Houseplants are beneficial in many ways. They’re aesthetically pleasing, they filter the air of toxic chemicals and carbon dioxide, and some can even act as medicines for common ailments. Here are five medicinal plants you should grow in your house for these reasons.
#1 – Aloe
The aloe vera plant is by far one of the most common and well-known medicinal plants in the world. It’s a succulent plant that resembles a cactus in some ways, and while it’s certainly beautiful and easy to grow, it’s the gel inside the leaves that make them so popular. There are several ways in which aloe is medicinal, and they all involve the proteolytic enzymes found in the gel.
- Aloe is commonly used for burns and sunburns because the enzymes create a cooling sensation on the skin, which draws out heat and promotes healing.
- The gel is also hydrating, which makes aloe a great replacement for expensive facial moisturizers.
- When ingested internally in very small amounts, aloe vera can promote weight loss thanks to its variety of metabolism-boosting antioxidants.
- It’s an inexpensive alternative to traditional dandruff shampoos and hair conditioners; the enzymes found in aloe repair dead skin cells, which reduces flaking and allows healthier hair to grow from the very root.
#2 – Peppermint
Peppermint is easy enough to grow indoors; it requires bright, sunny conditions and warm temperatures, which makes your windowsill the perfect spot. Not only does peppermint help filter the air inside your home, but it also has a very fragrant and calming aroma of its own. It’s one of the best medicinal plants for several reasons, too.
- Numerous studies have shown that peppermint is effective at treating a variety of gastrointestinal issues, which range from nausea to irritable bowel syndrome.
- Peppermint can alleviate bad breath more effectively than store-bought mints or gum, and it’s far more natural. Just pluck a leaf from the plant and chew.
- A study published in the International Journal of Toxicology in March 2011 showed that peppermint leaf extract can act as a powerful anticarcinogen when used regularly.
#3 – Lavender
Go into any major department store’s air freshener or laundry aisle, and you’ll find dozens of products infused with the scent of lavender. This gorgeous purple flower has long been praised for its scent, which can help create a sense of relaxation and peace. However, lavender is capable of far more than just aromatherapy.
- The oils in the lavender plant have antiseptic properties, making lavender a great treatment for minor scrapes, scratches, and burns.
- A single drop of lavender oil on the tip of your tongue can help alleviate nausea caused by gastrointestinal infections or motion sickness.
- Many people have discovered that lavender is highly effective at relieving dandruff. Simply crush some of the flowers with a mortar and pestle, then add this to your shampoo.
#4 – Lemon Balm
Lemon balm is a leafy green that, while not related in any way to the lemon tree, produces an aroma and taste that leads many to believe otherwise. It’s actually a member of the mint family, and it is one of the most popular medicinal plants because of its versatility. It’s easy to grow, as well, since it requires only minimal maintenance.
- An extract of lemon balm oil can promote a restful night’s sleep when taken internally.
- When used in cosmetics or in place of traditional moisturizers, lemon balm can sooth the skin, which can not only reduce blemishes and dark spots, but can even reverse the signs of aging.
- An Australian study conducted at the Centre for Human Pharmacology in 2014 showed that foods containing lemon balm had a significant impact on the way patients experienced stress.
#5 – Oregano
When you think of Oregano, chances are good that your mind is drawn to pizza or pasta. This is an herb commonly used to add a crisp flavor to tomato-based sauces, sandwiches, and more. Growing oregano indoors can give you the opportunity to experience this fresh herb firsthand, but it’s also one of the best medicinal plants known to man.
- Oregano contains extremely powerful antioxidants that can fight off free radicals and help ward off certain types of cancer.
- Those same antioxidants can also protect the body from a variety of bacteria, which means oregano may also act as an immune booster.
- Finally, oregano is a great source of a compound called E-BCP, or beta-caryophyllin, which has been shown to inhibit inflammation. This can help keep blood vessels dilated and protect your heart. Preliminary research also suggests that this compound may be effective in the treatment of osteoporosis.
Although house plants are traditionally thought of as nothing more than décor, many can reduce pain, promote good health, and even protect you from cancer. The best part is that all five of these medicinal plants are easy to grow indoors and require only minimal maintenance.