Home Apothecary

Identifying a collection of herbs specifically chosen to support the main, key functions of the body that you can grow at home. Our Home Apothecary program is unique in that it traverses two of our groups, the Environmental Group and Natural Laws Research. We have placed the Home Apothecary program in both groups because the benefits of Home Apothecary draw upon the natural physical environment and primary energy (referred to in our Psychic Energy Research). The aims of the Environmental Group and the Natural Laws Group come together to offer you support in achieving nutritional self sufficiency and overall well being.

This primary energy found in all of nature comes to light in the healing properties of herbs. We offer the following Home Apothecary tools and resources:

Herbal Reference Guide
Soil
Microgreens
Sprouting
How to Grow Plants
Preparations
Resources


PRECAUTIONS

Caution should be used when pregnant or breast feeding, and before giving to children. Discontinue use if allergic reactions occur and contact your medical provider.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

landing home apothecary

The Complete Herbal Reference Guide is in this page, down below. Or download the .doc file here.

The Herbal Reference Guide is a database of some common herbs used in western herbalism. There are three easy ways in which the materials can be used.

  1. Alphabetical – the herbs are listed alphabetically by their common names. If there is a specific herb for which you are looking, you can go right to it.

  2. System search – if you are looking for an herb that relates to a particular body system, such as the respiratory or circulatory system, use the System files to look through different herbs that have affinities to those specific systems.

  3. Symptom search – if there is a symptom that you want to address using herbs, conduct a key-word search through the entire herbal Reference Guide. Open the Reference Guide and enter your key-word search for a particular word like throat, stomach, or rash. You can quickly scroll through all of the herbs selected out through that search.

 Please use your browser's Search functionality (Control-F) to find the Herb, system, or symptom you are interested in.

 

 

References:

(1)       Wood, Matthew ‘The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants’

(2)       Wood, Matthew ‘The Earthwise Herbal: a Complete Guide to New World Medical Plants‘

(3)       Hoffmann, David ‘Medical Herbalism’

(4)       Tierra, Michael ‘Planetary Herbology’

(W)      Wikipedia

The above listed references are the sources which the following material has been gathered from.  Each of the herbs has an indication regarding which specific reference was used. This reference is indicated with a (1), (2), and so forth in the line following the Latin name of the herb.

In the material that follows you will find a listing of an herb’s common name, by which a nursery or an herb supplier often call it.  Following this, is information regarding the herb’s family, habitat, considerations around collecting the herb and the parts most commonly used.  The herbal listings are set up to help you gain a better horticulture understanding of the plant. There is a section which identifies some of the ways the herbs can be prepared; and for a more detailed explanation of these methods, one can refer back to the preparations page.  Also, there are sections which identify the constituents of the herb, its tastes, effects, and its common medicinal uses.  These sections refer to the therapeutic aspects of the herb, and help an individual identify when and how the consumption of a particular herb may prove to be beneficial.  Lastly, there are sections which mention contraindication, or when caution is advised around the herb, as well as, information pertaining to dosha, Ayurvedic considerations, and the history or folklore of the herb.

 Measurement Key:

1ml = 20 drops

 

Latin Name: Aralia Racemosa

(2), (4)

Common Name: Spikenard (also known as bearberry and Indian root, petty morrel, life-of-man, spignet, elk clover)

Family: Ginseng or Arakia

Habitat: In Arizona and New Mexico it grows in the wettest coolest, and shadiest canyons of the desert mountains, usually from 4,500-7,500 feet.

Botany: These are large robust plants, often six to eight feet tall, with large compound, usually pinnate leaves, with serrated little teeth all along the leaflets.  The greenish white flowers form umbels like plants in the Parsley (Umbelliferae) family.  Little berries are purple and spicy-sweet like those of its close relative Ginseng.  It shows step-like leaf scars at the top of the root showing a previous year’s growth.  The root is cream colored, brown skinned, has a brown furry tuft where the stem comes out of the ground, is fleshy, with oil oozing from cuts, especially around the cortex.  The stems are solid, not hollow like relatives in the Umbellica family.

Parts Used: Root, dry roots are good for about a year

Collecting: If there are pools coming out of a desert canyon, head up and take a look in some of the darkest crevices.

Preparations:

  • Infusion: use one-half ounce of herb in a pint of boiling water as a chi tonic it might be more effective when roasted with honey
  • Tincture: (1:5, 60%), 10-20 drops 3x per day
  • Alcohol honey extract: use 1 part fresh root and 5 parts honey, finely chopped and simmered in water for an hour, then strain and bottle.  Add to the decoction enough alcohol to bring the alcohol concentration above 30% and the honey (honey can be added to taste).  Will keep well in the fridge.
  • Infusions and Decoctions: work well, but first finely chop the large dried pieces down
  • Powdered root: can be applied to open itching sores or eruptions

Constituents: essential oil, tannins, saponins, sapogenins, diterpene acids, choline, chlorogenic acid, ursolic acid, b-sitosterol, araloside, oleanolic acid glycosides, and several panaxosides

Taste: warm, and oily, pungent/sweet, acrid and stimulating.

Effects: alterative, adaptogen, diffusive, diaphoretic, stimulant, balsamic, diuretic, chi tonic, expectorant, carminative,

Medical Use:

  • Stimulates the adrenal cortex, helps with weakness, fatigue, and timidity
  • Improves metabolism of fats and oils, helps with digestive weakness
  • Regulates and reduces blood sugar swings
  • Excellent for upper respiratory allergies, irritable membranes, sneezing, coughing and clear mucus; and because it goes ‘deeper’ treats chronic pulmonary diseases, and can thin mucus if it is thick or heavy
  • Warms and stimulates uterus moving stagnant blood and aiding menstruation, and working as an overall excellent blood purifier, stimulating phagocytosis in white blood cells
  • Helpful with aiding rheumatic aches and pains
  • Good on all skin diseases, pimples, or eruptions
  • Accumulation of uric acid in the system, and rheumatism
  • Secondary uses as part of treatment for venereal disease

Contraindications: not recommended during pregnancy

Environmentally sensitive on the ‘to watch list’

Dosha: KV- P+

History or Folklore: its furry tuft shows it as being a signature of ‘bear medicine’

Known to ‘clean out clogged ducts’, particularly milk ducts; it is good medicine to take before a fast, it pumps up the cortisone so that the body can pull lipids and fats out of storage.

It makes childbirth easier and shortens the length of labor, if the tea is taken some time before labor, and in combination with it being taken the last few weeks of pregnancy


Latin Name: Nepeta Cataria

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Catnip (catmint, field balm)

Family: Lamiaceae  (Mint)

Botany: characteristic mint, entire plant is distinctively fuzzy with a texture like flannel. Flowering both at the upper leaf axils and in terminating spike-like clusters, blooming mid to late summer.  Grows in full sun in rich or moist soil

Parts Used: leaf, flowering top

Collecting: be mindful of where it is harvested, wild patches often grow near contaminated areas

Preparations:

  • Herb is gathered before flowering and prepared as fresh tea or tincture; it loses properties when dried
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%) 2-6ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: particularly good for infants) pour 1C boiling water over 2 teaspoons of dried herbs and leave to infuse in a covered container for 10-15 minutes – and this to be drank 3x per day

Constituents: high is trace minerals and vitamins, compounds that break down into nepetalactone (a substance similar to the valepotriates found in valerian – hence the acrid flavor), essential oils (carvacrol and thymol, citronellal, nerol, geraniol, pulegone, nepetalic acid), iridoids (including epideoxyloganic acid, 7-deoxyloganic acid), tannins

Taste: acrid, cooling pungent, bitter, resinous

Effects: antispasmodic, emmenagogue, anodyne, aromatic, relaxant, diaphoretic, carminative, nervine, antibiotic, sedative, astringent, stomachic

Medical Use:

  • Particularly recommended for children (helping with colic and fever), and with bronchitis, and generally effective against colds and flu
  • Good for pain and conditions resulting from energy pressing upward (hernia, stomach cramps or headaches) -- eases an over acidic stomach caused by nerves
  • A must for all parents (very overall soothing for children) beneficial for children who mentally suppress and are quite or troubled (also for hyperactivity in children) – in addition to being good for treating diarrhea in children
  • Helps with motion sickness or nervousness being on a plane
  • Lessens fatigue from muscular exertion
  • Helps skin irritations, hives, fever, acne, and brings rashes to the surface
  • Highly recommended as an enema, expelling worms, and even headache

Contraindications: not to be used for extended periods of time with children

Has almost narcotic effect when overused

Never boil

History or Folklore: traditionally used as a cold and flu remedy

Dosha: PK-


Latin Name: Allium Sativum

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Garlic

Family: Liliaceae (lily)

Parts Used: bulb

Preparations:

  • A clove can be eaten daily as a prophylaxis
  • Infusion: three to five cloves in an infusion

Constituents: Alliin, organic sulfur compounds (including alliin, which converts to allicin), enzymes, B vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, vitamins A and C, nicotinic acid

Taste: warm, moist, oily, pungent, sweet, slightly salty

Effects: Simulative, detoxifier, antimicrobial, antibacterial (unlike typical antibiotics it kills foreign bodies while supporting flora of the intestine), nutritive (the oil), is both catabolic and anabolic, carminative, expectorant, alterative, antifungal, antiviral, blood sugar regulant, laxative, diuretic, male aphrodisiac, anticancer, parasiticide, digestive, antiamoebic, mildly emmenagogue, yang tonic

Medical Use:

  • Herb is rarefying or dissolving so it thins clotting substances and expels them
  • Stimulates internal metabolism, eliminates waste which would continue to feed bacteria and supports rebuilding of new tissue
  • Stimulates the production of substance that relaxes arteries (but only while taking it)
  • Helps in conditions of excess: nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, and weight loss or gain
  • Ear infection aided by a drop of oil into the ear
  • Aid in increases circulation
  • Counteracts lower back and joint pain; helping with arthritis and rheumatism
  • Used for animal bites, and insect stings, and heavy metal poisoning
  • Used for both chronic and acute diseases
  • Taken internally both as a preventative and a treatment for intestinal worms – can be used externally when blended with sesame oil, however the smell can discourage regular applications
  • Can be helpful against bacteria that are resistant to standard antibiotic drugs

Contraindications: can cause digestive upset in people with weak livers

Causes hyperadrenalism; not recommended in conditions of heat and nervous irritation

Raw garlic eaten in excess can cause anemia, aggravating and even inflaming the digestive tract

Pregnant woman should use in small amounts as it is a mild emmenagogue

History or Folklore: use to be eaten by the workers building Egyptian pyramids who were given it as a form of payment

Unpleasant odor can be reduced by consuming it with parsley

Yogis used it as a medicine, but did not consume it as a food because of its irritating properties

Dosha: VK- P+ ;a rejuvenative for both kapha and vata


Latin Name: Cochlearia Armoracia (Armoracia Rusticana)

 (1), (4)

Common Name: Horseradish

Family: Cruciferae (cabbage)

Parts Used: root

Collecting: roots picked in the fall are hotter (they can be saved in sand in a cool environment during winter)

Preparations:         

  • Can be preserved in vinegar, wine, or brandy
  • Preparation made by macerating grated horseradish with equal parts vinegar and honey for a couple weeks -- can then be used internally as tincture or externally as liniment for rheumatism
  • Horseradish syrup: grated root s boiled for at least two hours, strained and then honey is added -- it should be a thick syrup consistency

Constituents: contain a volatile oil similar to mustard, glycosides, B vitamins, asparagine, sulfur

Taste: heating, pungent, works on the kidneys and the skin (raising capillary and arterial circulation), stomach, and gall ducts (generally gets things flowing)

lungs, colon, kidneys

Effects: stimulant, antispasmodic, aperient, antiseptic, powerful diuretic, carminative, digestive and blood sugar balancing, rubefacient, expectorant, laxative

Medical Use:

  • A poultice applied to the chest to stimulate expectoration and thin stuck phlegm, with lemon and apple cider vinegar immediate and powerful mucus expectorant – to decongest the sinuses chew on one teaspoon of grated root that has been mixed with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar until all the flavor is gone
  • Used for treating gout as well as to raise a blister on an arthritic joint and neuralgic pains (blister then being lanced to remove the ‘toxins’) -- effects may result from increasing cortisol in the area
  • Helping the stomach in atonic, vacid, and semi-paralyzed conditions (or lost voice)
  • Good for cold, sluggish, and depressed conditions, in the lungs and bladder
  • Grated root applied topically acts as a counterirritant for bruises and injuries

Contraindications: not given in cases of local or arterial excitement, or sensitive patients

Burns skin and eyes on contact (do not place fresh root on skin, use a cloth between)

Dosha: KV- P+

Gives greater fullness and firmness to pulse


Latin Name: Lomatium

Common Name: Lomatium Dissectum (desert parsley, fern-leaved lomatium, Indian desert) parsnip, wild carrot)

Family: Umbelliferae (Parsley)

Part Used: root

Collecting:  it is easier to dig up roots earlier in the year

Habitat: Generally found in dry rocky soils; look for creek and river valleys through a mesa, with steep slopes some trees, boulders, and usually stands of Balsam Root.  If none is found try looking further down creek in the canyon, on the slope overlooking the water.

Botany: has fernlike bright green leaves in spring, with the whole basal leaf sometimes a foot long, divided into three or four sections, which then multiply into threadlike leaflets.  Larger plants may have a dozen leaves.  Flower stalks grow 2-5 feet tall, extending well above foliage, with yellow or purple flowers at the end of the stem.  Root is fleshy and think, like a lumpy carrot, with odd parts left over.  The skin is gray with many oil glands all over.  In the spring the root oozes milky aromatic sap (excellent skin moisturizing agent), by fall the sap is more resinous and balsamic. (This sap is what differentiates it for others of the same genus.)

Preparations:

  • If drying the roots let them wilt for a few days or in the open or a paper bag, then slice 1/2” crosswise and finish drying on screens ( cut right away the milky sap becomes an issue (dry root is strong for 18 months)
  • Fresh root tincture: (1:2 70%) start with low dosage of a few drops
  • Dry root tincture (1:5, 70%) start with a low dosage of a few drops
  • Cold infusion: use 1-2 TSP for each cup of water; take 2 to 3 fluid ounces, up to 5 times a day
  • Roots may be consumed either raw or cooked

Effects: antibacterial, antiviral (particularly in lung infections), expectorant, immunostimulant, antimicrobial

Medical Use:

  • Helpful with lung problems
  • Works well with bad fevers, and head colds
  • Stimulate liver function and bile secretion
  • Tincture is an excellent first aid for skin infections, throat and gum infections

Contraindications: can cause rashes, important to be mindful of pairing it with other herbs

Many species share similar appearance, some of which are highly poisonous parsley family relatives.  Positive identification must be absolute before ingesting this plant in any form.


Latin Name: Echinacea Angustifolia, E. Pallida, E. Purpurea

(2), (3), (4)

Common Name: Echinacea (Purple Coneflower [western varieties are the most powerful])

Family: Asteraceae (Aster)

Habitat: grows in open areas and prairies

Parts Used: roots

Collecting: typically from roots four years or older

Preparations:

  • Best not taken as a daily immune support, but for treating active infections or when signs of an infection are first noticed.  Should only be taken on a limited basis, but when conditions call for its use, it can be taken every hour or two.
  • Dried and made into a decoction -- consumed in great dosages – 1-2 teaspoons in 1C of water and brought slowly to a boil and simmered for 10-15 minutes; consumed 3x per day
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 45%), 1-4 ml 3x per day

Constituents: sugars, polysaccharides, betaine, echinacin, echinacoside, caffeic acid derivatives, resins, essential oils, fatty acids, xanthoxylin (substance that causes tingling in the mouth, alkylamides, tannins

Taste:cooling, sweet, bitter, pungent

Effects: immunostimulant (polysaccharides), digestive stimulant, antiseptic, diffusive, antimicrobial, immunomodulator, anti-inflammatory, anticatarrhal, vulnerary, alterative, antibiotic , antiviral, antitumor, carminative

Medical Use:

  • Used to treat snake and insect bites, various poisonings, and septicemia; where white blood production is required in high amounts to combat putrefactive conditions – stimulates the body’s macrophage-mediated defense system
  • Helpful with conditions of exhaustion, being over-worked or overstressed, and where the immune system may be compromised and the mind is dull – can help in stimulating the body’s immune system
  • Good for helping the body rid itself of microbial infections (and supports the regeneration of connective tissue destroyed during the infection), both bacterial and viral
  • Useful for infections of the respiratory tract, including laryngitis, tonsillitis, the common cold or conditions of the nose and sinus – can be used as a mouthwash in tincture or decoction
  • Tincture was shown to reduce the rates of Candida infection
  • Useful in helping the body overcome inflammatory conditions

Contraindications: Overuse can lead to an exaggerated white blood count

E. Angustifolia is over harvested and threatened by prairies being sprayed

People with allergic reaction to other members of the Aster (Asteraceae) should be cautiously mindful

Could interfere with immune-suppressing therapy

History or Folklore: Not really used by the Eastern Indians.  Might have different properties in the east then in the west

Useful when the tongue is coated dirty brown or black


Latin Name: Astragalus Americanus, A. Canadian (Canadian variety), A. Membranaceus (Chinese variety)

(3), (4)

Common Name: milk vetch, yellow vetch, astragalus

Family: Fabaceae

Habitat: old growth spruce forests; grows in heavy moist soils, in prairies, ditches , and vernal pools at mid-elevation

Botany: upright perennial spreading by rhizome, to 3 feet.  Rough haired, with hairs forked at base, tips spreading along surface.  Leaves alternate, pinnately divided into many oblong leaflets with tips rough and slightly notched with papery stipules fused into sheath around stem.  Flowers cream colored, nodding in dense, spike like raceme.

Parts Used: roots

Preparations:

  • Cold infusion: 1-2 TSP to each cup of water
  • Decoction  2-4 TSP in 1C water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes-- 2-3 ounces 2-3x per day
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 30-60 drops up to 3 times per day

Constituents: Triterpenoid saponin glycosides, flavonoids (glycosides and aglycones), high molecular weight polysaccharides

Taste: slightly warm, sweet

Effects: immune tonic, antimicrobial, tonic for hyperglycemia and hypertension, immuno-stimulant, chi tonic, diuretic, anhydrotic, immunomodulator

Medical Use:

  • Tea used for fever in children, and for coughs
  • Used as a spleen and blood tonic, and to suppress urination
  • Strengthens the immune system, and promotes healing of wounds and injuries
  • Treats chronic weakness of the lungs with shortness of breath (great for someone who is immunocompromised)
  • It supports pituitary-adrenal cortical activity and restores depleted red blood cell formation in bone marrow (which has proven helpful in working with leucopenia) – stimulates the body’s natural production of interferon
  • Has been used in combination with drug therapies to reduce their toxicity and mitigate side effects – has been a helpful aid when taken with anticancer drugs to reduce the side effects as well as prevent liver damage
  • It is helpful in strengthening the digestion and raising metabolism
  • Can be used in treating spontaneous sweating

Contraindications: some may contain toxic alkaloids and concentrate high levels of toxic metals (be mindful of where it is growing - the health of the area and neighboring plants)

History or Folklore: In TCM pieces of root are boiled in soups and removed prior to serving


Latin Name: Commiphora (Molmol) Myrrha

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Myrrh

Family: Burseraceae

Habitat: from Arabia and N. Africa

Parts Used: tree gum resin

Preparations:

  • Look at constituents to see what can be extracted through different preparation media; but because resin is more easily dissolved in alcohol, tinctures are usually administered
  • Tincture: (1:1 in 90%) 1-4 ml 3x per day

            -5-10 drops of tincture in a glass of water used as a gargle or mouth rinse

            -undiluted tincture is used externally by being dabbed on the skin 2-3x per day

  • Infusion: Resin powdered to about 1-2 TSP and infused in 1C boiling water for 10-15 minutes and drank 3x per day

Constituents: oil soluble essential oils (5%), water soluble gum (60%) -- containing some carbohydrates and sugars, alcohol soluble resin (35%)

Taste: warming, spicy, bitter

Effects: stimulant, astringent, antimicrobial, carminative, anticatarrhal, expectorant, vulnerary, emmenagogue, antispasmodic, disinfectant

Medical Use:

  • Stimulates the production of white blood corpuscles
  • Increases circulation, heart rate and power
  • Externally applied to green and putrefactive wounds, as well as abrasions – alcohol extracts (in combination with other herbs) combines well in making medicated oil and liniments
  • Helps treat and cleans rotten gums, mouth sores, ulcers and bad breath; as well as catarrhal problems such as pharyngitis and sinusitis, and can also be helpful with laryngitis and respiratory complaints – through external applications and gargles
  • Used when the muscles or gastrointestinal tract is flaccid or overly relaxed, also helping circulation
  • Reduces salivation and urination (making it helpful for type II diabetes)
  • Commonly used in Chinese medicine for rheumatic, arthritic and circulatory problems
  • Useful for amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause and uterine tumors, as it purges stagnant blood out of the uterus
  • Reduces mucus in stool and urine

Contraindications: any resins tend to be difficult to eliminate and can cause minor damage to the kidneys if taken internally over an extended period


Latin Name: Sambucus Canadensis (N.A.), Sambucus Nigra (Europe)

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Elder

Family: Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle family ((which include many cooling agents))

Habitat: Prefers moister areas

Botany: A multi-truck low growing tree with hollow stems.

