For most of us, gardening & growing season is wrapping up. However, you can still scheme for next year! Quinn from Reformation Acres is sharing her best ideas for growing your own medicine cabinet today.
Summer may be over, but does a homesteader’s work really ever end?
There is a lot of work to do to get ready for those chilly winter days we’re facing. Are you feeling it yet?
I know I sure am!
But it’s to be expected. Homesteading can be rough.
From sunburns, to cracked hands, chapped lips, sore muscles, aching backs, poison ivy, bug bites, bee stings, bumps, bruises, or worse yet wounds, our bodies take a beating but it’s a life we all love.
When we have the privilege of taking in the sweet scent of a cow as the morning sun hits you warm on the back while listening to the swishing of the milk in the pail, or breathing deep the musty smell of soil just as it begins to rain when you’re pulling weeds in the garden, or the taste of that first homegrown tomato of the season, all the pain and toil is so easily rewarded.
Still, it’s no fun to get stepped on by the cow when you’re leading her back to the pasture, or pecked at by a hen who’s gone broody while you’re trying to work out whose eggs those actually are. The bees don’t realize you’re trying to help them out by checking on the hives and you’ve got the stings to prove it! And then there’s the sunburn you got in the garden that makes it hard to rest your weary bones when you lie down at night.
For all the hard work we do trying to grow and raise the best food possible for our families, we deserve to treat ourselves well by taking control of our own health and well being!
And what better way than to add beauty and color to your landscape with a functional, herbal Salve Garden?
You will be able to reap a harvest that will make you feel better while time encouraging pollinators and the ultimate all-natural pesticide to visit your garden.
Your Salve Garden won’t only benefit you… salves also have their place in your barnyard. You can be whipping up creations to will improve the quality of life for the animals under your care and stewardship. (Natural Homestead is my favorite resource for finding ways to naturally tend to our homestead’s needs.)
I’m busy planning my Salve Garden and here are 10 plants I’ll be growing…
Top Ten Healing Herbs to Grow in a Salve Garden
The very word “chamomile” is soothing and calming. And that’s exactly what it does for your skin. It soothes irritations and inflammations, such as sunburn, windburn, even eczema! It’s healing, prevents infections in the skin, and can even be used on muscle cramps.
Chamomile is easy to grow and self-sows for even lower maintenance. Even once they’re dried, the harvested blossoms have an old-fashioned charm and loveliness.
Calendula is renowned for it’s efficacy in treating skin conditions.
Whether it’s an infection, minor cut, burn, or wound, or dry, damaged, or chapped skin, insect bites, even eczema, antiseptic calendula will speed healing.
The triterpenoid compounds [in calendula] such as oleanolic acid appear to inhibit a variety of bacteria. It’s anti-inflammatory effects may be the result of a triterpenoid compound acting as an antioxidant, to reduce damage from oxygen radicals in the healing process. – Guide to Medicinal Herbs
Calendula is easily grown from seed in full sun and blooms all season long giving you many months to harvest the flowers.
Peppermint is a great choice when you’re looking to relieve itching from bug bites & poison ivy. It’s cooling when you’re troubled with skin irritations, hives, or rashes.
Purchase a peppermint plant or take a cutting, runner, or division from a friend and watch it take off. Be careful though, it can take over your garden. Sinking a pot in the ground and planting in the pot could be one way to contain it. Preferably, you should harvest the leaves around the time it begins to flower. Use them fresh or dry for later.
On my dream homestead, I’ll have more comfrey than I know what to do with. It is one amazing multi-purpose plant! For your Salve Garden, its function will be the result of its healing properties.
When you have bruises, strains, sprains, back pain, sore muscles, even fractures, your comfrey salve recipe will be what you reach for. Comfrey has allantoin and rosmarinc acid. The former helps with tissue growth & healing. The latter is assists in pain relief and inflammation.
Comfrey will grow just about anywhere and can be invasive like peppermint. Share root divisions with your fellow homesteaders. They’ll appreciate it!
Another common solution for skin ailments is lavender. It will be beneficial in salves for pain or cooled burns. Actually lavender would make a great addition for just about any salve you chose to prepare. Insect bites, skin healing, muscles aches, it seems to just about do it all! (Plus, it smells delightful!)
Only problem with lavender for me is I find it difficult to grow. I don’t know what my problem is, but I’m determined to make it work and try again every year!
Used for bruises and wound healing, hyssop is beautiful! As a bonus, the bees love it!
Hyssop can be grown from seed and you can divide the roots in the spring or take stem cuttings.
Rosemary sure packs a punch- it is an anti-everything. From bacteria, to fungus, parasites, and inflammation! It will help with itching, improve circulation & blood supply and relieves muscle pain including that from arthritis.
Buy a plant as it isn’t easy to grow from seed. It won’t do well in cooler climates making for a good potted addition to your garden. Take a piece of summer with you and overwinter it indoors.
Keep a little St. John’s Wort salve on hand in case of burns. Part of the homesteading package is time in the kitchen. Burns happen. (Not to mention sunburn.) St. John’s Wort will heal your cooled burns, bruises, wounds, or bee stings.
St. John’s Wort is a shrub and the yellow flowers are infused in oil. I’ve used both the oil and the salve in the treatment of burns and been very pleased with the results. Making your own burn salve is so simple, there’s no excuse not to have it on hand!
Arnica salve will be your go-to healing balm when you have problems with muscle strains & sprains, bruises, swelling, and pain- even arthritic pain. The beautiful golden blooms can be used whether fresh or dry.
You can grow your own either from seed or by root division, but make sure the soil is well-drained.
Marsh Mallow is a lovely, hollyhock-like plant and its many uses include burns and inflammations. Both leaf and root are used to soothe and soften dry or sunburned skin. The root is useful for burns and the reduction of inflammation.
Once your healing herbs Salve Garden is growing well, you’ll be able to prepare your own infused herbal oil and concoct your own healing salves depending on your needs. And this post will show you how to harvest and dry herbs if you have an especially bountiful harvest. Before long you’ll be treating your homesteading aches & pains, burns & bruises, and skin issues just like your great-grandparents did… straight out of the garden!
Reformation Acres is a resource for information on homesteading & gardening and how you can transform an average backyard lawn into an abundant source of sustainable, organic, and homegrown food. We’re living an agrarian lifestyle trying to grow or raise most of our own food for our large family and that includes fruits & vegetables, dairy & beef cattle, pigs, chickens and more. It all comes together with delicious, homegrown & local seasonal recipes being shared on our new site, Farmstead Cookery.