5 Medicinal Plants On 5 Different Continents

Long before people were taking Advil for cramps, antibiotics for various infections or treating their wounds with bandages and gauze, plants made up the traditional medicine bag. Understanding the healing properties for various herbs and plants is something humans have been doing around the world for thousands of years.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to turn to natural remedies for health issues than consume something that is fabricated in a lab. In fact, I’m absolutely fascinated in the power of natural healing; So much so, that I will jump at any opportunity to learn about a new medicinal plant or natural way of healing throughout my travels. I’ve come to learn over the years that there are so many incredible plants used to cure many of the diseases we face today. The following are 5 of the most interesting and efficacious plants to be found on 5 of the world’s continents:

Coca Leaves, South America

Photo by buck82 via FLIKR

Photo by buck82 via FLIKR

Coca leaves are best known in the west for being used in the production of the drug cocaine or being a part of the Coca-Cola drink until the 1920s. These leaves however, have been used for hundreds of years in South America due to the medicinal power they hold. In places, such as the Andes Mountains, coca leaves are chewed and sucked on in order to relieve headaches and fatigue that are associated with altitude sickness. These powerful leaves have also been used as an anesthetic, to stem a bleeding wound and ease pain during childbirth.

Ginseng, China

Photo by Bernard via FLIKR

Photo by Bernard via FLIKR

Ginseng is a plant that has grown in cooler areas of Asia for thousands of years. Both Chinese and Koreans have absolute confidence in the healing power of Ginseng as it has the ability to heal the body and mind in a gentle way with little to no serious side effects. The roots of the plant are the main part used for medicinal purposes. This magical root can increase the insulin sensitivity in sufferers of diabetes, control hormone activity, increase metabolism, reduce the impact of cold and flu viruses and are used as a stimulant that can help to deal with erectile dysfunction. Today the root can be purchased dried to be used in a tea, although the majority of people who take ginseng will have it in tablet form.

Yarrow, Northern Europe

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Photo by soozums via FLIKR

The Yarrow is considered a weed in some areas, but those who know of its medical properties have often treasured the leaves of this flowering plant. The medicinal plant is a long-stemmed member of the sunflower family found in the wild throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. One of the main uses for Yarrow is for encouraging clotting in blood. For this reason, it has been taken by medics and soldiers on to the field of battle. It’s also helpful in relieving fevers, shortening the duration of cold and flu, relieving cramps and improving relaxation during illness.

Gum Arabic, North East Africa

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Photo by fahd algram via FLIKR

Gum Arabic is a natural gum historically cultivated in Arabia and West Asia. Today, 80% of it is harvested in Sudan. It’s essentially the hardened sap taken from two species of the Acacia tree; Acacia Senegal and Acacia Seyal. It is widely used in food production, and is the only plant so far that has the highest amount of prebiotic’s that comes in the form of soluble fiber. Gum Arabic was traditionally carried by those who were traveling across the desert and would have inflammation of the eyes caused by blowing sand. It can also be used to soothe coughs and sore throats, while it is also said to be a traditional treatment for diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. For those suffering from digestion issues, this powerful medicine is definitely worth looking into.

Kanuka, New Zealand & Australia

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Photo by Tony Foster via FLIKR

Kanuka is a shrub or tree found across New Zealand and Australia and has been used by the Maori people for several medicinal purposes. You can consume this natural medicine in several ways including indulging on Kanuka honey. Kanuka honey is not as well-known as it’s cousin “Manuka honey,” but actually contains more antiseptic properties. The leaves and the shoots of the tree are most commonly used, and can be used to produce a tea, or a white gum can be made from boiling the bark of the tree. It can also be found as an essential oil. Conditions that can be treated with different parts of the Kanuka tree include fever, dysentery and diarrhea, while the gum is soothing and can be smeared on burns and rashes to calm the skin.

What natural remedies do you swear by? 

Kristen Sarah is a full-time traveller, tiny home owner and adventure junkie. She has one of the leading YouTube travel channels and is the head honcha of award-winning travel and lifestyle website, Hopscotch the Globe.

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13 Comments

  1. December 13, 2017 / 6:31 am

    Thank you for sharing such a collective information, I know something about medicinal plants and you introduce me with these plants. And I want introduce you a very useful plant Sage Leaved Alangium.
    Sage Leaved Alangium It is also commonly known as Akola or Ankol. Ankol tree is found all through drier parts of India. In Ayurveda, Ankol is the single medicinal herb that is utilized as a part of treatment of rabies. For this purpose, the root bark is utilized both externally and internally. It is also used locally for the treatment of snakebite, scorpion bite as well as for dog bite. Ankol tree is also used for treatment diarrhea, abdominal pain, ascites, skin diseases and fever.

  2. August 23, 2017 / 9:27 am

    Impossible not to read your articles, really everything you say has consistency and whenever I have time I give a read in your articles, because they are really very good. Congratulations.

    • August 23, 2017 / 10:50 am

      Wow thank you! This is such a wonderful comment. I feel the love 🙂

  3. July 21, 2017 / 5:37 am

    Thanks for sharing. This is a great post. the use of medicinal plants will surely be a great use for take care of our beauty

  4. July 7, 2017 / 9:01 am

    wow this was really interesting. the use of medicinal plants will surely be a great use for skin diseases.

    • April 25, 2017 / 11:09 am

      That’s so wonderful to hear. I’m obsessed with plants so I’ll definitely be writing more posts and shooting more videos about medicinal plants. Thanks for reading!

  5. April 10, 2017 / 2:22 pm

    What a fantastic facts about these plants. It`s very interesting and something like different plants. This is very important facts for of all us. Thanks for sharing this information. If you want to know about it you can follow this article.

  6. March 2, 2017 / 9:44 am

    This is very interesting for me. I love all these interesting plants, Elderberry is my favorite too. But its extremely expensive.

  7. Nicole Hicks
    November 1, 2016 / 5:03 pm

    Elderberry is amazing!!!

    • November 3, 2016 / 6:23 pm

      I know! Plants are so incredible. I’m obsessed.

  8. September 21, 2016 / 8:56 pm

    What an interesting facts about these plants. They look like an ordinary plant but some of us don’t really know how important they are regarding with our health. I admit I’m not that familiar with those medicinal plants especially the yarrow, thanks for sharing anyway.

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