Many gardeners have already established an herb garden for culinary use; and, in many cases, this same garden may also be used for medicinal purposes. Through the ages, herbs have been thought to have medicinal value for human aliments. Folklore as well as science abounds on this topic.
Garlic chives are not only old favorites for flavoring soups and salads but are also used in Chinese medicine for the kidneys, lower back, and knees. If you have a catnip patch for your feline friends, you many want to try it yourself-fresh or dried-as a mild sedative and sleep aid.
Several herbs are worthy of consideration simply because of their medicinal uses. Feverfew, whether using the dried leaves in capsule form or as a tea, has been of benefit to migraine headache sufferers. Used daily, it has been shown to prevent the onset of migraines.
Peppermint tea will soothe an upset stomach, and chamomile tea will soothe the soul.
Echinacea is reputed to stimulate the immune system, and many swear by it as a cold and flu remedy, especially when combined with goldenseal. Even the lowly dandelion is considered a medicinal-a spring tonic, some say-that will detoxify the liver and purify the blood. Although many of these are available at health food stores at hefty prices, all can be had from the backyard garden for free!
Please note: this information is provided for education and reference only, and is not intended to substitute for the advice of physician, nor to encourage self-diagnosis or self-medication. Always seek medical advice for persistent symptoms. Also, as with many substances, plants used as food or medicine may cause an allergic reaction in some people.
Kathy Fiebig, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service