Plants are beautiful works of nature, and they have so many uses. They contribute most food for other life forms, especially man and animals. These plants are essential in ensuring that life goes on, on the planet.
Our plant benefits from plants in the sense that these plants clean up excess carbon (IV) oxide in the air and supply oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis. Man and animals need this oxygen to survive.
Plants are not just sources of food and oxygen, they are also sources of timber, wood for fuel, and medicine. So, which plant has medicinal value? What are the 10 medicinal plants and their benefits?
In today’s article, we shall be looking at a list of medicinal plants that are known to man and have been used in the treatment of different illnesses in the world, especially in India.
But first, what are medicinal plants? Let’s find out!
What Are Medicinal Plants?
Medicinal plants are simply plants that have therapeutic properties or exert beneficial pharmacological effects on humans or animals.
These types of plants have always played a significant role as great sources for drug lead compounds. Early humans, driven by their experience, taste, and instinct, treated various illnesses by using medicinal plants; thus, the history of medicinal plants is as old as the history of humans.
Additionally, ayurvedic herbs are time tested for their numerous benefits, especially in the area of health. They have nutritive values that are very recommended for their healing properties.
Known to induce zero side effects, medicinal plants have a unique flavor and aroma and when constantly consumed, they act as a good mechanism to bring about a balanced harmony between mind, body, and soul.
Benefits of Medicinal Plants
Below are some benefits of medicinal plants that you probably don’t know about:
- They are not disease-specific but act as preventive medicine that affects the overall
health and well-being positively by boosting our immune system
- Medicinal plants have a holistic approach and assist in proper absorption and digestion
- They are at par with allopathic medicines and are sometimes known to be highly effective in treating diseases like autoimmune diseases and cancer
- They are non-toxic and harmless
- Ayurvedic medicines and treatments can be used to treat several metabolic and chronic conditions can be treated without any side effects
What Are The 10 Medicinal Plants And Their Benefits?
There are several types of medicinal plants that people from all over the world have been using to treat various illnesses. Below are some of them, which are also the ones we shall be talking about in today’s post.
- Dandelion plant
- Basil plant
- Rosemary plant
- Sage plant
- Thyme plant
- Lemon Balm
- Garlic plant
- Catnip plant
Read Also: Types of Succulent Plants
Top 10 Medicinal Plants
Below are the top 10 medicinal plants you should start growing in your garden today:
1. Dandelion plant
The scientific name of the plant dandelion is taraxacum. It is a flowering plant native to North America, Europe, and Asia. It is present in India.
The two most popular species world over are Taraxacum erthyrospermum and Taraxacum officinale.
The two species are edible and are wild plants. So, when next you see dandelions growing in your garden, do not be quick in removing them.
Asides from their beautiful look like the yellow of the sun during sunset and their edible nature, these plants have medicinal benefits that will help in nourishing the body.
Dandelion packs a lot of nutrients like calcium, iron, vitamin C, and vitamin K. These minerals and vitamins help make the liver healthy and the bones stronger. One wonderful thing about the dandelion is that no part of the plant is useless.
Tea lovers make tea from the roots. Chefs use the leaves to cook various dishes. Dermatologists recommend the sap of the plant for the skin.
Brewers use the petals of dandelion and citrus plants to produce dandelion wine. You can also grind the roasted root and use it as an alternative to coffee.
Burdock and Dandelion of Britain once had dandelion as an active ingredient. It is also present in root beer. In the Victoria era, gentries use dandelion to make sandwiches and salads. You can also use the flowers to make a yellow dye.
NB: The Dandelion Plant is an invasive species.
Benefits of The Dandelion Plant
- The sap treats skin infections
- Dandelion is active against urinary tract infections
- It detoxifies the liver and helps it stay healthy
- It strengthens the bones
Read Also: Best Dandelion Killers
2. Basil plant
If you are making a list of medicinal plants and you exclude basil, then the list is incomplete. Basil is one of the most popular plants in the world.
It is rich in nutrients and serves many purposes for plants and animals. Some people call basil great basil because of its usefulness. It is native to the South-eastern part of Asia and central Africa.
