The Best Medical Plants to Add to Your Western US Herb Garden – If you live in the western areas of the United States, you understand how hard gardening here can be. With the exception of the Pacific Northwest, much of the Western United States is hot, dry, and has poor, rocky, or sandy soil. Gardening in these conditions can be frustrating and can require taking additional steps such as building raised beds or amending the poor soil and watering frequently. It’s also important to understand how to choose drought-tolerant, heat-resistant plants. However, if you are planting an herb garden, you are in luck as there are several types of herbs that are adapted to these conditions. Here are some of the best medicinal plants that will thrive in herb gardens in the western United States:
Sage is a member of the salvia family, and like other salvias, is an attractive plant that endures dry conditions and has medicinal properties. Sage is often used for its antimicrobial properties and as a remedy for sore throats and digestive issues. The plant forms attractive mounds of foliage topped with purple flowers. Other members of the salvia family also make excellent additions to western herb gardens and flower beds.
Cannabis is legal to grow in many US states, and has several purported medical uses, including helping with pain control, nerve conditions, and gastrointestinal disorders. Before you grow cannabis in your herb garden, make sure that it is legal in your area and consider how you will buy it. Most people grow this plant from seeds, and you can buy marijuana seeds online if they aren’t readily available in your area. You can also grow this plant from vegetative cuttings. Cannabis is easy to grow and establishes itself quickly, but be aware that it can get large and take over a corner of your herb bed.
Echinacea is a useful herb that is said to boost the immune system and aid in fighting infections. Many people take echinacea in tea or capsule form when they have colds or the flu. If you want to grow this beautiful plant in your herb garden, you should know that it is also called coneflower and is often grown as an ornamental plant as well as an herb. Echinacea is native to the plains and is drought-tolerant once established, so it is an excellent choice for western gardens. Buy it as a plant for the easiest and fastest growth.
Yarrow is an attractive plant that can be found in a variety of bloom colors and which has beautiful, fern-like foliage and characteristic scent. It has traditionally been used to treat wounds, reduce inflammation, and relieve cold and flu symptoms. Yarrow is a good choice for an herb garden in the Western United States, but with a bit of care as it can spread easily and
may try to take over your herb bed. Yarrow is hardy, drought-tolerant, and will require little to no care once established.
Oregano is an aromatic, easy-to-grow herb that has uses both in culinary and medicinal herb gardens. Oregano contains antimicrobial compounds and is used for respiratory and digestive ailments, as well as its many uses in cooking. You can plant oregano easily from either plant or from seeds, and once established it is very easy to grow, having few requirements and preferring dry, well-draining soil and little or no fertilization.
Holy basil is a variety of basil that is considered extremely holy in the Hindu religion. This plant has many medicinal uses, including treating mental concerns like depression and ADHD, helping fight inflammation, and it may also help protect against diseases like cancer. Holy basil is a tropical plant that may need to be planted in pots so that it can be brought inside during cold weather. It prefers well-drained soil and warm temperatures, and may not be as drought-tolerant as other plants in your herb garden.
Lavender is a beautiful, hardy, and useful plant that is best known for its lovely purple flowers and the scent of its oil. Lavender oil is often used as a relaxant and can be found added to lotions and other cosmetics as well as used in its dried form. This plant is hardy and thrives in hot, dry weather, such as is common in the western parts of the United States. It forms mounds of gray-green foliage topped with lovely purple flower spiked which will add color and aroma to
The various members of the mint family are easy to grow and well-known for their medicinal and culinary uses. Mints can spread quickly and may be invasive, so many gardeners prefer to plant their mints in containers where they can keep them under control. Many mints grow well in the Western United States and are virtually carefree once they have been established.
Milk thistle is another plant that is often considered a weed. This thistle is not a native of the United States but regularly reseeds and spreads. The plant sports beautiful, showy purple flowers on top of spiky edible leaves. Used medicinally, milk thistle can help to support liver health and aid in detoxification. Usually, the seeds are used for medicinal purposes, however, the leaves can also be harvested and cooked. Because this thistle has invasive properties, it’s important to remove the seed heads before they can spread or mature.
Often considered a weed because of its ability to thrive and spread in disturbed, rocky, and poor soils, plantain has been used as a food and medicinal plant for thousands of years. Plantain is well-known for its uses in making salves and poultices for wounds, as well as its uses as an anti-inflammatory and laxative. This hardy plant may try to escape your garden and become invasive, so take measures to plant in areas where it won’t be a problem. It readily re-seeds and can easily be grown from seeds or transplants. If you can’t find it in your local nursery, you might be able to transplant it from the wild.
While having an herb garden full of hardy, drought-tolerant, and useful plants is an exciting proposition, remember to research each plant before choosing varieties. You should evaluate each option’s growing requirements and always make sure to consult with a healthcare professional before using any plant for medicinal purposes.