Flowers and plants have been used for centuries in the treatment of a wide range of medical conditions.
The medicinal properties of these herbs promote physical, emotional and mental well-being. Nowadays individuals are bombarded with man-made products that may contain unhealthy ingredients. Recently, the use of medicinal plants has been more widely accepted as an effective form of treatment. The following flowers and plants provide users with therapeutic properties and promotes in the healing of the body and mind.
Aloe Vera has numerous health benefits and has been proven to treat a wide range of ailments. It is commonly referred to as the ‘miracle drug’ as it promotes healing with little to no side effects. Aloe can treat many health issues, including colds, acne, colic, menstrual cramps and irregularity, nausea, burns, infections, allergies, bruises and more. Aloe can be extracted from the plant and made into a liquid, pill or cream.
- University of Maryland – Aloe: Overview of the benefits of Aloe Vera for adults and children, including that for burns, herpes, skin conditions, constipation and diabetes.
- NYU Langone Medical Center – Principal Proposed Uses: Discussion on what aloe is used for today, scientific evidence, dosage and safety issues concerning the plant.
Feverfew is an edible, medicinal plant popular for its alternative health benefits. As an anti-inflammatory, it’s known to aid in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism and especially tension and migraine headaches. Feverfew is also rich in sesquiterpene lactones and helps alleviate general anxiety. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, feverfew is commonly used to reduce bruising and swelling. Although feverfew is most effective when taking as a daily supplement, it can be taken on a temporary basis or as an alternative for ibuprofen.
Sweet violet is a purple flower cultivated throughout the world and native to Asia and Europe. It is typically brewed into a syrup substance and given as a treatment for cold and flu symptoms, such as sore throats and coughs. Sweet violet can also be made into a tea beverage. When taken orally, it is highly effective in relieving headaches and relieving general muscle and body pains.
- Botanical – Sweet Violet: Description, cultivation, constituents, parts of the plant used medicinally and the uses of sweet violet.
Sweet marjoram is a Western herbal remedy commonly used interchangeably with oregano. Known as “Joy of the Mountain” by the Greeks, sweet marjoram was popular due to its sweet scent, flavor and medicinal benefits. Both famous French herbs, Middle Eastern za’atar and de province, use this medicinal plant. It serves many purposes, including its use as a digestive aid and antibacterial, antifungal and disinfectant solution.
- Growing Herbs Indoors: Information on a variety of medicinal herbs that can be grown at home, including marjoram.
Red clover can be found nearly anywhere world wide. However, it is native to Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa. The plant consists of pinkish, reddish blossoms generally used for the treatment of colds and coughs. The vibrant flowers are also an effective blood cleanser and body detoxifier.
- Oklahoma State University – Red Clover: (PDF) Information on the history, establishment, irrigation, harvesting and nutritive value of red clover.
Navajo tea goes by several names, including greenthread, coyote plant or plains tea. It has been used for centuries by the Native Americans to bring relief to various infections. Navajo tea has been known to cure even the most irritable of infections, including urinary tract infections (UTIs). The plant is most effective when made into a decoction or tea.
- Institute for Traditional Medicine – Greenthread: Background of the herb known as Navajo tea or greenthread, as well as photographs of the plant.
- Texas Agrilife Research and Extension Center – Navajo Tea: Information about the origin, environment, longevity and other details of Navajo tea.
Wild quinine is a potent herb used to treat a variety of health problems. However, only the flowers and roots are edible. It is commonly used in the treatment of fatigue, gastrointestinal and respiratory infections, debility and venereal disease. According to Alternative Nature Online, the plant had traditionally been used as a kidney, antiperiodic, lithontripic, emmenagogue, and poultice.
- United States Department of Agriculture – Wild Quinine: Plant guide that provides a detailed description of wild quinine and its contribution to the medical field. [PDF]
- Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park: Overview of wild quinine, its origin and its medicinal uses.
Blackberries are a well-known plant rich in vitamins and antioxidants. While they are most known for their fruit, the roots and leaves of the plant also provide healing properties. The roots and leaves can be used as a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery. It is also useful as an astringent and anti-inflammatory, such as for treating minor cuts inside the mouth.
- Alabama Department of Conservation – Blackberry: Information on blackberries and their use as a wild edible food and medicinal herb.
- Tryon Life Community Farm – Blackberry: Learn what parts of the blackberry are used, medicinal uses and nutritional information.
Sage is a highly valuable herb due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. It was traditionally used in the preservation process of meats before the introduction of refrigeration. Health benefits are plentiful, including relief from cramps, aid in digestion, elimination diarrhea, relief of cold symptoms, killing of bacteria and it acts as an anti-inflammatory against swelling. Sage is even used to bring natural color back to greying hair.
- Palomar Community College – Sages (Salvia): Details and photographs of the genera of shrubs in the mint family, sage.
- University of Vermont – Salvia (Sage): List of facts about sage, such as its common name, family, height and width, growth rate, foliage and uses.
Known as the ‘cannabis of the cat kingdom’, catnip has a wide range of health benefits for the human variety. It is known to treat common cold symptoms and helps to break fevers as it promotes sweating. Catnip can also be used to stop excessive swelling or bleeding when applied to the inflicted area. It is not recommended for consumption in pregnant women as it stimulates contractions. The plant normally grows in the Northern hemisphere.
- Union County College – Catnip: Description of the catnip plant and its uses around the world.
- Penn State University – Catnip: History, cultivation, description of the plant and list of uses for catnip.
Rich in nutrients, minerals and compounds, alfalfa is a common source of feed for livestock. It is considered the “father of all plants” with roots that grow nearly 20 to 30 feet into the ground. Alfalfa generally grows in the Middle East and Mediterranean but has recently spread to the Americans and Europe. The plant can treat a wide range of health problems, including kidney pain and kidney stones, urinary discomfort, nausea and morning sickness. It is also used as a bowel and liver cleanser and helps long-term as a cholesterol reducer.
- National Library of Medicine – Alfalfa: Page that describes the plant and gives information on effectiveness, safety concerns, dosages and more.
- Montana Plant Life – Alfalfa: Description of the plant, leaves, fruit and flowers, as well as its edible uses and medicinal uses.
This iconic plant consists of many vibrant blooms. It is used as an anxiety reliever and is safe to give to children. Poppies can be made into a tea beverage for speedy relief of tension or nervousness. When the safe parts of the plant are stewed, including the roots and stems, the plant also offers pain relief. Ideally, the plant should be stewed for several hours or overnight if possible.
- Opioids – The Opium Poppy: Details on why the poppy is one of the most important medicinal plants and its health benefits.
- Plant Cultures – Opium Poppy: List of common remedies used with opium poppy and its place in traditional medicine.
Winter savory is an effective treatment against bug bites and insect stings. Originally from Europe and the Mediterranean, winter savory has been passed around the world due to its beneficial properties. Not only is the plant an antiseptic, it also has all edible parts. It is commonly used in stews and meats as a tasty flavoring.
- WebMD – Winter Savory: Overview of the plant, its uses, side effects, interactions and dosage recommendations.
- MedicineNet – Winter Savory: List of other common names for winter savory, as well as information on how it works for maximum health.
Burdock herb, also referred to as cocklebur, is a thistle-type plant that thrives in many regions of the world. The plant can grow fairly large and resembles that of an elephant ear. The prickly burs of the plant can become a nuisance, getting caught on clothing or in pets’ fur. However, it is highly effective in the treatment of poison ivy and poison oak.
- Utah State University – Burdock: Uses of burdock herb, including information on its flowers, fruits/seeds, leaves and stems, and the medicinal uses for these parts.