Every year vast numbers of people end up overmedicated for health issues that could be treated simply and effectively at home, or prevented by a healthier diet and lifestyle. A great way to treat some common health problems is with natural plant based remedies, some of which you can grow yourself in your own home or garden.
Most plants don’t give you the same dangerous side effects as modern day medications (though you should be aware that just because something is ‘plant-based’ doesn’t mean it can’t have side effects, or harm you if your overdose). Generally speaking, it’s also easier and more cost effective to turn to nature when you need healing.
There are a lot of different plants you can grow that can treat your ailments naturally. Some can be applied topically and some can be brewed into teas. You should make sure that you understand how much of a plant you should use, because just like medicines you get at the pharmacy, there are dosing guidelines you need to follow when using plants to treat ailments.
Lavender is a flowering plant that looks beautiful in a garden. But it’s also a natural treatment for headaches - even if those headaches are migraines. It’s the oil from the plant that gives a person relief from the pain. It can be applied directly to the skin or inhaled by boiling the plant and inhaling the oils as they’re released. Lavender is safe to use on the skin without having to dilute it.
Another plant that you can grow to treat headaches is peppermint. This plant is used by crushing the leaves and applying the mixture to the area of the body where you feel the pain. The oils are absorbed through the skin.
If you’ve ever had to deal with cluster headaches, you know how bad these can be to deal with. These headaches, which show up and then come back repeatedly over the course of several weeks can be difficult to treat with modern medicine because as soon as you stop the treatment, you can end up with rebound headaches.
One of the best natural remedies that you can plant indoors or outdoors to help with these types of headaches is cayenne pepper. This plant contains capsaicin, which is used to relieve pain. It can be applied directly to the skin. However, you should be extremely careful to keep any of the plant from touching your face. If the plant comes in contact with your eyes, it can cause unpleasant burning.
A side effect of this plant when applied topically is a burning sensation that does go away after a few minutes. If you’re prone to skin allergies, this may not be the right remedy for you to use. Thyme, when made into a tea can also be used to relieve the pain associated with headaches. Bay leaves are helpful in treating headaches as well.
Another good natural treatment for headaches is the bark of a willow tree. Admittedly, not everyone has the space or conditions to grow a willow tree in their back yard, (though if you do, you can start one off with a cutting from a mature tree).
One of the reasons willow bark is effective is because it contains salicin, which is comparable to what you’ll find contained in aspirin. It’s also a good treatment for anything that causes you to feel pain since it works like an aspirin does.
One drawback is that people who experience a reaction to aspirin could also potentially have a reaction to willow bark. It should not be used by nursing mothers or given to children due to the potential same side effects that aspirin can cause.
Doctors recommend that you get between six to eight hours of sleep every night. This is what’s best for your body. When you have insomnia, it can really take a toll on your personal and professional life. Plus, prolonged bouts of insomnia can cause your health to suffer. It can lead to sleep deprivation behavior, which can be dangerous.
Fortunately, there are plants that can treat this ailment. Many of these plants have a sedative quality to them, which helps relax your mind and body. As a result, you end up with a good night’s sleep.
One of these helpful plants is lemon balm. If you look closely at the leaves, you’ll see how they resemble the leaves if the mint plant. This is because lemon balm is in the same family of plants as the mint. It can be taken as a tea.
One flowering plant, that’s actually labeled as a weed is evening primrose - also commonly called primrose, is effective in treating insomnia. The flowers of the plant are colorful and quite beautiful. It’s best to grow this kind of plant with outdoor gardening rather than indoor gardening because it thrives outdoors.
Another plant that’s well-known to aid in helping to treat insomnia is woodruff. This plant has small white flowers and is a perennial. It has a sweet scent and grows best in shade rather than direct sunlight.
Passionflower is another plant that you can grow that’s used in the treatment of insomnia. The plant has medicinal properties that are used to produce calmness and a state of relaxation, which helps you get some sleep.
There are some plants that you can grow that work toward helping you to get a good night’s sleep. These are plants that you can use during your waking hours that won’t induce sleepiness so you’ll still be able to go about your day.
What one of these plants does is it relieves stress and tension which are the leading causes of insomnia other than reasons related to diseases. This plant is rosemary and it can be grown indoor or outside but it can grow to some substantial height. So what you might want to do if you’re into indoor gardening is to start the plant inside and then transfer it outside once it gains height.
Fevers, Colds and Coughs
There can be many different reasons for your body to develop a fever. The same stands true for a cough. Unless a doctor finds that the fever has a direct cause, the only thing you can really do for it is to treat the symptom, which is the fever itself.
For the common cold, there is no cure. All you can do when you catch a cold is to try your best alleviate the symptoms. Many of the over the counter remedies that are offered can sometimes make you feel worse because they make you feel fuzzy-headed or they’ll make you feel dizzy.
Instead of reaching for the mass-produced medication, you can grow what you need to treat a fever, a cough or the common cold. To treat a fever, the bark of the willow tree is good for this. Just like it treats headaches, it can also reduce your fever.
