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Medicinal Herbal Garden

Natural products — including plants — are the oldest source of drugs known to mankind. Before the invention of medicine as we know today, traditional herbal medicine was the main choice of treatment and prevention of diseases. With the introduction of modern medicine, the use of herbs became an alternative therapy. However, over the years the use of herbal products has been increasing in popularity. Today one in five Americans make use of herbal products. Therefore pharmacists must be prepared to guide and counsel patients regarding the use of such products. The goal of the UNE medicinal garden is to increase student and faculty awareness of herbal treatment options and their efficacy in the maintenance of human and animal health. 

The Medicinal Herbal Garden on the Portland Campus contains plants traditionally used to prevent and treat a variety of diseases, ranging from the common cold to depression. Some of these plants are native to Maine and have been important to the Native American cultures of this state. The medicinal properties of many of these plants have been known for thousands of years, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recognize their medicinal value. You should talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any herbal product.

Collaborative Effort

The herbs were planted by pharmacy students taking a phytotherapy course in the spring of 2015. Collaborative effort was contributed by faculty and staff from the College of Pharmacy, the Sustainability Office and Abplanalp Library. The Pharmaceutical Sciences Department provided financial support and Facilities Management contributed greatly to the ground work and maintenance of the garden.

Garden Plants

Common name Scientific name uses
St. John's Wort Hypericum perforatum Used for depression
Cranberry Vaccinium macrocarpon Used for urinary tract infections
Astragalus Astragalus membranaceus Used for common cold
Ginseng Panax ginseng Used as a general tonic for improving well-being
Gingko Gingko biloba Used to improve cognitive function
Holy Basil Ocimum tenuiflorum Used for common cold and influenza ("the flu")
Elderberry Sambucus nigra Used for influenza ("the flu") and H1N1 "swine" flu
Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis Used for common cold and other upper respiratory tract infections
Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa Used to alleviate symptoms of menopause
Valerian Valeriana officinalis Used for insomnia
Echinacea Echinacea angustifolia Used for common cold and upper respiratory tract infections
Peppermint Mentha x piperita Used for irritable bowel syndrome
Arnica Arnica montana Used for bruises, aches, and sprains
Comfrey Symphytum officinale Used for ulcers, wounds, joint inflammation, bruises, rheumatoid arthritis
Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum Used as an antipyretic, diuretic, laxative, emesis, and cathartic
Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis Used for cold sores and anxiety
Nettle Urtica dioica Used for urination disorders associated with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
Blueberry Vaccinium angustifolium Used for cataracts and glaucoma, ulcers, urinary tract infections (UTIs)