Episode-1185- 15 Perennial Herbs with Medicinal Uses — 49 Comments

    • I’ve purchased from sandmountain herbs for many years now and have always had great results and their selection is amazing.

  1. As far as plantain goes. There is a long leaf version aka known as “Ribwort” around here. We also have a broad leaf version that grow here as well aka “White Mans Foot”. They both grow easily in disturbed ground. The story I was told was when the colonists arrived in America every where they stepped they disturbed the ground compared to the natives. Hence the name “White Mans Foot”. I have no idea if this is just a story or the truth.

  2. Dandelion also has many nicknames such as bitterwort, amarga, devil’s milkpail, doonhead clock, fairy clock, fortune-teller, heart-feaver grass, Irish daisy, monk’s head, swine’s snout, tell-time, wet-a-bed, yellow gowan, wild endive, and more. My source is the book previously mentioned.

  3. Jack thanks for putting out this podcast. I am definitely going to go back and listen to those other 4 episodes you mentioned.

    I’ve wanted to get a much better handle on the herbs so I can fill up the small spaces around the house with perennial usable herbs.

    Can’t wait till the next herb show!

  4. Also there is Crimson Sage this is a medicinal plant nursery for establishing the the medicinal garden. This is the source for my container garden filled with medicinal herbs. I call it my Medicinal Pot Garden

  5. Jack, if you did herb shows once a month, I’d be happy. Love the subject and thanks for the ever-helpful resource links.

  6. Having been raised eating a fair amount of Cuban food, I had a ‘wtf’ moment when I saw plantain on your list. I’d never even hear of the herb of the same name before now.

  7. Jack, awesome show today! I loved the topic.
    I was wondering though… many of these herbs can be dried to be used at later times, but how much of the medicinal value would be diminished or destroyed by doing so?

  8. Ordered from Coe’s Comfrey. Started with 10 1-year plants. This looks like a great way to provide a portion of the feed for chickens. I wonder how will it will work as a plant they “self harvest” once it gets established.

    P.S. there wasn’t any spot in the ordering process to say I heard about it from TSP

  9. Great show Jack. Just wanted to let you know, I grow lemon grass outdoors as a perennial in zone 8A. I notice that a lot of things come back that are zone 9nto 11
    As perennials.

    • Really? So it dies back but the roots survive? Are you doing anything special, heavy winter mulch or planted to southern exposure or in a rockery or just it just survive?

    • No, I actually just have it in a cut 55 gallon drum next to the garden. The other home I grew it in the garden and it came back. I have several plants that I have seen for zones 9-11, but they come back and I’m not even good about mulching over them. I didn’t even cut the lemongrass back or anything.

  10. I think I would add Yarrow to the list…I have it wild in my yard and save my own seed but it comes back in spades each year so far! The mints would also be a great addition and are easy to keep.

    • It is a great plant, like I said I could do a dozen of these and not run out of plants.

  11. I placed orders with Sand Mountain and Coe’s Comfrey this morning. I added several additional herbs to the Sand Mountain order. Thanks for the links! I dropped both a note letting them know where I heard about them at. I have already started an herb garden and look forward to expanding it!

    I have 3 Comfrey plants I started this year, not sure of the variety. Ordered 10 crowns from Coe’s; think I start a Comfrey patch near the creek along the back of my property that I can’t use for anything else. Now I can use the space to create compostable material in bulk!

  12. Great list.

    1. Some of these plants WILL start from seeds but are so notoriously picky that you are better getting plants or root division cuttings. Lemongrass and Echinacea are two that I know of. I’m also growing lemongrass but in zone 7B. Hoping it will survive the winter but I’ve got a backup in the greenhouse just in case.

    2. People are always looking for something to grow on leach lines. Grow comfrey. Let it soak up all the minerals and nutrients that go down the drain and filter out all the pathogens. The greens can go onto your compost pile. Its one of the cleanest ways to reclaim your waste and you don’t have to handle poo. I wouldn’t feed that to the chickens or rabbits per se though.

    No kidding that comfrey is a miracle plant. My wife kind of pooh-poohed its effects but I put a compress of it on her badly strained ankle and when it healed in notime she was sold. I also credit it with healing an injured chicken (leg) as well as a rabbit that nearly lost an eye (I used it as feed).

    • Jason,
      Are you talking about a septic drain field? I guess the comfrey don’t put down deep roots.

