Five Medicinal Herbs to Grow from Seed

“Herbalism is the practice of using plants, fungi, and foods to support health, whether through offering nutrients, vitamins, minerals or other constituents that act on body systems, organs, and/or the body as a whole.”
– The Herbal Academy

With all sorts of viruses knocking on our door, autumn is the perfect time to grow herbs that you can use to create remedies to help with the aches, pains and sleep deprivation associated with winter colds and flus. There are many herbal allies that are very helpful during this season. Below, are five medicinal herbs that not only support the body and strengthen the immune system, but this set can also provide an opportunity to nourish yourself both mentally and can be mood-lifting during these longer, darker days of winter.

Bee Balm (Monarda Fistulosa), is an incredibly fragrant and beautiful herb is one of my very favorite perennials to grow in my garden due to its medicinal properties, delectable minty-citrus aroma, and vibrant colors. There are many different varieties of bee balm available, with thistle-like flowers in shades of pink, red, and purple. The name, bee balm, is derived from its attractiveness to bees and other pollinators, but it is sometimes also referred to as bergamot (a nod to the bergamot orange), wild bergamot, crimson bee balm, scarlet Monarda, sweet leaf, Oswego tea, lemon mint, wound healer, or horsemint. In some parts of the world, it can grow wild and be foraged through the summer months. I consider bee balm a staple in every cottage, cut flower, and apothecary garden. 

Bee balm has many beneficial attributes including antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-nausea properties used to naturally support those with eczema, sore throats, cold sores, achy muscles, and congestion. As a diaphoretic, it is used to naturally aid in relieving fevers. Fresh leaves can also be chewed as a natural mouthwash.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is an annual herb known for its medicinal, culinary, and ornamental attributes. It is easy to grow and pollinator friendly. There are several varieties of calendula, including single-flowered and double-flowered varieties in varying shades of yellow and orange, and even some new varieties with pink hues. I consider calendula another staple in every cottage and apothecary garden. Calendula has other common names, including common marigold, prophetic marigold, Scottish marigold, Marybud, summer’s bride, ruddles, and throughout-the-months.

Calendula is most widely appreciated for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a popular choice for naturally healing cuts, scrapes and scratches, and to naturally support those with dry skin, eczema, rashes, menstrual cramps, and digestive issues. Calendula is commonly infused in oil and used as a nourishing ingredient in skincare products including creams, lotions, balms, and salves, and is safe to be used topically on children.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) may have you scratching your head at first, but trust me, you’ll be so glad to have this in your winter apothecary. This aromatic plant has strong anticatarrhal properties which helps ease congestion and can help with allergies as well as colds and flus. One of the other important benefits of catnip is that it is an herbal sedative, meaning it has a relaxing agent that promotes sleep so it can be very helpful to treat insomnia, anxiety and headaches. It is also historically used to treat arthritis, coughs, fevers, and viruses. Even more interesting, it contains nepetalactone which can improve relaxation, mood boost and reduce anxiety and nervousness. With all these amazing properties, how could I not include it?

Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla) is, hands down, my favorite herbal fragrance in my garden with its sweet, fruity aroma. A member of the Asteraceae family, chamomile refers to two different plants, Roman chamomile, and German chamomile. Both are tall-growing annual varieties that produce dainty daisy-like flowers with yellow centers and white petals. It has long been used in teas and considered a “healing herb” valued its many beneficial properties. Chamomile is sometimes referred to as wild chamomile, blue chamomile, true chamomile, or scented mayweed. It is easy to grow, prolific, and very pollinator friendly, making it a fantastic choice for every garden.

Chamomile is prized for its soothing and nourishing properties but also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that naturally support those suffering from bloating, cramping, and indigestion. It is also sometimes used as a mild sedative to calm nerves, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality and is used to naturally support those with anxiety, stress, and depression. It is commonly incorporated into iced and hot herbal teas or infused into oils and commonly used in various skin care products such as balms, lotions, and salves for its medicinal uses and lovely fragrance.

Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis) I am a huge fan of lemon balm and am on a personal mission is to inspire everyone to grow and use it. A member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, lemon balm has vibrant green heart-shaped leaves with toothed margins and a bright lemony scent and flavor. Lemon balm is sometimes called sweet balm, sweet Mary, Melissa, balm mint, blue balm, gentle balm, honey leaf, honey plant, or heart’s delight. It is one of my very favorite perennials in my garden and I find myself dividing my plants every year to grow more.

Rich in vitamins and minerals, lemon balm has many beneficial attributes including antimicrobial, antiviral, and mild antidepressant properties can be used to naturally support those with headaches, digestive issues, nausea, abdominal paint, menstrual cramps, anxiety, and mild depression when ingested as an herbal tea or used in aromatherapy. When used topically, it naturally supports those with bee and wasp stings and skin conditions such as ulcers, wounds, scratches, scrapes, and cold sores. As a gentle nervine, it is safe to use on children. It can be infused in honey and used as a calming nighttime syrup to calm and rejuvenate the nervous system and promote peaceful sleep in both children and adults. Lemon balm is used to naturally improve memory and concentration and is used to support those with Alzheimer’s disease and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD.)

All five of these incredible herbs can be grown in your home or greenhouse year-round. No need to wait until spring to sow seeds. While my fall/winter grow-along project has passed, I saved all the supplies and tools from the project in an Amazon affiliate page called CHL Fall Grow Along Project for quick access. And, if you're looking for heirloom quality garden tools, I highly recommend Barebones Living.

So, what do you think? Ready to take your herbal journey to the next level and expand your knowledge of how plants can nourish, soothe, and support? The Herbal Academy has a wide range of top-ranked herbal courses, workshops, resources, workbooks, journals, and so much more.

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calendula grow your own herbs

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 Disclaimer: This article may contain affiliate links. Cedar House Living LLC receives a small commission for sales generated through these links at no additional cost to you. I use the commissions to further expand my garden, floral, and herbal knowledge so I can continue to share what I learn with you.

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