Parts Used: all parts can be used for something

Preparations:

  • Flower tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 2-4ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: 1C boiling water poured over 2 TSP of fresh or dried blossoms and infused for 10 minutes – drink hot, 3x per day
  • Juice: boil fresh berries in water for 2-3 minutes, then express the juice; to preserve add 1 part honey to 10 parts juice.  Take 1 glass diluted with hot water 2x per day
  • Ointment: heat 3 parts fresh leaves with 6 parts melted oil until leaves are crisp; strain and store

Constituents:

Berries: flavonoids, cyanogens, volatile oils, high levels of vitamin C

           

Flowers: volatile oils (of a buttery nature due to the presence of fatty acids (linolenic, linoleic, and palmitic)), coumarins, bitters, flavonoids, sterols, mucilage, tannins, triterpenes (ursolic acid, oleanolic acid), essential oil, terpenes, glycosides, rutin, quercetin

           

Leaf: triterpenes, cyanogenic glycosides, flavonoids, fatty acids, alkanes, tannins

           

Root: bitter principles, saponins

Taste: cooling, moist, sweet, sour, slightly acrid

            Flowers: astringent,

Effects: diaphoretic, emetic, purgative, diuretic, expectorant, causes menstruation, builds and detoxifies the blood (having both stimulating and sedative effects generates a normalizing condition), relaxant, antispasmodic

           

Berries: tonic, blood building, juice in large doses is purgative, antiviral

           

Flowers: cooling , immune building, slightly blood-thinning, soothing, mildly stimulating, (but not very warming), slightly tonic, alterative, stimulant, diaphoretic, brings blood to the surface, diuretic, laxative, antirheumatic

           

Dried flowers: sedative diaphoretic, reducing heat, opening pores, dispersing blood in cases of irritable skin or red ‘cheeky’ appearing skin

           

Leaves: externally on boils, disperses heat, helps regulate blood flow, young leaves externally are antifungal, purgative, expectorant, diuretic, diaphoretic, emollient, vulnerary

           

Bark: emetic when drank quickly in quantity, causes movement of fluids through lymph, kidneys, stool, and urine

Medical Use:

  • Diseases of the skin, and used externally for bruises, sprains, and wounds (including poison oak) – and possibly tumors and skin cancer
  • Helpful in conditions of colds, flus, and fevers; attributing to the antiviral effects – well used in any catarrhal inflammation of the upper respiratory tract such as fever or sinusitis
  • Improves cell membrane vitality (which protects it from negative influences like from viruses) and increases cytokine production

Contraindications: bark is semi-toxic – but may be used to treat acute constipation and fluid retention *** only bark that has been aged for at least a year or more should be used or cyanide poisoning may result, with western species being more toxic

History or Folklore: Charlemagne advised an elder be planted in every yard so as be be a ‘medicine chest’ in times of need

Historically know as the ‘tree of music’ (branches make natural flutes) and the ‘tree of medicine’

 

Latin Name: Phytolacca Americana, P. Decandra

(2), (3), (4)

Common Name: Pokeweed, pokeroot, American nightshade, inkberry

Family: Phytolaccaceae

Habitat: Eastern US

Botany: Plant can grow to 10 feet tall with white flowers and purple almost black berries on a spire-like raceme. Large smooth alternating leaves characterized with an unpleasant odor.  Usually with a hollow stem and a thick taproot which grows deep and spreads horizontally.

Parts Used: berries and leaves, root

Collecting: roots are gathered in the fall

Preparations:

  • Cooking the berries into a jelly allows for the toxins to be inactivated and the seeds to be strained out.
  • Leaves of young plants can be eaten after repeated blanching
  • Root made into an infusion: 1 tbsp of herb in 1 pint of water; take one mouthful several times a day
  • Fresh roots chopped into pieces steeped in alcohol
  • Tincture:  (1:10 in 40%), 5 drops 3x per day
  • Decoction: ¼ TSP root in 1C water, bring to a boil and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes and this should be drank 3x per day

Constituents: Triterpenoid saponins, tannins, resin, alkaloids, lectins, formic acid, fatty oil, sugars, phytolacca

Taste: pungent, bitter, irritating, burning, drying, cold

Effects: purgative, acts on the glandular system, acts on the throat and mucous tissues, endocrine regulator - enhancing the environment through which the hormones have to travel by thinning fluids which are stagnant, antirheumatic, stimulant, anticatarrhal, purgative, emetic, anodyne, cathartic

Medical Use:

  • Helps with skin conditions with effects resembling those of mercury or scabies, sores or boils – its antirheumatic functions work well when applied as a lotion or ointment
  • Treating headaches particularly in the forehead
  • Is useful in cleansing the lymph glands (for which it can be taken internally or used as a poultice, and upper respiratory tract, treat catarrh, laryngitis, swollen glands and mumps – promotes the removal of catabolic waste as well as works in treating constipation
  • One of the best blood and lymph purifying herbs, and can be helpful in the treatment of cancer, tumors, arthritis and degenerative diseases – but recommended to be taken with respect, and in combination with other herbs to lessen its toxic effects

Contraindications: berries and seed can be toxic, but cooking is believed to inactivate toxins

Taken in large doses it is a powerful emetic and purgative

Be careful in the use of the powerful plant medicine

History of poisoning livestock which browse on the plant when bordering fields


Latin Name: Ligusticum Porteri, L Canbyi

(2), (4)

Common Name: Ohas, lovage

Family: Parsley

Habitat: damp woods, high mountain meadows, with some species occurring along the coastal ranges of California.  Found on the eastern slopes of the Sierras and Cascades at 7000-10000

Botany: perennial with tap root, leaves up to 8 inches alternating, pinnately dividing into numerous deeply lobed leaflets, with leaf stems bases clasping.  Small white flowers, atop 1-3 foot hollow stem, arranged in larger umbels.  Fruits narrowly winged and spicy smelling when crushed, and overall spicy celery-like odor.  Root crown is surrounded with hairlike, dead leaf material (unique and valuable for accurate identification).  Blooms may to August, depending on climate and elevation

Parts Used: root (dried)

Preparations:

  • Tincture (1:5, 70%), 20 to 60 drops up to 5 time per day
  • Cold infusion of grated root, 1-2 TSP for each cup of water, 2-6 ounces at similar intervals

Constituents: Bitters, lactone glycoside, volatile oils, resins, silicon, fixed oils, contains several substances which are only partially water soluble, saponins, phytosterols, ferulic acid

 

Taste: spicy, bitter, warm

Effects: antiviral, diaphoretic, carminative, stimulant, expectorant, emmenagogue

Medical Use:

  • For dry irritating cough, acute chest colds, flu, and dry membranes and fever; obstinate respiratory virus that doesn’t peak properly
  • Helps with indigestion and gas
  • May be useful when there is delayed menses
  • Can be used when there are rheumatic complaints

Contraindications: can look very similar to poisonous varieties, so careful and exact identification is very important (look at suggestion in botany)

History or Folklore: ‘osha’ is a Native American word meaning bear

Bear medicine, it is considered sacred to many Natives who esteemed it for its warm healing power.  Many tribes burned it as an incense for purification, to ward off gross pathogenic factors and subtle negative influences.


Latin Name: Ceanothus Americanus

(2), (4)

Common Name: Red root, New Jersey Tea

Habitat: dry unshaded soils

Parts Used: root

Preparations:

  • Cold infusion of the root -- 1 once steeped overnight in a quart of water
  • Tincture of the fresh or dried root

Constituents: Tannins, coumarin like substances, oxalic acid, malonic acid, malic acid, orthophosphoric and pyrophosphoric acid succinic, ceanothic acid

Taste: sweet, astringent, bitter, cool

Effects: tissue relaxant, tonic, astringent, expectorant, sedative, antispasmodic, anti-syphilitic

Medical Use:

  • Helps the intestine when there are issues due to lack of absorption – and aiding in cases where there is a lack of thriving, possibly due to lack of nutrient uptake or diarrhea
  • Helps with swollen spleen (as when having mono or glandular fever); nitrogen fixing glands around the root when fresh, aid glands and water filled cysts
  • Good for treating despondency and melancholia (or artists funk) – which anciently was associated with the spleen
  • Useful where there is watery sinuses and a sluggish liver
  • Thickens blood that is too thin to coagulate
  • Helps improve the electrical charge on cell walls; the dynamic positive outer and negative inner cell walls repel each other keeping nutrients flowing and helping prevent stagnation – particularly in the lymphatic

Contraindications: can cause swollen tongue and aggravation – this seems to come on somewhat quick so a next day check in would be advised

History or Folklore: its s-shape root indicates it is good for the intestine

The more swollen the spleen the more it is beneficial


Latin Name: Baptisia Tinctoria

(3)

Common Name: wild indigo

Family: Fabaceae

Habitat: woodland and grassland in the eastern and Southern North America

Botany: flowering herbaceous perennial

Parts Used: Root

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 60%), 20 drops 3x per day
  • Decoction: ½-1 TSP of dried root in 1C water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, and drank 3x per day

Constituents: Isoflavones (genistein, biochanin A), flavonoids, alkaloids (cytosine), coumarins, polysaccharides

Effects: Antimicrobial, anticatarrhal

Medical Use:

  • Is very useful for infections of catarrh of the ear, nose and throat; and working in cases of laryngitis, tonsillitis, sinusitis
  • Taken internally or used as a mouth it can be helpful for mouth and gum sores and other problems – a douche is effective for leukorrhea
  • Can be used in helping swollen glands and in reducing fevers (particularly sluggish fevers) – good for all diseases of the glandular system and in hepatic derangements


Latin Name: Hydrastis Canadensis

(2), (3), (4)

Common Name: Goldenseal

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup)

Habitat: rich forest floors

Parts Used: Root, rhizome

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 60%), 20 drops taken 3x per day
  • Infusion: 1C boiling water over ½-1 TSP of powdered root and infused for 10-15 minutes, and drank 3x per day
  • Decoction: using unpowdered root, 1 TSP in 1C water simmering for 10-15 minutes

Constituents: Isoquinoline alkaloids: hydrastine and berberine (kills bacteria, immunostimulant, carminative, antispasmodic), fatty acids, resins, phenylpropanoids (meconin, chlorogenic acid) phytosterins, volatile oil, traces of essential oil, albumin, sugars

Taste: bitter, sweet aftertaste, cold

Effects: bitter tonic, digestive, antibacterial, heart and muscle stimulant, mucus membrane tonic (in small doses), hepatic, alterative, anticatarrhal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, laxative, emmenagogue, oxytocic, immunostimulant (berberine), astringent, diuretic, antiperiodic

Medical Use:

  • Makes a nice wash for sore or inflamed eyes
  • Good for weak, flabby, debilitated, boggy, swollen, or inactive tissue, muscles, or nerves
  • Reduces unhealthy secretion while normalizing and promoting positive digestive enzymes – working as a very good tonic in aiding mucous membranes, also with the alkaloids stimulating bile production and secretion
  • It dries up and cleanses the mucous membranes, inhibiting excess flow
  • Can be used to seal up a clean wound; seals up internal tears very effectively (like a torn disc in the spine) -- weakness of this kind could suggest a constitutional need to goldenseal
  • Effective for catarrhal conditions, especially sinus disorders – as well as being useful against flu, fevers and all kinds of infections including amoebic dysentery (giardia – when used over a 10 day period)
  • Applied externally it helps with eczema, ringworm, itching, earache, and conjunctivitis
  • Can be helpful regulating menses
  • Works to cleanse the blood and to treat liver diseases – contracts the blood vessels and inhibits excessive bleeding

Contraindications: large dosages have a exhaustive effect on the nervous system

Works so effectively in sealing up wounds that it can trap anything in place -- make sure area is very clean prior to use

Works well on all internal mucous linings, but the body may develop a dependency on it -- so go with very small doses

Can upset the intestine and gallbladder and make people irritable

Not advised for people with high blood pressure

Should be avoided during pregnancy and while lactating

Long term or excessive use can weaken the flora of the colon

History or Folklore: a ‘natural antibiotic’

Was given during labor to induce contractions


Latin Name: Prunus Serotina

(2), (3), (4)

Common Name: Wild Cherry, Black Cherry – note that this is different from choke cherry which is a strong astringent

Family: Rosaceae (Rose)

Habitat: Native to eastern North America

Parts Used: Bark

Collecting: The bark of the branches is collected, but the bark of the roots is best.  It is not collected in the winter, but like all barks, should be collected in the spring or fall when the sugar content is higher in the bark.  Several trees are best to be checked to find the one with the most distinctive bitter almond smell and taste

Preparations:

  • Hydrolyze: take the fresh bark and soak it in lukewarm water in a covered vessel for about 12-24 hours, until the bitter almond smell comes off, then add alcohol to preserve at 30%+ – the longer the herb is left the more astringent it becomes
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 20-60 drops up to 4x per day ***do not exceed this amount; 1-3 drops 1-3x per day can be used effectively for many people
  • Wood has some good pulmonary recipes
  • Decoction: pour 1C of boiling water over 1 TSP of dried bark and simmer for 10-15 minutes, drink 3x per day

Constituents: Flavonoids, bitter cyanogenic glycosides (prunasin), tannins, bit of mucilage, resins, volatile oils, benzaldehyde, eudismic acid, p-coumaric acid, scopoletin, sugars

Taste: Bitter, sweet, sour, hot and cold, damp and dry, astringent, acrid, warm

Effects: Powerful sedative, histamine normalizer, antitussive, expectorant, astringent, nervine, antispasmodic

Medical Use:

  • Can produce a slight increase in the action of the heart followed by drowsiness – as if it was giving the individual enough energy to fall asleep
  • Tones the stomach due to its bitter nature, and improves the condition of the mucosa
  • Very useful with an irritable or exhausted coughs in the throat; is both soothing (calms the respiratory nerves) and increases expectorant – helpful for whooping cough and bronchitis, and used in combination with other herbs for asthma --*-- releasing a cough is not curing the underlying disease so that will still need to be addressed
  • Helps the heart when there are palpitation and arrhythmias – also helping with fever
  • Can be cooling where systems are red, hot, and full of pulse (due to flavonoids) which repair irritation in the capillaries – it works to reduce the amount of histamine, the substance the body uses to irritate the capillaries, increase local blood congestion, and cause an inflammatory process
  • Helpful with conditions of poor circulation where the extremities are cold, and tissues are mottled red and blue with a yellow tinge – wild cherry can help warm them up
  • Used externally, a cold infusion applied to the eyes can help eye inflammation; and as a decoction applied to unhealthy ulcers
  • Is a useful remedy for weakness of the stomach with irritation such as with ulcers, gastritis, colitis, diarrhea, and dysentery—works well when combined in digestive tonics with herbs such as licorice, ginseng, anise, cyperus, and tangerine peel (herbs macerated for one to six months in rice wine, strained, and a teaspoon is taken prior to meals)

Contraindications: Taken in large doses or regularly it can depress the heart, circulation, digestion, and exhaust the system

Contain cyanogens which convert to hydrocyanic acid – this can stop the Krebs cycle -- -- which is why too much cyanide can kill a person

History or Folklore: Indispensable Indian remedy as a coolant for fevers and irritative coughs

Also used by Native Americans as a sedative to assist in relieving the pains of labor


Latin Name: Verbascum Thapsus, V. Densiflorum

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Mullein

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Parts Used: basal leaves, root, flowers (for treating warts)

Collecting: collect at the end of the first year, the flowers in the middle of the second

Preparations:

  •  Infusion: 1C boiling water poured over 2TSP dried leaves or flowers and infused for 10-15 minutes, drank 3x per day
  • Oil Infusion: the flowers can be extracted in olive oil in sunshine – if applied into the ear first warm to body temperature
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 2.5 - 5 ml 3x per day

Constituents: Flavonoids (verbascoside and hesperidin), mucilage, gum, resin, bitter glycosides, iridoid monoterpenes, triterpene saponins, volatile oils, tannins, aucubin, trace essential oils

Taste: bitter, salty, mucilaginous, astringent, cool

Effects: Cough and respiratory remedy, expectorant, mucilaginous, demulcent,  emollient, movement is upward (from the lungs to the head -- similar to the upright growth habits of the plant), muscular and skeletal remedy, improves the lubrication of the connective tissues of the joints and tissues, improves health of cartilage, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, vulnerary, antitussive, astringent, anodyne, vulnerary

Medical Use:

  • Helps to open things and can be effectively used to bring water and moisture into hardened and closed places; such as bronchitis or dry, irritable, old and tickly coughs (the tickle sensation is usually evidence of inflammation (which mullein is an anti-inflammatory) conjoined with water stuck (helps increase fluid movement) in the mucosal or skin) – it works to condition and tone the mucous membranes
  • Helpful for treating cough, hoarseness, bronchitis, phlegm, and whooping cough
  • Used for spinal dryness, pain, inflexibility, and pinched or irritated nerves
  • Can be helpful for intellectual or ‘hot air people’ who think too much and congest the mind or suffer mental tightness or congestion following difficult problems
  • Used externally an oil infusion made from the flowers works well for soothing and healing inflamed surfaces and for easing ear problems – also working as a sedative and as anti-inflammatory
  • The root can be used to treat eye infections

History or Folklore: leaf dipped in wax acts like a wick

Has been smoked alone or with coltsfoot and yerba santa to sooth the throat and as a substitute for tobacco


Latin Name: Thymus Vulgaris, T. Serpyllum

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Thyme

Habitat: native to the Mediterranean

Parts Used: leaves, flowering tops

Preparations:

  • Tincture of fresh leaves captures the volatile oils best: dose, (1:5 in 45%) 15-20 drops 2-3 times per day
  • Warm Infusion: pour 1C boiling water over 2TSP of dried herb and infuse in a covered container for 10 minutes, drink 3x per day

Constituents: volatile oils (including thymol, carvacrol, borneol), flavonoids (apigenin, luteolin, thymonin, naringenin), labiatic acid, caffeic acid, tannins, bitter principles, triterpenic acids

Taste: hot, dry, pungent, stimulating

Effects: powerful detoxifier, volatile oils open pores, thins mucus, and moves fluid through tissue, relaxing to the nerves, parasympathetic relaxant, stimulates the thymus which improves the immunity and the adrenal cortex, relaxant for the gi tract, enhances digestion, anti-depressant, carminative, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, expectorant, astringent, anthelmintic, antitussive,emmenagogue, diuretic, antiseptic

Medical Use:

  • Well suited for cold, inactive conditions where there are tendencies to chills, shivering, purification, sepsis, and stagnant stuck mucus,
  • Helps to opens up closed pathways deep inside the body, and the mind – also working to stimulate sluggish digestion
  • Applied externally its antiseptic properties work well to heal wounds – these same properties help heal internal infection when consumed; or somewhere in between by using it as a mouth rinse or gargle for sore throats
  • Can help childhood diarrhea due to its mild astringency
  • A cold infusion works well as a stimulating tonic for convalescence with exhaustion diseases
  • A warm infusion can relieve a headache, calm hysteria, flatulence, and promote perspiration
  • The oil is applied externally to local areas to relieve rheumatic pains
  • Works well when used for acute and chronic respiratory affections, cough, asthma, colds, flu, spasmodic coughs, and whooping cough
  • When taken prior to sleeping is a remedy against nightmares

History or Folklore: the name thymos comes from the Greek word for strength; it is said to be deeply dredging within the system, opening it up so that heat and toxins can be removed

Considered hot in the third degree


 Latin Name: Inula Helenium

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Elecampane

Family: Asteraceae (composite)

Habitat: low moist fertile ground in the shade or open

Parts Used: Rhizome, root and flowers

Collecting: best to use freshly picked roots

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%) 1-2ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1C cold water over 1 TSP shredded root and let stand for 8-10 hours; heat and take hot 3x per day

Constituents:  Starch inulin (up to 44%), mucilage, resin, sterols, bitter terpenes and sesquiterpenes, volatile oils (up to 4%), polysaccharides (mainly inulin)

Taste: warming, pungent, aromatic bitter, acrid, sweet (root)

Effects: antiseptic, antibacterial, sanative (so much so it has been used as surgical dressing), mucilaginous, resinous, contains volatile oils, stimulant, vermifuge, acts on the lymphoid tissue, agglutinates (helping the lips of a wound come together -- helping to form scabs), stimulates the libido, expectorant, antitussive, diaphoretic, hepatic, antimicrobial , carminative, diuretic, astringent, stomachic, antiemetic

Medical Use:

  • Resolves bacterial infections, reducing heavy thick or green mucus down to yellow, white and eventually clear mucus as it sanitizes the lungs -- the removal of old adhesive mucus (removed in part because the mucilage enables there to be a relaxing effect) allows for the secretion of new thin clear mucus (essential oils bring about a stimulating effect) impregnated with immune factors; while the bitters protect the stomach from indigestion caused from swallowed mucus
  • Used for damp accumulation (damp spleen), bloating in the abdomen, and gas
  • Strengthens digestion and inhibits the formation of mucus from weak digestion
  • Allows the cough to go deeper to bring up the trapped mucus
  • Nutritious and rebuilding in old, worn-out, exhausted and broken down states with poor nutrition and assimilation
  • Great for coughs, colds, shortness of breath (asthma), and difficulty of breathing; especially in children and whenever copious catarrh is present – helps bronchitis, tuberculosis and chronic pectoral states with excess catarrhal due to warming, strengthening, and cleansing the pulmonary mucous membrane

Contraindications: Should be cautioned for people with allergic reactions to plants in the asteraceae family

History or Folklore: classified as hot and dry to the third degree -- meaning it opens the pores to release sweat, thins fluids to drive them out through the pores and channels of elimination, and rekindles internal fires

It is so sanative that it has been used as a surgical dressing – being that it is one of the most antiseptic and antibacterial herbs

 

Latin Name: Grindelia Squarrosa

(2), (3), (4)

Common Name: Gumweed

Family: Asteraceae (Aster)

Habitat: prefer heavily alkaline soils.

