Herbs

Herbs

This section gives a list and description of the most common herbs one may come across. Herbs are “a gift from nature”. They include leaves, bark, berries, roots, gums, seeds, stems and flowers. They have been used for thousands of years to help maintain ‘all round’ good health. There is a lot of terminology associated with heral medicine, so we have included a “glossary of medical properties of herbs”. This glossary helps explain the meaning of the various terminologies used in herbal medicine.

Acidophilus: Works as an intestinal cleanser. Also helps prevent fungus, diverticulosis, acne, and bad breath. It helps in the absorption of calcium as well as other minerals.

Alfalfa (mendicago sativa): The parts of the alfalfa plant that are used are its leaves. In the Middle East, alfalfa is known as the “father of all herbs.” Alfalfa is one of the most nutritious plants on earth and its leaves are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium, beta-carotene, vitamins A, B-12, C, D, E and K. Alfalfa has also been found to contain all eight essential amino acids. It even contains fluoride which can help prevent tooth decay. Alfalfa is one of the highest fibrous herbs in existence and we are unable to digest its raw leaves. For centuries, Native Americans ground its seeds to be used as flour or boiled its leaves and ate them like greens.

Aloe Vera (aloe barbadenis): The parts of this plant that are used are its leaves. There are nearly 200 species of this member of the Lily family, found in African deserts and the islands of Aruba and Barbados. Since ancient times Aloe, recognized as an analgesic, has been used to treat burns. Aloe has also been used to treat other skin conditions such as scrapes, sunburns and insect bites. Aloe is a common ingredient in cosmetics and lotions because it naturally balances the pH of the skin. Internally, it has been used as a mild laxative and studies are being done on the use of aloe to enhance the immune system.

Angelica (Angelica sinensis): helps regulate menstruation, diaphoretic; diuretic; expectorant for coughs, bronchitis and pleurisy, particularly when symptoms are accompanied by fever, colds, or influenza; relieves gas, can help stimulate appetite; helps the skin eliminate toxins; may be used in anorexia nervosa.

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus): an immune stimulant thought to inhibit tumor growth and often used to help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. It supports the production of interferons (proteins our cells produce to fight out viral infections). May be used daily as tonic before colds start.

Bayberry (Myrica ceriferea): astringent in diarrhea; reduces secretions; used also in colds and chills; relaxes nervous tension which may be cause colic.

Bee Pollen: Bee Pollen is considered to be “the world’s most perfect food”. It contains over 18 Amino Acids, high in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and co-enzymes. Athletes use it to increase muscular vigor, energy and stamina. Many allergists use it in the treatment of hay fever.

Bee Propolis: Is a waxy substance collected by honey bees which contains phytotonizides. Phytotnzides are believed to contain immunity factors, which when used internally, stimulates the body and gives it a natural resistance to diseases ( a natural antibiotic).

Bioflavonoids (Hesperidin, Rutin, Quercetin, Pycnogenol): They are vital in their ability to increase the strength of the capillaries (blood vessels) and to regulate their permeability. They assist Vitamin C in keeping collagen, the intercellular “cement” in healthy condition; are essential for the proper absorption and use of vitamin C; prevents Vitamin C from being destroyed in the body by oxidation; beneficial in hypertension; helps hemorrhages and ruptures in the capillaries and connective tissues and builds a protective barrier against infections. Quercetin is a very highly concentrated form of Bioflavonoids derived from citrus fruit. Deficiency may result in varicose veins, tendency to bruise and bleed easily, appearance of purplish spots on the skin. Pycnogenol is the trade name of a commercial mixture of bioflavonoids (catechins, phenolic acid, proan, thocyanidins) that exhibits antioxidative activity.

Black Cohosh (Cimacifuga racemosa): an emmenagogue; assists in balancing female hormones and regulating menstrual periods; used as an anti-inflammatory in arthritis; helps lower high blood pressure; sometimes induces labor and regulates contractions.

Black Haw (Viburnum prunifolium): believed to tone the female reproductive system; helps prevent threatened miscarriage; contains uterine muscle relaxants.

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra): used in gargles for sore throat; a vermifuge; a blood purifier; lowers blood pressure.

Blessed Thistle: helps strengthen the heart and lungs and increases circulation.

Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalactroides): antispasmodic (an agent that relaxes nervous tension that may cause colic); emmenagogue; used to diminish menstrual cramps; used for uterine inflammation and uterine toning; assists in “false labor” (contractions that don’t lead to birth) and helps prevent miscarriage; assists in labor.

Boneset (Eupatorium perfolatum): diaphoretic; helps reduce fevers; bitter action for liver, gall bladder, and bowel.

Borage (Borago officinalis): lactagoge; diaphoretic; anti-inflammatory; lowers fevers during convalescence.

Buchu (Barosma betulina): diuretic; reduces inflamed mucous membranes that cause a mucous discharge; helps heal cystitis (infection of the urinary bladder and tract) and prostatis (infection of the prostrate gland); relieves irritation of the bladder, kidneys, urethra.

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa): stimulates appetite and digestion; reduces arthritic pain; blood purifier; treats scrofula, and other cankerous skin conditions; Burdock root also combined with dandelion and yellow dock can cure a the swelling of a sore growing on top of a lip.

