Mexico ranks 2nd worldwide on registered medicinal plants


The first in vitro culture of endemic fern calli from Mexico was highlighted at the Symposium.

The president of the National Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Juana Leticia Rodríguez y Betancourt, indicated that Mexico is the second country in the world with the highest number of registered medicinal plants.

During the 17th edition of the Medicinal Plants Symposium, Rodríguez and Betancourt highlighted the importance of taking advantage of these inputs to develop natural medicines in order to reach more people with limited resources.

He recognized that universities are the ones who carry out this type of study, so it is necessary to improve policies and offer more support to promote these investigations.

registered medicinal plants

Therefore, the conservation of this type of plants is key, as well as their studies, since a large part are endemic and if they are overexploited the resource will be depleted.

In this sense, the director of the Faculty of Chemistry of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Jorge Velázquez Ramos, pointed out the importance of scientific research in the faculty as it is a determining factor in people’s health.

Rachel Mata, from CF, has reviewed the active compounds of plants such as foxtail, circinata, or prodigious sage to know exactly what are the molecules that allow those who take them to lower their blood sugar levels.

The expert acknowledged that several of these plants have long been documented as useful against diabetes, but it had not been thoroughly analyzed which of their compounds are those that have this beneficial effect.

Likewise, Alexandre Cardoso Taketa, from the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos, reported the first in vitro culture of endemic fern calluses in Mexico, of which neuroactive benefits have been documented, but which is increasingly difficult to achieve due to the human presence In their habitat.

These plants, he added, grow very slowly and people do not value them as they are only an ornament, so the work carried out in his laboratory offers an opportunity for the conservation of these types of organisms.

50 Mexican medicinal plants and what they are used for

More and more people join the use of plants to improve health and recover the natural medicine that was used in the past. The use of plants is a good way to prevent diseases, complementing the benefits of a good diet and some exercise, as well as to treat some conditions and diseases. In fact, a collaboration between traditional or natural medicine and modern medicine has increased a lot nowadays, since it is considered that a combination of both can be more beneficial.

Do you like natural medicine? Do you want to know medicinal plants native to Mexico, as well as the most common medicinal plants in Mexico today, even if they are not native to there? Then you have come to the right place because, in this Green Ecology article, we present you a guide to 50 Mexican medicinal plants and what some of the most used are used for.

Prehispanic Herbalism

The flora of Mexico is one of the most abundant there is, in fact, it is a country considered to be a megadiverse country, since it has unique flora that is not found in other places on the planet and in general huge biodiversity and variety of ecosystems. In fact, it is estimated that it has more than 100,000 described animal and plant species. Therefore, it is not surprising that in a place like this, different plants have always been used to improve health and not just for food.

Thus, Mexican Herbalism is a pre-Hispanic tradition, since the doctors of the different civilizations of that time dominated the different plants and their properties and uses in medicine, both to maintain good health and to treat diseases. Some of these cultures and civilizations were the Nahuas (like Mexicas and Anahuac), Tarascos, Mayas, Zapotecs, among many others. According to various studies of these civilizations, doctors could master between 50 and 200 Mexican medicinal plants.

However, today there are many more and it is estimated that in Mexico there are about 5,000 medicinal plants, including those originating or native to Mexico and those that came from the Old World.

List of Mexican medicinal plants: the main ones

What are the medicinal plants most used in Mexico? Well, currently in this country a large number of medicinal plants are used, but among them, some are typical plants of Mexico and others arrived in this country centuries ago from the Old World (Europe, Asia, and Africa).

This is a list of Mexican plants that are medicinal and you will also find medicinal plants widely used in Mexico, even if they are not native to this place.

  • Basil
  • Peppermint
  • Epazote
  • Marjoram
  • Arnica montana
  • Eucalyptus
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Garlic
  • Escancel
  • Scam
  • Rue
  • Tumbavaqueros
  • Polygala
  • Periwinkle
  • Birch
  • Avocado
  • Cascara sagrada
  • Penguin
  • Aile
  • Thistle
  • Whose
  • Encino
  • Santa Maria
  • Purple lemon balm
  • Broom
  • Tepozán
  • Valerian
  • Mexican aloe
  • Achiote
  • Copal
  • Passionflower
  • Nopal
  • Cocoa
  • Jicama
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla
  • Chamomile
  • Valerian
  • Verbena
  • Plantain
  • Chinahuatillo
  • Ox tongue
  • Chaya
  • Guajilote
  • Guayule
  • Chipilín
  • Cuachalalate
  • Tlaxcalishuat

Next, we will talk about some of the most used today, explaining what Mexican medicinal plants are for and what their properties and composition, and active principles are according to the Dictionary of Medicinal Plants and according to the Digital Library of Traditional Mexican Medicine.

Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus)

Still don’t know what jicama, pelenga, or Mexican turnip is? Well, it is a Mexican medicinal plant and in fact, it is used in various dishes in different parts of Latin America, such as ceviche, tortillas, and jicama water is also taken. Its nutritional composition includes vitamin A, vitamin B-9, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium, among other components. Jicama root and seeds are often used.

Among the properties and medicinal uses of the medicinal plant Pachyrhizus erosus we find that it is:

Properties of jicama

  • Painkiller
  • Pain relieving.
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Febrifuge.

Medicinal uses of jicama

  • Kidneys pain.
  • Gout.
  • Fever.
  • Muscle inflammation.
  • Relieve the symptoms of scabies.
50 Mexican medicinal plants and what they are for - Jicama (Pachyrhizus erosus)

Medicinal properties of epazote or paico (Dysphania ambrosioides)

Scientifically it is known by more names besides Dysphania ambrosioides, for example as Teloxys ambrosioides. Its most common names are, apart from epazote and paico, fragrant grass, skunk epazote, white epazote, purple epazote, green epazote, chimi, yepazotli, kuatsitasi, alskini and tijson, among many others.

It is used to flavor a variety of Mexican dishes such as pot beans, chicken broths, tlalpeño soup, green mole and pot mole, tortillas, it is also taken in tea. In fact, to use epazote as a Mexican medicinal plant, it is usually taken in infusion, tea, or decoction of its branches and roots, but it should not be taken in case of pregnancy or lactation. Among the properties and medicinal uses of epazote are:

Medicinal properties of epazote

  • Digestive
  • Carminative.
  • Pain relieving.
  • Painkiller
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Vermifuge.

Medicinal uses of epazote

  • Parasitosis
  • Stomach pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Retention of menstruation or shortage.
  • Menstrual cramps.
50 Mexican medicinal plants and what they are for - Medicinal properties of epazote or paico (Dysphania ambrosioides)

Penguin (Arctostaphylos pungens)

The penguin is also called Mexican bearberry, pindicua, manzanita or tepesquite and is scientifically known as Arctostaphylos pungens. It is a creeping shrub that contains essential oil, arbutoside, methyl arbutoside, gallic tannins, arbutin and allantoin.

Both the root and the leaf are used and even the whole plant sometimes for certain treatments. The infusion of penguin, tincture and extract is taken and baths are made with the decoction of its leaves, although it can be used in more ways. It should not be consumed during pregnancy and lactation.

These are the main properties and medicinal uses of penguin:

Properties of the penguin

  • Antiseptic
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Painkiller
  • Febrifuge.
  • Diuretic
  • Astringent.
  • Antidiarrheal.
  • Hemostasis.

Medicinal uses of penguin

  • Fever.
  • Diarrhea
  • Indigestion.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Cough.
  • Renal problems.
  • Kidneys pain.
  • Rheumatism.
  • Inflammations.
  • Dropsy.
  • Prostatitis or swollen prostate .
  • Urinary infection.
  • Leucorrhoea
  • Vaginitis
  • Urethritis
50 Mexican medicinal plants and what they are for - Pingüica (Arctostaphylos pungens)

Stafiate (Artemisia ludoviciana)

To continue explaining aspects of the medicinal plants of Mexico and their use, we will talk about the stafiate. Estafiate is a gray Mexican medicinal wild plant that receives many more common names such as wormwood, sagebrush, skunk tail, altamiza, Puebla azumate, stomiate, espazote de Castilla, master herb, green incense, green plant essence and istafiate, while its scientific name is Artemisia ludoviciana. It contains active principles such as essential oil with camphor, thujone and cineole and flavonoids such as lactins and quercetoside. It takes the cooking or the infusion of the branches of the stafiate and also the tincture, the extract, the essential oil and in syrup. In case of being pregnant it should not be taken.

Among the properties of stafiate and its current medicinal uses, the following stand out:

Estafiate properties

  • Digestive
  • Appetizer.
  • Carminative.
  • Choleretic.
  • Liver protector.
  • Vermifuge.
  • Antimicrobial.
  • Estrogenic

Medicinal uses of stafiate

  • Stomach ache.
  • Sickness.
  • Cramps.
  • Colic.
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite or loss of appetite.
  • Vesicular and liver problems.
  • Intestinal parasites.
  • Eliminate toxins.
  • Regulate menstruation.
  • Period pains.
50 Mexican medicinal plants and what they are for - Estafiate (Artemisia ludoviciana)

What is cuachalalate (Amphipterygium adstringens) for

If you want to continue learning more about medicinal plants and what they are for, mainly those used in Mexico, you cannot miss the cuachalalate. It is also scientifically called as Juliania adstringens and as Amphipterygium adstringens. Commonly, it is known by other names such as coachalalate, cuachalala, chalalate, cuachalalatl, cuachinala, pacueco, maceran and matixeran, among more. Among its active principles there are acids, such as elmasticadienonic, oleanolic and instipolinase, and it also has sterol and beta-sitosterol, among other components.

