For centuries, perennial herb gardens have provided medicine as well as beauty. In fact, Medieval monasteries were famous for their healing gardens. But perennial herbs aren’t just for extensive or curated spaces. Even with limited room to grow, you can plant an impressive collection of homegrown natural remedies.
Whether you’re growing in pots, planters, or hanging baskets, you can fill your home apothecary with wonderful healing plants. Read on to discover 28 essential perennial herbs you can grow as part of your home apothecary.
1. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow’s traditional nickname, “woundwort”, emphasizes its ability to slow bleeding and promote healing. Today, however, this hardy herb is mainly used to cure colds, influenza, and persistent coughs. It’s a staple in any medicinal garden because of it versatility!
2. Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
Lavender is a great all-around soother. It not only calms nervous exhaustion, but soothes itchy eczema and psoriasis as well. Additionally, this herb also lessens the pain of sunburns. Drive away biting insects with lavender and make a salve of its blooms to ease mosquito bites!
3. Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
Comfrey spreads fast, so it can take over a garden without care. That said, you’ll want this super-healer on your team nevertheless. This herb’s nickname, ‘knitbone’ says it all. It repairs skin, muscle, and even bone cells quickly. The leaves are ideal in homemade diaper balms and wound creams to speed healing.
4. Thyme (Thymus spp.)
Although most often regulated to the kitchen these days, thyme is more than just a spice-rack herb. Its amazing, lung healing effects make thyme an essential part of homemade cough syrups and throat drops. If you have muscle aches, make a massage rub with thyme-infused olive or almond oil.
5. Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
Best known as a nourishing fertility tonic for women, red clover has countless other benefits as well. It’s high in vitamin C, so it’s a great cold fighter and immune booster. As a syrup, red clover is a useful bronchitis remedy.
6. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Rosemary is a stimulating, refreshing herb. Therefore, use it as a circulation tonic to encourage healthy blood flow. It increases energy, and drives away chills, colds, and headaches. Try rubbing a rosemary salve onto your cold hands and feet to encourage blood flow.
7. Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)
This gorgeous, hardy, bee-loving herb is delicious in cold-fighting teas and cough syrups. Additionally, it’s also a great digestive healer. Add monarda to lemon-ginger teas to fight nausea or soothe an upset stomach.
8. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon balm is best known as an expert insomnia fighter. Use this herb in a nighttime tea with lavender and monarda, or infuse it into raw honey for a soothing bedtime syrup. In addition, lemon balm tea also gives quick relief from acid reflux and soothes digestive troubles.
9. Rose (Rosa spp.)
Who knew these beautiful flowers were such all-purpose remedies as well! Folk tradition claims roses are good for both the skin and the soul. As an experiment, try infusing rose petals in oil for a skin-enhancing serum. Additionally, dry rose hips to have easy access to vitamin C all winter long.
10. Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
Horseradish is essential for creating a master tonic to fight flu season head on. It clears sinuses, lowers blood pressure. Furthermore, it’s also helpful in weight loss tonics. Plant horseradish in your medicinal garden and let this spicy herb support you through allergies, colds, and sluggishness.
11. Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
Mullein is one of the best perennial herbs for respiratory support. Harvest its tall, yellow blossoms for a tonic that relaxes the lungs and breaks up mucus. Use it in tea format to treat asthma, bronchitis, and even whooping cough. Furthermore, mullein also combines well with garlic in an infused oil for ear infections.
12. St John’s Wort (Hypericum spp.)
Once believed to dispel evil spirits, cheery St. John’s Wort does dispel anxiety and nervous exhaustion. Use this sunny little herb in a tea or tincture to brighten moods and balance emotions. In addition, try infusing the pretty yellow petals in oil to create a skin-repairing, blood-red serum.
13. Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
True hyssop is a ancient herb of great spiritual and medicinal importance. Medicinally, hyssop’s most important use is as an expectorant. Basically, it breaks up chest colds and opens asthmatic lungs. Mix the leaves and flowers with fresh figs for a traditional constipation remedy as well!
14. Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Anise hyssop is hardier than regular hyssop, and has a noted liquorice scent that brightens moods and lessens depression. Like true hyssop, it’s a bee-loving herb that aids in coughs and colds. Furthermore, anise hyssop is used to make a healing poultice for poison ivy.
15. Spearmint (Mentha spicata)
A popular after-dinner drink, spearmint soothes digestive struggles and nausea. Most noteworthy, spearmint has been shown to balance women’s hormone levels and reduce androgens, especially in PCOS. Also, drinking spearmint tea regularly will lowes blood sugar as well as blood pressure.
16. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
Although similar to spearmint in flavor, peppermint has different healing benefits. Use this aromatic herb to ease insomnia, soothe tired muscles, and alleviate tension. Peppermint’s crisp scent can also help you focus! Wear a fresh sprig to your next test for extra support.
17. Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis)
This highly astringent herb was one of the most popular wound treatments on late Medieval battlefields. Steep the leaves in water to treat weeping eczema and mouth ulcers. In addition, lady’s mantle also balances the menstrual cycle and helps to moderate heavy menstrual bleeding.
18. Dandelion (Taraxacum spp.)
If you’re thinking “I’m not growing dandelions in my garden” then please, reconsider! These deeply nourishing, detoxifying perennial herbs are rich in potassium. In fact, dandelion leaves are naturally cleansing (and delicious!) in salads and smoothies. Furthermore, dandelion root is one of the best, gentlest liver supporting herbs available. Don’t neglect to include this often-maligned healer in your garden.
19. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea spp.)
Otherwise known as Echinacea, this flowering plant is an eye-catching herbal favorite. Use Echinacea angustifolia to ward off illness, or Echinacea purpurea to decrease the duration of an illness you already have. Above all, coneflowers come in a wide assortment of colors that can suit any garden theme. Just make sure to pick purple-flowered varieties for the most medicinal benefits.
20. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
Once considered one of Nine Sacred Herbs of Norse mythology, mugwort is a neglected herb in modern healing. Use mugwort in homemade antibiotic ointments or mix up digestive bitters. Mugwort is also helpful with lavender and peppermint as a sleep aid.
21. Burdock (Arctium spp.)
Burdock is one of the most gently effective detoxifying herbs available. Add burdock root to soups, teas, and baths for deep, nourishing, whole-body detoxification. Most noteworthy, it’s a fantastic skin herb as well. If you’re struggling with acne, eczema, or rashes, try a burdock root poultice or infused oil.
22. Plantain (Plantago major)
Legend has it that if you put several pieces of severed flesh are put into pot with plantain, these perennial herbs will join them together again. Today, plantain is most often used to draw out splinters or bee stings. In addition, it’s a great herb for treating cuts and sores. This gentle, effective healer soothes inflammation as it closes wounds.
23. Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)
Evening primrose is a calming herb rich in in salicylates, which act like aspirin in the body. Its flowers are deeply relaxing and can clear headaches, while its roots help open up the lungs. They also reduce inflammation and arthritic pain. Children can gather the dew from primrose flowers and sprinkle it on your eyelids for a sight of fairyland as well!
24. Elder (Sambucus nigra)
This is the best natural flu shot you can take! In fact, elderberry syrup is as effective as allopathic flu remedies. Furthermore, these bushes can heal more than just the flu. Elderflowers make a great skin-softening face wash, and a lovely evening tea with other perennial herbs like lavender and chamomile.
25. Juniper (Juniperus spp.)
This hardy shrub can make a home in almost any climate. Infuse juniper in oil to make a warming muscle rub, and use it to massage swollen, arthritic joints. Alternatively, throw a handful of juniper needles in the bath with epsom salts for a hot post-workout soak. As a weak tea, juniper berries calm upset stomachs and aid digestion.
26. Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca)
In the middle ages, motherwort was prescribed to lighten hearts and drive away melancholy. In contrast, it’s now recommended after labor as a uterine toner. Surprisingly, motherwort also heals and strengthens hearts. Combine it with hawthorne for a powerful heart tonic. Also noteworthy: in Chinese medicine, motherwort seeds are used to improve vision.
27. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
This is one of Mother Nature’s most soothing perennial herbs. Valerian alleviates sleeplessness and restless anxiety. For high blood pressure or a weak heart, try a root tincture. Brew a tea of chamomile, peppermint, and valerian if life’s stresses feel overwhelming. You definitely want fresh valerian for extra calming power, so make sure to save plenty of space for this herb in your medicinal garden.
28. Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
Wintergreen has an intense, minty flavor. Grow this low, woody variety as a groundcover, allowing its bright red berries and leathery leaves to add texture to your garden. Medicinally, wintergreen leaves steeped in oil make a powerful muscle rub. Leg day at the gym? Bring along some wintergreen salve to ease the burn.
Now your garden is full of great, natural healing herbs! Skip the drugstore, Mother Nature has you covered. Fill in around the edges with annuals like chamomile, basil, and garlic. Your perennial herb garden will bring you health and beauty for years.