Growing a Healing Garden 

 Originally Written: June 17, 2017

By  Hanna Trafford

When you visit your local market or garden centre, check out their herb selection. You may be surprised at the varieties of herbs that are available.

Not only do quite a few of them provide beautiful flowers, but there is an added benefit – you can use them for medicinal purposes without a worry.

So – what better way to enjoy spring than to get out and get active in your garden, clean it out, plant some pretty annuals or perennials and add herbs as well?

Growing a healing garden will be rewarding for you.

Here are a few ideas for your own herb garden – easy to grow plants with medicinal properties.

Most of these plants like full sunshine so make sure you place the taller plants to the north or east to prevent them from shading the shorter growing ones. A moderate to rich soil will be helpful for all of them.

Here are 12 the most popular herbs that are easy to grow



Peppermint tea is a traditional remedy for an upset stomach or gas because it supposedly relaxes gut muscles.

Growing tips: Peppermint is hardy but invasive, so always plant in a pot sunk into the soil to keep roots contained.

Echinacea or Coneflower

Echinacea or Coneflower

Herbalists use an extract of this common cold preventive to boost the immune system and the production of white blood cells.

For the home garden, plant them to enjoy the gorgeous flowers and the butterflies they attract. Echinacea is hardy and it is a good idea to regularly deadhead to encourage more flowers.



In medieval herbals, sage is a cure-all, supposed to heal grief, fever and the nerves. Modern herbalists agree that the plant contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties, and may even ease hot flashes.

Do not use while pregnant. Sage is hardy and will grow well in full sun and well-drained soil.



Ancient herbalists recommended rosemary for headaches and claimed that its fragrance could ward off infections. In the language of flowers, this herb symbolizes faithfulness.

Rosemary is a hardy plant but northern region gardeners can bring it indoors for the colder weather – just keep it in full sun.

Dog Rose

Dog Rose

In ancient times. the wild dog rose was the most popular source of rose hips – tiny fruits related to apples. Rose hips are still popular ingredients in herbal teas and are powerhouse sources of vitamin C, iron and antioxidants.

If you don’t spray your roses, you can harvest the naturally high in pectin rosehips after the frost and make jam. It is a good idea to grow Dog Rose tied to a trellis – it will make a very nice decor in your garden.



Aromatherapists use lavender to heal headaches and tension – try floating a few fragrant flowers in your bathwater. Lavender grows the best in a well-drained soil and is quite hardy.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm

In the language of flowers, Lemon Balm means love and its traditional herbal uses were equally dramatic to renew youth, cure scorpion stings and make bees swarm.

The fresh leaves make a relaxing tea with antiviral properties. Lemon Balm will do well in a hardy zone a needs well-drained soil.



The old name of Borage is Herb of Gladness and fresh Borage flowers and leaf tea or Borage infused with wine were traditional remedies for anxiety, stress and depression.

Borage will self-seed each year and will grow in sun or partial shade.

Sweet Woodruff

Sweet Woodruff
Sweet Woodruff

A lasting and sweet scent (it does attract bees) makes Sweet Woodruff a popular potpourri ingredient. Add dried springs to your stored linens as well.

This plant spreads very easily and prefers a little shade.



Thyme is a traditional disinfectant and the ancient Greeks used it the incense.

Thyme tea, made with a tablespoon of the dried leaves is supposed to relax the throat and tame coughing. Just make sure you don’t over-water these plants.

Calendula or Pot Marigold

Calendula or Pot Marigold

The herb world, the Marigold is relied upon for reducing inflammation and old wives use it as an ointment for diaper rash and acne.

In the language of flowers, it stands for joy.

You can toss small amounts of the pretty edible petals into salads. It is quite hardy and grows well in either flower beds or containers in full sun or partial shade. Deadhead to keep new flowers coming.

German Chamomile

German Chamomile

Chemicals in this herb are supposed to reduce aggression and anxiety, which may be why chamomile tea has traditionally been used to encourage better sleep.

However, it may worsen asthma and can be an allergen. Avoid while pregnant. Chamomile will tolerate almost any soil but does need a lot of sun.



Feverfew Plant used for headaches

Fever few is a perennial plant that grows in North America. It can be used for preventative treatments.  Most people who use feverfew treatments already have chronic migraines and have reported that lessens the occurrence of bad migraine attacks.  Feverfew can be used by eating the leaves or drying them and making a tea out it.

Should be avoided while pregnant as it can cause contractions.

The seeds are very fine and grow the best in a loamy soil.


Enjoying your Herbal Harvest

Now that you have grown your herbs, you can harvest the leaves and/or flowers of those that are edible.

Use them fresh, dried or frozen to cook, or to make herbal teas or whip up tasty homemade vinegar. Others can be thrown into a fragrant pot potpourri.

Be sure that you keep a chemical-free garden if you plan to eat or brew your herbs, and always check with your medical practitioner, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before ingesting herbs of any kind.

Delicious Brews


Herbal tea can be made with fresh-picked herbs right from the garden, or dry your harvest for comforting cups of teas all year round.

You can experiment with the proportions but a good starting point is 1-2 teaspoons of fresh herbs or 1-2 teaspoons of dried herbs to 1 cup of boiling water.

Steep for a few minutes, covered, so that essential oils released by the herbs don;t evaporate.