The decoction of cuachalalate bark is usually taken , water made with the maceration of the bark, the bark in powder for cutaneous use, the resin is also used to treat skin conditions, such as pimples and sores. Thanks to its composition, among the properties of cuachalalate and its medicinal uses, the following stand out:

Medicinal properties of cuachalalate

  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Antibiotic.
  • Analgesic.
  • Pain relieving.
  • Febrifuge or antipyretic.

Medicinal uses of cuachalalate

  • Toothache.
  • Gastric ulcers
  • Gastritis.
  • Stomachache.
  • Inflammation and intestinal infection.
  • Relieve symptoms of stomach cancer.
  • Skin injuries, such as bites, scrapes, and bumps.
  • Sores
  • Grain.
  • Problems in the female reproductive system, such as a fallen uterus, inflammation of the uterus, or vaginal infection.
  • Cough.
  • Colds
  • Anginas.
  • Fever.
  • Nerves.
50 Mexican medicinal plants and what they are for - What is cuachalalate (Amphipterygium adstringens) for

Purple lemon balm (Agastache mexicana)

This is another of the Mexican medicinal plants that we want to show you due to its widespread use and its great benefits for our health. Other popular names for the purple lemon balm plant or Mexican Agastache are white lemon balm, wild lemon balm, house melissa, red melissa, tama, toronji, toroji and pinkil, among many more, and scientifically it is also called Cedronella mexicana. Among the active ingredients of lemon balm are the essential oil with anethole, limonene, camphor and methylchavicol, it also has flavonoids, tannins and terpenes. It is usually taken as a decoction, tincture, pills or tablets and in fluid extract. It should not be taken during pregnancy and lactation.

These are the main properties of purple lemon balm and its medicinal uses.

Medicinal properties of purple lemon balm

  • Digestive
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Calorific.
  • Sedatives
  • Anti-diarrhea.

Medicinal uses of purple lemon balm

  • Stomach pains
  • Difficult or heavy digestions.
  • Indigestion.
  • Colic.
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue.
  • Dizziness
  • Colds
50 Mexican medicinal plants and what they are for - Purple lemon balm (Agastache mexicana)

Properties and medicinal uses of basil (Ocimum basilicum)

To finish with this guide to Mexican medicinal plants and what some of the most used plants in this country are for, we want to talk about basil. This is one of the plants introduced in Mexico by the Old World since it is native to India but currently it can be found almost everywhere in the world and in Mexico, it is widely used.

This plant, also called alhábega, has active principles in its composition that are very beneficial. Some of these components are essential oils such as linalol, cienol, eugenol and estragole, it also contains flavonoids such as esculoside, quercetroside and kenferol, as well as caffeic acid, saponosides, linalyl acetate and also vitamin A, from group B, C, E and K.

The leaves of this medicinal plant are used mainly, but also the stem, roots, flowers and seeds. It is consumed in infusion, decoction or tea, as well as in hot and cold drinks and dishes, both cooked and fresh.

Among the main properties of basil and its medicinal uses are:

Medicinal properties of basil

  • Antioxidants
  • Antivirals.
  • Antibacterial.
  • Antifungal.
  • Digestive
  • Antiemetics.
  • Painkillers
  • Relaxing
  • Antihistamines.
  • Hypotensive.
  • Glucose regulators.
  • Hepatoprotective.
  • Hypolipidemic.
  • Stimulants of the respiratory system and expectorants.

Medicinal uses of basil

  • Difficult digestions.
  • Heartburn.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Dizziness
  • Sickness.
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue.
  • Anxiety.
  • Asthma.
  • Mucus in the respiratory tract.
  • Infections by fungi, bacteria and viruses.
  • Allergies
  • Mild diabetes
  • Hypertension.
  • High bad cholesterol.

If you want to know more about this medicinal plant widely used in Mexico, do not hesitate to consult this other article on Basil: medicinal and culinary uses

50 Mexican medicinal plants and what they are for - Properties and medicinal uses of basil (Ocimum basilicum)


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