Growing medicinal herbs indoors not only creates a portable and easily accessible food source, it also allows preppers to cultivate the potent ingredients needed to make healing home remedies.
Being able to both prevent and treat illnesses all on your own is definitely essential.
Growing your own healing herbs, plants, roots, and trees bolster your survival medicine plan – increasing the chances that your loved ones will live through any disaster that comes.
You can grow healing herbs even if you are prepping in a tiny houses, or in an apartment. Even if you live on a large survival homestead like we do, growing medicinal herbs indoors should still be a part or your prepping plan.
In addition to a large apothecary patch where we grow our own “pharmacy”, window sills with good light and a table adorned with grow lights is still a part of our everyday existence.
Making a space to grow edible and medicinal plants allows us to have an ample supply of fresh home remedy ingredients year round, in addition to what we can grow in the spring and summer – and preserve through dehydration.
Adding vertical growing porches that can hang from the wall or beams that garner good natural light or have a grow light trained on them also enhances the amount of available space you have to grow your own “medicine.”
In addition to being tasting and healing, medicinal herbs and flowers also look beautiful and have a pleasing scent – adding to the ambiance of a bucolic home that does not scream, “a prepper lives here” to anyone who sees the indoor garden.
Growing turmeric will allow the prepping family to have a steady supply of curcumin. Harvesting curcumin from turmeric is the only way to garner this potent anti-inflammatory compound.
When growing turmeric you only need to use the root cuttings, or dried rhizomes, to get the curcumin. For centuries, turmeric has been one of the most widely used healing plants by herbalists.
Turmeric is often used to treat sore and swollen muscles and joints, as well as a prime ingredient in golden milk that is consumed to treat symptoms most often associated with the common cold and flu.
Due to the ability of curcumin to improve the lining of blood vessels, turmeric is often used in natural home remedies to prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and depression.
Turmeric Growing Tips
- Only one turmeric root is needed to start multiple cuttings to grow.
- Cut sections of the turmeric root, making sure each one has a bloom, much like you do when cutting a seed potato apart and make sure each portion has an “eye.”
- Turmeric roots must be planted in a moist but not damp soil.
- Place each root bud section in a 5-gallon bucket or pot – don’t forget to make sure the container has drainage holes in the bottom. If you use a smaller pot, it is unlikely the turmeric root will grow to its full potential.
- Plant the root 2 inches deep in the soil.
- Grow turmeric in full sun, relocating it outdoors during the summer, if possible.
- Turmeric roots only need to be watered about once every two days in order to keep the soil moist. Never permit the dirt the turmeric root is growing in to become soggy.
- It takes roughly eight to 10 months for turmeric to mature.
- Save some of the harvested turmeric root to use to start a fresh round of medicinal herb plants.
2. Jerusalem Artichokes
They can produce a 200 pound yield when allowed to grow in a pot that is a minimum of 5 gallons in size.
If a plant does not produce well indoors due to container size restrictions, you should expect a reduced yield to produce about 70 pounds of tubers that can be used for either medicinal or edible needs.
Jerusalem Artichoke Growing Tips
- Jerusalem artichokes are exceptionally hardy and can thrive in any type of soil.
- These medicinal plants prefer full sun but can grow almost equally well in partial shade.
- Cut each tuber into smaller parts that each have an “eye” like a potato.
- Plant the tuber parts eye side up two inches deep in the soil.
This healing herb can be used for farm more than flavoring tea. The antioxidant potency of spearmint and flavonoid compounds it contains can help protect the skin from free radical damage, and help heal gums when used in mouthwash and toothpaste or tooth powder recipes.
It takes only two tablespoons of spearmint to garner two percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.
Spearmint Growing Tips
- Fresh sprigs from a spearmint plant can be snipped and used as needed without damaging it while it grows to maturity.
- A mature spearmint grows just a few inches tall, making it perfect for a small container in a window sill.
- Spearmint requires well draining soil, and thinning out as it grows to encourage new growth.
