5 Succulents That Are Considered Herbaceous

The words herbaceous succulents can be quite a mouthful for the untrained tongue. Luckily our good friends in the botany world have reduced it to just herb succulents. So, what are they anyway? We know succulents are plants that have thick, fleshy leaves or stems that retain water that can be used by the plant during dry seasons.

They do not have woody stems or tissues. Herbaceous plants are plants that have some sort of aromatic or flavorsome properties. Which can be used in its natural form or processed into medicine, fragrances, spices or garnishes. Herb succulents are therefore succulents with either medicinal or culinary properties.

Medicinal Herbaceous Succulents

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is one of the most popular succulents known the world over for its medicinal abilities to smooth burns, heal cuts and treat skin diseases like acne and eczema. It’s no wonder that the plant is featured in most cosmetic products on the market and found in most grandma’s homes.

The aloe succulent is believed to have originated from Sudan and is widely grown in Africa and India. The plant has however been referenced in traditional medicinal remedies in Egypt, Mexico, Greece, China, and Japan.

This usually stemless succulent plant has thick, dark green, fleshy leaves that grow from the plant’s central system and have serrated leaf margins. The leaves have a liquid sap and gel-like substance under the skin that are incorporated health products because of their benefits.

It appears in some toothpaste because of its high calcium content. Aloe gel has cooling and anti-inflammatory influences, making it a helpful addition to skin creams, ointments, and lotions. Aloe pills filled with the sap are available at many pharmacies because they help reduce constipation. It’s no wonder that this herb succulent is known as the wonder plant.

5 Succulents that are Considered Herbaceous
Aloe Vera @potsnplants

Opuntia

Usually found in traditional Mexican tacos, the Opuntia is a funny looking cactus that has broad, large green leaves with fat finger-like projections at the edges that are the ‘fruit’ of the plant. It is a common feature in Mexican restaurants going under the names Nopales or Prickly Pear.

The leaves of the Opuntia can be eaten raw, boiled or grilled and have a texture and flavor in close resemblance to green beans. The flowers, stems, and fruits can be found as the main ingredient in Mexican salsas and soups.

What makes the Opuntia a herbaceous succulent is the medicinal properties found in the leaves and fruit. When ingested, the plant is a good source of fiber, carotenoids, and antioxidants. Scientists and medical practitioners have linked the consumption of Opuntia to decreased blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

The anti-inflammatory effects of the Opuntia have been linked with lessening the side effects of a hangover. The next time you are on a bender, how about trying a piece of Opuntia the next morning?

Check out more benefits on these succulents by checking out “5 Benefits of Succulents“.

Agave Americana

The Agave Americana is a large, outdoor succulent that was originally found in the desert areas of Mexico and Central America. It goes by a variety of names including Century Plant, Maguey Flowering Aloe, Metl, Spiked Aloe, and American Aloe. 

The plant has large green-grey or grey-blue, pointy tipped leaves and can grow to as tall as 1.75 meters. Although it may look like one, the Agave Americana is not related to the Aloe Vera.

This herbaceous succulent has various medicinal properties and is also a great addition to your pantry. The Aztecs and Mayans knew the anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and wound healing properties of the Agave Americana and they would mix the nectar from the leaves with egg whites to heal cuts, burns and open wounds. Toothaches were cured with a paste made from the root and leaves of the succulent.

The nectar was also prepared and ingested to heal stomach inflammation, treat ulcers, tuberculosis, syphilis and menstrual problems. The anti-bacterial properties in the nectar have been proven to internally control the growth of decay bacteria in the stomach and intestines. Scientists use Agave Americana as a source for echogenic which is currently used in the production of various steroidal drugs.

There are a variety of recipes that include the flower stalk and base leaves of the Agave Americana being roasted or cooked with meats and vegetables. Oh, and the next time someone orders a shot of Tequila, just know that one of its base ingredients is the nectar from the Agave Americana!

Learn more from the Agave family by taking a look at “What Is A Whale’s Tongue? Agave Ovatifolia“. Find out why they call this succulent the Whale’s Tongue!

