Native Plants: The Hydrangea and its Many Health Benefits

Benefits of the Native Hydrangea

Native plants are not only easier to grow and maintain but often have many hidden benefits. The hydrangea, for example, is native to the US, and has been used for ages for its wide range of health benefits. The very familiar hydrangea (see photo) is often used just for its beauty, but it has also been used for medicinal purposes by the Cherokee people and is often used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Below is a Q and A list for the hydrangea and links to other native plants.

Is the hydrangea only native to the US?

In addition to North America, the hydrangea is native to the Himalayas, South America, and eastern and central Asia.

Can you give a short description?

Hydrangeas (hydrangea arborescens) belongs to a group of woody climbers and flowering shrubs. Mostly deciduous, some of hydrangea species are evergreen.

How has the hydrangea been used for healing?

The hydrangea has been used for a wide variety of ailments including:

- Psoriasis

- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

- Arthritis

- Certain types of diabetes

Immune System problems - Substances from the root of the hydrangea have been used as an alternative treatment for immune system problems.

Scientist believe the root has substances that are capable of combating conditions affecting the immune system.

What is this substance from the root?

The substance from the root is used as a medication and is known as halofuginone. Researchers have found that halofuginone keeps the body from producing harmful white blood cells that are often associated with immune system diseases.

Why has the FDA recently given halofuginone Orphan Drug Status?

This designation is intended to encourage research and development for the treatment of scleroderma. Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the connective tissues which causes an increase in the production of collagen type 1. Excess amounts of this collagen can lead to disfigurement and can also be deadly.

Are there other medicinal uses for the hydrangea?

Hydrangea has long been used for a number of other medicinal purposes, such as:

- to promote the health of the prostate

- to promote the health of the urinary tract

- to fight infection

- for the treatment of cystitis, prostatitis and urethritis

Additionally:

- The hydrangea root stimulates the kidneys to release fluid and prevent formation of gravel

- The root is believed to be a beneficial blood cleanser which may treat lymphatic conditions

- hydrangea is also used to relieve swelling from arthritis, gout and edema, and to provide relief for chronic rheumatoid arthritis.

For more beneficial plants, and native plants see the links below.

the hydrangea plant
the hydrangea plant

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Comments 14 comments

GreenThumbLady profile image

GreenThumbLady 5 years ago from The Beautiful Earth

I did not know that the hydrangea has so many healing properties! Great information here!! RAted up!


BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 5 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

I see hydrangeas everywhere - but you are right - we only think of it for its beauty. How naïve we are about nature - well, this is a culture taught that we have to buy everything and nature is an after thought.

Love the hub, the photo and thanks a million! Rated up!


LASUECOOKS 5 years ago

I love hydrangeas but have little luck with them...I am not a gardener. I put them in the ground and they grow or not..Other plants thrive here in the New Orleans area. I wish these would. Sue


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

So interesting to read about the benefits of hydrangea. I feel better just looking at them, but now I will see them in a different light!


CountryCityWoman profile image

CountryCityWoman 4 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina Author

Thanks for writing LASUECOOKS - are you going to keep trying? I'm not sure if they do well in your area - I think they may need some cool weather during the year - they are pretty popular in NYC and vicinity.

Me too RTalloni - it's a favorite plant and when I researched it I was so happily surprised to find out its health benefits. We could probably eat a lot more plants than we know about.


Beltane73 profile image

Beltane73 3 years ago from South Jersey

Neat! Upvoted and Interesting. I've got a pink/green one out front, and one each pink and blue in my backyard.


CountryCityWoman profile image

CountryCityWoman 3 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina Author

Thanks for the votes Beltane73! I love these hydrangeas!


Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma

Wonderful hub! When I was growing up we had a very large, very old hydrangea growing near the door. One of our neighbors told us that if we got cut we could make a wrap from a crushed leaf and spit and plaster our fingers or knees. Of course, being kids, we were really into imagination games, and if we were playing pioneers or cowboys and indians then making our own "medicine" was much more fun than going in the house for an ugly real bandaid. I learned a lot about the medicinal uses of plants that way, but never thought to research hydrangea to see if it was actually beneficial. I guess it did something, we survived a whole rough and tumble childhood without ever going to a hospital or doctor! Voting this up and sharing it. People need to see hydrangeas as useful as well as gorgeous plants!


Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 3 years ago from Hawaii

I love hydrangeas and I had no idea they had health benefits, as well! So cool!


Beltane73 profile image

Beltane73 3 years ago from South Jersey

Wow, how interesting! I had no idea. I've got some in the yard. . .makes me look twice to know all this! Thanks for another great read, I'll look forward to more.


vibesites profile image

vibesites 3 years ago from United States

I thought that hydrangeas are just to beautify the gardens, I have no idea that they also bring medicinal uses and health benefits as well, including its immunity-boosting properties. Thanks for sharing! :)


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 3 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

News to me I will look at them in a different light. Thanks.


CountryCityWoman profile image

CountryCityWoman 3 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina Author

Sharkye11 - Thanks for sharing this information and passing it on. Isn't it interesting how the elders among us always knew about the healthy benefits of plants in our natural environment? All these remedies have been so totally dismissed so we can be geared towards pharmaceuticals - with all the side effects. I've always seen and known of hydrangeas but had no idea of the many benefits until I did the research. I too enjoyed my rough and tumble childhood and yes...we survived!

Natashalh - I'm now investigating more of the native plants in our environment. It's amazing and exciting!

Neltane73 - Lucky you! Many years ago when I had them in the front yard of a former house...I had no idea of all the healthy wealth right at my doorstep.

vibesites - You're welcome and I also would look out the window at my lovely hydrangeas. I never knew they were waiting for me to enjoy their healthy benefits.

Gypsy Willow - Now when I see hydrangeas throughout the neighborhood all I can do is look at them too...and smile!


Mantas 3 years ago

What about the hydrangea being poisonous? - the entire plant contains cyanogenic glycosides.

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