Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Health

How Flowers And Plants Were Used By Our Ancestors

Updated Published
The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

If you were raised in a Puerto Rican household,  it’s likely your scrapes or colds have been treated with plants instead of medicine without realizing it. Growing up on this island, we have always been surrounded by plants. Our ancestors would utilize them to cure illnesses when they did not have access to modern medicine. Those traditional practices have been passed down from generation to generation, providing us with the knowledge we need to keep us healthy. Personally, I have always been treated like this because my grandmother, born in the 1930’s in Arecibo, PR, knows every trick in the book. So, I would like to share some of those tricks with you.

Before I begin, it’s important to know that these plant remedies are not substitutions for modern medicine. If you are experiencing extreme pain, please go to your nearest hospital and get yourself checked out. Your health should always be your number one priority, but if these plants can help soothe some of your pain, then they might be worth giving a try.



Retrieved from Verywell Health

Anise (Pimpinella anisum) is one of the oldest known spice plants. It grows in the Mediterranean, Spain, West Asia, Mexico, Egypt, and the Middle East. Anise contains chemicals that might have estrogen-like effects, decrease swelling, and help fight off insects.” In Puerto Rico, anise has mostly been used to treat specifically menstrual pain, though it can also help with stomach issues. To extract the pain relieving property of the plant, boil it in a cup and a half of water for about three minutes, strain it and enjoy. I remember the first time I drank it, it did not taste very good. However, the ensuing relief was incredibly worth it. 


NpLJpa8nor ZRLhPGSbTNTQUUyz6a oN5HHwVgB1J3Kr5IeswBYWHWMdhhKhyWnIv49kN7isNyoijJH1w oQ4ZqcPOVWy46lNFq fB6J2mK3eAsBHiEl1pm882o prYYIuO2dXZHiq73LITJvepGTio

Retrieved from Allrecepies.com

Ginger adds a fragrant zest to both sweet and savory foods. The pleasantly spicy “kick” from the root of Zingiber officinale, the ginger plant, is what makes ginger ale, ginger tea, candies and many Asian dishes so appealing.” My grandma always gave us ginger root tea when we were feeling under the weather or nauseous. It was almost miraculous because the relief was instant. This is because ginger root has a component called Gingerol that causes gastrointestinal motility which encourages digestion. You can easily make ginger tea at home by peeling and cutting ginger root into small pieces and boiling it in water for approximately five to ten minutes, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be. It is an acquired taste, but you can use your sweetener of preference, like honey or brown sugar, to elevate it and help it taste better.


YT0od81lBEam2uNIsx6PCn VsI2qe6M6DVeczEGgdtQ5JqLMq7O1LAnUFuCckUvIRx Wdsc2w9sz06aDFSebqttJDvdIYA0KYE8DcKHlxVFv73Zox76I5Sq n57ICQRZDmTTkw89MpEIdzu247pWMf0

Retrieved from Gardenia.net

Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to mankind. It is a member of the Asteraceae/Compositae family and represented by two common varieties viz. German Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile). The dried flowers of chamomile contain many terpenoids and flavonoids contributing to its medicinal properties.” This small but mighty flower really does contain healing qualities in the form of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. The most famous use for this plant is as a treatment for insomnia but it also alleviates dizziness, inflammation, and muscle pain. You can ingest this plant via herbal tea by boiling the flower buds in water for five minutes and sweetening it, if you’d like. This one has a very pleasant taste, but if you would prefer to not drink it, you can add some dried chamomile flowers in your bathwater and enjoy a relaxing soak that will put you right to sleep.

Aloe vera 

CLHOrOz21zVaW DqBVz NVO2Qzw7LWFWmKMBFLvIYi9oLYgnT8pd9wPNaeKKRobPF mmmE3kv MKqGa85ADj AyFn4FCJ4nPCW4Cb lNfuZbdXc2vEHqvy3u4CFd pbjcaf1tm43ly8qQJEJv7pUfMQ

Retrieved from Old Farmers Almanac

“The aloe vera plant is a succulent plant species from the genus Aloe. It grows abundantly in tropical climates and has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant.” I think I saved the best for last. This green, slimy goo has been utilized for protection against the scorching sun since forever. There has to be a reason it mostly grows in the tropics after all. When I was little, I remember hating the feeling of it on my skin, but as I’ve gotten older, I now understand the benefits of it. Aloe vera is most commonly used to treat sunburns, but my granny has also instructed me to apply it on pimples and other burns. Plus, it can help in moisturizing your skin. You simply cut off a piece of the Aloe leaf and apply the gel directly to your skin. (Small Tip: it feels heavenly when it’s cold). 

As you can see, plants have an infinite amount of applications and uses. Mother Earth really granted us all these resources and we should all feel more than welcome to using them when we need them. That’s why it’s so important to look after and take care of the Earth because, if we don’t, our days with these magical plants could be numbered. I hope you learned something new with these few examples and I encourage you to keep searching for the plants that are just right for you and your needs.

Hello! I'm Carmen, currently studying Advertising and Gender Studies in the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras campus. I love advertising but what i love most is getting to write about thing I'm actually passionate about like music, cinema, self-acceptance and the beautiful place I call home.