Sip and savour!

Fragrant Flowers

Commercial potpourri mixes often contain artificial fragrances, which can cause allergic reactions. Stay chemical free by making your own natural aromatherapy mixture.

Here is how to remain chemical free…

  • Pick both the leaves and flowers from lavender, sweet woodruff and Rosemary plants on a fine day after the dew has burned off.
  • Scrub an orange and shave off the peel, cut peel into slivers.
  • Dry leaves, flower buds and peel, spread out in a dark, dry,well-ventilated place for three to four days. Turn every day.
  • Mix together 1 cup of each dried Lavender, Woodruff and Rosemary. Add the dried orange slivers and dozen whole cloves.
  • Sew into a sachet or display in a pretty bowl.

Hope you get your Healing Herb Garden organized and send me your comments and experiences – good luck!

For more gardening tips, here I discuss how to Plan Your Garden. 



Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, and is also the Grandmother to Jax, Cohen and Mila. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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  • I was curious if you ever considered changing the layout of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you
    could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.

    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  • Great ideas, good looking blog. While we have planted a number of herbs, there appear to be many others worth checking out. I agree that all drugs started or were available in a natural state, only to be adulterated by drug and chemical companies.

  • Peppermint tea does work for calming an upset stomach but I have to ask myself why would mankind have gone to the trouble of searching out new ways to help people with illnesses if the old herbal ways had worked as well as is touted by some people now. Willow tea contains ingredients in aspirin but an aspirin contains more than the tea – and how practical is it to make tea while driving down the freeway in traffic?

    • Thanks so much for your comment Barbara! I am hoping nobody would try to make tea while driving – anywhere – but consider having it with you before you start driving – believe me – even cool peppermint tea is great!

  • such a garden would calm me down well! i love smelling flowers, smells of Woodruff and other plunts. I`ve recently been to Crimea! What a calming view of mountains there…full of flowers and green mighty trees. Calming awesome views )

  • I must interject on behalf of my herbs.

    I have been using herbs for homemade teas, salves, and medicines for at least five eight years now. Although herbs are not as potent as taking one ‘pill’, I feel that the real problem lies in the fact that humankind has removed itself from it’s body. People do not take care of themselves, and then in the end want a quick fix. Herbal medicines are very much effective, but only for those people who care for themselves and are in-tune with what their bodies need. It’s not hard, it just takes some practice and a desire. I have also found that being self-sufficient in these areas has opened my eyes to a whole attitude of anti-consumerism that saves me money, saves my health, and my personal harmony with what I have in my life.

    As far as birth control goes, I have used herbs and Fertility Awareness for the past three years. I have never been pregnant. But this, of course, is best used by a woman who has knowledge of her own body.

  • ya the best herb to grow isn’t listed. Fellow stoners know what I am talking about ;). Easy to grow and very profitable…

  • Eerm, George, you may want to do more of your own reading…

    First of all, just because a remedy is “ancient” doesn’t mean it necessarily worked, or was safe(haven’t you heard of the “drilling holes in your head” method of curing headaches?). In many (though certainly not all) societies, going to a surgeon or a doctor was the VERY last result, because the cures killed as often as they healed.

    Second, though many current medicines have natural analogs, generally speaking, the amount of herbs you’d have to use or food you’d have to eat to have the benefit *one pill* would give you would be extremely prohibitive. Not to mention that in, say, Aspirin’s case, other changes make the drug better than the natural version. Aspirin (from bark) in particular often had worse stomach effects than it does now for a much smaller dose.

    There’s also the fact that whole GROUPS of drugs, such as safe and consistent birth control, didn’t even exist until recently. The only options in that regard were either superstitious & did not work, or were poisons that in the wrong dose were highly likely to kill the mother.

    So yes, I think I’ll keep my pharmaceutical industry, thank you. 🙂

  • oh ye of little faith exactly how do you think the human race healed themselves of common ailments before the advance of pills and powders and “modern medicine”. Through the use of herbs both cultivated and harvested wild thats how. Not to mention that most of your medicine cabinet while it has been tinkered with by chemists for decades can be traced back to plant origins. For crying out loud asprin grows wild every where you look in the form of willow but very few people realize this. So I submit to to the first two commenters that these herbs do in fact make delicious additions to any cooks repertoire but also do great things for your health as well. If you still dont believe me then do a little research science has countless times proven these claims to have merit but because of the current law to state such is to bring the fda down on your head or to be forced to market common thyme as a class III drug.

    • You are so correct. As many so called medicine women and yes men too were available instead of doctors. Even in the mountain areas of Kentucky, Tenn. etc, many today still rely on the YARB ladies help in their healings because there is no close by doctors or one simply can not be afforded.

  • Thanks all for your comments! And you are absolutely right – the best way to enjoy your home-grown herbs is to make a nice cup of tea,or as delicious addition to sauces and relaxing aromas that makes you feel just plain good!They do have some healing properties but relying on it and being absolutely sure about it is not a good idea!

  • Good site,good selection of herbs,dont believe all you hear about medicinal powers.Lovely folklore;but well worth growing for taste and smell alone.Thanks

    • @bobbles I agree, not sure about the medicinal powers but I always have a stock of fresh herbs for cooking. It makes all the difference in the world taste wise.

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