Back yard plants that really are medicinal

Friday, June 26, 2009


  David McLean

There's a drugstore in your back yard and Broward County nurseryman David McLean mixed humor and home remedied for the Tropical Fern and Exotic Plant Society's last meeting of the season.

Plants throughout time have been the source of medicines and remedies for people everywhere.  For scratches or wounds: “McLean’s three mix” is a combination of aloe, avocado and tea tree oil, stirred together in equal parts with a little water. Cut a slice of the succulent leaf in half and use the pure gel. He rubbed some on his head to demonstrate. (Socks, he said, are made for wiping off pocketknives, which he also demonstrated.)

Among David’s other medicinal plant remedies are allspice tea for settling the stomach and gas relief; avocado, used against wrinkles as a face cream; black pepper as an antiseptic: lemon grass tea as a digestive; pineapple may promote heart health and saw palmetto fruits that are widely sold for prostate health.

Don’t try any of the remedies without more research and medical advice, he cautioned. But begin to learn more the Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevallier; Handbook of Medicinal Spices by James Duke, and Atlas of Medicinal Plants of Middle America by Julia Morton.