Herbs shown here grow successfully in most parts of the UK and some of the choices shown here make fantastic garden plants; I have marked some GW, meaning "garden worthy".
Why not buy the seeds and try these in your garden. Medical herbs can make a great talking point in the garden.
Nettles (Urtica dioica)
I find myself looking out the window for inspiration for an herb to talk about in April and the snow is once again covering the ground. In the spring the nettles start to grow again. Here in my village, it is a little bit early and I have yet to see the nettle shoots, but when you see them, the new new shoots are full of vital energy and spring is a good time to make a nettle soup and of course, it is rich in iron. As I mentioned in March, this herb is often used as a spring tonic with herbs such as cleavers.
Nettles are widely used as an anti-allergenic. Nettles have an anti-histamine effect and hence it has a role in reducing the the inflamation caused by allergies. It is can be used for skin conditions, particularly eczema, and is often used as a spring tonic.
Cleavers (Galium aperine )
Looking out at my garden to choose a herb of the month for March, I was at a bit of a loss. Under six inches of snow, (my garden is around 1500 feet above sea level) all seemed dormant with few signs of Spring. So I found myself looking ahead slightly and thinking of the herbs used for Spring tonics.
Cleavers, goosegrass, sticky willie and also numerous other names, is traditonally considered a cleanser and tonic and forms the basis of many a spring tonic. A teneacious weed that doesn't easily let go of ground that it has taken hold of, nevertheless, it is still hard to dislike this weed. Unlike the burs of dock and other plants this plant sticks to clothes but it is fun and easy to pick off.
A cleansing and rich tonic mix for the spring will often include this herb. One such recipe (and you may find many others) is equal parts of Cleavers, nettles and wormwood. If taking cleavers as a cleanser by itself, the juice of fresh herb is especially effective.
Herbalists use this herb as a lymphatic, alterative, diuretic and anti-inflammatory. So if you are feeling the need to kick-start a sluggish system after the winter, try a spring tonic including Cleavers.
Echinacea / Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea spp.) GW
One of the most popular remedies herbal remedies around today. There are three main varieties of this herb used today. The most common is Echinacea angustifolia but E. purpurea grows better in the UK and is still a very effective herb.
Usually around 24" high, this hardy perrenial make a fantastic border plant. With showy purple cone shaped flowers in the late summer to early autumn, if you have one herb in your garden, this is the one.
A herb frequently used to help build immunity. Many use this herb throughout the winter to reduce the chances of catching colds and flu. If a virus does get a hold, there is some evidence to suggest an increase to the regularity of the dose to gain the benefit of its antiviral action.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Everybody should know this common plant that is generally considered a weed, but did you know this is considered an indispensable herb by most herbalists? Probably not a herb you want to deliberately plant in your garden, but when you see one growing in the garden, remember how much a part of herbal history this herb is and important this is to modern herbal medicine.
Bitter herbs stimulate digestion. Dandelion acts to cleanse the liver by moving toxins (products of the body's respiratory process) through for more effective elimination. Due to this, amongst the many uses of this herb it can be against rheumatic disease and skin complaints.
Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)
This beautiful flower is a popular remedy for sleep.
To aid sleep especially when sleep is difficult due to anxiety or restlessness. Often combines with valarian as a sleep mix.
NB: Nothing on this page (or elsewhere on this site) is intended for use as a replacement for qualified medical advice. If you are in any doubt the use of a herbal remedy, always seek the advice of a qualified herbalist or other suitably qualified medical professional.