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Natural Remedies… Farm-acopeia… Plants Before Pills.

There’s lots of turbulence in and around big pharma today. Modern medicine can be a lifesaver, so this isn’t to knock that. Rather, it’s about focusing on prevention and utilization of the pharmacopeia of healing plants provided by nature first.

I’ve always been interested in medicinal plants and healing through healthy foods, and always head to the herbal remedy drawer before a pill bottle.

Plants before pills…

Leaves for Ills.

I admire those who’ve studied and know herbology. My brain just doesn’t cooperate so well when it comes to memorizing all the botanical names and what plants are good for what things, and how to prepare them, so I never became certified in plant lore. All the more reason that I’m grateful for those who have shared that knowledge with the world through the ages, and today make it readily available for free online and in books. Thank goodness for ready access to the www… “world-wide-wisdom” available to be searched when we need it!

We definitely plan to grow, harvest and make more of our own medicinal herbal medicines. Though for convenience we also make good use of some of the many really good herbal remedies increasingly more available on the market today, such as wonderful medicinal herbal teas that are always on hand in our herbal medicinal tea drawer.

So if you’re short on the time to make your own, or growing space, or both—as in our case—there are many really great remedies readily available today, so that’s where we’ll start.

Try Pre-Blended Remedies First. Here’s Why.

Even if you can grow your own, if you’re just getting started at making your own herbal concoctions, we recommend buying some pre-made remedies first. That way you can discover and decide which herbal blends work best for you, before going to the trouble of buying seed, growing, harvesting and blending them! You see, pre-made blends show you which herbs they’re using on the ingredients label. Find a blend you like and grow those. Sure, you won’t have the exact recipe, but based on the order of ingredients in the list you can probably come close to making your own reasonable concoction in many cases.

Toward that, here is our go-to mouthwash and mouth rinse, recommended by our natural dentist, and verified by us over years of use. We’ve resolved many a sore tooth and sore gums situation, by using this mouth tonic. It’s all the better because it’s a natural herbal remedy!

Here’s what the Dental Herb Company has to say about their Herbal Tooth Tonic, which is an essential in our household:

Reducing Oral Bacteria

The pure essential oils in Dental Herb Company products are powerful antimicrobials, providing maximum potency and long-lasting effectiveness to combat the harmful oral bacteria that lead to halitosis and periodontal disease.

Promoting Gingival Healing

Dental Herb Company products contain gotu kola and Echinacea – two powerful anti-inflammatory herbs shown to stimulate healing and repair damaged tissue. The pure essential oils of lavender and eucalyptus, well known for their soothing and healing properties, are key elements in the formulae.1)

So, to keep on hand for dental ailments, try Dental Tooth Tonic or make your own by growing you can grow your own herbs for this. It takes a lot of plants to make even a little bit of essential oils, however, whatever herbs you grow are invariably good for multiple ailments and usually also have culinary or herbal tea benefit.

If you can’t grow your own herbs, you can still save money by purchasing in bulk and making your own or a combination of growing and procuring what you can’t grow. In this list for instance, growing Eucalyptus to make your own eucalyptus oil may not be practice, but you could purchase the oil and grow the other herbs.

Traditional Medicinals is the main tea brand we’ve used for over 30 years. They use the highest pharmacopoeial grade herbs.2)

Started by famed herbalist author, Rosemary Gladstar in 1974,3) these are literally the teas in our medicinal tea drawer – except for one that I just discovered, as mentioned below—and am trying that one next).


Our Go-to Herbal Tea Remedies:

  • Traditional Medicinals PMS
  • Traditional Medicinals Healthy Cycle (formerly Female Toner)
  • Traditional Cooling Sage for Menopause and Hot Flashes
  • Traditional Medicinals Smooth Move
  • Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat
  • Traditional Medicinals Ginger Digestive Aid
  • Traditional Medicinals Tummy Tea for Kids
  • Traditional Medicinals Cold Care (there are several different ones we alternate, so this is a sampler. We just discovered HerbaTussin, so trying that next).
  • Traditional Medicinals Echinacea Plus Elderberry, or
  • Yogi Echinacea Immune Support
  • Yogi Peach Detox
  • Dandelion for Detox (we were using a different brand, but now that we see TM has their version, we’re switching because the box fits our tea drawer better).?

Next, learn about 4 popular medicinal herbs you can grow for your own teas, their benefits and how to grow them.

4 Popular Medicinal Herbs

1. Mint

Mint tea is the classic herbal tea. Mint is an ingredient in many different commercial tea blends and is much-loved for its refreshing fragrance.


Growing Mint

Mint is an herb that doesn’t just grow easily – it can quickly overtake your garden!  For this reason, it is recommended to grow mint in either a container or its own bed. There are many varieties of mint and the healing properties are similar.  Whether you grow peppermint or spearmint, the active component is menthol.

