Before you reach for the Panadol, try a herbal remedy from your own backyard.

If you’re coming down with a cold or the flu, have a cracking headache or an upset stomach, a herbal remedy might be just the ticket.

Some herbs can actually ease the symptoms of a range of health problems and common illnesses, and the best part is they’re easy to grow in your backyard!

Peppermint

Peppermint not only smells lovely and fresh, it can also be used as a natural relaxant and pain reliever.

Peppermint can cool and calm the nerves and has been known to ease the pain of headaches and migraines. It can also help with digestive issue too; its oils are commonly used to ease the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Peppermint can also be used to clear a stuffy nose, as it has a strong menthol flavour.

How to grow it: You can grow peppermint indoors in a pot or outside in the shade. It’s doesn’t like dry conditions so make sure the soil is rich and you water it regularly. It is a bit invasive and will spread throughout the garden if it’s just planted in the ground, so it’s best to keep it in a pot or in a contained area.

How to use it: For digestion issues, to calm nerves or ease a headache, make a tea. Simply put a handful of crushed up peppermint leaves in a cup and cover with hot water. For a stuffy nose, crush up some leaves, hold them to your nose and sniff.

Ginger

Ginger is not only referred to as a herb, but a spice as well, and besides good old chicken soup it can help ease the symptoms of a cold or the flu.

Ginger has been used in Asian, Arabic and Indian cultures as herbal medicine for centuries. It helps aid digestion, ease headaches and clear sore throats.
It is also often used for motion sickness and nausea.

How to grow it: Ginger is a tropical plant; it enjoys hot but moist conditions. If you’re planting from the root (and not a store bought matured plant) it will take 10-12 months to mature. The plant gets pretty big, so best to keep ginger outdoors.

How to use it: Although ginger is great for cooking with, you’ll reap most of its health benefits when it’s raw.
For colds, the flu, headaches or a sore throat, place a small amount of crushed up ginger into a cup of hot green tea or into a cup of hot water with some honey and lemon.
For an upset stomach, try chewing on a knob of peeled ginger covered in a small amount of honey.

Chives

Although labelled as a herb, chives really belong to the onion family (the allium group) and like most plants in the allium group they have several health benefits.
Chives contain incredible antibiotic qualities. The natural antibacterial and antiviral agents in the plant work with vitamin C to destroy harmful microbes in your body, so they’re a great defence against the common cold and flu.

How to grow it: Most chives will grow indoors in pots or outdoors in the full sun and they’re good to harvest at any time. Chives don’t really like the cold and will die down in winter, but they’ll spring back to life once it gets warm again.

How to use it: Chives are very versatile; you can use them in stir fries, salads and sauces. However, heating them up can strip them of their nutrients and vitamins. To get the full health benefits and nutrients from chives, make sure you sprinkle them onto your meal after it’s cooked.