Patchen Community Square has an active herbalist, Andrea Karo, who grows and teaches about natural remedies found in the garden. The list below contains what is currently being grown. For more information or questions, contact us at patchensquare@gmail.com


ANDROGRAPHIS, Anddrographis paniculata (Acanthaceae)

Taste: Very bitter. Energy: Cold

Growth: Annual

Part used: stems and leaves during flowering stage

Brew: 1 to 2 teaspoons two to three times a day.

Uses: Very old and well known treatment for malaria. Well documented as an anti-viral and for immune boosting effects. Used for the common cold, fevers, coughs, UTI’s. Greatly helps prevent colds and flu’s and also helps reduction of symptoms. Helps protect the liver. Heat infections: UTI’s, hepatitis, parasites.  Helps clean the liver. Alcohol induced and hepatitis.

Caution: Pregnancy – do not take. and may cause stomach upset and rashes in larger doses in some individuals.

 Andrographis paniculata

Andrographis paniculata

ASHWAGANDHA, Vedic (Withania somnifera)

Energy: bitter, warm, dry

Part used: root and sometimes leaves and berries

Harvest: after first winter. Roots rot in cold, wet soil. Best to bring inside for winter. Will die in winter…

Take: tea form or tincture. Berries are edible but bitter.

Uses: adaptogen. Helps body deal with stress. Relaxed energy. Prescribed for infertility, fatigue, insomnia, and arthritis. Helps with blood sugar levels. Helps with stamina in athlete and with low libido. Enhances immune function and helps raise red and white blood cell count, rich in iron and good for anemia. Helps with chronic fatigue syndrome.

Hypothyroidism – stimulates the thyroid.

Edema – helps body drain fluid and promotes urination.

Leaves: used to destroy intestinal worms. Berries have been made into a poultice for ringworm.


 Withania somnifera

Withania somnifera

ASTRAGALUS (Astragalus membranaceus)

Parts used: Roots – forth or fifth year after growth.

Uses: A tonic herb. Slows the aging process. Chinese use the roots in soup to build immunity. Build white blood cells. Help build antibodies and fight infection. Weak limbs (arms and legs feel heavy), constant colds and flu’s. Good for recovery from long illness. Helps build strong digestion that in turn helps simulate nutrients.

Contradictions: None known. Safe during pregnancy. Lay off if have infection – can over stimulate, such as fevers.



Mixed, Orange, Solis Sponsa, and Wild

Growth: Annual

Taste: Neutral.

Part used: flower heads. Best to pick before 11 am. Pick the bigger ones, just as they are opening. Hot days because of higher resin content.

Dried flowers: creams, oils, tinctures and baths for irritated skin.

Fresh flowers can go in salads.

Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.

Uses: Make oils or salves for scrapes, burns, sunburns, diaper rash,  varicose viens, chapped skin and insect bites. Helps strengthen capillary walls.

As a tea (1 to 2 teaspoons) or tincture: help heal ulcers, gallbladder inflammation, and enlarged, sore lymph nodes. Pain or inflammation from herpes sores.

Caution: sensitive to daisy family. Sesquiterpene compounds. Ragweed. Not recommended internally while pregnant.





 /* Style Definitions */
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;


ELECAMPANE, OFFICAL (Inula helenium) –

Part Used: Root

Roots and rhizomes dug from 2- to 3-year-old plants, dried and cut.

Take: Usually taken as a tea

Uses: Added to cough syrups, expectorants, herbal diuretics, pain remedies, and roborants (for bringing out color from pale skin). Helps loosen phlegm in lungs. Can also be taken internally in the form of a capsule or extract. It has also been known to be candied and eaten as a sweetmeat.

Elecampane is used for lung diseases including asthma, bronchitis, and whooping cough. It is also used to prevent coughing, especially coughing caused by tuberculosis.


If you are allergic to ragweed, you may be allergic to elecampane. Taking too much of the herb can cause cramps and diarrhea. Do not use more than 1 gram (one-quarter teaspoon) of the herb in any one dose, or more than 3 grams (a little less than a teaspoon) in a day. Not to be used while pregnant. Some cases have been reported of nausea and vomiting probably from over-use. Not recommended for long term use.




LEMON BALM (Melissa officinalis)

Parts: leaves and stems. Healthy. Make sure not wet. Store dried herb. Dry in complete darkness.

Take: teas and tinctures. Makes are refreshing tea! Part of the mint family.

Uses: good for stomach, nerves and insomnia. After meals eases heartburn and distention of stomach (basically, over-eating!). Nice hot cup eases nerves and helps with insomnia. Called the gladdening herb because it lifts the spirits! For sleep, mix with motherwort and/or valerian. Colic – good for adults, children and babies. Helps with the common cold.

Topically: herpes simplex.

Cautions: Non are known.


 Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

MOTHERWORT, OFFICIAL (Leonurus cardiaca)

Part used: leaves after flowering

Take: 1 to 2 teaspoons

Uses: delayed menses, uterine cramps, PMS water retention, hot flashes. Mild hyperthyroid. Heart palpations. Anxiety.

Chinese studies have also found motherwort to decrease clotting and the level of fat in the blood. That it can, in its calming nature, slow heart palpitations and rapid heartbeat. Motherwort has a mildly diuretic affect, also aiding high blood pressure. But it is important to note that while motherwort can be helpful in instances of high blood pressure, it is most appropriately effective when high blood pressure is a symptom of excess stress and anxiety.

Caution: Avoid while pregnant (small amounts may be okay for anxiety)




VALERIAN, Official (Valeriana officinalis)

Part used: root – can dig up after two or three years and there-after.

Cats love the plant!

Take: As tea or tincture, but mostly tincture.

Uses: insomnia, anxiety. People sleep better and fall asleep faster. Anxiety from stomach nerves. It can help relieve menstrual cramps. Can also help with headaches. Emotional upset.

Caution: Some people have adverse reactions and it actually induces anxiety. Pregnancy: non known.