Today I wanted to talk to you guys about 6 popular medicinal plants. Honestly there are a lot of medicinal plants that are popular depending on where you live, and there are thousands of plants with documented uses going back thousands of years. So this list is certainly not exhaustive but it does document some of the most popular medicinal plants that occur in the United States and other places around the world. From Malaria, Dengue Fever, to Sword Wounds, Colds Flus, and even Toilet Paper these plants have got you covered for many uses and have been commonly used medicinal plants for hundreds, if not thousands of years. So with out further adieu, let's get started!
#7 - Bee Balm; Monarda Fistulosa
Number 7 is Bee Balm or Monarda Fistulosa. Though there are many varieties of Bee Balm Monarda Fistulosa is a commonly grown in gardens to attract bees and butterflies, but people don't always know that it's medicinal. This variety of mint has purple to pink flowers and a unique floral display which you can see here. Like most mints it does have a square stem and even smells like mint. With it's opposite leaf structure and lance shaped toothed leaves it's easy to identify. This plant has been used by Native people of the United States for hundreds, if not thousands of years for things ranging from headaches, to colds, stomach aches, and even has been used to expel worms. One of the active chemicals in Monarda is Carvacol, which is anesthetic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. It has been used in things from teas and poultices to salves and tinctures. The dried leaves and flowers also make a fragrant perfume oil, or even a pleasant addition to meats and sauces.
#6 - Red Clover; Trifolium Pratense
Number 6 is Red Clover or Trifolium pratense is commonly found in lawns, fields, and anywhere else it can grow. Being a legume many farmers use it agriculturally to either fertilize fields or to provide clover hay for livestock. This common plant has the familiar traits of a clover with it's three small roundish shaped leaves that have a characteristic white mark on them. Red Clover is a very popular herbal remedy for coughs, and to soothe the throat, or to relax the body. Rich in biologically active compounds the Red Clover possesses, flavonoids, saponins, phyto estrogens which makes it a powerhouse of medicinal research as well as a possible cancer preventative. This plant is also used for asthma and bronchitis, so basically if you got chest congestion. Clover is one of your medicines. The dried flowers are what people use off of this plant and you may have eaten them as a child for their sweet flavor. This flavor carries over into whatever you make with them so enjoy!
#5 - Yarrow; Achillea Millefolium
Number 5 is Yarrow or Achillea millefolium. This plant has been used for thousands of years going back to supposedly Achilles time as the plant is named after him. This plants white flowers are a standout sight in the summer and it's unique leaves with their delicate lacy appearance makes this plant easy to spot and also a favorite for ornamental gardens. Medicinally this plant is very popular all around the world as it is extremely effective at removing or relieving pain, helping to heal up deep wounds, to stop bleeding and more. This plant can be used in soaps and shampoos as it's said to help hair growth but is also antiseptic anti bacterial and helps to improve the skin. The plants astringent action is due to one of it's over 100 biologically active compounds, which include approximately one dozen anti inflammatories. Commonly used in poultices and salves this very bitter tasting plant can also be used in teas though be careful. It does contain Thujone which is one of the main ingredients in Absinthe so it can also have some negative effects on the body if taken in too large a quantity or for too long a time.
#4 - Common Mullein; Verbascum Thaspis
Number 4 is Common Mullein or Verbascum thapsis. This common roadside plant is very popular in Europe for an expectorant or to relieve coughs and congestion. With it's large fuzzy leaves and and tall spikes of yellow flowers it sticks out very well as the plant can get quite tall. Mullein has a long history of use going back thousands of years in Europe and in the Americas. Now days it's gaining a reputation again for it's immune boosting properties and it's effectiveness at relieving chest congestion. The whole plant is high in mucilage which is responsible for soothing mucous membranes in the mouth and throat. The plant is also a bronchodilator meaning it opens up the passageways to allow for better breathing which is helpful for those with asthma or bronchitis. It boasts a variety of other uses for things like earaches and ear infections, to bladder and kidney infections and even to expelling worms in humans and livestock. At one point in time the leaves and flowers were combined with Red Clover for smoking to help clear the lungs and the leaves are still smoked today for this purpose. Also those really large leaves make excellent toilet paper that is really soft.
#3 - Coneflower; Echinacea Angustifolia
Number 3 is Coneflower or Echinacea angustifolia. There are many varieties of cone flower and up until the 1980's studies that were thought to be done on angustifolia were actually done on another Echinacea variety, Echinacea pallida. This is because cone flowers hybridize easily with one another and the Rudebeckia family making it hard at times to determine what is what. regardless cone flower is world renowned for it's immune boosting properties and it's ability to stop most colds and flus in their tracks when combined with Boneset and or Goldenseal. It has a long history of use within the United States due to the natives of the plains who used this plant extensively for snakebites and septicemia. On the frontier it was used for poisonous spider bites, gangrene and other bacterial infections that were hard to treat and at one time was the most widely used medicinal plant in North America. The three most common varieties, angustifolia, pallida, and purpurea are all used interchangeably with purpurea the one you are probably used to taking if you have bought modern synthesized versions of Echinacea.
#2 - Broad Leaf Plantain; Plantago Major
Number 2 is broad leaved plantain or Plantago major. This familiar lawn and garden "weed" is considered to be a nuisance today and at one time the Natives of North America called it white mans foot because it grew every where we went. A member of the same family that many get their Psyllium husks from this plant undoubtedly can be used similarly. A very popular plant among old timers and beginners alike because of it's effectiveness at providing a cooling, relaxing sensation that is also astringent, anti inflammatory, anti bacterial, and anti microbial. Another mucilogenic plant that is soothing to the throat and mucous membranes, as well as being a bronchodilator it has even been used for coughs, hoarseness of the throat, and with supporting herbs to help with bronchitis. The cooling and drawing action, or astringency of the plant makes it good for insect stings, boils, zits, sore muscles, rheumatic pain, and to remove infection in abscesses, cuts, and wounds. Plantain contains many anti inflammatories and anti biotics according to science and usually shares a habitat with the white clover in lawns which has some similar uses.
#1 - Boneset; Eupatorium Perfoliatum
Number 1 is Boneset or Eupatorium perfoliatum. This plant was once one of the most widely used herbs in america especially when bouts of Dengue Fever or flu epidemics were prevalent like in the 18th and 19th centuries. A bitter plant that gets it's latin name from the way the leaves perforate the stem and it's common name from one of the ailments it was used to treat, Dengue, or Break Bone Fever. The plant has shown use in malaria due to some sesquiterpenes and flavonoids that have been extracted, which gives truth to some historical uses. Commonly used as a tea in olden days it's best in my opinion to use it as a tincture now because if served warm it can cause profuse sweating and evacuation of the bowels. Whereas when given cold, like a tincture. it helps to reduce fevers, knock out colds and flus, malaria, and even to treat rheumatism. Boneset has shown anti inflammatory properties as well as immune boosting properties and was even used in a poultice for tumors and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Hey guys, I'm Josh. I'd Like to welcome you to the Trillium: WE blog. Here I'll share things with you like wild food meal ideas, harvesting tips, conservation of wild plants, wild plant book reviews, and more! I'll also be including pictures from scrapped videos for entertainment purposes as well. Stay tuned!
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