Some medicinal plants are very beautiful for their color and brightness. Here we have chosen six that are easy to find and that, for the most part, do not need special care.
Anyone, if he or she chooses, no matter how little space he or she has at home, can create his or her own medicinal garden, whether in his or her home garden, in the backyard, on the terrace or even on a balcony. Our ancestors, especially in rural environments, used to cultivate certain plants from which they obtained basic remedies to face some of their health problems.
Continuing this tradition not only provides simple and natural remedies, but also provides an enriching experience that relaxes, trains attention and encourages contact with nature.
Whether woody plants (such as bay leaf, thyme, rosemary or sage) or herbaceous plants (mint, nettle or oregano), the variety of medicinal species that can be cultivated is very wide. And they do not necessarily have to look austere like nettle or onion. Here are 6 of them that are beautiful and do not need much care.
1. ECHINACEA, A GREAT STIMULUS OF THE DEFENCES
This North American plant (Echinacea purpurea) flowers in summer and until mid-autumn. In summer, the large, colourful flowers are picked, and in autumn, the root. It should be planted in full sun or partial sun, in flower bed or garden, and is ideal for decorating terraces and patios. It requires little care.
Properties: antiseptic, antiallergenic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory.
Indications: as it is excellent for boosting the immune response, it is recommended to prevent or improve respiratory infections such as influenza, colds, pharyngitis, laryngitis and sinusitis and to fight allergic accesses with rhinitis and conjunctivitis. Externally, it acts as a very effective anti-inflammatory on wounds, burns, epidermal inflammations and inflammations of the mouth and eyes.
How it is used: in infusion, associated with other plants that complement its action or in syrup. The infusion is applied externally in rubs, baths, eye drops and mouthwashes.
Precautions: Avoid orally during pregnancy and lactation and if there are liver damage.
2. LILY TO SOFTEN AND HEAL THE SKIN
The lily (Lilium candidum), originally from the eastern Mediterranean, has a round, scaly bulb and beautiful large, trumpet-shaped and very fragrant flowers. It should be planted in the sun without changing its position for at least four years.
It flowers from late spring to mid-summer. For medicinal purposes, bulbs (fresh, dry or dried) are mainly used, which are harvested at the end of summer or in autumn, although flowers are also used to a lesser extent.
Properties: astringent, antiseptic, healing, callicid, dermoprotective, anti-inflammatory.
Indications: due to its mucilaginous virtues, the bulb is very effective for treating skin ulcers, inflamed or cracked skins, spots, scratches, eczema, boils, burns and mild scalds, as well as for removing grains, urticaria, corns and calluses. It is also applied on muscular contractures, tendonitis and mild rheumatic inflammations.
How it is used: only by external route, the maceration of the flowers or the bulbs in olive oil, to apply in rubs or massages; the roasted bulb, applied in slices on the damaged skin; or the bulb cooked in milk or wine, crushed and applied in hot poultice on corns and corns. It is also found in hydroglycolic extract as an emollient for skin impurities.
Precautions: bulbs are considered edible and have been consumed in some European countries, but due to lack of studies it is not recommended to take them orally.
3. CAPUCHIN AGAINST FUNGAL INFECTIONS
One of the advantages of the capuchin (Tropaeolum majus) is that its flowering extends over many months, from spring to autumn. And the spectacle it offers is worth it: its flowers, orange or red, are large and showy.
The plant, originally from South America (Ecuador and Peru), grows well in pots and planters, but also in flowerbeds. It prefers half shade and resists frost badly. For medicinal use the flowering tops are collected, in spring or summer.
Properties: expectorant, antibiotic, antitussive, diuretic, antifungal, rubefacient, scalp stimulant.
Indications: recommended for infections of the respiratory tract (flu, pharyngitis) and urinary tract (cystitis, urethritis), as well as to prevent the formation of kidney stones and reduce rates of urea in the urine. As a moderate diuretic, it helps to treat edema and fluid retention. But above all it is used in topical application on fungal infections in the skin, to relieve muscle tension and to stimulate or strengthen the scalp and slow hair loss.
How to use: internally in simple or mixed infusion (one tablespoon per cup of water, two cups daily), in liquid extract and tincture; and externally, the more concentrated infusion or tincture in massage or friction of the scalp. It can be found as an ingredient in creams or ointments for mushrooms and in shampoos to strengthen hair.
