Laotian Hmong refugees in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, cultivate many plants and employ them as a first line of defense against illness and disease. Thirty-seven medicinal plants have been identified, phytochemical components catalogued through literature research, and potential pharmacological activities correlated with Hmong medicinal uses. Using western biomedical criteria of efficacy, 92% of the medicinal plants being cultivated were found to be potentially efficacious. The frequent use of these plants in diet (81%) suggests that they have served to mediate against illness and disease states in the cultural and natural environment in which the practices evolved. A listing of 37 plants with Hmong names, uses and potentially active constituents is provided.