Resources/Medicinal Plants

While medicinal plants are not absolutely necessary in therapeutic gardens these days, they can be an important component. They are often used for their sensory qualities rather than for strictly medicinal purposes.

Lavender, for example, is wonderfully fragrant and its color is pleasing to the eye. The colors lavender and blue are said to have a calming effect.

lavender_code poet
Lavender image courtesy of code poet

As another example, Echinacea (coneflower) is known as an immune system booster, but in the healing garden, it is more often planted because it blooms for many weeks, requires little maintenance, and attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and other birds.

Purple coneflower_hdfa
Purple coneflower courtesy of Henry Domke Fine Art

In some gardens, medicinal plants are used symbolically. For example, the Carolyn Stolman Healing Garden in San Francisco, designed by Topher Delaney, features plants used traditionally to treat cancer.

Carolyn Stolman1_ns
Photo by Naomi Sachs

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Framed drawings with a description of each plants’ traditional medicinal use hang on the wall facing the garden.
Photo by Naomi Sachs


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Good books:

Please contact us if you have another suggestion.

Byers, Dorie (1999). Herbal Remedy Gardens. Pownal, VT: Storey Books.

Chevallier, Andrew (1996). The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Chevallier, Andrew (2007). Herbal Remedies. New York: Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Hartung, Tammi (2000). Growing 101 Herbs that Heal. Pownal, VT: Storey Books.

Squier, Thomas Broken Bear (1997). Herbal Folk Medicine: An A to Z Guide. New York: Henry Holt and Company, Inc.

Good links:

Herb Research Foundation News, documents, and other information about herbs; bookstore; botanical photos

Plants for a Future
Edible, medicinal, and useful plants for a healthier world.
Includes a 7000 plant database for US and UK, and they have a book, too. Very impressive!

Traditional Chinese Medicine Database System

The University of Washington Medicinal Herb Garden