Plants and Wellbeing

Ellen Mary, Garden Expert and Consultant, discusses how the plants in our gardens can have a positive effect on our wellbeing.

Top three tips:

  1. Make a list of common health complaints that you suffer from. If you tend to get headaches regularly, research which plants can help to control them. For example, Dandelion root tea is a fantastic way to prevent headaches along with Lavender oil massaged onto your temples.
  2. When you know what you would like to treat, start growing the plants to treat those issues
  3. We all have such busy lives, and sometimes we just need to relax and that seems like an impossible task. By growing plants to specifically help you or your family, you will be participating in an activity that is useful to you at the same time as being relaxing. I call it mindful multitasking! Just start small and see where the garden path takes you.


We don’t all have huge gardens but if you have your list of plants ready, work out what can be started in pots and containers. There are so many herbs that are better to be grown in a pot such as Mint or Lemon Balm. Super easy to grow, barely any space needed yet you will have two herbs to make your own uplifting tea with to help when times get tough. Don’t feel restricted by size as there are so many ways to use vertical space. Think of hanging baskets, wall planters, plant ladders and even kitchen windowsills. There is space all around to use.


My top 10 plants are: 

  1. ECHINACEA – Nature’s antibiotic – great for tonsillitis, acne, cystitis & for times in life when you are generally run down. It also helps to prevent infections, heals insect bites & stings, boosts immune system, cures colds and helps mouth ulcers. It’s a great all round medicinal plant and beautiful in cottage gardens borders.
  2. WITCH HAZEL – The familiar remedy – it’s an anti inflammatory & astringent which can help to stop bleeding, bruises, sprains, rheumatism, eczema, psoriasis, varicose veins and hemorrhoids plus its a beautiful addition to Winter gardens for both its colour and fragrance.
  3. CHAMOMILE –Relax – it’s anti allergy properties can help skin rashes, sunburn, anxiety, relive painful periods & birth pain along with stomach pain and sleep problems. It’s also a natural way to reduce Colic and teething pain in infants.
  4. ALOE VERA – My favourite – soothes burns, cuts, acne, redness, itching, promotes hair growth and can be used as a shaving foam. Plus the big bonus is it can be used to treat stretch marks & CELLULITE! Everyone should have an Aloe Vera!
  5. ROSE Nature’s loveliness – a soothing, calming aphrodisiac which can also relieve stress and depression, hemorrhoids, acne. Plus a rose balm can lighten lip colour, provide moisture and plump up that pout!
  6. OREGANO –A great herb – detox your body with Oregano plus it helps vitality, aids internal healing and along with its high levels of antioxidants, it helps to protect the body from chronic conditions, boosts the immune system, aids digestion and chronic fatigue. A powerhouse herb, easy to grow and great in cooking as well!
  7. LAVENDER – The traditional one – particularly good for chickenpox itching, relaxing our minds before bedtime, headaches and can even chill out testing teenagers! Plus its a beauty for the garden and the bees love it.
  8. CALENDULA –Non stop flowering – a bright burst of colour for any garden, not to be confused with Tagetes, its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial making it great for sore throats, blisters and even some cancers. Plus grows really well even in poor to average soils.
  9. COMFREY – Healing heaven – make into a salve and it will help sprains, broken bones, aches and pains plus arthritis. Not to mention its powerful goodness as a plant feed. Massage those aching muscles after a hard day working in the garden.
  10. LEMON BALM – The uplifter – uplifting antidepressant, lift the spirits, calms anxiety, nervousness & even panic attacks even treats insomnia & headaches. Apparently its healing properties promote longevity. Amen to that gardeners!