4. Lemon Balm
Although many gardeners cultivate lemon balm just to attract pollinators to their garden, it has many other uses, as well.
This healing herb has traditionally been used to naturally treat gastrointestinal tract problems, liver health issues, as a digestive aid, to treat bile problems, and as a sleep aid.
Lemon Balm Growing Tips
- Lemon balm seeds should be kept damp but not soggy until germination.
- Seeds should be planted one fourth of an inch deep and just lightly covered with potting soil.
- Space out the lemon balm seedlings to roughly 8 inches apart as they grow and up to 18 inches apart when thinned out as the plants reach maturity.
This popular culinary herb has been used topically to help heal minor burns and wounds.
The antiparasitic compounds in basil have been used to treat stomach spasms, as a natural dewormer for both animals and humans, to prevent and treat kidney problems, to rebuild appetite, remove warts, treat symptoms of the common cold, and to deal with gastrointestinal tract issues.
This medicinal herb may function as a natural deworming aid for both people and animals.
Nursing and pregnant mothers have used basil to both enhance blood circulation post-labor and to increase breast milk flow. Some Native American tribes used this medicinal herb to draw out snake venom after a bite.
Basil Growing Tips
- Plant basil about one fourth of an inch deep in well draining and moist soil that has a neutral pH level.
- Basil grows best in full sun.
- Don’t give water to basil seedlings or plants until the soil is dry to the touch.
All parts of cilantro plants are not only edible, but can be used in natural home remedies. This herb’s antioxidant compounds have been used as digestive aid, to help lower blood sugar, and as a sleep aid.
Cilantro has also been used to help remove toxins from the body such as mercury, lead, and aluminum. This healing herb has also been utilized to relieve toothache pain and to curtail symptoms commonly associated with the measles.
Cilantro Growing Tips
- Cilantro should be grown in full sun to partial shade.
- This herb thrives in a well draining and moist soil.
- Cilantro seeds should be planted one fourth of an inch deep and six to eight inches apart.
Thyme is yet another herb that is perfect for small space or window sill growing.
This healing herb has traditionally been used as an active ingredient in a myriad of home remedies due to its insecticidal, antiseptic, and antibacterial compounds.
When the “Black Death” struck Europe in the 1300s, thyme was brewed into a medicinal tea to help treat the painful symptoms associated with the deadly virus.
Thyme tea has also been used as an immune system booster and natural remedy to soothe a chronic cough.
Thyme Growing Tips
- Thyme grows best in a full sun environment.
- Plant this herb in a well draining and lightweight soil
- Plant Thyme seeds one fourth of an inch deep in a soil that has a pH balance of 6.5 to 7.0m for best results.
8. Dwarf Moringa Trees
Growing a “Tree of Life” indoors is not possible due to its extremely tall size, but a dwarf moringa tree can be cultivated inside quite well. Both the leaves and stems from a moringa tree can be snipped for use any time during the growing process.
All parts of a moringa tree are edible – including the bark when brewed into a tea. The stems and leaves contain beta carotene, protein, essential amino acids, and manganese. This healing plant is also a significant source of vitamins A.B, C, E, and K.
Dwarf Moringa Tree Growing Tips
- Plant the seeds one fourth to a half an inch deep in a moist and well draining soil
- Seeds typically sprout in two weeks.
- You can plant 8 to 10 seeds in a container that is 16 inches in diameter, but they will need to be thinned out as they grow.
- If moringa tree leaves start to turn yellow, the soil needs more magnesium infused into it. I most often use crushed eggshells or 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts applied to the base of each plant.
This healing herb grows well indoors, and does not get too tall to place in a small pot in the window sill.
Tarragon has traditionally been used in natural remedies designed to increase appetite, for digestive system problems, to reduce water retention, to treat toothache pain, as a natural insomnia aid, to regulate blood sugar, and to start menstruation.
Tarragon Growing Tips
- Sow tarragon seeds roughly four to six inches deep.
- Tarragon grows best when cultivated in a moist and lightweight potting soil.
