Medicinal Uses of our native plants!

Recently I was asked whether I could do a post specifically about the medicinal uses of our native plants!

Unfortunately, the use of herbs for medicine, on the British Isles, as well as in Western Europe civilisation is very limited! We all seem to be depending on the pharmaceutical industry, which is very sad as surely many cultures and people in the world still depend on their native plants for everything, especially food and medicine!

There are very few Herbalists nowadays even in my area of the Midlands and people rely on the NHS far too much. Eating healthy and plenty of exercise do help but we can’t avoid stress and polution.

According to Wikipedia: ‘The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 80 percent of the population of some Asian and African countries presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care’

For the purpose of this post I like to highlight and I have used two good books on the subject which I recommend if you like more detailed information:

  1. The Medicinal Flora of Britain and Northwestern Europe compiled by Julian Barker.
  2. Hedgerow Medicine by Julia Bruton-Seal & Matthew Seal.
  3. I also have used Wikipedia as well as the website of The 38 Bach Flowers with thanks!

Number 1 is a wonderful book; not just a flora with several keys for identification purpose of (medicinal) native plants but a proper account on all their uses.

It is a good reference book for perhaps the serious amateur and the professional Herbalist.

The plant entries are divided in the dicotyledons under families 1 – 78, which highlights and describes all the 1-453 species of those families + their medicinal uses. Next come all the monocotyledons with family 79 – 85 and species 454 – 507.

As this book was published in 2001, some of the family names and positions have been altered in the more recent flora’s under the  APG IV system of flowering plant classification. This is mostly a molecular-based, system of plant taxonomy for flowering plants (angiosperms) being developed by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG).

To keep this post in line with my usual posts I will list the families in the order of the Medicinal Flora by J. Barker in the contents.

The book concludes with an index to therapeutic indications for internal as well as external herbal medicines.

Number 2: ‘Hedgerow Medicine’, describes in very well written chapters, 50 common ‘hedgerow plants’ to create your own safe medicines.

But please refer to these books or preferably an experienced herbalist if you need more medical help! This post is purely educational as to give an indication of our ‘wonderful weeds’ and their uses as a medicinal plant.

The 50 plants described in Hedgerow Medicine are placed behind the appropriate family below.

I’ve used the original headline/summary of the plants as copied from the book with thanks from the Publishers, Merlin Unwin Books, who allowed me to use this excellent information! Please buy a copy for yourself as you’ll find it is well worth it!!

All the 100 or so families from the Medicinal Flora are below in the contents and 30 of those families are highlighted with links. The Rosaceae (Rose family), Lamiaceae (Dead-nettle family) and Asteraceae (Daisy family) have the most medicinal plants in the Hedgerow Medicine book.

I’ve also added a link to my wonderfulweed chapter on the family and all its uses if I’ve already got a post on it! The page with all the plant families in the B.I. can be found here.