Precautions: avoid seeds, which are toxic, and do not take by mouth in case of pregnancy, gastritis, hypothyroidism, renal or cardiac insufficiency.
4. YARROW FOR GOOD DIGESTIONS
This European botanical specimen, known as Achillea millefolium, thrives in mountain meadows and grasslands across the continent. Its versatile qualities have made it a staple among herbalists and an excellent choice for gardens due to its adaptability to both sunny and slightly shaded environments. Furthermore, it displays impressive resilience against both drought and frost.
Properties: During the summertime and extending into mid-autumn, the plant boasts eye-catching white flowers that form dense, flat corimbuses. These blooms are often frequented by bees. Harvested in the summer, the flowering tops are utilized for their wide range of properties, including anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, digestive, antimicrobial, and diuretic attributes.
Indications: The plant’s applications are diverse. It is recommended primarily for alleviating digestive troubles, gastrointestinal spasms, and queasiness, and serves as a liver tonic. Thanks to its antispasmodic capabilities, it can effectively address menstrual discomfort. Additionally, it aids in strengthening veins, making it useful for conditions like varicose veins or hemorrhoids. Externally, it proves beneficial for treating wounds, burns, and reducing joint discomfort.
How it is used: Utilization methods encompass a simple infusion, often combined with other plants (recommended dosage: 2-3 cups per day), fluid extracts, tinctures, syrups, and the juice of the fresh plant. The infusion also serves external purposes, aiding in pain relief and promoting improved blood circulation through washing and rubbing.
Precautions: It is advised to exercise caution when considering dosages, as excessive consumption may lead to feelings of dizziness.
5. CHINESE PEONY, AN ALLY OF WOMEN
This plant originating from the Far East, scientifically known as Paeonia lactiflora, boasts magnificent flowers in hues of pink, white, or dual shades. These fragrant blooms stand atop large, fleshy roots. While three peony species thrive on the peninsula and the Balearic Islands, they are protected and should not be harvested. Ideal for expansive flowerbeds or sizable planters, these plants flourish in partial shade. However, it’s worth noting that their growth is gradual, necessitating ample watering.
Nurseries and gardens are also home to these stunning plants. Their blossoms grace the period from late spring to early autumn, and both the flowers and roots hold medicinal value.
Properties: Renowned for its diverse properties, Paeonia lactiflora offers analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, sedative, astringent, anticonvulsant, and purgative attributes.
Indications: Traditional Chinese medicine refers to it as bai shao yao, utilizing it to bolster the liver and spleen, combat migraines, and regulate heavy menstruation. It’s an effective solution for alleviating spasmodic period pains, as well as the hot flashes and night sweats often experienced during menopause. Recognized for its calming effects, it soothes irritability, palpitations, and muscle tension, providing relief from cramps.
How it is used: The plant is commonly utilized in infusion or decoction, frequently within blended herbal teas (up to 3 glasses daily, in non-prolonged treatments), tinctures, and tablets.
Precautions: It’s crucial to avoid its use during pregnancy and lactation, and it should not be administered to children under the age of 12.
6. THE RELAXING MILAMORES
Milamores, scientifically named Centranthus ruber, is commonly recognized as red valerian. This robust and low-maintenance plant exhibits remarkable resistance. Its blooms, found in shades of white, deep pink, or light pink, cluster into dense peaks and grace the landscape from late winter through the following autumn.
Often chosen for slopes, rockeries, walls, or steps, Milamores thrives in diverse environments. The root is typically harvested during the autumn season.
Properties: Renowned for its attributes, Milamores is classified as sedative, muscle-relaxing, antispasmodic, and antiarrhythmic. These qualities are akin to those of its relative, the common valerian, albeit in a milder form.
Indications: Similar to valerian, Milamores is favored for its ability to induce relaxation, reduce nervousness, alleviate muscle tension, and address occasional insomnia. Its effects are enhanced when combined with complementary plants like hawthorn, hops, or poppy.
How to use: Incorporate Milamores into a decoction, often in combination with other plants. Consume two cups daily, with the last cup an hour before bedtime. Alternatively, it can be administered in the form of tincture or fluid extract.
Precautions: Considered safe for use.