Another natural remedy you can use that you can grow yourself is sunflowers. These plants make a great addition to a garden because of their beauty and multi-purpose usefulness.
The seeds from the sunflower plant can be eaten and they contain helpful qualities like some of the B vitamins, folate and zinc. Plus, they fight against cancer cells. They’re hardy and easy to grow. It’s the leaves of the plant that can be use to make a tea that lowers fevers. Besides treating the fever, the sunflower is also helpful for reducing ailments such as a cough and a cold. So if you have a fever that’s associated with a cold, then you’re getting two-fold relief with one plant.
Chamomile is another plant that you can grow that’s helpful in reducing fevers. These flowering plants look like daisies but they’re not exactly the same. They’re very hardy and easy to grow. They can be grown indoors but also flourish outside. The plant can be taken in a tea form and is good for not only reducing fever but in the treatment of a cold as well.
Ginseng can also be used to alleviate cold symptoms. This plant is associated with Chinese medicine and has a long history of helping to treat ailments.
What this plant does when used is it triggers the immune system to battle the ailment. As a result of the power of this plant, the people who use it end up not being down with a cold or cough for the same length of time as someone who didn’t use ginseng.
One of the annoying symptoms that always seems to come along with getting a cold is all that congestion that just makes you feel miserable. You don’t have to put up with that if you grow your own medicinal plants. Peppermint is a decongestant that contains menthol, which is the ingredient you’ll see in many of the over the counter medications that are used to treat cold symptoms.
A surprising plant that’s effective with a cold is parsley. This plant helps to minimize the symptoms and it stimulates your immune system at the same time. While these plants can be grown outdoors, they are attractive to outdoor animals like rabbits so you’ll want to protect against that. Besides treatment for colds, this plant is great for relieving the symptoms associated with urinary tract infections.
Sometimes a cough that comes along with a cold can be the worst part of a cold. Often long after the cold is gone, the cough will stubbornly remain in place. That’s because your upper respiratory system has been irritated. Fennel is a plant that belongs with the celery family and is effective for treating coughs. This plant needs a lot of sunlight. It can be grown indoors but is better suited for outside gardening. Not only will you find this plant useful for treating coughs, but it can be a tasty addition to meals as well.
Anise is a small growing plant that’s perfect for growing indoors. To use this plant to treat a cough, you would use the seeds. After mashing the seeds, you would let them steep as if you were making a tea. Drinking the liquid calms a cough.
Thyme is also successfully used to treat coughing. This is a sturdy plant that grows easily. It’s a perennial plant and can be used to make a tea that helps to get rid of your cough. The reason that this plant works well is because it calms muscle spasms. When you cough, especially repeatedly, this is caused by smooth muscle spasms. The thyme relaxes those muscles so you don’t feel like you have to cough.
Constipation and Diarrhea
When you are struggling with constipation, it can make you feel absolutely miserable. It can cause bloating, stomach cramps and make you feel sluggish. What happens when you take over the counter medication to treat this ailment is the side effects can often swing you all the way to the other end of the spectrum and you end up with diarrhea.
It might surprise you to know that a very effective plant that you can grow to treat constipation is aloe vera. Although this plant is widely known for its topical uses, the latex of the plant is extremely effective in curing constipation. One plant that’s considered a weed but is effective to treat constipation is the dandelion. The root of the dandelion is a natural laxative that won’t give you those harsh side effects like you get with over the counter medications.
To get the benefit from this plant, you would need to boil the root and it doesn’t take much to be effective. You only need about a teaspoon for every cup of boiling water. Be sure you strain out the root parts before you before you pour it into a cup. Mild cases are often resolved with one to two cups of the tea.
To treat diarrhea naturally, you need to make a tea from blackberry leaves. These are very hardy plants that can be grown indoors or out. You can also use the leaves from a raspberry plant if you prefer that over growing blackberries.
Treating Skin Ailments
You want to take care of your skin because it’s what keeps germs from entering your body. There are several types of skin ailments that can be effective treated with the use of plants. If you burn yourself cooking in the kitchen or through some other task, you’ll want to use an aloe vera plant.
To treat the burn, you break one of the leaves of the plant and use the gel contained within to cover the burn. Lavender is another plant that, like aloe vera, can be effectively used to treat non-serious burns.
Dandelions can be used to treat eczema and so can peppermint. You would use the dandelion as a tea to treat eczema. The oil from a peppermint plant is applied topically to the affected area. The oil reduces the itching as well as the inflammation caused by the condition. The goldenrod flower has also been used to treat eczema.
Along with skin irritants like burns and eczema, you might battle fungal conditions. This is used topically to treat the fungal infection. Chamomile, when used as a bath can be used to treat antifungal conditions. Cloves are also good for treating fungal conditions. Oregano leaves can be used to treat fungal infections especially those ones that infect the toenails or fingernails. This plant can be grown indoor or outdoor and can also be used as a food spice.
Remember it is possible to be allergic to, overdose on and wrongly use plant remedies, with serious effects. If you’re serious about growing and using plant based remedies I suggest you invest in Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use. It will give you a much deeper knowledge of both growing and using your healthy remedies.