Wild Herb Plants, Medicinal Uses, and Descriptions

Mostly Wild Herbs of North America, with Herbal use information and scientific names.
History, Folklore, Growing Information, Habitats and Plant Descriptions and known cautions for use.

The following information is based on historical uses found in herbal lore and anecdotal writings.
Most herbs have insufficient research to scientifically prove their benefits in humans.

Agrimony herb plant picture with yellow flowers on spikes and pinnate hairy leaves with toothed edges

Astringent Herb. Agrimony leaves and flowers are used in herbal teas. Read more..

Aletris Farinosa, white flower spikes, herb growing wild in field

Rare herbal wildflower used for "women's complaints".
Difficult to grow. Read more...

Wild Angelica venenosa wildflower closeup, umbel of small white flowers

Aromatic herb. Fresh root is said to be toxic. Use wild Angelicas with caution. Read more...

Bee Balm flower with bumblebee, Monarda fistulosa flower close-up picture

The leaves and flowers make a fragrant herbal tea for colds. Great Potpourri ingredient. Read more...

Ripe Blackberries, Rubus spp, close-up growing wild on vine

Delicious wild berries. Roots and leaves have uses in herbalism. Herbal tea ingredient. Read more...

Black Cohosh herb, Cimicifuga racemosa, tall spikes of white flowers, growing wild in the woods

"The Menopause herb". Black Cohosh herb root is most often used for hot flashes. Read more...


Black Walnut, Juglans Nigra, hanging from tree, round light yellow green fruit that smells lemony

Black Walnut hulls are made into a herbal tincture for use as a parasite cleanse. Read more...

Bloodroot herb, Sanguinaria canadensis, wildflower emerging fron leaf in early spring

One of springs first woodland wildflowers. Used as a highly disputed herbal remedy for cancer. Read more...

Blue Cohosh herb, Caulophyllum thalictroides, leaves unfolding in early spring

Root used in herbal teas and tinctures for difficult menstruation and to induce labor. Read more...

Wild Burdock Herb, Cocklebur bloom,  Arctium Minus

Burdock herbal extracts have recently been found to be effective against acne and even wrinkles. Read more...

Butterfly weed herb , Asclepias tuberosa , flowering with two Yellow Swallowtail butterflies, orange flowers

Butterfly weed root herbal infusion or tincture is used to clear the lungs, and as an antispasmodic. Read more...

California Poppy,Eschschoizia californica, orange flower with four petals

Used as an herbal tincture for pain and mood. Does not contain opium. Read more...


Chamomile flower, ingredient in calming teas, small daisy like flower

Makes a tasty, relaxing herbal tea. Chamomile herb tincture is used for pain. Read more...

These small white flowers with divided petals may appear in your yard in mild winters.

Old wives herbal remedy for weight loss. Useful for itchy skin conditions. Read more...

Cinuefoil herb plant picture, palmate leaves with toothed edges and small yellow flowers

Useful astringent herbal remedy for sore throat, coughs, and more. Read more...

Cleavers picture, a bristly plant with whorled leaves and small white flowers

Common plant used best known as an herbal lymph gland cleanser. Read more...

Dandelion flower close up picture with honeybee

This common yard weed has many herbal and edible uses. Read more...

Purple Coneflower picture, large daisy shaped flowers with raised brown centers and pink petals

Echinacea herb is used to boost immunity against colds and flu. Read more...

Ephedra plant picture

Ephedra has been used for weight loss and asthma, but is now illegal in most places. Read more...

Evening Primrose flower picture, bunch of yellow flowers at top of tall stem.

The source of Evening Primrose Oil. an infusion of the leaves is said to be helpful for senility. Read more...

ginkgo biloba leaves -green to gold, fan-shaped, petioled, with many radiating veins and about 4 to 5 inches wide.

A concentrated extract of Ginkgo leaves is used as a herbal remedy to enhance cognitive abilities. Read more...

