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Meet the Plants (Part 4): A Few Medicinals…

July 11, 2012

Calendula officinalis

Calendula seeds

by Madison, July 2012.

I planted calendula today! Calendula is related to marigolds, and has a similar flower. It is a medicinal plant that is frequently added to skin balms to promote wound healing. Calendula is one of the most versatile flowers to grow in a garden, tolerating many climates and soil types, and will be a valuable addition to our garden.

Check out its whacky seeds!

Tanacetum parthenium

Feverfew flowers

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) is currently flowering in our garden, and looks just like the image to the left. Its medicinal uses are basically what its common name implies; it helps reduce fever and curb headaches. The leaves are taken orally or added to tea, sometimes in combination with white willow (Salix alba) extracts, which contains aspirin-like compounds.

A heads up: Feverfew is related to ragweed and can very occasionally cause an allergic reaction for those who are also allergic to ragweed or other plants in the sunflower family.

Rosa rugosa

Rose hip

Rosa rugosa, sometimes called rugosa rose, is an asian variety of rose that produces excellent rose hips. Rose hips are one of the richest plant sources of vitamin C available in our climate. During World War II, in Britain, dietician Claire Loewenfeld published pamphlets encouraging parents to make a syrup from rose hips for their children, as German submarines were sinking shipments of citrus. Rose hips also contain lycopene, an antioxidant, and vitamins A and B. They can be eaten raw, in jams, syrup, pie, bread, wine, mead… or dried and used in herbal tea or as a snack. Rose hip soup, called “nysoppa” is popular in Sweden.

For how to harvest rose hips, visit The Practical Herbalist.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Maria permalink
    August 16, 2012 10:02 am

    I am not sure if you guys have comfrey. It’s a wonderful addition to a medicinal herb garden. It tastes a bit like cucumber. If you have a bug bite (most notably, bee stings), you can take some comfrey leaves, chew them up a bit and put it on the bite to reduce swelling/take away the sting. I just tried this on my son a few days ago, and it worked. The drawback, however, is that comfrey (like monarda, any of the mints, hyssop, etc.) can be weed-like. These must all be divided frequently and kept under control. Otherwise, they will take over the whole garden.

    • October 3, 2012 11:11 am

      Hi Maria,
      Yes we have included a sterile cultivar of comfrey in our pear guild (and suggest anyone use a sterile cultivar of this plant). In addition to being a healing herb, we love it for its ability to dynamically accumulate nutrients for the more shallow rooted pear tree.

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