Abcess Root (Polemonium reptans): It is used almost exclusively in the treatment of pulmonary diseases. Even in moderate doses, it is a powerful diaphoretic and will cause profuse sweating in the patient. The herb is also an astringent and antiseptic and will soothe an inflamed bronchial mucosa and promote the rapid healing of an ulcerated throat. The most valuable aspect is its use as an expectorant. It will quickly remove mucous from the lungs and bronchi, and as the herb also produces a slight vasodilative action, it makes breathing easier and reduces coughing.
(Acacia decurrens) Strongly astringent, babul is used to contract and toughen mucous
Acacia, Sweet (Acacia farnesiana ) Colombians bathe in the bark decoction as a treatment for typhoid. The gummy roots have been chewed as a treatment for sore throat. A decoction of the gum from the trunk has been used in the treatment of diarrhea. An infusion of the flowers has been used as a stomachic. It is also used in the treatment of dyspepsia and neuroses. The flowers are added to ointment, which is rubbed on the forehead to treat headaches. The powdered dried leaves have been applied externally as a treatment for wounds. The green pods have been decocted and used in the treatment of dysentery and inflammations of the skin and raucous membranes. An infusion of the pod has been used in the treatment of sore throats, diarrhea, leucorrhoea, conjunctivitis, and uterorrhagia.
Aconite (Aconitum napellus):
Aconite is poisonous in all but the smallest doses and is rarely prescribed for internal use. More commonly , it is applied to unbroken skin to relieve pain from bruises or neurological conditions. In Ayurvedic medicine, aconite is used to treat neuralgia, asthma, and heart weakness. Aconite has been added to salves because of its painkilling action on neuralgia, lumbago, and rheumatism. The tincture has been given in one-drop doses for heart failure, high fevers, pneumonia, pleurisy and tonsillitis. Use only under a professional’s supervision.
Adder’s Tongue (Erythronium americanum): Generally used as a poultice for ulcers and skin troubles. An infusion of the leaves is taken for the relief of skin problems and for enlarged glands. Various oil infusions and ointments made from the leaf and spike have been used to treat wounds, and poultices of the fresh leaves have been applied to soothe and heal bruises. The bulbs of the plant have been recorded as emetic and as a substitute for Colchicium in the treatment of gout. In the fresh state it has been reported to be a remedy for scurvy. It is often used to treat scrofulous skin arising from tubercular infection. Can mix the expressed juice with cider for internal use. Must be used fresh.
Adder's Tongue, English (Ophioglossum vulgatum(: the fresh leaves make a most effective and comforting poultice for ulcers and tumors. The expressed juice of the leaves is drunk as a treatment for internal bleeding and bruising.
Adonis (Adonis vernalis): The leaves and tops contain a number of biologically active compounds, including cardioactive glycosides that benefit the heart. It dilates the coronary vessels. They are similar to those found in foxglove but gentler. These substances increase the heart’s efficiency by increasing its output while slowing its rate. Unlike foxglove, however, false hellebore’s effect on the heart is slightly sedative, and it is generally prescribed for patients with hearts that are beating too fast or irregularly. It is also used for mitral stenosis and edema due to heart failure. False hellebore is recommended as a treatment for certain cases of low blood pressure. False hellebore is strongly diuretic and can be used to counter water retention, particularly if this condition can be attributed to poor circulatory function. It is an ingredient of several commercial German preparations for heart complaints and low blood pressure. It is also found in Bechterew’s Mixture, a Russian formulation for heart conditions of nervous origin.
Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria): Agrimony has long been used since Saxon times to heal wounds because it staunches bleeding and encourages clot formation. In the 15th century, it was the prime ingredient of “arquebusade water,” a battlefield remedy for gunshot wounds. In France, the eau de arquebusade is still applied for sprains and bruises. A cooling astringent and mildly bitter, the aerial parts can be used for “hot” conditions like diarrhea, bronchitis and a gentle tonic for the digestion as a whole. Combined with other herbs such as corn silk, it is a valuable remedy for cystitis and urinary incontinence, and has also been used for kidney stones, sore throats, rheumatism, and arthritis. It can be used as a suppository combining the extract with cocoa butter and inserting into the rectum for hemorrhoids, tapeworms and diarrhea. The healing power is attributed to the herb’s high silica content. Agrimony is indicated for chronic cholecystopathies with gastric sub-acidity. Real success will be achieved only if the plant is used consistently for some time. European herbalists suggest a few cups of agrimony tea daily to heal peptic ulcers and colitis, to gently control diarrhea, to tone the digestive tract lining, and to improve food assimilation. One glycoside it contains has been shown to reduce excessive bile production in the gallbladder.
Ajowan (Carum ajowan):
In the Middle East, ajowan water is often used for diarrhoea and wind and in India the seeds are a home remedy for indigestion and asthma. For reasons of both flavor and practicality its natural affinity is with starchy foods and legumes. Because of its thymol content, it is a strong germicide, anti-spasmodic, fungicide, and anthelmintic. Regular use of Ajwain leaves seems to prevent kidney stone formation. It also has aphrodisiac properties and the Ananga Ranga prescribes it for increasing the enjoyment of a husband in the flower of his life
Akebia (Akebia trifoliata): A pungent, bitter herb that controls bacterial and fungal infections and stimulates the circulatory and urinary systems and female organs. It is a potent diuretic due to the high content of potassium salts. Internally for urinary tract infections, rheumatoid arthritis, absence of menstruation, and insufficient lactation. Taken internally, it controls gram-positive bacterial and fungal infections.
Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula (Frangula alnus)):
Alder buckthorn is a laxative and a cathartic, and is most commonly taken as a treatment for chronic constipation. Once dried and stored, it is significantly milder than senna or common buckthorn and may be safely used over the long term to treat constipation and to encourage the return of regular bowel movements. Alder buckthorn is a particularly beneficial remedy if the muscles of the colon are weak and if there is poor bile flow. However, the plant should not be used to treat constipation resulting from excessive tension in the colon wall. The berries also act as a milder purgative. Fresh bark, powdered and mixed with vinegar, is used to topically treat fungal diseases of the skin and acne.
Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum):
The plant was used in ancient days to relieve dropsy. The seeds were often soaked in wine to create a tonic for scurvy when other sources of vitamin C were not available and also to promote menstruation. The root is a diuretic. The crushed leaves or their juice was a soothing and healing treatment for cuts and minor abrasions. It was also used for asthma. These uses are now obsolete
Almond (Prunus communis): Bitter almonds when distilled yield an essential oil containing about 5% of prussic acid. Almonds are usually processed to extract almond oil for cosmetic purposes. It is helpful for alleviating itchy skin conditions, such as eczema. The oil is popular with masseuses and aromatherapists as it is light, easily absorbed, and makes an excellent carrier oil for essential oils. Little is used for medicinal purposes, but almond flour is sometimes used as sustaining food for diabetics. Almond milk is still drunk as a kidney tonic and to ease heartburn. The oil derived from a bitter variety of almond has sedative properties and is sometimes used in cough remedies. As well as being a tasty addition to the diet, almonds are also beneficial to the overall health of the body, being used especially in the treatment of kidney stones, gallstones and constipation. Externally, the oil is applied to dry skins and is also often used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy. The seed is demulcent, emollient, laxative, nutritive and pectoral. When used medicinally, the fixed oil from the seed is normally employed. The seed contains 'laetrile', a substance that has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there does not at present seem to be much evidence to support this. The pure substance is almost harmless, but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very rapidly acting poison - it should thus be treated with caution. In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being. The leaves are used in the treatment of diabetes. The plant contains the antitumor compound taxifolin.
Aloe (Aloe barbadensis) Commercial aloe juice is made from the inner leaf, which is blended and strained, with a preservative added. To make aloe “gel”, the juice is thickened with seaweed to mimic the leaf’s original thick consistency. The crystalline part called aloin, a brownish gel found alongside the leaf blade, is powdered and used in some commercial laxatives. It is so strong that it must be combined with other herbs to prevent intestinal griping. The commercial juice and gel remove this part of the leaf, so both the juice and the gel are soothing to digestive tract irritations, such as peptic ulcers and colitis. In one study, the stomach lesions of twelve peptic ulcer patients were all completely healed. A popular ingredient in commercial drug store products, aloe is commonly used to soothe burns, including sunburn and radiation burns. Aloe is also applied to wounds, eczema, ringworm and poison oak and poison ivy rashes. There is evidence that it effectively regenerated injured nerves. One study reports aloe to be successful in healing leg ulcerations and severe acne and even finds that it promotes hair growth. When 56 frostbit patients were treated with a product containing 70% aloe, only 7% developed infections, compared to 98 frostbitten patients not treated with aloe, 33 of whom eventually needed amputation. It has also proved helpful in treating periodontosis. One study injected aloe extracts into the diseased areas of 128 patients with varying degrees of gum disease. Within a week, the development of symptoms stopped, pain decreased and marked improvement followed in all patients.
Aloewood (Aquilaria malaccensis) : Internally for digestive and bronchial complaints, fevers, and rheumatism (bark, wood). Because of its astringent nature, the powdered wood of the aloe tree provide an effective skin tonic and is recommended by Ayurvedic physicians as an application for restoring pigment in leucoderma. Powdered aloeswood provides an antiseptic so gentle it is used for ear and eye infections as well as on open wounds.
Alstonia (Alstonia scolaris, A constricta) There are 43 species of alstonia trees. The bark of the tree is used medicinally in the Pacific Rim and India. Constricta, which is native to Australia, is used extensively as an Aboriginal folk remedy for fever, chronic diarrhea, dysentery and rheumatism. Scholaris, found growing mostly in India, Pakistan and the Philippines, is used for the same purposes, but may also be employed as a treatment for malaria, and is thought to have aphrodisiac qualities. In all cases the bark is powdered and made into a tea. The inner bark of Alstonia constricta is said to possess marked antiperiodic properties, while the outer bark is stated to have been efficacious in curing certain forms of rheumatism. Further trials are needed, however, before it can be ranked as a substitute for quinine, or other of the cinchona alkaloids, yet it has proved as efficient in intermittents. Scientific investigation has failed to show why it is of such service in malaria, but herbalists consider it superior to quinine and of great use in convalescence . It lowers fever, relaxes spasms, stimulates lactation and expels intestinal worms. Used for chronic diarrhea, dysentery and in intermittent fever; also as an anthelmintic. It is also much used by homoeopaths.
