include:
- Hardy perennial plant
- Cold hardy: leave can be harvested all through the winter
- Excellent flavor for a culinary herb
- Can help to soothe sore throats when taken as a tea
Listen to the Pioneering Today Podcast here for more awesome medicinal plants to grow in your garden: