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Planting Medicinal Plants

A man standing in a field of Medicinal Plants
A man standing in a field of Medicinal Plants

REAP is focusing on just a few well proven medicinal plants that can be used locally for treatment of common ailments.

These plants can be divided into three groups

  1. Large trees that should be planted somewhere in the compound
  2. Plants that can be planted in a specific medicinal garden
  3. Plants that are either growing wild or are a part of the normal farm environment


The following four trees are recommended:

  1. Neem
  2. Guava  (also Mango and Avocado)
  3. Frangipani
  4. Moringa stenopetala

Medicinal garden

The following plants are recommended for a basic medicinal garden

  1. Moringa oleifera
  2. Pawpaw
  3. Passion Fruit (can be planted to climb in hedges)
  4. Lemon grass
  5. Ringworm Bush – Cassia alata
  6. Aloe Vera
  7. Artemesia
  8. Roselle
  9. Garlic
  10. Ginger


REAP is seeking to encourage basic uses that are not too complicated.  The following table shows the main uses of these plants.

Medicinal Plant Main Use Secondary Uses Other Factors
Neem Lice, Scabies, Athlete’s Foot, Skin problems Fever, tooth brush Insecticide
Moringa Dietary supplement, Anaemia Diarrhoea, diabetes, skin infections Vegetable, Water purification,
Guava Diarrhoea, Scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency) Wounds Fruit
Frangipani Herpes (Opportunistic infection of AIDS) Ornamental
Pawpaw Wounds, intestinal worms, indigestion Amoeba, Asthma Meat tenderiser, Fruit
Lemon Grass Fever, bronchitis, Bad breath Tea
Ringworm Bush – Cassia alata Ringworm, Athlete’s Foot and other fungal infections Constipation
Aloe Vera Burns, Wounds, Conjunctivitis, Laxative, Intestinal worms
Artemesia Malaria Eye infections,
Passion Fruit Asthma, Sleeplessness Anaemia, Nervousness Fruit
Roselle Urinary infections (Diuretic), High Blood pressure Sleeplessness Herbal Tea
Garlic Boils, coughs, cold, fungal infections, Blood pressure, diabetes, amoeba Flavour
Ginger Nausea (incl travel sickness), cough medicine Rheumatism oil Flavour
Asthma weed

(Euphorbia hirta),

Amoeba dysentery.  Ashtma A tea made with pawpaw, mango and guava leaves

As a start the following species are recommended for planting, to be added to later:


Neem is a relatively large tree.  It is normally started in a nursery from seeds.  The seeds need to be fresh as they do not maintain viability long.  The tree is not conducive with crops so is perhaps best planted as a shade tree near the home


Guava is a familiar tree that can either be grown separately or in a hedge.


Frangipani is a medium size tree with attractive flowers.  It is best grown where it can give shade and beauty to the compound.


The are two types of Moringa.  Moringa oleifera  is the smaller one from Asia and Moringa stenopetala is larger native to Africa.  Both have the same basic uses.  They are planted from seed, though cuttings can also be taken from mature trees.   Moringa oleifera is a small tree best grown as a hedge as it is also good to prune it so that it does not grow too tall

Cassia alata

This is a small shrub that has attractive yellow flowers.  The leaves are very effective for treating fungal infections, and especially Ringworm


Already abundant locally.  Plant as for fruit.  Papaine already known in Gambogi area.  Pawpaw should be included in a medicinal garden and can be planted around the edge or implanted with the other plants.

Passion Fruit (can be planted to climb in hedges)

Passion fruit are already abundant locally.  Plant some in the hedge

 Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Grows as a clump grass.  Planted as slips.  A bunch is separated and a row of grass can be planted.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera branches directly from the base.  It does not have a tall stem like Aloe ferox and Aloe arborescens.  The plant sends out slips from the side.  These have small roots and can be carefully dug out and planted as a separate plant.  Plant a row.

Artemesia (Artemesia annua)

Artemesia annua grows into a bushy plant.  They can be grown with difficulty from seed, but are easily planted from cuttings when already established.  Cuttings are sometimes available from REAP.  Once plants are established care for them and take cuttings.  Plant cuttings in a seedbed or bowl.  Transplant when the roots are well established.  Plant a row with plants about 2 feet (70 cm) apart in the row.


Roselle is a short lived herb that is grown from seed.  Seeds are available from REAP.  Plant in an area about 50-70 cm apart.


Garlic is a bulb that has many segments (cloves).  Plant separate cloves 15 cm apart in rows 30 cm apart.


The part of ginger that is eaten is the rhizome.  It is planted from sprouted pieces of rhizome.

Euphorbia hirta (Asthma weed)

This grows wild and favours places like short grass and alongside roads and paths.  It is normally collected from the wild.

Other possible species for planting include Warburgia, Tephrosia diversifolia, Prunus Africana, and Mondia whitei, Other medicinal plants are probably readily available and may not need to be planted.  These include Eucalyptus, Chilli pepper, Asthma weed (Euphorbia hirta), pumpkin.