Medicinal garden?

Cyndi

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I was wondering if anyone can give some suggestions for plants (herb, spice, whatever) to include in a medicinal garden. I am a former paramedic and would like to use natural health boosters and treatments. I already use some but am wanting to expand my medical garden. Any suggestions welcome!
 

Mandy Onderwater

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I'm currently growing lemon balm and turmeric myself, both which have medicinal purposes.
What you wish to grow and what you can grow can differ depending on what climate you are in. But you could definitely consider these;
Lemon balm, turmeric, ginger, lavender, chamomile, garlic, ginseng, dandelions and mint.

You would be surprised as to how many "common" plants actually have medicinal benefits too :)
 

Cyndi

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Thanks guys! I have many of those, although I just got the comfrey and haven't planted it out yet. I also have feverfew, echinacea, and a couple others I'd have to go look at the names of. 😊 I haven't heard of mugwort so I will have to look it up!
 

JP 1983

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If there was one book I could recommend for the North American context it would be the 304 pages of Nicole Apelian and Claude Davis, The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies (2020).

This work contains 200+ weeds, plants, trees, fungi and other home remedies (e.g. charcoal, epsom, borax, diatomaceous earth), and instructions to make teas, salves, extractions, tinctures, balms, ointments, poultices etc. Also included is a quick-list of individual ailments (e.g. cancer, digestive, childhood, ear, eye etc.) with page and remedy references. It is beautifully illustrated and easy to navigate. The only downsides for this book is it lacks references or a bibliography to take the student further on individual topics, and it is geared solely towards herbal remedies common to North America, making it of less use in Oz (but its sections on apothecarial preparations are excellent, and some of the common plants were brought to Oz by the British).

For Australian audiences I would recommend the 303 pages of E. V. Lassak and T. McCarthy's Australian Medicinal Plants (2nd Ed.; 2011).

This work contains only Australian native medicinal plants and they are arranged according to medicinal function: Narcotics and painkillers; Headaches, colds & fevers; Tonics; Antiseptics & bactericides; Skin disorders; Digestion; Miscellaneous. This book is easily navigable, and has useful tables and excellent references/bibliography. The major flaw is the lack of photos/illustrations, meaning you will have to do additional preparation on a site like Atlas of Living Australia to acquaint yourself with the identifications of many of the non-illustrated plants.

Cheryll Williams' series, Medicinal Plants in Australia (2010-2013) is more detailed and has far more illustrations, albeit over 1200+ pages in 4 volumes.

Volume 1 is general "Bush Pharmacy", including items such as early colonial experiments with Sarsparillia, Sassafras, grass trees, Eucalyptus, flowers, nectars, lerps and bush drinks.
Volume 2 is dedicated to gums, resins, tannins and essential oils including eucalyptus, melaleuca, pines, myrtles and acacias.
Volume 3 contains elaborate details on toxic Australian plants, including cycads, blackbean, native sweet potatoes (Ipomoea), corrosives and fish poisons.
Volume 4 is an apothecary's guide, which includes dozens of old mixing tables for preparing various herbal medicines.

Williams' work seems a little more disorderly on first glance, but she does organise sections into useful tables for quick reference. There is, sadly, no quick reference section for specific conditions (which is what makes Apelian's North American book so excellent, as well as the general ailment organising principle of Lassak & McCarthy). However, Williams also has a truly massive bibliography in each volume for further study and learning.

All the best to a medicinally self-sufficient future free of crime & corruption!
 
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Cyndi

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Thats so awesome! I just got the lost book about two weeks ago! 😊 I'm reading up on veggies and hugelkultur now, so it's in my stack to get to asap! Thank you for the info- I'm going to look into more resources to help me learn so I'm not so dependent on my "modern medicine" type training only! 😊
 

JP 1983

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@Cyndi

I just finished browsing Andrew Chevallier's The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants (1996). While an "older" book, it has great details, excellent pictures of all relevant parts of the listed plants, and instructions on how to prepare and administer each as a herbal remedy. Chevallier's work is general, covering the most important medicinal plants from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania. It includes overviews of herbal traditions for each region. It's only lacking somewhat on references and further reading. It's a good general resource, although I think Apelian's exceeds it for quality.

There are other detailed works out there as well. Another recent acquisition of mine is Marilyn Barrett's Handbook of Clinically Tested Herbal Remedies (2006; 2 Vols) which details clinical successes and failures of 160+ herbal products developed from various plants. This book focuses less on the individual plants and more on their active biochemical properties as developed by various extant and defunct companies, tested on human subjects in controlled clinical settings. It's a different perspective showing that clinically not every herbal remedy "works", although some are quite potent indeed.
 
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