Botany: sticky resin coats the green parts of the plant to protect against water loss and insects

Parts Used: Dried aerial parts, leaves and flowers

Preparations:

  • Infusion: 1 TSP of dried flower top in 1C boiling water, cover and let steep until cool; drank 3x per day
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 60%), 5 drops every 15-30 minutes during coughing until the spasm is relieved

Constituents: Diterpenes (grindelic acid) flavonoids (acacetin, kumatakenin, quercetin), up to 21% amorphous resins, volatile oils, laevoglucose

Taste: warm, stimulating, resinous, bitter, pungent

Effects: Expectorant, in large doses depresses nerves in the respiratory, in moderate doses stimulates nerves in the respiratory, antispasmodic, hypotensive, demulcent

Medical Use:

  • Helps to relax smooth muscles and the heart muscle – asthma conditions where there is a rapid heart beat
  • Applied externally it is locally effective for skin diseases, particularly poison ivy, or other rashes, blisters, burns, skin diseases or ‘itis’ conditions
  • Helpful for conditions of respiratory arrest – bronchitis, asthma, and sleep apnea; as well as colds, nasal congestion, spasmodic coughs and whooping coughs

Contraindications: Heavy doses can stop respiration and possibly lead to death ***

Can uptake selenium compounds from the soil and concentrate them – which can make large doses mildly toxic

Due to high resin content it is considered hard on the kidneys

Latin Name: Asclepias Tuberosa

(2), (3), (4)

Common Name: Pleurisy Root, Butterfly Weed

Family: Asclepiadaceae (cousin of milkweed)

Parts Used: Rhizome, root

Preparations:

  • Decoction: made from simmering a handful of roots for 20+ minutes and drank while hot
  • Tincture: for acute pleurisy (1:5 in 45%), 10-20 drops every 15-20 minutes until pain stops; for chronic pleurisy 3-10 drops, 1-3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1C boiling water over ½-1 TSP of herb and infuse for 10-15 minutes, drank 3x per day

Constituents: flavonoids (rutin, kaempferol, quercetin, isorhamnetin), choline sugars, steroids, cardiac glycosides, cardenolides (asclepiadin), bitter principles

Taste: slightly bitter, slightly sweet, slightly salty, earthen, acrid, cool

Effects: Moistening diaphoretic, sedative, opens the pores of the pleura and the skin to decongest water and heat, shifts balance of fluids away from the kidneys to the lungs, moistens internal membranes, brings moisture to the surface, decongests internal fluids, expectorant, antispasmodic, carminative, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, laxative, cardiac

Medical Use:

  • Stimulates skin and mucosal circulation, and sebaceous secretions; used in tonics for dry skin and hair, and poor adaptability to change in heat and humidity
  • Great remedy for chest and respiratory infections in children – such as bronchitis, pneumonia  and influenza – particularly when the catarrhal condition is cold and damp with a hard dry cough; making the expectoration more easy – one of the best remedies for all catarrhal conditions and ordinary colds
  • Can be effective in treating rheumatism, particularly around the coastal regions
  • Effective for digestive disturbances, particularly for treating distressing flatulent in babies
  • Has been shown to stimulate uterine contractions and promote estrogenic effects
  • May be used to promote diaphoresis no matter the degree of fever

Contraindications: Increases the risk of cardiac glycoside toxicity if taken with drugs or herbs that contain such constituents


Latin Name: Eriodictyon Californicum

(2), (4)

Common Name: Yerba Santa ‘sacred herb’

Part Used: leaves

Botany: Resinous

Collecting: the gummy resinous leaves are picked at the end of the first year before they have collected dust

Constituents: formic acid, glycerides, fatty acids, resin, glucose,eriodictyol, homoeriodictyol, chrysocriol, zanthoeridol, eridonel

Taste: warm, moist, sweet, pungent, resinous

Effects: Respiratory stimulant, expectorant, carminative, alterative

Medical Use:

  • It is particularly good for slightly moist coughs  (pharyngitis, laryngitis, bronchitis) where the cough reflexes are exhausted and too weak to bring up the phlegm, and a general lack of strength sufficient to bring up phlegm -- is helpful with both hot and cold phlegm
  • Can be helpful when there is uncertainty due to the symptoms being obscure, this can help provide a better understanding
  • Used externally to treat rashes, especially poison oak or ivy rashes
  • Promotes salivation and aids digestion


Latin Name: Solidago Canadensis, S. Virga-Aurea (European)

(1), (3)

Common Name: Goldenrod

Family: Asteraceae

Parts Used: Root, leaf, flowers, dried aerial parts

Collecting: leaves are harvested before flowering, and the flowers are harvested in fall

Preparations:

  • Fresh flowers are extracted in alcohol for respiratory conditions (1:5 in 40%), 1-3 drops, 1-3x per day -- for allergy, but larger dosage for conjunctivitis
  • Leaves used in making a stomach tonic
  • Infusion: pour 1C boiling water over 2-3 TSP dried herb and infuse for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day

Constituents: essential oils, flavonoids (rutin, quercetin), saponins (based on polygalic acid), clerodane diterpenes, phenolic glycosides, acetylenes, polysaccharides, tannins

Taste: cooling (stimulant), bitter, pungent

Effects: Carminative - stimulates secretions from the stomach, alterative (on skin and scalp), greater association with the legs then the upper body, increases digestion, anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic

Medical Use:

  • Stimulating to the kidneys following stressful illness; for tired kidneys, and tired feet, and tired back
  • Good remedy for cat allergy, and conjunctivitis, and acne in sheets of small pimples
  • Great first choice herb for upper respiratory catarrh, being acute or chronic – pairs well with other herb in treating influenza
  • Works well to reduce bad flatulence
  • As a gargle it is useful for laryngitis and pharyngitis
  • Applied externally it can help in healing wounds

Contraindications: May be cautioned for people with allergies to plants in the asteraceae family


 Latin Name: Tussilago Farfara

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Coltsfoot

Family: Asteraceae

Habitat: grows in beaten paths (like where a colt would have walked)

Botany: flowers arise in the spring prior to the leaves; the leaf is thick, moist and cool with a downy coating on its underside.  The down remains after it has been dried, which this adherence points to a signature for clingy adhesive mucus.

Parts Used: Dried flowers, leaves

Preparations:

  • Infusion: pour 1C of boil water over 1-2 TSP of dried flower or leaf and infuse for 10 minutes; drink 3x per day while being as hot as possible
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 1-5 drops or 2-4ml 3x per day constitution and case dependent
  • Sometimes it is smoked for relief
  • Do not use for more than 4-6 weeks per year

Constituents: flavonoids (rutin, hyperoside, isoquercetin), resins, saponins, inulin, fruit acids, some minerals, mucilage, polysaccharides (based on glucose, galactose, fructose, senkirkine, and tussilagine), tannins, glycosidal bitter principle, phytoserols arnidiol and faradio

Taste: cool, moist, salty, astringent

Effects: mucilaginous, expectorant, antitussive, antispasmodic, demulcent, anti-catarrhal, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, astringent

Medical Use:

  • Excellent for chronic respiratory conditions (often from exposure to cold, damp and wind) where the mucus has settled deep in the lungs and possibly dried, and as a result is difficult to raise or dispel; additionally for wet and sticky mucus where it is difficult to move it up and out of the body – combining well a soothing expectorant effect with an antispasmodic action (sedates cough reflex helping to resolve wheezing)
  • Fresh crushed or bruised leaves applied externally treats weeping wounds, boils, abscesses, burns, and insect bites – leaves contain useful level of zinc, a mineral which has anti-inflammatory actions
  • As a mild diuretic it has been used well for treating cystitis
  • The tea is helpful for stopping diarrhea

Contraindications: Caution giving large doses at the beginning of the treatment because it is able to bring up large amounts of thick mucus which can become stuck in the throat

There are several alkaloids known to have hepatotoxic, genotoxic, and carcinogenic effects; however, there is no danger of acute poisoning when the herb is used as prescribed, as the concentrations remain low – nevertheless, do not consume it for prolonged periods of time; not to exceed 4-6 weeks per year

History or Folklore: its name indicates lung usage -- long-winded animals like the fox and horse are associated with the lungs

Burnt leaves provide a passable salt substitute


Latin Name: Euphrasia Officinalis

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Eyebright

Family: Scrophulariaceae

Habitat: native to cold boreal regions

Parts Used: Dried aerial parts

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 45%), 1-4ml, 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C boiling water over 1 TSP of dried herb and infuse for 5-10 minutes; drank 3x per day

Constituents: essential oils, tannins, iridoid glycosides, glucosides, resin, phenolic acid, flavonoids

Taste: cool, bitter, astringent

Effects: anti-catarrhal, astringent, anti-inflammatory

Medical Use: 

  • Astringent remedy for the eyes and allergies (and more cooling than ragweed), or when there is stinging, weeping eyes, conjunctivitis or oversensitivity to light – may be used externally in combination with internal use (helps congestion of the eyes)
  • Drying of the mucus in the upper respiratory tract, being great for acute catarrhal conditions; and other mucous membrane problems, being aided by the combination of its anti-inflammatory and astringent properties
  • Astringent properties also helpful with sinus and middle ear problems
  • Works well for colds of the head, and is particularly good for treating children, and the sniffles in infants

Contraindications: Should be considered endangered

History or Folklore: the more acute the condition the better it acts

Latin Name: Marrubium Vulgare

(1)

Common Name: White Horehound

Family: Lamiaceae (mint)

Botany: white horehound has a light green leaf where black horehound has a darker green leaf

Parts Used: Dried fruit, flowering tops

Preparations:

  • Infusion of Dry herb: ½-1 TBSP herb to four ounces of boiling water covered and steeped for 10-20 minutes and sweetened with honey or molasses to increase its soothing property, drank 3x per day

            --warm infusion will produce diaphoresis

--cold infusion is an excellent tonic in some form of dyspepsia, acts as a vermifuge

  • Tincture: 1-2ml 3x per day
  • Made into a syrup can be very helpful

Constituents: tannins, flavonoids (apigenin, luteolin, quercetin and their glycosides), vitamin C, quercetin, alkaloids, volatile oils, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, diterpene lactones, diterpene alcohols, choline, phytosterols

Taste: cooling, (warming through stimulating, can be observed by putting in mouth) bitter, astringent, pungent

Effects: laxative, expectorant, antispasmodic, bitter, vulnerary, emmenagogue

Medical Use:

  • Promotes secretions that expel abundant thick expectoration -- allowing for the production of healthy new mucus and secretions; working not by killing the germs but through improving the environment within the system – in this way it is helpful for conditions of bronchitis where there is a nonproductive cough, and with whooping cough
  • Its bitter actions helps stimulate the flow and secretion of bile aiding digestion
  • Restores and tones boggy mucosa - helpful for dry, old, and adhesive coughs
  • Opens the skin, relieving congestion by bringing fluids out through the periphery
  • Useful externally for shingles and other wounds
  • Helpful for woman dealing with problems of excess androgen

Contraindications: Watch to not give to someone with spasmodic asthma

Large quantities are emetic and laxative

Extended usage can cause hypertension - especially in the elderly

Can cause irregular heartbeats in some people

Not appropriate in some pregnant woman

History or Folklore: If the plant is put in new milk and placed in an area perturbed with flies it will speedily kill them all


Latin Name: Ocimum Sanctum, O. Tenuiflorum

Common Name: Tulsi, Holy Basil

Family: lamiaceae

Parts Used: all parts of the herb

Preparations: 1 tsp dry leaves with 8 ounces of boiling water, covered and steeped for 10 minutes; 4 ounces up to 3 times per day

Constituents: essential oils, triterpenes

Taste: warm, pungent, sweet

Effects: adaptogen, antibacterial, antidepressant, antioxidant, antiviral, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue (promotes the flow of mother’s milk), immunomodulator, neuroprotective

Medical Use:

  • Poultice from fresh roots used for treating bites or stings from snakes, scorpion, wasps, mosquito
  • Tea from the leaves is used for upset stomach
  • Seeds are mucilaginous and have been used to treat urinary tract difficulties
  • Decoction from the roots used to lower fever
  • Helps remove mental fog

History or Folklore: sacred plant used in daily worship

Dosha: rasayana - nourishes; and is considered to maintain balance of the chakras

 

Latin Name: Ulmus Rubra, U. Fulva

(2), (3), (4)

Common Name: Slippery Elm

Family: Ulmaceae (elm)

Habitat: ravines and valleys where water is abundant in the Eastern woodlands of North America

Botany: touching the bark or a twig, they give slightly indicating the presence of mucilage.  Nearly identical properties in the Californian tree Fremontia Californica which is in the Tiliaceae family

Parts Used: Inner bark

Preparations:

  • The powder should have a slightly grayish color (is often adulterated when found in the market) -- it will not work if dark or reddish -- to avoid this buy whole bark
  • Bark is powdered coarse for making a poultice, but finely for taking internally; because the powder clumps up when water is mixed, it has to be carefully mixed (stir in a little cold water to make a paste, then add boiling water to it) -- 1 heaping TSP of powder makes a pint
  • Because it combines well with fats and oils, can be mixed well with milk instead of water
  • Decoction: 1 part powdered root to 8 parts water; adding the powder a little at a time till all mixed in, then bring the water to a boil and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes; drink 1/2C 3x per day
  • Poultice: mix coarse powdered root with enough water to make a paste
  • Gruel may be made by slowly adding cold water into the powdered bark until the consistency becomes like that of a thick porridge (may be flavored with a little honey or cinnamon)

Constituents: sugars, minerals, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, mucilages, tannins

Taste: cooling, moist, sweet, earthen, nerve relaxant (helping with emotional imbalances), muscle relaxer

Effects: mucilaginous, immune system tonic, anti-inflammatory (specifically for the mouth and throat), demulcent, emollient, nutrient, astringent, expectorant, astringent, vulnerary, yin tonic

Medical Use:

  • Its lubricating nature has been used for the throat, the bowels, and to aid for the passage of the baby during labor (causing a speedy and easy delivery through the passage becoming lubricated and slightly relaxed, when taken from the seventh month to the end of the pregnancy)
  • Helps when there is dryness or soreness of the throat, coughs, bleeding of the lungs
  • Works to rebuild mucosa in the respiratory (giving the feeling of expanded capacity of the lungs), digestive (helping with ulcers) and urinary system; promoting lubrication and cleansing through neutralizing excess acidity
  • Very effective for treating diarrhea (soothing the intestinal lining, while also being astringent) and dysentery
  • Applied externally as a poultice for burns, poison ivy, scalds, abrasions, rashes, inflamed surfaces and sores -- can be taken internally as a decoctions for treating skin conditions
  • Makes an excellent food to be eaten during convalescence as it is mild and easily assimilated – it also helps to quiet the nervous system

Contraindications: Excessive dosing can result in a dried out condition

Long term use can be detrimental, recommended to a twenty-one-day course

May slow the absorption of orally administered drugs

History or Folklore: thick mucilaginous bark produces a gruel that Native Americans used for the malnourished, sick, old, and when the strength of the system needed to be rebuilt.  It is a good food to also be given to infants when there is difficulty in keeping food down.  To promote its tonic properties it may be made with ginseng tea instead of water


Latin Name: Zingiber Officinale

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Ginger

Family: Zingiberaceae

Parts Used: Rhizome

Preparations:

  • Dried ginger is considered to be more of an internal warming stimulant, while fresh ginger is used more as a warming diaphoretic
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 1.5-5 ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1C boiling water over 1 TSP of fresh herb and infuse for 5 minutes; drink whenever needed

Constituents: Volatile oils, oleoresin, lipids, acrid resin

Taste: warm, cooling to the system (through increased circulation) moist, sweet, pungent, diffusive

Effects: Diaphoretic, digestive stimulant, carminative, stimulant and blood thinner, increases circulation, immune tonic, antispasmodic (ginger oil), rubefacient, emmenagogue, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiemetic

Medical Use:

  • A poultice (also helps relieve muscle sprains) on the chest increases blood circulation, respiration, and helps move mucus out of the lungs – stimulates peripheral circulation, making it helpful for bad circulation and cramps
  • Used for labor and delivery - said to connect the mother and the child in the womb (the rhizome looks like the expected baby and is said to express the warmth of the mother love); in long delivery it keeps up strength -- helpful in relieving cold spasms and cramps and for promoting menses
  • Helps with headaches – anti-inflammatory that causes a reduction in platelet aggregation
  • Great for most issues dealing with digestion, assimilation, aiding with nausea and vomiting and working to warm the center (stomach)
  • Works well in helping with motion sickness and possibly seasickness
  • Promotes perspiration in conditions for fever by acting as a diaphoretic
  • A gargle aids a sore throat
  • Inhibits the actions of prostaglandins
  • The tea made from a few slices of fresh root is an excellent remedy to counteract the early stages of a simple cold or flu

Contraindications: Avoid when muscles are inflamed

Dried ginger can be too warming and cause irritations to sensitive areas

Not to be used to alleviate morning sickness during pregnancy – TCM recommends not to use more than 2g dried ginger daily during pregnancy

Dosha: better suited to kapha constitutions, if needed for people who are not cold, use in small amounts


Latin Name: Artemisia Vulgaris

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Mugwort,

Family: Asteraceae

Parts Used: Leaves, root

Collecting: before it has gone to seed -- preferably during a full moon

Preparations:

  • **Ensure that the volatile oils are not lost in preparation**
  • Infusion: 1C boiling water and 1-2 teaspoons herbs, infused in a closed vessel for 10-15minutes; drank 3x per day
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), 1-4ml 3x per day

Constituents: flavonoids, sesquiterpene lactones, triterpenes, coumarin derivatives, volatile oils (cineole, thujone) bitter principle

Taste: aromatic bitter, acrid, slightly warm

Effects: digestive stimulant, stimulates bile secretion, mild vermifuge, nervous stimulant, reduces tension, situated for the feminine both in woman as well as men particularly for women who are sensitive, agitated or have experienced abuse or trauma, stimulates pituitary sex hormones, bitter tonic, emmenagogue, carminative, hemostatic, antispasmodic, mild narcotic

Medical Use:

  • Remedy for excessive androgenism (conditions where the masculine has moved ahead of the feminine -- where there is frustration, anger, depression, lack of affect or excessive affect, chill and fever as if cold were stuck in the system and heat was trying to get it out – relaxes the nerves and the attachment to these undesired feelings (also probably related to the volatile oils)
  • Leaves rolled and burned as moxa sticks (sticks are cigar like and made from the dried and often powdered leaves being rolled in a tissue or cigarette paper and having one end ignited and blown on to keep smoking) for cold stiff joints or areas experiencing pain such as injuries and bruises to increase circulation and bring toxins to the surface  and relieve pain-- contraindicated when there are conditions of imbalance
  • Can be applied topically as a liniment or wash for relieving itching
  • Stimulates circulation and removes stagnant blood, as well as a curative and preventative for parasites and worms
  • Suited for highly intelligent people with complex thoughts, getting words out, sensitivity to light, and for getting deep sleep; for intuitive individuals having trouble expressing
  • Beneficial for connecting the right and left side of the brain, good for psychological problems
  • Helpful for stimulating digestion, helping with the liver and the stomach; working both as a bitter and also as a carminative due to its volatile oils
  • Works to stop excessive menstrual bleeding caused by deficiency and coldness; circulates the blood warming the womb, pacifies the fetus, alleviating abdominal pains caused by coldness, and arrests threatened miscarriages

History or Folklore: mugwort shines in the moonlight and effects dreaming; similar to wormwood but with a greater female emphasis


Latin Name: Silybum Marianum, Carduus Marianus

(1), (3)

Common Name: Milk Thistle, St. Mary’s Thistle

Family: Asteraceae

Parts Used: seed

Preparations:

  • Tincture: 30:1 seed extract – 175 mg protective tonic dosage, 600 mg for therapeutic and restorative dosage

Constituents: flavonolignans, fixed oils (oleic acid, palmitic acid), sterols (cholesterol, campesterol, stigmasterol, sitosterol), mucilage, silymarin (silybin, silydianin, silychristin – these are responsible for the antihepatotoxic effects)

Taste: sweet, oily

Effects: hepatic tonic, galactagogue, demulcent, cholagogue, antihepatotoxic

Medical Use:

  • Excellent tonic for treating liver conditions, when the liver is injured, chemically damaged, mushroom poisoning, or swollen, hepatic congestion and sluggish liver, insufficient bile, or cases of jaundice, and gall stones, and constipation – works to protect the liver cells
  • Quite effective in treating varicose veins, and dry hard conditions in the veins, skin and stool, and heavy or thick coating on the tongue
  • Can be used for treating chronic uterine problems
  • Promotes milk secretion and is safe for use by breast-feeding mothers

History or Folklore: The ‘milk’ in its name points to the long historical use for it in promoting lactation

Latin Name: Glycyrrhiza Glabra

(3), (4)

Common Name: Licorice

Family: Fabaceae

Parts Used: dried root

Preparations:

  • Decoction: an acrid resin is released after about 5 minutes of boiling, this resin is related to many beneficial effects, but if the taste is sought after it should not be boiled for less than 5 minutes.  ½-1TSP of root in 1 C of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 1-3 ml 3x per day

Constituents: oleanane triterpenes (glycyrrhizin, glycyrrhetinic acid, phytosterols), flavonoids, isoflavonoids, chalcones, polysaccharides (mainly glucans), volatile oils, starches, sugars, amino acids, substances in this herb produce physiological reactions of desoxycorticosterone, with associated retention of sodium and water and the excretion of potassium

Taste: sweet

Effects: expectorant, demulcent, anti-inflammatory (triterpenes are metabolized in the body to molecules similar in structure to that of the adrenal cortex hormones likely leading to this effect), antihepatotoxic, antispasmodic, mild laxative, emollient, demulcent, nutritive, chi tonic, aperient, mild sedative

Medical Use:

  • Can be useful in helping with liver toxicity and chronic cases such as hepatitis and cirrhosis -- works to clear out heat and detoxify poisons
  • It stops the development of herpes simplex virus particles
  • Works for treating bronchial problems including dryness of the lungs, coughs, bronchitis, and catarrh – it acts on the mucus surface lessening irritation
  • Relieves abdominal colic and has been used for peptic, stomach and duodenal  ulcers
  • Useful as a flavoring agent in herbal formulas (it is 50x sweeter than sugar so the smallest amount is able to cut through a formula), as well as serving to have a harmonizing effect with the other herbs in a formula

Contraindications: It causes potassium to pass through the body, so prolonged use can cause headaches, numbness, weakness of limbs, dizziness, and edema with high blood pressure. 

