Why Plant a Medicinal Herb Garden?
Many of us are seeking more tangible security in our lives as seed suppliers are selling out of seeds, gardening tool sales are out the roof, and nurseries can’t keep up with their stock. Could there be a more powerful way to take matters into your own hands than by growing your own food and medicine?
Planting for the Future
What’s healing for the earth is healing for humans, and vice versa. When we take the time to have a garden, we are participating in a feasible, revolutionary act of reciprocity by investing in green resiliency. When we consider the fact that every green thing planted absorbs carbon from the air and filters it, gardening really does become a doable solution to this climate crisis. By planting a medicinal herb garden in particular, we offer ourselves up as world citizens in service to the healing of both ourselves and our planet.
Have you ever noticed how many pollinators abound on the flowers of healthy, non-sprayed plants? When herbs like meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) come into bloom in our Family Medicine Spiral, or mullein (Vebascum thapsus) is popping out its little yellow blossoms, I am entranced by the activity of bees, flies, ants, butterflies, beetles, and more pollinating these flowers. Yes, our food chain is dependent on the health of these pollinators, but it isn’t just about human needs. Our planet is home to a large web of life, and our future depends on our personal actions inside this web. So many beings benefit from our choice to grow an herb garden—from human to earthworm. We are all connected, and by learning the art of cultivating and preparing our own backyard medicine, we set a positive example of how to make this world a better place.
Lessen Your Footprint
How easy it is in the modern day to consume products from who-knows-where. And how disconnected we have become from knowing how that consumption affects the environment. It can truly be overwhelming as a conscious person to try and lessen our footprint on the planet. But every little step matters, and if you are able to provide basic healthcare for yourself and family and/or community by planting a medicinal herb garden and making home remedies, then you are contributing to the reform of healthcare. The United States alone spends over 4 trillion dollars a year in healthcare. Many of the healing plants that you can easily grow will help keep you and your loved ones out of unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office.
You will also know exactly where your medicine comes from instead of having it shipped from across the world, or grown in a field that has been contaminated by chemicals, or tended to and harvested by laborers who are not provided with adequate wages or working conditions. As a consumer, you have a vote with the medicine you put in your body. It is also quite possible, as I have found over the years, that you won’t need as much internal medicine when you grow your own herbs, as tending to the plants is medicinal in and of itself. So, you need less. You consume less. Imagine the impact collectively consuming less could have on our planet. It’s huge!
And lastly, you can be mindful that the type of medicine you grow extends both before and beyond your garden by actively sourcing your seeds and plants ethically!
Let’s not forget beauty—beauty goes such a long way toward creating health in our lives. Being surrounded by beauty is so potent. Why do we underestimate its powers?
Walking through your medicinal herb garden and admiring the sunshine blooms of calendula (Calendula officinalis) nodding in the breeze, the blue sky watching over your bed of tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), the dew drops collected upon your lady’s mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris), the monarch butterfly alight on your pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa), or the song sparrow nesting in your hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)—well….none of this healing beauty can be obtained from ordering herbal pills on Amazon!
You will usually have an abundance of one herb or more and can make medicine from your garden to share with others if you choose. Some of the most healing gifts I have received are salves, teas, tinctures, elixirs, and herbal vinegars from friends’ little herb garden plots. This kind of healing creates immeasurable beauty and wealth in our lives and community.
Medicinal Herb Garden Inspiration
Medicinal herb gardens come in all shapes and sizes. Oh, how varied they can be! Grow just one simple bed or design a complex garden; make a potted herb garden or aim for medicinal plants to fill up your backyard; carefully plan out all the design details or let it organically unfold: make rows or spirals—what do you think is best for you? Don’t let yourself be paralyzed by dreams that seem unattainable; start where you are and the seeds of your garden will sprout futures of their own.