Butternut Bark (Juglans cinera): eliminates intestinal worms; a mild laxative; increases secretion of bile and activity of glands in the walls of the intestinal tract.

Cayenne (capsicum frutescens): The part of this plant that is used is its fruit. Capsicum or Cayenne, derived from chili peppers, is highly nutritious, containing Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins as well as iron, calcium, and phosphorous. The red color of many chili peppers is due to their high Vitamin A content. Traditionally, chili peppers have been used in condiments to promote digestion and are believed to cleanse the blood. Capsicum has also been used as a gargle to treat throat conditions and research is currently being done on its use as an anti-inflammatory and to relieve sore muscles.

Cascara Sagrada (Rhamnus purshiana): The bark a gentle laxative especially helpful for the elderly, particularly in cases of chronic constipation; antispasmodic; and strengthens the liver; a chelating agent to prevent the formation of calcium-containing urinary stones; used for hepatic disease. contraindicated during pregnancy.

Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa): Detoxifier

Catnip (Nepeta cataria): associated with stomach discomforts; carminative (an agent use to relieve gas and sharp pain in the bowel region); antispasmodic; relieves cold and flu symptoms; a diaphoretic; a mild antimicrobial. (North American Indiansused catnip tea for colic in babies). contraindicated during pregnancy.

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla): the flowers reduce stomach problems, helps relieve cancer of the liver, mouth, skin and brain, applied internally as well as externally; calms anxiety; stimulates the expulsion of parasitic worms in the digestive system; also helps eliminate of bacteria that cause strep throat; used to treat skin problems. The essential oil’s in Chamomile are a wonderful blend of many individual oils. Pharmacological research suggested that there is a strengthening the protective mucosal barrier against ulceration. Action: Nervine, anti-spasmodic, carminative, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, bitter,and vulnerary.

Chapparal: Aids in healing skin blemishes, acne, arthritis & allergies; promotes hair growth; acts as a natural antibiotic within the body with no side effects.

Chestnut (Castanea Sativa): Contracts body tissue and blood vessels; helps in convulsive coughs and other irritable conditions of the respiratory organs.

Chickweed (Stellaria media): reduces internal inflammation, and external swelling; soothes coughs, colds, sore throats, and flus; effective against certain respiratory pathogens.

Cloves (Caryophyllum aromaticus): antiseptic; reduces vomitting.

Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara): soothes coughs and colds; expectorant; stimulates the immune system.

Comfrey Leaf powder (Symphytum officinale): impressive in speeding wound healing and guarding against scar tissue; soothes irritated surfaces; helps hemorrhages wherever they occur, internally or on the skin.

Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus): Relaxes muscle tensions and reduces spasms; relaxes the uterus and relieve painful menstrual cramps; helps to prevent menstrual excessive blood loss; protects from threatened miscarriage; sedative.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): treats liver infections and breast cancer; helpful in detoxifying the liver.

Dill (Anethum graveolens): helps eliminate gas in infants; tranquilizer; softens hardened stools.

Dioscorea Deltoidea: has been shown in vertebrates to not only be anabolic but also to stimulate appetite, boost immune system function and increase testosterone production. Dioscorea Deltoidea is used by some pharmaceutical companies as raw materials for the production of sex hormones.

Echinacea: Is the most effective blood & lymphatic cleanser in the botanical kingdom; its acts as a natural antibiotic and works like penicillin in the body with no side effects; aids in reducing fever, infections, bad breath & mucous buildup. Two types are commonly used, Echinacea Angustifolia: an immune stimulant and Echinacea purperea: an immune stimulant by increasing phagocytosis; used to treat fevers and minor infections.

Elder flowers (Sambucus canadensis): releives symptoms of coughs and colds

Elder berries (Sambucus nigra): applied externally for burns, rashes, and minor skin problems.

Elecampane root (Inula helenium): diuretic; diaphoretic; helps with coughs, and bronchitis.

Euphrasia (euphrasia officinalis): Euphrasia (euphrasia officinalis) or eyebright is an herb the name of which comes from the Greek word euphrosyne which means “gladness.” Euphrasia has been used for centuries for various eye problems. It is also used topically, mixed with other herbs to treat conjunctivitis and other inflammations or as an eyewash.

False unicorn (Chamaelirium luteum): balances hormones; diuretic; aids in delayed or absent menstruation; also helps threatened miscarriage; in small dosages it eases vomiting associated with pregnancy.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): an estrogenic agent; a lactagogue.

Fenugreek: has been shown in vertebrates to not only be anabolic but also to stimulate appetite, boost immune system function and increase testosterone production.

Feverfew (Tanateum parsenium): anti-inflammatory for arthritis; remedy for migraine headaches; relieves painful and slow menstrual flows; promotes relaxation; uterine stimulant.

Fo Ti (polygonum multiflorum): The part of this plant used is its root. Fo Ti is second only to ginseng in traditional Chinese medicine. Fo Ti, according to Chinese legend, was used by a 58 year old man who ate it and then fathered many children. It has been used to tread colic, enteritis or the inflammation of the intestines, gout and hemorrhoids. Research is being done on its use to lower cholesterol and to aid in the acceptance of organ transplants.

