5 Medicinally Useful Herbs for your Garden this Spring #WellbeingWednesday

With the arrival of Spring, the trees have budded, the flowers bloomed and people are cleaning their yards and getting gardens prepped for the upcoming season. This week happens to be, Naturopathic Medicine Week, so for today’s Wellbeing Wednesday tip, I thought I would share with you 5 wonderful Spring time herbs that are medicinally useful and a wonderful addition to any garden.

Stinging nettle or common nettle, Urtica dioica, perennial flowering plant
Stinging nettle or common nettle, Urtica dioica, perennial flowering plant

Stinging Nettle: This has to be one of my favorite herbs. It is effective in treating allergic rhinitis by reducing inflammation, relieving nearly all the symptoms of itchy, watery eyes, sneezing and runny nose. It is rich in a plethora of minerals, such as; iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and silica, offering great nutrition to a diet. Just be careful when picking fresh nettles, as their exterior is prickly and will “sting” you.

Foraged edible dandelion flowers and greens in bowl
Foraged edible dandelion flowers and greens in bowl

Dandelion Greens: Although many think of dandelion as an annoying weed, they are in fact, a nutrient dense herb high in; calcium, potassium, zinc, vitamins A, B, C, D and K. The root is quite bitter, detoxifying the liver, while the leaves are more of a diuretic benefiting the kidneys. Feel free to add these greens to salads, sandwiches, even smoothies. Your body will thank you.

calendula

Calendula: is a great addition to a healer’s garden. Its striking orange flowers are used as a soothing skin wash, tea and salve. Because it is so gentle, calendula is often an ingredient in diaper salves and other baby related skincare items. They also happen to be edible adding a colourful addition to a salad.

Glass jar with dried camomile near wooden spoon and daisy flowers
Glass jar with dried camomile near wooden spoon and daisy flowers

Chamomile is a sweetly scented, light tasting herb with its benefits known for many years. It is very helpful in relaxing the nervous system and promoting a restful sleep. It also helps to relax the digestive system, calming a nervous tummy. This is a wonderful herb that can be used by everyone in the family, often touted for putting little children to bed.

Detail of a field of Lavandula stoechas
Field of Lavandula stoechas

Lavender is another herb that is very effective yet gentle enough for children and elders. It has an affinity for the nervous system, relaxing the body and mind. I often put a little dried lavender steeped with chamomile tea to help calm a busy mind. Lavender oil has been used as a bug repellent for centuries and can prevent bites from mosquitoes and other insects. The diluted oil can also be applied directly to bites to relieve itching and inflammation.

I hope you get to enjoy using some of these medicinal herbs and perhaps will get a chance to explore even more.


Rachel_Schwartzman_HSRachel Schwartzman is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, Doula and Acupuncturist. She practices in Toronto and can be reached at 416-371-3422. To learn more about Dr. Rachel take a peek at rachelschwartzman.com

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