People forget when thinking about medicinal plants, many of them are already in our home or outside in our lawn and gardens.  Medicinal plants, when used properly, may certainly optimize health and overall well-being.  Here is a list of some of our favorites…

Aloe Vera is a very common plant that can be found in many homes.  Its salve has been used for centuries to heal burns, cuts, abrasions, eczema and as a laxative.  Aloe Vera has compounds in its salve that act to reduce inflammation, swelling, pain and itching. Besides relieving chronic constipation internally, Aloe Vera has been used in the treatment of other digestive problems including ulcerative colitis.

Dandelion makes our list because of its commonality.  Dandelion is a bothersome weed that plagues even the best, well-manicured lawns.  Dandelion can pop up in salad mixtures available at your local grocery store.  Dandelion is used to stimulate the flow of bile in the body.  It helps the body’s ability to detox and eliminate those toxins.  Other uses of this plant include as a diuretic, which decreases bloating in the body and prevents gallstones. Dandelion is also used to cleanse the liver which helps with a variety of female imbalances including pre-menstrual syndrome and menopause.

Lemon balm has a very calming effect on the body and is a strong anti-viral.  It can be used to soothe an aching stomach and to calm anxiety.  Lemon balm may also be found in lip products to soothe dry, chapped lips.

Another popular medicinal plant? Lavender! Commonly found in shampoos, lotions, bath salts, soaps, fragrant candles or potpourri, lavender is used as a sedative, relaxant, and tension reliever.

Turmeric is a spice that most will have in their household spice drawer.  Turmeric is a yellow plant has been used medicinally for centuries.  Turmeric is a main ingredient in many curry dishes.  It is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and can help ease the pain and swelling of arthritis.  Turmeric can also be utilized as an anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasite and anti-fungus option.  Recent research is also looking at turmeric’s effect on certain cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.

Another spice to mention is cinnamon.  It’s a common ingredient found in many foods from pastries and puddings to breads and main dishes.  Medically, cinnamon is used to lower blood sugar and lower cholesterol.

Ginger is a warm and spicy herb.  Ginger is an excellent remedy for any type of digestive imbalance.  Ginger can prevent an upset stomach, nausea/vomiting in pregnancy and motion sickness.  Like turmeric, it is also an effective anti-inflammatory and has been used to treat arthritis. Other uses may include lowering blood pressure, reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis and menstrual cramps, and it too is being researched for its anti-cancer properties.

Finally, the last common household medicinal plant worth mentioning is Tea Tree.  Tea tree oil is used in numerous over-the-counter medicinal products.  It is also used in many cosmetics and beauty products.  There are many uses for tea tree oil including the treatment acne, insect bites, cold sores, warts, yeast infections and athlete’s foot.

Interested in learning more about holistic and natural medicine?  In celebration of Naturopathic Medicine Week, Natural Medical Care is offering $75.00 off of new patient appointments during the week of October 7 – 12, 2019! This offer is valid at both our Lawrence, KS and Overland Park, KS offices. Please contact our office to schedule an appointment (785) 749-2255.