Sewanee Herbarium » Project Center » Medicinal Plants

Heal-all - Prunella vulgaris
© Jeffrey Pippen

The University of the South in Sewanee TN along with the surrounding lakes and forests comprise a tract of approximately 13,000 acres called the Domain. The Domain sits atop the Cumberland Plateau in South Central Tennessee. Altogether around 850 native and naturalized plant species have been identified here to date. At one time the only treatments for illnesses were plants. It is because of this fact that there are so many plants out there that have been used medicinally at one time or another. Herbs, defined as any plant used for flavor, fragrance, or medicinal purposes, make up at least 25 percent of the known flowering plants, yet still less than 2 percent have been scientifically investigated for their medicinal potential. Over 40 percent of prescription drugs sold in the U.S. contain at least one ingredient derived from nature. The point is that we must not forget the benefits of investigating our natural storehouse of active chemical compounds, the plant kingdom.This site is intended as a short introduction to the endless medicine cabinet you may have in your backyard, however it is not intended to prescribe.

Explore the plants with the menu on your left.

Note: Using medicinal plants can be dangerous if you are not sure of what you are doing.


This information was gathered by Caitlin Elam with the support of the Jesse Ball Dupont Student Research Grant and the Sewanee Herbarium using the following references:

  1. Foster, Stephen and James A. Duke. 2000. Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs. Houghton Mifflin Co: New York.
  2. Angier, Bradford. 2000. Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants. Stackpole Books: PA
  3. Warner, John E. 1993. Medicinal Plants of the Cumberland Plateau and Appalachian Mountains.
  4. Brill, Steve and Evelyn Dean. 1994. Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and not so wild) Places. William Morrow and Company, Inc.: NY.