Plants used in Herbalism

Currently my most comprehensive list (around 400) of plants that have been/are used in herbalism. Do not attempt to self medicate with plants that you do not know very well, some are highly toxic if not prepared and/or administered correctly.






Abscess root

Polemonium reptans


Used to reduce fever, inflammation, and cough.


Euterpe oleracea


Used for its energizing antioxidant benefits. There is little science to support these uses, though it is known to be extremely high in antioxidants and anthocyanins, rich in protein fiber, vitamin E and iron.

Adder’s Tongue (aka Christ’s Spear)

Ophioglossum vulgatum

root, leaf

Had a reputation as a vulnerary. A preparation of it, known as the ‘Green Oil of Charity,’ is still in request as a remedy for wounds. The expressed juice of the leaves, drunk either alone, or with distilled water of Horse Tail, used much to be employed by country people for internal wounds and bruises, vomiting or bleeding at the mouth or nose. The distilled water was also considered good for sore eyes.

Agaricus blazei mushroom

Agaricus blazei


Traditionally used to treat many common diseases such as cardiovascular issues, hepatitis, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, skin disorders like eczema, and immune disorders. Is being studied as a possible treatment for cancer.

Agrimony (aka Liverwort, Cockleburr, Sticklewort)

Agrimonia eupatoria L.

aerial parts

Most used in modern herbal practice as a mild astringent and a tonic. Approved by the German Commission E internal use for mild, nonspecific, acute diarrhea and inflammation of oral and pharyngeal mucosa (sore throat). The dried, above-ground parts can be used as a skin wash to treat skin inflammation and irritations.

Ajwain (aka Ajwan, Ajwon)

Trachyspermum ammi Syn. Carum copticum

ess. oil

Very similar to its western relatives in the plant family Apiaceae Cumin, Dill and Parsley. High concentration of essential oils, primarily thymol. Seeds are primarily used for digestion and cold/flu.


Medicago sativa

aerial parts

The leaves are used to lower cholesterol, as well as for kidney and urinary tract ailments, although there is insufficient scientific evidence for its efficacy. It’s mainly used as a tonic herb, one that supports health by nourishing the body.

Allspice (aka Pimento, Jamaica Pepper)

Pimenta officinalis

dried fruit

An aromatic, digestive stimulant.


Prunus dulcis

kernel& oil

The oil is used to to soften and condition the skin.

Aloe vera

Aloe vera


The leaves are widely used to heal burns, wounds and other skin ailments.

Amalaki (aka Indian gooseberry, amla)

Phyllanthus emblica
Syn. Emblica officinalis


A strong antioxidant and the highest known source of vitamin C.


Carapa guianensis

oil from nut, bark & leaf

The Northwest Amazons use the bark and leaves for fever-reducing and worm-inhibiting tea, and externally as a wash for skin problems, ulcers, and insect bites, and as an insect repellent. The oil is anti-inflammatory and rich in omega-3 fatty acids that promote skin healing and may slow the growth of skin cells in psoriasis and age spots. It promotes normal circulation to the skin and relieves pain and swelling. Used in heated massage to relieve arthritis.

Andographis (aka King of bitters, Green chirayta, Creat, Indian echinacea)

Andrographis paniculata

leaf, root

Both the fresh and dried leaves, and the fresh juice of the whole plant, have been widely used in traditional remedies and folklore medicines for liver disorders, bowel complaints of children, colic pain, general debility, and convalescence after fevers. It is also used as a stomachic, anthelmintic, antiperistaltic, and antispasmodic.

Angelica (aka Choraka)

Angelica archangelica

root, stem, seed, leaf,
ess. oil

The roots have been used in traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea or tincture for treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, nervous system, and also against fever, infections, and flu.

(Star) Anise (aka Aniseed)

Illicium verum

seed, ess. oil

Major source of the chemical compound shikimic acid, a primary precursor in the pharmaceutical synthesis of the anti-influenza drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

Annatto (aka Achiote, Lipstick tree)

Bixa orellana


Extracts inhibit the growth of bacteria. The seeds contains very high concentrations of carotenoids, which may explain it’s antioxidant properties.


Malus domestica
Syn. M.sylvestris


Herbalists consider the fruit to be cleansing and a tonic to the liver and kidneys. The best of the medicinal compounds are contained in the peel. They contain malic and tartaric acids, and salts of potassium, sodium, magnesium, and iron, as well as soluble fiber which can lower cholesterol, help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries, and slow the uptake of glucose, helping you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. May help prevent two of the major lifestyle diseases of modern life, diabetes and heart disease.


Prunus armeniaca

oil from kernel

The oil is known for its ability to penetrate the skin without leaving an oily feel. Some users report good results for acne prone skin when used as a nighttime moisturizing treatment. Rich in vitamins and fatty acids such as GLA.


Argania spinosa

oil from seed

The oil is noted for its anti-aging effects, rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, it helps to replace the diminishing amount of squalene that causes our skin to lose moisture. It softens and soothes, decreasing wrinkles and stretch marks.

Argemone (aka Prickly Poppy , Mexican Poppy, Bluestem)

Argemone mexicana
Syn. A. albiflora

leaf, petal, oil from seed, sap

The use of the oil of the seeds, the leaves, and the petals of this species has been quite prominent among native people of all tropical countries where it grows. As a whole the plant has been conceded to be anodyne, detersive, resolutive, hypnotic, diuretic, diaphoretic, ophthalmic, and a hydragogue cathartic, appearing to unite the properties of Opium, Gamboge, and Celedine.


Terminalia arjuna


Frequently prescribed for cardiovascular health in ayurvedic medicine. Modern studies confirm its beneficial effects on managing lipid levels and hypertension. The bark contains calcium salts, magnesium salts, tannins, and saponin glycosides which may be the primary source for its beneficial effects on the heart. Other traditional uses include hemorrhages, diarrhea, dysentery, edema, skin problems, and fractures. In addition, it has been found to have antibacterial and antimutagenic properties.

Arnica (aka Leopard’s bane, Mountain tobacco)

Arnica montana

root, flower

Used as an anti-inflammatory and for osteoarthritis. Applied externally for pain and swelling associated with bruises, aches, and sprains, or for insect bites, arthritis, muscle and cartilage pain, chapped lips, and acne.

Arrowroot (aka Obedience plant)

Maranta arundinacea


Helps stop diarrhea, and soothe irritable bowel syndrome. It is considered a nutritious and easily digested food starch for infants and elderly patients with bowel complaints.

(Globe) Artichoke

Cynara scolymus


Teas and extracts made from the leaves of the artichoke plant are a traditional tonic for the liver and gallbladder. In Europe the plant is widely used to treat arteriosclerosis and lower cholesterol. Several studies have hinted at the ability of artichoke extract to lower lipid levels. It works by affecting cholesterol synthesis in the liver at several points in the synthetic pathway and by increasing the elimination of cholesterol.

Asafoetida (aka Hing, Narthex, Devil’s dung, Food of the gods)

Ferula assa-foetida

root resin,
ess. oil

May be useful for IBS, high cholesterol, and breathing problems. The pungent oil can be used to repel insects.

(Prickly) Ash (aka Szechuan pepper, Chuan jiao, Tooth Ache Tree, Yellow wood)

Zanthoxylum spp
Syn. Clava-herculis and americanum

bark, fruit

The bark relieves chronic pain, and is most often used as a poultice applied to the skin over the area of pain. Traditional herbal medicine also uses it to kill parasites and to alleviate abdominal pain, particularly when the source of the pain is a parasitic infection.

Ashoka tree

Saraca indica

aerial parts

Used in Ayurvedic traditions to treat gynecological disorders. The bark is also used to combat oedema or swelling.

Asparagus (aka Satavari)

Asparagus officinalis

Rhizome, stem

High is lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that is protective against many degenerative diseases and cancers. The vitamin A content is important for eye health and the fibrous stalks help to reduce cholesterol. Also a useful diuretic and mild laxative.

Asthma plant

Euphorbia hirta

leaf, flower, sap

Used traditionally in Asia to treat bronchitic asthma and laryngeal spasm. Also used in the Philippines for dengue fever.

Astragalus (aka Huang qi , Yellow leader)

Astragalus propinquus


Long used in traditional Chinese medicine to strengthen the immune system, and used in modern China to treat hepatitis and as an adjunctive therapy in cancer.

Avaram senna (aka matura tea tree, ranawara or avaram)

Senna auriculata

bark, leaf, sap

The root is used in decoctions against fevers, diabetes, diseases of urinary system and constipation. The leaves have laxative properties. The dried flowers and flower buds are used as a substitute for tea in case of diabetes patients. The powdered seed is also applied to the eye in cases of chronic purulent conjunctivitis.


Persea americana


More potassium than bananas and is rich in B vitamins, Vitamin E and Vitamin K. There are some recent studies that confirm avocados role in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.

Balloon flower

Platycodon grandiflorus


The extracts and purified platycoside compounds (saponins) from the roots may exhibit neuroprotective, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-allergy, improved insulin resistance, and cholesterol-lowering properties.

(Peruvian) Balsam (aka Balsam of Peru, Tolu Balsam)

Myroxylon pereirae

ess. oil

More than just a pretty scent, this resinous oil is antiseptic and healing to the skin. Historically, Peruvian balsams were used in cough syrups and to kill parasites, but today used almost exclusively in topical applications. Numerous large surveys have identified it as being in the “top five” allergens most commonly causing patch test reactions.

Barberry (aka Huang Lian, Chinese Goldthread, Pepperidge-bush, Daru Haridra)

Berberis vulgaris

bark, root bark

Medicinal use dates back to the Middle Ages particularly among Native Americans. Uses have included skin ailments, scurvy and gastro-intestinal ailments.

Barley Grass

Hordeum vulgare


High concentrations of chlorophyll. Medicinal and dietary benefits such as good cholesterol and blood pressure levels, improved immune response and cancer prevention, are attributed in part to chlorophyll. A single tablespoon contains a day’s supply of beta-carotene, betaine, biotin, boron, copper, iron, lutein, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine. It also contains nutritionally significant amounts of alpha-linoleic acid, oryzanol, potassium, selenium, zinc, and the tocopherols that make up vitamin E.

Basil (aka Sweet Basil)

Ocimum basilicum

leaf, ess. oil

settles the stomach, improves appetite, and is a natural disinfectant.

Bay Laurel (aka Sweet Bay, True Laurel)

Laurus nobilis

leaf, fruit, ess. oil

The fixed oil expressed from the berries, is used to treat arthritic aches and pains, lower back pain, earaches, and sore muscles and sprains. The leaves are the source of an essential oil with the same analgesic and warming properties. It contains parthenolides, the same chemical in feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) that is thought to prevent migraine headaches.

Bay Rum

Pimenta racemosa
Syn. Pimenta acris, Caryophyllus racemosus

ess. oil

Used in hair tonics for hundreds of years.

Bayberry (aka Candleberry, Wax myrtle)

Myrica cerifera

root, berry

Used to treat fevers by the Choctaws in the South, and the American colonists used it for dysentery. Some research shows that bayberry contains astringent and antibacterial compounds. Myricitrin, the active antibiotic, encourages sweating, which can help break a fever.

Bee balm (aka Wild Bergamot, Scarlet Monarda, Oswego Tea, Horsebalm)

Monarda didyma

leaf, aerial parts

Colonists brewed a black tea from it named Oswego, perhaps after the Native American town where they first found it growing. They used it to relieve colic, fevers and colds. Today bee balm continues to be a useful herb in both animals and humans. Like most mints, it has a special affinity towards the digestive tract. It has excellent antibacterial qualities.

Beefsteak plant (aka Perilla)

Perilla frutescens


Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and is indicated to ease the symptoms of the common cold. Perilla has been shown to stimulate interferon activity and thus, the body’s immune system.

Belladonna (aka Deadly nightshade)

Atropa belladonna

leaf, root

Although the entire plant is toxic, it was used historically in Italy by women to enlarge their pupils, and as a sedative, among other uses.

Benzoin (aka Friar’s balsam)

Styrax benzoin


It is an expectorant, and warms and tones the heart and increases circulation. Use benzoin to ease congested breathing caused by asthma and allergies. For skin, use where there is redness, irritation, or itching, such as eczema.


Citrus bergamia

ess. oil from fruit peel

Used to stabilize the emotions, calm and tone the nervous system, and relieve tension and insomnia.

Beth root (aka Birthroot, Indian Shamrock, Wake-robin, Stinking Benjamin)

Trillium erectum


Used in folklore traditions as a tonic for women to treat menopausal and hormonal problems. Also used to as a parturition herb. Used in early American cough and cold syrups as an expectorant. The saponins have been used as an industrial source for the pharmaceutical industry. While it certainly has some good medicinal qualities, this species is considered to be endangered and should be conserved and not wildcrafted for use on a commercial basis.

(Wood) Betony

Stachys officinalis
Syn. Betonica officinalis

flower & leaf, aerial parts

An increasingly rare modern herbal medicine, it was once considered almost a panacea by the elder herbalists. Used to treat chest and lung problems, worms, fever, gout, uterine bleeding, dizziness, and many other afflictions.

Birch (aka White Birch, Sweet Birch, Cherry Birch)

Betula alba

inner bark, leaf,
ess. oil

Contains salicylate, the compound found in aspirin, which deters the body’s production of certain prostaglandins that are linked to inflammation, pain, and fever, among other things. Calms arthritis and gout due to it’s cleansing diuretic action that eliminates toxins and excess water. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions of the bark support it’s traditional uses in skin disorders. The bark and leaf are also used as an antibacterial diuretic in the treatment of urinary tract infections and cystitis.

Bilberry (aka Huckleberry)

Vaccinium myrtillus

fruit, leaf

Has a long medicinal history in Europe, it has been used to treat anything from kidney stones and scurvy to Typhoid fever. Traditionally recommended to relieve skin irritations, minor wounds, stomach complaints and diarrhea, although the latter use has not been substantiated by clinical research. Some bilberry compounds are, however, recognized as being antiviral and antibacterial.

Bitter gourd (aka Bitter Melon , balsam pear, Karela)

Momordica charantia


Has a long history in Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine. Used as an agent to reduce the blood glucose level.

Bitter leaf

Vernonia amygdalina


Used by both primates and indigenous peoples in Africa to treat intestinal ailments such as dysentery.

Black Seed (aka Kalonjii, Black cumin, black caraway, Roman-coriander, fennel-flower)

Nigella sativa


Used in both whole seed and seed oil form. Native to Western Asia, Turkey, Iraq, and Egypt, black seed oil has been valued for it’s health benefits for centuries. The constituents have been shown to have health benefits for stomach aches, asthma, bronchitis, coughs, and fevers. The oil is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and acts as an emmenagogue (brings on menses) and a lactagogue (increase breast milk).

Bladderwrack (aka Kelp, Fucus

Fucus vesiculosis


Commonly used to stimulate the thyroid function, and can be effective in weight loss as part of a low calorie diet. The consumption of seaweeds has also been associated with lower cancer rates.

Bloodroot (aka Red puccoon blood root, Pauson)

Sanguinaria canadensis L


The red juice from the root is used externally in pastes and salves, traditionally to remove warts, skin tags, and some skin cancers. Blood root does have the unique ability to dissolve abnormal skin growths, however skin cancers should not be self-treated! Bloodroot also is found as the main ingredient in many commercially available mouthwashes, toothpastes and cough preparations. It acts as an antiseptic that prevents bacteria from forming plaque on teeth. It is not recommended to ingest.

Blueberry (aka huckleberry)

Vaccinium spec.

fruit, leaf

Of current medical interest as an antioxidant and for urinary tract ailments.

Bogbean (aka Buckbean, March Clover)

Menyanthes trifoliata


Contains iridoids, plant chemicals that play a central role in herbalism as they are often the basis of what is known as the bitter principle. These bitter tonics stimulate digestive secretions, including bile. Leaves can be taken as a tea, or used externally in a poultice to reduce swellings. It is used also as a herb tobacco.


Peumus boldus Molina


The use is passed down from the time of the Incas and the herb is used in much the same way today – for a wide range of stomach, digestive, and liver complaints.


Eupatorium perfoliatum

aerial parts

This Native American remedy for colds and fever was adopted by early settlers to America. The name refers to the plant’s use to treat breakbone fever (dengue). Only the advent of aspirin displaced it as the popular choice for home remedies. It is still one of the best herbal remedies for the flu and fevers.


