Gardening For Health: Using Medicinal Plants For Healing

By Bonnie Grant | May 7, 2020
Image by ChamilleWhite
by Bonnie Grant
May 7, 2020

It is an undisputed fact among those of us dirt lovers that something about gardening buoys the soul and reduces stress. Maybe it is the feeling of the sun on our faces, or perhaps it is the physical activity. Either way, spending time with living, growing things and caring for them has been shown to boost serotonin, enhance sleep, manage weight, joint pain, and much more. Garden healing effects just show us that Mother Nature knows best. Just look around and she’ll guide you, especially when it comes to medicinal plants for healing.

Realizing the Healing Properties of Plants

My neighbor is a breast cancer survivor with continuing health issues, and my mate is disabled with debilitating and degenerative back problems and pain. Both have unique medical needs, but where they seem to find the most healing is in the garden. Not only in the joy derived from growing things but also from the medicines that come from our vegetables, fruits and, yes, even weeds. Like magic bullets, plants inject a variety of well-being benefits.

The neighbor makes her own tinctures, powders, teas, and other strengthening natural medicines. She says they help her manage her pain, neuropathy and mood, among other things. One day she brought over a tincture to help my partner manage his pain. Like a miracle, Lactuca serriola, better known as prickly lettuce or milk thistle, exploded into action. This humble weed with dandelion-like flowers has garden healing effects that help dull pain, diminish stomach disorders, has diuretic properties, and more. The medicine paid off, and he got some pain and gastronomic relief without pharmaceutical intervention.

Making one’s own natural medicine may seem like something that would take too much time. However, consider what our ancestors did for medical problems before modern doctors and prescriptions. The apothecary or local wise woman would have an army of such preparations ready for any complaint. There are many books available that can walk you through the simple processes that will harness the healing properties of plants. Going into a pharmacy carries with it its own dangers, as the 2020 coronavirus pandemic demonstrated. Making your own remedies won’t work on everything, but it may seem a better idea when confronted with such communicable diseases.

Outside of making medicinal concoctions, the healing garden is a place of great spirituality. Creating a space for reflection, relaxation, and meditation brings peace and harmony into our lives. The physical act of developing such a space encourages a sound body and mind. Whether you are busy with a bunch of kids, have a high stress job, struggle with money or health issues, or any other blood pressure raising issue, you can find peace and quiet in your garden. The benefits of spending time with your plants may have lasting effects throughout the days and weeks. Give it a whirl and see what benefits gardening for health may appear in you.

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