15 Trees With Medicinal Properties You Can Grow In Your Yard

15 Trees With Medicinal Properties You Can Grow In Your Yard

So, who else is planning their own backyard farm of medicinal plants and trees? As noted by Research Outreach, plants for medicinal use date back to the Sumerian civilization (roughly, 6,000 years ago). Unfortunately (or fortunately?), modern herbalism has been demoted to a spring activity whereby you visit the woods or a local park to forage for catnip, motherwort, and dandelion (via The GroveStead).

Surprisingly, the recent push for veganism coupled with the ongoing at-home-gardening trend is starting to revive the fading true meaning of herbalism. According to Frontiers in Pharmacology, 80% of the world’s population relied on herbal medicines for primary health care, over the past few decades.

Some of the benefits of growing your own herbs over foraging include the educational opportunity, savings, and ease of access, per My Little Green Garden. But herbalism is not limited to only herbs and plants. Some trees, too, pack rich and powerful medicinal properties in their bark, leaves, fruits, roots, and flowers. Read on to learn more about these medicinal trees.

1. Birch

Birch (Betula spp.), also called the lady of the woods, is a symbol of new beginnings and birth. According to the Forest School Association, birch tea, made from steeped birch leaves, is a remedy for symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and urinary problems. Euphoric Herbs adds that the water from boiled birch bark can tone and clear the skin, and that birch sap can be converted into syrup.

Bloom Season: Winter

USDA Growing Zone: 4 to 9

Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade

Soil Type: Light, well-drained acidic soil

Size: 49 to 82 feet tall, 15 to 30 feet wide

2. Slippery elm

According to Britannica, the slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) is a North American native herbal tree with scented inner bark and hardwood. Per Healthline, the tree’s bark can provide therapeutic relief for heartburn and ​​gastroesophageal reflux disease, urinary tract inflammation, and a sore throat. All you have to do is dry the bark, pound it into powder, steep 2 tablespoons in a cup of hot water, and drink when cool.

Bloom Season: February, April

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USDA Growing Zone: 3 to 7

Growing Conditions: Full sun or partial shade

Soil Type: Moist, limestone-filled soil

Size: 60 to 70 feet tall, 24 to 36 inches wide

3. Cedar

The cedar tree (Cedrus libani) is an evergreen featuring needle-like leaves, brown monoecious cones, and barrel-shaped leaves (per The Woodland Trust). Cedar can be used as a sage to purify the body and as a medicine to combat a scratchy throat, according to Adrian White of the Iowa Herbalist. Due to their size, cedar trees aren’t ideal for small spaces.

Bloom Season: Early spring

USDA Growing Zone: 5 to 8

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Soil Type: Well-draining soil

Size: 40 to 70 feet tall, 35 feet wide

4. Common ash

According to RxList, the leaves and bark of ash trees (Fraxinus spp.) are used as a medication for constipation, bladder problems, and fever. Plants for a Future adds that white ash can be used to treat soreness and skin irritation, as well as relieve cramps.

Bloom Season: Spring

USDA Growing Zone: 3 to 9

Growing Conditions: Full sun or partial shade

Soil Type: Moist, rich soil

Size: 70 to 80 feet tall, 60 to 90 feet wide

5. Black alder

Black alder (Alnus glutinosa) is a broadleaf tree with low competition tolerance and a lifespan of about 100 to 160 years. Natural Medicinal Herbs claims black alder can be used as a tonic, a treatment for skin problems (such as scabies), and a mouthwash.

Bloom Season: March, April

USDA Growing Zone: 3 to 7

Growing Conditions: Partial shade or full sunlight

Soil Type: Mildly acidic or mildly alkaline, medium loamy and heavy clay soils

Size: 40 to 50 feet tall, 20 to 40 feet wide

6. European beech

European beech (Fagus sylvatica), also known as common beech, is a shade tree common in parks, lawns, and large yards. According to Organic Facts, European beech has antiseptic and antioxidant properties, and can be applied in the treatment of digestion issues and headaches.