Caution: If you suffer from acid reflux, mint tea may worsen your symptoms.  Mint has antispasmodic properties

Mint tea can be used to:

  • Reduce congestion in a cold or flu sufferer
  • Reduce pain and bloating from gas
  • Reduce cramping from diarrhea
  • Act as a mild expectorant for a chest cold or bronchitis
  • Induce sweating, the body’s natural cooling mechanism. This is a natural way to reduce a fever
  • Relieve nausea without vomiting

For more on growing mint, you might enjoy this article on growing mint for food and medicine.4)

Next, an all-time beneficial plant with many uses.

2. Ginger

Not exactly an herb, this homely root is an ingredient in many natural cough, cold, and nausea treatments.  Instead of giving your child ginger ale when they are suffering from an upset stomach (and all of the HFCS and artificial flavors that come in it) brew up a nice cup of ginger tea sweetened with honey for a real dose of soothing ginger! OR… make some awesome homemade ginger ale!5)Ginger Ale Recipe – Tastes Great and Better For You!


shutterstock_318193256Growing Ginger:

Ginger is a tropical plant that is apparently not difficult to grow indoors. It requires excellent soil, warmth, humidity, and filtered sunlight.6)

Caution: It’s not recommended to exceed 4 grams of ginger per day – components in the herb can cause irritation of the mouth, heartburn and diarrhea if taken in excess.

Ginger tea can be used to:

  • Reduce nausea
  • Prevent or treat motion sickness
  • Warm the body of someone suffering from chills
  • Induce sweating to break a fever
  • Soothe a sore throat

This next one is often used in Thai cooking. Can you guess it?

3. Lemongrass

Lemongrass is another herb that is loaded with healing properties.  The spiky, easy-to-grow plant has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and antifungal properties, making it helpful in treating a plethora of ailments.


Growing Lemongrass

You can actually root the lemongrass that you buy at the grocery store to start your own patio lemongrass farm. It grows beautifully in a large pot, making it a good herb for the apartment windowsill farmer to cultivate.  It can be grown year-round indoors.7)

Lemongrass tea can help to:

  • aid in digestion
  • calm nervous disorders and anxiety
  • aid in the treatment of high blood pressure if a daily cup is enjoyed
  • dilate blood vessels and improve circulation
  • act as a mild diuretic to reduce fluid retention

You can probably guess this next one. If you had to think of just one plant that gets the most mention for boosting the immune system during cold and flu season, what would that be? Probably the most popular plant that everyone knows and assumes to be beneficial, but is it?

4. Echinacea

Editor’s Note: Apparently, no scientific studies have proven the efficacy of echinacea for boosting the immune system or aiding in colds and flu. So it’s astonishing to the scientific community that echinacea claims and products proliferate store shelves and online resources. We use it. We don’t think that something unproven is invalid, but it’s certainly cause for pause. Meanwhile, we’re sharing here the common knowledge on echinacea as well as a research paper that dives into the studies and the history of the folklore. See what you think, and if you come across alternate research to this, please let us know.8)

This lovely flowering plant is probably the pinnacle of herbal preventatives.  Echinacea is not only antibacterial – but it is believed to stimulate the body’s immune system to fight off bacterial and viral attacks. The medicinal properties are in the leaves and the purple flowers.


Growing Echinacea

Echinacea is also known as the “purple coneflower”.  The plant has deep taproots and is somewhat drought resistant. It is a perennial. Sow seeds outdoors in the early spring before the last frost. These plants like full sun and they don’t like too much moisture.

Echinacea tea can help to:

  • enhance  the immune system
  • relieve pain
  • reduce inflammation
  • provide antioxidant effects
  • shorten illness time for sufferers of the common cold

For more medicinal herbal teas you may enjoy a visit to the source of this information on 4 herbs, at

You may also be interested in reading about herbal remedies for cold and flu season, or this one on 3 ingredient herbal teas for cold and flu. And, if you’re just getting started growing herbs you might check out these:

Indoor Herb Garden Kits

If you’d like us to publish your herb garden photos, send them to us with your name, and if you have a website or social media link you’d like us to add, include that in your email.

Disclaimer: We aren’t doctors offering medical advice. We’re simply sharing some of the things we use that works for us.

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I’m LeAura Alderson, entrepreneur, ideator, media publisher, writer and editor of Pursuits in recent years have been more planting seeds of ideas for business growth more than gardening. However, I’ve always been interested in medicinal herbs and getting nutrition and healing from food over pharmacy. As a family we’re eager to dig more deeply into gardening and edible landscape for the love of fresh organic foods and self sustainability. We thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the creative ingenuity of the GardensAll community.