10 Lesser Known Native Plants

10 Lesser Known Native Plants

Native plants are those that originated from a particular region or country. There are different types of plants that require very specific conditions to survive properly. Some plants even thrive in temperatures that would kill other species. This means there are native plants that are found only where they belong - in their natural habitat and environmental conditions.

You might assume that every plant has adapted to its surroundings. However, some plants don't seem to fit into any category at all! These are called native plants because they appear naturally in the environment around them. They've evolved over thousands of years to live in the exact conditions they were born in.

Many of these wild plants have become endangered due to deforestation and climate change and have become vulnerable species. If you want to create a garden that mimics nature, consider planting at least ten native species. Ideally, the rest of the plants in your yard should also be natives!

What is an example of a native plant?

The Indian plant species include about 2,000 species, which are found throughout the country. Some examples of these plants are: Aloe vera, Banyan tree, Banana flower, Coconut palm, Date Palm, Fig, Hibiscus, Jackfruit, Jasmine, Kaffir lime, Mango, Neem, Olive, Papaya, Pineapple, Sago palm, Tamarind, Tomato, Vanilla, Watermelon, etc.

10 Lesser Known Native Plants That Have Been Used As Medicine in India

1. Acalypha indica – Used to treat Joint pain, Intestinal Worms & Skin Infections

Acalypha indica is commonly known as Indian Acalypha, Indian Mercury, Indian Copperleaf, or Indian Nettle. It is native to India and China. The plant was originally cultivated by the Chinese for its medicinal properties. In Ayurvedic medicine it is known as Kuppaimeni and is a small herbaceous plant grows up to 75 cm. Acalypha indica is considered a cooling herb.

The leaves of the plant contain glycosides such as quercetin, kaempferol, rutin, and hyperoside. Quercetin is a flavonoid which helps reduce inflammation and protects against cancer. Kaempferol is a flavonoid found in plants like broccoli and kale. Rutin is a glycoside that helps prevent heart disease and diabetes. Hyperoside is a type of phenolic compound that may help protect against cancer.

In addition, the seeds of the plant contain saponins called triterpenoids. These compounds are believed to have antibiotic effects.

2. Adenanthera pavonina- seeds used in treatment of diarrhea

A decoction of the leaves and bark of Adenanthrura pavonina is used traditionally to treat diarrhea. Preliminary scientific studies suggest that this plant may also have antibiotic activity against the human intestinal pathogen Campylbacter jejuni. High doses of seed extract have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in animal models.

3. Aerva lanata – used to treat jaundice & snake bites

Aerva Lanata plant has been traditionally used as a remedy for snakebites. It contains anti-inflammatory properties.

The plant has a lot of medical properties but is most commonly used in South India for decorative purposes during the Tamil festival Pongal.

The plant is also known as a good luck charm, a protection charm, a fertility charm, a lucky charm, and a love charm. It is believed to bring good fortune, protect against evil spirits, and promote fertility.

The juice of crushed Aerva lanata root is used to treat jaundice in traditional Indian medicine.

4. Alternanthera sessilis – used for treatment of constipation & urination troubles

Alternanthera sessilis is used as a vegetable, herb, fodder, and forage crop. Alternanthera sessilis is a herbaceous perennial plant native to tropical Indian subcontinent. It is grown for use in landscaping, as a ground cover or border plant, and as a houseplant.

The young shoots and leaves are consumed as vegetables in certain parts of South East Asia. Plant leaves, flowers, and tender stems are eaten in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu as vegetables.

Diuretic, cooling, tonic, and laxative properties are some of the benefits of this plant as a herbal medicine. Dysuria and hemorrhoids can be treated with this plant. Medicinal hair oils and kohl (kohl) are also made from the plant, and the plant is also believed to be beneficial to the eyes.

5. Andrographis paniculata – used to treat fever, cough, cold, chest infections & jaundice

Andrographis paniculata is an herbal supplement that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat various conditions including respiratory ailments, fever, digestive tract and infections. The Ayurvedic community promotes it as a cancer preventive and an adjunct for cancer treatment. Studies show that Andrographis paniculata contains compounds which have properties similar to steroids and plant hormones. However, there is no evidence that it helps prevent or cure cancer.

Andrographis paniculata, also known as Kalmegh, has been traditionally used in India for terminal stages of jaundice.

Andrographis paniculata is a perennial species that has traditionally been used in India and China for the treatment of common cold and influenza. A meta-analysis published in 2017 found that Andrographis paniculata may have efficacy in reducing symptoms of acute respiratory tract infections, but warned of a lack of quality control and cited a need for more rigorous scientific evidence to confirm the findings. This herb is often used as an herbal medicine among practitioners of alternative medicine.