Borago officinalis

oil from seed, leaf, flower

Has been used in disorders such as: gastrointestinal (colic, cramps, diarrhea), airways (asthma, bronchitis), cardiovascular, (cardiotonic, antihypertensive and blood purifier), urinary (diuretic and kidney/bladder disorders).

Boswellia (aka Olibanum, Indian Frankincense, Arabic Frankincense, Salai guggal)

Boswellia thurifera

resin, ess. oil

One of the Ayurvedic gum resins which are referred to collectively as guggals. The gum resin extract has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Boswellic acids work differently than OTC and prescription pain relievers; they deactivate the hormonal triggers for inflammation and pain related and work along the same biochemical pathways affected by glucosamine. Supplements containing boswellic acids combined with glucosamine are often used to relieve the joint pain and reduce inflammation in all types of arthritis.

Bracken (aka Brake Fern, Female Fern)

Pteris aquilina

frond, root

The Ancients used it in diet-drinks and medicine for many disorders. The roots were used to kill both broad and long worms, and abate the swelling and hardness of the spleen. The leaves were eaten to purge the belly and expel choleric and waterish humours that trouble the stomach. The roots were also made into an ointment to heal wounds and speed the healing of ulcers.


Agathosma betulina
Syn. Barosma betulina

leaf, flower, ess. oil

The leaves are an effective diuretic, are antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. These properties make it effective in the treatment of bladder and urinary tract, and kidney infections, and it is also often used to treat prostate infections.

(Alder) buckthorn (aka Alder dogwood)

Rhamnus frangula
Syn. Frangula alnus


The dried and aged bark is primarily used as a laxative. It is a close relative of the California buckthorn, with a slightly gentler action.

(Californian) buckthorn (aka Cascara Sagrada , Coffeeberry)

Rhamnus purshiana


The bark (and to a lesser extent the fruit) has been used as a laxative, due to its 3–7% anthraquinone content. Bark is dried and stored for a year before use, as fresh it is violently purgative; even dried it can be dangerous if taken in excess.

Bugleweed (aka Water Horehound, Gypsywort)

Lycopus spp.

aerial parts

Contains lithospermic acid which is believed to decrease levels of certain hormones, especially the thyroid hormone thyroxine. This compound also keeps antibodies from binding to and “burning out” cells in an overactive thyroid gland. By moderating estrogen levels, it relieves cyclic breast pain in women. The nerve calming and vasoconstrictor actions make it useful for pain relief in situations that involve irritability and tension. It does not contain salicylates, so it can be used for those with sensitivities to them.

Bupleurum (aka Chai hu, Chinese thorowax root)

Bupleurum chinense


Bupleurum is an important Chinese tonic herb for the liver and circulatory system that is not widely used by Western herbalists.

Burdock (aka Niu Bang Zi, Gobo)

Arctium lappa

root, leaf, seed

Has been used traditionally as a diuretic and to lower blood sugar and in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for sore throat and symptoms of the common cold.

(Great) Burnet (aka Greater Salad Burnet)

Sanguisorba officinalis


The plant is healing, tonic, styptic and cooling. The plant name, Sanguisorba, gives clue to its ability to staunch blood from wounds.

Butchers Broom (aka Jew’s Myrtle, Sweet Broom, Scotch Broom)

Ruscus aculeatus

rhizome, aerial parts

Long history of use in herbal medicine traditions as a diuretic and blood vessel toner. Is approved by the authoritative German Commission E for chronic venous insufficiency, and hemorrhoids. Also used in the treatment of poor circulation, irregular heart rhythm, and other related heart problems. Known for it’s cleansing and diuretic properties, making it useful for treating bladder infections and reducing cellulite. Drinking the tea on a consistent basis can also help with chronic dark circles under the eyes.

Butterbur (aka Langwort, Umbrella Plant)

Petasites vulgaris
Syn. P.officinalis


Used traditionally since the Middle Ages, and in North America during colonial times as a heart stimulant, acting both as a cardiac tonic and also as a diuretic, to treat fevers, wheezing and colds. Modern research supports it’s use in treating the symptoms of seasonal rhinitis (allergies), and asthma. Clinical trials done with a proprietary extract, Petadolex, proved an effective therapy in the prevention of migraines.

(White) buttercup

Turnera subulata


Used for skin, gastrointestinal, and respiratory ailments. Laboratory tests showed it has some inhibitory activity against various fungi, such as Candida glabrata, Aspergillus flavus, A. Niger, A. Fumigatus, Penicillium chrysogenum, and Candida albicans.

Butterfly weed (aka pleurisy root, Canada root, chieger flower, chiggerflower, fluxroot, Indian paintbrush, Indian posy, orange milkweed, butterfly milkweed, orange root, orange Swallow-wort, silky swallow-wort, windroot)

Asclepias tuberosa


Used against a wide range of respiratory and lung conditions specifically pleurisy.

Butternut (aka White walnut, Lemon walnut)

Juglans cinerea

inner bark

Butternut is a close relative of the black walnut and the two are often combined in herbal preparations. Herbalists use the inner bark as a gentle laxative as it does not cause the cramping that stronger laxatives do.

Cacao (aka Chocolate, cocoa)

Theobroma cacao L.


Shown to have positive effects on mood, high blood pressure, and heart health, improving circulation and having no adverse effects on cholesterol. The theobromine content of dark chocolate may actually be a more effective cough medicine than traditional or over-the counter cold and cough remedies.

Cajeput (aka Weeping tea tree, weeping paperbark)

Melaleuca leucadendron, M. leucadendra
Syn. Melaleuca minor

ess. oil

Can be used in as many applications as the closely related tea tree oil, but with more caution as it is more irritating to the skin in high doses and cannot be applied undiluted.

Calamus (aka Sweet Sledge, Sweet Myrtle, Sweet Flag)

Acorus calamus

ess. oil

Traditionally the root was used for the digestive system and the lungs. This herb eliminates phlegm, clears congestion, and tranquilizes the mind. Traditional uses include amnesia, heart palpitations, insomnia, tinnitus, chronic bronchitis, and bronchial asthma. Modern misuse of the root oil has given rise to concerns over its use.

Calendula (aka Pot Marigold)

Calendula officinalis

flower, ext. oil

Has a long history of use in treating wounds and soothing skin.

Camphor laurel

Cinnamomum camphora

ess. oil from wood

Camphor is a white crystalline substance, obtained from the tree. When first applied camphor oil numbs and cools the peripheral nerve endings, then warms the painful area as it stimulates circulation to cold, stiff muscles and limbs. This analgesic effect of camphor makes it a favorite oil to be used in pain relieving massage blends for sore muscles, low back pain, and arthritic pain. It also acts as an expectorant and a febrifuge,cooling fevers and helping clear lung congestion.


Carum carvi

seed, ess. oil

One of the best herbs to prevent gas and bloating. It is also a good remedy for colds and congestion. Also used for treating disorders such as rheumatism, eye infections, toothaches, fungal infections, and is effective against candida infections.

Cardamom (aka ceylon cardamon, true cardamom, green cardamom)

Elettaria cardamomum

seed pod, ess. oil

The seeds are the part that is used. Is antispasmodic which makes it handy for any types of stomach cramps caused by indigestion or IBS. It is well known for relief of nausea, especially morning sickness in pregnancy. It strengthens digestion and kills the bacteria responsible for bad breath, making it an excellent after dinner tea. It can also help clear congestion from colds, flu and allergies. It is a good source of a phytochemical called cineole, which calms your nerves and clears your head.

(Wild) Carrot (aka Queen Anne’s Lace, Bird’s-nest)

Daucus carota L.

ess. oil from seed, seed, root

The seeds have been used historically as a natural morning after contraceptive, but this use remains controversial.

Cashew (aka Cajueiro, Jambu)

Anacardium occidentale

bark, stem, nut, resin

The nuts may hold answers in the search for better ways to treat diabetes and high blood sugar. Animal studies are promising, but more study is needed.


Ricinus communis

oil from seed

One of the most time honored home remedies for constipation. Externally, it is a wonderful analgesic oil when applied for all kinds of pain including sore muscles and arthritis pain, bruising, lower back pain, and nerve damage.

Cat’s claw (aka una de gato)

Uncaria tomentosa


Used traditionally in Peruvian medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health problems, particularly digestive complaints and arthritis and to treat wounds, stomach problems, cancer, and more. Since the 1970s the most attention has been given to the oxindole alkaloids found in the bark and roots, which have been documented to stimulate the immune system.

Catnip (aka Catmint, Nep, Catnep)

Nepeta cataria

leaf, oil from seed

More commonly known as a harmless high for felines, it is also beneficial for humans. The primary phytochemicals, nepetalactone isomers, are mild sedatives, somewhat like the active ingredients in valerian. It is a gentle but potent sleep-inducer that calms without affecting you the next day. Catnip teas have long been used in traditional herbal medicine to quell digestive disturbances, reducing the pain of menstrual cramps, treating colds and flu (because it produces perspiration without increasing the heat of the system), and curing headaches.

Catuaba (aka Caramuru, Catagu, Catigu, Catigua, Chuchuhuasha, Pau de reposta, Tatuaba)

Erythroxylum catuaba
Syn. Trichilia catigua, Anemopaegma mirandum


The most famous of the Brazilian aphrodisiac plants; the bark is useful in the treatment of impotence and prostatitis, noted for it’s ability to strengthen erections. In 2002, a Brazilian company was awarded a patent for an HIV prevention formula based on an extract of the herb, although research is still in progress.

Cayenne (African pepper, Bird pepper)

Capsicum annuum


Used as both food and medicine for thousands of years. Uses have included reducing pain and swelling, lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels and fighting viruses and harmful bacteria, due to high levels of Vitamin C.

Cedar (aka Thuja, Arborvitae, White/Yellow/American cedar)

Thuja occidentalis

leaf, twig, ess. oil

The tips of the leaves are useful in skin washes and baths to address skin problems like psoriasis and scabies. May also be used in hot compresses and steam baths to ease rheumatism, arthritis, and achy muscles. A tea made from the leaves is used as a stimulating expectorant that is useful for treating bronchitis, colds, and other respiratory problems, but is not the first choice for herbalist’s because of possible toxic and allergic reactions.

Cedarwood (aka Atlas cedar)

Cedrus atlantica

ess. oil

Similar in action to the more costly sandalwood. The oil is used for problem skin, as an insect repellent, and as an inhalant for respiratory complaints. It’s actions are sedative, astringent, and antiseptic. High concentrations will irritate the skin, however, diluted it can be used to treat oily skin and scalp, relieve itching, and more serious skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. It also has a sedative effect making it good for conditions of anxiety and nervous tension.

Celandine (aka greater or common celandine)

Chelidonium majus

aerial parts

The orange, acrid juice of the fresh herb is a traditional remedy for warts and ringworm, but should be used caution on small areas of the skin as it is caustic. Most often used by modern herbalists for treating gallbladder problems, having a mildly antispasmodic, papaverine-like action on the upper digestive tract.


Apium graveolens

seed, root, leaf

The seed is used only occasionally in traditional medicine. Modern usage is primarily as a diuretic.

Centaury (aka Bitterherb, Centaury gentian)

Centaurium erythraea

flowering aerial parts

Usage dates back to the Greeks and Romans. Once considered a panacea, and freely given for almost any disorder from sick cows to head lice. It is a bitter tonic closely related to gentian and is used for much the same purposes. Still popular today as a bitter digestive tonic for gas, bloating, and heartburn. Contains the alkaloid gentianine which has exhibited strongly anti-inflammatory properties. Research confirms it’s potential for treating rheumatism and gout.

Chaga (aka Cinder conk, Birch mushroom)

Inonotus obliquus


Traditional medicine for centuries among the peoples of the boreal forests in Siberia, Asia and North America. They are used as a tonic and blood purifier. Chaga and the similar Reishi both have a reputation as tonics for longevity and health which are born out by recent scientific studies. These mushrooms show great promise for their anti-viral activities, immune response stimulation and effects that inhibit the spread of cancer cells.

Chamomile (aka German chamomile)

Matricaria recutita and Anthemis nobilis

flower, ess. oil

Has been used over thousands of years for a variety of conditions, including sleeplessness, anxiety, and gastrointestinal conditions such as upset stomach, gas, and diarrhea.

Chanca Piedra (aka Phyllanthus, Quebra pedra, Kidney stone tree)

Phyllanthus niruri

aerial parts

Traditional native medicine is used to treat kidney stones in both humans and animals. Scientists are investigating several compounds in the herb as antiviral treatments for hepatitis B and HIV. Small clinical trials in India have found a lowering of blood sugar in people with diabetes. Japanese researchers have found that it contains aldose reductase inhibitors that stop the process of nerve damage.


Larrea tridentata

leaf, twig

Used by Native Americans to make a herbal tea used for a variety of conditions including arthritis and cancer. Studies have been variable, at best. It has been shown to have high liver toxicity, leading to kidney failure. Not recommended for any use by the FDA or American Cancer Society.


Trema orientalis

leaf, bark

The leaves and the bark are used to treat coughs, sore throats, asthma, bronchitis, gonorrhea, yellow fever, toothache, and as an antidote to general poisoning.

Chasteberry (aka Vitex, Monk’s Pepper)

Vitex agnus-castus


Has been used for over thousands of years for menstrual problems, and to stimulate lactation.

(Black) Cherry (aka Wild Cherry, Chokecherry)

Prunus serotina

bark, fruit

The main use of the bark is to still irritated, nagging coughs.

Chervil (aka Sweet cicely)

Anthriscus cerefolium


A traditional remedy for bad dreams, burns, and stomach upsets. Known to be an excellent source of antioxidants that stabilize cell membranes and reduce inflammation associated with headache, sinusitis, peptic ulcer, and infections.

(Common) chickweed (aka Starweed)

Stellaria media


Has been used as a remedy to treat itchy skin conditions including mange, and pulmonary diseases. Modern herbalists prescribe it for iron-deficiency anemia (for its high iron content), as well as for skin diseases, bronchitis, rheumatic pains, arthritis and period pain.

Chicory (aka Succory, Blue Sailors)

Cichorium intybus

root, leaf

Herbalists value chicory root as a bitter digestive tonic. Drinking it on a regular basis helps to rid your system of excess water and uric acid buildup without depleting potassium and other minerals, helping to support the liver and the heart. This also makes it a good beverage for those with rheumatism and gout. In this respect it mirrors and complements the properties of dandelion, with which it is often combined.


Capsicum frutescens


Its active ingredient, capsaicine, is the basis of commercial pain-relief ointments in Western medicine. The low incidence of heart attack in Thais may be related to capsaicine’s fibronolytic action (dissolving blood clots).

Cinchona (aka Peruvian Bark, Red Bark, Jesuits’ Powder)

Cinchona spec.


This genus of about 38 species of trees has bark that is a source of alkaloids, including quinine. Its use as a febrifuge was first popularized in the 17th century by Peruvian Jesuits.

Cinnamon (aka Cassia Bark, Sweet cinnamon)

Cinnamomum zeylanicum, C. cassia

bark, ess. oil

Whole cinnamon, taken in tea or tincture form, is an effective treatment for yeast infections that are resistant to treatment. It is useful as a treatment for thrush, an oral yeast infection, as well as for the gum disease gingivitis. Prevents bloating and flatulence, treats heartburn and nausea, aids digestion and is recommended by German Commission E for treating loss of appetite and stomach upset. Recent research suggests that it may be effective in improving blood glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes.


Syzygium aromaticum

ess. oil from flower buds

Used for upset stomach and as an expectorant, among other purposes. The oil is used topically to treat toothache

(Red) Clover

Trifolium pratense


Red clover contains an impressive array of vitamins and trace minerals in synergy with many active medical compounds, including a strong concentration of isoflavones. These phytoestrogens exert a weak estrogenic effect due to their ability to bind estrogen receptors. This is of special interest to women in relieving the symptoms of menopause and providing protection against osteoporosis by helping to maintain bone density. It maintains a strong following among traditional herbalists as a blood purifying depurative that has been used safely and effectively for hundreds, if not thousands of years in clinical practice. It has been used traditionally to treat respiratory and skin problems such as cases of childhood eczema, and can be effective for other chronic skin conditions as well.

