List of Medicinal Plants and Their Uses [Your Complete Guide]

Medicinal plants are a large and diverse group of plants used in traditional medicine for their healing properties. They have been used for centuries in various cultures around the world to treat a variety of ailments.

While modern medicine has its advantages, many people still rely on these ageold remedies to supplement their healthcare. 

In this article, we will cover a list of medicinal plants and their uses. These plants will mostly be native to North America since 90% of our audience is from there.

There are four primary types of medicinal plants that you must know – herbs, trees, grasses, and shrubs.

Herbs

Herbs are probably the most commonly used type of medicinal plant. Theyre derived from the leaves, stems, and flowers of a variety of species and are usually dried before use.

Herbs can be used in teas, capsules, tinctures, and many other forms.

Trees

Trees have a long history of being used as medicinal plants. Their bark, leaves, roots, and wood can be used to make various remedies. The healing properties of these plants can vary greatly depending on the species.

Grasses

Grasses are a common type of medicinal plant, with the roots, leaves, and seeds being used for various remedies.

Shrubs

Shrubs are a type of woodystemmed plant that can provide a variety of medicinal benefits. The stems and leaves of shrubs are often dried and used in teas or tinctures.

Now that you know the four types of medicinal plants, let’s dive into each specific plant and their uses.

Herbs

Herbal medicine is the use of plants or plantderived substances for the treatment or prevention of disease. Throughout centuries, humans have used herbal remedies to treat illnesses, infections, and other health issues.

Herbs are available in a variety of forms, from teas to tinctures to powders and pills. In modern times, many people are turning to medicinal herbs due to their natural healing properties and the fact that they are generally free of side effects when compared to pharmaceutical drugs.

Medicinal herbs have been used to treat a myriad of issues, ranging from common colds to more serious illnesses. 

1. Dandelion 

Dandelion is a common weed found in North American gardens and fields. It has a long history of use in both traditional Chinese and Native American medicine. The entire plant can be used, including the roots, leaves, and flowers. 

It has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including digestive issues, liver conditions, and skin problems. 

It is also believed to have detoxifying and diuretic properties, and may be beneficial for weight loss, as well. 

2. Chamomile 

Chamomile is an herbaceous flowering plant native to Europe, but widely cultivated in North America. It is commonly used in teas and tinctures to soothe digestion, reduce inflammation, and relieve insomnia and anxiety. 

It is also believed to be an effective antiinflammatory, antispasmodic, and antiseptic. It may even help to reduce fever and soothe menstrual cramps. 

3. Ginseng 

Ginseng is a slowgrowing herbaceous plant found in eastern North America. It is a popular medicinal herb with a long history of use in Chinese and Native American cultures. 

It is believed to have a wide range of health benefits, including boosting energy levels, helping to reduce stress and fatigue, and improving the immune system. 

It is also believed to have antiaging properties, and may help to improve cholesterol levels and blood sugar control. 

4. Milk Thistle 

Milk thistle  is a thistlelike herb native to Europe but widely cultivated in North America. It is commonly used to treat liver diseases and improve overall liver health.

It is also believed to have antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties and may help to reduce cholesterol levels. Lavender Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is an aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean but widely cultivated in North America.

It is commonly used in teas, tinctures, and topical applications to promote relaxation and reduce stress. 

It is also used to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis and may be beneficial for treating insomnia. 

5. Goldenseal 

Goldenseal is a perennial herb native to North America. It has a long history of use in Native American and Chinese medicine. 

It is believed to have powerful antimicrobial, antiinflammatory, and detoxifying properties, and may be beneficial for treating digestive issues, skin conditions, and urinary tract infections.

6. Black Cohosh 

Black Cohosh

Black cohosh is a perennial herb native to the eastern United States. It has been used for centuries by Native Americans and Chinese medicine practitioners. 

It is commonly used to treat menopausal symptoms and reduce inflammation. It is also believed to have mild sedative and antispasmodic effects, and may be beneficial for treating insomnia.

7. Echinacea 

Echinacea is a genus of flowering plants in the daisy family. It is native to the central United States and parts of Canada. Echinacea has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including the common cold, flu, and other upper respiratory infections. 