Should be used moderately for women , who tend to retain water more than men


Latin Name: Mentha Piperita

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Peppermint

Family: Lamiaceae

Parts Used: aerial parts

Preparations:

  • Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water over a heaping TSP of dried herb and infuse in a covered container for 10 minutes, and drank as often as desired
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 1-2ml 3x per day
  • Essential oil: 3-4 drops in hot water as an inhalation

Constituents: flavonoids (glycosides of apigenin, diosmetin, and luteolin), acetic acid, tannins, resin, gum, triterpenes, essential oil (menthol, menthone, and menthyl acetate), phenolic acid (caffeic, chlorogenic, and rosmarinic acid), bitter principle

Taste: pungent, cooling stimulating, with a secondary action of warming and relaxing, bitter

Effects: nervine, antispasmodic, analgesic, it opens the sweat pores and peripheral circulation through relaxation, antiseptic, actions travel through the lymphatics of the body, stimulates the spleen, improves the breakdown of old red blood cells, increases white cell production, restorative and rejuvenative effect on the immune system, carminative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, anti-emetic, antimicrobial, aromatic, calmative, mild alterative

Medical Use:

  • Cures colic often almost immediately, used for sudden cramping and pains throughout the abdomen – helps to relax the muscles of the digestive system, with the volatile oil acting as an anaesthetic to the stomach walls therein allaying the feeling of nausea and a desire to vomit
  • Where food tends to ferment in the stomach and bowels it is advised as an antiseptic to prevent fermentation and promote digestion – also working to reduce flatulence
  • Used for sudden onset of cold or flu (brought on by exposure to cold) -- formula made with yarrow and elder is great traditional remedy -- mint tea very helpful even for influenza (helps with grippe)
  • Peppermint oil massaged into the lymphatic ducts is particularly effective for increasing lymphatic circulation (increased flow of water through the lymphatics creates cooling moistening effects on hot dry conditions in the interior of the body *except when those hot dry conditions are in the gut*) -- therein improving uptake of digestate relieving alimentary stasis
  • Relieves hot dry conditions of the joints and skin, moving fluids to hard to reach connective tissues (which are outside normal circulation of the blood)
  • Helps with the feeling of nausea during pregnancy and with motion sickness
  • Inhaled the oil aids in the temporary relief of nasal catarrh – its nervine action relieves anxiety and can ease tension and headaches

Contraindications: in conditions with a hot dry colon, painful bowel complaints with inflammation - pain on pressure, a dry tongue with red tips or edges

peppermint and menthol can temporarily over-relax the nerves and muscles -- the peristaltic action of the intestine can become relaxed and loose its tone from prolonged daily consumption (discontinuing use of the tea resolves the issue), because of this effect peppermint is not recommended after a meal when the peristaltic effect is needed, however, spearmint should be considered a safe alternative

Dosha: used to reduce ‘wind’ in the intestines


Latin Name: Rumex Crispus

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Yellow Dock, Curly Dock

Family: Polygonaceae or Knotweed

Parts Used: root

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 1-2ml 3x per day
  • Decoction: 1-2 TSP of root in 1C water, bring to a boil, and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes; drank three times per day

Constituents: anthraquinone, tannin, iron, oxalic acid, sulphur, glycosides (nepodin, physcion, emodin)

Taste: sour (leaf like its cousins sorrel), astringent, bitter (root), cool

Effects: alterative, laxative, nerve tonic, hepatic, cholagogue, astringent, aperient, blood tonic

Medical Use:

  • Helpful when there is heat in the GI tract
  • Useful when the tongue has red sides, tip, or middle, often with a thick or thrushy coating on the sides or going down the throat -- a remedy for thrust; the skin in the face is red on the cheeks usually with yellow (also helps with jaundice) around the eyes (showing stagnation in the digestive tract) -- there could be an overabundance of saliva, showing digestive overactivity, excess appetite, and hydrochloric acid (tannin quiets irritation while the iron tones and strengthens the muscles and walls of the stomach and bowels)
  • Aids in cases where the bowels are loose but at the same time are difficult to expel, due to weakness of the rectal or intestinal muscles – also helps with constipation, increasing the flow of bile and aids in cleansing the blood
  • Acts as a laxative only when given in large quantities
  • Good for nervousness and nerve debility, because the phosphorus it contains forms a food for the brain and nervous system -- and in treating Hepatitis B -- as well as aiding iron deficiencies (liberating iron that is stored in the liver)
  • Used when there is cases of anemia in general with particular help when there is anemia during pregnancy
  • Helps with the treatment of old wounds, boils, sores, and scalds (relieves the ‘fire’, cooling and toning), taken internally or externally in a lotion -- also when there is rheumatism
  • Gargle with powdered root is great for the mouth and strengthening of the gums
  • Great for treating chronic skin complaint such as psoriasis, eczema or other itchy problems with a hot and inflammatory nature (combined with sarsaparilla as a tea for chronic skin problems)

Contraindications: Fresh yellow dock root may cause vomiting

May potentiate the activity of stimulant laxatives

History or Folklore: It is a yellow, man shaped root that helps downward movement in the digestive tract

‘Badger medicine’ -- for excess ‘badger energy’, which is too much fire in the stomach and digestive tract, too much appetite, and too much emotional energy


Latin Name: Larrea Divaricata

(2), (4)

Common Name: Chaparral, Creosote Bush

Parts Used: leaves

Habitat: deserts of Arizona and California, and in the areas where it is found it can be the most dominant plant growing that is seen when looking out at a distance

Preparations:

  • Take 1 Tsp of leaves,  pour a cup of very hot but not boiling water over it and let it sit overnight, drink on an empty stomach in the morning.  Save the tsp of herb and repeat this same process three more times (four in total with the same herb), take the used parts out and place them at the base of a tree.  Get another tsp and repeat the process six more time, there will be 28 day in this process - it is slow and gentle so the medicine is able to work and not cause undesirable reactions (however, there might be emotional issues which surface while the body is detoxifying itself)

Constituents: bitter terpenes, saponins (soaps), volatile oils, NDGA (which has pronounced antioxidant effects and anticancer and tumor potential)

Taste: slightly salty, acrid, bitter, cool

Effects: stimulant (lipid metabolism), antiseptic, alterative, antibiotic, antifungal, antitumor, laxative

Medical Use:

  • When there are conditions of degraded tissue, from exposure to poisons or drugs, it is able to kill back lower life forms that would otherwise feed on those tissue states; it counteracts the problems associated with toxins clogging up of the elimination channels, the lungs, skin, kidneys, colon, menses -- helping with skin diseases
  • Has vasodepressant properties and has been found to increase ascorbic acid levels in the adrenals
  • At the right dosage helps livers catabolic and anabolic conditions, suggested when tissue needs to be cleansed and built
  • Indicated often when there is impure blood, or when the internal oils are polluted (because fats are used to store contaminants); the saponins are able to bind with the oils and clean them out of the system
  • Can be helpful in treatment for arthritis and rheumatic difficulties, and to releive pain
  • Has been used for treating cancer
  • Mouthwash used on a daily basis will prevent dental caries

Contraindications: overdosage can lead to toxic hepatitis; where labs researching the the herb have found it to be helpful for the liver, studies have also shown it to be toxic to the liver, so use with caution being mindful of dosage and frequency

Not recommended for children under two, pregnant or nursing woman

Some find the potent smell and taste of the plant to be overwhelming and a little offensive


Latin Name: Matricaria Chamomilla, Anthemis Nobilis

(1), (4)

Common Name: Chamomile - German and Roman

Part Used: flowers

Preparations:

  • Infusion: pour boiling water over 1-2 tsp of herb and let to steep in a covered container for 10 minutes

Constituents: blue volatile oil (azulene), flavonoids (cooling and relaxing), bitter sesquiterpene lactones (stimulate digestive juices) ,volatile oils (antipyretic and antispasmodic), mucilage (soothing, nourishing, immunostimulating) amino acids, fatty acids, coumarins, tannic acid

Taste: pungent, bitter, cooling, drying, oily

Effects: relaxant, anti-allergenic, nervine, antispasmodic, anodyne, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, carminative, fresh preparations (preserving the volatile oils) are relaxant, dried preparations are bitter and promote secretions to the stomach, GI, and liver, relieves physical and mental tension, sedative, can put calcium in serum without sedating HCl production, balances emotional and astral energies (sweetens the soul)

Medical Use:

  • Well suited for babies (not infants or children but babies), those with a low threshold for pain, a high tendency for whining, and that are difficult to sooth -- those who commonly express, “i can’t bare it”
  • Is a gentle relaxing nervine, and is well suited for children, the fresh plant is often attractive to young children and babies, who when playing with or eating the herb are calmed down in a soothing way -- all of the plant is safe to consume
  • Helps with mouth and gum pains, used for teething infants
  • Useful for nervousness, headaches, anxiety, cramps and spasms -- having an easily assimilable form of calcium, a TBSP steeped in a cup of near boiling water (with a couple slices of fresh ginger) is very effective for aiding with menstrual cramps and related pains
  • Is helpful with digestive complaints, gas, and acid indigestion; taken regularly will gently regulate the bowels
  • Can be beneficial with the cold and flu

History or Folklore: it is the physician to the plant world, if a plant in drooping in the garden, in most cases it will recover if camomile is placed near it

Dosha: suited for conditions where wind (tension) has combined with heat (overstimulation, excitation, irritation) -- vata pushing pitta -- can be seen as having one cheek red and one cheek pale; intermittent fever


Latin Name: Althea Officinalis

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Marshmallow

Family: Malvaceae

Habitat: native to the salt marshes along the ocean in Europe, but can also grow along inland ditches and waterways

Parts Used: roots, leaves, and flowers

Collecting: the leaves are harvested just before flowering to enhance the mucilaginous extraction

Preparations:

  • Roots is used primarily for the digestive system -- best cold extracted in water; infuse 2-4g overnight in 1C of cold water
  • Leaf is used primarily for the urinary system
  • Mucilage extracts poorly in alcohol
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), 1-4ml 3x per day

Constituents:

Root:  mucilage, polysaccharide, pectin, asparagines, tannins, phosphate of lime, cellulose, glutinous matter

Leaf: mucilage, (D-glucan), flavonoids (kaempferol, quercetin, diosmetin glycosides), scopoletin (a coumarin), polyphenolic acids (syringic, caffeic, salicylic, vanillic, p-coumaric), tannins, salt, phenolic acids

Taste: salty, sweet, cool, mucilaginous, bitter

Effects: moistening, soothing, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, emollient, softening to hard tissue (water follows salt), specifically indicated for the kidneys (which balances the water and solids) and bladder, expectorant, soothing to mucus membranes, yin tonic, nutritive, alterative, vulnerary, laxative

Medical Use:

  • Root is primarily used for the digestive system from the mouth down, while the leaf is typically used for the urinary system and the lungs
  • Helpful when there are ulcers, kidney stones, difficult urination, blood in the urine, stool, coming from the nose  or when vomiting up blood
  • For those who are dried out and lack thirst as well as those who have an excessive thirst and urination -- wasting or thirsting diseases
  • Used externally it can prevent the formation of pus, as well as aiding in drawing things out when ointment is placed on abscesses and boils, is a soothing wash for psoriasis or eczema, burns, scalds, and gangrene, and for lubricating joints and stiff muscles, and an emollient for varicose veins and ulcers
  • Highly recommended during chemotherapy, and for smokers who have dried out or overheated their membranes, or those with dry coughs, also when there is cough, dryness and inflammation of the lungs as with tuberculosis

Contraindications: may delay the absorption of other drugs taken at the same time

Dosha: when people have a red dry tongue, glazed shiny surface, sometimes with horizontal breaks or cuts in the glaze -- this indicating dryness, hardening, and heat


Latin Name: Berberis Aquifolium, Mahonia Repens

(2), (4)

Common Name: Oregon Grape root

Family: barberry

Habitat: native to the rocky mountains

Parts Used: root

Preparations:

  • Decoction: ½ - 1 TSP of herb for each cup of water and simmer for at least 10 minutes; to account for the water lost from evaporation always add extra water to the pot, this is particularly important when one making one serving of the decoction

Constituents: germ killing alkaloid berberine

Taste: bitter, cold

Effects: bitter tonic, promotes internal and external secretions in dry and atrophic diseases, antibiotic the antibiotic effects are supported by multiple actions working within the plant -- not just the berberine), promotes secretion in the GI tract improving digestion, assimilation, and metabolism, acts on the liver and gallbladder, blood-maker, blood-cleanser, microbicide, heals lymphatic system, promotes strength and vitality

Medical Use:

  • Aids in alleviating constipation, creates appetite, and improves digestion
  • Acts well when the body is dried out or has conditions complicated due to dryness -- when the body is dry it is unable to move metabolites, therefore problems with anabolism (tissue building) and catabolism (tissue cleansing -- waste products can build up in the system)
  • Long been used for all chronic degenerative diseases, specifically cancer and arthritis
  • Aids in the therapeutic treatment of skin conditions; indicated when muscles, joints, and bones are inflamed and sore (largely due to poor cleansing and removal of waste product from connective tissues, and when there is blood toxicity)
  • Can cause the release of iron stored in the liver; woman drinking tea first thing each morning can have it stimulate menses

History or Folklore: gives new tone and new blood to the body (this healthy improvement to changing the internal system contribute to the antibiotic effects)


Latin Name: Arctium Lappa

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Burdock

Family: Asteraceae

Botany: biennial

Parts Used: root

Collecting: best to gather root during first fall, and for the seed during the second fall

Preparations:

  • Extracts well in alcohol
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 2-4ml 3x per day
  • Decoction: 1 TSP of root into 1C water, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day

Constituents: Lignans (arctigenin, arctiin, matairesinol), bitter principles, nearly 45% inulin (starch), mucilage, sugars, pectin, sulphur, organic fatty acids, polyacetylenes, carbohydrates, phenolic acids, essential oil

Taste: root -- bitter sweet, pungent, oily warm, cool

            seed -- bitter pungent, sweet, cool, diffusive     

Effects: alterative, blood purifier, suited for dry atrophic conditions, oil  increases secretion of bile improving absorption of oil and fats through the small intestine, better activity of the gallbladder, increased processing of oils by the liver, diuretic, bitter, antitumor, antimutagenic, diaphoretic, nutritive

Medical Use:

  • Blood purifier; recommended when there is poor secretion of bile and the stool is dry or there is constipation, and poor emulsification of fats and oils ( with poor absorption of lipids there is a lower amount of these substances around the body) -- often showing in the body through dry, scaly, or weeping skin
  • Sometimes the sebaceous glands gets blocked, due to a lack of oil moving through them, resulting in inflammation -- therefore burdock is indicated with acne and boils; also being helpful for psoriasis and rheumatic complaints when used over a long period
  • Helpful when the sinuses and lungs have become dry with the secretion through the kidneys being limited
  • Remedy for sugar imbalances – also working to support kidney function
  • Endocrine and female remedy -- steroids and hormones are made from oils and require oil for transmission through the blood, all hormones of any kind require adequate fluid for movement; it works well to move the body to a state of balanced integration and health
  • Helpful with digestion and appetite and has been used effectively in anorexia and similar conditions
  • Applied as a poultice or compress it speeds the healing of wounds, skin diseases, ulcers, boils, carbuncles; eczema and psoriasis may also be treated in this way (but with these conditions it is important to remember that healing will only take place from within)
  • Seeds used in treating throat infections, pneumonia, scarlet fever, measles, smallpox, as well as being excellent for the treatment of colds and flu

Contraindications: causes allergic reactions in some, particularity with sensitivities to plants in the family asteraceae

History or Folklore: bear medicine (root with its brown fur-like burs) -- bear medicine usually stimulates the gallbladder, liver, thyroid, and adrenocortical functions, encouraging the digestion and metabolism of fats and proteins -- metabolic swings relating around hibernation is dependent upon storage and utilization of fats and proteins


Latin Name: Scutellaria Lateriflora, S. Galericulata

(2), (3), (4)

Common Name: Skullcap

Family: Lamiaceae (mint)

Parts Used: Aerial parts

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 2-4ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1C boiling water over 1-2 TSP of dried herb and infuse for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day

Constituents: flavonoids (baicalein, baicalin, scutellarin, wogonin), iridoids (catalpol), volatile oils, tannins, bitter glycoside and principle, fat, sugar

Taste: bitter, cool

Effects: aids the nervous system from two direction of concern: first when there is irritability of the nervous system, restlessness, nervousness and an inability to sleep, second when there is irregular muscular actions resulting in twitching, tremors and restlessness – the herbs soothing influences continue for a protracted period after being discontinued

Sedative, tones the nervous system giving regularity of action, antispasmodic, hypertensive, lessens cerebral excitement, abates delirium, diminishes febrile excitement, excites diaphoresis (useful in breaking up a recent cold) and diuresis, febrifuge, diuretic, affinity with the peripheral nervous system (when colors or lights are too bright, things are felt as being too intense, twitchiness while awake or asleep, and feeling like one ‘wants to crawl out of their skin’),

great nervine due to it not dragging on the rest of the system -- good for thin people

Medical Use:

  • Treatment for almost any nervous malfunction, mild or chronic; it quiets and soothes the irritability of the nervous system
  • Useful when there is fever and other acute diseases where there is a tendency for delirium
  • Helpful in addressing female issues such as PMS, acute dysmenorrhea and menorrhagia, or others where the head has a chance of being unpleasantly affected -- its effects work to equalize the flow of currents therein lessening the likelihood of congestion
  • Aids in the treatment of convulsions, chorea, hysteria, trismus, tetanic cramps, and spasmodic disorders -- particularly during the remission; when there is irritation in the nervous system this can increase to the point of spasms, skullcap is able to help conditions not getting to this point; however it might not directly help in addressing the spasms while they are occurring
  • Treats conditions in children; nervous irritability, wakefulness, slight febrile disturbances, flatulence, colicky pains, and condition associated with exhaustion and insomnia
  • Long used for treating petit mal seizures, but is also seen as being helpful for epilepsy and seizures generally
  • Can be useful for inducing calm and counteracting sleeplessness
  • One of the best herbs to use when breaking an addiction and helping to ease the problems associated with drug and alcohol withdraw -- when taken for this purpose, consuming an infusion of ½ tsp herb per cup of water taken every two hours at the beginning, and then gradually tapering off as the symptoms subside
  • Herb is a good brain tonic for promoting meditation

Contraindications: can potentiate the effects of sedative medication

History or Folklore: historically used for treating rabies

Precautions:  much of what is sold as skullcap in the U.S. is germander (Teucrium) so make sure to ask for the genuine herb before purchasing

 

Latin Name:  Lobelia Inflata

(2), (3), (4)

Common Name: Indian Tobacco, Lobelia

Family: Campanulaceae

Parts Used: aerial parts, seeds (believed to be the strongest part of the plant), leaves and flowers

Collecting: picked when in seed

Preparations:

  • Dried used for infusions
  • Infusion: pour 1C of boiling water over ¼ teaspoon of dried herb and infuse for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day
  • Fresh used for alcohol extractions
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), (1-2 drops can be a very good dosages) .5-1 ml 3x per day -- discontinue if too much (excessive salivation, or nausea)
  • Tinctures are extracted well in acidic conditions, so making a tincture with apple cider vinegar works out well -- four ounces of herb to eight ounces of vinegar, macerate in wide mouth jar for a couple weeks, strain and bottle.