Depending on the variety, basil can have either a sweet smell or a pungent smell. It is of the mint family. The most common type of basil is sweet basil. Some people call it Genovese basil. Other varieties are holy basil, lemon basil, blue African basil, and Thai basil.
Depending on where the basil is growing, it can either be a perennial or annual plant. In warm climates, the basil is usually perennial.
Basil is one plant that is native and popular in India. Indians use basil to dress pasta, salads, and many other meals that need its delicious flavor. It has iron and vitamin A which can fight against common illnesses.
The plant has manganese with helps in the metabolism of the body. In India, holy basil is sacred. Indians use it to make ointment and teas. They also use it to combat diabetes and fever.
When chefs use the basil, they add it last, and turn off the heat as overheating will damage the taste. Some people also add basil to their smoothies.
Some chefs also use basil to fry their chicken. In Thai, they steep basil in milk or cream and use them to make tuffets and ice cream. Even the flower of the plant is edible.
Benefits of Basil
- It has anti-oxidation properties
- It improves digestion
- The basil boost immunity
- It can help to treat swelling and inflammation
- It reverses some effects of old age
- It has antibacterial properties
Read Also: Eggplant Companion Plants
3. Rosemary plant
If someone asks you which plant has medicinal value, rosemary should be one plant you should mention. The scientific name of rosemary is Slavia Rosmarinus.
It is an evergreen plant with thin leaves that are needle-like. The flowers are usually blue, purple, pink, or white. Just like the basil, it is also from the mint group of plants.
You can find the plant thriving even in severe weather like cold and deserts. Potentially it is an invasive species. It is one of those plants that can live long, even up to 30 years. Some people plant rosemary just to decorate their gardens. They are pest-resistant and easy to grow.
Indians use the plant to make tea. They harvest the leaves, dry them, and then grind them into powder. They also sprinkle it on the food to add taste and its characteristic minty flavor. The seeds are sources of essential oil.
Some chefs use it to season and stiff meat for roasting. Perfumer makers use rosemary to create body perfumes. Churches use it as incense for mass and it is also present in cleaning products and shampoos.
Benefits of Rosemary
- Rosemary can help reduce inflammation
- It is active against bad breath
- It supports the health of the liver
- It causes blood to circulate faster
- It aids the growth of hair
4. Sage plant
This plant is evergreen, perennial, has gray leaves and purple to blue flowers with woody trunks. It is also a minty plant like the last two above. Even though it came from the Mediterranean, it is now available worldwide.
Gardeners use it to beautify their gardens. Sage is one plant that has plenty of rumors following it as a culinary or medicinal powerhouse.
Americans and the British use sage to season their turkey during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Sundays. In France, sage is a flavor in black tea. The French also boil it and drink it as a herbal mixture.
Some researches have it that sage adds more to the functionality of the brain. The research also suggests that it can help patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Cold and wet winter will kill the sage plant.
Sage is useful in fighting degenerative illnesses and memory issues. It can also reduce blood sugar levels. Sage is popular in its application, and so every gardener should plant a sage.
The sage is among the four Scarborough fair, as Americans call it, together with thyme, parsley, and rosemary.
Benefits of the Sage Plant
- Boosts the immune system
- Helps to combat or manage diabetes
- Sage is full of antioxidants that fight stress
- radicals on our body that causes diseases
- Sage fights and checks diabetes
- Basil will help your skin stay healthy
Read Also: Pumpkin Companion Plants
5. Thyme plant
This plant is also part of the family Lamiaceae, the mint family. The type of thyme gardeners plant mostly is the Thymus vulgaris.
The plant is evergreen and perennial. It was popular in the ancient worlds, with Egypt, Greece, and Rome making use of it extensively.
The Romans added it to liquor and cheese. In Europe, some people put it under their pillows, thinking it makes nightmares stay away.
Wives gave it to their husbands, who were going to battle as a good luck token. It is best you plant your thyme during spring, as that is when they grow best.
Do the planting on soil with good drainage and under warm weather. No other plant in this list is present in cooking as much as thyme.
