Common Plants for Medicinal Herb Gardens
- Echinacea purpurea, or purple coneflower, is used to shorten the duration of colds and flu symptoms. This herb has properties that stimulate the immune system and reduce inflammation. It contains flavonoids, polysaccharides and glycoproteins, among other chemicals. All parts of the plant are used in herbal remedies, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Echinacea purpurea grows to approximately 3 feet in height. It thrives in zones 3 to 10 (see zones for resources) and prefers a well-drained soil with a neutral pH. The flowers bloom between June and October. (see reference 2)
- Aloe vera is a short-stemmed succulent plant that is used as a treatment for minor skin burns and irritations. The leaves contain a clear gel that moistens and hydrates damaged skin. The sap contains chemical compounds such as anthraquinones, andlectins and mannans that also give the herb usefulness as a digestive stimulant and laxative when taken internally.
Aloe vera is hardy to zone 8 and flowers between May and June. The plant grows in well-drained soils of any acidity, alkalinity or nutritional quality. However, it cannot grow in the shade. Aloe vera requires full sunlight.
- Yarrow, or Achillea millefolium, is widely used in herbal medicine. This herb has value as a fever reducer and pain reliever. It is also used to staunch the flow of blood and as a treatment for external wounds. According to the Plants for a Future Database, yarrow has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. Yarrow leaves can also be used in salads when they are young and tender, and the flowers and leaves make an aromatic tea.
Yarrow plants are hardy to USDA hardiness zone 2 and are not frost-sensitive. They prefer full sunlight but also grow in partial shade. They are both drought tolerant and saline tolerant, and they grow in either acid or alkaline soils. Yarrow can tolerate dry or moist soil and even soil that is poor in nutrients as long as it is well-drained.
- Goldenrod, or Solidago virgaurea, grows in Europe, Asia and North America. It is an astringent used to treat wounds and slow bleeding. It also provides relief for conditions such as kidney stones and urinary tract disorders. Goldenrod contains chemical compounds called saponins that have antifungal properties and act against the candida fungus, the organism that causes oral thrush and vaginal yeast infections.
Goldenrod is hardy to zone 5 and self-pollinates. It is not particular about lighting or soil types; in fact, it can be grown nearly anywhere, but it is apt to drain the soil of nutrients, according to the Plants for a Future Database.