Garlic (Allium sativum): Garlic cloves have been used for thousands of years and their use has been recorded in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, China, Japan, India, Russia and Europe. Garlic was dedicated by Roman soldiers to Mars, their god of war. It has been used to ward off demons. It has been known as “Russian penicillin” and has been used to treat ear infections, cholera and typhus. Known as a natural anti-biotic, garlic was used during both world wars to disinfect wounds. This anti-oxidant is also believed to help lower cholesterol. Garlic contains an antimicrobial agent known as allicin and can easily be added to many foods. Research is now being done on the treatment of cancers with garlic. Summary: lowers blood pressure and cholesterol level; increases phagocyte and peritoneal macrophage production, thereby acting as an antimicrobial; effective in treating throat infection.

Gentian (Gentiana lutea): increases ability to digest and assimilate food; increases sensitivity of glands and organs to adrenalin (the hormone the body secretes when in need of rapid energy).

Ginger (Zingiber officinale): The rhizome of ginger is used not only as a flavoring for drinks like ginger ale but has also been used as an herbal remedy for asthma and coughs related to inflammation or allergies. There are over 80 species of ginger, historically found in China, Japan, Australia and Hawaii. Ginger has been used to treat nausea, indigestion, cramps, migraine headaches and to lower blood cholesterol and as a cleanser. Summary: stimulates circulation; a useful diaphoretic, promoting perspiration. As a gargle it can give temporary relief of sore throats.

Ginkgo Leaf (Ginkgo Biloba): Circulatory; brain circulation, anti-inflammatory, vasoddilatory, relaxant, has been suggested in the following conditions: vertigo, tinnitus, inner ear disturbances including partial deafness,impairment of memory and ability to concentrate, diminished intellectual capacity and alertness as a result of insufficient circulation, Raynaud’s disease, arterial circulatory disturbances due to aging,

Ginseng (panax ginseng): The part of this plant that is used is the root. Panax comes from the Greek for “panacea” meaning “all healing.” In the Ginseng family there are American, Korean, Chinese and Siberian ginsengs. A Chinese text dating from the First Century A.D. describes ginseng as “enlightening to the mind and increasing the wisdom.” Russian folklore promotes ginseng as a stimulant and immunity booster. Ginseng is believed to enhance physical and mental endurance, increase energy, reduce cholesterol, to support adrenal function, to reduce stress and regulate blood sugar. Two products are commonly found; Ginseng, American Wild (Panax quinquefolia): an adaptogen (helps the system adapt to a variety of changes); increases energy; decreases blood pressure. Contraindicated during pregnancy. And Ginseng, Siberian (Eleutherococcus senticosus): an adaptogen; lowers stress; both raises and/or lowers blood sugar. Contraindicated during pregnancy.

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis): antimicrobial; a bitter herb whose root is an anticarrhal; tonic; used as a antibiotic; contains berberine effective against Helobacter pylori (often responsible for recurrent ulcers) and giardia; effective against gram-positive bacteria such as streptococcus and staph, and gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli; treats eczema and ringworm (applied topically) reduces inflammation of the eyes; contraindicated during pregnancy.

Gotu Kloa (hydrocotyle asiatica or centella asiatica): The whole gotu kola plant has been widely used in India and Fiji to treat skin inflammations, to improve blood circulation, to aid in the treatment of bloating, congestion and depression. A Sinhalese proverb says “Two leaves a day keep old age away”.

Grape Seed Extract: Grape seed extract is very similar to pine bark extract as it contains a unique type of bioflavonoids called proanthocyanidins, which are synergistic with vitamin C, that is, they greatly enhance the activity of Vitamin C. In fact, some researchers believe that grape seed extract helps vitamin C enter cells, thus strengthening the cell membranes and protecting the cells from oxidative damage.

Guggulsterone: Grown in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, Guggul is a tree which exudes a resinous sap out of incisions that are made in its bark. This resin has been used for centuries as part of India’s traditional medicine called Ayurveda. There is more info on Guggulsterones in the “Common Supplements” section.

Honeysuckle Flowers (Lonicera periclymenum): laxative; expectorant.

Horehound (Marrubium vulgare): a cough remedy; used to facilitate healing of bronchitis and asthma; expels mucous from the lungs and throat.

Hawthorne Berries (crataegus oxyacantha): The parts of the Hawthorne tree used are its flowers, leaves and berries. Rich in bioflavonoids, hawthorne berries have been used for thousands of years in China to treat indigestion and is widely known as a diuretic. Since the 17th century, hawthorne has been used to treat various heart conditions and today is believed to lower blood pressure.

Hyssop: Regulates blood pressure, purifies the blood & promotes circulation, excellent aid for the eyes, hoarseness, lungs, mucous buildup, nervous disorders and skin problems.

Lecithin: Contains Choline & Inositol which are essential for the breakdown of fats and cholesterol. It helps prevent arterial congestion, helps distribute bodyweight, increases immunity to virus infections, cleans the liver and purifies the kidneys.

Linden Flowers (Tilia europaea): a nervine, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue, hypotensive, diaphoretic, diuretic, astringent. Linden is well known as a relaxing remedy and in the treatment of raised blood pressure associated with nervous tension.

Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra): soothes and heals mucous membranes in the intestinal tract; treats ulcers.

Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum): Antimicrobial

Ma Haung: A stimulant of the adrenal glands; helps increase energy level; aids in healing asthma, bronchitis, lung, coughs & congestive disorders.

Marshmallow root (Althea officinalis): the root soothes mucous membranes; helps heal wounds; ointments and cremes made from the root are effective on chapped hands and lips; internally treats inflammation and problems of the genito-urinary tract; mouthwash; soothes teething pain.

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria): Intestinal Astringent, anti-inflammatory, carminative, antacid, anti-emetic. Protects and soothe the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, reducing nausea. It is gentle enough yet its astringency is useful in treating diarrhoea in children.

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum): Liver protectant, Hepatic, galactogogue, demulcent, cholagogue. Research done in Germany is revealing data about reversal of toxic liver damage as well as protection from potential hepatotoxic agents. As its name implies, it promotes milk secretion in herbal formulas for breast feeding mothers.

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca): Antispasm, nervine hepatic, cardiac tonic, hypotensive. The latin names of this plant show its range of uses from delayed menstrual due to anxiety and uterine conditions while cardiaca indicates its use in heart and circulation treatments (due to tension and is often used with Hawthorne berries.

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus): helps heal respiratory problems; protects damaged tissue; reduces swelling and pain; has antibiotic qualities.

Myrrh (Balsamodendron myrrha): increases mucous membrane activity; helps fight infection by increasing white blood cells (that attack foreign microbials); treats weak pulse and cold skin; stimulates digestion by increasing peptic gland activity. Since myrrh is soothing to mucous membranes, it isfrequently used in vaginal douches.

Nettle (Urtica dioaca): lactagogue; diuretic and detoxifying; helps heal eczema (especially children when stress related and combined with burdock). As an astrigent in formulas can be used to hlep in uterine hemorrhage. Combinations:

Oatstraw (Avena sativa): helps builds the outer layer of the skin; helps detoxify body.

Octacosanol: Is the active ingredient in wheat germ oil. It is used to increase endurance, stamina & vigor. A lot of so called Growth Hormone products contain this.

Oregon grape root (Mahonia aquifolium): antimicrobial; source of berberine which is an antimicrobial for several bacteria (see goldenseal for more on berberine).

Osha root (Ligusticum porteri): reduces inflammation of the throat and mucous membranes; increases elimination of toxins throughout the spores of the skin; acts like a bronchial dilator.

Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata): sedative; assists relaxation and sleep.

Pau D’Arco (Tabebuia impetiginosa): retards the development of tumors; helps heal candida in adults thrush (candida in the infant’s mouth); helps heal viruses; anti-fungal; assists in eliminating parasites. Dr. T. Meyer learned from the Callaway tribe and using it on his leukemia patients with success. In 1960, it’s use was taken up by the Municipal Hospital of Santo Andre where medical doctors used a brew of the bark on terminal cancer patients that helped them with pain and reduction o the size of the tumors.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita): reduces cramps, antispasm, stimulant.

Plantain (Plantago ovaga): alleviates skin infection and inflammation; also reduces pain and coughing.

Pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa): remedy for colds and flus; expectorant.

Queen of the Meadow Root (Eupatorum purpureum): also known as gravel root or Joe-Pye Weed. Diuretic, anti-lithic, urinary infections, respiratory.

Red raspberry leaves (Rubus idaeus): a uterine tonic; relaxes the uterus; traditionally believed to lead to an easier childbirth; midwives have found that women who drink raspberry leaf tea regularly during pregnancy have decreased chance of hemorrhage; relieves kidney irritation.

Red clover (Trifolium pratense): helps treat gout; reduces coughing; expels mucous from the lungs and throat; used to treat and prevent cancer.

Red root (Ceanothus americanus): treats tonsil inflammations and sore throats; increases transport of nutrients from the blood across the capillary cells to the lymph.

Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma sinensis): An immunostimulant

Rhubarb root (Rheum palmateom): the root stimulates the appetite; helps stop diarrhea; inhibits bacterial growth; inhibits growth of cancer; sometimes administered for upper digestive tract bleeding.

Rose Hips (rosa canina): Rose hips are the fruit of a rose that develop after the peddles have fallen. They were used in Britain during World War II to prevent scurvy during a shortage of citrus fruit. Since then, rose hips have been used as a source of Vitamin C and in fact, have up to 60 times the Vitamin C of citrus fruit as well as containing the bioflavonoids that aid in the absorption of Vitamin C. Used to fight infection & curb stress. It is the highest herb in Vitamin C content and contains the entire C-Complex.

Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis): treats headaches; soothes upset stomach; a muscle stimulant; soothes irritated nerves.

Royal Jelly: The food of the Queen bee. It is a salivary secretion of the honey bees that has been recorded as therapeutically useful in the treatment of sterility and sex organ insufficiencies: such as impotency & frigidity.

Saint John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): anti-inflammatory; treats lung diseases; urinary infections; helps reduce stress; helps heal wounds and cuts.

Sarsaparilla (Smilax ornata): root used to soothe sore eyes, wounds, and burns; antimicrobial as a result of antibiotic properties (saponins); diuretic; diaphoretic.

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa serrulata): anti-inflammatory; appetite stimulant; digestive aid; diuretic; relives dysmenorrhea that results from lack of uterine tone.

Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora): nervine; relaxant; sleep-inducing, relieves pain caused by spasms.

Shavegrass (Horsetail herb): stabilizes and strengthens lung membranes; effective in healing urinary tract infections/

Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris): lowers blood pressure; reduces heavy menstrual flow (menorrhagia); reduces the incidence of hemorrhage in childbirth; heals urinary tract irritation and clears blood from the urine; stimulates uterine contractions.

Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinus edodes): helps Immune system.

Sitosterol: It is derived from many plants and cereal grasses; commonly found in rye germ oil. It has the ability to emulsify fats; and is found to be 30 times more potent than choline when it comes to the breaking down of cholesterol deposits.

Slippery elm (Ulmus fulva): demulcent; soothes damaged tissue; treats gastritis and ulcers; very effective for coughs; very effective for sore throat; diarrhea; sores; remedy for broken bones; anti-inflammatory for the stomach. Contraindicated during pregnancy.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata): Antispasm; stomach.

Spikenard root (Aralia recemosa): diuretic; relieves coughs and asthma; Native Americans used it for menstrual irregularities; helps lung and kidney ailments.

Spirulina: Is an algae containing 65 – 70% protein; it contains 26 times the Calcium of milk; also contains phosphorous & niacin and is far more nutritious than any known food; used for rejuvenation & weight reduction; an excellent blood and colon cleanser; very high in Vitamin B12 content.

Squaw vine (Mitchella repens): relieves painful menstruation; helps prevent miscarriage; used during the last few weeks of pregnancy to aid childbirth.

Stevia Herb (Stevia rebaudiana): digestion, herb has very sweet taste.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): reduces bacteria growth; reduces mucous in the lungs; eliminates hookworms in the intestines; strengthens the nervous system.

Usnea (Usnea barbata): Antimicrobial.

Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis): reduces stress; induces sleep; (European studies show that the major component, the “valepotriates” have sedative, anti-convulsive, hypotensive, tranquilizing, and anti-aggressive qualities, making Valerian a natural tranquilizer.)

White oak bark (Quercus alba): anti-inflammatory; helps prevent diarrhea.

White pine bark (Pinus strobus): Expectorant.

White willow (Salix alba): pain reliever; relieves headaches, fevers, arthritis, sore muscles, and chills.

White cherry bark (Prunus serotina): Respiratory

Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa): Yams produce a compound that is used by the pharmaceutical industry to produce progestogens. The human body can not do this. Many PMS and menopausal remedies contain wild yam or Mexican yam extract. Often claims are made that this product is in fact progesterone, it is not. Dioscorea may have beneficial effects and it may be useful for some conditions, but it is not the same as progesterone. Summary: increases liver efficiency by lowering serum cholesterol; helps prevent miscarriage; reduces dysmenorrhea, cramps and afterpain (uterine cramps after giving birth).

Wild cherry bark (Prunus serotina): astringent; helps irritating coughs due to sedative action, anti-tussive, expectorant, Note that inhibition of a cough does not chest infection, which will still need to be treated.

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens): anodyne; astringent; diuretic; stimulant; emmenagoge; lactagogue.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): purifies the blood; reduces fever; lowers blood pressure; digestive stimulant; diaphoretic.

Yellow Dock (Rumex crispus): clears skin problems including eczema and psoriasis; relieves glandular inflammation and swelling; eliminates ringworm; In India yellow Dock even hardened weak gums (softened by having a bad diet); also has some antibiotic properties.

Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon californicum): Respiratory.

Yucca Root (Yucca species): anti-inflammatory for arthritis.

Glossary Of Medical Properties Of Herbs

Abortifacient: Induces the premature abortion of the fetus. Example: pennyroyal, aloe, sandalwood.

Adaptogens: Herbs that help us adapt to stress by supporting the adrenal glands, the endocrine system, and the whole person. Examples are ginseng root, nettle leaf, sarsaparilla, licorice root, and ashwagandha.

Alterative: (Sanskrit: Parivartakas or Rakta Shodhana Karma ) These herbs alter or change a long-standing condition by aiding the elimination of metabolic toxins. Gradually facilitates a beneficial change in the body. Also known as “blood cleansers’ in the past, these herbs improve lymphatic circulation, boost immunity, and help clear chronic conditions of the skin. These herbs also heal sores, boils, tumors, cancers; reduces fevers; detoxifies the liver, kills parasites and worms; helps in the treatment of infectious, contagious diseases and epidemics, flu, acne herpes, and venereal disease. Examples are: ginseng, aloe, sandalwood, red clover, burdock, bayberry, black pepper, cinnamon, myrrh, and safflower.

Amoebicidal: For amoebic dysentery.

Analgesic or anodynes: (Sanskrit- Vedana shamana) These herbs reduce or eliminate pain (e.g., digestive, circulatory, respiratory, nervous system, nerve, muscle, tooth pain, nervous digestion, headaches). Some herbs are strong pain relievers, often working best against pains of specific causes. Examples: Camphor, chamomile, cinnamon, cloves, echinacea, lavender flower, feverfew herb, cabbage leaves, wintergreen leaf , passionflower herb and flower.

Anaphrodisiac: Herbs that decrease or allay sexual feelings or desires.

Anesthetics: For surgical anesthesia. Examples are: ashok, calamus, gudmar, and jatamanshi.