Club moss (aka Wolf’s Claw)

Lycopodium clavatum,
Syn. Huperzia serrata


The dry, finely powdered spores of club moss are used to promote healing by drying excess moisture that can cause skin irritation and itching in eczema, much like cornstarch or colloidal oatmeal. These antibiotic spores are are non-toxic, unlike the leaves and stems of the plant that contain two poisonous alkaloids, lycopodine and clavadine. It was used as an whole herb in traditional Chinese medicine, and in homeopathy in the West. Research in China on one of the active constituents, called huperzine a (HupA.) has showed some promise in preliminary studies, showing significant improvement the cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate vascular dementia. This had led to its popular use as a memory enhancement supplement.

Coca (aka Cocaine)

Erythroxylum coca


The leaves have been used as a stimulant by the indigenous people of Peru, Bolivia, and northern Argentina for centuries.


Cocos nucifera

oil from nut

There are numerous claims that adding the oil to your diet increases energy, balances hormones, and stimulates the thyroid gland. The cholesterol-lowering properties are linked directly to this ability to stimulate thyroid function. It raises your metabolic rate, helping to release energy and promote weight loss. It works wonders for dry and damaged skin, cuts, bruises, and speeds the healing while it fights infection.

Codonopsis (aka Dang Shen, Tangshen, Bastard Ginseng, Bonnet bellflowers)

Codonopsis pilosula

tap root

Believed to have an action similar to that of panax ginseng, but milder. has been used as an astringent in excessive uterine bleeding, and for rheumatic and other joint pains, and described as an aphrodisiac, general tonic and styptic. Pharmacological research has confirmed that the herb promotes digestion and metabolism, helps to strengthen the immune system, stimulates the nervous system, dilates peripheral blood vessels, and inhibits adrenal cortex activity, thereby lowering blood pressure.


Coffea Arabica

ess. oil

Most widely used central nervous system stimulant. Benefits include statistically lower rates of stroke, diabetes, prostate cancer, and depression among caffeinated coffee drinkers. Been shown to improve short-term alertness, attention, and memory, and may have long term protective benefits on cognitive decline as well. Many studies confirm that aspirin or other analgesics provide work faster and better on headaches when combined with caffeine.

Coffee senna (aka Coffeeweed, Mogdad coffee)

Cassia occidentalis

leaf, root, seed

Used in a wide variety of roles in traditional medicine, in particular as a broad-spectrum internal and external antimicrobial, for liver disorders, for intestinal worms and other parasites, and as an immune-system stimulant.

(Black) Cohosh (aka Black snake root, Squaw Root, Bugbane)

Cimicifuga racemosa
Syn. Actaea racemosa


Historically used for arthritis and muscle pain, used more recently for conditions related to menopause and menstruation. Contains numerous chemical constituents, among them isoflavones which mimic hormonal activity. In addition to its estrogenic properties, it has pain relieving and anti-inflammatory actions that may make it useful for arthritis. Though black and blue cohosh are unrelated botanically they are often used together in formulas to support the female reproductive system.

(Blue) Cohosh (aka Squaw Root)

Caulophyllum thalictroides


Considered to be one of the best herbs to bring on menstruation, and is one of the traditional herbs used to induce labor in natural childbirth. It contains the phytochemical calulopsponin which actively stimulates uterine contractions and promotes blood flow to the pelvic region. Generally used in combination with other herbs, often black cohosh, to treat menstrual disorders. Has powerful antispasmodic properties so helpful in relieving menstrual cramps.
The Iroquois used it to treat arthritis – research suggests it does possess some anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic properties.

Coleus Forskohlii (aka Forskolin, Indian Coleus, False Boldo)

Plectranthus barbatus


Traditionally used to treat high blood pressure. Other benefits include help with weight loss by improving the breakdown of fats, improving digestion and nutrient absorption, lowering cholesterol, and immune system support. The active photochemical has a vast array of effects on the body, working primarily on an enzymatic level, raising the level of cyclic AMP (adenosine 3.5 – monophosphate) a substance that activates other cellular enzymes. Allergic conditions, including asthma, are associated with decreased cAMP levels and increased PAF.

Colt’s Foot (aka Coughwort)

Tussilago farfara

leaf, stem

Since the days of ancient Greece and Rome coltsfoot has been used to relieve asthma and bronchial congestion. Used as a respiratory disinfectant, expectorant, and cough suppressant.


Symphytum officinale

leaf, root

Has been used as a vulnerary and to reduce inflammation. It was also used internally in the past, for stomach and other ailments, but its toxicity has led a number of countries, including Canada, Brazil, Australia, and the United Kingdom, to severely restrict or ban its use.

Copaiba balsam (aka Copaiva, Jesuit’s balsam, Copal, Palo de aceite, Capivi

Copaifera Officinalis
Syn. Copaifera langsdorfii, Copaifera jacquinii.


Documented antibacterial, diuretic, disinfectant and stimulant properties. The resin contains caryophyllene, a phytochemical with strong anti-inflammatory, fungal and pain relieving properties. It has been found beneficial in chronic coughs, catarrh, colds, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. It is used topically to relieve inflammation and help heal athlete’s foot, eczema and psoriasis, and heals damaged skin with minimal scarring. Shampoos containing copaiba are effective in fighting dandruff. The hydrocarbons within are terpenes, including pinene, commonly known as turpentine.

Coptis (aka Chinese goldthread, Huang Lian, Figwortflower,Canker Root)

Coptis spp


The root is used in much the same manner as other berberine containing herbs; barberry, goldenseal, and Oregon grape root. These herbs are used in treating and preventing infections and for supporting the immune system.

Coriander (aka Cilantro, Chinese parsley)

Coriandrum sativum

seed, ess. oil

The seed is used for digestion problems including upset stomach, loss of appetite, hernia, nausea, diarrhea, bowel spasms, and intestinal gas. It is also used to treat measles, hemorrhoids, toothaches, worms, and joint pain, as well as infections caused by bacteria and fungus.


Zea mays

silk, kernel

Corn silk, the tassels that surround an ear of corn are the most interesting part of the plant to the herbalist. Corn silk tea has a long history of use in traditional folk medicine as a diuretic used to treat chronic inflammation in the urinary tract or kidneys. Cornmeal is also used in home herbalism as a binder for poultices.

Cornflower (aka Bachelors button, Bluebottle, Bluebonnet)

Centaurea cyanus
Syn. Leucacantha cyanus


The petals are used in herbal folklore. They are considered to have tonic, stimulant and emmenagogue properties, with action similar to that of Blessed Thistle. An infusion of the flower petals was used as an eyewash and as an astringent mouthwash.

Corydalis (aka Fumewort, Yan Hu So)

Corydalis spp

tuber, bulb

A member of the poppy family, a central nervous system depressant, cardiotonic, and sedative. Currently being studied for use in cancer, dysmenorrhea, hypertension, and convulsions, however the primary focus is on its use as a natural pain reliever.

Costmary (aka Balsam Herb. Costmarie, Alecost)

Tanacetum balsamita L.

leaf, ess. oil

Was once used medicinally but now rarely by modern herbalists. It does have mild astringent properties making it a good addition to ointments, scented potpourri, and herbal baths.

Costus (aka Kuth)

Saussurea costus

root, ess. oil

In traditional Chinese medicine, the root is one of the 50 fundamental herbs. In India it is given as a medicine for cough, asthma, fever, and cholera. Its dried powder is the principal ingredient in an ointment for ulcers.

Cotton lavender

Santolina chamaecyparissus

leaf, flower

Most commonly, the flowers and leaves are made into a decoction used to expel intestinal parasites.

Couch Grass (aka Twitch grass, witchgrass, dog’s grass, scutch, quackgrass)

Agropyron repens
Syn. Elymus repens


Valued by herbalists for its mucilage rich rhizome. A tea made from the roots is useful for treating urinary infections because of the herb’s broad antibiotic, and diuretic properties. One of the chemical constituents, agropyrone, has been shown to have strong antibiotic properties. A tea will soothe and coat an inflamed sore throat, and help clear phlegm. The herb contains mucilage that helps to clear congestion while it coats the throat.


Vaccinium macrocarpon

berry, ess. oil from seed

Used historically as a vulnerary and for urinary disorders, diarrhea, diabetes, stomach ailments, and liver problems. Modern usage has concentrated on urinary tract related problems.

Cubeb (aka Java pepper, ka ko la)

Piper cubeba

fruit, ess. oil

In Sanskrit texts it is included in various remedies. Charaka and Sushruta prescribed a paste as a mouthwash, or dried internally for oral and dental diseases, loss of voice, halitosis, fevers, cough. Unani physicians use a paste of the berries externally on male and female genitals to intensify sexual pleasure. In traditional Chinese medicine it is used for it’s warming property. In Tibetan medicine it is one of the six herbs beneficial to specific organs in the body, assigned for the spleen.

Cumin (aka Cummin)

Cuminum cyminum

ess. oil

Has an ancient history of use as a medicinal plant. In traditional herbal medicine the seeds are used as a diuretic and to treat stomach upset and flatulence. In South Asia, cumin tea is used to distinguish false-labours (due to gas) from real labor.

Curry (aka Immortelle, Everlasting, Strawflower)

Helichrysum angustifolium


Known for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and regenerative properties, this remarkable oil is used in many healing formulas from infection and inflammation in respiratory conditions, muscle pain, arthritis to liver problems and as a detoxifier in drug withdrawal. It’s ability to stimulate the production of new skin cells makes it popular in facial care for mature skin.


Cupressus sempervirens

leaf, twig,
ess. oil

The oil is slightly astringent making it an excellent choice to hydrate and condition oily skin. Also helps to alleviate poor circulation problems and relieve excess fluid retention and so is one of the essential oils often recommended for cellulite massage blends and treatment of varicose veins.

Cypriol (aka Nagarmotha)

Cyperus scariosus

ess. oil from root

Beneficial for treatment of alcoholism, tonic for nervous system, good for wound healing, for diarrhea, good for diabetes.

(English) Daisy

Bellis perennis

flower, leaf

The flowers have been used in traditional Austrian medicine internally as tea (or the leaves as a salad) for treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts.

(Oxeye) Daisy (aka Marguerite, Moon daisy)

Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
Syn. Leucanthemum vulgare


Similar to chamomile , but much weaker. The balsamic flowers were once much more used as a country simple than today, when the flowers, stalks and leaves were used to make an infusion to relieve chronic coughs. The root was also employed as a fluid extract for treating night sweats in pulmonary consumption in early America.


Turnera diffusa
Syn. Turnera diffusa Willd. ex Schult. var. aphrodisiaca


Damiana is used primarily as an aphrodisiac for both sexes, and as a stimulant that can boost mental focus and stamina. The health benefits are for the most part only verified by folklore and long observation, however chemical analysis shows that it contains alkaloids similar to caffeine that have stimulating and aphrodisiac effects, stimulating blood flow to the genital area and increasing sensitivity. Some people report feelings of mild euphoria.

Dandelion (aka Priest’s crown, Swine’s Snout)

Taraxacum officinale

root, leaf, flower

Most commonly used historically to treat liver diseases, kidney diseases, and spleen problems.

Datura (aka Devil’s trumpets, Jimsonweed, metel nut, Thorn Apple)

Datura spp

seed, leaf, flower

The primary use of datura is as a hallucinogenic and intoxicant, though it does have medicinal uses; seeds or powered leaves are part of the traditional medicine of Indochina and Africa. It is often mixed with cannabis and smoked to relieve asthma and rheumatism. In Mexico it was taken by women to relieve the pain of childbirth. The seeds are added to wine and beer to increase intoxication.

Davana (aka Dhavanam, Damanaka)

Artemisia pallens

ess. oil, leaf, stem, flower

Antiviral, antiseptic, disinfectant, emmenagogue, expectorant, relaxant, vulnerary.

Devil’s Claw (aka Grapple plant, Wood spider)

Harpagophytum procumbens


The tubers contain a group of chemicals called iridoids that have anti-inflammatory activity, the two active ingredients in devil’s claw are harpagoside and beta sitosterol. This herb has an extensive history of use as an anti-inflammatory, pain reliever, and digestive stimulant.It offers slow but sure relief of joint pain caused by both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and it has also been shown to relieve muscle pain and enhance mobility for people with either arthritis or muscle injuries. Because improper digestion of protein plays a role in gout, causing the uric acid buildup, this is a remedy tailor-made for people with gout.


Anethum graveolens

seed, leaf, ess. oil

Is carminative, it eases gas pains, bloating and settles the stomach. Nursing moms may want to drink dill tea to increase breast milk, and those women who have a late or scanty period can drink a cup or two to bring on a period.

(Curly/Yellow) Dock

Rumex crispus


In Western herbalism the root is often used for treating anemia, due to its high level of iron. Can help with skin conditions if taken internally or applied externally to things like itching, scrofula, and sores. It is also used for respiratory conditions, specifically those with a tickling cough that is worse when exposed to cold air. Also passing pains, and enlarged lymphs.

(Jamaican) Dogwood (aka Florida Fishpoison Tree)

Piscidia erythrina / Piscidia piscipula

root, bark

Used in traditional medicine for the treatment of insomnia and anxiety, despite serious safety concerns.

Dong quai (aka Chinese Angelica, Dang-gui)

Angelica sinensis


Used for thousands of years in Asia, primarily in women’s health.

Drumstick tree (aka Moringa)

Moringa oleifera

bark, seeds, ess. oil

Used in traditional medicine for at least 4000 years. It is undergoing preliminary research to investigate potential properties of its nutrients and phytochemicals.

Echinacea (aka Purple coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea

root, stem, flower

This and other species of Echinacea have been used for at least 400 years by Native Americans to treat infections and wounds, and as a general “cure-all” (panacea). It is currently most commonly used for symptoms associated with cold and flu


Sambucus nigra

berry, flower

The berries and leaves have traditionally been used to treat pain, swelling, infections, coughs, and skin conditions and, more recently, flu, common cold, fevers, constipation, and sinus infections.

Elecampane (aka Wild sunflower, Horseheal, Yellow Starwort)

Inula helenium

root, rhizome, flower, ess. oil

Known primarily as a respiratory tonic, and is used to ease breathing in cases of asthma and bronchitis. The root is the part used medicinally, and it’s chemical constituents helenalin, helenin, and inulin have been shown to have expectorant and antiseptic properties that support its traditional uses. Inula also contains a volatile compound, alantolactone, in the oil that has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

(Slippery) Elm (aka Red Elm, Moose Elm, Indian Elm)

Ulmus fulva

inner bark

Considered one of the best possible herbal poultices for reducing pain and inflammation of wounds, boils, skin ulcers, and burns. The tree’s inner bark is rich in mucilage, a spongy, slippery fiber that soothes skin on the outside and coats the mucus membranes that cause irritation in the throat, urinary and digestive tracts when the herb is taken as a tea or infusion.


Eucalyptus globulus

leaf, ess. oil

The leaves were widely used in traditional medicine as a febrifuge. Eucalyptus oil is commonly used in over-the-counter cough and cold medications, as well as for an analgesic.

Evening primrose (aka Night Willow-herb)


oil from seed

It’s oil has been used since the 1930s for eczema, and more recently as an anti-inflammatory. May be useful for gently strengthening adrenal functions. The seed oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that the body uses to manufacture a prostaglandin vital to soothing inflammation and supporting the immune system. It also helps keep the blood flowing freely, reduces high blood pressure, plays a role in reducing breast cancers, and lowers cholesterol.


Euphrasia, var

aerial parts

The centuries of use as a remedy for conjunctivitis and bloodshot eyes is insufficient to convince some modern herbalists of it’s effectiveness, because the scientific evidence for it’s use is thin. However, there is considerable evidence that compounds in the herb are anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.

Fennel (aka Fenkel, Marathon)

Foeniculum vulgare

seed, leaf, root, ess. oil

Acts as an excellent digestive aid to relieve abdominal cramps, gas and bloating. Contains creosol and alpha-pinene, chemicals that help to loosen congestion and make coughs more productive, also calms the dry, hacking cough of bronchitis. The Greek name was derived from “maraino”, to grow thin, reflecting the widely held belief that fennel affected weight loss. Women who are going through menopause or are experiencing menstrual problems may benefit from the estrogenic properties.


Trigonella foenum-graecum

seed, ess. oil

Long been used to treat symptoms of menopause, and digestive ailments. More recently, it has been used to treat diabetes, loss of appetite and other conditions.


Tanacetum parthenium

aerial parts

Has been used for centuries for fevers, headaches, stomach aches, toothaches, insect bites and other conditions.