Manufacturers of vapor rubs and toothpaste also add thyme to their products. This is because the plant has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
If you add thyme to your food, it will decontaminate it and stop food poisoning. In some cultures, people sprinkle thyme on their meals for taste. You can brew the leaves and make tea.
Some creams have thyme as one of the active ingredients. The plant is a source of essential oil which has an active ingredient, thymol, and this thymol is antiseptic.
Benefits of Thyme
- Thyme is active against coughs and sore throats
- It improves the speed of blood circulation
- It is active against respiratory issues
Read Also: How to Harvest Thyme Without Killing It
6. Parsley plant
Another famous vegetable is the garden parsley or Petroselinum crispum. It is also a herb. It is popular in Asian, American, and European cuisine. It is a biennial plant that grows and stores food in taproot in its first year and then flowers in its second year.
The flowers are yellowish-green. There are three types of parsley: curry leaf, flat-leaf, and root parsley. Chefs use the curry leaf to garnish foods.
In Asia, they cut and sprinkle fresh curry leaf on top of the food. Gardeners cultivate the flat-leaf easily, and they say the flat-leaf has a stronger taste.
In southern Europe, root parsley is a snack. It is also present in stews, soups, and casseroles. Parsley has a lot of nutrients and vitamins like vitamin A, C, and K. It also has antioxidants and flavonoids like apigenin and luteolin. It also has folate.
The plant is delicious and can boost the immune system. Parsley will attract beautiful wildlife to your garden, like the swallowtail butterfly that grows on the parsley.
They are also attractive to bees and insects that feed on nectar. The goldfinch eats the seeds. It is important to note that excessive parsley is unsafe for pregnant women. You need to be careful when harvesting parsley to avoid killing it.
Benefits of Parsley
- It is active against halitosis, which is bad breath
- It helps the body to build strong bones
- It has antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body
- It provides relief from bloating
- It is friendly to the stomach and can aid digestion
Read Also: Can You Plant Dill and Parsley Together?
7. Marigold plant
The marigold plant is a perennial or annual plant. It is a herbaceous plant that shares the same Asteraceae family with sunflowers. The original name of the plant is tagetes.
The plant is a stunning one that blooms in many colors: orange, golden, white, maroon, and yellow. This plant is the easiest to grow on this list.
The smell of the plant is pungent or musky, some breeds do not have scents at all. This plant has a history of repelling insects. Gardens use them for companion planting. They go together with chili pepper, potato, tobacco, tomato, and eggplant.
It is unwise to plant marigolds near a legume because the roots of the plant have antibacterial properties. They will kill the nitrogen-fixing bacteria present in the root nodules of leguminous plants. They are pest resistant and can deter rabbits, deer, rodents, peccaries, and javelina.
This plant packs a lot of antioxidants that can help deal with free radicals that can cause diseases in the human body. They are also good for your skin.
Some tea enthusiasts dry the flowers and grind them for tea. Chefs sprinkle it on dishes for taste and aroma. Marigold is also a source of essential oil.
Benefits of Marigold
- You can use it to treat skin diseases
- It combats inflammation
- It handles ear infection and pain
- It has antiseptic and antibacterial properties
- It is good for the eyes
8. Lemon Balm plant
Common balm, mint balm, and balm. These are variant names of the plant lemon balm. It is herbaceous and perennial and native to Asia, Europe, and the Mediterranean.
It belongs to the mint family and has a smell like mint. In the summer, the plant produces white flowers with a lot of nectar which attracts bees.
Lemon balm is popular for adding flavor to meals and as tea. People who work in the apiary use lemon balm to attract bees so they can make honey.
Gardeners plant lemon balm for aesthetics and its oil is an active ingredient for perfumes. Alternative medicine practitioners use the extract and essential oil of lemon balm to do aromatherapy.
This plant has been popular for relieving stress and keeping insects away. The human body needs to wind down after stress, lemon balm is there to help with that. The plant is tasty and is present in ice creams, teas, and other foods.
Many people use the tea from lemon balm to relax and eschew stress. Some parents use it to calm their kids. Lemon balm grows at a fast rate, it is not wise to plant them near other plants.
