ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Seven Common Plants that can be used in Healing

Updated on June 8, 2017

Lots of commonly found plants can be used to create beneficial and healing remedies. These can be grown at home or in many cases can be foraged in places such as woodland, parks and on wasteland.

When collecting plants from the wild it is vital to be certain that you have identified the plant correctly. Some plants can look similar to others that can be harmful or even fatal when eaten or that can cause skin irritation and other difficulties. A good wild plant guide is a useful tool in foraging and there are also many websites that can be used in helping to identify plants. In some areas it is possible to find day or weekend courses during which an experienced forager teaches others how to safely find, identify and harvest wild plants.

Another important point to consider when harvesting plants from the wild is the impact on the surrounding plants, environment and wild life in the area. Never strip a plant or area of all seeds, flowers, leaves or whole plants, instead take a small amount from many plants. This method causes less stress to the plants, leaves plenty for other people and also prevents the loss of habitat and wood for wild animals living in the area.

Although they are made using natural materials care should always be taken when using herbal remedies. These can still be dangerous in some cases or can cause allergic reactions. Special care and considerations should be made when using remedies with babies and children, pregnant or breastfeeding women and older people. Some herbal remedies may interfere with the way prescription medications are processed in the body or how well they work and so care should be taken in this case.

Aloe vera plant.
Aloe vera plant. | Source

1. Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis)

Aloe Vera is a relatively easy to care for succulent that can be grown on a warm windowsill or in a greenhouse. It has long been used in traditional medicine to treat burns and other skin conditions such as dry skin, sunburn, eczema and ringworm. Aloe vera can be used to heal inflammation and in helping to soothe arthritic pain.

Aloe vera is believed to have many benefits to the digestive system that include alleviating constipation and reducing inflammation of the digestive tract such as that seen in Crohn’s disease. To be used for this purpose it can be consumed as a juice or added to smoothies.

Close up of a borage plant showing the star shaped flowers.
Close up of a borage plant showing the star shaped flowers. | Source

2. Borage (Borage officinalis)

This hardy annual plant has intensely blue star shaped flowers and can often be found growing wild in European and Mediterranean countries. Borage is good source of calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin C and B vitamins. An infusion can be made using leaves and is believed to help in healing adrenal exhaustion and to help strengthen the kidneys. The flowers and young leaves can also be added to salads.

Since ancient times people have believed that borage was able to drive away melancholia and increase a person’s courage. Borage has natural sedative qualities and may help to ease anxiety, depression and mood swings.

Calendula officinalis
Calendula officinalis | Source

3. Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Calendula is an easy to grow and pretty plant that has a wide range of healing applications. It is believed to stimulate the liver, gall bladder and uterus, soothe the digestive system, support the heart and fight infections. In folk medicine calendula has been used internally to treat ulcers, hepatitis and menstrual problems. Used externally this plant is useful in treating nappy rash, eczema, yeast infections, cracked nipples, dry skin, burns and to aid wound healing.

Calendula can be used in a variety of ways including being made into a tea or infusion. It is often used in healing skin balms, salves and lotions.

Field of dandelion plants.
Field of dandelion plants. | Source

4. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Most people are familiar with these bright yellow wild flowers. Although they are generally considered to be a weed and nuisance, the root, leaves and flowers can all be used and have many beneficial effects.

Dandelion leaves contain potassium, magnesium, niacin, calcium, phosphorus, iron, sulphur, zinc and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C and E. Young leaves can be eaten in salads, stir fries and sandwiches as you would with other leaves. A tea, which stimulates the body to eliminate waste and toxins, can be made using either dandelion leaves or root.

Dandelion helps the gall bladder break down fat by stimulating bile production, aids the liver’s detoxification processes and can bring relief to anyone suffering from urinary infections thanks to its diuretic properties.

Close up of the pretty and fragrant flowers of Sambucus nigra.
Close up of the pretty and fragrant flowers of Sambucus nigra. | Source

5. Elder (Sambucus niger)

Both elderflowers and berries used in healing. Elderflowers are believed to boost the immune system, sooth respiratory tract and ear infections, stimulate circulation and help to reduce fever. The tiny white flowers can be made into a herbal tea or added to bath water, which is believed to calm the nerves and soothe itchy skin. Elderflowers are also eaten made into fritter using batter or can be added to jams.

Elderberries are rich in vitamins and minerals and so have a good overall beneficial effect on the body. Elderberries are reported to be an excellent treatment for coughs and colds of all types and are often made into syrup that can then be taken as needed. They can also be added to fruit pies and crumbles or made into jam.

Harvested fenugreek leaves.
Harvested fenugreek leaves. | Source

6. Fenugreek (trigonella foenum graecum)

Fenugreek is a tall, strongly scented annual herb that has excellent medicinal properties. It can be used to make a cleansing and soothing drink that can be used to reduce fevers and to help the body perspire and eliminate toxins during respiratory tract infections. Fenugreek tea can also soothe the stomach, cleanse the bowels and kidneys and clean the respiratory tract of excess mucus.

Gargling with a solution of fenugreek seeds can help heal mouth ulcers and sore throats. The seeds of this plant can be used to treat colic, flatulence and diarrhoea.

Jack by the hedge growing wild.
Jack by the hedge growing wild. | Source

7. Jack by the Hedge (Alliaria petiolata)

Jack by the Hedge is also known as garlic mustard and this plant can often be found growing wild in Europe, western and central Asia and northwest Africa. The chopped leaves and flowers can be eaten and are mostly used in salads, sandwiches and pesto. These are best when they are young and provide a garlic and mustard flavour.

Jack by the hedge has a high content of vitamins A and C. This plant is believed to have expectorant, antiseptic, stimulant and anti-asthmatic properties and can also be used as a poultice for ulcers and cuts.

© 2013 Claire


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Elderberry Arts profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lincolnshire, UK

      You're welcome. I deliberately planted some 'weeds' in my garden to use and as food for my tortoise. Many wild flowers are so pretty too.

    • idigwebsites profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      I love this hub, very educational. We should look those plants beyond being a weed, they may save your health and your life... Thanks for posting. :)

    • Elderberry Arts profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Lincolnshire, UK

      Thank you both for your kind comments. I find the topic really interesting and many of these plants can be found growing wild for free. I am the only person I know that deliberately plants 'weeds' in their garden and is happy to see the grass covered in dandelions. My tortoise loves to eat them too, especially the flowers.

    • joanwz profile image

      Joan Whetzel 

      7 years ago

      This is good to know. I'm saving this to my favorites list and passing it along.

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Amazing! What a useful hub, bookmarking and sharing. This really drives home that everything we need to heal ourselves is growing around us. Lovely pictures and well written. Sharing and voted way up!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)