Figwort (aka Carpenter’s square)

Scrophularia nodosa


Was used by the practitioners of Eclectic medicine and the Doctrine of Signatures to treat diseases of the throat. The herb was and is still used in salves and poultices to soothe inflamed skin in cases of psoriasis and eczema, and to heal burns. Herbalists today consider it a cleansing herb that supports the detoxification of the body.

(Balsam) Fir (aka Christmas tree, North American fir)

Abies balsamea (L.) Mill.

bark, twig, leaf, resin, ess. oil

The bark, twigs, resin, and essential oil from the tree are all used in herbal practice. Alma Hutchens gives quite long list of uses including rheumatism, kidney and bladder inflammations, and bronchitis that can be addressed by extracting Balsam Fir with honey and glycerin. The bark and twigs can be added to herbal teas as well as steam baths to ease sore muscles.

Flax (aka Linseed)

Linum usitatissimum


The plant is most commonly used as a laxative. Flaxseed oil is used for multiple conditions, including arthritis.

Fo-Ti (aka He-shou-wu)

Polygonum multiflorum
Syn. Fallopia multiflora


In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is one of the herbs used to nourish the heart and calm the spirit. The Chinese attributed mysterious anti-aging properties to the root. In the west is most famous for its reputed ability to restore color to gray hair and as a fertility tonic.

Forsythia (aka Lian Qiao, yellow bell)

Forsythia suspensa


Has a long history of medicinal use in its Native China. The fruit is combined with another backyard favorite, honeysuckle, in one of the most widely used cold remedies in China.


Digitalis lanata

aerial parts

Came into use in treating cardiac disease in late 18th century England in spite of its high toxicity. Its use has been almost entirely replaced by the pharmaceutical derivative Digoxin, which has a shorter half-life in the body, and whose toxicity is therefore more easily managed. Digoxin is used as an antiarrhythmic agent and inotrope.

Fringe tree (aka Old Man’s beard, Snowdrop tree)

Chionanthus virginicus

root, bark

The roots are dried and used to treat liver and gallbladder disease in traditional American folk medicine, often in combination with barberry and other herbs containing berberine. They act as a bitter, stimulating release of bile, which increases gastric secretion and improved appetite and digestion. Hepatorestorative (liver supporting) and cholerectic (increasing bile) functions are an important part of treatment for IBS.

Fumitory (aka Earth smoke)

Fumaria officinalis

aerial parts

Traditionally thought to be good for the eyes and to remove skin blemishes. Used in modern times to treat skin diseases and conjunctivitis, as well as to cleanse the kidneys. However, it is poisonous and should only be used under the direction of a medical herbalist.

Galangal (aka Galanga, lesser galangal, Blue ginger, Chinese ginger)

Alpinia officinarum

root, ess. oil

The root is considered antispasmodic and antibacterial, and recommended for use in cases of dyspepsia and loss of appetite.

Garcinia (aka Cambogia, Brindleberry, Malabar tamarind, and Kudam puli)

Garcinia cambogia


The fruit and extracted acid (HCA) are widely used in weight control formulas.

Garlic (aka Bawang, Bauang)

Allium sativum


Widely used as an antibiotic and, more recently, for treating cardiovascular disease. Is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and has antidepressant-like effects on mice so may be used as a herbal antidepressant or anxiolytic in humans.

Gentian (aka Wild gentian, Yellow gentian)

Gentiana lutea

root, rhizome

Used in European and Eastern herbal medicine throughout the 3,000 years since its discovery to treat gallbladder problems and as a bitter tonic to improve digestion. Bitter herbs such as this increase gastric secretions and promote digestion as well as add support for a sluggish liver. This speeds up the digestion of fat and protein, which increases the energy we get from food; many people report feeling less fatigued after continued use of bitters. Also useful for gastrointestinal inflammation (one of its alkaloids, gentianine, has been shown to be anti-inflammatory). Can also be used in formulas to treat parasitic infestations.

(South African) Geranium (aka Umckaloabo)

Pelargonium sidoides/graveolens

leaf, ess. oil

Used in South African cultures as a traditional medicine for healing wounds, abscesses, cold sores, sore throats and infections, and continue to have a wide array of uses.

Ginger (aka Luyang Dilaw)

Zingiber officinale

root, ess. oil

Used to relieve nausea and settle upset stomachs.


Ginkgo biloba

leaf, nut

The leaf extract has been used to treat asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, Alzheimer’s and tinnitus.

(Brazilian) ginseng (aka Suma)

Withania somnifera


Acts as an adaptogen, helping the body to cope with stress, increasing energy levels, and resistance to disease.

(Indian) ginseng (aka Ashwagandha, Ajagandh, poison gooseberry, winter cherry)

Withania somnifera


The tuberous roots are used in traditional medicine, revered as a non-specific tonic and adaptogen. In Ayurveda, the berries and leaves are applied externally to tumors, tubercular glands, carbuncles, and ulcers.

(Korean) Ginseng (aka Ren-shen, X-yang-shen, American ginseng, Asian Ginseng)

Panax spec.


Used medicinally, particularly in Asia, for over 2,000 years, adaptogens such as this are highly regarded in both Western and Eastern traditions for use in debilitated persons suffering from exhaustion, fatigue, liver disease, stress and wasting from chronic disease. Used in modern society for a multitude of ailments including depression, anxiety, multiple sclerosis, and for fighting particular infections in a lung disease called cystic fibrosis. It enhances the immune response which helps fight off viruses and bacteria. It is one of the best known herbal tonics used to restore libido in men without an increase in testosterone. It may boost mood and improve memory and attention spans for those under stress. Although the exact mechanisms of activity are not known, it is likely that it protects a portion of the brain known as the hippocampus from the effects of stress hormones.

(Siberian) Ginseng (aka Eleuthero, Ci-wu-jia, Wu Jia Shen Jing)

Eleutherococcus senticosus
Syn. eleutherococcus


Often used as a general tonic to revitalize. Because it enhances immunity and helps the body deal with stress eleuthero is frequently included in nutritional support programs for people with fibromyalgia, arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. Restores overstressed adrenal glands, helping to prevent “adrenal burnout” caused by ongoing physical or mental challenges, making it great for people who are chronically stressed.

Goat’s Rue (aka French lilac, Italian fitch)

Galega officinalis

aerial parts

Traditionally used to treat diabetes. Contains an alkaloid, galegine, that was found in clinical trials to decrease blood sugar and insulin resistance. This lead to the development of metformin, which is currently used in the treatment of diabetes. Other uses for goat’s rue herb are in the treatment of rheumatism, bladder problems, fever, hard coughs, irregular menstruation, and as a galactagogue.

Goji (aka Lycii berry, Boxberry, Boxthorn, Chinese wolfberry)

Lycium barbarum

berry, juice

Valued for their nutritive and antioxidant properties. There has not been much research done on this herb, but it’s historical use in traditional Chinese medicine and makes it a botanical to watch.

Goldenrod (Woundwort, Aaron’s rod)

Solidago virgaurea

leaf, flower, ess. oil

Primary aspects are as an anti-inflammatory urinary tract antiseptic, and a treatment for upper respiratory inflammation and congestion (catarrh).

Goldenseal (aka Yellow Root)

Hydrastis canadensis

root, leaf

Used traditionally by Native Americans to treat skin diseases, ulcers, and gonorrhea. More recently, it has been used to treat the respiratory tract and a number of other infections.

Goosegrass (aka Cleavers , Clivers, Catchweed, Sweet Woodruff)

Galium aparine

aerial parts, juice

Long regarded as a valuable lymphatic tonic and diuretic. It’s cleansing action makes it useful in treating conditions like psoriasis and arthritis, which benefit from purifying the blood. Used to help clean urinary stones and to treat urinary infections. In studies the extract lowered blood pressure without slowing heart rate or having any health-threatening side effects.

Gotu Kola (aka Asian Pennywort, Brahmi)

Centella asiatica (L.)
Syn. Hydrocotyle asiatica


Widely used in Ayurvedic medicine to rejuvenate both mind and body. Often used in conjunction with bacopa, or Brahmi to improve mental focus and improve memory. Clinical experiments have shown that the plant rejuvenates skin and body tissue by stimulating collagen synthesis. An excellent vasodilator and blood vessel strengthener. It is also often used as a diuretic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. It facilitates the actions of the antioxidant vitamins C and E in areas where there is damage.


Vitis vinifera

seed extract & oil, fruit skin

The leaves and fruit have been used medicinally since the ancient Greeks. The fruit contain powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols, which may slow or prevent many types of cancer. The resveratrol found in red wine famous for heart health is a type of polyphenol found in the skins of red grapes. The seed oil is used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy and has a nice balance of oleic, linoleic, palmitic and stearic acids. It is emollient and toning to all skin types.


Citrus paradisi

seed, fruit peel,
ess. oil from peel

Increases circulation, stimulates the lymphatic system, has a cleansing effect on the kidneys, and may help to regulate body weight with regular use. Studies show that the phytochemicals called limonoids in pink and red grapefruit make them powerful LDL cholesterol busters. The oil is used in massage blends as an antiseptic and astringent oil to treat muscle fatigue, stiffness, acne, fluid retention, to improve skin tone, and to stimulate the lymphatic system.

Gravel root (aka Joe-pye weed, Kidney root, Trumpet weed, Purple/Tall boneset)

Eupatorium purpureum

rhizome, root

Native tribes used the root as a healing tonic included relieving constipation, washing wounds with a strong tea made from the root to prevent infection and as a general tonic taken during pregnancy and after childbirth. Use as a pregnancy tonic is not recommended by herbalists today. The common name reflects its main use as a diuretic to treat urinary infections and stones (gravel).

Grindelia (aka Gumplant, tarweed, rosinweed)

Grindelia spp

aerial parts

Extrudes a gummy balsamic resin that was historically used as an expectorant and antitussive in cough remedies. Better known for it’s use in ointments and field dressings for rashes, poison ivy, burns, and insect bites.

Ground Ivy (aka Alehoof, Lizzy or Robin runs up the hedge, Hedge-maids, Tunhoof, Cat’s foot, Field balm)

Glechoma hederacea L.

flowering tops

Mostly ignored by modern medicine. A highly regarded herb in the time of Galen and Dioscorides, primarily it was used as a bitter tonic, as a nutritive tea high in Vitamin C, and as an excellent remedy for a stubborn cough.


Paullinia Cupana


Made from the seeds, it is traditionally used to enhance energy levels. Guaranine, it’s stimulant constituent, is said to be chemically identical to caffeine, making guarana the highest source of caffeine available in nature.
Seen in many weight loss formulas listed as a thermogenic stimulator.


Psidium guajava

leaf, juice from fruit

Has a rich history of use in traditional medicine. It is traditionally used to treat diarrhea; however, evidence of its effectiveness is very limited.

Guduchi (aka Heart-leaved moonseed, Giloy)

Psidium guajava


There’s some indication that it can reduce allergy symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and nasal discharge. The evidence is only preliminary.

Gum Arabic (aka Acacia , Cassie flower, Catechu, Egyptian thorn)

Acacia senegal


May be useful for dental plaque and weight loss.


Gymnema sylvestre


Has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of diabetes, upper respiratory infections, and fevers. The main point of interest in the west is gurmar leaf’s effects on insulin levels and blood sugar; it acts to normalize blood sugar levels only lowering glucose in those who are hyperglycemic. It also has a positive effect on triglycerides and cholesterol levels. Taken over a long period of time it has been shown to reduce sugar cravings.

Hart’s Tongue (aka Hind’s Tongue, Buttonhole, Horse Tongue, God’s-hair, Lingua cervina)

Scolopendrium vulgare / Asplenium scolopendrium


Formerly considered one of the five great capillary herbs. The older physicians esteemed it a very valuable medicine, and Galen gave it in infusion for diarrhoea and dysentery, for which its astringent quality made it a useful remedy. In country districts, especially in Wales and the Highlands, an ointment is made of its fronds for burns and scalds and for piles, and it has been taken internally for Bright’s Disease. It is specially recommended for removing obstructions from the liver and spleen, also for removing gravelly deposits in the bladder.

(Japanese) Hawkweed

Youngia japonica


Is antitussive and febrifuge. Used in the treatment of boils and snakebites.

Hawthorn (aka Mayblossom, whitethorn, Red Haw, Mayflower)

Crataegus monogyna and Crataegus laevigata

berry, leaf, flower

Its fruit have been used for centuries for heart disease. Other uses include digestive and kidney related problems.


Corylus avellana

oil from nut

The oil has a slightly astringent action that is good for all skin types, but especially for those with oily skin. High in Oleic acid – 75.9% – and contains Vitamin E making it a good carrier oil for aromatherapy applications. Also has the ability to filter out some of the suns rays, and you will find it in many suncare products.

Hemp (aka Cannabis)

Cannabis sativa
Syn. C.sativa ssp. indica

leaf, seed, flower, oil

contains anti-oxidants, protein, carotene, phytosterols, phospholipids, as well as a number of minerals including calcium, magnesium, sulfur, potassium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. It is a source of complete protein and contains all twenty know amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids. It also contains Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, D, and E. The green color in hemp seed oil is a result of the high level of chlorophyll which is naturally present in the seeds. Illegal in many places because of its intoxicating properties. Among its various uses, it is an antibiotic for gram-positive bacteria, relieves nausea induced by chemotherapy and has been used to treat glaucoma.

Henna (aka Hina)

Lawsonia inermis


The alcoholic extract of the root has antibacterial activity due to the presence of flavonoids and alkaloids. Henna has also shown anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and analgesic effects in animals.

Hibiscus (aka Roselle, rosemallow, Jamaica Sorrel, red sorrel, agua de Jamaica)

Hibiscus sabdariffa

leaf, calyx

Traditional cultures world wide, from China to the Americas use hibiscus for medicinal teas and natural red dye. The calyx of the hibiscus flowers is used to make a wine red tea that is naturally high in Vitamin C, a natural antioxidant, and gentle diuretic and laxative. Regular consumption of hibiscus can lower blood pressure and help you shed a few pounds.

Honeybush (aka Heuningbos)

Cyclopia spp

aerial parts

Little study done to assess the health benefits of honeybush, however it does contain bioactive compounds called polyphenols that are known to have antioxidant, antiatherosclerotic, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antitumor, and antiviral activities. It gets its common name from the honey-flavoured herbal ‘bush’ tea that is made from its leaves.

Honeysuckle (aka Jin yin hua, Lonicera)

Lonicera periclymenum

aerial parts

It is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs in Chinese herbology. They use the flowers to reduce inflammation, fever and heat cases of acute respiratory infection and common colds, inflammations of the skin, gastrointestinal tract, and rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis.


Hoodia gordonii

stem flesh

Traditionally used by Kalahari San (Bushmen) to reduce hunger and thirst. It is currently marketed as an appetite suppressant.


Humulus Lupulus


Aged hops are sedatives, fresh hops provide bitters that stimulate digestion. In folk medicine, teas are used to relieve the pain of bladder infections and give prompt ease to an irritable bladder. A traditional cure for insomnia – a number of phytochemicals in hops are tonic, nervine and possess sedative and muscle-relaxing qualities, supporting its main use as a sedative.

Horehound (aka White horehound, Marrubio)

Marrubium vulgare L.

aerial parts

An accepted medicinal plant in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia until 1989 and is still endorsed in Europe as an effective cold medicine. As is common with all the mint family herbs, it stimulates digestion, easing bloating and gas. It contains the bitter principal marrubiin (sometimes spelled marubin), a potent pain reliever, nervous system stimulant, and expectorant. Marrubiin and marrubinic acid also help stabilize heart rhythm.

Horny Goat Weed (aka Epimedium , xian ling pi, and yin yang huo)

Epimedium grandiflorum

leaf ext.

Has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years to promote male potency, libido, and as an aphrodisiac. Modern Chinese herbal medicine also uses it for asthma, bronchitis, cervical dysphasia, congestive heart failure, leucorrhoea, leukopenia, menopause, and viral infections of the heart. Officially listed by the Chinese Academy of Medial Sciences as one of an elite group of herbs that slow down aging and promote longevity. Perhaps even more important have been the recent discoveries that it has powerful immune-modulating activity.

Horse chestnut (aka Buckeye)

Aesculus hippocastanum

bark, seed, leaf

Its seeds, leaves, bark, and flowers have been used medicinally for many centuries. An extract from the seeds can reduce some symptoms of poor blood circulation, such as varicose veins, pain, tiredness, swelling in the legs, itching, and water retention. The raw plant materials are toxic unless processed.


