the objective of this study was to identify the origin of the knowledge and practices regarding the therapeutic use of medicinal plants, by individuals living in a community in the central region of rio grande do sul, brazil. this is a qualitative study, in which the data collection was performed through semi-structured interviews and participant observation. the participants were selected through their own relationship network. a thematic analysis of the data was performed. it was found that the participants learn how to use and manage medicinal plants in their family context; it is highlighted that women have a strong influence on the transmission of this particular knowledge; they usually obtain the plants at their own homes; and most plants that are used also have their indication supported by scientific evidence. it is believed that the present study is important for nurses and the society as a whole, as it points to the need for an approximation between popular and scientific knowledge, as well as the need to invest in projects that address this particular topic.