List of plants, spices and condiments with medicinal properties, and recipes of some basic preparations. Known to our ancestors when modern medicine did not exist, these plants, whose benefits are often overlooked, can prove to be excellent alternative remedies to chemical drugs. The information presented in this booklet is ultra summarized, so do not hesitate to inquire more.



USE: Digestive seeds, anti-gas. To be taken as a digestive after meals in the form of seeds (tradition in India).

CULTURE: Exterior, harvest in summer / autumn after flowering, let the crops dry a few days.


USE: Digestive, anti-gas, antioxidant, protects against cardiovascular diseases. Very used in mediterranean cuisine. Season the meals with basil all summer, prepare sauces (pesto etc.)

CULTURE: Sunny and humid environment, rich soil. Plant very sensitive to frost!

OBTAIN: Basil seedlings in garden centers.


USE: Birch sap very nutritious, rich in minerals, purgative (anti-toxins), a true fortifier of spring (virtues known by the Amerindians and Eastern Europe). Make a cure after the winter by taking a small drink each morning for 3 weeks. Keep the birch sap cool.

OBTAIN: The birch sap is taken from the tree about 1 m high (in spring, when the sap rises). Some organic stores may sell birch sap, depending on the season; it is always useful to inquire.


USE: Red petals with many virtues: anti-wrinkle, dry cough, soothing, narcotic (the poppy is a cousin of the poppy). Do not use the capsules (bulb containing the seeds once the flower is faded) that are toxic! Prepare a poppy syrup (see recipe) to preserve.

CULTURE: Sunny place with moist soil. Plant in the fall so that flowering lasts longer in the following year.

OBTAIN: In the summer, in wild meadows. Warning: the flowers growing in the grasses near the agricultural fields may be polluted by pesticides!


USE: Used to season vegetables, cereals etc. A good additive of dietary fiber, vitamins A, B6, C and K, and many minerals. Analgesic, aphrodisiac, digestive.

GET: Spice Ray in supermarkets.

Curcuma (Turmeric)

USE: Plant of the same family as ginger, The root, with the rather sweet taste, is reduced in powder, used mostly as a component in mixtures of spices like curry or ras-el-hanout. There is an astronomical number of medicinal virtues: anti-inflammatory stimulating immunity against various diseases, digestive, painkiller, anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-cholesterol, stimulates the body to weight loss. Considered by Indian researchers as as effective as the antibiotic cephalosporin. Formerly used in India as a natural preservative. Associated with fertility. Used as an antidepressant in Chinese medicine. Reduces the risk of senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Essential oil as a cure for acne.

CULTURE: Plant grown in most Asian countries. Requires a temperature between 20 ° C and 30 ° C and a very high water supply.

GET: At the radius “spices” in trade, or in organic stores.

Cynorrhodon (Grattacul)

USE: Source of vitamin C, source of B vitamins, immunity against colds and flu, anti-fatigue, diuretic, anti-diarrhea. Empty fruit before preparation to remove “scratch hair”, which can irritate the digestive tract, or otherwise filter the herbal tea before drinking. Before winter, make a cure with 1 to 2 cups a day, 3 to 4 fruits per cup. The decoction (put in water, boil and let cool) has more virtues than the infusion (boil, put in water and cool).

CULTURE: This is the fruit rosehip (wild rose) or rose (only organic plants and non-toxic species).

GET: Herbal teas infusions in the trade.

Tooth-of-Lion (Dandelion)

USE: Leaves rich in fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin B9, iron and calcium, bitter taste. Digestive root, diuretic, purgative (anti-toxins). Prepare a lettuce salad with fresh leaves. Decoction of dried root: 1 to 2 cc. / 25 cl, 3 times daily for 1 to 2 weeks. Infusion of dried leaves: 1 cs. / 25 cl, 3 times daily for 1 to 2 weeks. External use: Infusion of flowers as lotion, to keep at max. 1 week.

CULTURE: Very common wild plant, early spring. Do not consume plants growing in polluted areas (agricultural areas etc.)


USE: Plant used as a condiment for fish, in tartar sauce, in béarnaise sauce etc. Digestive properties, anti-inflammatory, and against spasms (including hiccups, cramps, etc.) Exists in the form of essential oil for massages.

Fennel (seeds)

USE: Digestive seeds, aphrodisiacs, diuretics, against bad breath. To be taken as a digestive after meals in the form of seeds (tradition in India). Whole edible plant.

CULTURE: Poor, sunny soil.

GET: Spice “ray” in the trade.



USE: The gentian root is used mainly as a liqueur or as an aperitif (Suze, etc.), but also in herbal tea. Tonic properties, reduces fever symptoms.

CULTURE: This flower is found over 1000 m in Europe, usually in pastures in full sun.


USE: Fresh leaves can be applied on insect bites and wounds to limit pain.

CULTURE: Plant cultivated since ancient times. There are about 4,000 different varieties: in Switzerland it is more mountainous, up to 2,200 m. It is recognized at first glance around the rocks, on light soils exposed to the sun.

OBTAIN: This plant may be a protected species, depending on the region. Do not pick wild species in mountain reserves. The decoction of the flowers of the big houseleek is a remedy against dysentery and headaches.


