I've been on the worldbuilding StackExchange for a little while now and I have yet to see a specific line of questioning. How do I design and create flora for my world? As this particular question may get closed as too broad, I will narrow it down.

Are there any online resources (preferably free) that I can use to research medicinal plants and how to combine them into tinctures and salves?

salve means: a medicinal ointment for healing or relieving wounds and sores.


As I would to use the information to help create flora to populate my world.


4 Answers 4


Borrow the whole thing intact.


On looking into this I was very pleased to find Culpeppers Complete Herbal. https://archive.org/details/cu31924001353279

It is written in chatty period English, with commentary on the herbs, their uses and also his countrymen, foreigners and whatever else comes to his mind. It is delightful! I am going to order a paper copy for the bedside.

An excerpt on the Furze Bush:

the Furze buth from Culpeppers Complete Herbal

Instead of making up a bunch of stuff, use the lesser known herbs exactly as they are described. The Herbal contains entry on things I recognize like fennel and burdock and cherry tree but many (like Furze Buth here) that are unfamiliar. A selection of the latter should serve your story and it will be fun if your readers later on realize that what you laid out was actually nonfiction.


Suggestion: before going for the flora, go for the fauna. Given that you can basically come up with any solution you like, if you want more accuracy, you need to start with fauna's necessities. For example, in your world, a species of herbivores could eat both to get nourishment and to assimilate some particular microbiotics that help them become toxic for their predators. They would compensate with an inferior reproduction rate.

Certain flowers could contain a pollen that make bats phosphorescent. These bats would help pollinate these flowers and at the same time become a magnet for insects who would make for easy prey.

Then there could be climatic-driven mass pollination! A kind of plant that grows big globs containing lots of seeds. When, on a given continent, summer, hot and dry summer comes, carrying powerful gusts of foehn, the globs would explode and the seeds would fly toward their new destination...

EDIT: as for the specific question:



  • $\begingroup$ I asked this as I wanted to know more about medical plants im not constructing the entirety of the worlds flora $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2018 at 12:11
  • $\begingroup$ added a couple of useful links $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2018 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ Bats don't eat pollen! they transform into a vampire and suck/drink human blood!!! $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2018 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ This is the link to bats' diet: askabiologist.asu.edu/bat-food And this is an excerpt from the article: "There are some bats that like to eat fruit, seeds, and pollen from flowers. These bats are called frugivores. Their favorite foods are figs, mangoes, dates, and bananas. Some frugivores have been known to drink sugar water from humming bird feeders." $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2018 at 13:11
  • $\begingroup$ @ValerioPastore... i think you may have mistaken my comment for a serious one. i'm aware most bats eat fruit, seeds, pollen etc. I clearly failed to make humor $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2018 at 13:53

I know this isn't really answering you question, sorry about that


Unfortunately there are so many different types of salves, some come from the leaves of plants others from the seeds and roots and then fungi etc...

There is no real set rule, Poppies are used to create opiates, and Aloe Vera is used topically as a salve, and there are hundreds of plants in between all as different from one another as the previous ones.

maybe a simple starting point would be https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicinal_plants

Then next suggestion i can give you is to simply decide what illness needs treating and then go from there, obviously salves are applied topically wheres tinctures are taken orally.

As i said, there is such a vast difference in the plants used that there doesn't need to be anything special about them, just that they have X trait, and that helps Y illness.

Tinctures are usually alcohol based (normally almost 80% proof), with various herbs or other plant extracts included to give the needed benefits. so you would need a way to produce the alcohol.


Well... I think the fastest way to answer your question would be Googling it. Look: In this link there here are some ancient medical remedies that actually work:
However, since your flora will be "designed", you will need a little bit more than that. For example: if we assume your alien plants will also retrieve CO2 and release O2 by means of the photosynthesis, you will need to decide what kind of sun will provide the energy, and which wavelengths will the plants will use. Here on Earth plants are green because the chlorophyll absorbs mostly the wavelengths in the blue and red spectrum, reflecting the green (the one we see). If your pigments evolved to use a different wavelengths, the color of your plants will be different.
Additionally, the evolution of the chemical substances each plant produces, is also related to the needs of the plant in the ecosystem. An alien plant could produce a toxin to protect itself from being eaten, and that toxin could be used to cure a sickness in a different species.

  • $\begingroup$ Correct! For example, a neurotoxin used to protect itself from birds could be perfect, in the right amounts, to cure seizures in a human. $\endgroup$ Jun 12, 2018 at 14:52

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