Constituents: piperidine alkaloids (lobeline -- a nicotine mimic, lobelanidine, lobelanince), bitter glycosides, resins, gums, volatile oils, chelidonic acid, fats

Taste: acrid, diffusive, bitter

Effects: nerve relaxant (opens obstructions to the skin, circulation, nervous system, muscles, and internal organs that depend on nerve impulses), emetic, favors a full outward flow of blood with diaphoresis, secures greater fullness and softness in the pulse with reduced excitability of the heart, antispasmodic, expectorant, depressant, antispasmodic, diuretic, alterative

Medical Use:

  • Used to cleanse the stomach -- in large dosages, yet in small doses it is able to arrest spasmodic and even sympathetic vomiting
  • Persistent small doses are relaxant to all structures and bring out latent tensions  -- can go on relaxing the system to the point that the sympathetic nervous system is relaxed to such a degree that the parasympathetic nervous system takes over and the individual through awake is incapable of movement, a state of ‘suspended animation’ -- allowing for a free secretion and removal of all obstructions and offending substances – it works very well in combination with other herbs in that when the body is in an increased state of relaxation the effectiveness of the other herbs is enhanced
  • Benefits the circulation, it is equalized within the body due to the blood vessels being relieved of tension
  • For the treatment of phrenitis, meningitis, pneumonia, pleurisy, hepatitis, peritonitis, nephritis, inflammation of the periosteum in long bones, alveolar processes, about the ear, or other places – useful for bronchial asthma and bronchitis as it relaxes the respiratory passages therein working well when there is respiratory problems caused by nerve tension
  • Valuable in the use of fever, and spasmodic coughing and asthma (but not humid asthma)
  • Alkaloids similar to nicotine yet milder cause a similar effect in that; there is an initial CNS stimulation, followed by respiratory depression – it is used in herbal smoking preparations as an ingredient which lessens the desire for tobacco
  • May be used to lessen the strength of contractions during natural childbirth -- can be useful for lockjaw and most other spasmodic conditions
  • It is an important herb for treating poisonous bites and stings

Contraindications: excessive dosages (like those seen with nicotine and tobacco) can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, tremors, and dizziness

Should not be used during pregnancy or while lactating


Latin Name: Hypericum Perforatum

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: St. John’s Wort

Family: Clusiaceae

Parts Used: flower and aerial parts

Collecting: pick the flowers when they are dry (not moist) from midsummer onwards, preferably on a long hot dry summer day

Preparations:

  • Infused oils (or salve): place flower (or leaves) which were picked when they have just opened and crush them in oil, and then cover them in more oil and place in a clear glass container.  Leave in a sunny location for about 6 weeks shaking often.  Strain through a cloth filter and let the oil sit up.  Water layer will form on the bottom; decant from the top leaving the water layer undisturbed, placing oil into a well sealing dark glass container
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 2-4ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1C of boiling water over 1-2 TSP of dried herb and infuse for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day

Constituents: volatile oil (caryophyllene and others), naphthodianthones (hypericin, pseudohypericin), phloroglucinols (hyperforin), catechins, proanthocyanidins, flavonoids (hyperoside, rutin)

Taste: sweet, oily warm, dry, bitter cool

Effects: improves digestion and metabolism, builds tissue tone, helps the liver process complex toxins (including pharmaceutical drugs), slightly strengthens the eliminative faculties -- skin, kidneys, colon, lungs), a stomach normalizer (for both hypo and hyperacidity), helps weak digestive nerve reflexes and the enteric brain (seat of the instincts), liver detoxifier, does not seem to be a MAO inhibitor, balsamic (oily plant with volatile oils that are soothing, calming, and curative), anti-inflammatory, astringent, vulnerary, nervine, antimicrobial, sedative, antidepressant, altrtative

Medical Use:

  • Serves as a remedy for injuries to nerves, specifically in areas where there is a concentration of nerves like the eyes, fingertips and the spine, and the individual is experiencing sharp shooting pains or inflammation, acute sensitivity  or pain along nerves – its pain relieving effects work well to treat neuralgia, anxiety and tension; particularly when triggered by menopause
  • One of the most important herbal pain relievers
  • Mixed with aloe power it is a deep liver detoxifier, working to promote the elimination of catabolic waste products (sometimes whole flakes of morbid matter are seen being washed away in the urine) -- it is called for when there is tension from a toxic liver (when it is overpowering the spleen) and the digestive track or the autonomic nervous system is weak
  • Helps with depression and SAD (seasonal affect disorder), and concussions and stiff necks
  • Helps bad breath and gum disease
  • Applied externally it speeds the healing of wounds and bruises, varicose veins, mild burns, and sunburns; as well as being good in applications working to treat diseases directly affecting the spine

Contraindications: can cause sensitivity to light or sunburn

May have a drug interaction if simultaneously administered with SSRI, oral contraceptives, or a host of other medication

History or Folklore: used since ancient times and associated with the little people; fairies, witches, saints and the like

 

Latin Name: Avena Sativa

(3)

Common Name: Wild Oats (Oatstraw)

Family: Poaceae

Parts Used: seeds, whole plant

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), 3-5ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1-3 TSP of dried straw and leaves and infuse for 10-15 minutes, and drank 3x per day
  • Herbal Bath: boil 2 quarts of water with 1 pound of shredded oat straw for 30 minutes, strain this liquid and add it to bath.
  • Bath can also be made by placing cooked rolled oats into a muslin bag and soaking it in the bath

Constituents: Proteins (prolamins known as avenins) C-glycosyl flavones, avenacosides (spirostanol glycosides), fixed oil, vitamin E; starch

Effects: nervine tonic, antidepressant, nutritive, demulcent, vulnerary

Medical Use:

  • As a tonic it is one of the best remedies for ‘feeding’ the nervous system, especially when the individual is under stress – may be used in conjunction with other nervines be they relaxant or stimulant it will strengthen the whole nervous system
  • Herbal bath is very helpful in treating irritated skin condition and neuralgia


Latin Name: Valeriana Officinalis

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Valerian

Family: Valerianaceae

Habitat: temperate regions, original to Europe

Parts Used: root

Preparations:

  • Recommended that a sufficiently high dose is taken so that is able to be effective
  • Fresh root makes the best tincture due to preserving the volatile oils, making it more tonic and less reactive than when prepared with dried root
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 60%), 2.5 – 10 ml (1/2 – 2 tsp) may be give at one time
  • Hot Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water over 2 tsp of dried herb and steep in a closed vessel.
  • Cold Infusion: pour 1 cup of water over 2 tsp of the root and let stand for 8 – 10 hours; this can be set up by preparing a cup in the morning enabling the cup to be drank that night before bed
  • Infusion can be taken one to several time per day

Constituents: valepotriates, volatile oils containing valerenone and valerenic acid, alkaloids

Taste: acrid, bitter, spicy, warm

Effects: antispasmodic, central nervous system depressant, relaxes constricted muscles, gentle soothing effect, cerebral stimulant, reduces neuro-muscular tension, small dosages are generally relaxing and large dosages are stimulating but this can be individually determinant, nervine, hypnotic, carminative, hypotensive, emmenagogue, anodyne

Medical Use:

  • Treats tense and constricted tissue and mental states, and to ease pain;  actions upon the nervous system can be best seen when the circulation of those centers is underactive or feeble, especially when the face is pale and the skin is cool -- is best for individuals with a cold nervous condition
  • Used for insomnia as it enables normal sleep while not being too powerful to disrupt necessary REM phases, and cases of hysterical conditions, addresses both pain and imaginary distress to produce quiet
  • Aids where there is restricted or limited cerebral circulation, and works as a brain stimulant with there being suggestions that it could be a possible aid used in small amount for cognitive disorders or Alzheimer's, or as a preventative for Alzheimer’s
  • Helpful for people with acute cognitive, emotional, or spiritual disturbances who need immediate relief
  • Counters the effects of alcohol
  • Can be helpful when there is muscle cramping including indigestion, uterine cramps and intestinal colic; and working for some as a pain reliever

Contraindications: in large doses can cause nervousness, restlessness, wakefulness, and twitching followed by a drowsy sleepy relaxation, can make one numb and knock them out

Wrong amount taken can cause the problems which it is attempting to cure

Few individuals have noticed a paradoxical effect even at low dosages

Herb can have opposite effect on individuals who have a heated condition, since it is both heating and a sedative

History or Folklore: traditionally used for over excitement and sleeplessness


Latin Name: Urtica Dioica, U. Urens

(3), (4)

Common Name: Nettle, Hedge Nettle, Stinging Nettle

Family: Urticaceae

Parts Used: aerial parts, roots

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 2.5 – 5 ml, 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C boiling water over 1-3 teaspoons of dried herb and infuse for 10-15 minutes, and drank 3x per day
  • Eating: can be steamed like other greens and eaten in a way similar to spinach, it tastes very nice and has nearly the same percentage quantity of protein by weight as beef -- the larger stems should be avoided as the name nettle and net have are related, and the stems are very fibrous

Constituents: chlorophyll (significant amounts),indoles such as histamine and serotonin, acetylcholine, flavonol glycosides (isorhamnetin, kaempferol, quercetin), vitamin C as well as other vitamins, protein, dietary fiber

Effects: astringent, diuretic, general tonic, hypotensive, rubefacient

Medical Use:

  • As a general tonic it helps to strengthen and support the whole body; also as an alkalizing spring tonic it is a useful general detoxifying remedy
  • Topically applied it can aid myalgia and osteoarthritis – this use of the herb topically involves stinging the skin around the affected area which increases circulation therein lessening the pain and stiffness of the affected area
  • Helpful as an astringent in relieving symptoms of hemorrhage anywhere in the body, as well as treating eczema with a specific ability to effectively work for cases of childhood eczema
  • Root aids to improve urine flow, decreasing the volume of residual urine and working to treat the early stages of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BHP)

Contraindications: Touching fresh nettles often cause the skin to be stung!  Be careful when handling fresh herb by wearing gloves and long sleeves.  Once dried or cooked it is nearly always safe to handle and eat

History or Folklore: The name nettle relates to its very tough fibrous stems which were used in the construction of netting for which its name was given


Latin Name: Centella Asiatica

(1), (4)

Common Name: Gotu Kola, Hydrocotyle

Habitat:  drainage ditches in India, many of which are often polluted

Parts Used: leaf

Collecting: *be sure that plant comes from a clean quality source*

Preparations:

  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1SP of herb and steep for 10 minutes
  • Tincture 12-30 drops taken in the morning and afternoon

Constituents: triterpene saponins (stimulates the skin), flavonoids, alkaloids, volatile oils (terpenoids), bitters, fatty acids, sterols, resins, tannins, proteins, phenols

Taste: pungent, sweet, astringent, bitter, cool

Effects: cerebral tonic, longevity tonic, stimulates blood flow in the capillaries, reduces venous stagnation and insufficiency, improves cholesterol balance, helps break down aged blood cells, reduces urea in the blood (acidity), increases circulation to the brain and extremities, alterative, antipyretic, diuretic, antispasmodic, nervine

Medical Use:

  • Works well to clean the blood
  • Used for mental fatigue, low vitality, senility, and high blood pressure
  • Helpful for inflammation in the skin, involving micro organisms, and varicose veins
  • Aids in cases of arthritis and tendonitis
  • Helps dry skin, cold extremities, and treat edema
  • Is a prime nerve nervine tonic and can be used to treat insomnia, stress, nervousness and disturbed emotions
  • Promotes mental calm and clarity which has been noted as assisting the practice of yoga and meditation
  • Used with eclipta for strengthening the nerves and promoting the growth of hair

Contraindications: can cause sleepiness if taken in the evening


Latin Name: Melissa

(1), (3), (4)

Common Name: Lemon Balm

Family: Lamiaceae -- Mint

Habitat: native to Europe

Parts Used: leaves, fresh or dried aerial parts

Preparations:

  • Effects of tincture are much more marked when the plant is prepared fresh
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 2-6 ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: should also be made from fresh leaves if available
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 2-3 tsp dried herb or 4-6 tsp fresh herb and steep in a covered contained for 10-15 minutes

Constituents: flavonoids, triterpenic acid such as ursolic and pomolic acids, volatile oils (citronella), neral and geraniol, caryophyllene oxide, several terpenes, polyphenols (protocatechuic acid, caffeic acid, rosmarinic acid, and tannins), antiviral (hot-water extract), bitter principles

Taste: sour and spicy cool

Effects: cooling, nerve-calming sedative, nervine, diaphoretic, antidepressant (specifically nervous depression), antispasmodic (in respiratory centers), carminative, diaphoretic, antimicrobial, hepatic, cardio-tonic, emmenagogue, stomachic

Medical Use:

  • It has a tonic effect on the heart and circulation, and is well suited for conditions relating to the stomach and the heart like heart palpitations, atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, aneurysm, and rapid or superficial pulse – causes mild vasodilatation of peripheral vessels thus lowering blood pressure
  • Suited to conditions of sympathetic excess, hyperadrenalism, hyperthyroidism,
  • Recommended for fevers and numerous children’s diseases with good results in young children because in addition to its helpful constituents it also has a pleasant flavor
  • Helpful when the digestion has been long irritated, when there are issues with spasms in the digestive tract or irritating gas; can also be helpful with chronic bronchial catarrh
  • Can be used for treating skin conditions such as burns, blisters, herpetic sores and sweaty palms – use topically such as carried through an oil infusion can be effective when treating herpes skin lesions
  • Acting as a slight sedative it can be helpful for calming anxiety or depression, particularly when the anxiety is resulting in other secondary conditions such as migraines, tension, headaches, melancholy, and anxiety induces palpitations

Contraindications: considered extremely safe through history, however, some recent lab studies have indicated it may interfere with the action of thyroid hormones


Latin Name: Anemone Humulus Lupulus

(1), (4)

Common Name: Hops

Family: marijuana

Habitat: native to Europe

Botany: a vining plant

Parts Used: flowers, fruit

Preparations:

  • The longer the drying time the more relaxing it becomes to the nervous system, whereas the shorter the drying time the more bitter and stomachic it will be
  • Small doses are advised in nervous anxiety, whereas larger doses are for insomnia and where sedation is required
  • Infusion: pour 1 C boiling water over 1 TSP of herb and let steep for 10-15 minutes in a covered container, this herb pairs well with other herbs when used in an infusion

Constituents:

Flowers: bitters (up to 30%), tannins, ammonia (hence the urinous smell), volatile oils

Fruit: resins, pectin, tannins, bitters, volatile oils, rutin

Upon drying: (acrid) valeric acid develops

Taste: acrid, bitter, salty, cool

Effects: smooth muscle relaxant, antispasmodic, sedative, bitter tonic, anodyne, antibiotic, nervine, sedative, hypnotic, antiseptic

Medical Use:

  • Aids in water balance in the kidneys
  • Suited to conditions where there is sleepiness, pain, twitching, and tremors associated with exhaustion from mental, emotional, and nervous strain and overexcitement
  • Useful for people with intense personalities and drives, mental strain, and strong emotions like anger or hatred, the overexercise of which results in nervous exhaustion, nervousness, insomnia, and worry (the person is strong above and weak below)
  • Remedy for the abused or nervous stomach by normalizing gastric secretions whether too high or too low -- half a beer increases digestive secretions, whereas a whole beer decreases them; when gastric secretions are diminished, food does not digest well, the head pounds, and the person can not sleep
  • Used by fomentation or hot poultice on boils, skin irritations, spasms, and is particularly well suit for pains of the lower back

History or Folklore: the flowers are used to flavor beer

The use of a hops pillow for insomnia by King George III was regarded as producing “excellent results”, proving particularly helpful for tense or nervous people who are unable to sleep -- also used by Abraham Lincoln


Latin Name: Eschscholzia Californica

(2), (3), (4)

Common Name: California Poppy

Family: Papaveraceae

Parts Used: dried aerial parts, seeds

Preparations:

  • Tinctures are best made from the fresh plant in flower
  • Tincture: take 20-40 drops an hour before bed, and again just before bed
  • Tincture: for antispasmodic indications use (1:5 in 25%), .5-2 ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C boiling water over 1-2 teaspoon of dried herb and infuse for 10 minutes – a cup drank at night will promote restful sleep

Constituents: alkaloids, flavone glycosides

Taste: bitter, cool

Effects: sedative, increases fluids, lubricant, nervine, hypnotic, antispasmodic, anodyne, febrifuge, analgesic

Medical Use:

  • Can be helpful with sleepless and frenetic children – or if sleep is not deep enough (is not as depressing or narcotic as other poppies), or if sleep is too deep and the child does not wake to go to the bathroom
  • Promotes relaxation, calms the nerves as well as inflamed skin and tinnitus
  • Can be useful whenever an antispasmodic remedy is indicated such as with colic pain or to treat gallbladder colic

Contraindications: It is contraindicated during pregnancy or when on a MAO inhibitor

May have an additive effect when used with other sedatives

Latin Name: Zea Mays

(2), (3), (4)

Common Name: Corn Silk

Family: grass

Parts Used: stigma from female flowers (soft fine hair like threads that are found under the husk when husking corn)

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), 5-10 ml 3x per day
  • Tincture can be made with alcohol or vinegar
  • Infusion: pour 1 C boiling water over 2-4 tsp of dried herb and infuse for 10-15 minutes and drank 3x per day

Constituents: saponins, allantoin, sterols (B-sitosterol and stigmasterol), hordenine (an alkaloid), vitamin C and K, cryptoxanthin, anthocyanins, resin, ascorbic acid, malic acid, palmitic acid, tartaric acid, oxalic acid, pantothenic acid

Taste: sweet, slightly bitter, moist, bland, neutral

Effects: demulcent, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, tonic, lithotriptic, cholagogue

Medical Use:

  • Used for treating bladder inflammation, and infection, with the mild demulcent being soothing to the mucosa of the urinary tract; and is also beneficial in helping the mucosa of an irritated colon and strengthens uterine muscle tone – can also be helpful in dealing with bedwetting
  • Has been used in treating catarrhal cystitis, lithiasis (stones) and edema due to heart disease
  • Cornmeal with warm water is a good foot soak for treating nail fungus
  • Considered one of the milder and safer diuretics

Contraindications: can cause allergies

History or Folklore: high nitrogen content and urinous smell of growing corn are signature of its affinity for the bladder

 

Latin Name: Juniperus Communis

(2), (3)

Common Name: Juniper Berries

Family: cypress

Habitat: native to open territory in North America, Europe, and Asia

Botany: low shrub

Parts Used: dried fruit

Collecting: collect only the second year berries which are dark  almost deep purple, not the green first year ones

Preparations:

  • Best taken as an infusion
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1 tsp of lightly crushed berries and infuse in a covered container for 20 minutes, drank 3x per day
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), .5-1 ml (1-10 drops) taken 3x per day

Constituents: volatile oils (1-4%), sugar (15-30%), resin (10%), juniperin (yellow bitter principal, protein (4%), tannins, fats, wax, flavonoids, malates, vitamin C, formic and acetic acid, minerals (sulfur, copper, cobalt, tin, aluminum), diterpenes, flavonoids

Taste: pungent, bitter, acrid, sweet, warm, dry, oily

Effects: diuretic (volatile oils are irritating to membranes, so it is an irritating diuretic), stimulating, aromatic, antiseptic, antimicrobial, carminative,anti-rheumatic

Medical Use:

  • Indicated in depressive tissue states, suitable to cool, damp and phlegmatic conditions and helpful in dispelling wind and rock by urine, as when treating colics, and can result in gleety discharge
  • Works to dilate the glomeruli of the kidneys, so used in chronic renal congestion and swelling, especially when there is backache  -- helping with conditions such as cystitis – however, quite stimulating to the kidney nephrons so should be used with caution by people with kidney disease
  • Can also work on the mucosa of the digestive tract and lungs, removing mucus from the GI tract in appropriate doses
  • Helps with cold damp mucus and spasms in the lungs -- asthmas, coughs, difficulty breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath, hoarseness and other cool moist conditions in the lungs
  • Acts to aid the digestive tract and with all diseases proceeding from wind in the stomach and the bowels, helping with flatulent colic
  • Useful in a bath and soaked for treating coldness or swelling of the limbs, cramps,  numbness, weakness of the nerves or muscles, old aches and pains, bruises and strains – taken internally for rheumatism and arthritis
  • Extract has been shown to demonstrate the inhibition of herpes simplex virus
  • Helpful for treating menstrual cramps, facilitate both birth and after-birth, repress vapors from the womb, cleansing strengthening and warming that part
  • Oil applied to the temples for treating headaches

Contraindications: not recommended in acute, hot, and irritable states (in part due to its irritable nature) or inflammation, blood in the urine, stones in the kidneys, or when there are kidney disease

Not to be used during pregnancy due to stimulating uterine contractions

Prolonged use or overdose may cause renal damage

History or Folklore: berries are used in gin

Classic juniper person having water-logged kidneys with generalized retention of water in the body, especially in the lower parts of the body.  The thighs may become water-logged, causing a waddling gait, spreading apart the legs, with the rear end wagging like a duck.


Latin Name: Equisetum Arvense, E. Hyemale

(1), (3)

Common Name: Horsetail, Shavegrass

Family: Equisetaceae

Habitat: typically grows in wet sand and is therefore very high in silicon, known as ‘vegetable silicon’

Botany: an ancient non-flowering plant

Parts Used: stem

Collecting: should only be picked when it is found growing on open sunlight, not in the shade.  the stalks are picked when they are still tender, crushed to dry the water in the joints, and used as a decoction.  If the water is not removed the plant may rot upon drying

Preparations:

  • The water in the joints is perhaps the strongest medicinal part of the plant so an extraction from the fresh plant in alcohol is excellent
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), 1-3 drops, 1-3 time per day, but dosage can be used at 10-25 drops
  • Decoction: simmer in a covered vessel for 15-20 minutes
  • Infusion: may be insufficient to be medicinally effective, however, 1 C of boiling water poured over 2 tsp of dried herb and infused for 15-20 and drank 3x per day has provided result to some
  • Bath: steep 100g (3 1/2 oz) of herb in hot water for an hour and add to the bath (helps with rheumatism)

Constituents: Alkaloids (nicotine, palustrine and palustrine), flavonoids (isoquercitrin and palustrinine) sterols (cholesterol, isofucosterol and campesterol), silicic acid, saponin (equisitonin), dimethylsulfone, thiaminase, aconitic acid

Taste: cool, earthy

Effects: antifungal, nourishing diuretic, astringent, vulnerary

Medical Use:

  • Due to the silica, has the ability to externalize or bring substances to the surface and move material around the periphery, therein strengthening the surface and helping strengthen structural material and connective tissue like cartilage, bone, skin (dry), hair, nails and to lessen hemorrhaging (due to being an effective astringent)
  • Helps with fungus growing under the toenails
  • Treats weak mucosa in the urinary tract, burning pains, cystitis, and increases both the watery and solid parts of the urine; and can help in dealing with gravel and irritation – its toning and astringent actions are helpful in treating incontinence and bedwetting in children
  • Improved healing from surgery in the aged, and when applied externally it assists in the healing of skin
  • Recommended in aiding with inflamed or benign enlargement of the prostate gland
  • Has been found to be of help in easing the pain of rheumatism and to stimulate the healing of chilblains

Contraindications: be very mindful of the location where it is harvested (see above)

The plant is ‘full of sand’ and should not be taken internally, as it will likely cause GI irritation

Dosha: for vata conditions where there are spilt ends and cracking of the nails and joints, nervousness and insecurity


Latin Name: Chimaphila Umbellata

(2)

Common Name: Pipsissewa

Family: Ericaceae or Heath

Botany: small evergreen plant native to boreal forests

Parts Used: leaves

Preparations:

  • Leaves are prepared by decoction and not infusion like most leaves; simmer a TBSP of leaves in 1C water
  • Tincture 2-15 drops in water, 3-4 times per day

Constituents: tannins, quinones (hydroquinone or arbutin), naphthoquinones (chimaphilin), gum resins, flavonoids (quercetin), triterpenes, methyl salicylate

Taste: bitter, how, astringent

Effects: renal antiseptic, stimulant, irritant, counterirritant

Medical Use:

  • Used to treat scrofula - lymphatic stagnation and inflammation and compromised lymphatic and renal function
  • Well suited for chronic or lingering conditions which give rise to mucus discharges
  • Has the ability to raise a blister (hence a counter irritant), but can also cause blisters
  • It warms and activates the lymphatics and kidneys, moving water in the body, and is indicated when the tongue is swollen and coated white in the middle (spleen yang deficiency - which is similar to scrofula)
  • Helps with congestion and stagnation of fluids, where the individual is in a sluggish condition, cold, swollen, with a buildup of fluids and waste products which may have congealed; it warms and dissolves the congealed fluids and moves the waste, and with it containing tannins it astringes tissue returning it to good tone -- dropsy remedy
  • Used when arthritis is accompanied with edema, it removes water pressure from the joints - there can be a pitting on the leg from edema

Contraindications: because it is a powerful stimulant it is contraindicated in acute inflammatory conditions

The fresh plant can burn the skin and mucosa

Environmental conditions, has been over harvested so one should be respectful in only using when needed, and if harvesting to only take leaves from no more than a third of the plant

History or Folklore: called rheumatism root because of its effectiveness in treating chronic rheumatism

Dosha: great eliminator of kapha


Latin Name: Agathosma Betulina

(3)