Anthelmintic (Sanskrit: Krumighana karma or krimighna) Herbs that destroys and dispels worms, parasites, fungus, yeast See also: vermicide, vermifuge. Examples are: Pau d’arco, goldenseal, wormseed, wormwood, ajwan, cayenne, peppers, and pumpkin seeds.

Anodyne: (Sanskrit- Sula-orasa-mana) Herbs that relieve pain and reduces the sensitivity of the nerves. (See analgesic) Examples: Ashok, barberry, cedar, and ginger.

Antacid: Neutralizes the acid produced by the stomach. Helps the stomach lining recuperate to accommodate the healthy gastric acid needed for good digestion. Examples are: marshmallow root and leaf, meadowsweet herb, hops flower, and sweet flag.

Anthelmintic: an agent that destroys and expels worms from the intestines. Same as vermifuge.

Antibilious: Herb that combats nausea, abdominal discomfort, headache, constipation, and gas that is caused by an excessive secretion of bile. (These symptoms are called biliousness.)

Antibiotic: Inhibits the growth of germs, bacteria, and harmful microbes. Examples: Turmeric and echinacea.

Antidiabetic: Examples of herbs: Amalaki, blackberry, fenugreek, gudmar, senna, and shilajit.

Antidiarrhea: An alterative. Examples are: Blackberry, comfrey, gentian, red raspberry, and yellow dock, black pepper, and ginger.

Antiemetic: (Sanskrit: Chherdinashana) Prevents or alleviates nausea and vomiting. Examples are: Cloves, coriander, ginger, and raspberry.

Antiepileptic: Herb that combats the convulsions or seizures of epilepsy.

Antilithic: Aids in preventing the formation of stones in the kidneys and bladder.

Antiperiodic:( S- Visham Jvara har ) Prevents the periodic recurrence of attacks of a disease; as in malaria. Examples: Barberry, chirayata, guduchi, kutaj, and vacha.

Antiphlogistic: Herb that counteracts inflammation.

Antipyretic: (Sanskrit- Jwarahara) reduces fever by reducing production of heat at its centers; destroying fever toxins; sweating to increase the loss of heat; drawing out the heat (e.g., cold baths). Same as febrifuge or refrigerant. Examples: Amalaki, black pepper, brihati, nirgundi, safflower, sandalwood.

Antirheumatic: Herb that relieves or cures rheumatism.

Antiscorbutic: Effective in the prevention or treatment of scurvy.

Antiseptic: (Sanskrit- Shodhaniya) prevents decay or putrefaction. A substance that inhibits the growth and development of microorganisms without necessarily destroying them. Also see bitter. Examples are: Aloe, Chitrak, gokshura, gudmar, sandalwood, and turmeric.

Antispasmodic: (Sanskrit- Vikashi) Relieves or prevents involuntary muscle spasm or cramps (also see nervines) by strengthening nerves and the nervous system. Examples: Camomile, ashwagandha, basil, calamus, guggul, licorice, myrrh, sage, gotu kola, jatamanshi, peppermint, sandalwood, and spearmint.

Antisyphilitic: Herbs that improve or cure syphilis. Also called antiluetic. Examples: Black pepper, cedar, guduchi, guggul.

Antitussive: Prevents or improves a cough.

Antivenomous: Acts against poisonous matter from animals.

Antizymotic: Herbs that destroy disease-producing organisms.

Aperient.- (Sanskrit- Bhedaniya) A mild or gentle laxative. Also called aperitive. Example: Rhubarb.

Aphrodisiac: (Sanskrit- Vajikarana) Restores or increases sexual power and desire. Two types: Tonics: Develop tissue substance. Stimulants: increase the functioning of the reproductive organs. Examples: Angelica, ahwagandha, asparagus, fenugreek, fo-ti, ginseng, gokshura, hibiscus, kapikachu seeds, pippali, rose, saffron, and shatavari. The nutritive tonics such as aghwagandha, bala, fo-ti, ghee, licorice, marshmallow, sesame seeds, and Shatavari increase semen and breast milk.

Appetizer: For stimulating the appetite. Examples: Cardamom, coriander.

Aromatic: (Sanskrit- Sugandhi-tadravya) Herb with a pleasant, fragrant scent and a pungent taste. Examples: Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, fennel, peppermint, and turmeric.

Astringent: (Sanskrit- Sankeshanlya or Stambhana karma ) Causes a local contraction of the skin, blood vessels, and other tissues, thereby arresting the discharge of blood, mucus, etc. Usually used locally as a topical application. Examples: Amalaki, arjuna, ashok, cinnamon, jasmine, sandalwood, and yarrow.

Balsam: The resin of a tree that is healing and soothing. For example: myrrh.

Balsamic: a healing or soothing agent.

Bitter: a solution of bitter, often aromatic, plant products used as a mild tonic. These herbs reduce toxins, toxins in blood and weight, destroy infection, high fever, heat, fever in blood, internal fever, heated liver, much thirst, sweating, inflammation, and infection. Examples: aloe, barberry, chirayata, gentian, and golden seal.

Calmative: Herbs that are soothing, sedating-see also nervines.

Cardiac Stimulant: Herbs that promote circulation when there is a weak heart.

