Flower Power: Easy to Grow Medicinal Herbs

April showers bring May flowers. Fortunately, there are plenty of great medicinal flowers that you can easily plant this gardening season. Whether in a pot on your balcony or in a backyard, these herbs are easy to maintain and can provide your family with fresh medicinal botanicals.

Chamomile is a white flower, with a bright yellow centre. It looks like a daisy. German chamomile needs full sun and well-drained soil. This is a low maintenance plant, needing minimal watering. Give chamomile lots of room to grow. Pick off the flowering tops, dry them and use these for tea. Relaxing and soothing, this herb can assist with sleep and nervousness. Upset stomachs also feel better with a strong chamomile tea or tincture.

Bunch of white chamomile flowers

Marigolds have a long history of use in herbal medicine. When you grow marigold alongside other plants this flower can act as a natural insect repellent, keeping bugs at bay. Pluck off the yellow and orange flowering tops and set to dry. Marigold can be combined with alcohol to make a tincture or used as a tea. Use a cold marigold tea compress on chapped skin, scrapes and burns. This herb is specific for skin inflammation and injury. Marigolds are easy to grow. Moderate watering, well-drained soil and bright sun are all they require to flower all season, into the fall.

Yellow and orange magnolias

The violet, pink and white flowers of the Echinacea plant are very attractive. Another super easy to grow plant, only requiring minimal watering and full sun to flourish. Echinacea is an antiviral herb, and may be able to reduce the duration and severity of a cold. There are three different species of Echinacea all of which have medicinal properties, although slightly different.  You can make a tincture or a tea.

Purple echinacea
Flowers help pollinator insects like bees.
Rows of Smirnoff Vodka bottles
Not all vodka is made from potatoes. Smirnoff is made from wheat.

Tinctures are alcohol extracts of botanicals. Place the desired herb, chopped finely, in a bottle of 40% alcohol, and put in a dark cupboard for two weeks. I usually use a potato (not wheat) vodka. The alcohol does a better job than water at extracting medicinal properties. So tinctures are more potent than teas. You only use a small amount at a time, so there are no risks of getting drunk. Tinctures can be expensive in stores, so making your own can be a great way to save money. Use the freshest, organic herbs you can find. Or grow them yourself!

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