Herb Garden Ideas: Best Herbs to Grow for Family Health
When considering garden design ideas, you may want to think about adding a small vegetable garden or herb garden to your backyard landscaping plan.
Herb gardens, in particular, can be quite attractive and can add to the visual appeal of your yard with beautiful blooms and lush greenery.
In fact, while you could grow herbs in a patio container garden, raised planting beds or a dedicated garden space, these attractive landscaping options can also be planted among conventional choices in flowerbeds or bordering your lawn.
If you choose to plant herbs near your lawn or with other plants in flowerbeds, and you intend to use them for medicinal purposes or cooking, you will need to be mindful of the chemicals you use in your yard for purposes like managing weeds or killing insects.
When you choose to make at least part of your yard an edible garden, you may also need to consider how to make sure your pet does not relieve himself on your edible plants and how to keep wildlife from enjoying them before your family has the chance to.
Why Should I Grow Herbs in My Garden?
There is a variety of reasons why you might want to grow herbs in your garden, the first one (as mentioned above) being the color and texture they can bring to your yard.
Many herbs, such as lavender, have beautiful flowers and are a popular choice for landscaping, regardless of whether or not the homeowner plans to use the lavender buds for homemade herbal remedies or aromatic sachets for dresser drawers.
Most herbs are also incredibly easy to grow and require less water and care than conventional, non-native plant choices often used in landscape design.
Herb plants can provide natural pest control for your garden and reduce your need for chemical pesticides.
For example, choosing herbs in the mint family can help keep ants away, and sage and rosemary are well known for warding off garden pests.
If you like to cook with fresh herbs, such as basil or oregano, planting these easy-to-grow herbs in a container on your patio or in your garden will ensure you always have some on hand.
Growing your own cooking herbs is also a good way to save money and can be a fun project you can do with your kids.
Of course, the age-old, traditional reason behind home herb gardens is to have a natural pharmacy sitting just outside your door with remedies easily at hand when a family member has a headache, an upset stomach, an open wound or even fertility issues.
What Do I Need to Know Before I Start Growing My Own Herbs?
Even folks who do not have a green thumb can usually successfully grow their own herb gardens.
You can purchase an herb garden kit from your local home store or garden center, start your plants from seeds or purchase young plants that are already thriving.
Once you acquire or start your plants, you can grow your herbs inside on a windowsill, on your patio in a small greenhouse, in containers, in your vegetable garden or as part of your landscaping.
With all of these options available, you should be able to fairly easy find a way to get your herb garden going without much trouble.
Caring for herbs is usually simpler than caring for popular non-native plant species found in most yards and, for most people, it is easier to grow herbs than it is to grow vegetables.
You should find that minimal pruning, feeding and watering requirements make it easy to have a successful herb garden at home.
You will need to know just a bit about growing herbs to avoid issues that could make your herbs unfit for consumption, such as mold, insect infestations, or using chemicals on or around them.
If you are planning to use your herbs for medicinal purposes, you will also need to learn a little about each of the herbs that you plan to grow to ensure that you use them safely when making your home remedies.
Some herbs can interact with prescription or over-the-counter medications, and some are not recommended for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, children or people with certain health conditions.
At your local bookstore, or through an online bookseller, you can find lots of books on how to make herbal remedies and how to safely use medicinal herbs.
Any of these books can assist you in making sure the particular herbs you choose to grow are healthy choices for each member of your family.
Now let’s take a look at some of the herbs you might want to consider growing based on the needs of your family members.
10 Herbs for Men’s Health
1. Fenugreek –
Men looking to lower their cholesterol or decrease artery plaque might consider growing fenugreek, which will even grow in poor soil conditions as long as there is good drainage and full sunlight.
2. Cayenne Peppers –
Cayenne is another good choice for heart health and is used to lower cholesterol and improve blood circulation.
3. Hawthorn Berries –
Hawthorn is a heart-healthy choice that is used in treating hypertension, heart failure and irregular heartbeats.
It is believed that hawthorn is able to support heart health by helping the heart muscle contract, lowering blood pressure and improving blood circulation.
4. Motherwort –
Motherwort is used in traditional medicine to strengthen the heart, regulate the heartbeat and reduce platelet accumulation.
5. Rosemary –
Men experiencing hair loss may want to try growing rosemary to create their own home remedy used to promote hair growth.
6. Sage –
Sage is another easy herb to grow that has been traditionally used to naturally treat baldness and hair loss.
7. Saw Palmetto –
This multipurpose plant is traditionally used to improve prostate health, improve urinary tract health and to combat hair loss.
8. Red Clover –
Red clover is used by herbalists to ward off cancer and support prostate health.
9. Gotu Kola –
Gotu kola can be used to improve circulation, concentration and mental alertness.