Carminative: (Sanskrit- Vata-anuloman or Dipaniya) Herb that helps to prevent gas from forming in the intestines, and also assists in expelling it. Also increases absorption of nutrients, dispels water, mucus, promotes normal peristalsis; relieves spasms and pain; improves weak digestion from anxiety, nervousness, or depression. Examples: Chamomile, chrysanthemum, coriander, fennel, lime, peppermint, and spearmint, ajwan, basil, calamus, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric.

Cathartic: (Sanskrit- Bhedana) Causes evacuation of the bowels. A cathartic may be either mild (laxative) or vigorous (purgative). Examples are: figs, prunes, olive oil (laxatives), senna, castor oil, and aloe vera.

Cephalic: Refers to diseases affecting the head and upper part of the body.

Cholagogue: Herb that stimulates the flow of bile from the liver into the intestines. Examples: Arka, guduchi, licorice, safflower, senna, and sesame.

Condiment: Enhances the flavor of food.

Cordial: a stimulating medicine or drink.

Decongestant: For relieving congestion-see expectorant.

Demulcent: (Sanskrit- Mridukara or Kasa-Svasahara) Soothes, protects, and relieves the irritation of inflamed mucous membranes and other surfaces. (i.e., protects stomach and urinary bladder lining). Examples: Barley, licorice; linseed, olive, and almond oils.

Dentifrice: For cleaning teeth and gums.

Deobstruent.- Removes obstructions by opening the natural passages or pores of the body.

Depurative: Tends to purify and cleanse the blood.

Detergent: Cleanses boils, ulcers, wounds, etc.

Diaphoretic: (Sanskrit- Svedana Karma or Svedaniya) Promotes perspiration, especially profuse perspiration. Promotes circulation; dispels fever and chills; eliminates surface toxins; relieves muscle tension, aching joints, and inflammatory skin conditions; relieves diarrhea, dysentery, kidneys, liver, urinary, and gall bladder disorders; dispels stones of kidney and both bladders. Also useful for genitourinary disease (herpes), edema; painful, difficult or burning urination or infections. See sudorific. Examples: basil, ajwan, cardamom, parsley, cinnamon, eucalyptus, ginger, juniper berries, asparagus, barley, burdock, chamomile, chrysanthemum, coriander, dandelion, fennel, marshmallow, spearmint.

Digestives: (Sanskrit- Dipana-Pachana Karma) Assists the stomach and intestines in normal digestion. Examples: Coriander, cumin, rock salt, and turmeric.

Discutient: Herb that dissolves or causes something, such as a tumor, to disappear. Also called discussive.

Disinfectant: (Sanskrit- Aguntaka-roganashaka) Destroys disease germs and noxious properties of fermentation; These herbs destroy pathogenic microbes (that cause communicable diseases). Examples: Apamarga, arka, gudachi, katuka, sandalwood.

Diuretic: (Sanskrit- Mutrala Karma or Mutra-virehana ) Promotes the production and secretion of urine. Examples: Parsley., apamarga, ashwagandha, barberry, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, gotu kola, gokshura, gudachi, licorice, and sandalwood.

Drastic: A violent purgative.

Ecbolic: see abortifacient.

Emetic: (Sanskrit- Vamakartya ) Causes vomiting. There are three types of emetics- central, local and general. Central emetics (e.g., chamomile) act through the vomiting center of the brain. Local emetics irritate the nerves of the gastric mucus membrane (e.g., mustard). General emetics act through the blood on the vomiting center . Examples of herbs with emetic action include pippali, rock salt, vacha, ipecac, lobelia, apamarga, arka, chakramarda, chitrak and licorice.

Emmenagogue: (Sanskrit- Rajastha-paniya or Rakta- bhisarana ) Herb that brings on menstruation. Herbalists also believe that these herbs clear blood congestion, blood clot; build the blood; moisten female reproductive organs; counteract aging and poor nutrition. Examples are: camomile, aloe, angelica, hibiscus, jasmine, peony, rose, and saffron.

Emollient: (Sanskrit- Snehopaga) A substance that is usually used externally to soften and soothe the skin. Examples: oils, honey, bread or bran poultice, carrots, turnips.

Epispastic: (Sanskrit- Dosha-ghnatepa) Substances locally applied to the skin. (e.g., mustard).

Errhine: (Sanskrit- Shiro-virechana) Herbs applied to the mucus membranes of the nose to increase nasal secretion. Examples: black pepper, ginger, amalaki, apamarga, arka.

Esculent: Edible or fit for eating.

Exanthematous: Refers to any eruptive disease or fever. An herbal remedy for skin eruptions such as measles, scarlet fever, etc.

Exhilarant: Herbs that enliven and cheer the mind.

Expectorant: (Sanskrit- Kasa-Svasahara) Promotes the thinning and ejection of mucus or exudate from the lungs, bronchi, and trachea; sometimes the meaning is extended to all remedies that quiet a cough. Examples: ginger, licorice, calamus, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, sage, eucalyptus, thyme, wild cherry.

Farinaceous: Having a mealy texture or surface.

Febrifuge: (Sanskrit- Jvarahar) Reduces body temperature and fever. Same as antipyretic and refrigerant.

Galactogogue: (Sanskrit- Stanya-janana) Increases breast milk secretion. Examples: Cumin, fennel, musta, pippali.

