Which Are The Best Medicinal Plants In Kenya


Are you wondering which are the best plants used as medicine in Kenya?

Across the world, people grow plants and herbs in recipes for their nutritional and medicinal benefits. They can be used for personal care at home. or making medicinal products can treat some common ailments such as common colds, sores, or bruises at home. You can also grow others commercially as a cash crop for money.

In this post, we give you a list of the best medicinal plants in Kenya. They include Moringa, Aloe vera, and neem among others.

Table of contents

What is a medicinal Plant?

A medicinal plant can be a tree, herb, or hedge.

According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), A medicinal plant is any plant that, in one or more of its parts, contains substances that can be used for therapeutic purposes or which are raw materials for the making of useful drugs.

Some of the common examples in Kenya are Aloe Vera, Rosemary, and lemongrass. The table below gives you more examples from acrosss the globe;

UseMedicinal Plant Examples
FoodGarlic, chamomile, papaya, turmeric, ginger, moringa leaves. licorice roots,
Food Spice &
Cinnamon, Cloves. Rosemary. Sage, Thyme, Turmeric, Ginger, Garlic
Perfumery & AromatherapyRose, Chamomile, Lillies, Parchouli, Frankincense, Myrrh
Essential OilsSage, Basil, Lemon, Camphor, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Cloves
Surgical DressingsCentella Asiatica, Aloe vera, Calendula Officinalis, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Inula, Jojoba, Cotton, Jute, Flax.
Extraction of medicinal compounds/ Phytochemicals such as
phenolic compounds,
saponins and
Ginkgo Biloba
Milk Thistle
St. John’s Wort
Valerian Artemisia
Annua Ajuga Remota, Bridelia Micranta,
Cordia Africana.
Examples of medicinal plants by use

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Which are the most profitable medicinal plants in Kenya?

While you can grow over a thousand species for medicinal purposes, This article will focus on the best ten with the highest demand. They are Aloe Vera, Neem, and White Ginger just to mention a few.

Medicinal Herbs

Medicinal herbs farming in Kenya is another lucrative agribusiness idea in Kenya. The most profitable herbs with the highest demand are Rosemary, Mint, and sage.

  • Rosemary; The herb is rich in antioxidants that boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. It enhances memory, alertness, and concentration.
  • Mint; The plant is a rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is a natural treatment for allergic symptoms, rashes, and insect bites. It contains menthol which is an aromatic natural decongestant with a cooling soothing effect.
  • Chia; Chia leaves tea is a blood cleanser and can treat fevers, respiratory problems, mouth ulcers, diabetes, and diarrhea. You can also gargle it to treat sore throat. 
  • Sage: You can use it to boost cognitive functions and manage blood sugar, weight, and diarrhea. In addition, It has antiseptic and antibacterial qualities, and its used make used in promoting oral health. 

Aloe Vera

The Aloe Vera species has a huge demand in the cosmetic and herbal medicine industries. It is famed for having rejuvenating, healing, and soothing properties. It is a succulent tree that closely resembles a cactus. The plants do best in hot, dry climates. Though there are close to 200 Aloe Species, the most popular Aloe Vera species for commercial farming are Kokoerbom Aloe, Golden Tooth, Red Aloe, Dorian Black and Yellow Teeth Aloe.

Aloe gel, that is extracted from its leaves is an effective medicinal plant in treating and managing sunburns, rashes, insect bites, etc.

Aloe Vera is a low-maintenance crop with high returns. It will require little mulching, fertilizer, and watering.


The neem tree is the most valuable medicinal tree besides the aloe Vera. Its other common names are Mwarubaine, nim tree, Indian lilac, or the Azadirachta indica tree. The Neem Tree is a fast-growing medicinal tree and can do well in many regions.

Besides its medicinal uses, you can grow it for timber, fuel, fencing, or an ornamental tree in landscaping. Its extracts are used to make neem oil which is a safe biopesticide against over 200 crop pests like locusts and aphids. Besides, its powder is a popular ingredient in several herbal medicines or the miti shamba.


A growing Morning tree leaves
Moringa Oleifera tree is also known as the miracle tree, drumstick tree, ben oil tree or horseradish tree

The Moringa tree has various medicinal properties claims and healthy benefits hence its huge popularity. Moringa Oleifera tree is also known as the miracle tree, drumstick tree, ben oil tree, or horseradish tree. All the moringa tree parts; leaves, bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and roots are medicinal. It has antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

You can grow and market various Moringa products such as capsules, powders, and extract forms such as oik. The dried pods, leaves, and seeds are also available. moringa the plant is highly rich in Vitamins A and C, calcium, niacin, and iron nutrients.

Most Moringa tree species are drought-resistant and thrive well in semiarid, tropical and subtropical areas. For commercial production, you can grow it on a large scale in open fields, under irrigation, or in greenhouses. 

White Ginger

Mondia Whitei or the white Ginger is popularly known as “Mukombero” in Kenya. It is believed that chewing its roots or drinking its tea can boost virility and stamina. Its huge demand has led to overharvesting making the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) classify it as a priority wildlife species in the country.

Though famed as just an aphrodisiac, Mukombero has other medicinal and health benefits. It is an immune booster, and sedative that alleviates symptoms of hypertension and insomnia. It also contains essential nutrients such as Vitamins A, D, E, and K and vital minerals like Sodium, Calcium, Zinc, and Iron.

To Farm it you will need a special permit to grow it from KWS. Reports indicate it’s being done commercially as a cash cop in Florida and China. Besides KWA itself runs a small factory to commercialize it. The Kakamega Natural Forest Catchment Conservation Organization, KANFCCO,  is a farmer’s organization in contract farming to supply 100 Metric Tons of Mondia Whitei to Germany.

Is medicinal plant farming in Kenya profitable?

Growing medicinal crops and herbs is one of the most profitable agribusinesses in Kenya. According to official data, global trade for medicinal herbs is over USD 100 billion per annum. In Europe alone, the demand and sales for medicinal plants grew by over 25 % in the last five years. The leading producers and exporters are China, India, Germany, and Morocco among others. India and China trade in over 7000 medicinal species each earning 2-5 billion US dollars each year.

In Kenya, Aloe Vera farmers can make over Ksh 3 million per acre. Medicinal herb farmers growing them for export enjoy a huge domestic and international market earning millions of foreign income each year.

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