By: Jade Small
Before there was modern-day medicine and its pharmacopeia of synthetic drugs, there were plants, and ancient civilizations knew how to use them strategically to treat common ailments and even life-threatening diseases.
Below is an excellent starting point to learn how to harness the power of medicinal plants. This is only a small sample, of course, and once you get your feet wet, you’ll likely be inspired to explore more and more uses for these healing wonders.
There are 1,500 to 1,800 species of cacti. Each species for the most part fall into one of two core cacti categories, these being opuntias or cactoids. One of the most impressive feature of cactus is that this plant serves as a natural water reservoir. The liquid stored in it is not clear like water, but looks like a thick viscous substance. This liquid is absolutely safe for human consumption. It can be obtained for drinking by scratching or making a hole in the columnar cactus. This fluid has saved several lives in the desert regions.
Carnivorous plants can live on the ground or in the water. Just like other plants, carnivorous plants obtain energy in the process of photosynthesis. They absorb sunlight and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to create food (sugar). Lifespan depends on the species, but some carnivorous plants can survive up to 50 years in the wild.
Tacca chantrierei is native to tropical regions of Southeast Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, and southern China: particularly Yunnan Province. They are understory plants, so they prefer shade (at least 60%). They grow best in well-drained soil with good air circulation, but they prefer high humidity, and need a lot of water.
Nectar from lavender plants are used to make high quality honey. Lavender comes from the same family as mint. The scent of lavender deters mice, flies, mosquitoes and other pests from the area. It is one of the most fragrant and highly versatile herbs that you can grow. As you may already know, lavender is used in essential oils, perfumes, in aromatherapy, in traditional herbal medicine and in the kitchen as a culinary herb.
These carnivorous plants make light work of any insects that stray into their deadly clutches. This set showcases an array of bug-eating plants, from the Venus flytrap – beloved of children the world over – to the Cape sundew, which lures insect life in with drops of sweet-smelling fluid on the highly-adhesive tentacles that line its leaves. Surrounding tentacles then move to further ensnare the insect, before glands on the leaf start to release digestive enzymes – liquefying the insect’s internal organs and allowing them to be digested by the plant.