Armoracia rusticana

root, leaf, ess. oil

An all purpose cold remedy, it provides Vitamin C, promotes perspiration to “sweat it out”, loosens both chest and sinus congestion, stimulates the nerves, and soothes a sore throat. An excellent digestive stimulant for heavy, oily meats. It is also a diuretic and useful for urinary infections. The depurative nature of horseradish may be why it is a longstanding folk remedy for gout and rheumatism. It stimulates blood flow, increasing warmth and circulation to cold muscles and joints when used externally as a rubefacient in plasters and poultices.

Horsetail (aka Shavegrass)

Equisetum arvense

aerial parts

Use dates back to ancient Roman and Greek medicine, when it was used to stop bleeding, heal ulcers and wounds, and treat tuberculosis and kidney problems.


Hyssopus officinalis

flower, leaf, ess. oil

A good expectorant and antiviral herb commonly used to treat respiratory conditions such as influenza, sinus infections, colds, and bronchitis. The oil can be diffused in a sickroom to help control germs and clear the air. It can also be used externally to treat burns and bruises. It’s a nervine, and can be used to calm anxiety. It’ss bitter principle, marrubin, also contributes to its use as a digestive stimulant.

(Silver) Inchplant (aka Cockroach grass, Purpleheart, Wandering Jew)

Tradescantia zebrina


Used in southeast Mexico in the region of Tabasco as a cold herbal tea, which is named Matali. Skin irritation may result from repeated contact with or prolonged handling of the plant, particularly from the sap (a characteristic unique to T. zebrina as compared with other types).

(Bearded) Iris (aka Purple Flag, Orris root)

Iris germanica

ess. oil

The root, known as Orris root, is a mild directic and anti-inflamatory that has been used to treat sore throats and sinus headaches. Used in perfumes and potpourris as a fixative that enhances other aromas, and in natural products as a base in toothpastes, and cosmetics.

Ivy Gourd (aka Tindora, Kundru, Kowai fruit, Small Gourd, Scarlet-Fruited Gourd, Scarlet Gourd, Kovakka, little gourd, tonde Kai, Cephalandra indica)

Coccinia grandis

fruit, leaf

Has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-mutagenic, anti-diabetic, anti-bacterial, anti-protozoal, anti-ulcer, hepato-protective, expectorant, and analgesic properties. In traditional medicine, fruits have been used to treat leprosy, fever, asthma, bronchitis, and jaundice. It possesses mast cell-stabilizing, antianaphylactic, and antihistaminic potential. In Bangladesh, the roots are used to treat osteoarthritis and joint pain. A paste made of leaves is applied to the skin to treat scabies. Sometimes recommended for diabetic patients and some research supports that compounds in the plant inhibit glucose-6-phosphatase, which is one of the key liver enzymes involved in regulating sugar metabolism.

Jalap (aka Jalap Bindweed)

Convolvulus Jalapa
Syn. Ipomea purga


Has been known in Europe since the beginning of the 17th century for it’s strong cathartic and purgative action. Prepared from the resin in the roots


Eugenia Jambolana
Syn. Syzygium jambolanum, Eugenia cumini

seed, leaf, bark

The fruit and seeds have long been used in Eastern traditional medicine, and are gaining more interest here in the West for the treatment of diabetes.


Jasminum officinale

ess. oil from flower

Used in dermatology as an antiseptic or anti-inflammatory agent.

Jewelweed (aka Wild Balsam. Balsam-weed. Impatiens, Spotted Touch-me-not, Lady’s Eardrops, Lady’s Slipper)

Impatiens capensis

fresh juice

The juice is a traditional remedy for all sorts of skin ailments including poison ivy.

Jiaogulan (aka Jiao Gu Lan, Amachazuru, Herb of Immortality, sweet tea vine)

Gynostemma pentaphyllum


Has been used as a medicinal folk tea in Southern China for many years. An adaptogen and antioxidant whose chemical constituents (saponins) have properties similar to that of ginseng. The tea is valued for it’s antioxidant protection, and cardiovascular benefits. It reduces the negative effects of stress, has a normalizing effect on blood pressure, and thins the blood.


Simmondsia chinensis

seed wax

The structure of it’s oil closely resembles that of your own skin sebum. This gives it a natural affinity to the skin, readily absorbed without feeling greasy or clogging the pores. It has exceptional skin-softening properties, as well as the ability to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, promoting skin suppleness while assisting with the rejuvenation of the skin.


Juniperus communis

berry, ess. oil

Many Native American tribes of North America have traditionally used it for a wide range of ailments. In 1984, the German Commission E approved the use of the dried fruit in teas and extracts to relieve dyspepsia (disturbed digestion or indigestion), but did not approve it as a single-ingredient aquaretic (an agent that increases urine flow, without affecting electrolyte balance). It’s detoxifying properties are also employed in the treatment of wounds and inflammatory diseases such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis and according to studies inhibited the formation of inflammatory prostaglandins. In addition the berries help clear congestion so are often included in cold remedies.


Sceletium tortuosum


African treatment for depression. Suggested to be an SSRI or have similar effects, but unknown mechanism of activity.

Kava-Kava (aka Intoxicating Pepper)

Piper methysticum


Used for centuries in the South Pacific to make a ceremonial drink with sedative and anesthetic properties. It is used as a soporific, as well as for asthma and urinary tract infection.


Catha edulis

leaf, stem

A mild stimulant used for thousands of years in Yemen, though banned today in many countries. Contains the amphetamine-like substance cathinone.


Cola acuminata


Native to Africa, the nuts are a traditional medicine thought to enhance male potency. It is listed as having aphrodisiac, stimulant, and cardiotonic properties in the Duke phytochemical database.

Konjac (aka Konnyaku potato, Devil’s tongue, Voodoo lily)

Amorphophallus konjac


A significant dietary source of glucomannan, which is used in treating obesity, and reducing cholesterol.

Kratom (aka Ketum)

Mitragyna speciosa


Traditionally used in regions such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Known to prevent or delay withdrawal symptoms in an opioid-dependent individual, and often used to mitigate cravings thereafter. It has also be used as a pain killer, and for diarrhea.


Pueraria lobata


Although the mechanisms through which it works remain unclear, it shows an ability to both decrease the amount of alcohol a person drinks, and help prevent hangovers. It increases circulation, an action that tends to reduce muscle pain and stiffness, and increases blood flow through the coronary arteries. One compound is a beta-blocker, which reduces a racing pulse induced by stress. It has traditionally been used for respiratory infections. Contains an estrogen-like compound that can binds to breast cancer cells, blocking estrogen that stimulates cancer cells to reproduce. The starchy root is high in complex carbohydrates, helps balance the acidic nature of many foods, and is soothing and cooling to the digestive tract.

Kukui (aka Candlenut, Indian-walnut, Candleberry)

Aleurites moluccanus
Syn. Jatropha moluccana


The oil penetrates skin deeply to hydrate and soften and is used as an emollient in skin care. It is used to treat a variety of skin ailments such as eczema, psoriasis and burned or damaged skin. It’s an excellent botanical source of fatty acids and antioxidants, as well as Vitamins A,C and E.

Lady Fern

Athyrium Filix-foemina

oil from rhizome

Used in much the same way as Male fern, against tapeworm, but milder.

Lady’s Mantel (aka Leontopodium, Stellaria)

Alchemilla vulgaris
Syn. A. xanthochlora


Contains salicylic acid and has sedative properties that help to alleviate cramps and painful menstruation. Has astringent and styptic properties, on account of the tannin it contains. Has a ‘drying and binding character’, according to the old herbals and was traditionally considered one of the best vulneraries or wound herbs. Cuts, scrapes, and burns can be treated with skin washes to prevent infection.


Viburnum tinus

leaf, fruit

The active ingredients are viburnin and tannins. The leaves when infused have antipyretic properties. The fruits have been used as purgatives against constipation. The tincture has been used lately in herbal medicine as a remedy for depression. The plant also contains iridoid glucosides. Tannins can cause stomach upset.


Lavandula spp
Lavandula angustifolia, L. officinalis

aerial parts

Traditionally used as an antiseptic and for mental health purposes. It was also used in ancient Egypt in mummifying bodies.


Citrus limon

rind, juice, ess. oil

Along with other citruses, it has a long history of use in Chinese and Indian traditional medicine. Because of its high vitamin C content, antibacterial, and astringent properties, it is often used to prevent wrinkles and treat acne. Lemon essential oil can be used for many of the same applications as fresh lemons, without being quite as drying. Used in herbal medicine to help build immunity against colds, influenza, and other viral infections.

Lemon balm (aka Melissa)

Melissa officinalis

aerial parts

Helpful for those times when nerves, headaches and/or mild depression are preventing you from relaxing and getting a good nights sleep. The sedative and analgesic properties make it a favorite remedy for women having cramping, painful periods or any kind of stomach upset. Has antibacterial and antiviral properties, and like all of it’s mint family relatives, a cup of hot tea induces perspiration to help break a fever making the herb useful for treating colds and flu. Extracts are also effective against herpes, cold sores and mumps viruses. A concentrated extract is sold in Europe for the treatment of core sores, herpes HSV-1 and HSV-2, genital herpes.

Lemongrass (aka Citronella)

Cymbopogon citratus, C.flexuosus

stalk, ess. oil

In Ayurvedic medicine a preparation of lemon grass with pepper has been used for relief of menstrual troubles and nausea. Lemon grass is a mild diuretic and a digestive stimulant that promotes digestion of fats.

(Opium) Lettuce (aka Wild lettuce , Bitter lettuce)

Lactuca virosa


Used as a remedy for insomnia and muscular arthritis. This relaxing and sedative herb can be a ally for those needing help to induce sleep, and calm restlessness and anxiety.

Licorice (aka Gan-cao)

Glycyrrhiza glabra


The root has a long history of medicinal usage in Eastern and Western medicine. Uses include stomach ulcers, bronchitis, and sore throat, as well as infections caused by viruses, such as hepatitis.


Citrus × aurantiifolia

ess. oil

Antiseptic, antiviral, astringent, aperitif, bactericidal, disinfectant, febrifuge, haemostatic, restorative and tonic.

Linden (aka Basswood)

Tilia cordata


In the countries of Central, Southern and Western Europe, the flowers are a traditional herbal remedy made into an herbal tea called tisane suggested to treat colds, cough, fever, infections, inflammation, high blood pressure, headache (particularly migraine); as a diuretic (increases urine production), antispasmodic (reduces smooth muscle spasm along the digestive tract), and sedative.

Liver-Leaf (aka Hepatica, Anemone hepatica)

Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa
Syn. Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa, Anemone americana


Held a place among medicinal plants from ancient times until falling into disuse in the last part of the 1800’s when it was dismissed from the U.S. Ph. The plant held mild properties, forming a slightly astringent, mucilaginous infusion. It was used to treat coughs and other lung affections, as well as diseases of the liver.

Lobelia (aka Indian-Tobacco, Pukeweed, Asthma Weed)

Lobelia inflata

aerial parts

Native Americans smoked the leaves of lobelia to ease asthma. It acts as a relaxant in the presence of pain, and is useful in bronchitis and asthma as an expectorant and stimulant of the respiratory system. It contains an alkaloid, lobeline, that shares many properties with nicotine, which may be helpful in treating tobacco withdrawal symptoms. A decoction can also be applied externally to minor skin irritations, and to treat sprains, and bruising.


Nelumbo nucifera

petal, stamen, pod, seed, leaf

The subject of a number of in-vitro and animal studies, exploring its pharmacologic effects, including antioxidant, hepatoprotective, immunomodulatory, anti-infective, hyperlipidemic, and psychopharmacologic activity, although clinical trials are lacking. Used many Asian traditional medicines to treat sunstroke, fever, diarrhoea, and the whole plant is used to treat mushroom poisoning. Lotus flowers are recommended as a cardiovascular tonic, and the stamens are used to treat urinary frequency. The flowers have diuretic, astringent, and cooling properties.


Levisticum officinale

leaf, root, seed

Used since the fourteenth century. Contains quercetin, which makes it a good garden remedy for allergies, respiratory problems, and is effective diuretic for treatment of urinary tract inflammation.

Maca (aka Peruvian ginseng, Maka)

Lepidium peruvianum
Syn. L weddellii, L. affine, L. gelidium


Popularly used for its energizing and hormonal balancing properties.

Magnolia (aka Swamp sassafras, Sweet/White Bay)

Magnolia officinalis

bark, leaf, flower

The bark contains magnolol and honokiol, two polyphenolic compounds. Preclinical studies have evaluated their various potential applications including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antimicrobial properties.

Magnolia-vine (aka Schisandra , wu-wei-zi)

Schisandra chinensis

fruit, ess. oil

Well known in Chinese medicine as one of the adaptogenic herbs that help to improve mental function, reduce tiredness and improve endurance. Also a well recognized lung tonic and is used in cough syrups and to help improve breathing. believed to have an adaptogenic function to increase non-resistant immune response, and may help enhance vision. Alcohol extracts of Schisandra have helped to regenerate liver tissue, and thus have been used clinically in China for infectious hepatitis. The Chinese name, wu-wei-zi, means five taste fruits due to it’s an usually combined sour, sweet, bitter, warm, and salty taste.

(Common) Maidenhair fern

Asplenium trichomanes

not a Fern, but a Moss, the tea has a demulcent effect. The fronds are sweet, mucilaginous, and expectorant, causing the tea to have been considered useful in pulmonary disorders. In Arran, the fronds have been dried and used as a substitute for tea; it acts as a laxative.

(True) Maidenhair fern (aka Venus hair fern)

Adiantum capillus-veneris

aerial parts

Its history as a botanical reaches back to Dioscorides who prescribed it for pectoral complaints. The plants mucilage content would support this use.

Maitake mushroom (aka Hen of the Woods)

Grifola frondosa


Extracts have shown to increase activity of immune cells in laboratory tests, which bear out its traditional use as a immune system tonic. Helps to protect and support the liver and can lower blood pressure. Can also have a long term beneficial effect on blood-glucose levels, and may also be useful for weight loss. Also contains a number of polysaccharides (beta-glucan) that have been shown to fight the formation and growth of tumors.

Male fern (aka Hen of the Woods)

Dryopteris Felix-mas / Aspidium filix-mas

oil from rhizome,

The liquid extract is one of the best anthelmintics against tapeworm, which it kills and expels.


Malva sylvestris

The seeds are used internally in a decoction or herbal tea as a demulcent and diuretic, and the leaves made into poultices as an emollient for external applications. Uses include irritation of the mouth and throat, dry cough, and bronchitis. It is also used for stomach and bladder complaints.

Maple (aka Sugar maple, mountain maple, box elder)

Acer saccharinum


When used in appropriate amounts, maple syrup (sap) nutrition benefits can include the ability to lower inflammation, supply nutrients and better manage blood sugar. Research demonstrated that an extract from maple syrup reduced the activation of a certain type of protein found in the brain’s of Alzheimer’s patients. May be effective in fighting antibacterial-resistant germs.

Marjoram (aka Sweet Marjoram)

Origanum majorana

flowering tops, ess. oil

Used historically to treat anxiety. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy for an emotional uplift and soothing nerves.

Marshmallow (aka Wymote)

Althaea officinalis

root, leaf, flower

The root has been used for over 2,000 years as both a food and a medicine. Used for pain and swelling (inflammation) of the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract. They are also used for dry cough, inflammation of the lining of the stomach, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, constipation, urinary tract inflammation, and stones in the urinary tract.

May Apple (aka American mandrake, Wild mandrake, Ground lemon)

Podophyllum peltatum


Was used by the American Indians as a cathartic, to induce vomiting, and as an emetic but it is now considered too toxic. The main therapeutic use is now the resinous root as a topical treatment for genital warts and similar papillomas caused by viral infection.

Meadowsweet (aka Queen of the Meadow, Bridewort, Quaker Lady)

Filipendula ulmaria

aerial parts

Contain salicylates, compounds that are converted by the body to aspirin. A mild, but effective anti-inflammatory herb used to treat arthritis and other aches and pains. Especially helpful for those arthritis sufferers who have gastritis. Years of observation and historic use confirm that meadowsweet is effective in a wide range of digestive problems, including diarrhea in children.


Asclepias syriaca, A. cornuti

Secretes latex containing cardiac glycosides that are medicinally valuable in the treatment of heart disease. This same latex is an old home remedy for warts.

