Medicinal Plants

By John Spagnoli

In the past, people have used certain plants that are actually harmful. Several hundred years ago people were eating tomato plants, which we now know to be poisonous. Tomato plants are in the nightshade family and were also grown as an ornamental plant. But as for medicinal plants, let’s leave that to the professionals.

Walking through your nearest health food store or pharmacy, you will find yourself lost in a sea of supplements. Supplements are mainly used for weight loss, improved energy or even to increase brain function. Personally, I would check with your doctor to make sure it can be used with current medications. But thousands of plants have been used for medicinal purposes, so let’s take a look at a few.

Ginkgo biloba

These trees have grown for thousands of years in China. Ginkgo leaves are used to help aid many ailments, including brain function, depression, anxiety and improved heart health. These are the claims that the FDA, Food and Drug administration states have not been evaluated. Gingko has strong antioxidants that help keep your cells healthy, possibly helping to prevent cancers and other health issues.


This coneflower helps the immune system and protects the body. It can be used to help prevent or help with colds, but remember to check your label on all medications or supplements. Do not take if pregnant, lactating or have an autoimmune conditions.


Chrysanthemum flower tea is used for your well-being. It is great for seasonal allergies and the tea can help improve visual acuity. Chrysanthemum is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Using chrysanthemum for those with lighter skin tones can increase photosensitivity.

New England Aster

This plant was used by Native Americans as Aster tea was used to treat earaches, relieve gas pains, stomach aches and fevers. It was also found to be useful for colds and for asthma. Aster plants/roots contain many minerals and vitamins.


Goldenrod has many medicinal uses like healing wounds. It is also a diuretic that helps the kidney prevent kidney stones. It is also suggested that it helps reduce inflammation of muscles. Goldenrod has been used for a number of aliments from everything from diabetes to asthma.

Medicinal plants from around the world in ancient to modern times have been used. Before the advent of modern medicine, plants were used to treat many different aliments. As always, check with your doctor if unsure about the usage, be aware of side effects on medications you are currently taking.

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Anton Media Staff
In addition to its arts and entertainment publication Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group publishes 16 community newspapers, several magazines, specialty publications and websites. With brands dating back to 1877, Anton has a commitment to deliver trusted and relevant content to the communities it serves.

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