Planting Medicinal Herbs in Your South Carolina Garden
Before you ingest or use any wild growing plant, be sure to get permission from your doctor first. This is VITALLY important, especially if you are on any sort of prescription medication or have any sort of ongoing illness.
What Americans may not know is that farmers across the country are turning to crops grown as medicinal herbs. Due to low commodity prices and crop quotas that have been reduced.
Flue-cured tobacco was cut a few years by about 45.5 percent according to motherearthliving.com. Farmers are concerned with good reason and are deciding to grow herbal crops instead in order to keep their farms.
Growing herbal, medicinal crops is a great idea but not just for farmers. Since more and more Americans are turning to herbal medicines, it makes sense that this would be a growing market. However, a lot of medicinal herbs can be grown by anyone with a pot of soil and some water.
If you have a home where you can plant a garden or an outdoor living space that you’d like to add some potted plantings to, medicinal herbs are the way to go. Not only do many of them bloom with beautiful flowers, but they serve you well medicinally.
There are many edible plants that grow wild on the U.S. that have medicinal value, including trees. The Carolina Bristle Mallow is a fine example of medicinal plant that grows wild in South Carolina and other areas.
The Modiola Caroliniana, or the Carolina Bristle Mallow is an edible species that resembles the look of parsley and grows to about 24 inches in height.
It is also known as Creeping Mallow or Cheeseweed in the U.S. In Europe, it is known as common Mallow. In Greece, it is present on many areas and is commonly found on waste ground, around rocks, and on sand dunes.
Bristly Mallow grows in turf grass areas as well as flower beds. It is common to find them in alfalfa fields and other undisturbed places. It is believed to have come from South America and is spread throughout the tropical and warmer temperature areas of the world.
The broadleaf plant is considered a creeping perennial, meaning it can grow for at least two years, and in some areas annual, meaning it dies with freezing weather.
The leaves are finely divided along the five main leaf veins if on flowering stems. Leaves have serrated edges and grow sparse, stiff hairs that give it the bristly feeling.
The flowers of the the plant are red-orange to pink and are small, about 1 cm in diameter. They are fruit-ring shaped and flat on the top.
The fruits resemble a miniature wheel of cheese, breaking apart after maturity. Each fruit is shaped like a C, is brown, and has long hairs and two little hornlike beaks on the back. One seed is contained in each of the two fruit chambers.
To collect the seeds, you allow the pods to dry on the plant and then break open the pods to get to the seed.
The Carolina Bristle Mallow is a drought-tolerant weed that is in some places considered invasive. The good news is it grows in small patches, pretty sparsely.
You’ll want to plant the seeds directly in the soil, close to the surface, after the last frost in whatever planting zone you live in. The soil pH recommendation is 6.1 to 6.5, which is mildly acidic.
The other good news is that it is extremely easy to grow because it’s a weed and has adapted to harsh conditions such as drought. So you need little to do to take care of them but water once in a while and make sure the soil balance is correct.
The plant shouldn’t be eaten if grown in nitrogen rich soils because it will contain nitrates in the leaves. The medicinal properties of the Mallow are derived via poultice or ingestion, meaning you can apply it topically or eat or drink it. Making a tea out of it is common.
If you find the plant anywhere that animals may frequent, such as cattle, don’t eat it or any other edible plants because you can acquire parasites from them such as staggers. Staggers is an acute deficiency disease of farm animals and causes loss of balance.
Grown intentionally and ensured against animal contamination, the plant has great medicinal qualities when it comes to relieving inflammation.
Make a poultice with the leaves and apply it directly to the inflamed site or make tea or syrup with it and drink it for all over inflammation treatment. Tea made from the root acts as a very good diuretic.
The plant also has astringent, laxative, and diuretic properties as traditionally used in Native American medicine. It is said to cure sores, swellings, broken bones, painful stomach problems, and other injuries.
We consider it helpful today for dry coughs, respiratory complaints, inflammations, mouth irritations, and even stomach issues such as gastroenteritis and constipation.
If you would like to learn more about Planting Medicinal Herbs in your garden, call BC Lawn Care at 864-859-5987 or complete our online request form.