Alumroot (Heuchera americana) The root of this plant may contain as much as 20% of its weight in tannins, acid compounds that serve to shrink swollen, moist tissues. Alumroot’s strong astringency is likely to have earned the plant its common name. Its overall effect is less than irritating than Cranesbill, Oak Bark or Canaigre. Dried and powdered alumroot was used by Northwest Indians as a general digestive tonic, and herbalists still use it to stop minor bleeding and reduce inflammation. It was listed in the US pharmacopoeia for similar purposes until 1882. An infusion of the root was used to treat diarrhea, and a leaf poultice for skin abrasions. A teaspoon of the chopped root, boiled in water for 20 minutes, can be used for gastroenteritis, particularly with symptoms of diarrhea and dry, bilious vomiting. The tea makes an excellent gargle for sore throats, especially when combined with one-fourth teaspoon of golden seal root; a half cup drunk an hour before every meal will stimulate the healing of regenerating ulcers of the esophagus and stomach, but of little use for duodenal ulcers. The root is an old folk remedy for dysentery, a cup drunk every two hours for at least a day. Since most astringents are precipitated before reaching the colon, obstinate dysentery should be treated by an enema; a teaspoon of the chopped root boiled for twenty minutes in a pint of water,. The same quantity can be used as a douche for vaginitis or mild cervicitis. The finely ground root is a good first aid for treating cuts and abrasions, promoting almost instant clotting; if combined with equal parts golden seal root and Echinacea angustifolia root, the mixture makes an excellent antiseptic powder.
(Amaranthus hypochondriacus) Medicinally, amaranth gained favor in the 17th century when the Doctrine of Signature prevailed. To adherents of this doctrine, the bright crimson of the flowers signified blood—a clear indication that the plant would stop any kind of bleeding. The herb does in fact possess astringent properties and herbalists have recommended an amaranth infusion for diarrhea and as a mouthwash for ulcers, to soothe inflammation of the pharynx and to heal canker sores. Amaranth has also been employed to reduce blood loss and to treat diarrhea and dysentery.. A decoction is used to check excessive menstrual flow, excessive vaginal discharge.. Also used for sponging sores and ulcers. It is a nutritional supplement and nutritive tonic.
American Centuary (Sabatia angularis)
American White Hellebore (Veratrum viride
American Larix (Larix laricina) Tamarack was employed medicinally by a number of native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints. It is used in the treatment of jaundice, anemia, rheumatism, colds and skin ailments. It is gargled in the treatment of sore throats and applied as a poultice to sores, swellings and burns. A tea made from the leaves is used as an astringent in the treatment of piles, diarrhea etc. An infusion of the buds and bark is used as an expectorant. The needles and inner bark are disinfectant and laxative. A tea is used in the treatment of coughs. A poultice made from the warm, boiled inner bark is applied to wounds to draw out infections, to burns, frostbite and deep cuts. The resin is chewed as a cure for indigestion. It has also been used in the treatment of kidney and lung disorders, and as a dressing for ulcers and burns.
American Speedwell (Veronica americana
Ammoniacum (Dorema ammoniacum) Ammoniacum has been used in Western herbal medicine for thousands of years. Chiefly used for respiratory troubles. Excellent for the relief of catarrh, asthma or bronchitis. Also highly regarded as an energy stimulant. Externally used for swollen joints and indolent tumors. Still listed in the British Pharmacopoeia as an antispasmodic and an expectorant that stimulates the coughing up of thick mucus. Occasionally used to induce sweating or menstruation.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica): An old remedy for flatulence directed that the stalks e slowly chewed until the condition was relieved which may have been good advice, as it has been found that one of angelica’s constituents is pectin, an enzyme which acts on digesting food. This herb is a useful expectorant for coughs, bronchitis and pleurisy, especially when they are accompanied by fever, colds or influenza. The leaf can be used as a compress in inflammations of the chest. Its content of carminative essential oil explains its use in easing intestinal colic and flatulence. As a digestive agent it stimulates appetite and may be used in anorexia nervosa. It has been shown to help ease rheumatic inflammations. In cystitis it acts as a urinary antiseptic. Angelica has proved itself to relieve muscle spasms of asthma and it’s been used to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, especially after extended use of birth control pills or an intrauterine device. Combine with coltsfoot and white horehound for bronchial problems and with chamomile for indigestion, flatulence and loss of appetite. The leaves are used in the bath to stimulate the skin. Angelica salve is helpful in cases of chronic rhinitis and sinusitis because it dissolves mucus and warms. Apply it twice daily to the area of the paranasal sinuses, forehead, root of the nose, nose, cheeks and angle of the jaw. Angelica contains at least 14 anti-arrhythmic compounds, one of which is said to be as active as verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), a popular calcium channel blocker. Because of its aromatic bitter properties, this plant is much used in bitters and liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse. The volatile oil has carminative properties, counteracting flatulence, so that the action of this plant comes close to that of wormwood in this respect, a plant mainly used to treat gallbladder disease.
Angostura (Galipea officinalis) A strong bitter with tonic properties, angostura stimulates the stomach and digestive tract as a whole. It is antispasmodic and is reported to act on the spinal nerves, helping in paralytic conditions. Angostura is typically given for weak digestion, and is considered valuable as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery. In South America, it is sometimes used as a substitute for cinchona to control fevers.
