Extracts from plants as diverse as foxgloves and pineapples, camellias and artichokes have been, and continue to be used, in medicines.

For example, you might rely on with acetyl salicylic acid which is derived from willow tree bark more than you might think.

Used for over 2000 years, it reduces inflammation and relieves aches, pains and fever - it's in fact the active ingredient in aspirin.

Pot of ointment with a sunflower behind it

What Plants To Choose?

The plants I have listed are easily obtainable and not difficult to grow. You'll find many in your garden already.

Whether you grow from seed or plug plants, all that's needed is a relatively fertile, well drained, soil that gets the sun for at least half the day.

You don't even have to grow them together, with good foliage and attractive flowers many will not look out of place in an ornamental flowerbed. 

Here are my top ten readily available medicinal plants:

Garlic: Excellent to relieve colds and flu with antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties

Peppermint: Helps with indigestion and relieves upset stomachs

Rosemary: Eases fatigue, calms digestion and has anti-depressive qualities

Lemon Balm: A relaxant to cure headaches and migraines and now thought to aid memory

Lavender: Has been used to relieve stress and anxiety and a multitude of other ailments

Parsley: A very nutritious herb that is said to help with urinary and kidney problems

Evening Primrose: The oil is used to help menopausal problems and eczema, and may even relieve hangovers

Calendula: Has a long history in the treatment of wounds and soothing the skin

Thyme: Used for intestinal problems, as an antiseptic mouthwash and anti-fungal applications

Echinacea: Said to ward off infections and can also be employed as a laxative

Butterflies perching on a group of Echinaceas

Pots And Planters

These plants can of course also be grown in window boxes, pots and planters filled with compost, in fact for an invasive plant such as peppermint this would be preferable.

Container growing is also a good solution if you have limited space. A collection of different sized pots and planters will prove an attractive addition to patio or decking.