Herbs & Things

Herbs & Things
Herbs & Things

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My Book
My Book



All Natural Backyard Medicine {Part 2}

Last week we began part one of the new mini series "All Natural Backyard Medicine". We started with the book review of Folk Medicine, a book based on the theory of the all natural healing of your body with simple tricks, such as using raw Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) and honey in your daily intake of food, eliminating wheat and substituting for rye or corn, and even on ways to sleep better and be less fatigued -- sleeping the way your body intended you to.

This week we'll begin part two of our little series. We'll touch a bit on medicinal plants that are right in your backyard -- easily ready and waiting for you to use them for aches, pains, tooth aches, and even the common cold. In our next post (part 3, next week), we'll talk about ways to help ease and prevent seasonal allergy reactions.

Backyard Medicinal Plants

My son has asthma, and both my husband and I suffer from allergies each Spring and Fall. So it's only natural for me, as a mother and wife, to want to do as much research as possible to find out what kind of "all natural" precautions I could be taking each year before millions of pollen particles decide to wreck havoc on our property.

Throughout my research, I came across countless helpful tips when it came to allergies and asthma. But I also came upon several backyard plants that can help with all kinds of daily ailments.

-- Please note that I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I am simply writing from experience in things that we have tried or things that I have researched about. Please use with caution and at your own risk. I am not liable for any reaction, good or bad, that may come from you using these medicinal plants or practices. Please also know that some of these plants or preventatives may not be available in your region, as I am located in Virginia. --


photo via about.com
No, not the banana shaped things from Mexico. Although, they taste pretty awesome.

These 'weeds' are all over my backyard. And how did I not know that they were beneficial to my health?! Plantain has so many amazing benefits for things that you would otherwise run to the doctor or grocery store for ointments or medicine. Here are a few things that Plantain can help with.
  • Cuts and scrapes (leaves)
  • Colic
  • Burns
  • Poison Ivy
  • Hay Fever
  • Skin Inflammation
  • Tooth Aches (stuff some leaves in your cheek on the side that hurts and let them set)
  • Sunburn
  • Mosquito Bites
  • Mouth Sores
  • Coughs
  • Headaches (root)
...and so much more.

The leaves can also be picked when young and eaten in salads. Or cooked like swiss chard or spinach when they are older, and eaten with any meal. The seeds can be harvested and ground into meal for baking uses.

There are so many different ways to use plantain, however, there are different ways to process it for each individual use (brewed in a tea, cooked, or even turned into a salve or lotion). Make sure you do some research on which ways to process plantain for whatever use you may need it for.

Creeping Charlie

photo via Mother Earth News
This is another plant that I have in my yard and I had no earthly clue what it was. However, this plant I wanted to keep, and in fact, want it to spread even more than it has. It really is a "creeping" weed, and it is beautiful! Little did I know its incredible medicinal purposes.

When brewed as a tea, you can take this for the common cold. You can also mix the leaves into hot water and inhale the steam. This also helps with cold induced asthma attacks!

Other things that Creeping Charlie helps with:
  • Headaches
  • Coughs
  • Lead Poisoning
  • Liver Detoxification
  • Mono
  • Sore Throat
  • Sciatica
  • Ulcers
  • Ear Ringing
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Coughs
  • Tuberculosis

Here is an excellent article about Creeping Charlie from Mother Earth News.
I will definitely be adding this to our medicinal list -- we certainly have an over abundance of it in our yard!

Red Clover

Unfortunately, this is the one plant that I do not have a lot of in my yard. But then again, I've never minded clover, so I will just have to pay more attention to it this year.

Here are the wonderful benefits of red clover. You can also purchase red clover oil or dried red clover online.
  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Coughs
  • Colds
  • Cardiovascular Health
  • Menopause
  • Osteoporosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Rashes

Once again, please do your research for each individual use, as some need to be made into ointments or brews before using. Please also consult with your physician if you have a history of cancer, as too much of a good thing can, in fact, cause your cancer to flare up. Red clover is also said to be unsafe for pregnant or nursing mothers.

Dandelion Greens

You know that pesky weed that you try to get rid of every Spring? Well, you may just want to double guess yourself on that one this year. Take a look at the medicinal value in Dandelions!
  • Alleviates Arthritis
  • Regulates blood sugar
  • Is a diuretic 
  • Helps detox liver, kidney and gallbladder
  • Eczema/Psoriasis
  • Rashes
  • Full of Vitamin A, B, C, and D
  • Full of minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc
  • Great in salads, on sandwiches and as a tea
  • Makes great dandelion jelly, go figure.
  • When brewed, it can ease or cure an upset stomach, fever, boils, eye problems and diabetes
  • Leaves help stimulate the appetite and help with digestion
  • It is an antioxidant

Bet you're going to keep that weed in your yard now, huh?


I recently discovered that I can purchase Echinacea plant seeds from the same place I get my heirloom veggie seeds each year, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. While I did not order any for this year, yet, I definitely plan on ordering for next year.

Echinacea benefits are outstanding and it is considered one of the more important medicinal herbs in the world. Here's why...

  • Sores
  • Burns
  • Wounds
  • Allergy Relief
  • Insect Bites
  • Stings and Snakebites
  • Antioxident
  • Strengthens Immune System (better than Vitamin C!)
  • Prevents Flu and Colds
  • Sore Throats/Strep Throat
  • Coughs
  • Headaches
  • ADHD
  • Migraines
  • Gum Disease
  • Dizziness
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • UTIs
  • Yeast Infections
  • Diptheria

...and the list is endless!

Echinacea was used by Native American's for just about anything that ailed them. This plant kept them healthy and active, it kept them alive. If it was good enough for them, it's good enough for me.


Gary Kauffman/U.S. Forest Service
Ginseng is on our "to-do" list this Summer. Like others, we love the tv show Appalachian Outlaws. When we were first introduced to the TV show, my husband instantly said "oh my word, I know where a ton of that grows!" My reaction? Go get some!! Not to sell, but for medicinal purposes! Ginseng has amazing medicinal values as well, and it grows right here in the Piedmont of Virginia.
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Decrease the severity of colds
  • Lower blood sugar (type 2 Diabetes)
  • Improve concentration and learning
  • Improve mood and boost endurance
  • Treat Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Fatigue
  • Hepatitis C
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Menopause
  • Weight Control
  • Monthly Menstruation
  • Anti-Inflammatory 
While there are so many good things about ginseng, there is such a thing as taking too much. It can cause side effects such as headaches, elevated heart rate, nausea, restlessness etc. Please consult your doctor or take sparingly when first introducing your body to ginseng. Ginseng is highly used as an agent in energy drinks and tea's, so naturally, it can cause the same side effects as caffeine.

There are so many other backyard plants out there that you can use in your home -- both for health and just around the house. There are equally as many resources out there, online and at your local library, that will help you understand the benefits and ways to use these plants. There really aren't enough blog posts for me to post about each and every one and the proper ways to use them. However, if you truly have an interest in things "all natural", you will have absolutely zero problem finding out how to properly use the medicinal plants right in your backyard!

I truly believe that God knew what He was doing when He created the earth and everything in it. And it causes me to desire to want to live the way that He intended for us to all along. With that said, we definitely have different ailments and processed foods in today's world, and generation after generation has caused our bodies to weaken as each generation passes.

However, why keep the process going? Why not try to change it with myself? With my children? With my children's children?

"Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing" [Ezekiel 47:12]