Any plant whose roots, leaves, seeds, bark, or plant part is used for therapeutic, tonic, purgative, or other health-promoting purposes
Humans using plants for medical or therapeutic purposes can be traced back in the earliest times believing that these plants can cure, treat, or prevent illnesses. The field of botany that studies, explains and documents the traditional use of plants in various cultures is called ethnobotany. Through research, ethnobotanists are able to find plants as potential source or basis for future medicine.
Examples of plants that are used to cure or improve problematic health conditions are as follows:
- Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) – its flowers and roots are traditionally used for managing fevers and valvular heart disease, and for improving tone of the veins. However, the plant is potentially toxic.
- Wild Calla (Calla palustris) – dried roots are prepared as tea to treat flu, shortness of breath, and bleeding
- Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnata) – its root is traditionally used for boils, cuts, and inflammation.
- Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) – its root is prepared as a tea used for coughs, bronchitis, antiseptic, and expectorant
1Foster, S., and Duke, J. A. (2000). A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America.