The following is strictly informational and not to be taken as medical advice. I am not a doctor, I am merely relaying experiences I have had using herbs.
Being asked to choose 5 favorite medicinal herbs is like asking which of my children I like best! So I’ve chosen 5 of the medicinal herbs I’ve used the most on myself and my family. These herbs are generally easy to use and grow well in Central Florida so you can truly grow your own “medicine” if you are so inclined.
~ An easy to grow herb in the ground or in a pot
~Use fresh- Apply the split leaf directly to burns, sunburn, wounds, fungal infections such as ringworm, and insect bites
~Useful applied to dry skin conditions, especially exzema around the eyes and sensitive facial skin
~Take up to 2 tsp. of fresh gel in a glass of water or fruit juice 3X a day as a tonic to stimulate bile flow for digestion
CAUTION: Avoid in pregnancy- high doses can cause vomiting
ECHINACEA spp.( Purple Coneflower)
~Can be grown in the ground or a pot
~Dried root generally used in tincture form for inflammation or infections
~Useful for recurring kidney infections as well as the common cold
~Harvest root after flowering; wash, chop and dry
~An infusion (tea) can be made from the flowers
CAUTION: high doses can occasionally cause nausea & dizziness
PLANTAGO spp. (Plantain)
~Can be grown in a pot or the ground in Central Florida
~Apply crushed, fresh leaves to bee stings, infections and slow healing wounds
~Press the juice from the fresh leaves, dilute and use for sore throats and mouth or gum inflammations
~Make an ointment using the leaves and apply to wounds, burns and hemorrhoids
CAPSICUM frutescens (Cayenne)
~Can be grown in the ground or a pot in Central Florida
~An infusion of the dried herb can be taken for colds, chills, cold hands and feet, shock or depression
~Soak a pad in an infusion and use as a compress for rheumatic pains, sprains and bruising
~Dilute 5 to 10 drops of cayenne tincture in half a glass of warm water for throat problems. Honey and lemon juice may be added
CAUTION: Avoid touching the eyes after handling fresh chilies. Seeds can be toxic. Excessive consumption of cayenne can lead to gastroenteritis and liver damage. Avoid theraputic doses while pregnant or breastfeeding
SYMPHYTUM officinale (Comfrey)
~ Better grown in the ground rather than a pot in Central Florida
~Country name is “knitbone” as comfrey readily heals fractures. Apply a puree of leaves to minor fractures, broken toes, ribs or hairline cracks in larger bones.
~Make a cream and use for bone or muscle damage including osteoarthritis
~Make a paste of powdered root with a little water and use on varicose ulcers and other stubborn wounds
CAUTION: Avoid using on dirty wounds because rapid healing can trap dirt or pus. Comfrey is not recommended to be taken internally due to possible liver damage
Resource: “The Complete Medicinal Herbal” by Penelope Ody
I encourage you to do your own research into herbal medicine and see if there might be easy to use applications for you and your family.