- Place a paper towel over the tarragon seeds that is dry or only slightly dampened, until they sprout, for best results.
- The tarragon seedlings will need thinned out and transplanted into individual containers once they are about two inches tall.
This healing herb is a member of the mint family, and produces a radiant scent when growing. The sage plant taste can be used as a natural home remedy ingredient, and also tastes amazing when seasoned and roasted as an entree side dish.
Sage has been often used to treat memory loss, hot flashes, diarrhea, dyspepsia, bloating, flatulence, heartburn, and general stomach upset. Sage may also help folks who over-produce both saliva and perspiration.
Sage Growing Tips
- Plant sage seeds one fourth of an inch deep.
- Sage grows best in a well draining soil that is a mixture of sandy and loamy.
- For best results, cultivate sage in a soil that has a 6 to 7 pH balance.
- Sage prefers a full sun environment.
This herb, which is also a member of the mint family, has been used by herbalists as an immune system booster, to treat muscle pain, enhance hair growth, to boost the circulatory system, and to enhance memory.
Rosemary can also be moistened and placed upon insect bites and minor wounds to help reduce itching and swelling.
Rosemary Growing Tips
- Rosemary is usually very hard to germinate from seed. Plant far more seeds than you think you will need to help increase the germination rate.
- Broadcast rosemary seeds on the surface of the soil to sow. Next, cover them loosely with roughly half and inch of seed starter mix.
- Rosemary seeds should be kept moist, but never allow them to become soggy.
- Plant rosemary in partial shade to full sun in a soil that is well draining and lightweight.
- Rosemary typically germinates in two to three weeks.
Cultivating echinacea as part of your survival natural medicine plant will help ensure you have the ingredients on hand to help bolster the immune system, to prevent and treat respiratory illnesses, and to boost the immune system.
Echinacea is typically brewed into a healing tea when used to treat coughs associated with the common cold and respiratory illness.
Echinacea Growing Tips
- Echinacea reaches two feet tall once mature.
- This healing herb is not picky about soil type – as long as it is not placed in soggy dirt.
- Echinacea prefer full sun but can grow in partial shade.
- Thin seedlings as they grow to avoid clumping and reduced yield.
- Plant echinacea seeds on fourth of an inch deep and water every two days. Never over water this echinacea or it will wilt and die.
This is one of the easiest and perhaps most important plants you can grow as part of your survival natural medicine plan. Garlic is a superb toxin drawer, and natural dewormer.
Garlic has been used by herbalists to treat respiratory problems, to treat gum disease, curtail yeast infections, dry up cold sores, and to draw out splinters and venom from insect stings and bites.
Garlic Growing Tips
- Garlic must be planted root side down. The narrow and pointy portion of the garlic clove is the root.
- Plant garlic in a well draining soil about six inches deep.
- When planting multiple cloves in a single container, separate them by two inches.
This is often one of the most overlooked herbs when it comes to natural healing.
Parsley has been traditionally used to treat high blood pressure, to prevent kidney stones, urinary tract infection, bladder infections, diabetes, coughs, asthma, and gastrointestinal problems.
Parsley Growing Tips
- Parsley prefers partial sun to full shade.
- Plant each seed approximately one fourth of an inch deep in a moist soil.
- Allow each parsley seeds six to eight inches of growing room if planting multiple in the same growing pot.
This healing herb has been used to treat a myriad of common health issues for centuries: nerve pain, gallbladder problems, to increase blood circulation, muscle pain, stomach cramps, migraines and nervousness, depressions, against bacteria and fungi, and even to curtail runny noses.
Marjoram Growing Tips
- Marjoram thrives in a full sun environment and in a well draining soil.
- The seeds should be pushed gently just below the soil surface and lightly watered until germination.
Many folks enjoy chives as part of a snack dip or casserole ingredient, but this herb has many health enhancing attributes, as well.
Chives have been used to boost the immune system and ward off the common cold due to their high percentage of both vitamins A and C.
Chives Growing Tips
- This herb thrives in a fertile and well draining soil.