(Pimpenella anisum): Anise is a carminative and an expectorant. It is also a good source of iron. One tablespoon of anise seeds sprinkled on cookies, bread or cake provides 16% of the RDA for a woman and 24% of the RDA for a man. A 1990 study tested the effect of certain beverage extracts on the absorption of iron. The results showed that anise was the most effective of the extracts tested in promoting iron absorption. The authors recommended offering this as a preventive agent to iron deficiency anemia. To make a carminative tea that may relieve intestinal gas, crush 1 teaspoon of anise seeds per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-20 minutes and strain. Drink up to 3 cups a day. In a tincture, take ½ to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day. Diluted anise infusions may be given cautiously to infants to treat colic. For older children and people over 65, begin with low-strength preparations and increase strength if necessary. Some people simply chew the anise seeds. Early English herbalist Gerard suggested anise for hiccups. It has also been prescribed as a milk promoter for nursing mothers and as a treatment
for water retention, headache, asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, nausea, lice, infant colic, cholera and even cancer. America’s 19th century Eclectic physicians recommended anise primarily as a stomach soother for nausea, gas, and infant colic.
Anise Hyssop: The root of anise hyssop was an ingredient in North American Chippewa Indian lung formulas, and the Cree sometimes carried the flowers in their medicine bundles. The Cheyenne employed an infusion of the leaves for colds, chest pains from coughing and a weak heart. The leaves in a steambath were used to induce sweating; and powdered leaves on the body for high fevers.
Annatto: In the Caribbean, annatto leaves and roots are used to make an astringent infusion that is taken to treat fever, epilepsy, and dysentery. The infusion is also taken as an aphrodisiac. The leaves alone make an infusion that is used as a gargle. The seed pulp reduces blistering when applied immediately to burns. Taken internally, the seed pulp acts as an antidote for poisoning. Used as a coloring agent for medical preparations such as ointments and plasters.
Antelope Horn (Asclepias viridis) Used to relieve fever, it was drunk as a decoction of the root in cold water. To relieve palpitation, the powdered root is rubbed over the heart area. A poultice of the powdered root is used to treat neck and rib pains and a tea made from it is used to alleviate asthma and shortness of breath.
Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa
Apricot (Prunus armeniaca
Arbutus, Trailing (Epigaea repens
Areca Nut (Areca catechu
Arnica (Arnica montana):
Used externally, Arnica promotes the healing of wounds contracted through blows, punctures, falls and cuts. It is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, relieves pain from injuries and promotes tissue regeneration. One can clean wounds, abscesses, boils and ulcers with diluted Arnica tinctures and dress them with a compress soaked in the same solution. For contusions, sprains, bruises, bursitis, arthritis and inflammation of the lymphatic vessels, apply packs of diluted Arnica tincture. To relieve headaches and visual disturbances due to concussion, apply such compresses around the head and neck. To prepare packs and washes, dilute one tablespoon of Arnica tincture in a cup of boiled water (or where sensitivity is suspected, double the water). The tincture made from the flowers is only used externally, whereas the tincture made from the roots is used internally for cases of hematoma and inflammation of the veins. Arnica also improves the circulation. Arnica flowers are sometimes adulterated with other composite flowers, especially Calendula officinalis, Inula brittanica, Kragapogon pratensis, and Scorzonera humilis. For tender feet a foot-bath of hot water containing 1/2 oz. of the tincture has brought great relief. Arnica has been shown to be an immuno-stimulant, as both the sesquiterpene lactone helenalin and the polysaccharide fraction stimulate phagocytosis. Sesquiterpene lactones are known to have anti-inflammatory activity and their biological effects appear to be mediated through immunological processes. As helenalin is one of the most active, this might help account for the use of Arnica for pain and inflammation.
Arrach (Chenopodium olidum) An infusion of the dried leaves is used in the treatment of hysteria and nervous troubles connected with women's ailments.
Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorrhiza sagittata) The root of the plant is sometimes used as an expectorant and mild immuno stimulant. Native Americans used the sticky sap as a topical antiseptic for minor wounds. Medicinally, the Indians used the large coarse Balsamroot leaves as a poultice for burns. The roots were boiled and the solution was applied as a poultice for wounds, cuts and bruises. Indians also drank a tea from the roots for tuberculosis and whooping cough. As an antibacterial the tincture may be applied to infections and hard to heal wounds. The tincture of the root and bark may be used internally or externally for bacterial problems. Perhaps the most common use for arrowleaf balsamroot is as an immune system enhancer. Use the tincture as you would Echinacea, taking 1 tsp. twice daily to strengthen the immune system.
Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) Hospitals formerly employed arrow root in barium meals given prior to X-raying the gastro-intestinal system. When mixed with hot water, the root starch of this plant becomes gelatinous and serves as an effective demulcent to soothe irritated mucous membranes. Used in much the same way as slippery elm. It helps to relieve acidity, indigestion, and colic, and it exerts a mildly laxative action on the large bowel.
Artichoke (Cynara scolymus) Studies have shown that blood cholesterol levels dropped after eating artichoke. An anticholesterol drug called cynara is derived from this plant. In 1940, a study in Japan showed that artichoke not only reduced cholesterol but it also increased bile production by the liver and worked as a good diuretic. This make artichoke useful for gallbladder problems, nausea, indigestion, and abdominal distension. It has been found that globe artichoke contains the extract cymarin, which is similar to silymarin. Researchers discovered that this extract promotes liver regeneration and causes hyperaemia. It was also found that an artichoke extract caused dyspeptic symptoms to disappear. The researchers interpreted the reduction in cholinesterase levels to mean that the extract effected fatty degeneration of the liver. In 1969 a team of French researchers patented an artichoke extract as a treatment for kidney and liver ailments. Although the leaves are particularly effective, all parts of the plant are bitter. A Mediterranean home recipe uses fresh artichoke leaf juice mixed with wine or water as a liver tonic. It is also taken during the early stages of late-onset diabetes. It is a good food for diabetics, since it significantly lowers blood sugar. In France it has been used to treat rheumatic conditions.
