Summer is here and in the spirit of the season, we decided it would be a great time to highlight a few medicinal beach plants common in Florida.
In general, plants that grow in hostile conditions contain constituents that not only help them survive but are also good medicine for us too. It makes sense that these salt-tolerant plants growing on Florida’s hot sandy beach dunes would have healing properties! These plants all have rich histories of tradition use throughout Florida, Central America and the Caribbean.
A note on harvesting dune plants
The loss of beach sand due to tidal erosion is an issue across much of Florida. The plants listed here serve an important purpose – anchoring that sand in place. And they do a better job than most man-made alternatives. When harvesting any plant from any beach, only harvest what you need, only harvest from large established plants, and only harvest when the dune has an abundance of plant coverage.
Beach Morning Glory
This beach plant is widely used in tropical areas to treat several conditions.
A common tropical creeping vine that grows on the sandy parts of beaches, goat’s foot is salt tolerant and propagates naturally by ocean dispersal (reproduces by sending its seeds, sea beans, floating out by ocean currents).
This small sprawling tree has large tropical looking leaves that make it popular as a landscaping tree in beach communities. The fruits and leaves are edible and have a number of medicinal properties.
A daisy-like salt marsh flower that is common to Florida beaches.