6. Aristolochia indica – Abortifacient action

Despite serious safety concerns, aristolochia is used to treat snakebite, intestinal pain, gallbladder pain, arthritis, eczema and wounds. It is also used to boost the immune system, increase sexual desire and menstruation.

7. Artabotrys hexapetalus – root has antimalarial agent

Artabotrys hexapetalus is a wonderful drupe, just like dragons! It possesses some great healing properties that include protecting against an array of diseases such as leprosy, making it a potent natural treatment for the illness. This plant also happens to have antibacterial, antifungal and even anti-malarial abilities.


8. Asclepias curassavica – used to treat pneumonia and inflammation and skin ulcer

Tropical Milkweed has been used to treat pneumonia, pyoderma, and inflammation of the spleen. Also, a paste made of the crushed leaves can be mixed with salt, vegetable oil and bread for an effective skin ulcer treatment. A decoction of the plant can be drunk in small amounts as an abortifacient.

9. Avena sativa - nervine tonic (treat palpitations and sleeplessness)

Avena Sativa is an energy booster for males. It helps to restore your stamina and rejuvenate overall well-being. It also works in aiding sleep and promotes better sleep as well. It protects the body against illness and strengthens the immune system as it fights off infections, fatigue, stress and fatigue.

10. Bambusa bambos – young shoot- for dysmenorrhea, leaf – blood purifier

Bamboo has been used as a herbal medicine since long ago. Also known as Moso or Blue Jade Bamboo, Bambusa bambos is a herb that grows incredibly fast and can reach up to 50 feet (15 meters) in height, making it the largest species of any woody plant in the world! It is often used in folk medicine because of its anti-inflammatory, astringent, laxative, diuretic, anti-ulcer, anti-arthritic, anti-obesity and abortifacient activities.

FAQ on Native Plant Species

Why are Native Plants important for Human Population?

Native plants are those that have evolved in their current range without human intervention. They may be found growing naturally in an area. Native plants aid in high level of conservation and help in sustaining environmental conditions. They also help keep our environment clean and healthy. It follows a natural selection process and are conservative in resource management. They aid in conservation natural resource such as water. They are part of a natural habitat with wild animals, birds and insects native to the region. Native medicinal plant species are important for their ability to provide relief from various ailments. They also help maintain the balance of the ecosystem and protect against pollution.

Benefits of Native Plants:

  • Low maintenance
  • Beauty
  • Healthy Places for People
  • Helping the Climate
  • Conserving Water
  • Wildlife

Can I Grow Native Plants Indoors?

Yes, you can grow native plants indoors if they do not mind low light or high humidity. But, watering should be done frequently so that the moisture level in the containers does not go beyond 80 percent of normal water amount.

Invasive or Non-Native Species, and Natural Native Plants

The term "non-native" refers to plant species that were introduced outside of their natural range. These non-native species can have a profound impact on ecosystems by altering the structure of local food webs. The introduction of non-native species can cause changes in community composition, alter species interactions, and change ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling and decomposition rates.

Non-native species pose a threat to native species because they can take over habitats, reduce biodiversity, and alter ecosystem functions. The introduction of nonnative species can cause changes to community composition, alter species interaction, and change ecosystem processes like nutrient cycling and decomposition. Native and non-native plants have become an important part of landscaping and habitat structure.

Why are Artificial Plants Bad?

Artificial plants are made in factories using toxic chemicals like cadmium, chromium, mercury, and arsenic. These chemicals are dangerous to humans and animals. They can cause cancer, birth defects, and other health problems. In addition, artificial plants don't decompose well and end up taking up space in landfills.

So why are fake plants bad? Because they are made using hazardous chemicals and are often discarded after being used only once. Once a fake plant is faded, it becomes useless. That means it ends up in a landfill where it takes thousands of years to degrade.

If you want to create a beautiful garden, consider planting real plants instead of fake plants. Real plants are much better for the environment and your health.

Are there edible plants that are native?

Native edible plants are those that have been used for food by indigenous people in their traditional homelands for thousands of years.

List of Edible plants Native to India

  • Dill
  • Sage
  • Coriander
  • Cilantro
  • Fennel
  • Peppermint
  • Lemongrass

List of Indian Wild Native Vegetable Plants

  • Bharangi (Rotheca serrata)
  • Dinda (Leea indica)
  • Safed Musli (Chlorophytum tuberosum) 
  • Takla (Cassia tora)
  • Kurdu (Celosia argentea)
  • Bamboo (Dendrocalamus strictus)
  • Shevala (Amorphophallus commutatus)

Next Steps

Further reading 

Happy Gardening!
Dr. Vandana K.