Asafetida (Ferula assa-foetida): Asafetida is said to have antispasmodic properties. It has been used in the past to treat hysteria and was sometimes taken as a sedative. In India it is prescribed to treat flatulence and bronchitis. It also has carminative, expectorant, laxative and sedative properties. Asafetida acts as a local stimulant to mucous membrane, particularly that of the alimentary canal and therefore is a remedy of great value as a carminative in flatulent colic and a useful addition to laxative medicine. There is evidence that the volatile oil is eliminated through the lungs which has been found useful for whooping cough, asthma, and bronchitis, as well as for croup and flatulent colic in infants. It was formerly used as a sedative for hysteria, infantile convulsions, and spasmodic nervous conditions. Some researchers have suggested that asafetida may help lower blood pressure and increase the amount of time it takes for blood to clot. Like garlic, asafetida has been hung around the neck to ward off colds and other infectious diseases, but its only real effect seems to be its ability to keep other people and their colds at arm’ length. Owing to its vile taste it is usually taken in pill form, but is often given to infants per rectum in the form of an emulsion. The powdered gum resin is not advocated as a medicine, the volatile oil being quickly dissipated. Asafetida is admittedly the most adulterated drug on the market. Besides being largely admixed with inferior qualities of Asafetida, it has often red clay, sand, stones and gypsum added to it to increase the weight.
Asarabacca (Asarum europaeum
Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)
Practitioners of Ayurveduc medicine, the traditional medicine of India, regard this root as the Indian answer to ginseng for the male libido. Some reference do not recommend on a daily basis but others do. It is considered to reduce vata and kapha. It is mainly used in the West as a restorative for the elderly and the chronically ill. For such regenerative purposes, it can be taken as a milk decoction to which may be added raw sugar, honey, pippali and basmati rice. As such, it inhibits aging and catalyzes the anabolic processes of the body. It is a good food for weak pregnant women, it helps to stabilize the fetus. It also regenerates the hormonal system, promotes healing of tissues, and can be used externally on wounds, sores, etc. Five grams of the powder can be taken twice a day in warm milk or water, sweetened with raw sugar.
Asmatica (Tylophora asmatica) Considered a specific remedy for asthma, asmatica may relieve symptoms for up to 3 months. It is also beneficial in cases of hay fever, and is prescribed for acute allergic problems such as eczema and nettle rash. The plant holds potential as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome and other immune system disorders. Asmatica may relieve rheumatoid arthritis and may also be of value in the treatment of cancer. Extensive laboratory and clinical research in India has established that asmatica is an effective remedy for asthma. In the 1970s, a number of clinical trials showed that a majority of asthmatic patients taking the herb for just 6 days gained relief from asthma for up to a further 12 weeks. However, the leaves do produce side effects The plant’s alternative name, Indian lobelia, alludes not only to its value in treating asthma but also to its irritating effect on the digestive tract.
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) An excellent diuretic, asparagus is also very nutritious. It is high in folic acid, which is essential for the production of new red blood cells. Many herbalists recommend asparagus root for rheumatism, due to the anti-inflammatory action of the steroidal glycosides. Powdered seed from the asparagus plant is good for calming an upset stomach. It is used as a gentle but effective laxative where an irritating cathartic would be inappropriate, while a tea brewed from the mature fern has been used for rheumatic and urinary disorders, and by Shakers to treat dropsy. It is used for a variety of urinary problems, including cystitis. The root treats dryness of the lungs and throat, consumptive diseases, tuberculosis and blood-tinged sputum. It also counteracts thirst and treats kidney yin deficient lower back pains. Asparagus root is said to increase love, devotion, and compassion. The most adept Chinese herbal pharmacists will taste a new shipment of asparagus root, testing it for sweetness. They might then reserve the sweetest roots for themselves, since these are believed to foster the deepest feelings of spiritual compassion. The roots are deeply nourishing to the yin quality.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous
Ba Ji Tian (Morinda officinalis) The pungent, sweet-tasting ba ji tian is an important Chinese herb. It is a kidney tonic, and therefore strengthens the yang. It is also used as a sexual tonic, treating impotence and premature ejaculation in men, infertility in both men and women, and a range of conditions, such as an irregular menstrual cycle. Ba ji tian is also prescribed for conditions affecting the lower back or pelvic region, including pain, cold, and urinary weakness—especially frequent urination or incontinence.
Bael (Aegle marmelos
Bai Zhi (Angelica dahurica
Bai Zhu (Atractylodes macrocephala
Baical Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) The root is used. Indications: ailments of “full” and “hot” excess: oppression in chest, thirst with no desire for water, dysentery and diarrhea, jaundice, body heat, irritability, blood in stool and sputum, nosebleeds. Clinical tests in China found it improved symptoms in over 70% of patients with chronic hepatitis, increasing appetite, improving liver function and reducing swelling. Other studies show it reduces inflammation and allergic reactions. These effects are due to the flavonoids. It is also likely that Baical skullcap may help venous problems and fragile capillaries. The herb may be useful for problems arising from diabetes, including cataracts. In Chinese medicine it is prescribed for hot and thirsty conditions such as high fevers, coughs with thick yellow phlegm, and gastrointestinal infections that cause diarrhea, such as dysentery. It is also given to people suffering from painful urinary conditions. It is now used for allergic conditions such as asthma, hay fever, eczema, and nettle rash, although its anti-inflammatory action is most useful for digestive infections. It is a valuable remedy for the circulation. In combination with other herbs, it is used to treat high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, varicose veins and easy bruising. Applied to the skin, it treats sores, swelling and boils. It appears to be useful for circulatory problems that arise from diabetes. The seed is used to cleanse the bowels of blood and pus.
Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorum) It loosens phlegm, stops cough in both hot and cold conditions, aids the elimination of pus in the upper parts of the body, is effective for sore throat, lung abscess, and loss of voice. It has an ascending energy and is sometimes added in small amounts to formulas to direct the therapeutic action of other herbs to the upper parts of the body.
Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum halicacabum) In Indian herbal medicine, balloon vine root is used to bring on delayed menstruation and to relieve backache and arthritis. The leaves stimulate local circulation and are applied to painful joints to help speed the cleaning of toxins. The seeds are also thought to help in the treatment of arthritis. The plant as a whole has sedative properties. It has been prescribed for years by European skin specialists and family doctors. In a study of 833 patients with eczema, better than 4 out of 5 subjects reported improvement or remission of symptoms (inflammation, swelling, scaling, blisters/vesicles, dry skin, itching, burning and pain). This small and delicate wiry climber can be used to treat piles, rheumatism, nervous disorders and chronic bronchitis. A paste of the leaves is a dressing for sores and wounds. Crushed leaves can also be inhaled to relieve headaches and the seeds used to relieve fever and body aches. A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of itchy skin. Salted leaves are used as a poultice on swellings. The leaf juice has been used as a treatment for earache.
Balmony (Chelone glabra)
It is believed to be an appetite stimulant, and some herbalists prescribe the dried plant in an infusion to treat anorexia. Balmony is a very bitter herb with a tea-like flavor that acts mainly as a tonic for the liver and digestive system. It also has anti-depressant and laxative effects. It is used internally in the treatment of consumption, debility, diseases of the liver, gallbladder problems, gallstones etc. It is also used to relieve nausea and vomiting, intestinal colic and to expel worms. Externally, it is applied as an ointment to inflamed tumors, irritable ulcers, inflamed breasts etc. It Is beneficial for a weak stomach and indigestion, general debility, constipation, and torpid liver, it also stimulates the appetite, and in small doses is a good tonic during convalescence. In addition, balmony is an effective antheimintic. Externally, it is used for sores and eczema. The ointment is valuable to relieve the itching and irritation of piles.
(Abies balsamea) The resin obtained from the balsam fir has been used throughout the world and is a very effective antiseptic and healing agent. It is used as a healing and analgesic protective covering for burns, bruises, wounds and sores. It is also used to treat sore nipples and is said to be one of the best curatives for a sore throat. Tea made from the needles has been used to treat colds and asthma. Canada balsam, an oleoresin gathered from blisters in the bark, has been used to relieve the pain of hemorrhoids, burns and sores and venereal disease. Balsam fir is an antiseptic and stimulant, and has been used for congestion, chest infections, such as bronchitis, and urinary tract conditions such as cystitis and frequent urination. It has been used in commercial mixtures to treat coughs and diarrhea. Externally, balsam fir was rubbed on the chest or applied as a plaster for respiratory infections. It is also used in bath extracts for rheumatic pain, and as a mouthwash. The oil is used in ointments and creams, especially in the treatment of hemorrhoids. The buds, resin, and/or sap are used in folk remedies for treating cancers, corns, and warts. The resin is used internally in propriety mixtures to treat coughs and diarrhea, though taken in excess it is purgative. A warm liquid of the gummy sap was drunk as a treatment for gonorrhea. A tea made from the leaves is antiscorbutic. It is used in the treatment of coughs, colds and fevers.
(Ocimum basilicum) The Chinese used it to treat stomach, kidney and blood ailments. During the 11th century, Hildegard of Bingen used basil in a complicated mixture to treat cancerous tumors. By the 17th century, basil was widely used in Europe to treat colds, warts, and intestinal worms. In Ayurvedic medicine, the juice is recommended for snakebites, as a general tonic, for chills, coughs, skin problems and earaches. It is called tulsi. The oil kill intestinal parasites confirming its traditional use in Malaya and as a stomach soother and treatment for a broad range of intestinal ailments. Indian researchers have reported that basil kills bacteria when applied to the skin and have used basil oil successfully to treat acne. One animal study shows basil stimulates the immune system by increasing production of disease-fighting antibodies by up to 20%. In the West it is considered a cooling herb and is used for rheumatic pain, irritable skin conditions and for those of a nervous disposition. Basil is one of many healing herbs containing both pro-and anti-cancer substances. On the prevention side, it contains Vitamin A & C, anti-oxidants that help prevent cell damage. But basil also contains a chemical, estragole, that produced liver tumors in mice, according to a report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. However, the cancer risk, if any, remains unclear. It’s on the FDA list of GRAS herbs.
(Laurus nobilis): The Romans used bay leaves and berries for the treatment of liver disorders. The French at one time used bay as an antiseptic. Now the Lebanese steep the berries and leaves in brandy in the sun for a few days and drink it to calm queasy stomachs. Bay oil from the berries and leaves can be used in salves and liniments for rheumatism, bruises and skin problems. Both fruit and leaves also stimulate the digestion. A decoction of fruit or leaves made into a paste with honey or syrup can be applied to the chest for colds and other chest problems. The oil contains a powerful bacteria killing chemical that is used in some dentifrices. For frequent migraines add bay leaves to feverfew. Bay leaves have demonstrated to help the body used insulin more efficiently at levels as low at half-teaspoon.
