By Jordan Laio, Hometalk
Medicinal herbs have a rich tradition of use throughout human history. It is easy and enjoyable for the home gardener to grow her own medicinal herbs, whether on a windowsill or in the garden proper. The following are a number of medicinal herbs you can start growing right now and enjoy through the summer.
A word of caution: In rare cases, medicinal herbs may cause allergic reactions or may conflict with prescription medication. For preparations, dosages, and contraindications, you will have to do your own research about each herb. Also, the common uses listed are only some of the uses; there may be many others.
Echinacea is used as a general immune system booster used to prevent and fight colds, sore throats, and sinus infections. It is also used for respiratory tract and lower urinary tract infections. It is used externally for skin abrasions and ulcerations.
Advice for Growing
Echinacea, in the sunflower family, is native to the North American plains. The plants grow from 18 inches to 5 feet tall and bear beautiful cone-shaped flowers which bloom from early to late summer, for which they are commonly called ‘coneflower.’ They are drought- and heat-tolerant and prefer poor to average, well-drained soil.
Growing from seed can be tricky and there’s a chance they will not form flowers in the first season. If taking this route, plant seeds when there is still a possibility of light frost. Be patient as they can take a couple weeks to sprout. Otherwise, divide a mature plant and use the division. Once established, plants are perennial and will come back year after year. Water to help plants get established, but once established, water sparingly.
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