Bloom Season: Spring

USDA Growing Zone: 4 to 7

Growing Conditions: Full sun or partial shade

Soil Type: Well-drained, acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, and clay soils

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Size: 80 to 100 feet tall, 50 to 70 feet wide

7. Hawthorn

The hawthorn tree (a.k.a. thornapple) is a deciduous tree with five-petaled flowers, thorny branches, and ornamental fruits that are used for making wine. The berry fruits of the hawthorn also contain beneficial health properties and have been used as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and for anxiety control (per Healthline).

Bloom Season: Late spring

USDA Growing Zone: 3 to 8

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Soil Type: Nutrient-rich, heavy clay soil

Size: 15 to 50 feet tall, 25 to 35 feet wide

8. American linden

American linden (Tilia americana) is an Iowa native tree with light, smooth bark, hard nutlets, and almost heart-shaped leaves, per Iowa State University Extension. The medicinal uses of American linden tea include the treatment of dysentery, a weak stomach, lung issues, and heartburn, according to Plants for a Future.

Bloom Season: June, July

USDA Growing Zone: 2 to 8

Growing Conditions: Full sun or partial shade

Soil Type: Deep, fertile, well-drained loam and clay soils

Size: 75 to 130 feet tall, 30 to 69 feet wide

9. Eastern ironwood

Eastern ironwood (Ostrya virginiana), also known as American ironwood, is a medium-sized tree with slender twigs and smooth, reddish-brown bark, according to Bates College. The college notes Native Americans tapped into the medicinal properties of the tree’s bark, creating home remedies for symptoms like aches, soreness, and coughs.

Bloom Season: Early summer, Late summer, Midsummer

USDA Growing Zone: 5 to 9

Growing Conditions:

Soil Type: Dry and rich, well-drained soil

Size: 20 to 50 feet tall, 8 to 20 inches wide

10. Sugar maple

Per the Missouri Botanical Garden, the sugar maple (Acer Saccharum) tree is a shading tree often used for landscape beautification in lawns and parks. Per Song of the Woods, the tree’s sap is a source of B vitamins and calcium while its leaves and bark can be applied to treat the digestive system and used as skin care.

Bloom Season: April, June

USDA Growing Zone: 3 to 9

Growing Conditions: Partial shade, full shade, or full sunlight

Soil Type: Well-drained, medium loams, heavy clay, or light sand

Size: 60 to 100 feet tall, 36 to 49 feet wide

11. Cottonwood

12. Oak

The oak (Quercus) tree is an evergreen that can live for 400 years or more, per New World Encyclopedia. The trees are widely planted as canopy trees, and according to HerbaZest, an oak tree’s bark and leaves have been used to combat skin inflammation, relieve respiratory problems, and treat infections.

Bloom Season: Spring (March to May)

USDA Growing Zone: 3 to 9

Growing Conditions: Partial shade or full sunlight

Soil Type: Acidic, Alkaline, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained, and clay soils

Size: 60 to 100 feet tall, 50 to 90 feet wide

13. Walnut

Walnut (juglans) is a popular deciduous tree in the furniture and carpentry industries. Per a study published in Pharmacognosy Reviews, the walnut tree’s leaves, flowers, and roots have been studied for their therapeutic effects in the treatment of diabetes, rheumatic pain, malaria, fever, and skin disease.

Bloom Season: April, May

USDA Growing Zone: 4 to 9

Growing Conditions: Full sun.

Soil Type: Organically rich, moist, well-drained, deep soil.

Size: 100 to 120 feet tall, 50 to 75 feet wide

14. Pine

According to Britannica, pine (pinus) is a coniferous evergreen native to northern temperate regions. Pine is a versatile tree, with edible seeds, and as noted by the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, pine tea can be served as a remedy for a cough, fever, or cold.

Bloom Season: May, June

USDA Growing Zone: 6 to 9

Growing Conditions: Full sun

Soil Type: Well-drained, average-to-medium-moisture soil

Size: 60 feet tall, 40 feet wide

15. Hazelnut

Hazelnut (Corylus sp.) is another deciduous tree with brown, oval-shaped edible nuts, rounded leaves, and pale yellow flowers. According to Medicinal Herb Info, the shrub has been used as an astringent and a fever reducer.

Bloom Season: Late summer

USDA Growing Zone: 4 to 9

Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade

Soil Type: Acidic, alkaline, loamy, moist, rich, sandy, well-drained, and clay soils

Size: 15 to 15 feet tall, 10 to 12 feet wide