Medicinal Plants You Can Grow And Use At Home

Aunty Karen

Aloha Kakou!

​My name is Auntie Karen and I have the privilege of care-taking and propagating plants at Kauai Seascapes Nursery. When I am away from the nursery I like to spend my time working with herbs and creating remedies. Here follows a brief overview of some common herbs that have medicinal properties that you may already be growing in your garden or have interest in starting to grow.

Commonly Grown Garden Herbs

Many of your favorite kitchen herbs have potent healing capacity.

Basil- Leaves


Basil aids digestion, helps to alleviate fatigue and serves as a good tonic for melancholy and low spirits. It has a potent anti-spasmodic capacity (relieves or checks spasms or cramps) making it useful for relieving headaches. Basil is also commonly used to treat stress induced insomnia and tension as well as nervous indigestion.

Dill- Dried seeds

Dill helps to ease indigestion and flatulence. It is also one of the most well known of old English remedies for infant colic.

Mint- peppermint or spearmint- Leaves


Rich in vitamin C, mint is stimulating to the mind and creates “wakefulness”. Whiffs of the essential oil and sometimes even the tea will improve alertness and awareness, so it’s useful when driving, when studying, and during times of stress. Mint has an affinity for the digestive tract. It helps to relieve indigestion, gas, bloating, and stomach flu. Mint is excellent for relieving nausea, especially travel sickness. The flavor of mint also serves to cleanse the palate and can be used as a mouth rinse after a bout of vomiting.

Parsley- Leaves (Fresh preferable)

Yes, do eat that parsley garnish!

Parsley is an effective anti-spasmodic (relieves or checks spasms or cramps) for the digestive system and acts as a diuretic (increases the secretion and expulsion of urine) that flushes the bladder of toxins. It is also rich in Vitamin C which helps to support your immune system and rich in B vitamins. It helps to alleviate iron poor blood, anemia, and fatigue. Parsley is used to help dry up mother’s milk during the weaning process and is effective as a poultice for mastitis or swollen, enlarged breasts. Because of this, one should forego using large quantities of parsley when nursing as it may slow the flow of milk.

Rosemary- Leaves and flowers


Rosemary has an affinity for the brain, nerves, skin, and muscles. It is used in formulas for tired nerves, impaired nerve function, nerve or muscle tension and pain as well as for headaches, fevers, the flu and in brain and memory tonics. Rosemary also enhances the cellular uptake of oxygen. It is useful for relieving respiratory congestion, maintaining liver function and digestion

Sage- Leaves and flowers

Sage has an affinity for the lungs, liver, brain and nerves. It has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties as well as being an astringent (contracts tissue, reducing secretions and inflammation), diaphoretic (opens pores and promotes perspiration) and a nervine (calms, soothes, and strengthens the nerves). The leaves are used in formulas to alleviate colds, flu, cough, fever, achy muscles and in tonics to support brain and memory function. One of the best remedies for laryngitis and sore throats. Often used as a spray or gargle.

Thyme- Leaves


Thyme has an affinity for the sinuses, throat, lungs, and immune system. It has strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties and is efficacious as a germicide. It is used in formulas that address sinus, throat, and lung infections, especially effective for convulsive coughs. Excellent gargle for sore throat. Effective against streptococcus and staphylococcus.

Less Commonly Grown Garden Herbs

Comfrey- Leaves and roots


Comfrey is used for its soothing qualities and is a common ingredient in poultices, salves, and ointments. It facilitates and activates the healing of damaged tissue. It is prized for its healing effect upon torn ligaments, strains, bruises, and any injury to the bones or joints.

Fennel*- Dried or fresh seeds most common form but may use fresh leaves, flower, and stalk


Fennel has an affinity for the throat, lungs and stomach. It stimulates digestion, and regulates appetite. Fennel tea is tasty and can be used to help relieve colic, improve digestion, and expel gas from the system. Nursing mothers can drink 2-4 cups daily to increase and enrich their flow of milk. Fennel tea can also be used as an eye wash for conjunctivitis and other eye inflammations.

* Not to be taken during pregnancy and not with estrogen sensitive cancer

Garlic – Cloves

Has an affinity for the entire system but especially the lungs and blood. It acts as an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, warming expectorant (loosens expels mucus from respiratory passages). Extremely effective in fighting off colds, flu, and systemic infections. It is also warming and stimulating to the digestive tract, lungs, and circulatory system.

Ginger* ( Awapuhi Pake)- Root

Ginger Root

Ginger has an affinity for the throat, lungs, stomach, and circulatory system. It is carminative (aids digestion and expels gas from intestines), anti-inflammatory, a circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic (opens pores and promotes perspiration), and anti-spasmodic (relieves or checks spasms or cramps). It is used in formulas for colds, flu, coughs, sluggish digestion and poor circulation. One of the finest herbs for nausea, morning sickness, and motion sickness.