Scientific evidence indicates that echinacea may help reduce the duration and severity of colds and flu, as well as reduce symptoms such as cough, sore throat, and headache. 

Echinacea is generally considered safe when taken as directed, although some people may experience mild side effects such as an upset stomach or skin irritation. 

8. Valerian 

Valerian is a flowering plant native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It has been used for centuries to treat insomnia and anxiety. 

Scientific evidence suggests that Valerian may help improve sleep quality and reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is generally considered safe, although some people may experience mild side effects such as headaches and an upset stomach. 

9. Saw Palmetto 

Saw Palmetto is a plant native to the southeastern United States. It has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including prostate problems and urinary tract infections. 

Scientific evidence suggests that Saw Palmetto may help reduce the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), as well as reduce the risk of urinary tract infections. 

It is generally considered safe, although some people may experience mild side effects such as nausea and headaches. 

By the way, if you want a list of herbs to stock up, click here.

10. St. Johns Wort 

St. Johns Wort is a plant native to Europe and Asia. It has been used for centuries to treat depression and anxiety. Scientific evidence suggests that St. Johns Wort may help improve the symptoms of mild to moderate depression and anxiety. 

It is generally considered safe, although some people may experience mild side effects such as stomach upset and headaches.

Trees

Throughout North America, trees have been used medicinally for centuries by Native American and First Nations tribes. 

The medicinal properties of certain trees can serve to heal and treat a variety of ailments and medical conditions. 

North America is home to a diverse array of trees, many of which offer a range of medicinal benefits.

11. White Willow

White willow is a deciduous tree native to the Northern US and Canada. White willow has long been used medicinally by Native Americans and is known for its analgesic properties, which can be used to treat pain and inflammation. 

White willow contains salicin, a compound that is converted to salicylic acid in the body, which is the active ingredient in aspirin. 

White willow has been used as a traditional remedy for headaches, arthritis, fever, and other inflammatory conditions. It is also known to have antioxidant and antiseptic properties.

12. Black Walnut 

Black walnut is a deciduous tree native to the East Coast of North America. Black walnut has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties.

It is known for its antiinflammatory and antioxidant effects, which can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including respiratory and urinary tract infections, wounds, skin conditions, and gastrointestinal problems. 

Black walnut is also known to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, which can help to fight off infections. 

13. American Elm 

Elm trees 

American elm is a deciduous tree native to the Eastern US and Canada. American elm has been used medicinally by Native Americans for centuries. 

It is known to have astringent, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne. 

American elm is also known to be a natural expectorant, which can help to clear up congestion from colds and allergies. 

14. Red Cedar 

Red cedar is an evergreen tree native to the West Coast of North America. Red cedar has been used medicinally by Native Americans for centuries. 

It is known for its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties, which can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including respiratory and urinary tract infections, wounds, and skin conditions.

Red cedar is also known to have antiviral properties, which can help to treat viral infections.

15. Black Cherry 

Black cherry is a deciduous tree native to Eastern North America. Black cherry has been used medicinally by Native Americans for centuries. 

It is known for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antispasmodic properties, which can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including headaches, muscle pain, and gastrointestinal problems. 

Black cherry is also known to have antioxidant and antibacterial properties, which can help to fight off infections. 

Here are 11 healthy plants you can find in the wild.

16. White Birch 

White birch is a deciduous tree native to Eastern North America. White birch has been used medicinally by Native Americans for centuries. 

It is known for its astringent, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne. 

White birch is also known to have antiseptic and analgesic properties, which can help to relieve pain and inflammation. 

17. Mountain Ash 

Mountain ash is a deciduous tree native to the Northern US and Canada. Mountain ash has been used medicinally by Native Americans for centuries. 

It is known for its astringent, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne. 

Mountain ash is also known to have antiviral properties, which can help to treat viral infections.

Grasses

North America is an incredibly diverse continent, with a wide variety of climates and landscapes providing a home for a diverse array of plants. 

Among these plants are numerous species of grass, some of which have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. 

Native Americans were among the first to recognize the medicinal properties of many of these species, and used them to treat a variety of ailments from the common cold to more serious illnesses. 

