1. Calendula (Marigold)
The marigold is a common garden plant with a cheerful daisy-like yellow flower. However, most people don't know that the "calendula" listed in the ingredients for so many expensive skin lotions is one and the same.
- What it costs: $1.95 for a pack of seeds online
- How it heals: Calendula flowers have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, skin-soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
- How to harvest it: Pluck off the flowers before they have seeded. You can use marigold flowers fresh or dry.
- How to use it: Face washes, tea, applied direct to skin in a paste, added to lotion, added to salads and soups.
- Cost in stores: Honey and Calendula Moisturizer (Amazon Prime, $15.77)
2. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a fabulous digestive aid. It can ease stomach spasms and "nervous stomach" and is gentle enough even for the very young and the very old. It can also help fight viruses and calm emotional anxiety and hyperactivity.
- What it costs: $1.39 for a pack of seeds online
- How it heals: Tinctures, creams and pastes can soothe skin irritations, while teas and syrups can calm nerves and digestive upset.
- How to harvest it: Fresh leaves are the most potent, but dried leaves stay useful for up to six months.
- How to use it: Add it to salad or baked goods, make a syrup or a tea, make herbal water (or soothing bath water), create a tincture, clay masque or glycerine paste.
- Cost in stores: Lemon Balm cream (Amazon Prime, $12.77)
Rosemary is not just a delicious herb for cooking. It is fragrant in any garden and can add that extra bit of "zip" in your step that everyone needs today.
- What it costs: $1.99 for a pack of seeds online
- How it heals: Rosemary improves memory, energy and concentration. It is a fabulous caffeine alternative. Rosemary improves oxygen flow to the brain and is now also thought to promote optimism and can even fight cancer. Rosemary is also great for easing sore joints, healing skin irritation and wounds, repelling pests and fighting dandruff and hair loss.
- How to harvest it: The dried leaves can be used in cooking, and the oil has plenty of topical applications.
- How to use it: You can use the herbs in breads, soups and main course dishes. The oil can be applied topically for all of the healing benefits and can also be used as a bug repellant.
- Cost in stores: Rosemary essential oil, 2 oz (Amazon Prime, $23.95)
Lavender is one of my all-time favorite herbs. I have lavender candles, lavender soaps, lavender teas and I even tried to grow my own lavender bush (which is right now with my mom being rehabilitated).
- What it costs: $2.29 for a pack of seeds online.
- How it heals: Lavender is a natural calming herb. It acts as a mild anti-depressant and is calming to the nerves. Lavender soothes the stomach, promotes good sleep, and can heal minor skin irritations such as sunburn and scrapes. Lavender is also thought to be a good defense against migraine headaches.
- How to harvest it: You can harvest the flowers and use them either fresh or dried.
- How to use it: Add fresh or dried lavender to recipes or teas and lemonade. Sew dried herbs into soothing sachets or scatter dried flowers in bath water. Lavender oil rubbed into temples is great to relieve tension and headache.
- Cost in stores: Lavender essential oil, 2 oz (Amazon Prime, $10.20)
When you think of thyme, you probably think of recipes. But thyme is also power-packed with all kinds of healing properties, even if they are not typically well publicized.
- What it costs: $2.99 for a pack of seeds online.
- How it heals: Thyme has tannins that can ease diarrhea and digestive upset. Thyme's plant oils can fight flu and colds and ease coughs and chest/sinus congestion. The herb also has inbuilt anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties that make it a great healing agent for wounds.
- How to harvest it: Thyme can be used fresh or dried.
- How to use it: Add it to recipes, brew it in a tea, use the essential oil for easing skin irritation and healing cuts and scrapes.
- Cost in stores: Thyme leaves, 4 oz (Amazon Prime, $13.50)