As providence would have it, I live and work in the town where Dr. John Christopher, master herbalist, started The School of Natural Healing. Right here in my town is his little shop called Dr. Christopher’s Herb Shop where you can pick up just about any type of medicinal herb in almost any form. I am a frequent visitor because there is a great little café inside that serves raw and vegan food. My visits have got me thinking: Everyone should have at least a small stash of medicinal herbs growing in their garden.
Dr. Christopher’s medicinal herbal formulations are widely known among the naturopath and herb loving communities, I have been reading and studying his book called Herb Syllabus and I am amazed at the power of plants. The thing that strikes me most is the ease at which we can grow and cultivate our own medicinal herbs. Some of these medicinal herbs just grow on their own like Dandelions and Burdock and spread like weeds. From a book called Herbalist one herbalist sadly remembers the time that her well-meaning neighbor dug out all of the dandelions in her yard as a surprise service project “Not only was my meadow gone,” she recalls “but also my spring spinach, summer salad bar, and reserve medicine chest. Truly it was a loss.”
Medicinal herbs can be extremely useful. Even yesterday in my normal newsfeed an article came across about a thousand year old Anglo-Saxon recipe that kills the MRSA superbug, a type of bacteria that does not respond to antibiotic treatments. Guess what some of the ingredients are in the tonic? Two ingredients listed were garlic and wine to decoct and make the garlic stronger (note: when you are decocting herbs you can also use vegetable glycerin in place of alcohol to also increase the potency). I am not sure what else was in the tonic, but it stood out to me as an herbal remedy at least in part.
So far, I have mastered the art of growing Dandelions, I have about 2/3 of an acre of them in case anyone wants to share! I also have a crazy crop of Lemon Balm, it spreads like the rising sun! Sage and Rosemary have also been excellent perennials for me. But now I am ready for the bigger harder stuff. I hear Valerian is really tough to grow from seed but is a great stress reliever (that will undo the stress of my dandelion patch)!
Send us some pictures and details of what you are growing in your herb garden!
- Kat Jones