Common Name: Buchu

Family: Rutaceae

Parts Used: Leaf

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 60%), 1-2 ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1-2 tsp of dried herb and infuse for 10 minutes in a covered container, drink 3x per day

Constituents: volatile oils (limonene, menthone, pulegone), flavonoids (rutin, diosmetin, diosmin, hesperidin, quercetin, derivatives), some B vitamins, tannins, mucilage

Effects: Diuretic, urinary, antiseptic

Medical Use:

  • Helpful for infections in the genitourinary system such as cystitis, urethritis and prostatitis
  • It is healing and soothing to the eliminatory channels, therein helping it to pair well in combination with other herbs

Contraindications: the volatile oils may be too irritating for people with kidney diseases

 

Latin Name: Taraxecum Officinale

(1) (3)

Common Name: Dandelion

Family: Asteraceae or composite

Habitat: spring green in temperate regions

Parts Used: leaves, root, flower

Collecting: picked in the spring, and quickly turning bitter

Preparations:

  • Dandelion can harmonize formulas
  • Root Tincture: (1:5 in 60%), 2.5-5 ml 3x per day
  • Root Decoction: 2-3 tsp into 1C of water, bring to a boil and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day
  • Leaf Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 5-10 ml 3x per day
  • Leaf Infusion: pour 1 C boiling water over 1-2 tsp of dried leaf and infuse for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day
  • Eaten: raw leaf is a tasty bitter to add to salads

Constituents: flavonoids, polysaccharides, sesquiterpene lactones, triterpenes, sterols, carotenoids, potassium (up to 4.5% in the leaves), diterpenes, triterpenes

Taste:

root: bitter, sweet, earthen, salty, moist, oily

leaf: bitter, earthen, salty, moist, cool

Effects: leaves particularly diuretic, root good for lowering cholesterol, flower acts more on the heart, blood purifier, alterative, reduce heat in the body, counteract toxicity, disperse swelling, cholagogue, diuretic, hepatic, antirheumatic, laxative, general and liver tonic, bitter

Medical Use:

  • It is indicated when heat descends deeply into the tissues, thickening fluids, slowing down drainage, inflaming deeper tissues, and even infecting the bones; typically used for conditions which develop slowly, however can be helpful in some acute cases.  Used for cool excess heat and thin and disperse surplus of fluids.
  • Called for when there is mapped or geographic tongue -- tongue covered in white or yellow film, feels raw (as if film has burned off), comes off in patches, leaving red sensitive spots -- the tongue can be a deep red, indicating a deep internally established heat, sometimes accompanied by dark red lips which can often also be somewhat dry -- after giving dandelion tongue can turn to pink indicating that heat is coming up but that a sensitivity to heat still remains.  This is looking at the tongue as an indication of ‘phlegm fire’ heat has settled down to deep locations like bones and muscles, it is breaking down fluids and surroundings while thickening fluids are preventing an escaping of the heat; with the heat unable to get out, it cooks your insides
  • Considered one of the finest liver remedies, enhances flow of bile and flow to the gallbladder; and used for conditions such as liver and gallbladder stasis, high cholesterol, excess urea, gout, constipation, portal stagnation, varicose veins, cellulitis, eczema, acne, and herpes
  • Leaf is a powerful diuretic and is used for diuresis, and when tiresome, achy, feverish, chronic infections with relief from urination -- because the leaves contain both potassium (for which it is one of the best natural sources) and sodium they act on both sides of the kidney mechanism excreting fluids and retaining specific contents -- root can have similar effects, but maybe not as quickly, and the leaf can lead to weight loss due to water removal (for that reason could be good for edema)
  • Can help with dullness of the mind with congestion of fluids, or swollen membranes around the sinuses, as well as manic-depression
  • Called for with inflamed, tight, or swollen muscles, and with rheumatoid arthritis
  • The root can be helpful for blood disorders , chronic jaundice, autointoxication rheumatism and chronic skin eruptions

Contraindications: can be too much of a diuretic (specifically the leaves), so should be used cautiously when this might be an issue complicating problems attempting to resolve, or if it interferes with compliance of being taken regularly

Could possibly cause a negative reaction to people sensitive to plants in the asteraceae family

Have been rare cases of contact dermatitis in people coming into contact with the latex in the stem

History or Folklore: considered a spring tonic

Latin Name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

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Common Name: Uva Ursi, Bearberry, Kinnikinnick

Family: Ericaceae, heath

Parts Used: leaves

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), 2-4 ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1-2 tsp of dried herb and infuse in a covered container for 10-15 minutes, drank 3x per day

Constituents: hydroquinones arbutin and methyl arbutin (which turn into antiseptics in water), tannins (15-20%), flavonoids (quercitrin, isoquercitrin, myricacitrin), volatile oils, iridoids, resin, ursolic, malic and gallic acids

Taste: slightly pungent, astringent

Effects: urinary antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, antimicrobial, demulcent

Medical Use:

  • Gives better tone to relaxed mucosa, soothing, toning and strengthening these membranes
  • Restrains excessive discharges from bacterial infections
  • Used with swollen mucus membranes (particularly in the urinary system) from the throat down to the bladder and uterus (passive menstrual bleeding), and increases tissue tone postpartum – highly recommended for bladder infections when there is green phlegmy discharges, and also used for dealing with yeast infections, particularly when there is highly acid urine; can be used as a douche
  • Used for painful urination as a decoction with good results, and with incontinence (and bedwetting) as it tones the walls of the bladder – as well as in conditions when there is gravel or ulcerations in the kidney or bladder
  • Strengthens heart muscle, reduces lower back pain, and pain from arthritis

Contraindications: can turn urine green, even though it is not a dangerous symptom

Tannins can cause constipation

Contraindicated during pregnancy

Large doses can be toxic, causing liver impairment in children

History or Folklore: the name bearberry indicates a relationship to the throat


Latin Name: Gallium

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Common Name: Cleavers

Family: Rubiaceae family (coffee), member of the bedstraw clan

Habitat: native to Europe and naturalized in temperate regions

Botany: has a long slender stem with little seed heads on the ends, and have been described as looking like neural connection (doctrine of signatures).  The stems and seeds have little hooks that allow them to grab hold of passer-bys, hence the name cleaver

Parts Used: aerial parts

Collecting: stems should be collected in the early spring (when they still have a vanilla-like smell and flavor), and before the seeds appear

Preparations:

  • Should be preserved fresh in alcohol (brandy brings out the sweetness)
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), dose 1-3 drops, 1-3 times per day or 4-8 ml 3x per day -- may need to be taken for up to a year or longer if fibrous build ups have developed, however immediate results can be noticed
  • If picked for tea they must be dried immediately to prevent the flower from going to seed, and to preserve the flavor and medicinal properties
  • Cold Infusion: should be done in cold water all night, because hot water disperses its virtue
  • Hot Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 2-3 tsp of dried herb and infuse for 10-15 minutes, drank 3x per day
  • Roasted: ripened seeds can be roasted to make a coffee which is the genuine article
  • Juice: fresh plants may be juiced and drank; if frozen immediately into ice cube they can be preserved and the cubed size it typically an ideal sized dose

Constituents: flavonoids, coumarins (which give it a sweet flavor and a vanilla smell when flowering), iridoids monoterpenes (asperuloside a laxative), alkaloids, caffeine (in roasted mature seeds), tannins, coumarins

Taste: sweet, earthen, cool, moist, aromatic

Effects: lymphatic, blood thinner (coumarins), antilithic, diffusive diuretic, alterative, anti-inflammatory, lymphatic tonic

Medical Use:

  • Has the ability to work calcifications, concentrations, and fibrositis out of the tissues (muscles, lymph, and kidneys), and is useful in removing gravel, and dealing with nodulated growth deposits in the skin or mucous membranes
  • As a lymphatic tonic it works well dealing with lymphatic congestion and provides a remedy which is cooling (red root is neutral while calendula is warming); therefore it is advised when there is warmth or inflammation – helpful with swollen lymph gland located anywhere in the body
  • It acts on the breast tissue, on fibrous tissue, cysts, and nodular growth – as well as treating ulcers or tumors elsewhere in the body
  • Restores stamina after an exhausting labor – herb is beneficial to the nervous system, where it can be helpful in ‘gathering the nerves’, when an individual is scattered or there is inflammation of the nerves, and is indicated when there is oversensitivity of the nerve endings, tickling, or itching of the skin
  • Has been used with success in treating skin conditions where the skin is dry such as in cases of psoriasis and eczema
  • Helps with the body to pass catabolic wastes and relieves irritation

Contraindications: considered entirely nontoxic

Ayurvedic Considerations: when there is vata in the nerves

History or Folklore: looking at the doctrine of signatures, they look like nerves with three terminal nerve bulbs

Considered ‘deer medicine’, dear like to sleep and give birth in patches of them, because it takes away their smell


Latin Name: Angelica Archangelica (Angelica Atropurpurea - American variety)

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Common Name: Angelica, Dong Quai

Family: Apiaceae

Habitat: traditionally along the rivers and shores of northern Europe, growing in damp conditions.  It has been naturalized in some places in America

Botany: root is brown furry, oily and pungent, and is light and airy containing pockets of air

Parts Used: root and leaves (medicinally) seeds and stalks they have less potency and are typically used for confectionery purposes

Collecting: Fresh roots should be quickly processed because the speed at which they can turn rancid.  Roots should be cut lengthwise and dried in a heated stove, crushed and stored in airtight container, wherein they will last for 3-4 years

Freezing the seed preserves their properties, and assists in their germinations

Preparations:

  • Decoction: boiling the root produces aromatic bitters; steeping produces an anesthetic and astringent for stomach lining
  • Decoction: place 1 tsp of cut root in 1 C of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes, remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes; drink 1 C 3x per day
  • Tincture: alcohol extracts improves the relaxing, antispasmodic properties -- extract the recently dried root in high percentage alcohol
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 45%), 2-5 ml taken 3x per day

Constituents: volatile oils, resin, wax, bitters, furanocoumarin glycosides, flavonoids, sugars, organic acids, phytosterols, macrocyclic lactones, phthalates, sterols

Taste: warming, pungent, bitter, sweet, salty, oily, diffusive, and stimulating

Effects: antiseptic, lymphatic, alterative, diuretic, carminative, brings air into the watery realm, astringent, tonic, vulnerary, cholagogue, anti-inflammatory

Medical Use:

  • Aids peripheral circulation opening the lungs and the skin, therein helping bear people who need their relaxed watery side activated; helping through drying and warming the lungs
  • Induce perspiration, and regulate menstruation, blood stagnation congestion, and cramping; by facilitating the lungs the blood is increasingly aerated
  • Stimulates the cortisol side of the adrenal cortex to increase appetite, digestion, and nutrition – the calming effects combined with an increased appetite results in it being helpful for aiding in cases of anorexia
  • Calms headaches and both the sympathetic (when there is nervousness affecting digestion) and the parasympathetic (when there is hot digestion but a heavy, cool damp interior) nervous system -- bitters and sugars get the appetite and secretions going, and spicy compounds stimulate circulation to the stomach and periphery which helps bring nutrition to all parts of the body
  • Can help rebuild fatty deposits insulating nerves, dried out joints by moving water into the cartilage, and improve circulation to hands, feet and uterus – also working to help cases of rheumatic inflammation
  • It makes fluids more active and breaks up excessive concentrations of water, phlegm, and blood -- so can be helpful in cases of old bronchitis where the mucus is thin and difficult to expectorate, as well as in cases of fever, cold and influenza
  • Leaf may be used externally as a compress in treating inflammations of the chest

Contraindications: Not to be taken during pregnancy

It can irritate the stomach and kidneys

Furanocoumarins can cause photosensitivity in sensitive individuals -- sun exposure should be limited when using angelica

Can cause there to be a change in the taste in alcohol and tobacco, so where this is a problem if you like those things, it can be used as an ally when one is trying to stop drinking or smoking

Small doses can be relaxing but excessive dosages can cause depression of the central nervous system

Claims that the fresh root is toxic, but that the poisons are dissipated by drying

Ayurvedic Considerations: helpful for Vata conditions where the individual is thin and undernourished

History or Folklore: Bears eat roots in the spring to wake up and start building their mass

It is used by shamans and is an herbs used in sweat lodges as one of the herbs placed on the hot rocks so that the vapors are able to effect the mind and imagination, the lungs and the skin

Root worn around the neck is a traditional form of protection against psychic and epidemic contagions in many traditional cultures


Latin Name: Mitchella Repens

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Common Name: Partridge Berry, Squaw Vine, Twin Berry

Family: Rubiaceae -- as well as cleavers, dyer’s madder, sweet woodruff, and coffee

Parts Used: aerial parts, berries, root bark

Preparations:

  • Infusion or tincture can be made of dried or fresh leaves
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), take 2-4 ml of extraction 1-2x/day for the sixth and seventh month of pregnancy; and slightly larger dosages in the final weeks
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1 tsp of herb and infuse for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day
  • Salve: take 2 ounces of fresh herb (if possible) and make a strong decoction in a pint of water; strain and add as much good cream as there is liquid in the decoction.  Boil the whole down to the consistency of a soft salve, and when cool anoint the nipple with it every time the child is removed from the breast

Constituents: unspecified alkaloids, saponins, glycosides, tannins, mucilages

Taste: slightly sweet

Effects: parturient, emmenagogue, diuretic, uterine tonic, astringent

Medical Use:

  • Among one of the best remedies for preparing the mother’s uterus for childbirth – for which it should start to be taken a few weeks prior to the child birth
  • Has an influence on menstruation, infertility, and pregnancy, and is used by some cultures to better help a young woman to understand her husband
  • Helps the nervous system assume a tranquil condition, reflex systems abate, the urinary function is performed normally helping bladder irritation), and the bowels become regular (reducing diarrhea)
  • Hot infusion of the bark of a fresh root given occasionally through some tedious aggravating labors can work wonders
  • Seem likely to be a remedy for progesterone deficiency – is highly recommended as a cure for sore nipples
  • Very effective for many issues related to women's reproduction
  • For males with spermatorrhea -- with althaea, celastrus, and uva ursi
  • Aids with muscle spasms, varicose veins, wounds, and treating the skin
  • Its astringent properties are very helpful in treating colitis, especially when there is mucus

Ayurvedic Considerations: Suited to vata woman who are thin angular, often athletic (dancers and gymnasts), tall, are too much in their minds, want to have a baby later in life, and have irregular cycles

History or Folklore: liked by birds, particularly crows, which has lead to it being considered crow medicine


Latin Name: Rubus Idaeus (Canadensis), Rubus Strigosus

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Common Name: Red Raspberry

Family: Rosaceae

Parts Used: leaves, fruit

Preparations:

  • Leaves can be used fresh or dry (see contraindications) to make infusion of tincture
  • Strong decoction of equal parts flax seeds, raspberry leaves, and poplar bark -- 4oz. taken every hour till bowels open up and constipation is resolved
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 2-4 ml taken 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C boiling water over 2 tsp of dried herb and infuse for 10-15 minutes; this may be drank freely

Constituents: tannins, flavonoids glycosides of kaempferol and quercetin), mucilage, fruit sugars, pectin, volatile oils, minerals, malic acid

Taste: sweet, astringent, slightly sour

Effects: Astringent (milder than blackberry leaf or root bark), tonic for relaxed tissue, parturient

Medical Use:

  • Tonifies and strengthens the intestines and uterus; is used as a tissue and uterine tonic for pregnancy as it nourishes the mother and child while also preventing morning sickness, makes delivery more rapid, and prevents tearing of the cervix, as well as for postpartum pains, and to enrich milk and reduce breast discomfort during lactation
  • A remedy for sterility in males and females
  • Aid to treating recent diarrhea -- and also in treating chronic constipation
  • Astringent tonic for the eyes – also helps mouth problem; such as aphthous, ulcers, bleeding gums, and inflammations, and is used as a gargle as an effective treatment for sore throats
  • Helps with allergies and influenza where there is a lot of clear mucus discharge from the upper respiratory tract -- and is also helpful when flu result in GI problems
  • Fruit nourishes the blood

Contraindications: use fresh or dry leaves, but not in between because they are somewhat toxic during the drying stage


Latin Name: Salvia Officinalis

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Common Name: Sage

Family: Lamiaceae, mint

Habitat: native to Mediterranean regions

Parts Used: leaves

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 2-4 ml 3x per day
  • Infusion: see below as the hot/cold/lukewarm teas have differing effect respectively
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1-2 tsp of leaf and infuse in a covered container for 10 minutes, drank 3x per day
  • Mouthwash: place 2 tsp of leaf in 2 C of water, bring to a boil, take of the heat and let stand covered for 15 minutes; gargle deeply with the hot infusion several times per day

Constituents: volatile oils (including thujone), tannins, diterpene bitters, flavonoids, phenolic acids, salviatannin

Taste: astringent, oily, pungent, warm

Effects: slightly warming, astringent, aromatic, appetite suppressant, dis-aphrodisiac, carminative, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory

Medical Use:

  • It acts on three tissue conditions: relaxation, atrophy and depression
  • Hot tea brings out the aromatic and is useful as a stimulant to sweating, salivation and internal secretion --  cold tea will decrease secretions including sweating, salivation, mucus production in the mouth, throat and lungs, lactation and for curbing milk production -- lukewarm tea is bacteriostatic and astringent and beneficial for sore throats
  • Used in cooking with fatty food, typically meats, because it contains bitters and oils which help stimulate the gallbladder increasing the release of bile, therein improving digestion and the absorption of fats and oils -- while at the same time the increased bile better facilitates eliminative functions of the bowels
  • Helps when the skin and tendons are dry and withered, hair loss and during menopause/post-menopause as hormones levels transition and there is seen to be drying out – also helpful in decreasing milk production and stimulating the muscles of the uterus, therefore it is not recommended while pregnant
  • In people who have a difficult time sweating it will help them to sweat, in people who sweat too much it will act as an antiperspirant
  • Beneficial for mouth problems, helping gums, canker sores, sore throats it is highly recommended (with honey and lemon it is delicious and also helps when there is a little fever accompanied by a sore throat), swollen glands, and hoarseness – can be used as a mouthwash or as a gargle
  • Helps with convulsions and shaking, and can serve to preserve the nervous system when it is under stress -- however large or prolonged usage can cause convulsions
  • It is able to thin the blood and removed coagulated blood -- reduces clotting without releasing dangerous clots that would potentially cause heart attacks, strokes, or thrombosis
  • Used as a compress it is helpful in promoting the healing of wounds

Contraindications: not recommended for prolonged dosage -- longer than three weeks

Sage is not appropriate in active, excited conditions

Not recommended while pregnant due to stimulating the muscles of the uterus

History or Folklore: many sages have the same properties, while white sage is more stimulating and warming, it is less astringent


Latin Name: Cimicifuga Racemosa

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Common Name: Black Cohosh

Family: Ranunculaceae, buttercup

Habitat: native to rich forest floors in North America

Botany: The roots are black and interwoven like a den of snakes, and when ripened the stalk looks like a snake or spine

Parts Used: dried roots and rhizome

Collecting: the root is best used fresh

Preparations:

  • Fresh root in alcohol; tincture (1:5 in 60%), 1-3 drop is often sufficient, but some people use as much as 10-25 drops; some recommendations are for 1-2 tsp of tincture every 3 hours for rheumatism – it is always recommended to start low and test to identify if a low dose is sufficient before increasing amount
  • Should be given to the extent of producing cerebral symptoms – feeling a weight and fullness in the head, possibly with a headache, which can also be accompanied with a sickness of the stomach
  • Decoction: pour 1 C of water over ½-1 tsp of dried root , bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes; drink 3x per day

Constituents: phytoestrogens, triterpene glycosides, isoferulic acid, salicylic acid, volatile oil, tannins

Taste: sweet, slightly acrid

Effects: emmenagogue, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, alterative, nervine, hypotensive

Medical Use:

  • Can be helpful with estrogen deficiency conditions such as: dryness, amenorrhea, premature aging, menopause
  • Can be useful to both generate fluids, and unbind or un-stagnate them, so that there is a more normalized flow of fluids in the individual; especially the cerebrospinal fluids surrounding the nerves – therefore being a relaxing nervine it is indicated in nervousness, spasms, convulsions, cramps, back pain and spinal injury; also helping in cases of tinnitus
  • Useful for psychological imbalance where the individual is very brooding, withdrawn, or melancholic (especially before the onset of the flow – this can give relief) and those who are quite psychic and aware of psychological and sexual energy – have often suffered from abusive, possessive, and manipulative relationships
  • Is a very helpful relaxant and normalize of the female reproductive system – effective in treating painful or delayed menstruation, and for relieving cramping pains in the womb and craps associated with ovulation; as well as treating menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, headache, vertigo, heart palpitation, and a range of psychological symptoms
  • Can help bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, whooping cough or a stuffy chest
  • Works well to relieve rheumatic and arthritis pain
  • In small doses the appetite and digestion are improved, in large doses it augments the secretions of the GI tract

Contraindications: Can bring on fibromyalgia pains (rheumatism)

Moderate to large doses can cause mild unpleasantness and cramping

Do not use in early pregnancy due to being an emmenagogue – however it is sometimes used while birthing

Ayurvedic Considerations: useful with vata imbalances – but can also be very heating

History or Folklore: the word ‘cohosh’ may indicate a female remedy in an Algonquian language, relating to its other name ‘Squaw Root’

Good for snake bites, and is also called ‘Black Snake Root’

The black cohosh woman is sometimes dark and mysterious


Latin Name: Viburnum Prunifolium

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Common Name: Black Haw

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Viburnum related to Cramp Bark, but is more rounded and has more tonifying properties

Habitat: native to the lower midwest and upper south

Botany: bark is thick and reddish/chestnut in color

Parts Used: bark of stems or trunk

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 60%), 5-10 ml taken 3x per day; or 10-20 drops in 4 oz of water
  • Decoction: put 2 tsp of dried herb in 1 C of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes; this should be drank 3x per day

Constituents: coumarins, phenolic acids (including salicin), flavonoids, triterpenes, biflavones