Four prong ginseng plant bird's eye view

Ginseng is an endangered plant that grows in the forests of Eastern North America. Read more...

Goat's Rue flower picture. Plant with many historical herbal uses

Goat's Rue is said to increase breast milk. Read more...

Goldenseal herb leaf and berry picture Palmate lobed leaves , the red berry resembles a raspberry

Goldenseal is endangered due to over harvesting in some places. Historical use as an antibiotic.Read more...

Greek Valerian, Jacob's Ladder flowers, Polemonium reptans picture

The root is used as a herbal tincture for coughs and colds. An infusion has been used as a hair rinse. Read more...

Ground Ivy, Creeping Charlie Plant, small spreading plant with scalloped leaves and purple flowers

Ground Ivy is a common yard weed, used for spa baths to help back pain, and has many other uses in herbal medicine. More..

Prunella Vulgaris has purple hooded flowers emerging a few at a time from a green, cone shaped center

Prunella Vulgaris herb is known as Heal All, a name that suits it for its many reputed health benefits, both externally and internally. Read more...

wild Honeysuckle cluster with pink, yellow and cream colored flowers

Sweet smelling invasive plant. Decoction of stems can be used in place of Goldenseal. Read more...

Jack in the Pulpit, Indian Turnip,

The root is edible only after drying for several months. Read more...

Jewelweed flower picture, A bit trumpet shaped, Jewelweed flowers hang from the plant much as a jewel from a
        necklace

Jewelweed is best known for external herbal use as an anti-inflammatory for Poison Ivy, oak and other rashes. Read more...

Joe Pye Weed flowers blooming -whorls of 4 to 8 dark green, lance shaped, and serrated leaves, up to 1 foot long. Atop each stem is a rose pink to whitish domed cluster of flowers, about 1 foot in diameter

The root and flowers can be uses as a diuretic herbal tea to relieve kidney and urinary problems. Read more...

lemon balm picture melissa officinalis, see linked page for description

Makes a tasty herbal tea and tincture. It has many uses as a calming herb and for its anti-viral properties. Read more...

lobelia, blue lobelia, Indian tobacco plant picture, see linked page for description

Also known as Indian Tobacco, Lobelia has been used for asthma and in smoking cessation products. It can make you throw up. Read more...

Lousewort, Pedicularis canadensis plant picture

A medicinal poultice of the crushed root is applied to swellings, sore muscles, varicose veins, and tumors. Read more...

Lyre leaf sage plant picture, Cancer root, Salvia lyrata

Lyre-leaved sage has some of the same properties of the other sages but is very weak. Read more...

althea flower picture

Mallows are the original source for Marshmallow candy. Read more...

May Apple flower picture, white flower under two umbrella like leaves

The ripe fruit is used to make an herbal jelly. The whole plant, apart from the ripe fruit, is highly poisonous in large doses. Read more..

Motherwort flowering spike, pink flowers in a prickly top

Motherwort is known as a woman's herb which is said to be helpful at many stages of life. Read more...

Mountain Mint flower picture - see plant description on linked page

The fresh or dried leaves of Mountain Mint are brewed into a refreshing mint-like herbal tea. Read more...

Mugwort herb picture. see description on linked page. divided leaves with white undersides, sweet smelling herb

An infusion of Mugwort is used in the treatment of all matters connected to the digestive system, and to enhance dreaming. Read more...

Mullein flower close-up, yellow flowers on tall thick spike

The leaves are often used as an herbal remedy for lung complaints. An infusion of the flowers in oil is used for ear infections. Read more...

Passionflower herb flower close-up, unusual flower with purple fringe like petals

Used extensively in Europe as an herbal sedative. Common plant of Southern U.S. fence rows and fields. Read more...

Perilla, an strongly aromatic weed, has wrinkled leaves, toothed and small purple flowers on spikes in late summer.