Minnieroot (aka fever root, snapdragon root)

Ruellia tuberosa

In folk medicine and Ayurvedic medicine it has been used as a diuretic, anti-diabetic, antipyretic, analgesic, antihypertensive, gastroprotective, and to treat gonorrhea.

Mint (aka Peppermint , Yerba Buena)

Mentha piperita

aerial parts, ess. oil

The antispasmodic effect calms nausea and helps prevent gas and bloating after a heavy meal. Often used for treatment of colds and flu because it acts to relieve multiple symptoms at once: congestion, headaches, muscle aches, nausea, and fever.

(European) mistletoe (aka Loranthus)

Viscum album

leaf, stem

Used historically in Old Europe for treatment of epilepsy and other convulsive nervous disorders. Is a nervine, and a narcotic, that has a profound effect on the nervous system. Trained herbal practitioners make use of it to slow the pulse and lower blood pressure, treat arthritic pain and snoring. While there are medicinal uses, there are also much safer, and less toxic choices to treat the same conditions which are readily available to the home herbalist.


Botrychium lunaria


Similar vulnerary uses to Adder’s tongue.

Motherwort (aka Lion’s tail, lion’s ear)

Leonurus caridica L.

aerial parts

Used to promote blood circulation, lower cholesterol, slow a too rapid heart rate, and relieve stress on the heart muscle. It also is diuretic, and reduces swelling, helping to lower blood pressure. Approved for use in nervous cardiac disorders and as adjuvant for thyroid hyperfunction by the German Commision E. Also valuable in a wide range of female disorders (hence the name), allaying nervous irritability and inducing quiet and passivity of the whole nervous system. Regulates the menses, and is a strong emmenagogue, helping to stimulate delayed periods. Is an excellent remedy for menstrual cramps.

Mugwort (aka Common wormwood, Artemisia, Felonherb, Green-ginger)

Artemisia vulgaris

leaf, root, ess. oil

Has an affinity for the female reproductive system and is used as a uterine stimulant that can bring on delayed menstruation and help restore a woman’s natural monthly cycle. As all the bitter herbs, mugwort is an excellent digestive stimulant and is quite effective taken before or after heavy meals to alleviate gas and bloating. One of the more interesting traditional uses of mugwort is that of a dream herb, said to bring the dreamer more lucid dreams. It is mildly sedative and useful in calming frayed nerves and easing stress.

Muira puama (aka Potency wood)

Ptychopetalum olacoides

bark, root

Commonly referred to as a nerve stimulant that is said to heighten the receptiveness to sexual stimuli. Traditional healers use all parts of the tree for food and medicine, but focus primarily on the bark and roots to make a tea taken to treat rheumatism, strengthen the heart, and promote intestinal health. It has been widely used in Europe and South America for hundreds of years and was listed in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia as a treatment for impotence.

Mullein (aka Flannel Leaf, Mullein Dock, Aaron’s Rod)

Verbascum spp

leaf, root, flower

A combination of garlic and mullein flower oil is the traditional oil used for ear infections (good for animals as well, it works on ear mites and helps control fleas and itching). The flowers are also used in teas to coat sore throats, calm coughing, soothe irritated lungs, and speeds healing of damaged tissues (which could help lungs damaged by smoking recover). One of the traditional smoking herbs, which could be used as a tobacco substitute to help smokers quit. The flowers infused in olive oil are also used to ease the pain of swollen rheumatic joints.

Mustard (aka Mustard Seed, Brown mustard)

Brassica nigra

seed, leaf,
ess. oil

The ancient Greeks attributed its discovery to Asclepius, demigod of medicine and healing. The pungent volatile oil is very stimulating to circulation throughout the body, digestive system, and lungs. This antibacterial oil opens breathing and helps to kill germs while it clears congestion in the airways.

Myrrh (aka African myrrh, herabol myrrh, Somali myrrhor, common myrrh, or gum myrrh)

Commiphora myrrha

ess. oil

The resinous sap is used. Many ancient texts extol it’s healing properties as a cleansing, purifying agent and it continues to be a popular remedy today. In the early 20th century myrrh was still being used in hospitals to treat bed sores. It’s antifungal, antiseptic and astringent actions make it a specific in the treatment of infections in the mouth such as mouth ulcers, gingivitis, and phyorrhoea. Used as a gargle it can help with laryngitis and respiratory complaints; it is both expectorant and a stimulant of circulation and finds many uses in the treatment of the common cold. Externally it is healing and antiseptic for wounds and abrasions and can be applied diluted with a carrier oil or used sparingly as a tincture. Also a useful agent for treating thrush, (Candida albicans) and athlete’s foot fungal infections.


Myrtus communis

leaf, berry, ess. oil

The leaves are very aromatic and the plant has a number of medicinal uses. In traditional herbal medicine myrtle has been taken internally for urinary infections, digestive problems, bronchial congestion, and dry coughs. In Ayurveda it is seen as a treatment for cerebral infections, most notably epilepsy. Myrtle has also been used at various times as an astringent, an antiseptic and a decongestant.

Neem (aka Margosa)

Azadirachta indica

leaf, twig, oil from seed

Used in India to treat worms, malaria, rheumatism and skin infections, among other things.

Nettle (aka Stinging Nettle)

Urtica dioica

leaf, stem, root

One of natures best nutraceuticals, containing protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, beta-carotene, along with vitamins A,C, D, and B complex, all in a form that is easy for the body to use. Contains natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories (including quercetin), that open up constricted bronchial and nasal passages, helping to ease hay fever, and nose & sinus type allergy symptoms. Extracts of the roots are reliable diuretics that encourage excretion of uric acid, but simultaneously discourage nighttime bathroom urges, making this remarkable plant useful for such disparate problems as gout, and the overnight incontinence of benign prostate enlargement and weak and irritated bladder. Frequent use of the leaf tea rapidly relieves and helps prevent water retention. It is a superb nourisher of the kidneys and adrenals. An almost ideal herb for those with all types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. The anti-inflammatory substances combined with the rich concentration of the minerals boron, calcium and silicon ease the pain while helping to build strong bones. Use as a tonic of the female system goes back to the Native American women who used it throughout pregnancy and as a remedy to stop hemorrhaging during childbirth. It is considered one of the best all round women’s tonics.

Nigella (aka black-caraway, black-cumin, kalonji)

Nigella sativa

oil from seed

It has efficacy as a therapy, mainly though using the seed oil extract, volatile oil, and isolated constituent thymoquinone. One meta-analysis of clinical trials concluded that it has a short-term benefit on lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Noni (aka Indian Mulberry, Mengkudu, Nono, Nhau, Ashyuka)

Morinda citrifolia

pulp, juice

In Hawaii the traditional uses of noni include for cough, colds, pain, liver disease, malaria, hypertension, and intestinal worms. The fruit and juice were used in topical first aid applications to treat burns and cuts, swellings and to repel insects. Contemporary users have widened the uses to an almost panacea status with claims that it can help everything from ADD to jet lag, but there is little evidence to support such claims.

Nutmeg (aka Mace)

Myristica fragrans

nut, ess. oil

Historically, it has been used as a form of medicine to treat many illnesses ranging from those affecting the nervous system to the digestive system. It has been used as the active ingredient in commercial cough and congestion preparations and in herbal pain relieving ointments.


Quercus robur
Syn. Q. petraea , Quercus alba


Has been part of the plant pharmacopoeia for thousands of years. Oak bark is a powerful astringent treatment for throat and mouth infections, bleeding gums, and to cure acute diarrhea. Oak bark is a styptic, one of the herbs used to slow bleeding in cuts and wounds. Oak bark tinctures and extracts have been studied for use in kidney infections and kidney stones. 2 Using oak bark externally as an alcohol tincture or cream helps fight staph infections. Use it in a cold compress to treat burns and cuts.

Oat (aka Groats, Oatmeal, Oatstraw)

Avena sativa L.

preflowering leaf & stem

Contain beta-glucans which help to lower cholesterol levels naturally. The complex carbohydrates give your body a long lasting energy boost, and stimulate the immune system. Oats also contain a daily dose of B vitamins to fight stress. The presence of steroidal saponins, and beta sitosterol in raw oats could have an effect on libido. Oatstraw makes a soothing herbal tea used as a nervous system tonic. The liquid left from cooking whole oats, is one of the most soothing and effective treatments for dry skin and sunburns, and can help heal damage from more serious skin conditions such as serious eczema and psoriasis.


Olea europea

oil from fruit, leaf, bark

Olive is more than just a stable base for making herbal oil infusions, it has analgesic and antibacterial properties as well. Olive oil lends itself well to many skin care applications. Studies have shown olive oil helps to relieve aches and pain when massaged into sore muscles and tender joints. Scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

(Bitter) orange

Citrus × aurantium

ess. oil

Used in traditional Chinese medicine and by indigenous peoples of the Amazon for nausea, indigestion and constipation.

(Sweet) orange (aka Mandarin, Tangerine)

Citrus sinensis, Citrus spp.

fruit rind,
ess. oil

The red, aromatic peel of the Mandarin orange is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat allergic reactions and digestive upsets.

Oregano (aka Wild marjoram, Mediterranean oregano, Greek oregano)

Origanum vulgare

leaf, stem,
ess. oil

Used as an abortifacient in folk medicine in some parts of Bolivia and other northwestern South American countries. Hippocrates used oregano as an antiseptic, as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments. A Cretan oregano (O. dictamnus) is still used today in Greece as a palliative for sore throat.

(Mexican) Oregano (aka Redbrush Lippia)

Lippia graveolens


Used to make a traditional “country tea” to treat respiratory infections and late or scanty periods. A relative of lemon verbena, it has a similar flavour to Mediterranean oregano with undertones of citrus and mild licorice

Oregon Grape (aka Mountain Grape, holly leaved barberry)

Mahonia aquifolium
Syn. Berberis aquifolium


Not botanically related to the endangered goldenseal, but for many uses serves as an excellent alternative; they both contain the immune-stimulating, infection-fighting, antiseptic constituent berberine. Herbs that contain berberine are scientifically proven to protect against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Herbalists use the root in the treatment of bacterial diarrhea, intestinal parasites, and eye infections. It has a sedative effect on the smooth muscles lining the digestive tract and can relieve stomach cramps and abdominal pain. Can also be used in skin washes to deter the over production of skin cells that occurs in placque psoriasis.

Palo Santo

Bursera graveolens

wood, ess. oil

Traditionally used for relieving common colds, flu symptoms, stress, asthma, headaches, anxiety, depression, inflammation, emotional pain and more. Great for calming the immune and nervous systems for faster recovery of illness. In essential oil form, it works well for physical pain and inflammation containing high levels of D-Limonene and Monotropenes.

Papaya (aka Pawpaw, Melon Tree)

Carica papaya

fruit, seed

A rich source of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. The fruit is valued for its proteolytic enzymes including papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, other causes of trauma, and allergies. The milk like juice from unripe fruit called latex, contains the most concentration of papain, enough some people say to remove freckles. The leaf is used in herbal medicine to remove intestinal worms, it has less papain than the fruit, so less likely to “dissolve” the worms, but it contains tannins that the fruit does not. These tannins protect the intestine from reinfection by “tanning” proteins in the lining of the intestinal wall so that worms cannot attach themselves.


Petroselinum crispum

leaf, seed, root, ess. oil

Aids digestion and acts to prevent gas and bloating. Its high concentration of boron and fluoride might help against bone thinning and osteoporosis. Both leaf and root can be used in teas as a diuretic to rid the body of excess water. This may explain its folklore reputation for helping gout and rheumatism.

Pasque flower (aka Prairie Crocus)

Pulsatilla nuttalliana
Syn. Anemone patens v.nuttalliana

Was prescribed by both Eclectic physicians and homeopaths for nervous exhaustion and dysmenorrhoea.1. It has fallen out of use in herbal medicine today because of its high toxicity.

Passion flower


leaf, stem

Thought to have anti-depressant properties. Used in traditional medicine to aid with sleep or depression.


Pogostemon cablin

leaf, ess. oil

Known for healing of dry and itching skin, controlling appetite, and to relieve depression.

Pau d’arco (aka Apacho, Taheebo)

Tabebuia spp

inner bark

The Mayans and Incas of South America regarded the inner bark as an important healing herb, though scientific study is still preliminary. There is a great deal of practical evidence, however, that it can be used with success to treat colds, flu, sore throat, and yeast infections. Laboratory evidence suggests that the herb contains compounds that protect against tropical diseases, specifically malaria, schistosomiasis, and tropical fevers. The herb is added to ointments to treat psoriasis, and taken orally to relieve ulcers.

PennyRoyal (aka Poleo)

Mentha pulegium

leaf, flower, ess. oil

Used historically since the time of Pliny to stimulate suppressed menstruation, alleviate cramps and tension during a woman’s monthly cycle and facilitate childbirth. The oil is highly toxic, even in small quantities it can cause acute liver and lung damage.

Peony (aka Bai Shao Yao, Peony root, Chinese Peony)

Paeonia albiflora
Syn. P. lactiflora, P. officinalis


The root is the part valued in Chinese medicine to treat conditions such as abnormal menses, night sweats, abdominal pain, sores and injuries.

(Black) Pepper

Piper nigrum

berry, ess. oil

Stimulating to the digestive system, expectorates coughs, and helps to clear the lungs of congestion.


Vinca minor
Syn. Vinca major

leaf, seed

The leaves and seeds contain vincamine, a precursor to the chemical vinpocetine, which is used medicinally to naturally enhance memory in aging minds. Other folk medicine uses include Diabetes, cough medicine, and as a styptic to stop bleeding.


Pinus sylvestris

oil from needle

Has a long history of use as a pain reliever in arthritis, aches, pains and sore muscles. The needle oil is used as a component in cough and cold medicines, vaporizer fluids, nasal decongestants, and analgesic ointments. In Switzerland, mattresses are filled with pine needles for treating rheumatic ailments such as arthritis and gout. The pinolenic acid contained in pine nut oil can help curb appetite, and is marketed as a weight loss supplement under the trade name Pinno Thin©


Ananas comosus

fruit, stem

Contains the proteolytic enzyme bromelain, which digests food by breaking down protein. Only modest quantities of bromelain are in the edible parts of the fruit, commercially available bromelain is derived from the stem. Bromelain supplements are particularly popular among athletes for treating all sorts of physical aches and injuries. There are questions about how well bromelain is absorbed, and to many herbal authorities the value may be overstated. Many similar proteolytic enzymes, (like Ginger), are more highly concentrated in the edible parts of the plant.

Pippali (aka Long Pepper, Bengal Pepper, Indonesian Long Pepper, Java Pepper)

Piper longum


Valued in Ayurvedic medicine and foods for enhancing digestion and metabolism. It is combined with dried ginger and black pepper to form trikatu, which can be taken to help regulate cholesterol and help prevent obesity. It is also used to treat coughs, colds, fevers and rheumatism. Has a folklore reputation as an aphrodisiac, and is believed to improve vitality.

Plantain (aka Broad-leaved Plantain, Ribwort, narrow leaved plantain, Slan-lus)

Plantago major ,lanceolata L.

leaf, root, flower

The macerated fresh leaves are put on bee stings and used for skin irritations, malignant ulcers,and burns, and to stop bleeding in minor cuts. Also good for chest complaints.

(Water) plantain

Alisma plantago-aquatica

Used for treating conditions of the urinary tract.

Pokeweed (aka American nightshade, Pigeon berry, Chui xu shang lu)

Phytolacca americana
Syn. Phytolacca decandra

tincture from root

Use of the root to treat serious conditions such as lymphedema, testicular inflammation, ovarian pain, or as an alternative for cancer, should be medically supervised. External use of the tincture for skin conditions should be only be attempted by those who are very knowledgeable in the use of herbal medicine.

(Common) Polypody, (aka Polypody of the Oak, Wall Fern, Brake Root, Rock Brake, Rock of Polypody, Oak Fern)

Polypodiurn vulgare

root, leaf

Used by the Ancients as a purgative. Alterative, tonic, pectoral and expectorant. Its principal use has been as a mild laxative. It serves as a tonic in dyspepsia and loss of appetite, and as an alterative in skin diseases is found perfectly safe and reliable. It is also used in hepatic complaints. It proves useful in coughs and catarrhal affection, particularly in dry coughs, it promotes a free expectoration. Also proved valuable in the early stages of consumption. The powder is stated to have been used with success for some kinds of worms. The fronds were used in country places as a cure for whooping-cough in children. It is still used as a demulcent by the Italians.It sometimes produces a rash, but this disappears in a short time and causes no further inconvenience. The root for melancholia and rheumatic swelling of the joints. It is efficacious in jaundice, dropsy and scurvy, and combined with mallows removes hardness of the spleen, stitches in the side and colic. The distilled water of the roots and leaves was considered by the old herbalists good for ague, and the fresh or dried roots, mixed with honey and applied to the nose, were used in the cure of polypus.