Taste: sweet, slightly acrid, astringent

Effects: relaxant, nutritive tonic, antispasmodic, uterine sedative, antiseptic, nervine, hypotensive, astringent

Medical Use:

  • Very tonifying in that it helps improve the digestion, intestinal tract and nutrition in the body; especially in females by supplying nutrition to the womb and ovaries, and to that effect it is helpful for dysmenorrheal, particularly when there are cramps
  • Is a help to women who are delicate, weak, sensitive in their digestion, circulation and nervous system; specifically it works as a uterine relaxant, and can be used in aiding with false labor pains and with preventing threatened miscarriages and post partum pains, as well as morning sickness and cramps during pregnancy
  • Works well on the nerves by soothing them – with effects conveyed well to the uterus and appendages
  • It has an influence on the heart, lowering arterial pressure to a marked degree, as well as relaxing peripheral blood vessels
  • Helps in cases of asthma due to antispasmodic properties
  • Useful for dealing with cramps, particularly those of the legs

Contraindications: too much can influence the motion side of nerves and cause progressive muscular weakness, loss of reflex action, and ultimately paralysis

The berries have caused nausea in some people

Ayurvedic Considerations: for woman with vata conditions of the digestion, nerves, and circulation

History or Folklore: used to prevent miscarriages

Its red color suggests for its blood building properties; the branches reach out in the forest in a protective manner, yet the flowers on the tips are delicate, like baby’s breath showing its purity and delicateness


Latin Name: Juglans Nigra

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Common Name: Black Walnut

Parts Used: leaves, hulls, bark

Collecting: can use green unripened hulls, or black ripened husks

Preparations: 

  • TIncture: 1-3 drops 1-3x per day
  • Has a synergistic response with Chondrus Crispus (Irish Moss); used by itself it is suggested to be half as effective as when used in combination with other herbs
  • Tincture of black hulls (about 30 drops) into a cup of boiling water with ¼ TSP of salt ran through the sinus passages with a neti pot has great results with sinus problems

Constituents: potassium iodine (iodine in the hulls – which points to work on the thyroid, and is more healing and antiseptic then the usual poisonous iodine)

Inner bark: potassium sulphate (fibrin solvent), magnesium sulphate (muscle and nerve nutrient), silica (food for hair, nails, skin and nerve sheath

Taste: fragrant bitter, astringent

Effects:

Leaves: astringent, muscular and tube tonic

Hulls: antiseptic, germicidal, vermicide, parasiticide

Bark: laxative and purgative (depending on dosage), colonic, cathartic

Medical Use:

  • Can help tone the arteries and blood vessels, clean fat out of the arteries, and aid an enlarged heart (compressing tissue helps improve blood vessel tone), and treat bad blood (often caused by toxemia)
  • Helpful for inflammation conditions of the mucous membranes, vessels, skin, throat, intestines and organs, and for treating diarrhea
  • Antiseptic properties of the hulls can be useful for cuts and infections, and in treating sinusitis (which can often be due to a fungal infection in the upper respiratory tract)
  • Use of the bark can be helpful for both leaky bowel syndrome or dysbiosis and malabsorption due to a closed gut – helps the assimilation of nutrients, especially fats and proteins while reducing unhealthy fatty acids in the blood stream – helping to tone the vascular system and the heart
  • It is a useful thyroid medication for treating hyperthyroidism, with the black hulls (often combined with chickweed) being a good remedy for goiter

Contraindications: handle hulls with gloves because it will stain your hands

History or Folklore: an old thought was that a healthy thyroid disperses a small amount of iodine into the carotids, which happen to run by the thyroid, and that the antiseptic powers of the iodine helps keep the blood going to the brain clean and pure – which is important for countless reasons, particularly in that the hypothalamus can be confused by dirty blood making it unable to read the hormonal feedback signals correctly which prevents it from sending out good hormonal advise


Latin Name: Dioscorea Villosa

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Common Name: Wild Yam

Family: Dioscoreaceae, cousin of the cultivated yam

Habitat: Grows prolifically in the midwest in brushy areas often where timber has been harvested or where pastures are converting into brush

Botany: bone-white rhizome which lends to one of its names ‘devil’s bones’, which crisscross like rabbit trails

Parts Used: rhizome, dried underground parts

Collecting: roots are harvested during the summer or fall

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%) of fresh root 1-10 drops 1-3x per day, or 2-4 ml taken 3x per day
  • Decoction: root that has been dried at least a year simmered for 10-20 minutes, drank 3x per day
  • When cooked for about an hour it starts to turn red which points to it working with the blood

Constituents: steroidal saponins (used in the manufacturing of steroids, and where it was thought to be converted into progesterone, contemporary research does not think the sex hormones to be converted from the sapogenins), diosgenin (dioscin and dioscorin)

Taste: sweet, earthen, acrid, moist

Effects: antispasmodic, relaxant, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, antirheumatic, hepatic, cholagogue

Medical Use:

  • Has been used for treating gallstones
  • Useful in treating cholera
  • Can help irritated stomach and intestines (stomach griping, intestinal colic, uterine and ovarian pains) – nausea during pregnancy (however note that it was also used for birth control for woman)
  • Can be of use to irritated mucous tissues

Contraindications: Large dosage may cause vomiting and psychological upset

History or Folklore: rabbit medicine – a nutritive tonic that builds up calcium to support bones and calm muscle spasms; rabbits are thin boned with twitchy muscles, so this root is perfect for them

Dosha: for vata conditions

Latin Name: Vitex Agnus-Castus

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Common Name: Chaste berry, chaste tree, monk’s pepper

Family: Verbenaceae, a cousin of vervain

Habitat: a shrub native to the Mediterranean region

Botany: it is a five-finger plant

Parts Used: fruit (berry)

Preparations:

  • Seeds yield a spicy preparation in alcohol; dose 15 drops 2x/day
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 60%), 2.5 ml taken 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1 tsp of berries and infuse for 10-15 minutes, this should be drank 3x per day

Constituents: volatile oils, iridoid glycosides, bitters, labdane diterpenes, bornyl acetate, flavonoids

Taste: pungent, warm, diffusive

Effects: Hormonal normalizer, decreases libido, galactagogue (increases lactation), uterine tonic

Medical Use:

  • Can decrease estrogen and increase progesterone
  • Advised during puberty to help over-sexed males calm a bit, and for helping to regulate and normalize the cycles of teenage girls – also, it not only eases the symptoms of PMS but over time may actually cure the disorder through the adjustment of overly high levels of estrogen –  – seen to also help in addressing issues around acne in teenagers
  • Believed to contain a substance which binds with dopamine in the pituitary therein stimulating and normalizing the pituitary gland function
  • An herb for people caught between the material and the spiritual worlds – striving for spirit but not yet there; to help them when the path seems to be getting difficult
  • For (older) adults it can have a stimulating effect on their sex drive; bringing back some fire and spice into one’s life
  • Can be used for hysteria, nervousness, and hyperactivity (ADHD – is addressed through the stimulation of the pituitary which normalizes the energy of the body), insomnia, and when there is a feeling of ‘being hunted’, or that ‘something is after you’
  • Has a sexually normalizing effect wherein it is able to make increases in instances of deficiencies and decreases in instances of excess – helps things get back to balance
  • It can be helpful for woman to take following the discontinuation of oral contraceptives to aid the body regain a natural balance

 

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Latin Name: Serenoa Repens

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Common Name: Saw Palmetto, Sabal Serrulata

Family: Arecaceae, palm

Habitat: native to Florida

Parts Used: fruit (berries)

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 60%), 1-2 ml taken 3x per day, or 10-30 drops in water 3x per day
  • Decoction: place 2-4 tsp of berries in 1 C of water, bring to a boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes; this should be drank 3x per day

Constituents: Steroidal saponins (which build up the steroidal tone of the adrenal cortex and the gonads)(these give it an unpleasant soapy taste), flavonoids, fatty acids – (including capric, caprylic, palmitic, oleic), volatile oils, polysaccharides, resin

Taste: sweet, soapy, moist

Effects: female tonic (has helped enlarge breasts in thin woman), nutritive tonic, sexual tonic, sedative, digestive stimulant, diuretic, urinary antiseptic, endocrine agent

Medical Use:

  • Helps relieve irritability in the entire nervous system, with a beneficial focus on the reproductive organs, serving as a nutritive tonic – has been known to enlarge breasts and increase the secreting power of the mammary glands, as well as having a positive influence in conditions of sterility where there are no organic lesions
  • Works well to reduce swelling of the prostate therein bringing aid to troubles with urinating in men – inhibits the formation of DHT(dihydrotestosterone), the compound thought responsible for the multiplication of prostate cells that result in prostate enlargement
  • Works to stimulate digestion, improve appetite and aid assimilation – the improvement of nutrition helps rebuild the adrenocortical base, which calms down the nervousness and hyper-adrenalism
  • Helps to decrease atrophy and dryness and therein decreases heat and irritation
  • Useful in treating conditions which irritate the nose, throat, and larynx


Latin Name: Capsella Bursa-Pastoris

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Common Name: Shepherd's Purse

Family: Brassicaceae, member of the mustard family

Habitat: native to Europe but naturalized throughout temperate regions

Botany: ripe seed pods looks like a shepherd's purse (male goat reproductive source)

Parts Used: aerial parts of the plant, or the entire plant including the roots

Collecting: Has a urinous or seaweedy smell.  Picked at flowering in the spring and prepared fresh in alcohol

Preparations:

  • Fresh plant placed in alcohol (drying is claimed to lose its hemostatic properties
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), 1-2 ml taken 3x per day
  • Infusion: 1-2 tsp of dried herb with 1 C of boiling water poured over and let to infuse for 10-15 minutes – for menstrual conditions, a cup should be drank every 2-3 hours; otherwise, it should be drank 3x per day

Constituents: flavonoids, carotenoids, vitamin A, K, C, potassium, amino acids, volatile oils (camphor), plant acids (fumaric and bursic acids), oxalic acid

Taste: pungent, salty, diffusive

Effects: drying, astringent, cools and repressed inflammation, stimulant (to remove toxic matter), diuretic, anti-inflammatory

Medical Use:

  • It stops all bleeding weather internally (spitting, vomiting, urinating (with sand or stones) or overflow of afterbirth) or externally (especially for wounds of the head)
  • Heals green wounds (closes their lips), and working when the blood is dark and oozing and a stimulant is needed (stimulants increase circulation to the extremities which can soak up 20x their normal content of blood, thus taking it away from the wound) -- contrasting with the hemostatic effects of yarrow
  • Can be useful with mattering or running ears, diarrhea (chronic), and fever (not intermittent)
  • When muscle tone is poor (like when the uterus does not expel blood quickly – and sits and clots), and is said to make the uterus fell like it is lifted into the appropriate position, and for fibroids
  • Works well for women who are high-strung, ambitious, and do too much work or are possibly anxious – and has shown some good results with males as well (and for girls who looking to get out into the world are, passing large amount of clear, limpid urine, free of albumin)
  • Helps with sluggish kidney or bladder function, or when water is being retained in the kidneys
  • Can be used for rheumatism, gout, hernia, varicose veins – can also be applied externally for bruised muscles
  • May help to stimulate the menstrual process as well as reduce excessive menstrual flow

Contraindications: large and persistent dosages can cause heart palpitations

Not to be used during pregnancy

Depresses thyroid function

Caution should be taken for individuals with kidney stones because of its oxalic acid content

Ayurvedic Considerations: for vata constitutions of the mind


Latin Name: Viburnum Trilobum (American), Viburnum Opulus (European – Guelder Rose)

(2) (3)

Common Name: Cramp Bark

Family: Caprifoliaceae, honeysuckle family which is typically cooling

Habitat: the American variety is more sour and native to low grounds, whereas the European is more acrid and has been used as an ornamental and naturalized in the uplands of North America

Preparations:

  • Bark tinctured fresh yields the best preparation; dosages can be small or large
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 4-8 ml taken 3x per day
  • Decoction: place 2 tsp of dried herb into a cup of water, bring to a boil and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes; this should be drank hot 3x per day

Constituents: hydroquinones, coumarins, tannins, valerianic acid (a parasympathetic relaxant)

Taste: sour, acrid, cool

Effects: relaxant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, nervine, hypotensive, astringent, emmenagogue, cerebrospinal vaso stimulant

Medical Use:

  • Can be helpful for treating muscle cramping, particularly uterine, smooth muscle cramping, and spasms of tubular organs, often when there is heat and irritation
  • Acting as a uterine relaxant it has been used to protect against threatened miscarriages
  • It can be a helpful astringent for the treatment of excessive menstrual blood loss
  • May help in the restoration of sympathetic/parasympathetic balance

Ayurvedic Considerations: Can help with vata in the GI

History or Folklore: Used by indigenous peoples for menstrual cramping

It is a unique plant in its ability to combine sour and acrid flavors to fight heat and tension – can help with nervous indigestion

Valued in relieving spasmodic pains of the womb and ovaries, working upon the entire pelvic viscera – can also be helpful for vomiting and irritation during pregnancy, and to prevent abortions from nervous irritation

            -can be helpful during delivery with erratic pains, and after delivery if pain is severe

The herb has an affinity to the kidneys; and is indicated when there is pain, weakness, stiffness or soreness in the lower back – strengthening weak kidneys and improving their pumping action if there is insufficient removal of waste and retention of minerals – also working to help balance pH

The berries are used in Russia for high blood pressure and heart disease


Latin Name: Symphytum Officinale

(1) (3)

Common Name: Comfrey

Family: Boraginaceae

Parts Used: roots, rhizomes, leaves

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), 2-4 ml taken 3x per day
  • Decoction: place 1-3 tsp of dried herb in 1 C of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day
  • Cold Infusion: pour 1 C of cold water over 2 tsp of root and let stand for 6-8 hours

Constituents: allantoin (a cell proliferant great for wound healing), pyrrolizidine alkaloids (but may not be present in the dried herb), mucilage (about 29%) composed of a polysaccharide containing glucose and fructose, tannins, steroidal saponins, resins, volatile oils, gums, triterpenes, phenolic acids (rosmarinic, chlorogenic, caffeic, lithospermic), choline, asparagine

Taste: astringent, slightly bitter, mucilaginous, cold, damp

Effects: Vulnerary, demulcent, anti-inflammatory, astringent, expectorant

Medical Use:

  • Stimulates growth when the system has been traumatized and is having trouble regenerating on its own – excellent in delayed bone healing, used for abrasions, and injuries to the skin and mucosa; working as a tonic on the surface of the body
  • Applied externally it can speed wound healing and help foster scar formation, but for deep wounds there should be some caution because the tissue can form over the wound before there has been healing deeper down, this can result in the formation of an abscess
  • Also acts to draw stagnant or toxic material out of the body when applied topically to joints, muscles, or tendons, and increases the circulation in those areas – as an astringent it is useful in the treatment of hemorrhages
  • The combination of wound healing with the demulcent nature of the roots results in it being very helpful in healing gastric and duodenal ulcers, hiatal hernias, and ulcerative colitis – as well as showing good effects with bronchitis and irritated coughs, it soothes and helps promote expectoration
  • It causes growth ‘from the top down’ like goldenseal, rather than from the inside up like yarrow, plantain, calendula, boneset, and St. John’s wort
  • Flower essence is beneficial to repattern the brain as with insomnia, epilepsy, or autism

Contraindications: the alkaloid pyrrolizidine (the roots contain more than the leaves) has been seen to be hurtful to the liver, however certain parts are not as troublesome and externally use is safe – so some caution should be considered with the consumption of large doses of the herb or consumption for extended periods of time

Can cause overgrowth on bones or calluses on the skin, so do not use for bones until they are set in the right place

Not to be used during a normal healthy puberty


Latin Name: Piper Methisticum

Common Name: Kava

Family: Piperaceae

Parts Used: rhizome

Preparations:

Dosage depends on the concentration of kavalactones in the herb which is being used – recommended preparation equivalent to 60-120 mg of kavalactones taken 3x per day

Constituents: kavalactones (3.5-15% of root by dry weight), methysticin, dihydromethysticin, kavain, dihydrokavain, chalcones

Effects: relaxing nervine, hypnotic, antispasmodic, local anesthetic, antifungal, antidepressant, muscle relaxant

Medical Use:

  • Used effectively for helping reduce anxiety, while not decreasing alertness and reaction times, but actually improving concentration
  • Good for treating skeletal muscle spasms and tension
  • Useful as a hypnotic in conditions of mild insomnia
  • Its local anesthetic effects work well on mucus membranes and is helpful in bringing aid for pain experienced around oral conditions

Contraindications: long term or consumption of daily high quantities has been linked to an ichthyosiform skin rash characterized by non-inflammatory dryness and scaling of the skin – these conditions reversed upon discontinuing the consumption of kava


Latin Name: Polygonatum Ssp

(2)

Common Name: Solomon's Seal

Family: Lily

Botany: has white/yellowish rhizomes that look like bones and vertebrates, and leaves wrapping around the stalk that look like tendons and ligaments wrapping around bones; and with a sigil like seal around where the stalk raises up

Collecting: rhizomes are collected in the fall and extracted fresh in alcohol (but must use a high proof alcohol) or dried for decoction

Preparations:

  • Internal or external usage can range from small to large

Constituents: mucilage, oligopolysaccharides, cardiac glycosides (like in lily of the valley, but there are not enough to make the plant toxic)

Taste: sweet, slightly acrid, cool, moist

Effects: nutritive for tendons and joints, demulcent, sexual tonic, lubricant

Medical Use:

  • Very useful for muscular and skeletal issues; it can adjust the tension on the tendons and ligaments.  It also lubricates muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments – for which tincture used externally can be helpful (cracking joints) – and has even been used to reduce or eliminate bone spurs
  • Can be helpful when there is inflammation in the intestines; and the demulcent effects may also sooth irritation in the lungs, GI tract, and the female system
  • Is a sexual tonic for men and woman, but works well for woman after birth particularly in the case of uterine prolapse
  • Helps calm the mind therein bringing a balance to the pulse and the blood pressure
  • Can be effectively used for dry throat, thirst, and cough due to dry lungs
  • Helps protect the liver, and reduce blood sugar levels and blood fat

History or Folklore: Have been used for food and medicine

Doctrine of signatures point towards it being good for strengthening bones, marrow and tendons

TCM classifies it as sweet neutral yin tonic (builds semen)


Latin Name: Arnica Montana

(3)

Common Name: Arnica

Family: Asteraceae

Parts Used: flower head

Preparations:

  • Not recommended to be taken internally unless prepared through a homeopathic preparation
  • Pour 1 pint (.5 liter) of 70% alcohol over 2 ounces (50g.) of flowers and seal in a glass container for at least a week.  Filter and store in a sealed glass container out of sunlight; use as needed

Constituents: sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids, volatile oil, phenolic acids, coumarins, resins, bitters, tannins, carotenes

Effects: anti-inflammatory, vulnerary, immunostimulant

Medical Use:

  • Excellent when used externally for treating bruises and sprains and to help relieve pain and inflammation – but not recommended when the skin is broken
  • Useful in aiding phlebitis, rheumatism and similar conditions

Contraindications: Should not be taken internally as it is potentially toxic due to some of its sesquiterpene lactones, this is either orally or applied externally to open wounds

Can result in rash or skin sensitivity in some people


Latin Name: Stellaria Media

(1) (3)

Common Name: Chickweed

Family: Caryophyllaceae

Botany: has a square stem which is hairy along only one of the sides

Habitat: like shady spots in yards and wooded areas, often around the bottom of trees

Parts Used: aerial parts

Preparations:

  • Best when herb is used fresh
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 2 tsp of herb and infuse for 5 minutes, drink 3x per day
  • Juice: can be placed into a blender and added to other fresh fruit or veggie juices

Constituents: saponin glycosides, coumarins and hydro-coumarins, flavonoids, carboxylic acids, triterpenoids, vitamin C

Taste: moist, cool

Effects: antirheumatic, vulnerary, emollient

Medical Use:

  • It is a gentle lubricating, nourishing, nutritive (helping to assimilate nutrients), cooling antifebrile
  • Applied externally as a poultice for rashes, boils, and outbreaks of eczema for its cooling and cleansing properties; as well as for cuts and wounds – bruised fresh leaves can be applied directly to the treated area with beneficial results; should be changed 2 or 3 times a day
  • Good for any form of internal inflammation due to being a cooling diuretic
  • Works to subdue heat, lubricate dryness, regulate water levels, and drive off excess dampness and fats – stimulating both catabolism and anabolism sides of metabolism
  • Can help with long term losing of fat deposits
  • Is effective acting on the waters of the body; decongesting the lymphatics and clearing waters through the kidneys, and driving off pockets of water in the lungs and elsewhere
  • A strong infusion may be added to bathwater to help ease cases of itching

History or Folklore: Chickens love it and it makes them very healthy

The hairiness of the leaves indicates that it preserves water


Latin Name: Scrophularia Nodosa [Ranunculus Ficaria]

(1) (3)

Common Name: Figwort

Family: Scrophulariaceae, buttercup

Habitat: Prefers moist’ soils and can tolerate shade

Botany:  it has yellow flowers which appear in the spring blossoming between February and May, and resemble the sun

Parts Used: tubers (which resemble figs – or hemorrhoids), aerial parts

Collecting: in the spring when in flower

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 2-4 ml taken 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1-3 tsp of dried leaf and infuse for 10-15 minutes; drink 3x per day

Constituents: iridoids, flavonoids (diosmin, diosmetin, acacetin, rhamnoside, hesperidin), phenolic acids (ferulic, isoferulic, p-coumaric, caffeic, vanillic, chlorogenic acids)

Taste: astringent, salty

Can help with swollen glands by working to move fluids

Effects: alterative, diuretic, laxative, cardiac stimulant

Medical Use:

  • It works effectively as an alterative (and mild laxative, purgative and diuretic) bringing inner cleanliness to the body – widely used for the treatment of skin problems such as irritation, rashes and eczema; with a healthy inside the skin is able to be brought into a state of better health
  • Can aid in constipation due to being a mild laxative

Ayurvedic Considerations: because of its heart stimulating properties it should be avoided by people with abnormally rapid heartbeats

May potentiate the effects of cardiac glycosides

History or Folklore: doctrine of signatures suggest they are useful for hemorrhoids


Latin Name: Curcuma Longa

(1)

Common Name: Turmeric

Parts Used: rhizome

Preparations:

  • 1 TSP of powder blended with water

Constituents: curcumioiods (antineoplastics, cholagogue, antioxidant), fixed oils, volatile oils, vitamin C, potassium, sesquiterpene ketones

Taste: pungent, bitter, warm, stimulating

Effects: stimulant (on liver, gallbladder, and digestion), carminative

Medical Use:

  • Works to purify blood (catabolic) and stimulates bile production (anabolic)
  • Rebuilds damaged hepatic tissues
  • Helps skin conditions associated with impure or coagulated blood, and depressed circulation – this effect on circulation can serve to promote uterine inertia and  menses
  • Can cause contraction of the gallbladder which can help remove gallstones


Latin Name: Calendula Officinalis

(1) (3)

Common Name: Calendula, marigold

Family: Asteraceae, composite family

Habitat: native to Europe but naturalized many places, and in mild climates is can bloom throughout the year.