- Although the dirt that chives are growing in should remain moist at all times, it should never become soggy.
- Grow chives in full sun for best results, but they can tolerate partial shade.
- Once mature, chive plants will be one foot tall, and 12 inches wide.
This medicinal herb is often brewed into a tea to garner its relaxing and calming benefits. Lavender has been used by herbalists to help heal minor wounds, burns, and insect bites.
Lavender’s anti-inflammatory makes it a go to natural remedy ingredient for the treatment and prevention of insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
- Lavender is highly susceptible to humidity exposure, and will wilt when the humidity levels grow too high or the plants are water too much.
- Only water lavender if the soil becomes dry to the touch.
- It grows well in a sandy soil mix. Stir some gravel into the soil to foster enhanced drainage, if necessary.
- Lavender plants should be planted one foot apart to prevent overcrowding which can increase humidity levels.
This natural sugar substitute is often consumed by diabetics to prevent spikes in sugar levels.
Stevia has been used by herbalists to treat diarrhea and high blood pressure due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrheal, and antimicrobial properties.
Stevia Growing Tips
- Stevia prefers a loamy soil that is both well draining and loose.
- This herb plant typically grows to 18 inches tall and is bushy in nature.
- Grow this sugar substitute in a well draining soil that is both loose and loamy.
- Seeds should be sown one fourth of an inch deep.
This popular pizza topping also boasts a plethora of natural healing properties. Oregano and its anti-inflammatory compounds have been used to treat yeast infections, high cholesterol, as a natural pain reliever, and to improve overall gut health.
Oregano Growing Tips
- Oregano thrives in a moist and well draining soil.
- Grow this herb in partial to full sun. When grown in full sun the flavor or oregano is typically intensified and becomes even more tasty.
- Sow oregano seeds six to eight inches apart and never over water the plants or allow them to become nestled in soggy soil.
20. St. John’s Wort
Herbalists have long used St. John’s Wort to treat both menopause and menstrual cramps, as well as a natural healing compound for dealing with depression, minor burn and wound healing, attention deficit disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
St. John’s Wort Growing Tips
- St. John’s Wort thrives in partial sun to full shade environments.
- Space the seeds 24 to 36 inches apart if putting more than one in a container – they are a very bushy herb.
- While St. John’s Wort can successfully grow in any type of soil but does best in one that has a high alkaline county, is moist, and well draining.
The healing herb has often been used to naturally treat muscle pain. Peppermint may also be useful in treating or preventing diarrhea, flatulence, menstrual cramps, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, anxiety, and upset stomach.
Peppermint Growing Tips
- Peppermint thrives in a partial shade environment.
- Grow peppermint in a moist and well draining soil, but do not allow the dirt to become soggy.
- Plant peppermint sprouts 18 inches to 2 feet apart.
This medicinal herb is often brewed into a tea and consumed for its healing potency and delicious taste. Chamomile is an excellent natural ingredient to use in recipes for salves and lotions designed to treat dry skin, common skin rashes, and sunburn.
Chamomile has also traditionally been used to treat hay fever, muscle spasms, as a minor wound healer, hemorrhoids, to treat ulcers, insomnia, rheumatic pain, gastrointestinal issues, and swollen tendons.
Chamomile Growing Tips
- Chamomile grows best in a soil that is dry but not to the extent that it gets hard.
- Grow this healing herb in partial shade for best results, even though it can tolerate full sun.
- Plant seeds one fourth of an inch deep, they will need thinned after sprouting because chamomile is lightly bushy in nature.
You do not have to be a master gardener to grow herbs – either indoors or out. They are hardy, and most often thrive well if their growing guidelines are followed and they are merely left alone.
By following proper growing tips and watching for signs of distress in the plants like yellow leaves, brown or dry leaves, or insect infestations, the indoor medicinal herb garden should be a successful survival plan project.
If you homeschool your children or grandchildren, considering making the survival medicinal herb garden a learning experience from not just a cultivation perspective, but from both a preservation and usage standpoint, as well.
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.