Punica granatum

seed, oil from seed

The punicic acid found in pomegranate seeds is an especially powerful form of CLA, which has been shown to be beneficial in the fight against cancer, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Ongoing studies suggest that daily pomegranate juice may lower mens risk of BPH, and prostate cancer.

Poplar (aka Balm of Gilead)

Populus spp

leaf bud

Buds contain salicin which your body converts to aspirin. Used for muscle soreness and headaches. Approved by Commission E for the topical treatment of minor cuts and abrasions, hemorrhoids, sunburns, frostbite, and other skin care needs.

(Californian) poppy (aka Gold Poppy)

Eschscholzia californica

An aqueous extract of the plant has sedative and anxiolytic actions.

(Corn) poppy (aka Red Poppy, Field poppy, Flanders poppy)

Papaver rhoeas

petal, seed

Traditional medicinal uses as a cough remedy, mild sedative and non-addictive sleep aid. These traditional uses have little or no documentation

(Opium) poppy

Papaver somniferum

The plant source of morphine, used for pain relief. Morphine made from the refined and modified sap is used for pain control in terminally ill patients. Dried sap was used as a traditional medicine until the 19th century.

Prickly Pear (aka Nopales, Nopal, Indian fig)

Opuntia ficus-indica

fruit, pad

Pectin and water-soluble fiber from prickly pear cacti is effective in treating problems associated with diabetes and obesity, including the regulation of blood sugar and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) metabolism. They are also are a source of calcium, magnesium, eight essential amino acids, and antioxidants including pigments such as betalains, flavonoids, and carotenoids, as well as vitamin C..

(Prickly toothed) Shield fern (aka Toothed Wood Fern)

Aspidium spinulosum, Dryopteris spinulosa, Polypodium carthusianum, Thelypteris spinulosa

oil from rhizome

Used in much the same way as Male fern, against tapeworm.


Plantago psyllium, Plantago ovata

seed, husk

The seeds contain copious amounts of mucilage that are able to treat diarrhea, constipation and act as a safe and effective weight loss aid.


Cucurbita pepo

seed, oil from seed

Seeds and seed oil have been used since the time of the Greeks for healing damaged skin including burns and wounds. Traditional uses of seeds include treating parasites, worms, and bladder infections. While it is less reliable than the more toxic remedies such as wormwood, it has the great advantage of being entirely safe.

(Shoreline) purslane

Sesuvium portulacastrum

The plant extract shows antibacterial and anticandidal activities and moderate antifungal activity.


Prunus africanum
Syn. P. africana


The terpenes in the bark have an anti-swelling effect. When taken correctly, pygeum is considered one of the safest herbs used for male health,


Quassia amara

heartwood, leaf

Used as as a febrifuge by the traditional healers of Brazil for malaria fevers. The bitter bark also acts as a digestive aid, an insecticide, and is used to treat liver and gallbladder problems.


Rubus idaeus

leaf, bark, fruit

It is the leaves that are of interest to herbalists. Commonly used to treat diarrhea, colds, and stomach complaints, reduce fever. The traditional use is as a female tonic. Astringent properties stop excessive bleeding and calm cramps during heavy periods.

Red Root (aka New Jersey tea, Wild Snowball)

Ceanothus americanus

inner root bark, leaf

The healing uses of the plant were known to the native tribes of North America who used it to treat skin cancers, skin lesions, and venereal sores. The root is an astringent, expectorant and antispasmodic. It is used by modern herbalists in the treatment of complaints such as asthma, bronchitis, and coughs. It has proven useful in mouthwashes to relieve sore throat and to help reduce dental plaque.

Rhemannia (aka Chinese Foxglove, Shu Di Huang)

Rehmannia glutinosa


A very commonly used herb in traditional Chinese medicine. The root has astringent properties that make it useful in stopping bleeding. It helps to protect and support the liver and adrenal glands and is often found in energy tonic formulas to used to combat chronic fatigue.

Reishi Mushroom (aka Ling-zhi)

Ganoderma lucidum


has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicines for thousands of years, who place it in the highest class of tonic medicines, those who benefit the vital life energy or Qi. Commonly prescribed for a host of conditions such as anxiety, high blood pressure, bronchitis, insomnia, and asthma but is particularly renowned for its use in hepatitis and other diseases of the liver and for promoting longevity. Reishi is used to prevent “fatty-liver” and cirrhosis due to alcohol abuse. The Western focus on reishi is on the mushroom’s immuno-enhancing and anti-tumor activities, the exact mechanism is still unknown, but it is thought that the mucopolysaccharides contained in the cell walls may hold the key to the mushrooms medicinal properties.


Rhodiola rosea


Rhodiola is an adaptogen, and acts in a similar fashion as ginseng. In traditional medicine, rhodiola root was prepared as a tea, and given in treatment of colds, anemia and to enhance fertility and sexual function. Modern research suggests rhodiola may support memory and focus, and relieve depression. Clinical trials have found Rhodiola rosea roots and rhizomes demonstrated anti-depressive activity in patients with mild to moderate depression, with less drug/herb interaction than the better known St. Johns Wort.

(Turkey) Rhubarb (aka Chinese rhubarb)

Rheum palmatum


A purgative, most often used in herbal formulas for it’s strong laxative effects in constipation and colon cleansing formulas. It’s action is dose dependant- small doses have mainly an aperitif and gentle tonic bitter effect. As the dose is increased the purgative anthraquinones predominate and rhubarb becomes the laxative that it is generally known for.

Rooibos (aka Redbush)

Aspalathus linearis


A good source of antioxidants which could play a role in combating several lifestyle diseases, boost the immune system and act as a cancer preventative.

Rose (aka Redbush)

Rosa spp
Syn. Rosa alba, R.gallica, R.damascena, R. centifolia

hip, petal, leaf, bark

The petals are astringent and can be used as a skin wash to staunch bleeding from scrapes and cuts. The scent can lift depressive moods and create a feeling of well being. The fruit have a high vitamin C content.


Rosmarinus officinalis

leaf, stem, flower, ess. oil

Has been used medicinally from ancient times. Unique compounds and oils include rosmarinic acid and essential oils such as cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate, and α-pinene, providing anti-inflammation, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. Research suggests it improves memory, and may help fight cancer.


Dalbergia latifolia


Used in traditional medicine in India, to treat diarrhoea, indigestion and leprosy, and as a vermifuge.

Royal fern (aka Osmund the Waterman, Heart of Osmund, Water Fern, Bog Onion)

Osmunda regalis

root, young frond

The curative virtues have been said to be due to the salts of lime, potash and other earths which it derives in solution from the bog soil and from the water in which it grows. Used in the cure of jaundice, when taken in its early stages, and for removing obstructions of the viscera. A conserve of the root was used for rickets. Also applied to wounds, bruises and dislocations, the young fronds being likewise thought ‘good to be put into balms, oyls and healing plasters.’

Rue (aka Herb of Grace)

Ruta graveolens L.

aerial parts

the use of Rue as a medicinal herb has declined in modern times due to it’s toxicity, and the bitterness of its taste. Rutin is responsible for the bitter taste (7 to 8% in the dried leaves). Rutin is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial and helps to protect against free radicals. It has been used to treat varicose veins and has a tradition of improving eyesight. Used in small amounts rue can ease headaches, especially those caused by nervous tension. The leaves can be applied externally in poultice form to relieve sciatica. You can still make good use of rue today as a flea repellent and to discourage slugs and beetles in the garden.

(Syrian) Rueb (aka Harmal)

Peganum harmala


Can be used as an antidepressant, but carries significant risk. Used in traditional shamanistic rites in the amazon, and is a component of Ayahuasca, Caapi or Yajé (which is actually usually Banisteriopsis caapi but has the same active alkaloids).


Carthamus tinctorius


The oil is a rich source of linoleic acid; used to encourage the body to produce more lean body mass. Used in culinary applications and skin care formulations. Moisturizing and soothing to skin.

Saffron Crocus

Crocus sativus


Saffron, derived from the dried stigma of the flower, has been used to reduce fever, regulate the menstrual cycle, combat epilepsy and convulsions and treat digestive disorders. Reported to decrease hunger cravings, especially for carbohydrates. Contains more than 150 volatile and aroma-yielding compounds.


Salvia officinalis

leaf, flower, ess. oil

Shown to improve cognitive function in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

(Clary )Sage

Salvia sclarea

aerial parts, ess. oil

Recommended for women who are experiencing hot flashes, pain and tension associated with menopause, menstrual problems and PMS. Clary sage oil’s contains sclareol which has an estrogen-like structure, contributing to clary’s effectiveness in returning balance to the female reproductive system. Clary sage oil’s antispasmodic properties relieve pain and menstrual cramping. Has a reputation for creating a sense of euphoria, and in times past was used in beer and wine to heighten the effects of the alcohol. The essential oil is used to treat depressive states and is used as a sedative in nervous, anxious states of mind.


Broussonetia kurzii


In Thailand this species is valued as a medicinal plant. It is said to be astringent, diuretic, tonic, and vulnerary. The leaf juice is diaphoretic and laxative – it is also used in the treatment of dysentery and is also poulticed onto various skin disorders, bites etc.

(Indian) sandalwood

Santalum album

heartwood, ess. oil

The oil has been widely used in folk medicine for treatment of common colds, bronchitis, skin disorders, heart ailments, general weakness, fever, infection of the urinary tract, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, liver and gallbladder complaints and other maladies.

Sarsaparilla (aka Zarzaparrilla)

Smilax sarsaparilla


The root is used for the prevention of gout, arthritis, inflammations of the joints, and is particularly useful for scaling skin conditions, like psoriasis, especially when accompanied by irritation. Contains saponins, which likely work by disabling bacterial components called endotoxins.

Sassafras (aka Saloop, Ague tree, Root beer tree,)

Sassafras albidum

root, ess. oil from bark

Early American colonists, who learned of it’s use from the Iroquois and Seneca tribes, used the root tea as a spring tonic. Was considered to be a blood purifier and the essential oil was used in liniments.

(Summer/Winter) Savory

Satureja hortensis, Satureja montana

aerial parts, ess. oil

A carminative, recommend for gas and digestive upsets, including colic, diarrhea and indigestion. Its antiseptic and astringent properties make it a good treatment for sore throats. A poultice of the leaves gives quick relief to insect bites. Extracts show antibacterial and antifungal effects on several species including some of the antibiotic resistant strains. Known as “bean herbs”, for the added flavor as well a reduction in flatulence and gas

Saw Palmetto (aka Sabal Sabal serrulata)

Serenoa serrulata
Syn. Serenoa repens


Historical, anecdotal evidence suggests that it stops hair loss and triggers healthy hair growth. In the lab it inhibits dihydotestosterone (DHT), an enzyme that is associated with male pattern baldness. Often exceeds the effectiveness of commonly prescribed drugs for benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH). The berries are expectorant, mildly sedative and soothing to mucus membranes. Combined with other herbs it is used in cough and cold remedies, and to ease breathing in asthma and bronchitis. Also used to treat urinary disorders.

(Field) Scabious

Knautia arvensis

aerial parts

The whole plant is astringent and mildly diuretic. An infusion is used internally as a blood purifier and externally for treating cuts, burns and bruises.

Sea buckthorn (aka Sallow Thorn, Yellow Spine)

Hippophae rhamnoides

oil from berry

The leaves are used as herbal medicine to alleviate cough and fever, pain, and general gastrointestinal disorders as well as to cure dermatologic disorders. Similarly, the fruit juice and oils can be used in the treatment of liver disease, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic wounds or other dermatological disorders.

Self-heal (aka Heal-all, Blue Curls, Heart-of-the-Earth, Prunella, Carpenter-weed)

Prunella vulgaris L


The bruised, fresh leaves and flowers may be applied directly to a fresh wound.

Senna (aka Gyptian Senna, Tinnevelly Senna)

Senna alexandrina Mill.

leaf, pod

Reliable and quite powerful laxative. The pods have a gentler action than the leaves.


Sesamum indicum

seed, oil from seed

The seeds are used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for hair loss, and as a liver tonic. Recently discovered help treat high blood pressure and cholesterol. Also relieves constipation caused by inactivity.

Shea (aka Vitellaria, Karité)

Butyrospermum parkii
Syn. B. paradoxa ,Vitellaria paradoxa

oil from nut

The butter made from the nuts is rich in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that rejuvenate and hydrate skin and hair.

Shepherd’s Purse (aka Pickpurse, Casewort)

Capsella bursa-pastoris


An important herb to stop bleeding, an effect due to the tyramine and other amines it contains. This property leads to its use is a number of conditions such as heavy menstrual bleeding, nosebleeds, and as a post-partum herb. A vasodilator, and also hastens coagulation and constrict blood vessels.

Skullcap (aka Virginian skull cap, mad-dog skull cap)

Scutellaria lateriflora

leaf, stem, flower

The chemistry varies between species, those who contain the compound scutellarin are used in herbal medicine. It has been used for centuries as an effective nerve tonic and sedative. Its common uses include relief of nervous tension, anxiety and nerve pain. Women who are having anxiety associated with hormonal imbalances can find skullcap very calming. Skullcap may also help calm the nerves of those wishing to stop smoking.

Snakeroot (aka Virginia snakeroot, Birthworts, Pipevines or Dutchman’s pipes)

Aristolochia spp
Syn. Serpentaria Rhizoma

rhizome, root

Cultivated for medicinal use since the at least the middle ages when it was used as a birthing herb. Also used in early America in adjunct to quinine to promote perspiration and break fevers, and treat snakebites. Members of the Aristolochia spp have recently been implicated in cases of kidney failure in China. As it is toxic in large doses, it is not recommended for home use.
Note: Not to be confused with Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) which is sometimes called Black Snake Root, or Canadian Wild ginger (Asarum canadense) which also shares the common name of snakeroot.

(Canadian) Snakeroot (aka Wild ginger)

Asarum canadense

root stalk

Native American plant whose medicinal qualities were known to many Indian tribes. The root is added to other herbal teas for stimulus to circulation in the winter.




Contains an active substance called galantamine, which is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Galantamine (or galanthamine) can be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, though it is not a cure.

(Summer) snowflake

Leucojum aestivum


Known to contain Galantamine (Nivalin, Razadyne, Razadyne ER, Reminyl, Lycoremine in pharmaceutical format). Used for the treatment of mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and various other memory impairments, in particular those of vascular origin.

Soapwort (aka Bouncing Bet, Fuller’s herb, Sweet William, Bruisewort, Old Maids Pink)

Saponaria officinalis


The root produces a lather on contact with water. It has an ancient reputation for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, boils, and acne. It’s use for gout and rheumatism is probably effective because of the anti-inflammatory and depurative properties of it’s saponin content. Taken internally these saponins are a mild irritant to the respiratory and digestive systems making soapwort an expectorant and laxative in small doses (mildly poisonous in large doses).

Solomon’s Seal

Polygonatum biflorum
Syn. P. odoratum


Used by Native American healers and in ancient Chinese medicine for lung, stomach and skin complaints. The Chinese use the root of several polygonatum species as a cooling, demulcent, sedative, antiperiodic (preventing the periodic return of attacks of disease, as of certain fevers, esp. malaria) and tonic. It has been used to treat lung complaints, influenza, rheumatism and many other conditions.

Sorrel (aka Field/Sheep sorrel, Oseille)

Rumex acetosella var. vulgaris
Syn. Acetosa acetosella

aerial parts

Traditional uses include fevers, diarrhea, and scurvy. Little to no scientific studies have been conducted.

Spikenard (aka Nard, nardin, Muskroot)

Nardostachys jatamansi
Syn. Nardostachys grandiflora

ess. oil

A gentle aromatic sedative related to valerian with similar properties. Useful for calming the chronic cough of bronchitis.