Botany: grown for its beautiful orange flowers

Parts Used: petals, flower heads and leaves

Collecting: flowers can be harvested throughout the year

Preparations:

  • Flowers are dried because the fresh flowers are too watery
  • Can be applied externally as a lotion, poultice or compress depending on what is most appropriate
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 60%), 1-4ml taken 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1-2 tsp of flowers and infuse for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day

Constituents: flavonoids (isoquercitrin, rutin, narcissin) polysaccharides, bitters (triterpene glycosides), resins, volatile oils, minerals (iodine), triterpenes, chlorogenic acids

Taste: bitter, warm, salty, sweet, resinous, astringent

Effects: immune stimulant, diaphoretic, both drying and moistening (in different situations), emollient, immune tonic, emmenagogue, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, lymphatic, astringent, vulnerary, cholagogue, anti-fungal

Externally used: antiseptic, bacteriostatic, hemostatic

Medical Use:

  • Can be used as a topical dressing for wounds, sores, insect bites, burns, sunburns, sore nipples, diaper rash and infections – it improves internal drainage from purulent wounds; showing its affinity to the lymphatic system and the veins – and can reduce the production of pus and inflammation so the body may heal at its own pace (especially when there is no vent), keeping wounds from hardening and forming scars
  • It helps to cleans lymph glands and ducts, and resolve stagnation therein
  • Can work to lower high enzyme counts from damaged liver, stimulating the liver and gallbladder
  • Soothing anti-inflammatory for the digestive system, digestive mucosa and other mucous membranes, and aids in bringing about periods and relieving dysmenorrheal, and considered an overall normalizer of the menstrual process
  • It warms the stomach, driving heat to the periphery and can cause sweating in fever – help with deep fever as when the bones hurt, like with flu
  • Tonic to prevent sickness in the winter (its ability to reduce inflammation might also be beneficial in the season of overeating) – with its heating bringing impurities to the surface
  • Working as a cholagogue it helps relieve gallbladder problems and digestive complaints often regarded as indigestion
  • May be used as an antifungal used both internally and externally

Contraindications: may result in reactions for individuals with sensitivities to members of the asteraceae family

History or Folklore: it is suited for places where the sun doesn’t shine, such as the neck, breasts and groin.

Long used as a food and generally regarded as safe


Latin Name: Salix Nigra (Alba)

(2) (3)

Common Name: Black Willow (White Willow)

Family: Salicaceae

Habitat: American willow that likes to have its feet near water

Preparations:

  • The effectiveness of the bark is reported to increase when powdered and then burned
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), 10 drop or 3-6ml taken 3x per day
  • Decoction: place 1-2 tsp of dried bark in 1 C of water, bring to a boil and simmer with 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day

Constituents: phenolic glycosides (salicin, salicylic acid [active ingredient in aspirin]), tannins, catechin, p-coumaric acid, flavonoids

Taste: bitter, dry, astringent

Effects: sexual tonic, analgesic, nerve sedative, anti-inflammatory, tonic

Medical Use:

  • Used for treating headaches, arthritis, rheumatism, gout, rashes, aches, pains and fever – because of the naturally balanced composition of the ingredients the salicylates in combination due not result in upsetting or irritating the stomach
  • Can help with nervous disorders, impotence, ovarian pain around menses

History or Folklore: nurserymen used cuttings as they contain a hormone which stimulates rooting in other plants, a cold water infusion would be made, and cutting would be placed into the infusion as a means to stimulate a rooting response


Latin Name: Quercus Alba

(2) (3)

Common Name: White Oak

Family: Fagaceae

Parts Used: inner bark

Collecting: inner bark is collected in the late winter and early spring

Preparations:

  • Fresh bark can be made into tincture with alcohol or it can be preserved in vinegar.  The bark can also be dried so as to be used in decoctions
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 60%), 1-2 ml taken 3x per day
  • Decoction: place 1 tsp of bark in 1 C of water, bring to a boil and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes and drank 3x per day

Constituents: tannins, saponins, minerals, gallic acid

Taste: astringent

Effects: astringent, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic

Medical Use: 

  • Well suited for cases where there is tissue relaxation, loss of tone, prolapsed, outflow of fluids, swelling, purification, and loss of minerals – weakness or loss of vigor in the sinuses, gums, stomach, intestines and the circulatory system as shown with varicose veins
  • As an astringent it is helpful in cases of diarrhea or dysentery – however the potency of its astringent effects are such that it can at times be overwhelming in some situations; therefore it is advised to use at the onset taken in small frequent doses
  • The decoction is a useful gargle for tonsillitis, pharyngitis, and laryngitis – may also be used as an enema for treating hemorrhoids or as a douche for leukorrhea
  • Is effective is dealing with swollen glands and helping get the lymph flowing properly
  • Can be helpful with weakened spleen or kidneys where there is a weakening low temperature and a loss of clear fluids and minerals
  • Seems to have a beneficial calcifying effect, putting calcium into bones, teeth, connective tissues, and cartilage – which can also be good in treating early TB because the body fights it by enclosing the bacteria in a calcified cell
  • Used topically, a poultice of decocted powdered oak bark is effective in treating condition of gangrene
  • Can be helpful in psychological conditions where one is getting worn down due to not giving up but continuing to fight unwinnable fights; oak helps to re-shift the focus more into directions where the individual is able to realize success

Contraindications: too much can be too puckering

History or Folklore: considered the ‘model astringent’

Acorns were thought to be a wonderful medicine for fat people; they dried up watery humors, aids the sluggishness of the system, and reduces surplus flesh, as well as helping to bring high blood pressure down to normal


Latin Name: Filipendula Ulmaria

(1) (3)

Common Name: Meadowsweet

Family: Rosaceae, (rose)

Parts Used: aerial parts

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 45%), 2-4 ml taken 3X per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1-2 tsp of dried herb and infuse in a covered container for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day

Constituents: salicylates, flavonol glycosides (spiraeoside, rutin, hyperin, kaempferol glucoside), volatile oils, tannins, polyphenolics, phenylcarboxylic acids, coumarin, vitamin C

Taste: bitter, astringent, cooling, dry

Effects: antirheumatic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, antacid, antiemetic, astringent

Medical Use:

  • Acts as a normalizer for poorly functioning stomachs working as one of the best digestive remedies, through soothing the mucous membranes and helping to regulate acidity and rectify alkalinity – relieving sour belching, nausea, sickness, swelling, or vomiting after meals
  • Taken as a strong tea every few hours is beneficial in cases of fever (salicylates)
  • Good at the removal of uric acid deposits (working on acute and chronic forms of rheumatism), and is helpful in almost all infections of the kidneys and bladder
  • Restores the action of the liver, kidneys, bladder, and tones the digestive organs – strengthens the nerves and muscles and restores health and strength
  • Being a gentle astringent it is helpful for children’s diarrhea

Contraindications: should be avoided by individuals with salicylate sensitivity


Latin Name: Achillea Millefolium

(2) (3)

Common Name: Yarrow

Family: Asteraceae

Habitat: native to Europe and Asia, with interchangeable relative native throughout the northern hemisphere

Parts Used: leaves, flowers, and roots

Preparations:

  • A hot cup of tea will open the skin; however, cool cup will stimulate the stomach, digestion and kidneys – different constituents come out at different temperatures so used hot/cold or fresh/dry it is able to give use a varying profile of appearances – additionally, the soil and exposure to the sun can affects the properties within the plant
  • Infusion: 1 tsp of herb in 1 C boiling water steeped for 13 minutes in a covered container (protecting the oil), and works well for pale skin and blood stuck in the interior; drank 3x per day, however, if feverish should be drank hourly
  • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), 2-4 ml taken 3x per day

Constituents: flavonoids, vitamin C, bitters, tannins, alkaloids, sterols, phenolic acids (including salicylates), coumarins, sesquiterpene lactones (including achilleion), volatile oils (including the toxic thujone, irritating borneol, stimulating camphor, antiseptic pinenes...)

Taste: pungent, bitter, astringent, acrid, diffusive, aromatic

Effects: blood normalizer, diaphoretic (mainly on the skin), warming and cooling, generating and controlling fluids, hemostatic, normalizer of circulation, diuretic, hypotensive, astringent, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, bitter, hepatic

Medical Use:

  • It tones the blood vessels and is able to assist the blood through clotting, unclotting, neurovascular control, regulate blood flow to and from the surface, in and out of capillaries (which are soothed due to the flavonoids) and venules, as well as working to thicken or thin the blood – through this (and being antimicrobial) it effectively cures all sorts of wounds, bruises and hemorrhaging
  • Can be helpful in dealing with fever by moving blood to and from the surface, releasing heat and regulating fluids – or dealing with any kind of inflammation; this movement of blood works to lower the blood pressure and help with conditions associated with hypertension
  • Stimulates digestion and is helpful with heat and congestion in the digestive tract, abdomen, portal vein, and liver – bringing blood to the surface therein improving digestion and assimilation
  • Can help to bring on menses or curtail them when excessive
  • Useful for treating infections such as cystitis, working as a urinary tract antiseptic
  • Works with the kidneys to normalize the distribution, secretion, and elimination of water in the body

Contraindications: not recommended when there is passive, dark coagulated flow (use shepard’s purse), but instead should be used when hemorrhages are bright red

Can provoke diaphoresis when the skin is in an atonic weakened condition

Some people have allergic reaction to members of the aster family

Can be alright during pregnancy, but should not be consumed in high doses

History or Folklore: was called the ‘master of blood’

Indicated by an elongated pointy red tongue (indication of heat), but with bluish undertones in the middle (can often be reflected in the whole complexion), indicating venous stagnation – often dry in the middle indicating the heat is driving off the fluids

Pulse is usually rapid, full and nonresistant; showing that the heat is having its way with the tissue


Latin Name: Aesculus Hippocastanum

(1) (3)

Common Name: Horse Chestnut

Family: Hippocastanaceae, Sapindaceae

Habitat: native to Western Asia but naturalized in the western hemisphere

Botany: Is a tree, but should not to be confused with the buckeye, the North American relative

Parts Used: seed, pericarp

Collecting: when dropping due to ripeness

Preparations:

  • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 1-4 ml taken 3x per day
  • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1-2 tsp of dried seed and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes; drank 3x per day

Constituents: flavonoids, tannins, fatty acids, sterols, triterpene saponin glycosides, coumarin derivatives

Taste: pungent, astringent

Effects: astringent, anti-inflammatory, venous tonic

Medical Use:

  • Works to increase the elasticity and tone of the veins while decreasing vein permeability
  • Latin Name: Anethum Graveolens

    (w) (3)

    Common Name: Dill

    Family: Apiaceae, celery

    Botany: an annual herb growing to 2 feet tall, with a hollow stem and soft finely divided leaves.  Flowers are white to yellow in small umbels

    Parts Used: seed

    Preparations:

    • Tincture: (1:5 in 25%), 2-4 ml taken 3x per day
    • Infusion: pour 1 C of boiling water over 1-2 tsp of gently crushed seeds and infuse in a covered container for 10-15 minutes; for treating flatulence take 1 C of the infusion prior to eating a meal

    Constituents: volatile oil, flavonoids, coumarins, xanthone derivatives, triterpenes, phenolic acids, protein, fixed oil

    Effects: carminative, aromatic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, galactagogue

    Medical Use:

    Works well as a remedy for flatulence and associated colic, specifically well suited for children

    Chewing seeds can aid in cases of bad breath

    Can increase the flow of milk in nursing mothers

    Contraindications: contact with juice from the plant may cause phytodematitis


    Latin Name: Pimpinella Anisum

    (w), (3)

    Common Name: Anise, aniseed

    Family: Apiaceae

    Habitat: native to the Eastern Mediterranean regions and Southwest Asia

    Botany: it is an annual herb growing to around 3 feet with leaves changing from being long (.5-2 in) and shallowly lobed near the base to being feathery pinnate and divided into numerous leaves higher up the step.  The flowers are white and small in size (1/8 in) but are produced in dense umbels.  Grows best in light, fertile, well-drained soils.  Should be planted as soon as the ground warms up in the Spring, and because of having a tap root it is better to plant directly into the ground because it does not transplant well, unless done when it is still very small.

    Parts Used: seed

    Preparations:

    • Tincture: (1:5 in 40%), 1-4 ml taken 3x per day
    • Infusion: gently crush the seeds just prior to use, then pour 1 C boiling water over 1-2 tsp of the seeds and infuse in a covered container for 5-10 minutes; taken 3x per day.  The infusion should be drank slowly before meals to treat flatulence
    • Essential oil: 1 drop of essential oil may be taken internally by mixing it into 1 tsp of honey

    Constituents: volatile oil, coumarins, flavonoids, phenylpropanoids, lipids, fatty acids, sterols, proteins, carbohydrates

    Taste: sweet, similar to star anise, fennel (in the some Middle Eastern cultures the two are used interchangeably and referred by the same name) and licorice

    Effects: expectorant, antispasmodic, carminative, antimicrobial, aromatic, galactagogue

    Medical Use: 

    • The herbs volatile oils are very helpful for conditions of griping, intestinal colic, and flatulence
    • Working as both antispasmodic and expectorant it is very useful for bronchitis, tracheitis, whooping cough, and when there is a persistent irritable cough
    • Used externally in oil, it helps control lice, and can be used for the treatment of scabies
    • Has a mild estrogenic effect and was traditionally recommended in folk medicine to increase milk secretion, facilitate birth, and increase libido

    Contraindications: may be photosensitizing

    May interfere with the activity of anticoagulant therapy

    History or Folklore:  many cultures have a tradition of consuming some form of the seeds after a meal as a digestive; the ancient Romans often served spiced cakes with anise seed, called mustaceoeat the end of feasts as a digestive. This tradition of serving cake at the end of festivities is the basis for the tradition of serving cake at weddings and parties.

    According to Pliny the Elder, anise was used as a cure for sleeplessness, and when mixed with wine, as a remedy for asp bites

    Builders of steam locomotives in Britain incorporated capsules of aniseed oil into white metal plain bearings, so the distinctive smell would give warning in case of overheating.


    Adaptogen—an herb that increases resistance and resilience to stress, enabling the body to avoid reaching collapse because it can adapt around the problem

    Alterative—herbs that gradually restore proper functioning of the body, increasing health and vitality.  Some alteratives support natural waste elimination via the kidneys, liver, lungs or skin.  Others stimulate digestive function or are antimicrobial.

    Anabolism—an anabolic state refers to constructive metabolism in which food is changed into living tissue

    Analgesic—a substance that reduces the sensation of pain

    Anhydrotic—a substance that can help control or check sweating

    Anodyne—substance that soothes or relieves pain

    Antacid—a substance that neutralizes acid

    Anti-allergen—a substance that counters allergic reactions

    Antiamoebic— substance that works to counter or eliminate amoebae

    Antibiotic—a drug that kills microorganisms

    Antibacterial—a substance that stops or checks the growth of bacteria

    Anticancer—a compound used against or tending to arrest or prevent cancer

    Anticatarrhal—helps the body remove excess mucus, whether in the sinus area or in other parts of the body

    Antidepressant—help alleviate depression

    Antifungal—a substance that inhibits the growth or multiplication of fungi

    Antihepatotoxic—protects liver cells from damage

    Anti-inflammatory—soothes inflammation or reduces the inflammation of the tissue directly

    Antilithic—prevents the formation of a stone

    Antimicrobial—antimicrobials help the body destroy or resist pathogenic organisms.  They help the body strengthen its own resistance to infective organisms and throw off the illness

    Antimutagen—a substance that reduces or interferes with the mutagenic effects of another substance

    Antioxidant—a compound that prevents free radical or oxidative damage

    Antirheumatic—helps prevent and relieve rheumatism

    Antiseptic—destroys and prevents the development of microbes

    Antispasmodic—a substance the relieves smooth muscle spasms

    Antitussive—substance that reduces coughing, especially one that affects activity in the brain’s cough center and depresses respiration

    Antitumor—a substance that prevents or is effective against tumors

    Antiviral—substance that inhibits the growth of a virus

    Anthelmintic—a vermifuge, destroying or expelling intestinal worms

    Aperients—a mild laxative

    Antiperiodic—relieves malarial-type fevers and chills; prevents regular recurrences

    Aphrodisiac—increases or stimulates sexual desire

    Aromatic—a substance with a strong aroma or smell

    Astringent—a substance that causes the contracting of body tissues

    Bacteriostat—substance that retards the growth of bacteria

    Balsamic—relating to a resinous semisolid mass of viscous liquid exuded from a plant.  A “true” balsam is characterized by its high content of benzoic acid, and other specific chemical such as benzoates

    Bitter—herbs with bitter taste

    Blood building—helps increase the production of blood

    Blood sugar regulant—helps to regulate the blood sugar

    Blood thinner—substance which thins the viscosity of the blood

    Carminative—plants rich in aromatic volatile oils that stimulate the digestive system to work properly and with ease, soothing the gut wall, reducing any inflammation, easing griping pains, and helping the removal of gas from the digestive tract

    Catabolic—the metabolic breakdown of complex molecules into simpler ones, often result in a release of energy

    Cathartic—a substance that stimulates the movement of the bowels, more powerful than a laxative

    Cholagogue—a compound that stimulates the contraction of the gallbladder

    Counterirritant—an application to the skin that relieves deep-seated pain, usually applied in the form of heat; also see rubefacient

    Demulcent—an herb rich in mucilage that soothes and protects irritated and inflamed tissue

    Depressant—drug that lowers nervous and functional activity; sedative

    Detoxifier—a substance that counteracts or destroys the toxic properties, may remove the effects of poison

    Diaphoretic—promotes perspiration, enabling the skin to eliminate waste from the body, thus helping the body ensure a clean and harmonious inner environment

    Digestive—substance that promotes or aids the digestion of food

    Diffusive—causes something to spread out

    Diuretic—increases the production and elimination of urine

    Emetic—a substance that induces vomiting

    Emmenagogue—stimulates menstrual flow and activity

    Emollient—soothes and softens external tissue

    Endocrine regulator—helps to regulate the ductless glands of the body

    Expectorant—soothes bronchial spasms and loosens mucous secretions, helping dry irritating coughs

    Galactagogue—increases the secretion of milk

    Germicidal—destroys germs and microorganisms such as bacteria

    Hemostatic—a substance that checks bleeding

    Hepatic—pertaining to the liver

    Hypertensive—a substance that causes a rise in blood pressure

    Hypnotic—a drug that produces a state clinically similar to sleep by means of action in the central nervous system

    Hypotensive—plant remedy that lowers abnormally elevated blood pressure

    Immunomodulator—substance hoped to strengthen the immune system and help the body fight off opportunistic infections or other diseases.  Not necessarily used to stimulate the immune system.

    Immunostimulant—a plant that stimulates some aspect of immune system functioning

    Irritant—a substance that produces redness, itching, swelling, or blisters on the skin

    Laxative—stimulating bowel movements

    Lithotriptic -- works to assist the dissolution or breaking up of a calculus or abnormal concentration, typically of mineral salts, within the body

    Lubricant—a greasy substance applied to reduce friction on a body surface

    Lymphatic—pertaining to the lymph system

    Microbicide—a compound that destroys microbes

    Narcotic—depresses central nervous system, thus relieving pain and promoting sleep

    Neuroprotective—substance that works to protect neurons from injury or degeneration

    Nervine—relaxants that ease anxiety and tension by soothing both body and mind

    Normalizer—substance that helps to bring or return a system to a normal condition or state; examples being: blood normalizer, histamine normalize, hormonal normalizer

    Nutritive—a compound that is very nourishing

    Parasiticide—prevents and destroys parasites such as fleas and lice

    Parturient—aiding childbirth

    Purgative—laxative or cathartic medication

    Relaxant—a substance used to promote relaxation or reduce tension

    Rubefacient—generating a localized increase in blood flow when applied to the skin, helping healing, cleansing, and nourishment.  Often used to ease the pain and swelling of arthritic joints.

    Sanative—conducive to health and well-being

    Sedative—an agent that reduces functional activity; calming

    Sialogogue—an agent that stimulates the secretion of saliva

    Stimulant—an agent that quickens the physiological functions of the body or body system; such as a capillary stimulant, circulation stimulant, uterine stimulant, immune-stimulant, respiratory stimulant, vaso stimulant, immuno-stimulant

    Stomachic – strengthens stomach functions

    Tonic—nurturing and enlivening, can be general to the body or pertaining to specific systems such as a: chi tonic, immune tonic, mucus membrane tonic, bitter tonic, cerebral tonic, longevity tonic, cardio-tonic, liver tonic, immune system tonic, nerve tonic, uterine tonic, sexual tonic, female tonic, venous tonic, yang tonic, yin tonic

    Urinary—relating to urine, its production, function, and excretion

    Vasodilator—an agent that dilates that blood vessels

    Vermicide—a chemical agent that kills parasitic worms in the intestine

    Vermifuge—a chemical agent used to expel parasites from the intestine; anthelmintic

    Vulnerary—a remedy that promotes wound healing, especially for skin lesions and stomach ulcers