10. Tribulus –
Men dealing with infertility or impotence may want to add tribulus to their herbal garden.
10 Herbs for Women’s Health
1. Fenugreek –
This herb that is used to naturally lower cholesterol in both men and women can also be beneficial for breastfeeding mothers who need to increase lactation.
2. Dong Quai Root –
Dong quai has been used by women throughout history to treat everything from a lagging libido to the symptoms of menopause. Easily taken as an herbal tea, this root can also be used for cancer prevention, to relieve menstrual discomfort and to balance moods.
3. Damiana Leaf –
Damiana is often used to treat bladder infections, combat depression and enhance intimacy, but it is not recommended for use by pregnant women.
4. Feverfew –
This easy-to-grow herb is used in traditional medicine as a home remedy for headaches and migraines. It can also help to treat nausea, but should not be used by women during pregnancy.
5. Angelica –
Angelica roots and leaves are used to support reproductive health, improve circulation and balance hormones. It can also be used to relieve menstrual cramps and the symptoms of menopause.
6. Chamomile –
This popular herb is often used to relieve stress and aid sleep, but it is also traditionally used to relieve the symptoms of menopause.
7. Black Cohosh –
Black cohosh is not recommended for breastfeeding mothers or pregnant women, but other women can find relief from hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause by using this herb to help keep their hormones in balance.
8. Devil’s Claw –
The flowers will look great in your garden, and the root can help relieve joint and muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia and arthritis.
9. Chasteberry –
Chasteberry is one of the quintessential herbs for women that has been used to treat a wide variety of issues related to reproductive health.
It is used to treat irregular periods, menopause symptoms, premenstrual syndrome, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, infertility, fibrocystic breasts and poor lactation.
10. Lady’s Mantle –
No green thumb is necessary to grow this hardy, self-seeding herb, and it adds fantastic color and texture to garden beds.
Traditional uses include easing heavy menstrual flow and curing puffy eyes (by making a compress for external use).
10 Herbs for Kids’ Health
Not all herbs are fit for use by children, so always do your research before creating home remedies to give to your little ones.
Here are 10 herbs traditionally used to support children’s health.
1. Peppermint –
Peppermint is super easy to grow and is great to have on hand to soothe upset tummies and treat the common cold.
2. Ginger Root –
Ginger root is another natural cure for nausea and can even be made into candy to make it more appealing to your kids.
3. Aloe Vera –
This succulent can add a new dimension to your backyard landscaping and will come in handy when your little one scrapes her knee or spends a little too much time in the sun.
4. Dandelion –
Yes, the weed. Grow it on purpose, and you can use it in salads or dry it to make a tea.
If you do not use chemical herbicides or pesticides on your lawn, you can even have your kids pick the wild ones to add some calcium, iron, potassium and vitamin A to your next meal.
5. Fenugreek –
You might have already added this one to your list after reading what it can do for women’s health and men’s health, but it can also be used as an herbal remedy for kids suffering from sore throats or constipation.
6. Chamomile –
This calming herb has traditionally been used to treat colic and for its soothing qualities.
7. Lemon Balm –
This herb has long been treasured for its antiviral and antibacterial qualities.
Give this one as a tea to help shorten the length of colds and related ailments.
8. Fennel –
You can eat this one’s celery-like stalks and use the leaves to flavor soups and stews, but it is the seeds you want when treating a child’s stomach ache, gas pains or colic.
9. Lavender –
A sachet filled with dried lavender releases a soothing aroma that can help problem sleepers get a good night’s rest.
10. Basil –
This tasty herb is easy to grow, adds fabulous flavor to a variety of dishes and can help relieve sore throats, coughs, respiratory disorders and fever.
Growing Herbs for Family Health: Final Thoughts
These are just some of the many herbs you can easily grow at home for use in cooking and making home remedies.
While some ailments require prescription medications or visits to the doctor’s office, it is nice to have an herbal medicine chest that can meet at least some of your family’s health care and prevention needs.
Natural remedies can relieve symptoms, assist in the prevention of serious ailments or complement allopathic treatments, and growing herbs at home can help to ensure that you always have them on hand – while also saving you money.
Because many herbs have attractive flowers and foliage, it is possible to create a completely edible garden or to accent other landscape features with plants that can be used for herbal remedies.
You can grow your own herbs in a patio garden, include them in a vegetable garden you plant with your children or use them as a visually appealing border along paving stone walkways that curve through your backyard.
Just remember to keep chemical yard care products away from the herbs you plan to consume, and make sure your pets have a proper place to relieve themselves that does not include your edible plants.
Try your hand at planting a few herbs that are easy to grow and harvest, such as basil and lavender, and you just might find that your thumb is much greener than you thought!
If you have a home herb garden, let us know your favorite herb to grow by leaving a comment below.
Do you have any herb garden ideas to add?
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