Walkthrough the aisle of your local drugstore and you’ll see shelves full of medicines that treat everything from headaches to fever to sore throats. But for thousands of years, people in different cultures across the world used plants to create their medicinal remedies. Many people still rely on plants for their medicinal uses. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80% of people worldwide rely on medicinal plants for at least part of their primary healthcare.
Plants with medicinal uses are common across the world. Go for a hike in the Rocky Mountains, visit the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, or take a walk in Central Park and you’ll see several plants that have medicinal properties. Some of them might even pop up in your front lawn. Here are just a few medicinal plants that grow in North America.
Before you get out the weed killer, you might be interested to know that dandelion can be a digestive aid, provide liver support, and support your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Not to be confused with the type of banana, plantain is another common “weed” that grows across North America. However, far from being a pest plant, its leaves can be used to treat bee stings, bug bites, and nettle rashes. It can also be brewed into a tea that treats inflammation due to coughing.
- Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle treats several conditions when the leaves are brewed into a strong tea. Use stinging nettle tea externally as a hair rinse for oily hair or to ease eczema. This tea can also be drunk to treat anemia and pollen allergies.
Use caution when handling this plant. It’s called “stinging” nettle for a reason. When handling fresh nettle, use gloves. Stalks contain stinging hairs that can cause a painful, itchy rash.
Besides being a delicious fruit, the bark and leaves of the blackberry plant can ease inflammation and diarrhea. Leaves and bark can be brewed into a tea and gargled to treat a sore throat.
Dry or cracked skin? Burdock roots and leaves are incredibly useful for skin conditions, including eczema. Ingested, burdock can also increase appetite and aid digestion.
Stuffy nose? Echinacea is a great immune booster and helps fight off viral and bacterial infections.
Chickweed, used externally, can treat cuts and dry or irritated skin. Made into a poultice, chickweed can soothe inflammation. Internally, it can also treat constipation and indigestion.
During cold and flu season, reach for yarrow. As a tea, it can reduce fevers, lower blood pressure, and help treat diarrhea. It can also slow bleeding when applied to a cut as a poultice. Please note, however, yarrow is not recommended for pregnant women.
Similar to yarrow, the aptly named self-heal is anti-inflammatory and can help treat cuts and wounds.
Willow is nature’s aspirin. As an anti-inflammatory, it can reduce fever and ease pain, including menstrual cramps and headaches. Like lab-produced aspirin, care should be taken with dosing willow bark. Willow bark is also not recommended for children under sixteen.
Lavender is one of the most popular plants in the world and is widely used to treat insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches, and fatigue. When infused into an essential oil, lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory uses.
There are literally thousands of plants with medicinal uses that have been used by indigenous people and cultures all over the world and are still used by the majority of people across the world as part of their primary healthcare. Before you dismiss a plant as a useless weed, it might be worth looking it up to see if it doesn’t have hidden qualities that you can use to improve your health and wellness.
You Can Discover the Forgotten Power of Plants with Dr. Nicole Apelian by reading her book.
The Lost Book of Remedies
You’ll find 800+ beneficial plants and remedies in “The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies”. It includes recipes of tinctures, teas, decoctions, essential oils, syrups, salves, poultices, infusions and many other natural remedies that our grandparents used for centuries. What’s also special about this book is that it has between 2 and 4 high definition, color pictures for each plant and detailed identification guidelines to make sure you’ve got the right plant.