Healing Herb

A plant has a power to cure all sorts of wounds and act as the Magic Antidote.

One of the favorite forms of an external healing source, close to Healing Potion, of which it may be one ingredient. Among its other advantages, it can make a good MacGuffin. It can also show a person is close to nature and even symbolize that nature makes characters well.

A certain amount of Truth in Television: many plants are the root source of medicinesnote . However, in Real Life, they are not Magic Antidotes. Like drugs derived from them, herbs can have side-effects, sometimes quite serious, even fatal, and unlike the drugs, natural variation in growth means the dosage is unpredicatable. For safety reasons, therefore, do not include Real Life examples. Someone serious about herbal medicine can find much better sources than this wiki.

In fiction, they are more likely to be a Panacea. See also Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables. The realistic version is That Old Time Prescription. The Spice Rack Panacea is another take on it, where a herbal remedy cures something in fiction (or is proclaimed to cure something in real life) that it technically should not be able to cure.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball has the Senzu Beans which are grown by Korin, the wise old talking cat. They can heal all of the eater's wounds, and as a bonus sate their hunger for ten days. Unfortunately, they take a very long time to grow, and there are some things they can't fix (like the Saiyans' tails being removed, or the heart virus Goku contracts).

  • Lone Wolf's world features several, most notably:
    • Laumspur, a wild herb with bright red flowers, which you can find over most of Magnamund. Most common ingredient for Healing Potions.
    • Oede herb, which has golden leaves, is considerably rarer, but powerful enough to qualify as Panacea.

  • J. R. R. Tolkien's works:
  • In Saga of the Volsungs, Sigmund completely cures Sinfjotli from a mortal wound by touching it with a magic herb brought to him by a raven.
  • "Adara's rose" in The Belgariad will cure any poison.
  • Sorcha's profession is as an herbalist in The Sevenwaters Trilogy.
  • In Andre Norton's Dread Companion, Kilda uses the notus on Kosgro's wound. Inflammation dies down while she does it.
  • In Andre Norton's Catseye, medical plants are one treasure of the Wild.
  • In Warrior Cats, because the characters are cats and obviously wouldn't have access to or knowledge of human medicine, their healers, known as medicine cats, use herbs instead.
  • A much more realistic example is knobweed from The Way of Kings, the sap of which is a powerful antiseptic. The heroes make a small fortune by taking advantage of the fact that Sylphrena is very good at finding patches of these weeds, far better than the workers employed by the local doctors.
  • In Masques, Aralorn finds a ridiculously effective pain-numbing herb when she's badly injured. It has side-effects, though; you can't eat anything under the influence because it will make you throw up, and you will be noticeably drugged and not quite there. In the state she's in, it doesn't matter to her.
  • The Land in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has aliantha, berries which are surprisingly nutritious and refreshing, to the extent that just a few a day (less than a handful) with no other food or water can keep a person alive indefinitely. They also cure a variety of ailments including leprosy, at least while the person remains in the Land. They are, however, stated to be an expression of Earthpower, which is basically magic.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Merlin, Gaius' second-most common explanation as to where Merlin is is that he is out collecting herbs for him. There are other times when Merlin actually does go out to collect the rare herb needed to heal an important patient.
  • In American Horror Story: Coven, Misty raves about the healing properties of swamp mud, and proceeds to rub it all over a boy's wounds. It works, but her magic may have had something to do with it.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Iron Crown Enterprises' games (such as Rolemaster and Middle-earth Role Playing ) and settings (such as Shadow World) had many types of healing herbs, including ones to restore lost hits, cure diseases and poisons and heal specific types of damage.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Dragon magazine #82 article "Wounds and Weeds" listed in-game healing benefits from 12 different Real Life plants, including comfrey, garlic and woundwort.
    • Dragon magazine #269 article "Herbcraft: Expanding the Herbalism Proficiency" had new uses for the Herbalism NWP as well as 21 fictional herbs and descriptions of their properties.
    • 2nd Edition introduced the Herbalism non-weapon proficiency, which allowed characters to heal using herbs.

  • In John Milton's Comus, the attendent spirit tells of a shepherd lad who knows these.
    a certain shepherd lad,
    Of small regard to see to, yet well skilled
    In every virtuous plant and healing herb
    That spreads her verdant leaf to the morning ray.
  • In William Shakespeare's Alls Well That Ends Well, Helena's knowledge of a herb is enough to cure the king.

