Medicinal plants 101: explore the benefits you can grow

Growing a garden is one of the most rewarding activities and investments one can do for themselves. Reaping homegrown flowers, fruits and vegetables is pure joy and a wonderful way to be self-sufficient. In addition to these perks, a whole world of benefits awaits in growing medicinal plants. Whether you have an interest in alternative treatments or are curious about what your garden can do for you, we listed some well-known plants and indigenous treasures to discover.

Uncovering blooming benefits

Accessing the full potential of your garden and its medicinal offerings is just another reason to get your hands busy. If you are a lover of unlocking taste, you’ll know the importance of adding fuller flavours with herbs straight from your kitchen garden. Not only do some herbs provide a distinct flavour, some double as medicinal plants. From helping with aches and pains to relieving chronic illness, these natural wonders are waiting to be utilised right from your backyard.

The below information is for educational and informational purposes only and not taken as medical advice. We are not intending to replace any medical advice or treatment offered by healthcare professionals. Ask your medical professional how these plants can help you with regards to alternative medicines.

Meet these mighty medicinal plants

Have an ache? Struggle with anxiety? Suffered a burn or cut? Look no further than trying these medicinal plants to help you find relief.

Aloe vera

This well-known succulent plant and its various species can either be ingested or applied topically for cosmetic and medicinal uses. Aloe vera’s gel is a skin healer for a number of ailments  — skin irritations, injuries like burns, cuts, and insect bites, as well as reducing skin swellings. To grow this water-wise handy helper in your home, place it in full sunshine. It is cold hardy, but be sure to protect it from frost.


Not only a sight for sore eyes, but this fragrant bloom has also inspired countless scented home goods products. Its iconic purple upright tufts serve more than beautiful blossoms but are also a great plant for cosmetic and medicinal uses. From being a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory tool, lavender heals burns and bug bites. Its scent aids in calming those suffering from stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia, as well as digestive issues and nausea.

To get the most out of this super stunner, grow it in full sun with well-draining soil. It will withstand the cold, is frost hardy, and doubles as a great option for mass-planting and landscaping.


Fresh, fabulous and a fine addition to any garden. Mint contains a great source of vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, manganese, folate, and iron. It improves irritable bowel syndrome, brain function and cold symptoms, and also aids digestion. It is also well-known as the ‘heartburn herb’. The plant contains menthol. This is an organic compound in peppermint and mint plants that creates a cooling sensation, not to mention is the easiest cure for bad breath. Natural breath mint, anyone? Mint thrives in moist soil, warm temperatures and semi-shaded to bright light, and can survive through cold and frost.

Indigenous medicinal plants in South Africa

South Africa houses a unique environmental space, where plants used historically by Khoisan and Bantu-speaking peoples are now utilised commercially for their incredible medicinal properties.


Found in the mountains of the western cape, this shrub cross legume is one of the most well-known exports of South Africa. Rooibos (translated into Red bush) is a plant that thrives in dry environments. Not only a caffeine-free tea, but it also has incredible properties like:

  • Treating stomach cramps, skin irritation and nappy rash amongst babies.
  • Including anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-mutation properties. This helps protect the body from free radicals that cause cancer and heart disease.
  • Containing a good source of antioxidants, particularly aspalathin. This may assist in balancing blood sugar levels and improve the absorption of glucose helping to treat diabetes.
  • Lowering blood pressure, relieving respiratory problems and helping with the formation of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
  • Aiding skin conditions and soothing sunburn, while also slowing down the ageing process.


Found in the Cape, this dynamic plant historically helped multiple maladies amongst the Khoisan. It’s hailed as a herb containing anti-infective, antifungal and antibacterial properties. From an ointment to essential oil, it’s used as an insect repellant and a moisturiser. Medically, it is also used to clean wounds, quell pain and treat bruises, sprains, fractures and rheumatism — not to mention helping with arthritis, cellulite, nausea, diarrhoea and flatulence.

Devil’s Claw

A sinister name with some serious medical benefits. This geophyte (similar to a bulb) has tubers where it stores nutrients and energy. Devil’s Claw is indigenous to southern Africa in the North West provinces, where it’s farmed commercially. It aids with indigestion, blood diseases, fevers, sprains and boils. Historically, Southern African Khoisan and Bantu-speakers consumed Devil’s Claw in a tea or by eating the powdered root, as well as applying it to the skin. Now, it is commercially harvested and used in pills, teas, and creams and is especially noted for relieving arthritis.

Heal with homegrown goods

We are still only just uncovering the full potential of medicinal plants from around the world, but we are in awe of what we have discovered so far. If you have any questions about these plants or others, contact us.