Protecting our Native Medicinal Plants

Ever since I heard Rosemary Gladstar talk about the risks of wild crafting herbs, and the importance of not “over harvesting” I’ve been trying to think of a way that I can help and give back.

Goldenseal is one of the most "over harvested" medicinal plants.

There are so many important medicinal plants that are at risk, and I need to find a way to help plant them and preserve them.  The organisation, United Plant Savers, helps protect native medicinal plants and their native habitat while helping to ensure an abundant renewable supply of medicinal plants to come.  They are a great resource for information and grants to help bring these plants back to our local communities.  I am brewing with ideas…

Can you imgaine a future without echinacea?

That said, I was so surprised at some of the “At Risk” plants.  Can you imagine a future without  Ginseng, Echinacea, Goldenseal, Gingko and Slippery Elm? These are some of the most common herbs that we see at our local health food stores, and have been over-harvested so much that our future generations may never get to use them. I’ve attached a list from the United Plant Savers website, and I urge you to get involved my making a small medicinal herb garden that helps educate and bring back our natives!!! They are part of our rich heritage.


If you decide you want to plant some of these medicinal herbs, United Plant Savers has planting information… check these guys out as they are a great resource.  I feel a new calling…

“At-Risk” List

  • American GinsengPanax quinquefolius
  • Black Cohosh – Actaea  racemosa (Cimicifuga)
  • BloodrootSanguinaria canadensis
  • Blue CohoshCaulophyllum thalictroides
  • EchinaceaEchinacea spp.
  • Eyebright – Euphrasia spp.
  • False Unicorn RootChamaelirium luteum
  • GoldensealHydrastis canadensis
  • Lady’s Slipper OrchidCypripedium spp.
  • LomatiumLomatium dissectum
  • OshaLigusticum porteri, L. spp.
  • PeyoteLophophora williamsii
  • Slippery ElmUlmus rubra
  • SundewDrosera spp.
  • Trillium, Beth Root -Trillium spp.
  • True UnicornAletris farinosa
  • Venus’ Fly TrapDionaea muscipula
  • Virginina Snakeroot – Aristolochia serpentaria
  • Wild YamDioscorea villosa, D. spp.

“To-Watch” List

  • ArnicaArnica spp.
  • Butterfly Weed – Asclepias tuberosa
  • Cascara Sagrada - Frangula purshiana (Rhamnus)
  • ChaparroCasatela emoryi
  • Elephant TreeBursera microphylla
  • GentianGentiana spp.
  • GoldthreadCoptis spp.
  • Kava KavaPiper methysticum (Hawaii only)
  • LobeliaLobelia spp.
  • Maidenhair FernAdiantum pendatum
  • MayapplePodophyllum peltatum
  • Oregon GrapeMahonia spp.
  • Partridge BerryMitchella repens
  • Pink RootSpigelia marilandica
  • PipsissewaChimaphila umbellata
  • SpikenardAralia racemosa, A. californica
  • Stone Root – Collinsonia canadensis
  • Stream Orchid – Epipactis gigantea
  • Turkey Corn – Dicentra canadensis
  • White SageSalvia apiana
  • Wild Indigo – Baptisia tinctoria
  • Yerba MansaAnemopsis californica

About the Author

yurtmanI live in a little sustainable minded yurt village in western NC near AshevilleView all posts by yurtman →