NOTE: Caution should always be taken when looking for medicinal plants out in the wild. Do not consume or use any plant that you are unsure about. The internet is a wonderful resource for plant identification. Look up photos and identification information for plants from reputable sources before collecting any plant out in the wild. NOTE also that many Ozark medicinal plants are endangered and should not be harvested out in the wild.
When wild-harvesting take only what you need at that time. DO NOT STOCKPILE! Chances are the plants will go bad before you can use them. A good rule of thumb for any plant is to count three plants then take one, that way there are plants left behind to go to seed. Leave the roots intact unless the root is being harvested, then try and leave a piece of the root or any seeds/berries behind in the soil.
Responsible harvesting means these medicinal plants will be around for many more generations.
Hickory, Carya: Edible nuts (several species), stems, leaves:
Leaves can be used for headaches and poultices. Bark can be used to help treat arthritis. The sap of the shagbark hickory is used like sugar or maple syrup.
Horsemint, Monarda bradburiana: Leaves, flowers:
Infusion used for colds, chills, as a febrifuge, and for bowel complaints. Can be used externally in oils and salves for dermatological needs. Used in many of the same ways as Monarda fistulosa.
Mullein, Verbascum thapsus: Leaves, flowers, root:
Leaves and flowers can be used to clear chest congestion (smoked or as an infusion), as an analgesic for rashes, aches and pains. Leaves can be wilted and used in poultices for swollen glands. Roots can be used in decoctions for gynecological issues.
Oak, Quercus: Leaves, bark:
Astringent, antiseptic, bark and leaves can be used to treat diarrhea and dysentery, can be used in poultices and to help stop bleeding.
Oxeye Daisy, Leucanthemum vulgare: Flowers, leaves:
Used in infusions as a febrifuge. Tonic plant. Used in washes for chapped hands, rashes, and other dermatological needs.
Plantain, Plantago major “Broadleaf Plantain” or Plantago lanceolata“Ribwort Plantain”: Leaves, roots, flowers:
Leaves used in poultices for bug bites, inflammations, rashes, cuts,bruises, stings, and other skin complaints. Whole plant infusions for colds,fever, upper respiratory complaints, rheumatism, hypertension, regulating blood sugar, bladder problems, kidney problems. Root used as a gentle expectorant and in helping sinus issues. “Snake Weed” because of the belief that the plant can help draw venom out of a snakebite. It was also thought that a person could carry the plant to help ward off snakes.
Red Cedar, Eastern, Juniperus virginiana: Berries, foliage:
Berries used as an aborifacient and anthelmintic. Decoction of twigs andleaves used for colds, internally and externally for rheumatism. Externally in salves for many dermatological needs. Diaphoretic. Disinfectant. Smoke from leaves used in cleansing ceremonies and breathed as a remedy for chest congestion. Used in steam baths. Berries and foliage used against sore throats and coughs.
Red Clover, Trifolium pretense, White Clover, Trifolium repens: Leaves, flowers:
Used in oils for skin and hair health. Infusion used as a febrifuge and against colds. Used to help with a variety of gynecological needs. Respiratory aid.
Sassafras, Sassafras albidum: Leaves, bark, roots:
Bark infusion used as an anthelmintic wash against worms. Root bark infusion for diarrhea, as a blood tonic, febrifuge, and for colds. Poultice of leaves and bark for dermatological needs. CAUTION not for extended use as the active chemical compound safrole has been linked to liver damaged with prolonged use.