Bayberry (Myrica cerifera)
A key herb in the Thomsonian system of medicine, being the main astringent used for “any stomach or bowel derangement, particularly after fevers.” Internally used for fevers, colds, influenza, excess mucus, diarrhea, colitis, excessive menstruation, and vaginal discharge. Externally for sore throat, ulcers, sores, itching skin conditions, dandruff and hair loss. Bayberry is commonly used to increase circulation, stimulate perspiration, and keep bacterial infections in check. Colds, flu, coughs, and sore throats benefit from treatment with this herb as a hot decoction. It helps to strengthen local resistance to infection and to tighten and dry mucous membranes. An infusion is helpful for strengthening spongy gums, and a gargle is used for sore throat. Bayberry’s astringency helps intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and mucous colitis. It increases circulation to the area while acting to tone tissues involved. An infusion can also help treat excess vaginal discharge. A paste of the powdered root bark may be applied onto ulcers and sores. The powdered bark has been used as a snuff for congested nasal passages. It has been used to treat post-partum hemorrhage and taken internally and used as a douche is recommended for excessive menstruation and leucorrhea. It is used as a poultice to soothe varicose veins. Myricadiol has a mild effect on potassium and sodium levels. Myricitrin is antibacterial and encourages the flow of bile. The powder is strongly sternutatory and excites coughing. Water in which the wax has been 'tried,' when boiled to an extract, is regarded as a certain cure for dysentery, and the wax itself, being astringent and slightly narcotic, is valuable in severe dysentery and internal ulcerations. The leaves have provided vitamin C for curing scurvy.
Belladonna (Atropa belladonna)
A belladonna derivative, atropine is used to dilate eyes prior to eye operations and for some eye exams. It has been official in the
U.S. Pharmacopoeia since 1820. The tropane alkaloids inhibit the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls involuntary body activities. This reduces saliva; gastric, intestinal and bronchial secretions as well as the activity of the urinary tubules, bladder, and intestines. It is the tropane alkaloids that increase the heart rate and dilate the pupils. It is prescribed to relax distended organs, especially the stomach and intestines, relieving intestinal colic and pain. It helps peptic ulcers and it relaxes spasms of the urinary tubules. The herb can also be used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, reducing tremors and rigidity, and improving speech and mobility. The smooth muscle relaxant properties of deadly nightshade make it useful in conventional medicine as an anesthetic, particularly when digestive or bronchial secretions need to be kept to a minimum.
Bergamot (Bergamot didyma) Bergamot tea is soothing and relaxing and makes a good night-time drink. Add a handful of fresh leaves to your bath to sooth tired and aching limbs (in a net bag). Native Americans used the leaves of monarda as a poultice and compress on skin eruptions, as a tea for colds and flus and inhaled as a steam to relieve sinus and lung congestion. Scientific evidence shows that bergamot may inhibit the herpes simplex and the related chicken pox viruses. It is also combined with other herbs to treat urinary tract infections and indigestion.
Bethroot (Trillium erectum
Bistort (Polygonum bistorta or Persicaria bistorta) Roots and leaves were used to counteract poisons and to treat malaria and intermittent fevers. Dried and powdered it was applied to cuts and wounds to staunch bleeding, and a decoction in wine was taken for internal bleeding and diarrhea (especially in babies). It was also given to cause sweating and drive out the plague, smallpox, measles and other infectious diseases. Bistort is rich in tannins and one of the best astringents. Taken internally, it is excellent for bleeding, such as from nosebleeds, heavy periods and wounds, and for diarrhea and dysentery. Since it reduces inflammation and mucous secretions it makes a good remedy for colitis and for catarrhal congestion. It was originally recommended in 1917 as a treatment for debility with a tendency towards tuberculosis. It has also been used externally for pharyngitis, stomatitis, vaginal discharge, anal fissure, purulent wounds, hemorrhoids, mouth ulcers and gum disease. Comes well with Geranium maculatum.
Bitter Root (Apocynum androsaemifolium
Black Catechu (Acacia catechu) Black Catechu is a powerful astringent used in chronic diarrhea, dysentery and mucous colitis. It is also a clotting agent. It helps reduce excess mucus in the nose, the large bowel, or vagina. It also treats eczema and hemorrhages. As a douche it is used in leucorrhea. As a mouthwash or gargle it is used in gingivitis, stomatitis, pharyngitis and laryngitis. It may be used as an infusion, tincture, powder or ointment. A small piece of cutch dissolved in the mouth is an excellent remedy for bleeding gums and canker sores. The power and tincture are also applied to infected gums and have been used to clean the teeth. In Ayurvedic medicine, decoctions of the bark and heartwood are used for sore throat. Research is that cutch has been shown to lower blood pressure, its mechanism of action is thought to be bradykinin related and due to vasodilation.
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa): Black cohosh root improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure and body temperature by dilating blood vessels and increasing peripheral circulation. The constituents responsible for these actions are so resinous, the traditional virtues of this herb are best extracted by using hot water and preferably alcohol on the fresh root. A central nervous system depressant, black cohosh directly inhibits vasomotor centers that are involved with inner ear balance and hearing. One of the uses for black cohosh recognized by doctors is for relief of ringing in the ears. The Native Americans knew that it encouraged uterine contractions and used it to facilitate labor. It is also used to reduce the inflammation and muscular pain of rheumatism and inflammatory arthritis, especially when it is associated with menopause and to treat problems of the respiratory system. Chinese physicians use several related plants to treat headache, to ripen and bring out skin rashes such as measles, diarrhea, bleeding gums and some gynecological problems.
