Top 15 Most Powerful Medicinal Plants

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

From marijuana to dandelion, there are literally hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of medicinal plants that contain powerful flowers, berries, leaves, stems, and roots that can help with almost any human health condition you can imagine. The following list of medicinal plants contains almost everything your local pharmacy does: anti-inflammatories, anti-fungal, insect repellants, expectorants, anti-bacterial, fever reducers, antihistamines, and even pain relievers.

Mother Nature has provided us with everything we need, if we would only look to her and do a little investigation rather than pop over to the nearest drug store for some toxic, chemical-laden, side effect filled medications.

Although there are many, many more plants that have healing and medicinal properties, we have compiled a list of the top 15 plants with the most powerful healing compounds that can be found on earth.

 

1. Dandelion

Don’t think of it as just a weed in your backyard: dandelion is an edible flowering plant! You can use all parts of this medicinal plant- the flowers, roots, and leaves are all used for tea, food, and healing qualities. The dandelion is rich in calcium, which is essential for bones. They are also rich in antioxidants that protect our eyes from age-related damage. These same antioxidants, along with its high levels of vitamin C, help to keep your liver functioning in top gear!

Dandelion recharges the liver, balances your blood sugar levels as well as your cholesterol, improves the function of the pancreas, stops swelling, especially in the legs and ankles, prevents gallstones, and is a terrific cleansing agent for the blood. Dandelions can help diabetics by stimulating the production of insulin from the pancreas, and help to keep blood sugar levels under control. Dandelion has so many healing qualities, it is almost impossible to list them all.

So pull those dandelions out of your lawn, sure, but don’t pitch them in the compost bin- add them to your diet instead!

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

2. Marigold

You might only think of these as pretty fall flowers for your garden, but marigolds can be used for cooking and add some beautiful color to summertime salads. Marigold is great for many different skin conditions and can even reduce the appearance of scars. Marigold flowers are often used as a tea to get almost instant relief from fevers and to stop swelling. A tincture of marigold is perfect for helping to heal burns and cuts while offering pain relief at the same time.

Many people state that marigold tea helps to stop headaches as well as allergies. It improves the overall condition of the skin and you shouldn’t be surprised to see it listed as an ingredient in many skin lotions and creams.

Marigolds are one of several herbs that are well-known for treating eye inflammation as well as stopping eye infections. It has anti-spasmodic compounds, so drinking the tea can help stop those painful menstrual cramps. Marigolds are sometimes referred to as calendula: same flower, different name, same health benefits!

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

3. Cannabis

Until about 1915, cannabis was often prescribed by many doctors. No one thought of it as a hard drug nor was it considered to be dangerous until the mid-20th century. In fact, America’s Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper.

Cannabis is an absolutely remarkable and renewable plant that offers us everything from healing compounds to a natural alternative to plastic and cotton. Numerous health benefits are well-documented, including depression, stress, and anxiety relief, lowered blood pressure, alleviation of pain, and even the treatment of cancer and glaucoma. It is not addictive, does not kill brain cells, does not cause lung cancer, and in fact can reverse the carcinogenic effects of tobacco. It is not a gateway drug, as we have been told. One chemical found in marijuana stops cancer from spreading, according to researchers at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

Cannabis is well known for stopping nausea and stimulating the appetite. Cannabis is known to treat and prevent glaucoma, as it decreases pressure inside the eye. Big Pharmaceuticals have attempted to use scare tactics to keep us buying their drugs instead of using Mother Nature’s natural means of healing and pain relief.

Peppermint

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4.  Peppermint

This hybrid plant was originally cultivated in European countries but is now found around the world. Peppermint oil is used for everything from food flavoring, to scents for soaps and cosmetics, to candy. This plant has super powerful healing compounds to stop joint pain and heal almost every stomach condition known to man.

Drinking peppermint tea improves your overall digestive system and helps improve the absorption of nutrients from the foods you eat. Inhaling peppermint essential oil can help prevent sinus infections and can clear up stuffed up heads in a jiffy. Peppermint is well known for stopping headaches and can stop the growth of bacteria when applied topically.

Peppermint can stop intestinal cramps, diarrhea, gas, and the overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine. In studies, just smelling peppermint oil has been linked to greater alertness, performance, and improved motivation. All of this from one small, sweet smelling little leaf.

Fresh Lemon Thyme Herb

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5. Thyme

Parsley, sage, rosemary and, oh yeah, that stuff. Although thyme has long been associated with flavoring foods, its exceptional aroma can also be used medicinally. Thyme is very effective at keeping small insects away. We may like the smell, but ants and mosquitoes don’t feel the same way! Thyme has also been used traditionally to treat lung and breathing problems.

Sprinkled over food, thyme not only adds flavor, its natural anti-bacterial compounds help to stop foodborne bacteria from growing. Thyme will lower your blood pressure as well as prevent the development of colon cancer.

