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Native Medicinal Garden


The term “Pharmacognosy” was first coined by C.A. Seydler in 1815.  The term refers to the science or knowledge of drugs or medicines derived from natural sources.  The collection of plants for medicinal uses dates back to the ancient Sumerians in 2500 B.C.  It is well known that Native Americans provided the only medical remedies for the treatment of various diseases obtained by the early settlers when they came to this country.


To promote an understanding of the medicinal uses of native New England plants as it relates to the profession of pharmacy.  This medicinal garden will help bridge the past with the future for our pharmacy learners.

Educational program

This program is led by Clinical Professor Anthony E. Zimmermann, Department of Pharmacy Practice and other members of the College of Pharmacy.  It was started on August 17, 2011, and is an ongoing project.  Learners, faculty and staff will care for the garden and gain invaluable insight into the growth, development and potential uses of these medicinal plants.  The medicinal plants are currently being used for research purposes, classroom instruction and hands-on summer camp.  To obtain more information on each medicinal plant, a QR code is imbedded on the sign.

Native Medicinal Garden
The Native Medicinal Garden is administered by the Department of Pharmacy Practice.  It includes over 18 different medicinal plants identified by metal placards, 10 of which are native.  The majority are perennial plants. 

The Garden is located between Emerson Hall and the new Center for Sciences and Pharmacy Building.  We invite everyone to come by and enjoy the garden.

Garden Catalog

Image Plant Name Species Medical Uses

American Spikenard

Aralia racemosa

Closely related to wild sarsaparilla because of the aromatic roots.  Every part of this plant has been utilized in some way to provide medicinal benefits: treat back pain, earaches, angina, skin diseases, suppress cough and premenstrual syndrome

Blazing Star

Liatris spicata

American Indians used this plant as a source of food and medicine.  Used to reduce swelling, abdominal pain, and antidote for snake bites

Blue Flag Iris

Iris versicolor

When taken orally, fresh roots from the Blue Flag Iris are rather acrid, and have an emetic effect. Dried roots are more palatable and have a diuretic and laxative effect. They also act as a bile stimulant in liver dysfunction as well as treatment for syphilis. It can be used externally for many eruptive skin conditions.

Blue Vervain

Verbena hastata

Internally used to treat fevers, headaches, depression antitumor activity and cramps. Externally used to treat ulcers, cuts and acne

California Poppy

Eschsholzia californica

Used to treat insomnia, aches and agitation.  Also to treat bed wetting in children

Cardinal Plant

Lobelia cardinalis

North American Indians used the root to make tea to treat fever sores and cramps.  Also used as an emetic and a love charm


Nepeta cataria

Sedative. Also used to treat digestive disorders, fevers, colds and flu.

Chamomile (Roman)

Chamaemelum nobile

Used as a calming agent to treat stress and aid in sleep

Common Milkweed

Asclepias syriaca

Used in Native American medicine to treat a variety of disorders including backaches, warts, ringworm, stomach and chest discomfort, and as a laxative

Coneflower- Purple and Yellow

Echinacea purpurea and paradoxa

Purple coneflower has immune-stimulant and anti-inflammatory properties.  The Plains Indians used it to treat colds and coughs


Tanacetum parthenium

Used in 1st century by Greek herbalist physician, Dioscorides, as an anti-inflammatory agent.  Later used for fevers, headaches, arthritis and digestive problems

Foxglove- Purple and Yellow

Digitalis purpurea and grandiflora

Derived from its leaves, a potent cardiac glycoside and digitoxin.  Yellow foxglove has diuretic and cardiac stimulating properties. It is less commonly used than other species of foxglove but believed to be less toxic 


Hyssopus officinalis

Orally, hyssop is used as a tea for intestinal inflammation, coughs, bronchitis and respiratory infections, sore throat, asthma, urinary tract infection, flatulence and colic, and sedative effects. Topically, hyssop is used in baths to induce sweating; and as a poultice for treating skin irritations, burns, and bruises.

Indian Tobacco

Lobelia inflata

Root of plant used to treat leg ulcers, abscesses and as bronchodilator for asthma and whooping cough.  Reduces withdrawal symptoms from nicotine


Lupinus perennis L.

A cold tea made from the leaves used to treat nausea and internal hemorrhages

Painted Daisy

Chrysanthemum or Tanacetum coccineum

Plant is an important natural source of insecticide

St. John's Wort

Hypericum perforatum

Used for centuries to treat respiratory problems, dysentery, worms, jaundice, and gastrointestinal problems. Today used to treat mild-moderate depression

Skull Cap

Scutellaria lateriflora

Used to treat nervous complaints, convulsions, insomnia, tension, depression, fevers, high blood pressure, hysteria, and neuralgia as a tonic


Chelone glabra

The turtlehead plant is typically made into a tonic or leaf tea, and is used for its cathartic effects, acting as a gentle laxative along with having the ability to expel worms. It has also been used to stimulate appetite and increase stomach and liver activity. The leaves and stems be crushed and made into an ointment or poultice to be used externally on sores and fever blisters.

Wild Bergamot

Monarda fistulosa

Made into a tea to treat the common cold. It also is a natural antiseptic used to treat mouth and throat infections. A stimulant.

Wild Blue Indigo

Baptisia australis

Used to treat vertigo. As an eyewash and a tea to use as a purgative.  The powdered root used to relieve toothaches


A majority of these medicinal plants were donated through the generosity of Meadow View Farms, LLC., Southwick, MA