    Video Games 
  • In the first Jade Cocoon game, Calabas Herb is a MacGuffin needed to cure some villagers of a sleeping curse; the sequel downgrades it to a more common healing item.
  • Pokémon has several varieties of healing herb, including a revival herb. But they come with a price - they're very bitter and lower the Pokemon's friendship. Not a problem in some cases, but if you're trying to get something like Golbat, Pichu or Togepi to evolve, or if you want to max someone's friendship for use of the move Returnnote  or for a move tutor visitnote  you have to watch it.
  • A staple of the Resident Evil series, and they can be mixed together for stronger effects. Green recovers health, blue cures poison, and red cannot be used by itself, but it can be mixed with a green herb to make it stronger. Resident Evil 4 also uses yellow herbs, which extends your life meter. It's never explicitly stated how the herbs are used, though Resident Evil 5 makes the herbs be applied to the body like a spray can and Resident Evil 6 compresses herbs into easy-to-swallow tablets.
  • Both Simba and Tarzan use a renamed Cure spell called Healing Herb in the Kingdom Hearts series.
  • The entire Star Ocean series uses berries and herbs as healing devices. All it takes to restore 20% of your life in the heat of battle with the ultimate evil bent on destroying all existence are a couple of blueberries.
  • Every game in the Grandia series contains several examples. The first game alone contains herbs, health weed, rainbow weed, ginseng, and the white and red sulfa weeds, the latter of which is a MacGuffin which is needed to treat a sick NPC.
  • Each of the Breath of Fire games except for Dragon Quarter contains a healing item called Herb or Healing Herb.
  • In Alundra, herbs are the weakest available recovery item, but also the one of which it's possible to hold the largest amount at a time.
  • Both Lunar: The Silver Star and Lunar: Eternal Blue contain herbs and healing nuts as HP recovery items.
  • Azure Dreams contains a plethora of herbs and fruits which convey various effects on one's stats. The most basic are the medicinal herb, which recovers HP, and the pita fruit, which recovers a monster's MP. There's also one named the Healing Herb which can only be found on a particular floor and functions as a MacGuffin to heal the game's Ill Girl.
  • In Vagrant Story, the low tier recovery items are healing roots and healing bulbs for HP, and mana roots and mana bulbs for MP.
  • The Wild Arms series traditionally uses berries for HP recovery items (heal berry, potion berry, and mega berry, from weakest to strongest,) and magic carrots for MP recovery. The KO-recovery item is the revive fruit, and all the stat increasing items are apples.
  • In the Suikoden games, the basic recovery item is "medicine," but in the third game, it's possible to collect "medicine" of all the various grades simply by picking leaves off certain plants. Considering that all the Suikoden games are set in a single highly consistent setting and timeline, it's probable that the "medicine" is simply medicinal herbs in every case.
  • In Illusion of Gaia, Herbs, which restore 8 HP, are the game's only healing item. You'll be seeing a lot of these, but considering that the total number in the game is strictly limited, never quite enough.
  • Dragon Quest I contains the "medicinal herb", which is likely the reason that having such items in Eastern role playing games is more the rule than the exception. It continues to appear in each installment of the Dragon Quest series.
  • Healing herbs are a staple part of the players' diet in Demons Souls.
  • Ponisera in Valkyria Chronicles, though it was only used for a story-related handicap.
  • Herbs are the only portable healing item in Half-Minute Hero.
  • Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures has the Yerba Buena as a potent healing item, which the village healer can give you in unlimited amounts for free.
  • Present in Monster Hunter. While it's one of the weakest healing items, carrying some around later on may be useful to craft stronger Potions in case you run out during a hunt.
  • Leaves are the first tier of restorative items in the Shadow Hearts trilogy. They come in three flavors, so to speak: Thera Leaves (HP), Mana Leaves (MP) and Pure Leaves (Sanity Points).
  • Elfroot in the Dragon Age series. A fairly weak healing item on its own, but it can be brewed into stronger healing potions and poultices. Spindleweed and embrium in Dragon Age II also fall into this category.
  • In Summit, the main character searches for a cure for his father, known as the Rose of T'maion.
  • Present in The Matrix: Path of Neo during one level to rescue a chinese herbalist. The herbalist gives Neo a unnamed herbable powder to permanently raise his strength and focus.
  • In Kid Kool, the Plot Coupons gained at the ends of levels are the seven herbs needed to cure King Voldam of a fatal disease.
  • In Golden Sun, herbs are the weakest healing item, and nuts are a stronger one.

    Western Animation 
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Three's a Crowd", Discord reveals that his "blue flu" can be cured by an infusion made from the petals of a rare flower growing at the other side of Equestria. When Twilight and Cadance finds the flower, though, they discover it's the size of a tree and it's protected by a giant Tatzlwurm. Not that Discord truly needs it anyway.