Benefits of Lemon Balm
- It is effective against cold sores
- Useful against menstrual cramps
- Eases inflammation
- Reduce stress, anxiety, and restlessness
9. Garlic plant
You have probably seen a lot of vampire movies where Allium sativum aka ginger was the element that saved the day by repelling vampires. Did you believe that? Hehe.
Please don’t believe that. Here, however, are some things ginger can do. It is a common appearance in many menus and recipes all around the world.
Garlic is a member of the genus of onions whose siblings are leek, shallot, and chive. Native to Asia, this plant has become a household plant in every part of the world. A beautiful thing about garlic is that few diseases and pests attack it because of its nature.
Benefits of Garlic
- Ginger helps you fight against heart disease
- It lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- It slows down the rate at which the body succumbs to degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia
10. Catnip plant
Nepeta cataria or catnip is a wonderful plant that cats love. Hardly would you find a cat that does not love the plant. They will roil near it because the aroma stimulates them.
It can also sedate cats. It is good for stress relief, skin solution, and sleep aid. People who want their rooms to smell nice often burn the leaves of the plant to release the aroma of catnip.
The leaves when you crush them will make an excellent tea. Oils from the plant are essential oil and can freshen the skin when you apply them. Catnip contains active ingredients thymol, nepetalactone that will make you enjoy the plant.
Benefits of Catnip
- It drives away insects and bugs
- It can soothe the irritation and pain you got from a bug bite
- It helps with stress, anxiety, and restlessness
- It heals fevers and colds
What Are The 10 Medicinal Plants In India?
Which medicinal plants are famous in India? First of all, India is one country that is rich in wildlife (both plants and animals). In the table below, we will list the top 10 medicinal plants in India and their uses.
Allium sativum Pennel
Wounds, Ringworm, Dysentery
Ocimum sactum Linn Pennel
Heart Diseases, Indigestion, Respiratory Diseases
Adhatoda vasica Nees Pennel
Cough, Bronchitis, Asthma
Cyperus rotundus Linn Pennel
Diabetes, Solar Dermatitis, Fever
Allium cepa Linn Pennel
Stomach Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Esophageal
Aloe vera Tourn ex. Linn Pennel
Ulcers, Jaundice, Acne, Burn Injuries
Saraca indica Pennel
Uterine Stimulant, Menstrual Irregularities
Emblica officinalis Linn Pennel
Fever, Antistress, Antioxidant, Constipation
Piper longum Linn Pennel
Cough, Asthma, Indigestion
Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Breyn Pennel
Frequently Asked Questions
How many medicinal plants are in India?
Recent research carried out by the Botanical Survey of India found that “India has more than 8,000 species of medicinal plants.
Which is the best medicinal plant?
There are many plants out there that are medicinal in nature, with each of them being the best at what they do, such as the ones listed in this article.
Is Lemon a medicinal plant?
Yes, lemon is a medicinal plant. People it for different conditions such as skincare, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency (scurvy), common cold, morning sickness, etc. However, there is no good scientific evidence to back up these uses.
How many types of medicinal plants are there?
According to a 2002 study by the Food and Agriculture Organization estimated, “more than 50,000 medicinal plants are used all over the world.
On a similar note, in 2016, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew estimated that “17,810 species of plant have medicinal use, out of some 30,000 plant species for which a use of any kind is documented.
Which plant has medicinal value?
All the plants mentioned here have medicinal value, including aloes, onion, parsley, garlic, etc.
Read Also: Citronella Plants Care
Conclusion | List of Medicinal Plants
It is important as a gardener that you have these plants in your garden. There are just so many reasons why you should plant them.
First, most of them are beautiful and a sight to behold. They will add beauty to the landscape. You can use them in making food. Most of these plants are what we already use to cook.
Be intentional about planting them. Some repel insects, some have a sweet aroma, and some deter pests. The essential oil of these plants is in use to take care of the skin.
Lastly, these plants have medicinal benefits. Now, we’ve shown you the top 10 medicinal plants and their benefits, it’s now up to you to decide what you want to do with this information.