Germicide: Destroys germs and worms. (see disinfectant.)

Germifuge: Expels germs. (see germicide.)

Hemostatic: (Sanskrit- Shonitasthapana) Astringent, alterative, stops bleeding, purifies blood. Examples: durba, goldenseal, red raspberry, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger.

Hepatic: Promotes the well-being of the liver and increases the secretion of bile. Example: golden seal.

Herpatic: A remedy for skin eruptions, ringworm, etc.

Hypnotic: Tends to produce sleep.

Laxative: (Sanskrit- S- Svalpabhedana or Virechanlya) Herb that acts to promote evacuation of the bowels; a gentle cathartic. Examples: castor oil, flax seed, psyllium, rhubarb, senna.

Lithotriptic: Causing the dissolution or destruction of stones in the bladder or kidneys. Examples, arjuna, arka, amalaki.

Maturating: An agent that promotes the maturing or bringing to a head of boils, carbuncles etc.

Mucilaginous: Herbs that have a soothing effect on inflamed mucous membranes.

Myotic: (Sanskrit- Netra-kashitraroga) Cause the contraction of the pupil and diminution of ocular tension.

Narcotic: An addicting substance that reduces pain and produces sleep.

Nauseant. An herb that causes nausea and vomiting. Somewhat similar to an emetic.

Nervine: A substance that calms and soothes the nerves and reduces tension and anxiety. Examples: ashwagandha, bala, gudmar.

Opthalmicum: A remedy for diseases of the eye.

Parasiticide: (Sanskrit- Krimighna) Destroys parasites. (see germicide, antiparasitic.)

Parturient: A substance that induces and promotes labor.

Parturifacient: Herbs that induces child-birth or labor. Examples: Barley, pippali.

Pectoral: Relieves disorders of the chest and lungs, such as an expectorant.

Poultice: Plant material that is prepared in a special way and applied to the surface of the body as a remedy for certain disorders.

Pungent: Irritating or sharply painful. Producing a sharp sensation of taste or smell.

Purgative: (Sanskrit- Virechanlya ) A substance that promotes the vigorous evacuation of the bowels. Usually used to relieve severe constipation. Examples: Aloe, Epsom salt, licorice, rhubarb, safflower, senna.

Refrigerant: (Sanskrit- Dahanashaka) Relieves fever and thirst. A cooling remedy. Lowers body temperature. Examples: Aloe, coriander, ginger, hibiscus, orange, lemon, licorice, sandalwood.

Relaxant: Tends to relax and relieve tension, especially muscular tension.

Resolvent: Promotes the resolving and removing of abnormal growths, such as a tumor.

Rubefacient: (Sanskrit- Barlyalepana) An agent that reddens the skin by increasing the circulation when rubbed on the surface. Examples: black pepper, cayenne, ginger, licorice, mustard.

Sedative: Herb that allays excitement, induces relaxation, and is conducive to sleep.

Sialagogue: (Sanskrit- Lalavardhaka) Promotes the flow of saliva. Examples: Arka, black pepper, chitrak, ginger, licorice.

Soporific: Herbs that help to produce sleep.

Stimulant: (Sanskrit- Agni-sthapaniya or Dipana) Herb that increases the activity or efficiency of a system or organ; acts more rapidly than a tonic. Examples: cayenne, camphor,ephedra, barberry extract, yellow thistle juice, sandalwood, gotu kola, guggul, myrrh.

Stomachic: (Sanskrit- Kshudha-vardhaniya) Herbs that give strength and tone to the stomach, stimulate digestion, and improve the appetite. Examples: Amalaki, bilwa, black pepper, cardamom, cedar, chitrak, cumin, ginger, licorice, turmeric.

Styptic: (Sanskrit- Raktha-sthambana) Astringent: arrests hemorrhage and bleeding. Causes vascular contraction of the blood vessels or coagulation of the albuminous tissues of the blood. Checks hemorrhage. Examples: adrenaline, alum.

Sudorific: Herbs that cause heavy perspiration.

Tincture: A solution of the active principal of an herb in alcohol.

Tonic: Herbs that restore and strengthen the entire system. Produces and restores normal tone. A general tonic would be one that braces up the whole system. Example: Aloe, bala, barberry, chirayata, guduchi, katuka, gentian, goldenseal.

Tonic (nutritive): (Aanskrit- Bruhangana karma) Permanently increases the tone of a part of the body, or the entire system by nourishing and increasing weight. Example: Amataki, ashwagandha, cane sugar, coconut, coriander, dates.

Tonics, Reiuvenative: (Sanskrit- Rasayana karma): Regenerates cells and tissues; promotes longevity. Examples: Ashwagandha, guggul, haritaki, calamus, aloe, amalaki, gotu kola, saffron, guggul.

Vermicide: Herb that kills intestinal worms. (see anthelmintic.)

Vermifuge: (Example: Kiremarnewali) An agent that expels intestinal worms or parasites. Same as anthelmintic.

Vesicant.- An agent that causes blistering, such as poison ivy.

Vulnerary- An herb used in treating fresh cuts and wounds, usually used as a poultice. A healing substance. Example: Aloe, comfrey, honey, licorice, marshmallow, turmeric, and slippery elm