Have you heard of the healing properties of the California Poppy? What about the health-promoting nutrients of alfalfa? Check out this article to learn which plants have powerful medicinal purposes.
10 Powerful Medicinal Plants From Around the World
There are literally hundreds of medicinal plants across the globe – some of which may be unfamiliar to you. Here is a list of 10 powerful medicinal plants from around the world that may come in handy when you travel.
Note: The information in this article is for informative purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice.
1. California Poppy
This opioid plant is used as an anxiety reliever and is even safe for use in children. The California poppy can be made into a tea for quick relief of nervousness and tension. A stronger decoction will offer pain relief. (A decoction is made by “stewing” all safe parts of the plant, including stems and roots if possible, in water for several hours.) Best when soaked overnight.
This plant can be found throughout Europe. Rubbing the leaves on the skin provides an effective bug repellent, but tansy can also be used to treat worms. It is said to be poisonous when extracted, but a few leaves are not harmful if ingested.
Alfalfa is incredibly rich in minerals and health-promoting nutrients and compounds. With roots that grow 20 to 30 feet deep, alfalfa is considered the “father of all plants”. Alfalfa originated in the Mediterranean and Middle East but has now spread to most of Europe and America. It is believed to soothe symptoms of morning sickness, nausea, kidney stones, kidney pain, and urinary discomfort. It is also a powerful diuretic and has a bit of stimulant power, helping to energize the human body after a bout with illness. It is also a liver and bowel cleanser, and with long-term use it is believed to help reduce cholesterol. You can purchase seeds and sprouts, but it's fine to eat the leaves straight from the earth.
Catnip isn’t just for cats – it’s great for humans as well. It can be found in the Northern Hemisphere. This useful plant can relieve cold symptoms and even break a fever, as it promotes sweating. Catnip also helps stop excessive bleeding and swelling when applied topically rather than ingested.
Note: Catnip can stimulate uterine contractions, so it should not be consumed by pregnant women.
Sage is an incredibly useful herb, widely considered to be perhaps the most valuable herb. It is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antifungal. Sage also aids with digestion, helps relieve cramps, reduces diarrhea, dries up phlegm, fights colds, reduces inflammation and swelling, acts as a salve for cuts and burns, and kills bacteria.
Sage is native to the Mediterranean region, though it has naturalized in many places throughout the world.
Blackberries are loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, but the leaves and roots also have value. Native Americans used the stems and leaves for healing, while enjoying the young shoots peeled as a vegetable; and they enjoyed the berries either raw or in jams. The leaves and root can be used as a treatment against dysentery and diarrhea, as well as being used as an anti-inflammatory and astringent. Ideal for treating cuts and inflammation in the mouth.
Navajo Tea — also called greenthread, Plains Tea or Coyote Plant — has been used for centuries by Native Americans to quickly relieve the most brutal and irritating of infections: the UTI (urinary tract infection.) Best when made into a tea or decoction.
Feverfew is a plant that has well-known health properties and medicinal benefits. This anti-inflammatory plant can treat symptoms of rheumatism, arthritis, migraine headaches, and tension headaches. It's also good for alleviating tension and general anxiety, as it is a natural serotonin inhibitor. It also helps to reduce swelling and bruising. Though feverfew is most effective when taken daily, it can be a helpful pain reliever.
9. Winter Savory
Winter savory is your savior against insect bites and stings. One of the most effective natural plant treatments for bug bites, it is originally from Europe and the Mediterranean but often shows up elsewhere thanks to global trade. In addition to being an antiseptic, it is delicious – used for flavoring meats and stews. All parts of this plant are edible.
10. Wild Quinine
Wild quinine is a potent herb that has traditionally been used in alternative medicine to treat debility, fatigue, respiratory infection, gastrointestinal infection, and venereal disease. Whatever the ailment, quinine is famously helpful in treating it. Only the root and flowers are edible – avoid the plant.
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