A List of 5 Essential Medicinal Herbs for Spring

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Every breath is a giveaway dance
between you and the plants.”
~Susun Weed

[S]o if you’ve been reading Frugally Sustainable for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that I am borderline obsessed with herbs :) I love them for several reasons — they come from the Earth, they’ve healed for thousands of years, and they are amazing! And now with Spring on the way, it’s time to start thinking toward the days ahead.  

Preparedness is the name of the game when working with herbs, and as we prepare for warmer days — and an increase in the time spent outdoors — we can certainly anticipate many opportunities to care for bruises, cuts, scrapes, a variety of rashes, and bug bites.

Therefore, rather than relying on the commercially-prepared products that line the shelves of the local pharmacy…let’s take a look at some plants!

5 Essential Medicinal Herbs for Spring

Talk to 10 different herbalists about the most “essential” herbs to keep in stock and you’ll get 10 different answers. Medicinal herbs are just like that…everyone has there favorites. Here are mine :)

  1. Calendula
    This is one of the best herbs to use when attempting to treat ailments of the skin — such as cuts, burns, inflammation, bruises, minor open wounds, scrapes. Phytochemicals that are present in this flower work hard against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Because of these potent properties, calendula can be used to treat and soothe sun-burned skin, ear infections, pink eye, diaper rash, bug bites, eczema, and acne. Interested in learning how to make a calendula infused oil? Read more here. And click here to learn how to make your own salve!
  2. Nettle Leaf
    Nettle leaf contains an abundance of natural antihistamines and touts many anti-inflammatory properties as well. Therefore, it is super effective in treating all of the symptoms associated with seasonal allergies — i.e. a runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, and sneezing. Nettle leaf is also high in essential vitamins and minerals. The best ways to ingest the goodness of this herb are through an herbal tea infusion or tincture.
  3. Dandelion Root
    Yes I am referring to the little yellow flower that grows like crazy in our yards come Spring! The flower, leaves, and roots are each beneficial and work in different ways. The root of the plant is incredible when used as a liver and gallbladder detoxifier. Additionally, it is rich in a variety of vitamins and minerals. Used in tinctures and teas, this herb will detox, nourish, and revive the body after a long winter…it is the perfect Spring Tonic.
  4. St. John’s Wort
    The “feel good” herb, known for it’s ability to effectively treat the symptoms of mild depression, can also be used to treat neurological pain, tension, anxiety, and irritability when taken internally. Moreover, when St. John’s wort is used externally it is wonderful in homemade salves for the treatment of bruises, wounds, and especially good for treating sunburn.  
  5. Oregon Grape Root
    I love Oregon grape root! It’s broad-spectrum properties — anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antibiotic, and anti-viral — make it a must-have for my herbal medicine chest. Use it in salves or as a poultice to more aggressively treat athlete’s foot, psoriasis, eczema, and acne. 

Bonus Herb: Yarrow
I had to include just one more :) Yarrow is great when used as a treatment for the flu and sudden fevers. One would be wise to always have yarrow on hand. A tea made from yarrow, although bitter (I make it yummy tasting for the children by adding peppermint leaf), will stop a cold and reduce a fever super quick! This is my fever-reducer of choice.

Notes

-An additional bonus to these herbs is their ability to grow in most climates and soils. During the later months of Spring and early Summer, these are herbs/weeds are easy to find growing on the side of the road or in our lawns…and they can be grown without difficulty in the backyard herbal garden.

-Want to learn more about medicinal herbs? These are just a few of the resources that have shaped my thinking regarding this practice:

For the herbs that I can’t grow myself, I love to purchase them in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs, The Bulk Herb Store, or a local health food store.

What are you favorite medicinal herbs?

Be sure not to miss a post, click this link to receive my free eBook and Frugally Sustainable tips by email.

Mountain Rose Herbs

Comments

  1. Thank you for this fabulous post! Herbs are something that I have found I know nothing about but have a great desire to learn about. Thanks for the information to springboard off of!

  2. Yes, Thank you. I too am just getting into learning about herbs. I find it facinating! I just “happened” upon your website last week and it is FANTASTIC! I love your articles and wonderful information. I aspire to be YOU!!! Keep up the wonderful work!

