We all know that plants are good for our overall health. Just having them around provides cleaner air, a greater sense of calm, and better focus and creativity, among other things. They are, of course, also lovely to look at – but some plants offer us even more benefits.
There are some superhero plants that go above and beyond the already impressive list of perks we get from having plants in our spaces. Many plants have medicinal benefits and can easily be kept on hand in your home to be at the ready when you need assistance. If you’re interested in natural healing and could use some more greenery in and around your home, here are some medicinal plants and herbs to consider.
Medicinal Plant Facts
- Every known civilization from the most ancient to modern has developed medicinal treatments from plants.
- Over 10 percent of known plants have medicinal value.
- Over 28,000 plants have a record medicinal use.
- In Germany, it is estimated over 90% of the population use some form of medicinal plants for treatment.
- In India, it’s estimated that roughly 80% of remedies are based on medicinal plants.
- Many drugs and medicines from caffeine to aspirin come from medicinal plants.
- Gingko trees are called living fossils and can live up to 3,000 years.
- The oldest record of medicinal plants comes from the ancient Sumerians, who record medicinal plant uses on clay tablets over 5,000 years ago.
Top 10 Medicinal Plants
Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller)
Even if you know very little about healing plants, you’ve probably heard of the benefits of aloe vera. In fact, you’ve probably even known a person or two who’s had this plant in their home. The leaves of the aloe plant are filled with a soothing gel that can be used to alleviate the pain of a burn, help heal cuts, scrapes, and some skin conditions, and can even be taken internally to soothe some digestive issues.
To access the gel, simply snip off a leaf and squeeze it out. It can then be applied directly to the skin.
Flax Seeds and Oil (Linum usitatissimum)
Originally from India, Flax has been cultivated around the world for thousands of years for its healthy properties. Flax is farmed in Asia, South America, Europe, and the US and has been referenced in the Bible and Homer’s Odyssey. It contains both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and some studies indicate it can also reduce high blood pressure and may even help in reducing obesity. Flax is also a great source for omega-3 fatty acids.
Among medicinal herbs, burdock is not widely known – but it should be! The root of the plant can be used to purify the blood. A poultice can also be made from the leaves of the plant to pull infection from the body.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
There are countless mouthwatering recipes that include the herb basil. The leaves of the basil plant are incredibly aromatic and add wonderful depth to a range of dishes. Even if you regularly use basil in your cooking, though, you may not think of it as one of the medicinal herbs.
The truth is that basil helps in a variety of ways. It can reduce the risk of low blood sugar, heal minor abrasions, ease PMS, boost appetite, lower stress levels, reduce fever, ease a sore throat and other respiratory issues, and eliminate gas.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
The calendula plant grows beautiful orange flowers, so it makes a stunning addition to any garden. Even better, the flowers are wonderful for soothing skin irritation. They can also be eaten or made into a tea. The more resin-coated the plant, the higher its medicinal capabilities, so look for a sticky one.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)
People often drink chamomile tea in the evening to help them unwind, and with good reason. The heads of this healing plant offer an array of benefits. Use them to reduce anxiety and tension, relieve indigestion, and calm skin inflammation.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
If you’re someone who seems to pick up every virus that goes around, then echinacea is probably one of the best medicinal plants for you to grow. It works double duty as it diminishes
symptoms and also boosts the immune system.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
If you’re looking for natural ways to reduce anxiety, lemon balm is a medicinal herb you should be growing. The herb helps relax the nervous system, offering a mild sedative effect. Lemon balm also acts as an antiviral.
Having lemon balm in your garden offers another benefit, as it’s a natural mosquito repellant.
Peppermint (Mentha × piperita)
Peppermint makes a refreshing addition to your collection of healing plants. Not only does it have an energizing taste, but as a tea, it can also be used to soothe digestive issues such as indigestion and vomiting. Made into a salve, it can be applied to sore muscles to relieve discomfort.
If you plan to plant peppermint, consider putting it in a pot, as mint plants tend to spread rapidly in the garden.
Plantain (Plantago major)
This is the weed-like leafy plantain plant, not the banana-like vegetable that also goes by plantain. Common plantain contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. It also contains vitamins A, C, K and has been used as a wound treatment for bites from insects, snakes, and other cuts or inflamed skin conditions.
Many medicinal plants are simple to grow and add a perky presence to your garden and pots. Many of them even make gorgeous additions to bouquets. Of course, if you’re in the market for some ultra-fresh blooms to go with your healing plants and adorn your living space, The Bouqs Co. is the place to look! Order flowers online today, we have great mixed bouquets, or read more about flowers with healing benefits.
 Allkin B. Useful Plants – Medicines. State of the World's Plants 2017. London (UK): Royal Botanic Gardens. 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK464488/
 Salmerón-Manzano E, Garrido-Cardenas JA, Manzano-Agugliaro F. “Worldwide Research Trends on Medicinal Plants.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020 May 12;17(10):3376. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32408690/