Permaculture Pioneer Robyn Francis

Award-winning international designer, educator, presenter, innovator and founder of Permaculture College Australia.

Robyn Francis in the garden

Here are 12 common and exceptionally useful herbs that no garden should be without. I value each of these herbs as essential for my garden apothecary, for basic first aid, treating simple ailments, as well as for their culinary or edible uses.

Some of these plants, gardeners consider weeds, while others are planted and nurtured for their culinary and other uses. Each of these plants has a long ethnobotanic history that you may find interesting to explore further.


Please note the information provided regarding the traditional uses of these plants
must not be interpreted as medical advice.

Aloe Vera  Aloe vera has numerous applications as a healing herb, the gel is best known for healing burns and sunburn. Use with Teatree oil for acne and boils. Can help alleviate insect bites. I like to keep a large potted Aloe plant just outside the kitchen door, handy for use.

Basil  Ocimum basilicum  Sweet basil is an excellent digestive and helps alleviate nausea, as well as being great in pasta sauce and pesto. Basil tea with a slice of ginger will help settle digestive upsets.

Calendula flower

Calendula flower

Calendula Calendula officinalis  A gentle yet exceptionally effective healing herb for cuts, sores, bruises, burns, grazes, skin irritations, rashes, nappy rash and bedsores. Fresh or dried flowers can be made into a herb tea or tisane for use as a wash, and  for making an infused oil and healing ointments. The oil or ointment is also good for healing cracked skin in hands and feet. Petals can be added fresh to salads.

Chamomile  Matricaria recutita (syn. M. chamomilla) German Chamomile is a traditional herb tea for indigestion, calming and gentle sedative. Chamomile tea (tisane) can be cooled and used as an external wash to soothe skin irritations, for sore eyes and alleviate conjunctivitis.

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74 Cecil St Nimbin
(300m past Showground)
less than 1km from Nimbin's main street

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