Simple success with just one herb is a great inroad. Start by planting some seeds of at least one of these easy medicinals in a pot on the windowsill or in a prepared bed in the garden.Richo Cech
Easy not Peasy
Why is this introductory collection of herb seeds needed? A little bird told me that new growers come to our website at Strictly Medicinal Seeds are instantly overwhelmed. This is not our intent—medicinal herb diversity is meant to be healing and calming, not a subject that elicits the O word! So, these are among the easiest plants to germinate and grow. They are widely adaptable to temperate gardens across the USA. However, the reason we’ve put these herbs together is because they make the foundation of good herbal practice. Promoting home-based self-sufficiency in easy herbal medicine is our highest goal.
So how does one go about getting started in growing and using one’s own herbs? Simple success with just one herb is a great inroad. Start by planting some seeds of at least one of these easy medicinals in a pot on the windowsill or in a prepared bed in the garden. The directions are right there on the packet. Plant shallowly, tamp with love, water gently, and mark the spot. This is fun! Raise the plant up until it is sufficiently sized to harvest. Dry the leaves, rub them between your palms, remove the stems and make a cup of tea. Drink it and feel the desired effect. There, now you’ve got a good start!
Holy Basil (Temperate Tulsi, Ocimum africanum): Traditional wisdom is that projects begun with Holy Basil are blessed from the start. The plant is very fast to mature. Bees love it. The tea is tasty and uplifting. This grows as an annual and it is the only basil I know of that easily self-seeds. Remember how the seedlings look. When you identify them in the garden the next year, weed around them. Give the new plant some space. There now, you’ve got it again, and it cost you—nothing!
Calendula, Mixed Colors (Calendula officinalis): The quintessential medicinal herb. More can be done with these flowers than any other flowers on Earth. Tea, tincture, succus and salve. Understand the parts of the flower and what they do. The bright colors are caused by flavonoids that reduce inflammation and ease pain. The sticky resin has an antiseptic effect. Whole herbs, whole medicine and whole people. To find out more about how to grow and process medicinal herbs, get a copy of our book “Growing Plant Medicine” or “Making Plant Medicine.” These books start you off on a path that leads to a magical garden of your own making.
True Comfrey (Symphytum officinale): The most important ingredient in any good healing salve, comfrey speeds regeneration of damaged tissue. All good herbalists, gardeners, permaculturalists and growers of domestic animals are familiar with it. They know how to best make use of its multitudinous positive properties. So, the best way to get to know an herb is to grow it. Then, sit with it awhile, watch how it interacts with pollinators and other plants—gain a sense of its spirit. Then, study the literature and the science. That’s the definition of holistic medicine—a feel for the plant from every angle.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Whenever I get wounded in the garden, I go for the yarrow to clean the wound and stop the bleeding. I just pick some of the deeply dissected leaves, rub them to a juicy mass, and apply to the wound. That’s how easy it is. Now that you grow medicinal herbs, you don’t have to buy expensive stuff to treat injuries. It’s all right there in the garden. This plant resides at the core of western herbalism.
Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris): This was the plant that introduced me to herbalism. The name really says it all. My dad, who was a doctor, took a dim view of my path in life. He wanted me to go to medical school. Instead, I meditated, planted trees, made babies, and lived a life in the wilds of Oregon. Once when my parents came to visit our rudimentary subsistence farm, sitting there at the table in the cabin with the fire crackling, I prodded him about medicinal herbs. “After all,” I said, “60% of pharmaceutical drugs are based on natural products.” “Well,” he allowed, “Some of those herbs do contain active tannins.” I went to the shelves and pulled down a jar of dried self heal flowers and set it before him on the table. After awhile, he brought the jar closer, twisted off the lid and took a whiff. For a moment, I thought he was going to sneeze. But instead he smile and said, “Smells lovely.” Self heal. I think it did him good.
For more information on how to harvest and process these and other fine herbs, we recommend our flagship book “Making Plant Medicine.”