Popular Herbal Medicinal Plants

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For centuries, cultures around the world have relied on traditional herbal medicine to meet their healthcare needs. Some natural remedies may be more affordable and accessible than conventional medicines, and many people prefer using them because they align with their personal health ideologies. Here are some of the world’s most popular herbal medicines, including their main benefits, uses, and relevant safety information.

1. Echinacea

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Echinacea, or coneflower, is a flowering plant and popular herbal remedy. Originally from North America, it has long been used in Native American practices to treat a variety of ailments, including wounds, burns, toothaches, sore throat, and upset stomach. Echinacea is usually taken as a tea or supplement but can also be applied topically. Today, it’s primarily used to treat or prevent the common cold, though the science behind this isn’t particularly strong.


Echinacea is a flowering plant frequently used to treat and prevent the common cold. Research is limited, but it may reduce your risk of catching a cold by up to 20%.

2. Ginseng

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Ginseng is a medicinal plant whose roots are usually steeped to make a tea or dried to make a powder. It’s frequently utilized in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce inflammation and boost immunity, brain function, and energy levels. Several varieties exist, but the two most popular are the Asian and American types — Panax ginseng and Panax quinquefolius, respectively. Short-term use is considered relatively safe, but ginseng’s long-term safety remains unclear. Potential side effects include headaches, poor sleep, and digestive issues (7Trusted Source).


Ginseng is an herbal remedy frequently utilized in traditional Chinese medicine to boost immunity, brain function, and energy levels. However, human studies are lacking.

3. Ginkgo biloba

Ginkgo biloba, also known simply as ginkgo, is an herbal medicine derived from the maidenhair tree.  The seeds and leaves are traditionally used to make teas and tinctures, but most modern applications use leaf extract.  Ginkgo is said to treat a wide range of ailments, including heart disease, dementia, mental difficulties, and sexual dysfunction. Yet, studies have not proven it effective for any of these conditions.


Gingko is traditionally used to treat numerous illnesses, including heart disease, dementia, and sexual dysfunction, but modern research has yet to prove its efficacy for any of these purposes.

4. Elderberry

Elderberry is an ancient herbal medicine typically made from the cooked fruit of the Sambucus nigra plant. It has long been used to relieve headaches, nerve pain, toothaches, colds, viral infections, and constipation. Today, it’s primarily marketed as a treatment for symptoms associated with the flu and common cold. Elderberry is available as a syrup or lozenge, although there’s no standard dosage. Some people prefer to make their own syrup or tea by cooking elderberries with other ingredients, such as honey and ginger.


Elderberry is used to treat cold and flu symptoms, with some research suggesting that it may be at least mildly effective. While cooked elderberry is safe, it’s toxic if eaten raw or unripe.

These are some of the most popular herbal medicinal plants.

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