*Caution with gastric ulcers or heartburn

Gotu Kola* (Pohe Kula)- Leaves

Excellent herb for nourishing the brain, especially when memory loss is involved. Considered one of the finest nerve tonic herbs for stress and debility. It helps to increase mental alertness and vitality by feeding and nourishing the brain. It helps to improve the body’s nonspecific response to disease and stress. Fresh gotu kola is quite tasty and can be served raw in a salad or infused as a tea. Best taken as a tincture to help with strengthening memory function.

* Not to be taken during pregnancy or with blood thinners

Hawaiian Chili Pepper (Nioi)- Fruit

Hawaiian Chili Pepper

Cayenne acts as a catalyst to the system, stimulating the body’s natural defense system. It acts as a warming circulatory herb and is one of the best heart tonics, increasing the pulse and toning the heart muscle. It is a natural coagulant that stops bleeding. So it is good to have some on hand in the kitchen for when you accidently cut yourself with a knife!

Hibiscus (Roselle, Hibiscus Sabdariffa)- Flowers


High in vitamin C and bioflavonoids ( help to strengthen the walls or our capillaries which link arteries to veins, and allow nutrients to pass through them more easily). Helps to treat mild, colds, flus, bruising and swelling. Use the sepal of the flower and make a tea infusion.

Holy Basil- Tulsi Basil- Leaves and seeds

Tulsi Basil

As one of the most sacred plants in India, Holy Basil is well used to relieve stress and to create a relaxation response. It functions as an adaptogen ( nourishes the adrenal glands and helps the body adapt to physical, emotional, and psychological stress), enhancing the body’s natural response to physical and emotional stress. Over time, stress can negatively affect the health of the digestive, immune and nervous systems. Use of Holy Basil is an effective way to both prevent and combat the damaging effects of everyday stressors.

Lemon Balm- Leaves, preferably fresh or freshly dried

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm makes a delicious tea and can be served with lemon and honey through out the day to alleviate stress and anxiety. Medicinally it has an affinity for the stomach, immune system and nerves. It has an anti-viral capacity is a carminative (aids digestion and expels gas from intestines), and has an uplifting and soothing effect as a nervine (calms soothes and strengthens the nerves)

Lemon Verbena- Leaves

Lemon Verbena has an affinity for the nerves and stomach. It is an uplifting nervine ( calms, soothes and strengthens the nerves), a carminative ( aids digestion and expels gas from the intestines) and has a cooling effect. It is used in formulas for stress and anxiety, digestion, and to help cool the body.

Lemongrass* (wapine)- Leaves and root


Lemongrass has an affinity for the throat, stomach and nerves. It has a cooling effect upon the body, serves to quench one’s thirst, is mildly carminative ( aids digestion and expels gas from the intestines) and acts as a relaxant. In this hot weather- iced tea with lemongrass in it helps one hydrate and cool off.

* Not to be taken during pregnancy and caution with low blood pressure

Turmeric* (Olena)- Root

Olena Flower

Excellent immune enhancing properties, especially it anti- biotic activities. It can be used to regulate the menstrual cycle and alleviate cramps, reduce fevers, improve poor circulation, and relieve skin disorders. It is often used in a first aid capacity for burns, sprains, swelling and bruises.

*Not to be taken during pregnancy or with bile duct obstruction or gall stones


Here follows a list of some of the remedies and teas that I make as a part of Auntie Karen’s Medicine Chest. The remedies below have some of the herbs listed above in them.

Aunty Karens Medicine Chest

Mint- 4 Thieves Bug Spray, Off to Sleep Tea, SchZAM! Tooth powder

Rosemary- Gypsy Water, 4 Thieves Bug Spray

Sage- Gypsy Water, 4 Thieves Be Spray, SchZAM! Tooth powder

Thyme- 4 Thieves Bug Spray

Comfrey- Gypsy Water, St John’s Wort Salve

Fennel- SchZAM! Tooth powder, Off to Sleep Tea, Respiratory Tonic Tea

Garlic- Quantum Zing

Ginger- TLC- Restore and Regenerate, Vitamin C Cordial, Quantum Zing, Womens Libertea, Gunk Be Gone Tea, Adrenal Tonic Tea, Circulatory Tea

Hawaiian Chili Pepper- Quantum Zing

Hibiscus- High C Tonic Tea

Lemon Balm- Gypsy Water, Vitamin C Cordial, Peaceful Mind Tea, Off to Sleep Tea, No Pain in the Brain Tea, Power Flowers tea, Stress Be Gone Tea, Lemon Balm Tea

Lemon Verbena- Lemon Balm Tea

Turmeric- TLC- Restore and Regenerate

Lemongrass- High C Tonic Tea, Respiratory Tonic Tea

If you would like to see more details about the remedies listed below please click on the link Aunty Karens Medicine Chest and obtain my current catalog of products. I make all products myself by hand.

You may also find me at the following venues:

Monday Farmer’s Market​ across from Mini Golf Kilauea 3:15- 5:30PM

Kilauea Art Night Every last Saturday of the month​4:00 – 8:00PM

Mahalo and Good Health to you!

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One Response to Medicinal Plants You Can Grow And Use At Home

  1. Sue September 26, 2015 at 8:05 am #

    What a fantastic and informative article! Great photos !

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