  1. Salicaceae or the Willow & Poplar family: Willow (Salix alba & S. fragilis)
  2. Myricaceae or The Wax Myrtle & Canleberry family
  3. Juglandaceae or The Walnut family
  4. Betulaceae or The Birch & Alder family (incl. Corylaceae or Hazel & Hornbeam family): Birch (Betula spp.)
  5. Fagaceae or The Beech, Oak and Chestnut Family: Oak (Quercus robur, Q. petraea)
  6. Ulmaceae or The Elm family
  7. Moraceae or the Mulberry family
  8. Cannabaceae or the Cannabis and Hop family: Hops (Humulus lupulus)
  9. Urticaceae or the Nettle family: (Stinging) Nettle (Urtica dioica), Pelitory of the Wall (Parietaria judaica)
  10. Loranthaceae or the Mistletoe family also Aristolochiaceae or the Birthwort family
  11. Polygonaceae or the Dock and Sorrel family: Curled dock (Rumex crispus)
  12. Chenopodiaceae or the Goosefoot family
  13. Portulacaceae or the Purslane family
  14. Caryophyllaceae or the Pink and Carnation family: Chickweed (Stellaria media),
  15. Nymphaeaceae or the Water Lily family
  16. Ranunculaceae or the Buttercup family
  17. Berberidaceae or the Barberry family
  18. Lauraceae or the Bay Laurel & Avocado family
  19. Papaveraceae & 19 A: Fumariaceae family or the Poppy & Fumitory family: Red poppy ( Papaver rhoeas)
  20. Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) or the Cabbage & Mustard family: Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
  21. Resedaceae or the Mignonette family
  22. Droseraceae or the Sundew family
  23. Crassulaceae or the Stonecrop family
  24. Grossulareaceae or the Currant & Gooseberry family
  25. Rosaceae or the Rose family: Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria), Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), Cherry (Prunus avium), Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna & C. laevigata), Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), Raspberry (Rubus idaeus), Wild Rose (Rosa spp.)
  26. Leguminosae or the Pea-Flower family: Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)
  27. Oxalidaceae or the Wood-Sorrell family
  28. Geraniaceae or the Geranium family
  29. Linaceae or Flax family
  30. Euphorbaceae or the Spurge family
  31. Rutaceae or the Rue or Citrus family
  32. Polygalaceae or the Milkwort family
  33. Aceraceae or Acer family
  34. Hippocastanaceae or The Horse Chestnut family: Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum)
  35. Aquifoliaceae or the Holly family
  36. Celastraceae or the Spindle tree family
  37. Buxaceae or the Box family
  38. Rhamnaceae or the Buckthorn family
  39. Tiliaceae or the Linden/Lime tree family: Lime, Linden (Tilia spp.)
  40. Malvaceae or the Mallow family: Mallow (Malva sylvestris)
  41. Thymelaceae or the Daphne family
  42. Elaeagnaceae or the Oleaster & Sea Buckthorn family
  43. Guttiferae (Clusiaceae, Hypericaceae) or the St John’s Wort family: St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)
  44. Violaceae or the Violet family
  45. Cistaceae or the Rock Rose family
  46. Cucurbitaceae or the Gourd, Courgette & Melon family
  47. Lythraceae or the Loosestrife family
  48. Onagraceae or the Willow Herb family: Rosebay willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium), Willowherb (Epilobium spp.)
  49. Hippuridaceae or the Mare’s tail family
  50. Cornaceae or the Dogwood family
  51. Araliaceae or the Ivy family
  52. Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) or Carrot /Parsley family: Sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata)
  53. Pyrolaceae or the Wintergreen family
  54. Ericaceae or the Heath/Heather family: Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)
  55. Primulaceae or the Primrose family
  56. Plumbaginaceae or the Sea Lavender family
  57. Oleaceae or Ash/Privet/Lilac & Olive family
  58. Gentianaceae or the Gentian family
  59. Menyanthaceae or the Bogbean family
  60. Apocynaceae or the Periwinkle family
  61. Rubiaceae or the Madder/Bedstraw family: Cleavers (Galium aparine)
  62. Polemoniaceae or the Phlox family
  63. Convolvulaceae or the Bindweed family
  64. Boraginaceae or The Borage/Forget-Me-Not family: Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)
  65. Verbenaceae or the Verbena family: Vervain (Verbena officinalis)
  66. Lamiaceae (Labiatae) or the Mint or Thyme family: Mint (Mentha spp.), Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris), White deadnettle, Archangel (Lamium album), Wood betony (Stachys officinalis)
  67. Solanaceae or Nightshade family: Goji berry (Lycium spp.)
  68. Scrophulariaceae or the Foxglove/Figwort family: Mullein (Verbascum spp.)
  69. Globulariaceae or Globularia family
  70. Acanthaceae or Acanthus family
  71. Orobanchaceae or the Broomrapes
  72. Lentibulariaceae or the Bladderwort & Butterwort family
  73. Plantaginaceae or the Plantain family: Plantain (Plantago spp.)
  74. Caprifoliaceae or the Honeysuckle family: Elder (Sambucus nigra), Guelder rose (Viburnum opulus), Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)
  75. Valerianaceae family or the Valerian family
  76. Dipsacaceae or the Teasel family: Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum)
  77. Campanulaceae or the Bellflower & Lobelia family
  78. Asteraceae (Compositae) or the Daisy family: Burdock (Arctium spp.), Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), Dandelion (Taraxacum agg.), Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), Wild Lettuce (Lactuca virosa & L. serriola), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  80. Alismataceae or the Water Plantain family
  81. Hydrochaitaceae or Frog-Bit family
  82. Liliaceae or the Lily family: Ramsons (Allium ursinum)
  83. Amaryllidaceae or the Daffodil family
  84. Dioscoreaceae or the Yam family
  85. Iridaceae or Iris family
  86. Poaceae (Gramineae) or the Grass family: Couch grass (Elytrigia repens)
  87. Araceae or the Aroid/Arum family
  88. Typhaceae or the Reedmace/Bulrush family
  89. Cyperaceae or the Sedge and Reed family
  90. Orchidaceae or the Orchid family



  • CONIFEROPSIDA or Conifers
    • Pinaceae or Pine family
    • Cupressaceae or Cedar family
    • Taxaceae or Yew family


  • -Ephedraceae
    • Gingkoaceae or Maidenhair tree
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