An infusion is useful in the treatment of lung afflictions. The seeds are high in Omega 3s and are used as a table spice in the Orient. Read more...

Pinkroot is a beautiful red and yellow wildflower.

An old time herbal remedy for deworming, Pinkroot is little used today except for in homeopathic preparations. Read more...

Plantain, Oval leaves with parallel veins, tiny white flowers on green spikes

Appears in all but the best kept yards, Plantain is said to be as useful as it is common. Read more...

Poke weed picture, tall plant wiht ovoid leaves and red stems, with bundle of dark berries

The toxicity of Pokeweed is controversial, as are the medicinal claims. The early growing shoots are eaten as a pot herbs. Read more...

Rabbit tobacco flower picture, see description

This herb is know to be at it's best in dying, and is said to have an affinity in balancing life and death. Read more...

Red Clover flower picture

Red Clover herb is edible. The young leaves and new flowers are harvested, and are used in salads, soups, or as a pot herb. Read more...

Sassafras shrub picture. Sassafras has 3 different shapes of leaves.

Sassafras is the original source of herbal root beer, and is often made into a fragrant tasty tea. The FDA has declared it unsafe. Read more...

Skullcap herb has tiny light blue hooded flowers and toothed pointed leaves

Skullcap is considered a calming herb for the nerves. Historically, it was used as an herbal remedy for rabies. Read more...

Soapwaort flowers have five white to pinkish or red showy petals, each notched and refluxed, about an inch in diameter and are borne in large clusters in the axils of leaves and at the tip of the stems.

Soapwort herb can be made into a soap by boiling the whole plant (but especially the root) in water. Read more...

Solomon seal plant picture, Stems grow to a height of from 18 inches to 2 feet, or even more and bend over gracefully. Large, light green, and broad ovate leaves grow alternately on the stem, clasping it at the bases. The flowers are tubular, succulent and thick, light yellow- green, and hang in little drooping clusters of two to five, growing from the leaf axils.

A poultice of the fresh roots is an herbal remedy for fading bruises, also applied to cuts and sores. A salve is used to ease sore muscles and joints. Read more...

Searmint herb has erect, square stems up to about 2 feet high. The leaves are short-stalked, lance-shaped, wrinkled, and bright green, with finely serrate edges. The small flowers are arranged in whorls or rings on spikes in the axils of the upper leaves, pinkish or lilac in color.

Spearmint essential oil is used as a flavoring in candy, gum, ice cream, drinks and commercially prepared oral hygiene products. Read more...

Speedwell flowers range from whitish blue with blue streaks to violet. They are small, crowded on spike-like racemes from axils of leaves, often from alternate axils.

Speedwell was once a highly regarded in England as a healthy, relaxing, herbal tea and tonic. It is most often used as an expectorant. Read more...

st. John's Wort herb flowering -the cymes of yellow flowers, grow atop each stem. The five petals are dotted with black along the margins, the center or ovary is surround by many stamens, causing it to appear furry,

Herb most commonly used for mild depression, but it may counteract or negate the effects of some prescription medications. Read more...

Sumac Picture - shrub or small tree from 6 to 15 feet high, with large pinnate leaves, each leaflet is lanceolate, serrate and green on top whitish beneath. In the fall the leaves turn a bright red. Flowers bloom in June and July they are in dense panicles of greenish-red small five petaled flowers. The edible fruit is a large erect cluster of small bright red berries.

A cold herbal infusion of the ripe berries makes a drink that is somewhat like Pink Lemonade. Sumac is commonly used for urinary disorders. Read more...

Sweet Cicely plant picture -Branched stem from 2 to 3 feet high, it is reddish and smooth with many lacey light green, leaves and white flowers in an umbelliferae atop the stem.

Herbal tea made from the root is claimed to be a digestive aid. A weak infusion was used to bathe sore eyes. Read more...