5 Succulents that are Considered Herbaceous
Agave Americana @kebint

Culinary Herbaceous Succulents

Plectranthus Amboinicus 

Also known as the Cuban Oregano, Spanish Thyme, Indian Borage, and Mexican Mint, the Plectranthus amboinicus offers culinary as well as medicinal benefits. Originally from India, this succulent has naturally thick, fleshy leaves that are green-grey in color, covered in fine hairs and have saw-toothed edges. They tend to spread as they grow, making them a perfect addition to a hanging basket.

Compared to other oregano plants, the Plectranthus amboinicus has a stronger and more robust flavor, and chefs recommend using it in small quantities. The leaves are usually crushed and dried up and used as a seasoning for soups and stews. The dried crushed leaves are also the main ingredient in Caribbean jerk recipes and can be used to stuff poultry before baking in the oven. Fish curries and mutton dishes come alive with a sprinkle of Plectranthus amboinicus but note that the leaves are criticized in salads because of their rough, hairy texture.

Traditionally, the Plectranthus amboinicus succulent was used to treat throat and respiratory infections, flatulence, constipation and as an aid to stimulate lactation. This succulent is known to have expectorant and laxative effects to help aid in digestion, relieve coughs and relax spasms. Certain communities in Venezuela believe that the Plectranthus amboinicus can be taken to expel kidney stones.

The leaves contain an oil that can be extracted and used for cooking. The oil is said to have various health benefits including a good amount of thymol and carvacrol to build the immune system. It is also a great source of Omega 3, calcium, iron and manganese that are all important for bone strength. Studies at the Georgetown Medical Centre in 2001 showed that taking healthy amounts of Plectranthus amboinicus can prevent and cure toenail fungus.

Enjoying learning about succulents that are considered herbaceous? If so, you’ll really enjoy our ebook about “The Most Common Issues Amongst Succulent Growers“. With this ebook, you’ll find yourself more detailed answers that’ll help your succulent grow even better! With thousands of succulent lovers enjoying our ebooks, you don’t want to miss out on what works the best to grow your succulents. 

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5 Succulents that are Considered Herbaceous
Plectranthus Amboinicus @hamont.houseplants

Talinum Paniculatum

Also known as the Jewels of Opar. The Talinum paniculatum is a creeping succulent with long, orange or brown roots and bright, glossy green leaves. These succulents produce pink, cloud-like flowers that resemble cotton candy hanging over the succulent, thus giving it the popular names of Pink Baby’s Breath and Fame Flower.

Jewels of Opar were found originally in most parts of the Western Hemisphere, specifically Southern United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean islands. The tiny green leaves have become a staple in sandwiches and salads across Latin America. While the tiny black seeds produced has been noticed as a good supplement of Omega 3 oils.

Chefs and nutritionists do give caution on the number of leaves one can have as they contain oxalic acid which if taken in large quantities, could cause nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath.

Talinum paniculatum has been around the medical world as being effective in treating liver and kidney problems. Especially treating bad-smelling urine and gastrointestinal disorders. The leaves have a soothing effect on skin inflammations, burns, cuts, and bruises. The roots of the Jewels of Opar have been linked to the treatment of arthritis, scurvy, and pneumonia. Traditional healers also believed in the power of the roots as a reproductive tonic, enhancing vitality, reducing impotence and as a natural aphrodisiac.

Make sure you also go check out “Where Do Most Succulents Come From?” for a look at where most succulents originate from.

5 Succulents that are Considered Herbaceous
Jewels of Opar @mmk.lizbeth

There you have it, 5 succulents that are considered herbaceous. There are many more succulents that have healing powers and gastronomic roles, but not all are good for the human body.

Like all good things. Everything must be done in moderation, and experimenting with herbaceous succulents should also be taken in stride. Please be sure to check that the succulent is indeed safe for human consumption before proceeding.

Having said that, do you know of any succulents you might have had a fun time munching? Let us know in the comments below which ones we missed.

Happy Planting! 🌵

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