5 Medicinal Trees You might already be growing!
Updated: Nov 10, 2021
5 Medicinal Trees you might have growing in your yard! You might have a little herb garden of your own growing right in your front yard! Check out our list of trees below to find out their uses. Make sure to do your research before consuming any of these and to schedule an herbal consultation to start living a healthier life.
Hawthorn flowers provide a remedy from hypertension HAWTHORN (CRATAEGUS SPP., ROSACEAE) Parts used: Flowers, leaves, and fruit Preparations: Tea, tincture, honey, cordial, jam, vinegar, and syrup Hawthorns are small, thorny trees or shrubs in the rose family, with clusters of fruit resembling miniature apples. Hawthorn berries are variable in color – they can be yellow, red, or black – but they’re all edible and medicinal, with a long history of use. The berries have long been a staple famine food, seeing many people through lean winters. Contemporary herbalists use hawthorn’s flavonoid-rich flowers and fruit as remedies for hypertension, atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, and angina pectoris. The flowers and berries are also used by people suffering grief and loss. Hawthorn is a “food herb,” and thus can be ingested in a wide variety of mediums, including teas, tinctures, honey, jam, syrup, cordials, elixirs, and vinegar from the fruit. Hawthorn-infused honey is a beautiful rose color and fruity in flavor. Consult your health care provider before combining them with cardiac medications. Cultivation: Full sun; well-drained soil; zones and sizes vary by species. The seeds need to be stratified and are slow to germinate, so you may want to purchase potted saplings or bare-root trees to plant.
LINDEN, BASSWOOD, LIME TREE (TILIA SPP., MALVACEAE) Parts used: Flowers Preparations: Tea, tincture, honey, and syrup You may have seen European linden, popular city trees planted for their small stature and delightfully aromatic blossoms. They also go by Basswoods. The American basswoods are large deciduous trees with heart-shaped, toothed leaves. The tender young leaves are edible raw or cooked and have a pleasant flavor and slightly gummy texture. Linden flower is one of my favorite remedies for children, as it’s generally safe and pleasant-tasting. The tea is used to address coughs, fevers, sinus infections, hypertension, stress, insomnia, colds, and flu. Linden is a natural decongestant through its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a gentle sleep aid, safe for children and elders alike. Cultivation: Full sun to light shade; neutral to alkaline soil; Zones and size vary by species. The seeds are renowned for poor to null germination, so you may want to purchase potted saplings or bare-root trees to plant. Softwood cuttings can be made in early summer. -
Pine is a traditional remedy used globally for coughs, colds, allergies, and urinary tract and sinus infections PINE (PINUS SPP., PINACEAE) Parts used: Springtime tips, resin, bark Preparations: Tea, honey, syrup, salve, and oil There are more than 100 species of pine worldwide, and most have recorded medicinal uses. Cultures around the globe have used the needles, inner bark, and resin for similar ailments. Internally, pine is a traditional remedy for coughs, colds, allergies, and urinary tract and sinus infections. Topically, pine is used to address skin infections and to lessen joint inflammation in arthritic conditions. For internal use, use the needles in tea form, as they’re the mildest form of the plant. The resin is the best part to employ for topical use – it can be melted into a salve, or it can be softened, applied like a broad bandage, and held in place with a wrap bandage. Don’t use it internally during pregnancy, and avoid using the bark long-term. Cultivation: Full sun; acidic, well-drained soil; Zones and size varies by species. Stratify seeds and scarify them if they’re winged. Select species suited to your region. -
SPRUCE (PICEA SPP., PINACEAE) Parts used: Springtime tips, resin Preparations: Tea, honey, beer, salve, and syrup Spruce trees are familiar conifers, with distinctive evergreen foliage and pendant cones. There are 35 species of spruce worldwide, primarily distributed in colder forested regions. Some varieties are striking landscape trees with glacial blue needles. Many species of spruce have been used for medicine throughout North America and Eurasia. The fresh growing tips of spruce are helpful in tea, honey, or syrup for expelling thick lung congestion. The resin is antimicrobial and used topically like pine resin. Don’t use it internally during pregnancy. Cultivation: Full sun; cooler, acidic soil; size varies by species. Slow to germinate from seed. Purchase balled and burlap-wrapped trees, and transplant in spring. - WILLOW (SALIX SPP., SALICACEAE) Parts used: Bark and twigs Preparations: Tea, tincture, compress, wash, and poultice Worldwide, there are more than 300 species of willow, most of which are small trees or shrubs that grow near water. Willows have been used throughout the temperate world for their medicinal bark. Willow bark and twigs can be dried for tea or prepared as a tincture. Willow is antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, astringent, and analgesic, and is used to assuage headaches, muscle strain, arthritic pain, and menstrual cramps. It’s a traditional topical first-aid remedy for cuts, scrapes, and bruises because of its astringent and antimicrobial qualities. White willow is often cited as “the medicinal willow,” but dozens of other species have been used similarly throughout Europe and North America. Cultivation: Full sun to partial shade; moist, fertile soil; size and Zones vary by species. Plant the seed immediately after it ripens in spring, as it doesn’t tolerate dry storage. Softwood cuttings and hardwood cuttings, taken from November through March, will root readily. Those are our picks! Remember to schedule an herbal consultation to learn the knowledge you need to take advantage of these and many other herbs.