(American) Spikenard (aka Small spikenard, Wild/False Sarsaparilla, Indian root, spice berry, spignet, life-of-man, petty morel)

Aralia racemosa


Antiseptic, depurative, and diaphoretic, which makes it useful in a wide range of conditions including gout, rheumatism, coughs and lung complaints. Root tea is a traditional American folk medicine treatment and a purifying spring tonic. It is also considered healing to the skin.


Spilanthes acmella
Syn. Spilanthes oleracea, Acmella oleracea

leaf, stem, flower

Can numb the gums and mouth and calm tooth pain when the flower buds and new leaves are chewed. Has antibacterial and antifungal properties making it an good purifying herb used for disinfecting wounds and curing ringworm infections. Also used as an antiparasitic and native remedy against malaria in the tropics.

(Common) Spleenwort (aka Miltwaste, Scaly Fern. Finger Fern)

Asplenium ceterach


The old name comes from how it was said to cure disorders of the milt or spleen, for which it was much recommended by the Ancients. It was also used as a pectoral and as an aperient in obstructions of the viscera, and an infusion of the leaves was prescribed for gravel. Meyrick considered that a decoction of the whole plant was efficacious, if persevered in, for removing all obstructions of the liver and spleen.

(Black) Spleenwort (aka Black Maidenhair)

Asplenium Adiantum nigrum


Used to relieve a troublesome cough and proving to be a good hair wash.


Picea mariana

leaf, twig, ess. oil

Oil vapors break up congestion and improve breathing

St. John’s wort

Hypericum perforatum

herb top, flower

Widely used within herbalism for depression. Evaluated for use as an antidepressant, but with ambiguous results.

Stevia (aka Sweet leaf)

Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni)


The active phytochemical in stevia leaves, stevioside, is at least one hundred times sweeter than sugar. Studies suggest that stevia may be able to lower blood sugar and has a place in the prevention and treatment of type II diabetes.

Tamanu (aka Foraha, kamanu)

Calophyllum inophyllum

oil from seed

The oil is wonderfully healing to skin and makes a great hot oil treatment for hair. It hydrates dry skin and has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the swelling of rashes, insect bites, diaper rash, and sunburns. It also possesses significant antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-fungal qualities. These properties make it effective on scabies, ringworm, athletes foot, jock itch, psoriasis, eczema, and diabetic sores. The rich, nutty scent makes the oil pleasant to use and even helps eliminate body and foot odors.

Tansy (aka Bitter Buttons)

Tanacetum vulgare

aerial parts, ess. oil

Older herbals recommend the use of tansy for many purposes including as an anthelmintic to kill parasites. Was also used to alleviate the pain of for migraine headaches, neuralgia, rheumatism and gout, meteorism( distended stomach due to trapped gas), and loss of appetite. The danger with using tansy rests primarily with it’s thujone content, which is responsible for much of tansy’s medicinal actions. Thujone is powerful but toxic in large doses.

(Green) Tea (aka Tea, Black tea)

Camellia sinensis


Benefits are mainly credited to the catechin polyphenols, powerful anti-oxidants that have numerous benefits including inhibiting cancers and tumor formation, lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes. Studies indicate that green tea has positive effects in metabolic syndrome and weight loss, blood pressure, total antioxidant status (TAS), lipid profiles, and glucose concentrations on obese but otherwise healthy individuals. A worrying side effect noted was a drop in iron levels; many of the polyphenolics in green tea can function as iron chelators, which may prevent absorption of iron.

(Oolong) Tea (aka Wu Long, Wu Yi Tea)

Camellia sinensis


Unique because of its partial fermentation which produces a diverse arrangement of both off-green and black leaves. Marketed mainly as a diet aid, but just like all the varieties of Camellia sinensis, it is rich in antioxidants that can help prevent cancer and heart disease and contribute to well-being.

Tea tree

Melaleuca alternifolia

oil from leaf

Has been used medicinally for centuries by Australian aboriginal people. Modern usage is primarily as an antibacterial or antifungal agent.

(Blessed) thistle (aka Holy thistle, St. Benedict’s thistle)

Cnicus benedictus

root, aerial parts, seed

Used during the Middle Ages to treat bubonic plague. In modern times, herbal teas made from blessed thistle are used for loss of appetite, indigestion and other purposes.

(Milk) thistle

Silybum marianum


The seeds have been used for thousands of years for a variety of medicinal purposes, in particular liver problems. Helps to regenerate liver cells and protects against damage by toxins and viruses.


Thymus vulgaris

leaf, stem, flower, ess. oil

Used to treat bronchitis and cough. It serves as an antispasmodic and expectorant in this role. It has also been used in many other medicinal roles in Asian and Ayurvedic medicine, although it has not been shown to be effective in non-respiratory medicinal roles.

Timothy Grass (aka Meadow cat’s-tail, Common cat’s tail.)

Phleum pratense


A few studies have found that a sublingual tablet made from pollen extracts can reduce some pollen allergy symptoms, such as eye irritation, in people with asthma, as well as help decrease symptoms in people suffering from hay fever.

Tribulus (aka Burra Gookeroo, Burra Gokhru, puncture vine)

Tribulus terrestris,
Syn. Pedalium Murex L


Relaxes smooth muscles and improves the circulation in the genital region of both men and women, leading to improved sexual response. For women, the hormone balancing effects make this a suitable herb for premenstrual syndrome and menopausal symptoms. Also a popular anabolic supplement among body builders who use it to lower cholesterol and increase lean muscle mass.

Tulsi (aka Tulasi, Holy Basil, Indian Basil)

Ocimum tenuiflorum

leaf, ess. oil

Used for its purifying, detoxifying and cleansing properties. Often used for fever, headache, diabetes, heart issues, stress, kidney stones, skin, smoking cessation, respiratory conditions, cancer, and more.

Turmeric (aka Curcuma, Indian saffron)

Curcuma longa

ess. oil

Has long been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine to aid digestion and liver function, relieve arthritis pain, and regulate menstruation.

Unicorn (aka Colic Root, Star grass, Ague-root, True Unicorn, Devils bit)

Aletris farinosa


The bitter tasting roots are known best as a female tonic, and a useful uterine sedative that used in cases of chronic miscarriage.

False Unicorn

Chamaelirium luteum


The root is used by Native American women to deter miscarriage, it is still widely used to treat a variety of problems unique to the female reproductive system. The root contains steroidal saponins which are precursors of estrogen. Steroidal saponin-containing herbs may normalize the luteal phase in women, making them useful for infertility which is associated with failure to ovulate.

Uva Ursi (aka Bearberry)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi


Is a specialist in infections and inflammations of the urinary tract. Contains as assortment of chemical compounds, especially arbutin, that are active against many of the pathogens commonly found in urinary tract infections.


Valeriana officinalis

root, ess. oil

Used since at least ancient Greece and Rome for sleep disorders and anxiety.


Cissampelos pareira

root, bark, aerial parts

Used for a multitude of ailments including those of digestion, respiratory tract, skin, urinary tract, menstrual, bladder and kidney problems. Other uses include treatment of dog and snake bites, chills, cholera, convulsions, delirium, diabetes, fluid retention, fevers, bleeding, high blood pressure, jaundice, malaria, pounding heart, rabies, arthritis-like pain, toothaches, sexually transmitted diseases, and eye infections.

Veronica (aka Speedwell, Common Gypsyweed, Fluellin, Paul’s Betony Groundhele)

Veronica officinalis


Used for sinus and ear infections. Used in herbal tea cough remedies as an expectorant, and also has diaphoretic (sweat -producing), diuretic and tonic properties. The plant is rich in vitamins, tannins, and the glycoside aucubin , which has anti-inflammatory, diuretic and liver protective actions. Extracts can be added to skin ointments to treat eczema and help heal skin irritations and wounds.

(Blue) Vervain (aka Verbena, Wild Hyssop, Simpler’s Joy, Herb of the cross)

Verbena hastata, Verbena officinalis

leaf, flowerhead

Used for sore throats and respiratory tract diseases.

(Lemon) Vervain (aka Lemon Verbena)

Aloysia citriodora
Syn. A. triphylla

leaf, flower

Makes a delightful tea that soothes stomach spasms and calm nerves and reduces fevers.

Vetiver (aka khus khus)

Chrysopogon zizanioides, Vetiveria zizanoides

ess. oil from root

Healing to skin, this oil repels insects and reduces stress and tension.

(Sweet) Viburnum (aka Cramp Bark, Stagbush, Guelder-rose, Water elder, Arrowwood)

Viburnum opulus


Has a long history of use by Native and pioneer women. Help to relax the uterus which can help prevent miscarriage, and relieve uterine cramps and painful periods. These traditional uses are born out with modern chemical analysis, both this and Viburnum prunifolum contain phytochemicals that facilitate uterine relaxation, two of which (aesculetin and scopoletin) also work against muscle spasms, and the pain-relieving salicin in the herb is also closely related to aspirin.


Viola spp

leaf, flower

The leaves are high in Vitamins A and C, and rutin, which is a glycoside of the flavonoid quercetin, they also contain a type of antioxidant called an anthocyanin. Topically, violet is used as a poultice, compress, infused oil and salve in the treatment of dry or chaffed skin, abrasions, insect bites, eczema, varicose veins and hemorrhoids. experimentation substantiates this use of the plant and show it to be useful in other forms of impetigo (skin infections). Its use in some forms of burrowing ulcers, tinea capits and scabies is also sanctioned. It has a rich tradition in Europe, where it has been used for centuries as a pulmonary remedy for dry hacking cough. Violet is cooling and moistening, and is used internally as a blood cleanser and lymphatic stimulant for chronically swollen lymph nodes. The leaves contain a good bit of mucilage, or soluble fiber, and thus are helpful in lowering cholesterol levels.

Wafer Ash (aka hoptree)

Ptelea trifoliata

root bark

The root bark is used for the digestive system.


Euonymus atropurpureus


A purgative and might affect the heart.

Wall Rue (aka White Maidenhair, Tentwort)

Asplenium Ruta-muraria


It was considered good for coughs and ruptures in children. One of its old names, ‘Tentwort,’ refers to its use as a specific for the cure of rickets, a disease once known as ‘the taint.’ It was also used to prevent hair from falling out.

(Black) Walnut

Juglans nigra

nut hull

Herbalists mostly use the bark, leaves and nut husks. The hulls contain juglone, a chemical that is antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, and a fungicide. It is used to treat ringworm, yeast and candida infections. One of the best and safest worming agents offered by the plant world, but it can be toxic if not used with proper care, caution, and training. Best reserved for use by experienced practitioners.


Nasturtium officinale


May be diuretic and antibacterial.

Water germander

Teucrium scordium


Has been used for asthma, diarrhea, fever, intestinal parasites, hemorrhoids, and wounds.

Water hyssop (aka Bacopa, Brahmi)

Bacopa monnieri


Appears to strengthen memory and improve concentration by enhancing the conductivity of nerve tissue. It is relatively new in the West, but has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine since ancient times to treat mental illness and a range of mental functions.


Triticum aestivum


May contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

(White) willow

Salix alba


Plant source of salicylic acid, white willow is like the chemical known as aspirin, although more likely to cause stomach upset as a side effect than aspirin itself which can cause the lining in your stomach to be destroyed. Used from ancient times for the same uses as aspirin.

Wintergreen (aka Teaberry, Mountain Tea, Spice Berry, Checker-berry, Partridge-berry)

Gaultheria procumbens

leaf, ess. oil

One of the richest sources of salicylic acid. Because of the toxicity of methyl salicylate many aromatherapists do not recommend it’s use. The benefits may outweigh the risks in cases of debilitating pain as long as you are not sensitive to salicylates.

Witch Hazel (aka Spotted Alder, Winterbloom, Snapping Hazelnut)

Hamamelis virginiana

bark, leaf

When distilled and combined with alcohol, the aromatic oil extracted from the bark of the witch hazel shrub makes a soothing and mildly astringent lotion. It is an all purpose first aid remedy for abrasions, burns, scalds, insect bites, acne, and other inflammatory conditions of the skin, and also forms the base of varicose vein treatments.

(Sweet) Woodruff (aka Wild Baby’s Breath)

Galium odoratum
Syn. Asperula odorata


Has a long tradition of practical use, yet very little research has been done to document or support the folklore. This is a not uncommon occurrence with those gentle herbs whose commercial value is low and whose uses are mostly the simples of country people; wound healing, stomach upsets, weak veins and circulatory problems, and as a remedy for strengthening the nervous system and heart function, and for blood purification.

Wormseed (aka Epazote , Jesuit’s Tea, Mexican Tea, Herba Sancti Mariæ)

Chenopodium ambrosioides
Syn. Dysphania ambrosioides


Use can be traced back to the Aztecs. It contains an essential oil which is up to 70% ascaridole, giving it a similar character to boldo, consumed in South Amercian folk medicine as a digestive tea. The common name indicates a common medicinal use, to kill intestinal worms. The essential oil was official in the United States Pharmacopoeia as a vermifuge for many years, but safer alternatives have been developed, and it is no longer recommended for this use.

Wormwood (aka Southernwood)

Artemisia absinthium L.

aerial parts

The azulenes in the plant are anti-inflammatory and reduce fevers, and the plant was used in ancient times as an emmenagogue. Small doses of tea taken before meals can stimulate digestion and prevent heartburn and gas, and even boost energy. As the name implies, wormwood is a powerful worming agent that has been used for hundreds of years to expel tapeworms, threadworms, and especially roundworms from dogs, cats, and their humans. Although wormwood makes like miserable for parasites, it is not kind to the host. Should be avoided in pregnancy.

Xanthoparmelia scabrosa

Xanthoparmelia scabrosa


A lichen used for sexual dysfunction.


Smallanthus sonchifolius
Syn. Polymnia sonchifolia

root, leaf

The edible tubers contain a type of carbohydrate called fructooligosaccharides (FOSs), which have a low glycemic index and calorie value. Yacon FOSs are a prebiotic soluble fiber fermented in the colon by beneficial bacteria, including Bifidus and Lactobacillus spp. Yacon root and yacon root syrup show great promise as a sweetener for those who need to lower blood sugar and lose weight safely.

(Wild) yam (aka Colic root, rheumatism root)

Dioscorea villosa


A potent source of diosgenin, a chemical that resembles female sex hormones and was used in the manufacture of the first oral contraceptives. Diosgenin can be transformed in the laboratory into sex steroids and corticosteroids, but research is still very sketchy on the effectiveness of this herb.

(Common) Yarrow (aka Milfoil, Old Man’s Pepper, Nosebleed)

Achillea millefolium

aerial parts, ess. oil

Purported to be a diaphoretic, astringent, tonic, stimulant and mild aromatic. Skin washes and leaf poultices can staunch bleeding and help to disinfect cuts and scrapes; taken as a tea it can help slow heavy menstrual bleeding as well. The chemical makeup of yarrow is complex, and it contains many active medicinal compounds in addition to the tannins and volatile oil azulene. These compounds are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and help relax blood vessels.

Yerba Mate (aka Matte, Paraguay tea)

Ilex paraguariensis


Effects have been attributed to the high quantity of polyphenols. Mate contains compounds that act as an appetite suppressant, increases mental energy and focus, and improve mood. Also contains elements such as potassium, magnesium, and manganese.

Yerba Santa

Eriodictyon crassifolium


Was used by the Chumash people to keep airways open for proper breathing.

Ylang Ylang

Cananga adorata

ess. oil from flower

A stimulating, yet relaxing oil with antiseptic and aphrodisiac properties. It is commonly used to lift depressive states, and address poor circulation. Ylang-ylang helps to keep hair and skin healthy.

Yohimbe (aka Johimbe, Yumbina)

Pausinystalia Yohimbe


Increases blood flow to the genitals of both males and females giving men help with erection problems and women an enhanced sensation and engorgement of genital organs. However, keep the dose low to prevent the yohimbe side effects. Also sold as a muscle building natural version of anabolic steroids, however, it’s action is apparently unrelated to the body’s production of testosterone, which means it probably is of little value in building bigger muscles.

Yucca (aka Adam’s Needle, Soap Tree, Mojave yucca)

Yucca spp


Was used widely in Native folk medicine for it’s anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory effects which support Yucca’s promise in the treatment of both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is a rich source of steroidal saponins, and is used commercially as a saponin source.

Zedoary (aka White turmeric, Kentjur)

Curcuma zedoaria

root, ess. oil

An aromatic,
bitter digestive. Used in much the same way as ginger, to relieve nausea, flatulence, bloating, and generally improve digestion.


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