      • Cal

        It does put down deep roots but because its not a large woody plant you are going to get more of hairlike fibrous roots rather than a large destructive taproot.

        Plus when you think about it a lot of the perennial grasses that grow like crazy over septic leach fields have deep roots as well. While I would not purposely grow a poplar or willow over a leach field – a comfrey plant that is cut to ground level regularly doesn’t seem like that big of a threat.


      • One other thing I guess I should specify.

        My leach field is laid on contour which means all the waste runs parallel to the field and down into the soil. If I understand correctly all leach lines are laid like this. So it makes sense not to plant the comfrey directly over the field but rather down contour 5 feet or so.


  13. FYI I’m growing lemon grass in Conway Arkansas. Been 3 years now and we’ve propagated it into 3 new plants (5 really, but two died). We leave them uncut until the weather gets warm, then cut them back before they green out.

  14. I have ordered from sand mountain four times and have got terrible service two of those times. I hope he has it together now. I will say though that two times I got great service.
    And Jack is right that guy is bad about answering emails. I hope all go’s good with the ordering. I did order from Coe’s. I have been meaning to for the last year, just had not gotten around to it. Jack just gave me that extra push…

    • I have never had bad service just no responses to my inquiry about a MSB discount. I just ordered and got everything they had in stock in a week and a rebate the day after my order on what was not in stock.

  15. Great show! Planting perennial herbs is probably a really good first step for people just getting into gardening. I’m pretty new and neglectful. And this has helped me get an idea of what I should focus on first.

    Starting tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers can take a lot of space and offer little diversity. Not to mention it all needs to be done again the next year. Perennial herbs offer the variety in a small space and I can see my long term progress more easily. I think it will help me stay on the ball.


  16. I too love Sand Mountain.

    If I remember back from emails a couple years back, it is a very small company run by 1 guy, and his son set up the website for him. Maybe he has since hired some help. At one time he was ill, unable to get out, nor answer emails. If not, maybe he could consider an intern.

    I’d love to see the company around for a long time. is another great source of comfrey crowns, I got so much more than I ordered.

  17. On Goji/Wolfberry:
    Chickens! I planted a (4″pot) start from Raintree Nursery last spring (zone 5). It took off straight away and I plucked flowers all summer to facilitate root development, but it was so prolific it flowered and set fruit regardless… well past first frosts. Amazing. This spring has been even more abundant, BUT I discovered one thing for certain… Our chickens love the berries just as much as “chicken crack,” I mean meal worms! A jar of fresh berries kept in the fridge is a superior treat to birds on a hot day.

    Also, Sand Mountain is great. I got some Amaranth varieties last season from them as well as my Ground Nut starts from their sister root site. I second their great selection.

    I also like the Thyme Herb Garden for hard to find unique herbs and their hops rhizome selection. Also great selection.

  18. I love the herbs talked about today on the show. Many people might not know what they look like but they are probably in their yards. Sorrel is one that I didn’t know until recently. Wood sorrel is known as Shamrock, commonly mistaken for clover. Green Dean has youtube videos on just about every herb mentioned on the show and would be a great guest!

    • He has an open invitation said yes once in an email but never has filled in the guest form.

  19. Hey Jack (or anyone), where do you get your info on the properties of these herbs? Is there a commonly accepted resource on this subject, or is it kind of a conglomeration of experience and knowledge from multiple sources? I know squat about this subject, so I appreciate your shows on it (and hadn’t seen the “herbal actions” podcasts, so I’ll get to those once I finish this one). Thanks!

  20. Hey, great show!! I was just curious what website you were reading from for a few of the herbs that you were talking about. You said the name a few times but I couldn’t make it out because I work in a louder environment. Thank you and keep up the good work! I listen to you everyday!

  21. Here is a great source for Goji/ wolf Berries. This is a small local business in my town. He is a nice retired man and supplies many nurserys througout the country with bare root stock. The 4 I planted this spring are setting fruit right now. I really like the information on the history of his root stock.

  22. If you have a problem with snakes (or have a wife that has the jitters with knowing they are around) I am told that planting lemon grass, thyme, and wild garlic will help keep snakes away. Can plant along the border of your house. They don’t like the way the blades feel on their skin.

  23. @Modern Survival-

    Do you have a reference for a Mortar & Pestle brand or what someone should look for and/or avoid when buying one?

    Great episode!