Inspired by Chinese or maybe by Ayurvedic medicine … not that it really matters anyway, you can craft a healthy garden with medicinal trees. Nature’s best, most people call it and indeed, you will see just why you need not have just the ornamental trees or the windbreakers, but throwing several medicinal varieties into the mix is a good thing indeed. If you are a gardener and run your small kitchen garden efficiently, you already bare growing some healthy medicinal herbs in there. Don’t believe me? Well… are you growing garlic? Do you have basil? And what about rosemary? Yes, that small tree that smells so wonderful? Isn’t that medicinal? Yes it is, and many more.
Well, I know you know all the medicinal herbs. They are the holy grail of healthy living, after all, on the internet. However, my editor asked me to write about trees, and so medicinal trees I bring you, starting with moringa (bet you didn’t know about that …) and a few others.
I will tell you of a tree that is a favorite for Asia and Africa, which you can grow in your garden and believe it or not, it has been used for centuries for its medicinal qualities. This tree is the moringa oleifera, a favorite of the tropics, a tree that is packed with nutrients, vitamins, medicinal benefits, flavonoids, antioxidants and many more. It is also a favorite snack for goats in Africa and Asia, meaning that there is a goat somewhere that is healthier than you. So you have never heard of moringa before? It is a food tree mostly. It has the same benefits as the famous Amazonian Acai berry. It is used to treat skin conditions, diabetes, depression and anxiety. It is referred to as horseradish tree because of its taste. You can buy Moringa in Australia, but moringa products can be a bit expensive as quality control measures need to be strict.
Here is another of the famous medicinal trees that you haven’t heard about in a long time. It is the neem tree, a tropical tree that is grown in many parts of India and larger Asia. Called Azadirachta indica, in some parts of Australia, I understand that the neem tree is considered as weed. Do not uproot everything, reserve a few and make your life better. What is it most known for? In the traditional ayurvedic and siddha medicine, neem is considered as antibacterial, anti-fungal, good for skin conditions as well as diabetes. Its tender leaves are also eaten as vegetable in India.
Maple and apple
Surely you must know about these two medicinal trees, no? Well, maple has many medicinal benefits. Its leaf poultice, for example, is used to treat tender breasts in breastfeeding women. It is also consumed orally to treat bronchitis and kidney conditions. On the other hand, the apple tree is well known for its fruit that is full of fiber and other nutrients; actually, it is considered a super food. However, what you do not know is that apples can be steamed to make a laxative, and they can be fermented to provide apple cider vinegar that has many uses in and out of the kitchen. Need we say more about why you should have an apple tree in the yard?
Ash, birch and beech
One A and two Bs, wonderful … ash leaves can be taken as “tea” to reduce the effects of gout, jaundice (liver disease) and rheumatism… you know, those painful joints. Birch sap is rich in betulinic acid, which fights cancer and tumors. Birch leaf tea is also great for sores in the mouth, gums and tongue and the bark is used in bathing water to treat eczema and skin rashes. Use beech bark tea for cleansing the blood, treating burns and frostbite as well as psoriasis and eczema.
Many more medicinal trees like cedar, elder, elm and Hawthorne are readily available.
Disclaimer: While it is true that these trees have many medicinal benefits, the information that you have read here should not be used in place of doctor’s advice. Consult your doctor for advice on using these trees for treatment of any sort. If you are pregnant, double check with your GP please before using this, and any other medication. Please note too that in Australia, many natural remedies are not classified as ‘food’, but are rather given the classification of ‘novel foods’. Therefore, products for human consumption can only be made-to-order.