Nurse Amy in her gardens (not the medicinal garden)
My background and education, Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, Certified Nurse-Midwife and a Master’s Degree in Science of Nursing all focused on traditional medical strategies. My midwifery training at the University of Miami did include some natural remedies, but they were primarily for use during pregnancy and delivery.
Since I began researching into alternatives to traditional medical treatments I have become increasingly aware that nature has an answer for almost everything that ails us.
I began constructing two raised garden beds 4 ft x 25ft a few months ago. I used bricks positioned on the small side so they are about 8 inches high. A small amount of concrete holds them together. The beds are filled with an organic garden soil and compost blend. I placed these beds in a semi-shady location to ease the burn of our hot south Florida summer sun. Each bed either gets morning or afternoon shading, and a light breeze from a small man-made lake keeps them a little cooler too.
A medical reference library should include several alternative remedy and herbal healing books. I scoured my books for the best medicinal plants to have. My garden already included several “cooking” herbs commonly used for medicinal purposes, so I focused on less know plants. I also have citrus (orange, lemon, grapefruit), berries ( tayberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries), grapes, cherries( Rio Grande,Black and red Surinam), neem, macadamia, cashew, apples, starfruit, lychees, avocado, garlic, onions, passion fruits and figs currently growing around my yard. These have all been planted in the past 10 months, and may not begin producing for a couple of years, or more! I took the first step and planted them, now it’s up to mother nature to grow them.
Medicinal Plants and Natural Remedies
My entire list of medicinal plants I put into the garden is (so far..lol) over 60, and I have 1-3 of each of them. I also put tea and coffee along the “back” border, which are both medicinal. Locally we have thousands of “wild” melaleuca trees which are used to produce “tea tree” essential oil.
I will review a few of my medicinal garden bed plants in each of the next few posts. This information is for entertainment purposes only and is not medical advice. I made plant labels and what you are reading is directly from my personal research and actual labels. Please research all medicinal plants before using.
Angelica, European: Angelica archangelica zones 4-9
Medicinal uses: Internally to combat bronchitis, mucus, and influenza, as soothes bronchial smooth muscle. Aids digestion. Used for allergies, inhibits the production of allergy-related antibodies Relieves uterine cramps. Lowers blood pressure by dilating coronary muscles. Essential oil for anti-fungal. Only use root when dried, poisonous when fresh. All plant parts are used. Remove flower heads early or it will die.
Boneset ( Sweating Plant): Eupatorium perfoliatum zones 4-9
Medicinal uses: Excellent remedy for colds, fevers and flu. Boost immune system and fight viral and bacterial infections. Laxative, tonic, febrifuge( fights fevers), anti-inflammation. Clears mucus from upper respiratory system. May help with arthritis and rheumatic ailments. Use tincture 2-4ml three times a day. Infusion, one cup boiling water to 1-2 tsp leaves for 10-15 mins. If used for the flu, drink every half hour.
Allheal ( Woundwort): Prunella vulgaris zones 4-9
Medicinal/culinary uses: Leaves and flowers can be used in soups and stews. The whole plant is medicinal as antibacterial, astringent, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmotic, carmative, diuretic, hypotensive, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge. A weak infusion of the freshly chopped or diried leaves is an excellent eye wash for pink eye and styes. Internally, the tea is used for fevers, diarrhea, sore mouth and throat. Good for treating wounds, acts as an antibacterial.
Anise-Hyssop: Agastache foeniculum zones 4-10
Medicinal uses: An aromatic digestant that can be taken as a tea for respiratory problems such as coughs,. Sip a cup of tea with a meal to prevent gas and bloating. Flowers and leaves used for tea.
Belladona: Atropa belladona zones 6-9
Medicinal EXTERNAL use only, POISONOUS!
Medicinal uses: Every part is loaded with atropine and scopolamine, except the meat of the berry. The seeds inside the berry have the same TOXINS as the rest of the plant. A leaf folded up and placed behind the ear may allay motion sickness. Salves from infused oil of leaves or root sedate and relax muscle and nerve pain. A massage with seed extraction using alcohol may have the same effect. Use at your own risk! This is a highly poisonous plant!
I will be posting many more of my medicinal plant garden in a continuing series. I’ll also keep you up-to-date on what is doing well and what has “left this world”.