Black Haw: (Viburnum prunifolium): Black Haw has a very similar use to Crampbark to which it is closely related. It is a powerful relaxant of the uterus and is used for dysmenorrhea and false labor pains. It may be used in threatened miscarriage as well (often in combination with false unicorn root). Its relaxant and sedative actions explain its power in reducing blood pressure, which happens through a relaxation of the peripheral blood vessels. It may be used as an anti-spasmodic in the treatment of asthma. It improves circulation to the uterus and ovaries, and thereby promotes nutrition to the pelvic area.
Black Hellebore (Helleborus niger
Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)
Medicinal Uses: Blessed thistle has been used as a treatment for liver disorders, as well as menstrual problems. It seems to detoxify the liver. In many European countries blessed thistle tablets are prescribed along with acetaminophen or aspirin to counterbalance the potential liver damage these drugs can cause. Many women take blessed thistle to regulate their periods. It seems to stimulate the appetite and many herbalists prescribe it to their anorexic patients. It is often combined with other herbs that are beneficial to the liver, such as milk thistle, artichoke or red clover. The leaves are considered one of the best herbs for increasing mother’s milk. Blessed thistle is antibiotic, destroying staph and other infections, although it has not proved very effective against harmful intestinal bacteria. Externally used as a healing balm for wounds and ulcers. Combines well with turtlehead and cola for anorexia and with meadowsweet, agrimony and cinquefoil for diarrhea.
Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) : The Eclectic doctors used blue cohosh to reduce labor pains, painful menstruation, stomach cramps, as an abortifacient and for joints stiff from arthritis or rheumatism. Herbalists also use it to help with irregular menstruation or a weak uterus. Researchers in India have discovered evidence that the American Indians may have been correct in using blue cohosh as a contraceptive. In animals, the herb inhibits ovulation. There has been some comparison to goldenseal in its effect and it has been used as an effective control for chronic yeast infections. The bitter principles in blue cohosh (notably methylcytistine) constrict peripheral blood vessels, stimulates the small intestine and respiration and produces hyperglycemia in a manner similar to nicotine but only about one-fortieth as toxic. They are also antifungal. It is a relatively complicated herb to use. It appears that the dose required for balancing the menstrual cycle changes throughout the cycle. If too much is taken intestinal cramping and headaches often occur. It can either stimulate a uterus to contract or inhibit contractions. It is used for amenorrhea in women whose cycles are blocked by physical congestion or nervous or hormonal imbalance. It is used in early pregnancy to prevent miscarriages, though for this use it is usually taken in small doses combined with other antispasmodics such as cramp bark. Its other important use is as a hormonal and tissue toner. Blue cohosh is given along with uterine astringent tonics for tears or surgical damage to the reproductive system during, but especially after, chronic reproductive infections; it also helps shrink fibroids or growths and promotes fertility. Tinctures are more effective than water-based tea since the active ingredients are not fully water soluble.
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum): : Parts used: tops and leaves. European studies show this herb helps treat minor viral and bacterial infections by stimulating white blood cells to destroy disease-causing microorganisms more effectively. In Germany, physicians currently use boneset to treat viral infections, such as colds and flu. One study shows boneset is mildly anti-inflammatory, lending some support to its traditional use in treating arthritis.
Borage (Borago officinalis): Medicinal: Poultices from the leaves are used to cool and soothe inflammations. In Latin America, a borage tea is drunk for lung problems. With its high mucilage content, borage is a demulcent and soothes respiratory problems. Its emollient qualities make it helpful for sore and inflamed skin—prepared either as freshly squeezed juice, in a poultice, or as an infusion. The flowers encourage sweating, and the leaves are diuretic. The seed oil is particularly rich in polyunsaturated fats and is superior in this respect to evening primrose oil. Borage seed oil is used to treat premenstrual complaints, rheumatic problems, eczema, and other chronic skin conditions. Gamma linoleic acid (GLA) which is found in borage seed oil (also evening primrose and black currant oils) is used to reduce inflammation, boost immunity and help maintain cell membranes in painful inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. Research has also shown that GLA supplements can help recovering alcoholics stay sober and slow down the damage that alcohol is known to cause to brain and liver cells. To help with Raynaud massage the oil into the fingers.
Buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus (R. frangula)
(Arctium lappa): Western herbalists have long used burdock for its demulcent action, both externally and internally, and for its alterative effects on the blood and urinary system. During the Middle Ages, remedies for kidney stones contained burdock in the belief that a stony character in a medicine would cure the stony ailment.
Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus
Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) It has been used mainly to treat chest problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and whooping cough. Butterbur helps to strengthen digestion, in particular where indigestion results from obstructed bile flow. It not only eases spasms in muscles, but has a pain-relieving effect too. It can also be used for fevers. This herb has also been given for inflammation of the urinary tract, and the fresh leaves can be used externally as a poultice to treat wounds and skin eruptions.
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Each of the products described within Our Web Site is being sold as a dietary supplement in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The herbal and health information provided in this Web Site is intended for educational purposes only. The products described are intended solely as food and dietary supplements to enhance general health. Nothing listed within this Web Site should be considered as medical advice for dealing with a given problem. You should consult your health care professional for individual guidance for specific health problems. Persons with serious medical conditions should seek professional care.