Thyme essential oil, when added to a carrier oil, will help soothe red, dry, itchy skin. Thyme is full of a special type of omega-3 fatty acid that supports healthy kidney, brain, and heart function. Breathing in the steam of thyme-infused water will offer quick relief from coughs and scratchy throats. Drinking thyme tea is also known to relax and calm the nervous system.

mint

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6. Catnip

OK, so it drives cats crazy, but it’s loaded with plenty of healing properties for humans, too!

Catnip tea is available almost everywhere because it’s known to be a great detoxifier for the body. It’s also well known for reliving headaches, especially migraines. Although it may wind up your cat, to humans it has super relaxing compounds. Catnip is also known for balancing out the digestive system so that it works at its optimal level. Catnip is a super anti-inflammatory and it helps those who suffer from joint pain and other inflammation issues. It stops upset stomachs, gas, and diarrhea.

A paste made with dried catnip will help stop the swelling, pain, and itching associated with bug bites or bee stings. You might find this herb is also called catmint, but it’s still the same plant. It’s simply that some people feel strange drinking tea that most people think of as only something for cats!

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

7. Lady Ferns

So beautiful, and so helpful! Grab some lady fern leaves and roll them up in your hands the next time you get a nasty burn, cut, or a stinging insect bite. The juice from the leaves is remarkably healing to the skin and stops minor pain in a quick minute. Ferns have been around for about 360 million years!

Lady Fern is one of the oldest plants on earth and offers soothing relief from sunburns and cuts. It has been used traditionally to stop fevers and coughs. In India, ferns are used to treat wounds, skin problems, coughs, and even painful centipede bites! You can use it to stop parasite infestation and balance out the digestive system. Many people find that Lady Fern helps ease breathing for those suffering from bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma.

Lady Fern is sometimes called Brake Root, or Rock of Polypody. Some ferns contain toxic substances, so be sure you only consume ferns that come from a reliable source and that you know exactly what you are taking. Speak to an herbalist if you have any doubt or questions before using.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

8. Tansy

This is an old world flower that is a member of the aster family. It was once widely grown but has lost favor over time for unknown reasons. It’s used to add flavor to food and beer, and works remarkably well at repelling nasty bugs like mosquitoes.

Planting tansy around your patio will help to keep mosquitoes from making a house call. You can also rub the leaves directly on your skin to make you less appealing to them when you are away from home. Tansy was often used to kill parasites and alleviate the pain of gout, headaches, and rheumatism, as well as to stimulate the appetite.

Don’t eat this plant, however, as too much can be poisonous. This is the most likely reason tansy has fallen out of favor, but when used properly, tansy is a powerful herb with strong healing properties. Use as directed by your herbalist.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

9. Sage

A beautiful plant that is a tasty herb and has medicinal properties, too! Sage is a super healer! It contains antifungal, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatories, and anti-bacterial compounds all in one little plant! It helps ease digestion, stops cramps, fights cold and flu viruses, reduces inflammation, kills bacteria, and stops diarrhea.

Some people say that rinsing your hair with sage-infused water brings natural color back to your hair. Sage is related to rosemary and is loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. The three components in sage – flavonoids, phenolic acid, and enzymes that handle oxygen – give it the ability to stabilize oxygen related metabolism issues and prevent oxygen based damage to cells. In short, this means that it prevents premature aging.

An old Native American saying is that those who drink sage tea never grow old. Used in aroma therapy, sage is a terrific anti-depressant, heals wounds in no time, stops infections in the nose and throat, and is a fantastic antiseptic.  Sage tea is available everywhere and this plant is super easy to grow.

Alfalfa Sprouts

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10. Alfalfa

This is a great food for horses as well as people! Alfalfa is super rich in minerals, and with roots that grow as long as 20 or 30 feet some call it the father of all plants! It is high in protein and is often used to treat nausea, morning sickness, urinary tract disorders, kidney stones, and other types of kidney pain.

Alfalfa is a powerful diuretic and has a stimulating quality to it that makes it the perfect pick me up after you have been ill. It is also used for cleansing the liver and bowels. Used regularly, it also helps lower cholesterol levels. Alfalfa is loved by many for both its taste and its texture, but it is full of healthy vitamins such as A, K, and C.

For centuries, alfalfa was used to stimulate the appetite and improve digestion. Alfalfa is loaded with phytoestrogens, so it is effectively used to naturally treat the symptoms of menopause with no side effects. It’s also a popular tonic for flushing the body of toxins.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

11. Red Clover

The little red/pink blossoms on this plant are the perfect detoxifier for the liver and the blood but have long been used to treat colds and coughs. Originating in Europe, red clover is now grown in just about every country in the world, including the US.

Red clover has been used for centuries for both internal and topical applications, it can relive the pain of psoriasis, sores, burns, and is said to offer protections from skin cancer. Red clover is also a terrific pain reliever, most likely due to its anti-inflammatory compounds. In “Back to Eden,” a classic book by Jethro Kloss, the author states emphatically that red clover is a lifesaving anti-cancer treatment. Although there are no studies to back up his claim, proponents of red clover claim they have had a multitude of success.

