Nature’s ability to heal is none more evident that in the bounty of plants and herbs that can be used for medicinal purposes. Rather than needing to be a shaman to extract the healing benefits of rare species, many commonly grown plants and flowers can be used to treat a myriad of modern-day ailments. From the relaxing, anxiety-reducing effects of catnip, and air-purifying abilities of the spider plant, to the naturally antiseptic qualities of marigolds and the multi-tasking abilities of Gotu-kola, which has been traditionally used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat depression and bacterial infections, the humble garden couldn’t be more ripe for the picking.
Photography: Derek HendersonSet designer: Alicia Sciberras
Spider Plant: purifies the air of toxins such as carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, xylene and toluene. Highly resilient and thrives indoors.
Gotu Kola: promotes mental alertness, improves memory and supports the body while coping with stress.
Aloe Vera: possesses natural antibacterial and antioxidant properties that help the healing of burns when used topically. When ingested, it can help soothe the digestive system and reduce blood sugar levels.
Catnip: improves relaxation, while reduces anxiety and restlessness. Typically made into a tea.
Rosemary: improves digestion, eliminates free radicals and boost immunity. Spirulina powder: rich in protein, boosts metabolism and lowers cholesterol.
Gotu Kola: also improves the health of skin, hair and nails. This all-rounder has long been used in Indian and Asian cultures as a traditional remedy.
Basil: a natural adaptogen that helps the body combat stress, while also filled with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories to help fight inflammation and free readical damage.
Peppermint: speeds up digestion and relieves stomach discomfort. When used as an oil on the skin, it can also soothe itching, insect bites and rashes.
Marigold: antifungal and antispeptic properties make this ideal for treating eczema, swelling, pain and other forms of dermatitis. Salves made from marigolds (also known as Calendula) are also great for alleviating eye infections.
Sunflower: both leaf and flower can be brewed into teas, which can help treat lung ailments or be used as a diuretic. Its seeds are rich sources of Vitamin E, which can improve brain function, energy levels and strengthen bones and muscle.
Ginger: traditionally used to combat nausea, fight colds and aid digestion. Its anti-inflammatory nature also helps with reducing muscle pain and soreness.