Melilots, or Sweet Clovers, are tall members of the clover family with white or yellow flower spikes and alternate trifolate leaves

An aromatic herb. Leaves can be safely used as a bitter garnish to salads. Once dried, the leaves may not be safe for internal use. Read more...

Trout lily wildflower picture, Two or three leaf blades grow from the base and are about 3 inches tall, oblong, smooth, dark green, with purplish mottling, and about 1 inch wide. The slender stem is 3 to 4 inches long and leafless. The flowers of Trout Lily can be bright white or creamy colored to bright yellow it is about 3 inches across, lily-like and drupes with the six petals folded upwards.

The whole Trout Lily plant is edible used as fresh salad additives, flowers are tasty, or cooked as a pot herb. Use with caution! Read more...

Usnea picture, fuzzy moss hanging from a tree.

Often called Old Man’s Beard. Greatly used by Native Americans. Major treatment of mucous membrane systems.

Blue Vervain , blue flower spike in an herb garden, Verbena officinalis

Vervain is a bitter herb used herbally as a nervine, for insomnia and women's complaints. Read more...

Blue violet flowers, 5 petals and heart shaped leaves

Violets are made into a syrup used mainly for respiratory ailments associated with congestion, coughing, and sore throat. Read more...

Watercress plant picture. Watercress is found growing in open running watercourses or near cool shallow springs, spring holes, spring fed stream margins, and brooks

Watercress has a mildly hot mustard flavor, very good fresh in salad or on a sandwich or cooked as a pot herb. Read more...

Wild carrot flower picture, Queen Anne's Lace -the erect and branched carrot stems grows to a height of two to four feet or more. Both stems and leaves are covered with short coarse hairs. The leaves are very finely divided-tri-pinnate, alternate, and embrace the stem with a sheathing base. The two to four inch flower is actually a compound of terminal umbels, made up of many small white flowers.

Queen Anne’s Lace herb is the wild progenitor of our cultivated carrot. It still has many of the properties lost in cultivation. Read more...

Wild Ginger herb picture - The large heart or kidney shaped leaves are hairy, dark green and deeply indented at the stem they grow in opposite pairs to a height of about 8 to 10 inches. The small maroon to brown, deep bowl shaped flowers grow at the base, between the leaf stems, it is single short stemmed and hairy outside and seems to split open into three outwardly folded petals,

A woodland herb that could be used sparingly as a Ginger substitute in an emergency situation. Large amounts may be harmful. Read more...

 The usually tall Wild Lettuce plant is easily identified by the dandelion like leaves that usually clasp the stem, the prickles on the mid vein of the leaves (in most species), and the milky sap that exudes from the stems, flowers and leaves.

The concentrated latex is used as a herbal pain remedy often compared to opium, although it's effects are highly exaggerated. Read more...

 Wild Quinine flowers are small, white and daisy-like, having 5 tiny white rays or petals and growing in numerous clusters, appearing to be an unorganized umbelliferae.

Wild Quinine herb has been commonly sold as Echinacea purpurea for more than 50 years and seems to have the same benefits. Read more...

Wild Yam vine picture - dull heart shaped leaves with parallel veins

A decoction of the root, or cream made from herbal infused oil is used to alleviate many of the symptoms of menopause and PMS. Read more...

Yellow wood sorrel  - dainty yellow flower with five petals and shamrock shaped leaves

Herbal decoctions of Wood Sorrel herb are used to relieve hemorrhages and urinary disorders, and as a blood cleanser. Read more...

Yarrow herb grows from 10 to 20 inches high, a single stem, fibrous and rough, the leaves alternate, 3 to 4 inches long and 1 inch broad, larger and rosette at the base, clasping the stem, bipinnatifid, the segments very finely cut, fern-like, dark-green, giving the leaves a feathery appearance. The flowers are several bunches of flat-topped panicles consisting of numerous small, white flower heads.

Yarrow herb tea is used to regulate menses, stimulate the flow of bile, and purify the blood, and for many other herbal uses. Read more...

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