The 8 Medicinal Succulents – Discover the Therapeutic Power of These Resilient Plants

medicinal succulents

Medicinal succulents, with their remarkable resilience and diverse therapeutic properties, are captivating plants that have been cherished for centuries. From soothing skin ailments to providing natural remedies for various health conditions, these extraordinary plants have earned a well-deserved reputation for their medicinal qualities.

The list of medicinal succulents today will contain the following:

  • Aloe vera
  • Opuntia spp.
  • Agave spp.
  • Echeveria spp.
  • Kalanchoe spp.
  • Jade Plants (Crassula Ovata)
  • Snake Plants
  • Sempervivum spp.

#1. Aloe Vera

The Aloe Vera is one of the most popular succulents known worldwide for its medicinal abilities to smooth burns, heal cuts and treat skin diseases like acne and eczema. It’s no wonder 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. Because of their benefits, the leaves have a liquid sap and gel-like substance under the skin that is incorporated into health products.

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 sap are available at many pharmacies because they help reduce constipation. No wonder this herb succulent is known as the wonder plant.

5 Succulents that are Considered Herbaceous
Aloe Vera @potsnplants

#2. Opuntia spp.

Usually found in traditional Mexican tacos, the Opuntia is a funny-looking cactus with 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 closely resembling green beans. The flowers stems, and fruits are the main ingredients in Mexican salsas and soups.

What makes 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 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?

Click here to learn more about the Prickly Pear cactus.

#3. Agave Spp.

Agave plants are well-known for their use in producing tequila and agave syrup. However, some species, like Agave americana, have been used in traditional medicine. Agave has been used topically to treat wounds, burns, and skin infections due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This plant’s genus is used internally for various purposes, including gastrointestinal issues, liver health, and wound healing.

Let’s take an example: Agave Americana. Agave Americana, or Century Plant or American Aloe, is a large succulent found in desert regions. It has medicinal properties, such as anti-inflammatory and wound-healing effects. The Aztecs and Mayans used it to treat cuts, burns, toothaches, and various ailments. The nectar from its leaves has antibacterial properties and is still used today to produce steroidal drugs. Various recipes include the flower stalk and base leaves of the Agave Americana being roasted or cooked with meats and vegetables. The next time someone orders a Tequila, know that one of its base ingredients is the nectar from the Agave Americana!

Look at our tips for caring for Agave Ovatifolia with the post “What Is A Whale’s Tongue? Agave Ovatifolia“. Find out why they call this succulent the Whale’s Tongue!

#4. Echeveria (Echeveria spp.)

Echeverias are stunning succulents prized for their rosette-shaped foliage and come in various colors and textures. They are often applied topically in poultices or salves. While their primary use is ornamental, some echeveria species, like Echeveria pulvinata, have traditionally been used in herbal medicine to treat skin infections and promote wound healing.

#5. Jade Plant (Crassula ovata) 

The Jade plant is a popular houseplant with thick, fleshy leaves and symbolizes good luck and prosperity. In traditional medicine, Jade plant leaves have alleviated diarrhea and stomach cramps. Some studies suggest that extracts from the Jade Plant may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, potentially contributing to its therapeutic properties.

#6. Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata)

Snake plants known as Mother-in-Law’s Tongue are well-regarded for their air-purifying abilities. Snake plants remove toxins (for example, formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene) from the air. That’s why they are always the number #1 choice for improving indoor air quality. At night, snake plants release oxygen to promote better sleep and respiratory health.

#7. Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp.)

Kalanchoe plants are popular succulents with fleshy leaves and colorful flowers. Some species, such as Kalanchoe pinnata (also known as “Cathedral Bell” or “Goethe plant”), have been used in traditional medicine for their antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing properties. Certain compounds found in Kalanchoe, including flavonoids and phenols, are believed to contribute to these medicinal effects. Kalanchoe has also been studied for its potential anticancer properties, although more research is needed.

#8. Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum spp.)

‘Hens and Chicks’ plants are lovely succulents characterized by their rosette-like growth habit and prolific offsets. While their primary use is ornamental, ancient people used Sempervivum plants in traditional medicine for their astringent properties. The leaves of hens and chicks have been applied topically to soothe burns, insect bites, and skin irritations. They are believed to have wound-healing and anti-inflammatory effects.

Final Words

There you have it, 8 medicinal succulents. Many more succulents 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 medicinal succulents should also be taken in stride. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional or do further research before using them for medicinal purposes. Some succulents may have specific usage guidelines or potential interactions with medications.

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. For more interesting lists of succulents:

Happy Planting!

Succulent City chief editor


Succulent City

Hey everyone! Welcome to Succulent City! We are all about succulents, cacti, and a bit about air plants. Ten years back, in 2013, we began the journey with succulents. It started as a simple hobby, crafting and selling charming succulent-themed pins and decorations. But as time passed, our fascination with these remarkable plants grew, and we gained extensive knowledge about them. Therefore, Succulent City is the blog as you see it is now. Enjoy your visit and happly planting!

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Posted in Succulents