USE: Calming, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, relaxing and stimulating fragrance. Prepare an infusion: 1 teaspoonful of dried flowers per cup.

CULTURE: Poor soil, sunny, mountain altitude (over 800 m)


USE: Natural detergent, washing and foaming power, remedy against cellulite and warts. Natural anti-white hair shampoo: decoction of fresh leaves, 100 g / 50 cl, boil 10 minutes, filter, keep at max. 1 week. Do not swallow.

CULTIVATION: Climbing plant invading many trees or old walls.


USE: Aromatic plant, aphrodisiac, digestive, thirst quencher, antiseptic, against bad breath.

CULTURE: Very invasive plant, loving shade and rich, moist soil. Invasive plant also in the sun! Wild plant, at high altitude, near forests.

GET: “Teas” or “herbal teas” in the shops. Mint plants in garden centers.

Coconut (oil)

USE: Coconut oil (extra virgin) can replace sunscreen.


USE: Many medicinal virtues: depurative (eliminates toxins in the blood), diuretic, remineralizing, contains dietary fiber. Despite the stinging effect of the hair that is on the whole plant, it is edible and safe, once cooked (nettle soup etc.). In a garden, nettle can be a good protection against insects and herbivorous animals. The effect of stinging hairs was once used as a cure for arthritis.

OBTAIN: Common and invasive wild plant. Use gloves to pick, or hold leaves from below. Or buy products in regional markets: nettle syrup, nettle pesto etc.

California poppy

USE: Cousin opium poppy, with a much more moderate effect. Antidepressant, relieves stress, sedative and hypnotic (= repairs sleep cycles). Use flower petals in infusion, with honey and other sedative plants, at a rate of 1 cs. / 25 cl, let infuse 10 minutes. Do not give to young children.

OBTAIN: Ornamental plant for gardens.


USE: Aromatic plant, the richest of all vitamin C, rich in trace elements, cosmetic use (anti-wrinkle and anti-aging thanks to vitamin C).

CULTURE: Fresh soil, slightly humid, medium shade. Soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours, then sow close to the surface.


USE: Infusion or gargles, in case of angina.

OBTAIN: Wild plant (end of the grass season).


See Tooth-of-lion.


USE: Calming, painkiller. The flowers, in infusion (30 g / 1 l), are a remedy against bronchitis. Choose the following species: common (large bunches, low ground plant), high (small bunches, taller plant), or officinal (more yellow flowers).

GET: Wild plant to pick in early spring, flowers


USE: Aromatic plant with digestive virtues, anti-headache, preventive against the flu. Inhalation (head under a towel over a bowl containing 3-4 strands / 5 dl of water) to treat respiratory problems due to colds or bronchitis. Use in a bath to relieve pain and stimulate blood circulation. Take regular morning tea in November and December to be better immunized against the annual flu epidemic.

CULTURE: Full sun, poor soil well watered. Frost sensitive: do not leave outdoors in winter.


USE: Thorny shrubs growing in the undergrowth. Neighboring species of mulberry. A decoction of bramble leaves (boiling water with leaves) at 70 g / 1 l is a natural remedy against canker sores; make mouthwash with this preparation.

CULTURE: It is sometimes used as hedges in gardens. The blackberries (or die in Switzerland), fruits of the wild brambles, are edible and largely confused with the blackberries.


USE: Fresh or dried leaves. Many medical applications: digestive, against sore throat, canker sores, colds, female hormonal disorders, disinfects wounds, frees the respiratory tract. Aromatic plant used with white meats. Chew 1 to 2 fresh leaves to prepare the stomach before a large meal. Infusion of sage leaves against sore throat: 1 cs / 25 cl, infuse 10 min.

CULTURE: Sun or partial shade, withstands extreme climates and does not require a lot of water. It multiplies in a very invasive way, especially in the spring.

GET: Dried sage in organic stores, fresh sage plants in garden centers.


USE: Digestive, prevents and relieves colds, bronchitis, respiratory diseases. Antiseptic and light painkiller, heals acne. Aromatic herb.

CULTURE: Cool and dry climate, ordinary soil, medium shade.

GET: Thyme seedlings in garden centers, ray spices in trade, essential oil of thyme in pharmacy.

Fragrant Verbena

USE: Digestive, anti-stress, antidepressant, excellent against hypertension. Plant native to South America in mountain altitude (2000-3000 m). Aromatic herb (poultry, fish). Take herbal tea in the evening before going to bed.

OBTAIN: Ray “herbal teas” in the trade.

Thanks to :


  • S. Hampikian, The virtues of aromatic and medicinal plants –
  • J. Massacrier, Knowing how to relive, Éditions du Devin 2011 –
  • Radio Libre Expression, Presentation of the book “Curcuma, Benefit and User Guide” by Helene Barbier du Vimont, Medicis Editions, issue of May 29, 2012
  • Images: Wikipedia FR + EN, articles corresponding to the mentioned plants. CC licenses (authors listed on Wikimedia Commons) or public domain.

Sage is neurotoxic, strongly discouraged to children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, and epileptic.