This delight in making potions and lotions never left me and it really pleases me to add medicinal plants to my collection. Here are some plants I am growing at home that can be used as natural cures for an array of complaints.
1. Plants To Reduce Stress
LavenderPossibly one of the most recognised floral scents, lavender is synonymous with encouraging better sleep. It produces calming, sedative effects when inhaled.
The lavender plant is quite hardy and will withstand dry conditions but a good watering before the flowering season will promote healthy blooms. It spreads, so don't restrict it too much. Place it in a sunny spot as it will not thrive without 6-8 hours of sunshine a day.
Harvest the flowers just before they come into bloom (late June-July) and to maximise the scent, collect in the very early morning. Cut the flowers at the base of the stem and tie into bunches. To retain as much colour as possible, hang in a dark place that is dry, with low humidity. A garage or shed would be ideal. You want to dry them gently. Keep space between the bunches so the air can circulate. The process can take up to a month. You can dry them quickly in the sun, but the purple colour will fade.
To lift your mood, try a homemade lavender tea. Place 1 tsp of dried lavender leaves in a cup and cover with freshly boiled water. Leave to steep for three minutes and drain before drinking. It can be sweetened with honey.
2. Plants for Cuts, Grazes and Minor Burns
Aloe VeraAloe can be grown easily as a house plant. It is a succulent plant, which retains water in its leaves, so it doesn't need too much watering, particularly in winter. It likes a warm, bright location but not totally direct sunshine.
If you break the tip of a leaf off, you will be able to squeeze out the thick green gel from inside the plant. Apply the cool gel directly to a minor burn or graze. Equally you can use like a compress by slitting the leaf down the rib, open it out like a book and apply it, gel side down, straight onto the burn.
I recently used aloe vera on a graze on my toddler's head, and it was gone the next day. Maybe it was his small-child powers of healing the countless bumps he gets but I like to think my efforts helped.