Herbal Remedy Gardens (Storey Books, 1999), by Master Gardener Dorie Byers, gives even beginners a chance at growing bountiful herb gardens. With more than 30 examples of garden plans for any space and the know-how to care for 25 medicinal herbs anyone can be prepared to treat and prevent their specific health needs. The following excerpt details two ways to layout a medicinal herb garden with herbs to help treat and prevent colds and flu, along with a recipe for a natural decongestant.
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Cold and Flu Garden
When cooler winter weather arrives here in Indiana colds and flus often arrive, too. Raise a medicinal herb garden for an herbal harvest that can be used to treat your cold or flu.
Plot Garden #1
A smaller garden for these plants could be tiered or terraced, bordered on two sides by yarrow and echinacea. Plant prostrate rosemary on the bottom row so that it will spill over the edge. Use flat stones stacked on top of each other or cedar logs to support the soil in each tier. Do not use treated lumber, because the chemicals used in treating the wood can leach into the soil and subsequently be absorbed into the herbs.
For some added character, try placing an old wooden ladder or wagon wheel on your prepared ground. Plant different herbs between the spokes or rungs.
Plants for Plot Garden #1
• 1 peppermint
• 1 catnip
• 1 cayenne pepper
• 5 garlic cloves
• 2 thyme
• 1 prostrate rosemary
• 2 yarrow
• 3 echinacea
Plot Garden #2
This plan can take up quite a large space. Plant a patchwork quilt of herbs of differing heights, colors, and textures. Remember that the peppermint can become invasive with very little encouragement. To slow it, plant it in a large tub or container with holes in the bottom for drainage and sink it into the ground. Butterflies will be drawn to the echinacea and yarrow.
Plants for Plot Garden #2
• 4 thyme
• 9 garlic cloves
• 3 cayenne pepper
• 1 yarrow
• 2 echinacea
• 1 peppermint
• 2 rosemary
The aromas from this herbal infusion will aid in clearing your stuffy nose.
• 2 quarts water
• 1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried yarrow
• 1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried peppermint
• 1 tablespoon fresh or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
• 1 tablespoon fresh or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
Place the water in a saucepan on the stove. Add all of the herbs. Simmer uncovered over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes. This allows the herbal essences to drift through the house. Do not allow the pan’s contents to boil dry.
To simmer these herbs without having to keep as close an eye on them, place the herbs and hot water in a slow cooker. Leave it uncovered and set on high. This can be left unsupervised for an hour or two.
Not sure where to start? Herbal Remedy Gardens covers the importance and benefits of herbs in Why Grow an Herb Garden?
Excerpted from Herbal Remedy Gardens (c) Dorie Byers, Illustrations by Beverly Duncan, used with permission from Storey Publishing. Buy this book from our store: Herbal Remedy Gardens.