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Plants With a Purpose

Planting for your health By Rachel Kelly

Plants with a purpose

Gardens are more than just places of life, rest and beauty. Many fragrant and decorative flowers double as herbs that treat everything from inflammation to cancer. The herb garden is the everyday go-to for aches, illness, skin health and wound care. Herbs have a variety of culinary uses, but their strong aromatics can reduce stress and promote a feeling of well-being. Here are 12 plants that both look lovely in the garden and work hard for your health.


Benefits: Known for its strong but pleasant aroma, lavender supports sleep, boosts mood and reduces inflammation. It is also a mild cleanser.

Uses: Can be added to pillows, put in cleaners, added to compresses, and in bath products.


Benefits: Very popular for its cleansing abilities, as well as its miraculous ability to reduce inflammation. This plant rebuilds skin tissue.

Uses: It can be ingested. However, the gel is usually applied to burns to prevent scarring.


Benefits: Basil aids in digestion, has a stimulating smell, reduces inflammation, protects against infection, prevents cancer and high blood pressure, and is an excellent antioxidant.

Uses: Many of its essential properties are lost when dried, so make sure to add fresh to your favorite dishes.


Benefits: Reduces inflammation, reduces nausea, aids in digestion, lowers blood pressure, regulates blood sugar, positively affects cholesterol and is an antibacterial.

Uses: Wonderful in tea with a bit of honey and lemon, also fantastic in a plethora of foods.


Benefits: Helps to balance hormones, is a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory (especially in the gut), reduces stress, increases circulation and aids in pain relief.

Uses: This is an indispensable kitchen herb but is also useful when steeped in bath water.


Benefits: Well-known as echinacea, this plant supports the immune system and helps its users recover from viruses quickly. It also reduces anxiety and lowers blood sugar.

Uses: Can be used in tinctures, put in tablets or supplements, or taken as a tea.


Benefits: High in nutrients and antioxidants. It also supports bone health, protects the eyes, and is a mild antibacterial. It also just has a pleasant smell.

Uses: Is great in soups, sauces, and with fish and chicken. Also treats dandruff when used in shampoo.


Benefits: Reduces the risk of heart disease and may even aid in its reversal. It contains antioxidants that also stimulate other antioxidants.

Uses: It is a flower that can be used in teas (yellow milk is a good one) and is delicious in curries.


Benefits: Is a disinfectant and fights acne. It also boosts immunity, lowers blood pressure, alleviates coughs, treats yeast infections and provides aromatherapy.

Uses: Fantastic in a large variety of culinary dishes, from soups to stews. Can also be added to compresses.


Benefits: Is rich in antioxidants, is an antibacterial, may possibly reduce the risk of cancer, kills viruses and reduces inflammation.

Uses: Delicious in anything that has thyme in it. Is strong enough to stand on its own in sauces and with meats.


Benefits: Chamomile is especially well-known for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Not surprisingly, it also aids in digestion and is an anti-inflammatory.

Uses: It is best as a tea. However, it can be added to compresses and a variety of bath and body products.


Benefits: This herb is notorious for being used as a breath freshener. However, it also reduces inflammation and is an effective digestive aid. Mint also promotes brain health.

Uses: It has many culinary uses but is especially pleasant when drunk in summer as an iced tea or in lemonade.

Recipe Intro: Savory, spicy, versatile and quick-to-prepare salsa is the go-to for a burst of summer flavor! Use to adorn tacos, meats and grilled veggies.

3 Simple Steps:

1. Plant it: Place rocks or clay pebbles in the bottom of the pot for drainage. Plant your herb and fill the pot with soil.

2. Feed it: Plants need sun, water and dark soil. Place your plant where it can get sun and water on its own. Add worms or compost to the soil for health.

3. Change it: Every new year, the soil will be exhausted if not replenished. Add compost yearly to your thriving perennials, and change out the soil of your annuals.

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