Medicinal Plants, L to Z

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Lady Fern

Lady Fern is a deciduous, perennial fern about 60 to 90 cm tall. Native Americans had many uses for Lady ferns. They used lady ferns for drying berries on and covering food. The young shoots, or the fiddleheads, were cooked, baked or eaten raw. Tea was made from the leaves to help urination and to stop breast pain caused by childbirth. The tea was also used to ease labor pains. Roots were dried and ground into dust to help heal wounds. Read More….



Maidenhair Fern

The maidenhair fern has a long history of medicinal use and was the main ingredient of a popular cough syrup which remained in use until the nineteenth century but the plant is little used in modern medicine. The fresh or dried leafy fronds can be used as an anti-dandruff medicine. A tea or syrup is used in the treatment of coughs, throat afflictions, and bronchitis. It is also used as a detoxicant in alcoholism and to treat worms. Read More….



Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape is native to the Pacific Northwest and can be found on all of the coast.  To make tea, simmer a small amount of dried, coarsely chopped root in 1 cup of water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain out the leftover root. The tea has been used in the treatment of liver and kidney troubles, rheumatism, arthritis, hepatitis, jaundice, syphilis, anemia, constipation,  and uterine diseases. Dried root mixed with rubbing alcohol can be used externally to treat skin diseases such as eczema, acne, herpes, and psoriasis. Read More….




There several types of Plantain that grows on the coast of BC. I have used it on bee stings since I was a little boy. It draws the poison right out when you rub fresh plantain leaves on a string.  Plantain is effective as a detoxifier for the body and is a remedy for colds, flu, coughs, congestion, bronchitis, hoarseness, fevers, sinusitis, ulcers, irritable bowel, diarrhea, intestinal complaints, kidney stones, hay fever, asthma, emphysema and as a blood sugar stabilizer for diabetics. Read More….



Self Heal

Self-heal grows on all of the BC Coast. This plant is known as a heal-all and cure-all plant. It is related to the mint plant and like the other mints, once you plant it, you never have to plant it again. The plant spreads by underground stems that spread in every direction. It has a widespread reputation for keeping people well during an outbreak of infectious disease. This is one of those plants you should ingest on a steady basis. Read More….




The Silverweed plant native to the Pacific Northwest and thrives in many areas on Vancouver Island.  The leaves were used to soothe aching feet. Silverweed was made into a tea-like infusion and used to cure menstrual cramps and indigestion and if honey is added it can be used as a gargle for the easing of sore throats. The silverweed has also been used to treat mouth ulcers, toothache, jaundice and stomach problems, piles, eye inflammation and many more medicinal uses.  Read More….



Sitka Mountain Ash

An infusion of Sitka Mountain Ash can be given to young children with bed wetting problems as treatment of weak kidneys in order to stop the frequent urination. An infusion of the root and branch bark has been drunk in the treatment of stomach problems and rheumatism it can also be used externally as a bath for treating rheumatism. A concoction of the root and branch bark makes a soothing eyewash. The bark can be chewed as a treatment for colds. Read More….



Skunk Cabbage


The roots of the skunk cabbage plant have been used to treat respiratory ailments, including hay fever, asthma, whooping cough, bronchial problems, and mucous congestion. It is helpful for nervous disorders, spasmodic problems, rheumatism, and dropsy. Some first peoples boiled the root hairs to make a wash for stopping external bleeding.  Read More….



Spruce Bark and Cones

Spruce Bark, Cones are used to make a tea that relieves colds, the cones produce the best medicine, cones are picked year-round from the tops of young trees. Usually, about 15 cones are boiled for 10 to 15 minutes in a pot of water. The longer they boil, the stronger the medicine becomes, strain the liquid before drinking it. Spruce tea relieves coughing and sore throats and stuffed chests. Those who are sick with colds can take it three or four times a day for five days. Read More….



Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate, for urinary tract infections, for hay fever, or in compresses and creams for treating joint pain, sprains and strains, tendonitis, and insect bites. Read More….



Tall Oregon Grape

Good autumn leaf color, abundant clusters of yellow flowers and dark blue edible fruits have made this handsome, spiny leaved evergreen shrub a widely promoted ornamental, especially in the American West. Less well known are its coloring and medicinal properties, which have long been used by the first peoples. First Peoples knew tall Oregon-grape well. They ate the fresh berries and on the BC coast used them as an antidote to shellfish poisoning. Read More….



Western Red Cedar

The Western Red Cedar is a large tree, up to 60 meters tall when mature, with drooping branches and the trunk often spreading out widely at the base. You can make a poultice of boughs to treat rheumatism, or bronchitis, make a poultice of oil from inner bark to treat skin diseases, including topical fungal infections and warts or use shredded bark to cauterize and bind wounds. Read More….



Wild Carrot

The Wild Carrot Plant is also known as Queens Anne Lace. Tea made from the root of Queen Anne’s Lace has been used as a diuretic to prevent and eliminate kidney stones and to rid individuals of worms. Its seeds have been used for centuries as a contraceptive, a teaspoon of seeds are thoroughly chewed, swallowed and washed down with water or juice on a daily basis, starting just before ovulation, during ovulation, and for one week thereafter. Read More….



Wild Ginger

Wild Ginger contains the constituent aristolochic acid which is a naturally occurring toxin that is suspected of causing cancer, human cell mutations, and end-stage kidney failure. Take caution with this plant. I would suggest not using this plant internally. Read More….




The Willow is classed as a small tree or shrub. These trees can be found growing on all of Vancouver Island. Its most active growth period is in the spring and summer. Leaves fall year to year. The tree is the source of the natural precursor to aspirin, salicylic acid, found in leaves and bark. The bark can be pounded and applied to wounds as a healing agent. Read More….



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