Red clover is, however, a known blood thinner. For those with thrombosis or other conditions, red clover can be a life saver; however, if you are taking medication to thin your blood, or if you are going to have surgery performed, be sure to talk to your doctor before you start consuming this beautiful little flower.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

12. Ginger

This plant is used every single day in many Asian countries, especially India. Ginger is one of the most powerful medicinal plants on the planet and can cure a multitude of diseases. The root of this plant is antibacterial, antiviral, and contains antioxidants. It’s great at stopping nausea and vomiting while balancing out the digestive process.

One of the great things about ginger is that it is proven safe for pregnant women. So when morning sickness takes ahold, ladies, take some ginger tea and stop that vomiting in its tracks.  Taken regularly, ginger’s anti-inflammatory compounds kick joint pain to the curb and have been shown in studies to stop cancer, asthma, and diabetes. When arthritis related problems start hitting your knees, wrists, elbows, and fingers (typing really takes a toll on the joints of your hands), begin by drinking ginger tea every morning.

One study showed that when those with arthritis symptoms began taking ginger supplements, within 6 months their pain levels dropped by half! You can buy fresh, organic ginger root in almost every supermarket anywhere in the US, year round.

Bunch of lavender flowers

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13. Lavender

This is another wonderfully beautiful plant that lures you to it with its sweet smell. Add this purple beauty to your garden for its looks and scent and use it to heal many diseases. Lavender oil is known to stop dandruff and stop itchy, dry skin. Used in aroma therapy, lavender can lull you to sleep and is one of the best anti-depressants known to man.

Research shows that lavender essential oil is great for treating insomnia, anxiety, depression, and restlessness.  It can stop headaches and, when used in a diffuser, kills airborne viruses. The Journal of Medical Microbiology found that lavender essential oil is very effective at fighting antifungal resistant infections. Another publication, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, lists lavender as an effective remedy for hair loss and that it promotes hair growth by as much as 44 percent after only 7 months of treatment.

Although PMS is common, there is currently no single treatment universally recognized by doctors, however lavender is a well-known aroma therapy agent that has many women convinced it works to relieve their PMS symptoms.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

14. Cayenne Pepper

Known for its hot, spicy flavor, cayenne pepper is well known for its medicinal properties, as well as its ability to spice up the blandest meal. Cayenne pepper stops joint pain better than any other remedy. It kills fungus and stimulates the digestive system by encouraging the production of saliva. It lowers your risk of developing many types of cancer, and is well known to stimulate blood circulation.

Cayenne is perhaps best known for its pain relieving properties. Almost all creams and lotions for the topical relief of joint pain contain some level of capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne pepper. Cayenne is also known for its powerful antibacterial properties that make it perfect for an overall body detoxing agent. It stimulates the production of saliva and enzymes that encourage improved digestion. It’s also a possible anti-cancer agent.

One study done at Loma Linda University in California found that cayenne helped to prevent lung cancer in those who smoked. More studies need to be done in this area.

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Photo credit: bigstock.com

15. Echinacea

Also called Cone Flower, this plant has been used by the Native American people for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The flowers, leaves, stems, and roots all have their own healing compounds and all parts are safe to use.

Echinacea is the best anti-inflammatory around. Echinacea is probably most well-known for its ability to improve the immune system. It’s perfect for naturally helping you prevent coughs, colds, or the flu. It stimulates the production of new white blood cells and is perfect for joint pain as it also has powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. Externally, it can be applied to wounds, and the tea can also be used as a mouth rinse to help stop canker sores. Gargling with the tea can help stop sore throats.

 

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Plants You Must Have for Purified Air in Your Home

 

Echinacea has no known toxicity issues and has an excellent safety record. It’s well tolerated by almost everyone. You can take capsules or drink Echinacea tea. Please not that this should not be used by persons with immune system disorders such as AIDS or lupus.

Sources:

Herbwisdom.com

Medicalnewstoday.com

Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Dover Publications, New York. 1971.

Ippoushi K, Azuma K, Ito H, Horie H, Higashio H. [6]-Gingerol inhibits nitric oxide synthesis in activated J774.1 mouse macrophages and prevents peroxynitrite-induced oxidation and nitration reactions. Life Sci. 2003 Nov 14;73(26):3427-37.

Jagetia GC, Baliga MS, Venkatesh P, Ulloor JN. Influence of ginger rhizome (Zingiber officinale Rosc) on survival, glutathione and lipid peroxidation in mice after whole-body exposure to gamma radiation. Radiat Res. 2003 Nov;160(5):584-92. 2003.

Kiuchi F, et al. Inhibition of prostaglandin and leukotriene biosynthesis by gingerols and diarylheptanoids. Chem Pharm Bull 40 (1992):387-91. 1992.