Jekka's guide to medicinal herbs

Believe in Medicinals

2000 BC ‘Here, eat this root.

1000 AD ‘That root is heathen, here say this prayer.

1850 AD ‘That prayer is superstition, here drink this potion.

1940 AD ‘That potion is snake oil, here swallow this pill.

1980 AD ‘That pill is ineffective, here, take this antibiotic.

2000 AD ‘That antibiotic is artificial, here, eat this root.’  Anon.

What are medicinal herbs?

What is a Herbalist?

Read about the Institute

What is herbal medicine?

Read about growing your own first aid kit

Completing the circle

Watch Jekka’s video below that was produced for the National Institute of Medical Herbalists conference. Jekka discusses how herbs complete the circle, linking horticulturists, chefs and herbalists. She highlights the importance of the Lamiaceae family, covering the health benefits as well as how to harvest and maintain the herbs. Some of the herbs mentioned include Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus), Mint (Mentha) and the Chaste Tree (Vitex agnus-castus). Herbs, the plants of tomorrow.


As with all alternative medicines and plants with purported medicinal benefits it is important to inform your doctor or health care provider that you are using them; this helps to ensure safe and coordinated care. We can accept no liability for any side effect or adverse reaction from any allergy or any other cause of harm that may arise. It is important that you consult a licensed medical expert before making any changes to your diet

Jekka's favourite medicinal herbs

Aloe Vera (Aloe Vera)

From the family Asphodelaceae, Aloe Vera has gel, obtained from breaking the leaves, that is a remarkable healer. Applied to wounds it forms a clear protective seal and encourages skin regeneration. It can be applied directly to cuts and burns and is immediately southing.

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Bergamot (Monarda)

From the family Lamiaceae, Bergamot makes an excellent infusion that provides some relief to nausea, flatulence, menstrual pain and vomiting. As the plant contains high levels of a naturally occurring antiseptic, Thymol, it can be used to treat mouth and throat infections caused by gingivitis. Aromatherapists have found bergamot oil good for depression.

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Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

From the family Lamiaceae, Catnip is rarely used for medicinal purposes but is said to be excellent for colds and flu. It also soothes the nervous system and helps one sleep as well as purportedly helping calm upset stomachs and countering flatulence and diarrhoea.

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Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

From the family Asteraceae, Chamomile when taken as an infusion is said to promote gastric secretions, improve the appetite, act as a sedative for anxiety and relaxation and can be used as an internal antiseptic. (An ingredient in Jekka’s Good Night Herbal Infusion).

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Chicory (Cichorium intybus)

From the family Asteraceae, Chicory is purportedly able to optimise the digestive process, easing the breakdown of food to nutrient or waste, as it supports bile production.  A natural tonic and laxative.

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Echinacea (Echinacea pallida)

From the family Asteraceae, Echinacea has the ability to raise the body’s resistance to infections by stimulating the immune system. It is reputedly very effective in preventing colds and flu or reducing their severity.

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Elecampane (Inula helenium)

From the family Asteraceae, Elecampane is said to be a tonic, expectorant, carminative, diuretic and astringent. The roots are used in the treatment of many lung disorders.

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Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

From the family Asteraceae, Feverfew was traditionally used to treat fevers. It is now commonly used as a remedy for certain types of migraines and for the treatment of arthritis. Do not take for a prolonged period and do not overeat.

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Flax, Linseed (Linum perenne)

From the family Linaceae, Flax has been harvested for thousands of years, and is today praised for its antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory benefits. It is a good plant-based source for omega-3 fatty acids. Early research indicates that flax seed can help prevent colon cancer, has the ability to reduce blood pressure and can even aid in reducing obesity.

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Holy Basil, Purple Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

From the family Lamiaceae, Holy Basil is an important Ayurvedic herb that has been found to be high in anti-oxidants and is believed to aid your body to detox as well as reduce stress and anxiety. It has been found to be high in vitamin A and C, calcium, zinc, iron and chlorophyll. Different parts of the plant are recommended for treating different conditions such as bronchitis, malaria, eczema, stomach ulcers and insect bites. (An ingredient in Jekka’s Eastern Promise Herbal Infusion).

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Lavender (Lavandula)

From the family Lamiaceae, Lavender has been used throughout history to soothe, sedate and suppress. Nowadays it is the essential oil that is in great demand for its many benefits including the soothing of insect bites and headaches. The oil was traditionally inhaled to prevent vertigo and fainting. (An ingredient in Jekka’s Good Night Herbal Infusion).

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Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

From the family Papillonaceae, has a root that is fifty times sweeter than sugar cane, it is an expectorant, and is one of the best know plants for soothing the throat, lungs, stomach and gastrointestinal tract.

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New Zealand (Leptospermum scoparium)

From the family Myrtaceae,  Tea Tree produces an oil that’s long been thought to be beneficial for skin conditions, including mild acne, athlete’s foot, small wounds, dandruff, insect bites, and other inflammatory skin conditions. Tea tree oil is poisonous if taken orally.

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St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

From the family Clusiaceae, St. John’s Wort is believed to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety, but should not be considered a cure. Oil extracted by macerating the flowers in vegetable oil and applied externally eases neuralgia and the pain of sciatica wounds, varicose veins, ulcers and sunburn. A side effect is an increased sensitivity to light.

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Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

From the family Caprfoliaceae, Valerian has been used for thousands of years as a sedative and relaxant. The dried roots are prepared into tablets, powder, capsules or tinctures which are then used as a safe, non-addictive relaxant that reduces nervous tension and anxiety and promotes restful sleep.

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Jekkapedia: Medicinal Herbs

Whether you are starting out, an avid chef, a plant enthusiast or garden designer our collection is likely to have something to inspire you. We are growing a virtual Herbetum called Jekkapedia enabling you to browse and learn at your leisure.