Spirituality and healing have been connected for centuries.
Hildegard of Bingen was a revered woman of the Middle Ages. Hildegard taught many in her devoted retinue of healing with herbs, and how to use natural elements to keep the body in balance. The following are some herbs you can plant to have your own patch of Hildegard’s healing garden right at home.
German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
Much like chamomile tea is used for easing anxiety, the raw herb chamomile is able to provide similar harmonizing health benefits.
There are two different varieties of chamomile. The more popular is said to be German chamomile. The other variety is called English, or Roman, chamomile.
Both types of chamomile are said to be helpful in alleviating the same types of ailments.
“Chamomile has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. Historically, it has been used to treat many conditions, including: chest colds; sore throats; abscesses; gum inflammation; anxiety; insomnia; psoriasis, acne; eczema; minor first-degree burns; inflammatory bowel disease; stomach ulcers…” says the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Some even say that chamomile can help prevent some types of hair loss. However, there is no unequivocal evidence that supports this claim yet.
“Chamomile is also useful in hair treatments,” say the writers of Livestrong. “The yellow color of chamomile infusion imparts brightness and shine and lightened the color of hair. Rinsing with chamomile may also help reduce or prevent hair loss…”
Aside from possibly reducing some stress and anxiety, Chamomile has also been reported to aid in digestion while protecting the intestines and digestive system from stress caused by oxidation.
“Recent research suggests chamomile may have potent antioxidant activity, protecting the liver and the digestive tract from oxidative damage, and blocking certain inflammatory pathways, helping reduce inflammation throughout the body,” says Mother Earth Living magazine.
To Grow Your Own Chamomile
This plant can be started indoors before spring starts, about six weeks before the final thaw.
You can also transplant chamomile to your garden once temperatures become favorable. However, Chamomile is said to not fair well in climates reaching above 100 degrees.
Aloe (aloe barbadensis miller)
Aloe Vera is a wonderful plant to keep around the house. For those times when you catch a burn from handling a hot pan from the oven, or have a minor scrape, breaking off a tiny piece of aloe may provide an instant sensation of cooling relief.
Aloe has many medicinal benefits. It is even rumored that ancient beauties Cleopatra and Nefertiti used aloe in an effort to maintain their natural beauty.
Aloe is a very gentle and mild substance on skin. It does not have to be adulterated or diluted, just apply it directly to the affected area of skin. Some sources say that aloe can help to improve skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema and even scarring. Discover more healing benefits of aloe vera.
To Grow Your Own Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera can be purchased in many places. Some grocery stores even carry aloe plants. Aloe can also be grown by taking an aloe cutting and germinating it in a cup of water.
Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)
Lavender has an abundance of therapeutic benefits. That is why it is among one of the most widely-used essential oils worldwide. Inhaling the sweet aromatic scent of floral lavender is said to alleviate tension and calm nerves. Some claim it can be beneficial in helping individuals with bruxism, or individuals who grind their teeth together at night. It can also ease headaches, and is said to be soothing when applied to skin in salves or hand and body creams.
Growing lavender can be tricky, but botany experts suggest growing lavender indoors can be an optimal way to keep the air smelling fresh, clean and free of impurities. Lavender is often grown with cuttings taken from other lavender plants. However, a selection of inexpensive lavender seeds can be purchased here.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil is said to relieve symptoms of indigestion, including acid reflux and the uncomfortable feeling you sometimes get from being too full following a meal. Basil is often handy to have around the house. Not only can you use this tasty herb in culinary dishes, like many pastas and meat entrees, but basil is rumored to help dull the pain of certain types of headaches, and possibly help reduce the symptoms of an ear ache.
Basil may even be used to help efface blemishes and discoloration caused by acne.
To Grow Your Own Basil
Basil can be grown indoors easily, and can be started from seed with relatively little effort. The basil plant is said to prefer south-facing windows, where there is plenty of sunshine and warm air.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm is a member of the mint family. It is a rapid growing plant when set outdoors. Lemon balm can be grown indoors, however it should receive at least 5 hours of direct sunlight daily.
Similar to basil, lemon balm has been used for several medicinal and holistic purposes. It is said to have been used during and prior to the Middle Ages to alleviate symptoms of depression, and to help heal wounds and venomous insect bites.
Lemon balm is also said to help ease symptoms of indigestion and an upset stomach.
Growing Your Own Lemon Balm
Lemon balm can be grown indoors from seed. You must be very careful when propagating lemon balm plants. Lemon balm can spread easily in your garden, and it can also seed itself in other containers around your house.
If you decide to grow lemon balm, you should attempt to keep it isolated from the rest of the plants in your home. It also needs a steady supply of sunlight, and should be kept in a warm, dry place. When growing any plant or herb, it is important to choose potting containers with adequate drainage for water. It is recommended to throw your lemon balm plant out if it has started flowering. According to the site Houseplants, once lemon balm flowers its taste and medicinal qualities could be compromised.