For the benefit of the plant communities, wild animals, harvesters, farmers, consumers, manufacturers, retailers and practitioners, we offer this list of wild medicinal plants which we feel are currently most sensitive to the impact of human activities.
Our intent is to assure the increasing abundance of the medicinal plants which are currently in decline due to expanding popularity and shrinking habitat and range. UpS is not asking for a moratorium on the use of these herbs. Rather, we are initiating programs designed to preserve these important wild medicinal plants.
American Ginseng – Panax quinquefolius
Arnica – Arnica spp.
Black Cohosh – Actaea racemosa
Bloodroot – Sanguinaria canadensis
Blue Cohosh – Caulophyllum thalictroides
Butterfly Weed – Asclepias tuberosa
Cascara Sagrada – Frangula purshiana
Chaparro – Castela emoryi
Echinacea – Echinacea spp.
Elephant Tree – Bursera microphylla
Eyebright – Euphrasia spp.
Gentian – Gentiana spp.
Goldenseal – Hydrastis canadensis
Goldthread – Coptis spp.
False Unicorn – Chamaelirium luteum
Kava – Piper methysticum (Hawaii only)
Lady’s Slipper Orchid – Cypripedium spp.
Lobelia – Lobelia inflata
Lomatium – Lomatium dissectum
Maidenhair Fern – Adiantum pedatum
Mayapple – Podophyllum peltatum
Osha – Ligusticum porteri
Peyote – Lophophora williamsii
Pink Root – Spigelia marilandica
Pipsissewa – Chimaphila umbellata
Ramps - Allium tricoccum
Sandalwood – Santalum spp. (Hawaii only)
Slippery Elm – Ulmus rubra
Squirrel Corn – Dicentra canadensis
Stoneroot – Collinsonia canadensis
Stream Orchid – Epipactis gigantea
Sundew – Drosera spp.
Trillium, Beth Root - Trillium spp.
True Unicorn – Aletris farinosa
Venus Fly Trap – Dionaea muscipula
Virginia Snakeroot – Aristolochia serpentaria
White Sage – Salvia apiana
Wild Indigo – Baptisia tinctoria
Wild Yam – Dioscorea villosa
Yerba Mansa – Anemopsis californica
Analog List for At-Risk and To-Watch Herbs
Compiled by Jane Bothwell, March 2000, revised 2006
After introduction to the United Plant Savers list of “At-Risk” plants, students always ask, “Well, what can we use in its place?” Often times the choice is simple: choose a cultivated species rather than one harvested from the wild. When cultivated species are not available, then it is best to find a plant analog. An analog is something having an analogy or similarity to something else. For our purposes, this indicates parallels in function or end results between two or more medicinal herbs.
Following is an alphabetical list of most of the United Plant Savers “At-Risk” and “To-Watch” lists, accompanied by suggested analogs. This list is compiled by the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of UpS.