Did you know that several ornamental plants that are found in your garden are also natural remedies? Did you also know that several known medicinal plants could be part of your decorative flowerbeds?

We present here some of these plants with their properties, and tips on how to use them. You will discover a new aspect to your plants, which will take care of your health and help brighten your soul more with their beauty!

Alchemilla (Alchemilla vulgaris L.)

Parts used: Leaves and flowering tops

Properties and applications: Alchemilla tones the tissues of the reproductive system, and is particularly useful to reduce excessive menstrual flow and menstrual cramps. It also helps “restore” the uterus after childbirth; in addition, its effects are similar to progesterone, and being associated with astringency, it is useful in cases of cysts and fibroids.

Arnica (Arnica montana L.)

Parts used: Flowers

Properties and applications: Arnica is a specialist for bruises on the skin. It is used to relieve mild trauma, blows, sprains, muscle strains and other closed injuries. It cannot be used for internal use or on open wounds.

Bee balm (Monarda didyma L.)

Parts used: Flowers and flowering tops

Properties and Applications: Bee balm is an analgesic, a mild antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antifungal, calming, carminative, digestive, fungicidal and tonic.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis L.)

Parts used: Flowers

Properties and Applications: A specialist in skin, calendula is healing, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiseptic.

Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus L.)

Parts used: Flowers

Properties and Applications: Knapweed is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, and bile duct acting. It is also choleretic, cleansing, digestive, diuretic, ophthalmic, and tonic. Its antibiotic properties have also been recently discovered.

Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)

Parts used: roots, leaves and flowers

Properties and applications: A specialist in infections – antiviral and antimicrobial – Echinacea stimulates the immune system. It can be used to combat a wide variety of infections ranging from colds to more severe infections, but not in the prevention of these, because in the long run, it can over-stimulate the immune system.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium (L.)Sch. Bip.)

Parts used: Leaves and flowering tops

Properties and Applications: An anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, vasodilator, bitter tonic, the feverfew plant is the sovereign of migraines and other nervous problems. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also ease acute attacks of arthritis, rheumatoid and other inflammatory diseases. Feverfew is also an emmenagogue (an agent that promotes normal cycles of menstruation) and a uterine stimulant.

German chamomile (Matricaria recutita L.)

Parts used: Flowers

Properties and Applications: Soothing and digestive, chamomile is an excellent plant for various digestive disorders. Very rich in calcium, it is mineralizing and is endowed with alkaline properties. It is used for many nervous conditions: Stress, PMS, restless children, and so forth. Used externally, its anti-inflammatory relieves inflammation of the skin and muscle pain.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill.)

Parts used: Flowers and flowering tops

Properties and applications: Lavender is sedative, and is calming, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-infective. It heals wounds and is relaxing. Its effects are useful for nervous, muscular, respiratory and skin systems. It is a universal tonic.

Musk mallow (Malva moschata L.)

Parts used: Flowers

Properties and Applications: This plant is soothing, anti-inflammatory, calming, healing, emollient, laxative, nutritive, and regenerative for pectoral sores. A specialist for skin and mucous membranes throughout the body, it softens and protects.

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)

Parts used: Flowers

Properties and applications: An antibiotic and immune tonic, nasturtium is also an expectorant, antiseptic, diuretic and is slightly laxative. It can be used as a tea or decoction for rinsing limp hair, and in cases of hair loss.

Rose (Rosa spp.)

Parts used: Petals

Properties and Applications: The rose is a great regenerative for the skin and mucous membranes, and the intestinal tract as well. The moisturizing effect of this flower is highly appreciated. Useful for the nervous system, its essential oil content gives it euphoric, nervous, and sedative properties.

If you have the pleasure of cultivating medicinal plants on your balcony, or on a larger scale, in your garden, you are guaranteed of quality. Take care of your plants and they take care of you.

Wild Pansy (Viola tricolor L.)

Parts used: Flowers and roots

Properties and applications: Depurative, calming, healing, and emollient, the pansy is excellent for all skin diseases, respiratory system and mucous membranes.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium L.)

Parts used: flowering tops and leaves

Properties and Applications: Yarrow invigorates the circulation, and is useful in cases of phlebitis, varicose veins and tired legs. It is a fever specialist. It tones and regulates the female reproductive system too, and helps eliminate excess estrogen. Useful for cysts, fibroids, endometriosis and also in premenopausal women.

Useful information

You can easily make your health products (massage oil, ointment, salve, syrup, liquid concentrate, herbal decoction, capsule, tablets, etc.) with the tools you have in your kitchen. Traditional herbal medicine has been practiced for hundreds of years with success around the world. Learning the basics is simple and easy. It provides greater autonomy, and is very nourishing for the soul as well as being enjoyable. Moreover, this activity is one that can be done very well with the family.

Tips for Harvesting and Storing Your Herbs

The Proper Time to Harvest

Herbs are harvested as when needed, ideally from 36 to 48 hours of good weather. Leaves are harvested before flowering, early in the day, when the dew has dried. Flowering tops, flowers and seeds are harvested in the heat of the sun. Roots are harvested late in the afternoon in the fall, after the first heavy frosts.

Drying

Do not wash the leaves, just shake them and remove the leaves that are not very attractive. Tie the plants in small clumps and hang in a well-ventilated, dry, dark place. Flowers should be dried upside down, placed on a cloth or mesh as a net. Roots ought to be washed, patted dry, cut into slices, and then dried.

The Conservation of Dried Medicinal Plants

To preserve their properties, you must keep plants away from moisture and light. Leaves and dried flowers have a shelf life of two years. You must therefore renew your inventory regularly. Roots and fruits have a shelf life of four or five years. The life of seeds is similar to their germination time.