  3. Allison says:

    Just wanted to leave a caution about using herbs–some of them can interact with each other and with over the counter drugs, so do your research. St. John’s Wort, in particular, is known to have interactions with a lot of different medications. That said, I would love to start using herbs more. I have plans to plant some once the freezing weather is past! It love this site; it’s very inspring! Thank you so much!

  4. I too find your website so informative and can hardly wait to make my own salves and heal my family naturally, the way God intended! Thanks again!!

  5. Yvette Smith says:

    We use yarrow to treat cuts, scrapes and even puncture wounds. I used if when I stepped on a nail – no infection. My Son used it when he did the same thing. His wound only got infected when I took him to be put on systemic anti-biotics and the Dr. wanted us to use neosporin. Once we started using the yarrow again the infection cleared right up. Will NEVER use neosporin again!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Love your post! I am amazed at how God has given us all the resources we need. Question: would using dandelion leaves be good for the diaper rash creme recipe?

    • I wouldn’t use it topically. Look more toward plantain, calendula, or lemon balm for diaper rash creams.

  7. I wanted to add that when my daughter finds the poison ivy, she boils yarrow to add to her bath water–no more itch.

  8. Dandelion, Callendula and Nettles are most definitely on my list too! I would also say plantain (great for stings, scrapes, cuts and very nutritious). Gotta love some plantain.

  9. When gathering herbs, just be careful. My neighbors constantly use chemical lawn sprays! So I don’t use anything from my yard…I grow most in pots. And when you see roadside herbs, think “car exhaust”…also not good. Be sure to check that you are not picking on private property as well. There are several great herb stores online such as The Bulk Herb Store and Rose Mountain.

  10. Debbie Ober says:

    Again, another awesome blog! Just wanted to say thank you for all the information and work you do!
    Have really enjoyed reading your site since the beginning of the Frugal Challenge! I am slowly implementing the great ideas! I will be adding herbs to the list of things to do! Thanks so much for sharing your heart!

  11. Great post! I like Grapefruit Seed Extract too. Seems to do just about everything from inflamed dog ears to infections both internal and external. I will definitely be looking into your herbs too! Thanks again!

  12. Where can I find Yarrow? My son has a cold and I would love to try it, however need it asap and don’t have enough time to grow it myself :)

  13. Should I order dried or fresh?

    • I believe they only sell it dried? Dried organic yarrow is all I’ve ever purchased from them :) It’s excellent quality!

  14. Andrea,

    You never cease to amaze me! I don’t know where you find the time to do all you do, between the kids, this great blog with the solid research, your knowledge and the sharing with others. Keep up the great work and relish the fact that you’re young enough to keep up this pace for a while…:-)

    Mary

  15. It is worth mentioning that St John’s Wort can inhibit the efficacy of other medications, including the contraceptive pill, so has to be taken carefully.

    Great article, I’m really enjoying your website : )

  16. Does anyone have an herbal remedies for getting rid of MRSA? We have tried and used antibiotics due to the danger of MRSA but it keeps coming back. Is there a way to get it out of the system?

  17. Great List! I’m just starting to get into herbs myself. They’re awesome! :)

  18. OK, I do like calendula (related to the common marigold, Tagetes), if one gets rid of the cchemical that causes the stinging, nettle tea can be effective for various ailments, dandelion root has a long history in Europe (the reason why it is so common as a weed in the USA is that, like so many other weeds, came with the colonists because they either ate it or is was for medicine). Hypericum (St. John’s Wort) is a subject of great controversy. Out west, the locals call it Klamath weed, and they take a lot of effort to eradicate it since it poisons cattle. There is much controversy over its alleged medicinal properties, too. Unfortunately, Oregon Grape, a relative of the much tougher barberry, grows well only in Zone 7 or milder places, and does poorly in areas with humid summers. There are a few I’ve seen in Cambridge but the winters beat them up badly. Yarrow has been under scrutiny by the FDA because there is a problem with toxicity for some. I used it for colds in the past with some success (a mix with mullein & pepperment).

  19. Also, I’ve now noticed that the author won’t fully identify herself. I have a concern with that.

  20. I got into herbs and juicing while my husband had a brain tumor. I wanted to supplement his body while going through treatments. Afterwards I started to write about the herbs and their medicinal uses.
    You find a lot of health remedies on FB under Natural Health Remedies, check it out.

Mountain Rose Herbs

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