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Medicinal garden, Jedburgh Abbey, Scotland, © Susan WallaceMedicinal garden
Jedburgh Abbey, Scotland

Commonly Used Medicinal Plants:
Introduction and Index


The most common diseases during the middle ages were dysentery, epilepsy, influenza, diphtheria, scurvy, typhoid, smallpox, scabies, impetigo, leprosy, pneumonia, stroke, heart attack, scrofula (chronically swollen lymph nodes, later identified as a form of tuberculosis), St. Vitus' Dance (rheumatic chorea, a temporary disorder of the parts of the brain that control movement and coordination), and St. Anthony's Fire (ergotism, caused by ingesting toxic amounts of alkaloids produced by a fungus that infests rye - symptoms included gangrene with burning pain in the extremities, convulsions, hallucinations, and severe psychosis).

Plants listed in this section are those used most frequently to treat these and other illnesses. Quoted excerpts of treatments from medical texts were translated from Middle English by the Webmaster of this site.

Select a plant to learn more about its use in medical treatments and remedies.