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Medicinal plants to grow at home

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Let's face it, it's easy to shell out lots of money for over the counter remedies these days, and you aren't always getting much bang for your buck. This year, take a lesson from our ancestors by growing these centuries-old medicinal plants in your home.

Chamomile: Delicious in tea and soothing to the senses, chamomile is also quite useful in treating rashes and other uncomfortable skin irritations. These tall, daisy-like flowers grow easily in drier soil types and topical application can remedy a variety of dermatological ills.

Lavender: As functional as it is beautiful, lavender has a long history of use on cuts and scrapes because of its natural antiseptic properties. Grow it outdoors in your sunniest location, or even indoors in a a sun-lit window.

Lemon Balm: If you find yourself tossing and turning every night, perhaps you will benefit from the sleep-inducing properties of this herb. Lemon balm grows easily in large clumps in a variety of soil types. Use whole leaves in your dinner salad for a slightly minty flavor, and add crushed leaves in your tea before bed.

Peppermint: If you need to ease stomach upset - anything from motion sickness to morning sickness - peppermint will do the job. Growing best in partial shade, this herbal powerhouse needs at least an inch of water per week, and can be grown in containers or in the ground.

Sage: Well known as a remedy for sinus congestion, sage also has properties that reduce the effect and frequency of hot flashes. A stubborn plant, it will grow in nearly all conditions, but it does best in full sun and well-drained soil. You can even grow additional sage plants by taking cuttings from your cultivars.

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