Alkanet, Oriental Seeds, 30 seedsAlkanna orientalis
This member of the borage family has slightly citrus smelling leaves and makes a nice bedding plant.
Aloe, Cape AloeAloe ferox
This is the most revered of the all the medicinal aloes and the mature plants are resistant to a bit of frost. It grows large and has red flowers. It is bitter and is a powerful laxative.
Andrographis, 100 seedsAndrographis paniculata
Called Kalmegh in Ayurveda and Chuan-xin-lian in Chinese medicine, andrographis is an intensely bitter herb with diminutive but beautiful flowers. It is an annual that matures in 160 days and is self-seeding for the next season in warmer climates. The herb is non-toxic but being bitter, it stimulates the flow of bile so when harvested for medicinal use, consider small doses. This herb is being used extensively by people with Lyme disease as well as digestive complaints. The seed is a slow germinator so scarify the seeds on fine sandpaper before planting. If the growing season is short, start the plants indoors or in a greenhouse.
Angelica is native to Europe, the Himalayas, and Siberia and is very cold tolerant. The seeds are fragile and need light to germinate. It has only leaves in the first year and then has greenish-yellow flowers the second year. It has been cultivated in Scandinavia for a thousand years and Laplanders often add it to reindeer milk. The stems and seeds are used as flavoring in many liqueurs, such as Chartreuse and Benedictine. The dried leaves are used with hops in making beer. It is very aromatic and the essential oil is expensive! The roots are used in medicine, particularly for typhoid but also for colds and congestion. The other plant parts are carminative and aid digestion.
Artemisia annua, popularly known as Sweet Annie. This is, as the name suggests, an annual. It is native to China where it is known as Qing-hao.
This herb is probably the most famous antimalarial herb in the world, but recent research suggests it is of significant value in treating certain kinds of cancer. Though it is easy to grow, demand has soared, thanks to U.N. sponsorship of various global efforts to reduce the incidence of malaria.
Days to maturity: 100 days to harvest of leaf and flower, 160 days to seed. Artemisia annua prefers full sun and sandy, well-drained soil.
Ashwagandha is a nightshade that is easy to grow in the right climate. It is native to Africa and Asia and is intolerant of moist soil. It is a perennial in zone 8 and above and an annual in colder climates. One can harvest roots for medicinal use after 100 days. This is one of the most important rasayana herbs and is used to increase stamina, improve the capacity to manage stress, and regenerate worn out tissues, including those associated with neurological conditions. The seeds take 15 days to germinate and can be started indoors or in a greenhouse. Plant in well-drained soil.
Astragalus is a major tonic herb that is native to North China and Mongolia. It is hardy to zone 4 and requires three weeks of cold to germinate. It is nourishing and immune enhancing. As a member of the pea family, it is edible. The roots can be used fresh or dried and added to anything that is cooked with moisture for a long time such as soups and casseroles. It has a pleasant taste and is non-toxic. The seeds should be lightly scarified and planted after the first frost. Germination is fast and the plants will grow to about four feet in height. Plant lots because the roots should not be harvested for 3-4 years. Astragalus is very safe for pets as well as people.
Very easy to grow. Native to Lake Baikal, Mongolia, Siberia, and parts of China and is frost hardy. It likes full sun and dry soil. The root is used medicinally. It is antimicrobial and very high in flavonoids.
Thrives to -30°F. Plant in fall for spring germination. Likes the shade. Can be used in cuisine or medicinally. This is suitable for zones 3 to 9.
Bhringaraj Seeds, 50 per packetEclipta alba
Full sun / partial shade, tolerates high altitude conditions. Easy to grow. Prefers moisture. Can be grown in bogs or beds, full sun or woodland areas. Plant one foot apart.
Black Cohosh, 50 seedsCimifuga racemosa
Plant in rich, fertile soil with other wildflowers. Likes some shade. It requires temperature changes to germinate so it can be planted in fall while still warm, preferably about two weeks before the weather becomes significantly cooler. It is showy and reaches five feet in height. This is a famous menopausal herb, in somewhat short supply.
Bloodflower is a milkweed that does especially well in the south, but it's showy enough to tempt people in other regions to grow them. They are slow starters but strong once established. The seeds can be sown directly into cold soil.
Burdock is called "gobo" in Japanese and is a Zen-like vegetable substitute for carrots. Burdock has been researched and found to be a desmutagen. It is found in countless cancer tonics, from Hildegard of Bingen to Hoxsey and in present times. It is easy to grow and can be harvested the first year, more or less like the carrots that are often prepared with burdock (as in the image). The germination rate is incredible. Burdock can be substituted for carrots in almost any recipe, but it can also be made into cutlets and pancakes, more or less like potatoes. The taste is quite mild and benefits from the addition of spices or seasoning. This is an excellent example of a medicinal vegetable.
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