In recent years, many of these medicinal grasses have been studied more thoroughly, and we now have a better understanding of how they can be used to treat a variety of conditions. 

18. Meadow Foxtail 

meadow foxtail

Meadow foxtail is a circumboreal species of grass that is found throughout much of North America. It is a perennial grass, growing up to 60 cm in height and producing small, nodding flowerheads that have a distinctive purplish hue. 

Native Americans have used Meadow foxtail for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, including wounds, diarrhea, and as a mild sedative. 

It is also thought to have antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties, making it effective in treating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. 

Additionally, it is often used as a tonic to support the digestive and respiratory systems.

19. Common Reed 

Common reed is a tall perennial grass that can be found throughout much of North America. It grows up to 2 m (7 ft) in height and produces plumes of tiny flowers in summer. 

Common reed has been used for centuries by Native Americans to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, asthma, and even snake bites. 

It is also thought to have antiinflammatory and astringent properties, making it useful for treating wounds, rashes, and burns. 

Additionally, the common reed is believed to have immuneboosting effects, making it a useful remedy for colds and flu. 

20. Switchgrass 

Switchgrass is a tall, perennial grass found throughout much of North America. It typically grows up to 2 m (7 ft) in height and produces plumes of tiny flowers in summer. 

Switchgrass has been used for centuries by Native Americans to treat a variety of ailments, including infections, fever, and muscle aches. 

It is also believed to have antiinflammatory properties, making it useful for treating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. 

Additionally, switchgrass is believed to have immuneboosting effects, making it a useful remedy for colds and flu. 

21. Indian Grass 

Indian grass is a tall, perennial grass found throughout much of North America. It typically grows up to 1.5 m (5 ft) in height and produces plumes of small, yellowgreen flowers in summer. 

Indian grass has been used for centuries by Native Americans to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, asthma, and even snake bites. 

It is also believed to have immuneboosting and antiinflammatory properties, making it useful for treating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. 

Additionally, Indian grass is thought to have antispasmodic effects, making it a useful remedy for digestive issues. 

22. Little Bluestem 

Little bluestem is a short, perennial grass found throughout much of North America. It typically grows up to 1 m (3 ft) in height and produces plumes of small, bluepurple flowers in summer.

Little bluestem has been used for centuries by Native Americans to treat a variety of ailments, including wounds, diarrhoea, and as a mild sedative. 

It is also believed to have antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties, making it effective in treating skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. 

Additionally, little bluestem is thought to have immuneboosting effects, making it a useful remedy for colds and flu.

Shrubs

Today, many of these same medicinal shrubs and herbs are still used by herbalists, naturopaths, and other healthcare providers to treat a variety of conditions. 

While it‘s important to understand the potential risks of using these herbs (as with any other medical treatment), there is also a growing body of research to indicate that many of these plants have medicinal properties that could be of benefit to humans.

23. Elderberry 

Elderberry is a shrub found throughout North America, and a popular herbal remedy used to boost immune function and treat a variety of conditions, including colds, flu, and upper respiratory infections. 

Research suggests that elderberry can help reduce the severity and duration of colds, as well as reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. It has also been used to treat skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis.

24. Astragalus

Astragalus is a plant in the pea family, and a popular medicinal plant used to boost immune function and treat a variety of conditions, including colds, flu, and upper respiratory infections.

Recent studies have shown that astragalus may have some anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as the potential to reduce anxiety and improve cognitive performance.

25. Eucalyptus 

Eucalyptus is a genus of trees and shrubs, and a popular medicinal plant used to treat a variety of conditions, including colds, flu, and upper respiratory infections.

Recent studies have shown that eucalyptus may have some anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as the potential to reduce anxiety and improve cognitive performance.

Final Words

Medicinal plants have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments, and many people still rely on these ageold remedies to supplement their healthcare. There are many different types of medicinal plants, including herbs, trees, grasses, and shrubs. 
 
Each of these has a different set of healing properties and can be used to treat physical and mental ailments. 
 
It is important to be able to identify these plants correctly, as some can be toxic if used incorrectly. With the right information, you can safely and effectively use medicinal plants to supplement your healthcare.
 

Leave a Comment