An Herbalist's Garden - Medicinal Plants and Herbs

An estimated two-fifths of all modern pharmaceutical products in the
United States contain one or more naturally derived ingredients


Free herb garden design plan download  in .pdf format. Click the pic below. 
All types of herbal plants, cooking and medicinal, can be grown to fit this type of design. 
Just swap out suggested plants, and add your own ideas, bearing in mind the height and spread of the plant.

Design A Classic Herb Garden


Native American Medicine Wheels or Sacred Hoop Gardens

The Medicine Wheel, or The Sacred Hoop, has been used by generations of various Native American tribes for health and healing. It embodies the Four Directions, as well as Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Spirit Tree, which symbolize dimensions of health and the cycles of life.

Movement in the Medicine Wheel and in Native American ceremonies is circular, and typically in a clockwise, or “sun-wise” direction. This helps to align with the forces of Nature, such as gravity and the rising and setting of the Sun.

Your medicinal and healing garden can be any design you wish, combining the healing qualities and attraction to pollinators and birds. As well as cut flowers.

****Remember not to treat or diagnose yourself. If you have health issues or are taking medications, do not self-treat with herbs. You do not really know the potency of that plant on the day you picked or dried it. Consult a medical specialist or Traditional Medicine practitioner.

Best to grow the concept, lovely flowers and plants in a traditional healing herb and aromatherapy garden.



Check the USDA Hardiness Zone Map for plants that will thrive  in your gardens.
Please research before planting these in your garden as medicinals, to be
sure that children, wildlife and your pets are not chewing something poisonous




I pick baby dandelion leaves (before there's even a hint of a flower) for my mixed greens salad in early spring, just before i make said salad. And I know they're organic.
The mature leaves are too bitter for my tastes, and those are the ones that get whacked all season. I have very few weeds, and dandelions aren't usually one of them. When I was young, I remember Italian families would go on a dandelion picking trip along the berms of the Interstates and bag 'em up in paper sacks. They made a day of it. It went into soups, stews and salads. And it makes for a very potent Dandelion Wine. It was usually given to you in a mason jar.


















Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) is the one most closely tied to your health and healing. 
Its history dates as far back as 400 BC, and Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” called the elder tree his “medicine chest.”
In folk medicine today, the elderberry is widely considered one of the world’s most healing plants

-According to WebMd

I have two of these elderberry shrubs and the flowers are beautiful  So are the berries. They keep the birds happy. 
This shrub is a very pretty almost-black purple. Much darker than the colors shown in this illustration.
The smell of the cut branches is unusual and i find it quite pleasant. It can be cut to your heart's content and loves a good shaping.


One of my pretty black elderberry shrubs


The following Medicinal Plant List provided by

Chamomile Flowers

Commonly used as a sedative for anxiety and relaxation. It is used in Europe for wound healing and to reduce inflammation or swelling. Chamomile is used as a tea or applied as a compress. It is considered safe by the FDA. It may increase drowsiness caused by medicines or other herbs or supplements. Chamomile may interfere with the way the body uses some medicines, causing too high a level of the medicine in some people. As with any medicinal herb, talk with your healthcare provider before taking it.


Echinacea (coneflower)

(Leaf, stalk, root)

This is one variety of echinacea (coneflower) that i grow in my gardens

Echinacea is commonly used to treat or prevent colds, flu, and infections, and for wound healing. 
People allergic to plants in the daisy family may be more likely to have an allergic reaction to Echinacea. The daisy family includes ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies.

Having read all that..... i still make and drink a tea made from the dried leaves, and i save the dried seed head (cones) for the birds. Orioles seem to like it a lot.



Feverfew was traditionally used to treat fevers. It is now commonly used to prevent migraines and treat arthritis. Some research has shown that certain feverfew preparations can prevent migraines. Side effects include mouth ulcers and digestive irritation. People who suddenly stop taking feverfew for migraines may have their headaches return. Feverfew should not be used with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines because these medicines may change how well feverfew works. It should not be used with warfarin or other anticoagulant medicines.


(Cloves, root)

Garlic is used for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. It has antimicrobial effects. Reports from small, short-term, and poorly described studies show that it may cause small reductions in total and LDL cholesterol.  Researchers are currently exploring garlic's possible role in preventing cancer. The FDA considers garlic safe. 

It should not be used with warfarin, because large amounts of garlic may affect clotting. For the same reason, large amounts should not be taken before dental procedures or surgery.



Ginger is used to ease nausea and motion sickness. Research suggests that ginger can relieve nausea caused by pregnancy or chemotherapy. Other areas under investigation are in surgery and for nausea caused by motion. 

I have successfully used all ginger products for a number of digestive issues.



Ginkgo leaf extract has been used to treat a variety of conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, and tinnitus. It is also used to improve memory and to prevent dementia and other brain disorders. Some studies have supported its slight effectiveness. But exactly how gingko works isn't understood. Only extract from leaves should be used. Seeds contain ginkgo toxin. Because some information suggests that ginkgo can increase the risk of bleeding, it should not be used with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, anticoagulants, anticonvulsant medicines, or tricyclic antidepressants.



Ginseng is used as a tonic and aphrodisiac, even as a cure-all. Research is uncertain how well it works, partly because of the difficulty in defining "vitality" and "quality of life." There is a large variation in the quality of ginseng sold. Side effects are high blood pressure and tachycardia. It's considered safe by the FDA, but shouldn't be used with warfarin, heparin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, estrogens, corticosteroids, or digoxin. People with diabetes should not use ginseng.


(Root, rhizome)

Goldenseal is used to treat diarrhea, and eye and skin irritations. It is also used as an antiseptic. It is also an unproven treatment for colds. Goldenseal contains berberine, a plant alkaloid with a long history of medicinal use in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Studies have shown that goldenseal is effective for diarrhea. 

I use a combination of echinacea and goldenseal to build up my immune system during the winter or to shorten the symptoms of colds.

Milk thistle


Milk thistle is used to treat liver conditions and high cholesterol, and to reduce the growth of cancer cells. Milk thistle is a plant that originated in the Mediterranean region. It has been used for many different illnesses over the last several thousand years, especially liver problems. 

I do use Milk Thistle as a liver cleansing tonic in my concoction of cleansing herbs twice a year..

Saint John's wort

(Flower, leaf)

Saint John's wort is used as an antidepressant. Recent studies have not confirmed that there is more than a slight effect on depression. More research is needed to determine the best dose. A side effect is sensitivity to light, but this is only noted in people taking large doses of the herb. St. John's work can cause a dangerous interaction with other commonly used medicines. Always talk with your healthcare provider before using this herb.

Saw palmetto


Saw palmetto is used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). But recent studies have not found it to work well for this condition. Side effects are digestive upset and headache, both mild.



Valerian is used to treat sleeplessness and to reduce anxiety.

I have used this with great success for insomnia, but i just can't stand the smell of it! It also tends to lose effectiveness if taken for a long period of time. I stop for two weeks every few months while using it. Below is suggested reading on the subject of medicinal plants and herbalism.

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