Medicinal Herb Facts
A & B Herbs
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- A & B Herbs
- F, G,
- I, J, K Herbs
- L, M, N Herbs
- O, P, Q Herbs
- R, S, T Herbs
U, V, W,
X, Y, Z Herbs
It is used almost exclusively in the treatment of
Even in moderate doses, it is a powerful
diaphoretic and will cause profuse sweating in the
herb is also an astringent and antiseptic and will
soothe an inflamed bronchial mucosa and promote the
rapid healing of an ulcerated throat.
The most valuable aspect is its use as an
will quickly remove mucous from the lungs and bronchi,
and as the herb also produces a slight vasodilative
action, it makes breathing easier and reduces coughing.
Bark (Acacia decurrens) Strongly astringent, babul is used to contract and toughen mucous
membranes throughout the body in much the same way as witch hazel or oak bark does. Babul may be made into a variety of preparations: for instance, a lotion for bleeding gums, a gargle for sore throats, a wash for eczema, an eyewash for conjunctivitis and other eye problems, and a douche for excessive vaginal discharge. The herb is taken internally to treat diarrhea, mainly in the form of a decoction. In Ayurvedic medicine, babul is considered a remedy that is helpful for treating
premature ejaculation. .
Acacia, Catsclaw (Acacia
greggii) The pod is powdered and applied
moistened as a poultice for muscle pain, bruises or
sprains. It also is used for the same purposes as
Mesquite. Gather the pods when still green and dry the
leaves and branches over a paper as the leaves often
fall off while hanging. The longer distal roots, chopped
into small segments while moist. The gum is gathered the
same way as mesquite gum and the flowers are dried. The
green leaves, stems, and pods are powdered for tea
(standard infusion) or for topical application; the
roots are best used as a cold standard infusion, warmed
for drinking and gargling.
are used for conjunctivitis in the same manner as
mesquite pods and the gum, although catsclaw is harder
to harvest it is used in the same way as mesquite gum.
The powdered pods and leaves make an excellent infused
tea (2-4 ounces of the standard infusion every three
hours) for diarrhea and dysentery, as well as a strongly
astringent hemostatic and antimicrobial wash. The
straight powder will stop superficial bleeding and can
also be dusted into moist, chafed body folds and dusted
on infants for diaper rash. The flowers and leaves as a
simple tea are good anti-inflammatory for the stomach
and esophagus in nausea, vomiting, and hangovers. It is
distinctly sedative. The root is thick and mucilaginous
as a tea and is good for sore throat and mouth
inflammations as well as dry raspy coughing.
Sweet (Acacia farnesiana )
Colombians bathe in the bark decoction as a treatment
for typhoid. The
gummy roots have been chewed as a treatment for sore
throat. A decoction of the gum from the trunk has been used in the
treatment of diarrhea. An infusion of the flowers has
been used as a stomachic. It is also used in the
treatment of dyspepsia and neuroses. The flowers are
added to ointment, which is rubbed on the forehead to
treat headaches. The
powdered dried leaves have been applied externally as a
treatment for wounds. The green pods have been decocted
and used in the treatment of dysentery and inflammations
of the skin and raucous membranes. An infusion of the
pod has been used in the treatment of sore throats,
diarrhea, leucorrhoea, conjunctivitis, and uterorrhagia.
Acacia, Umbrella Thorn
Leaves, bark, seeds, and a
red gum are used in many local medicines. Two
pharmacologically active compounds for treating asthma
have been isolated from the bark. The stem of the tree
is also used to treat diarrhea. The gum is used like
that of gum arabics in folk remedies. The dried,
powdered bark is used as a disinfectant in healing
wounds; in Senegal it serves as an anthelmintic. In
Somalia the stem is used to treat asthma. Seeds are
taken to treat diarrhea. In French Guinea, the bark is
used as a vermifuge and dusted onto skin ailments.
Aconite is poisonous in all but the smallest doses and
is rarely prescribed for internal use.
More commonly , it is applied to unbroken skin
to relieve pain from bruises or neurological
Ayurvedic medicine, aconite is used to treat
neuralgia, asthma, and heart weakness.
Aconite has been added to salves because of its
painkilling action on neuralgia, lumbago, and
tincture has been given in one-drop doses for heart
failure, high fevers, pneumonia, pleurisy and
only under a professional’s supervision.
Adam and Eve Root (Aplectrum hyemale):
It has been used in folk remedies but is too rare to
harvest. Admire it and leave it alone. The corm has been used to treat bronchial illness.
Tongue (Erythronium americanum): Generally
used as a poultice for ulcers and skin troubles. An infusion of the leaves is taken for the relief of skin
problems and for enlarged glands.
Various oil infusions and ointments made from the
leaf and spike have been used to treat wounds, and
poultices of the fresh leaves have been applied to
soothe and heal bruises.
The bulbs of the plant have been recorded as
emetic and as a substitute for Colchicium in the
treatment of gout.
In the fresh state it has been reported to be a
remedy for scurvy. It is often used to treat scrofulous skin arising from
Can mix the expressed juice with cider for
internal use. Must
be used fresh.
Tongue, English (Ophioglossum vulgatum(: the
fresh leaves make a most effective and comforting
poultice for ulcers and tumors.
The expressed juice of the leaves is drunk as a
treatment for internal bleeding and bruising.
Adenophora, (Adenophora verticillata):
This is a
commonly used medicinal plant in China. It is used
in the treatment of women's diseases, chronic
bronchitis with dry cough, pulmonary infections with
cough and thick yellow sputum, dry throat. The root
of the Adenophora physcically resembles that of
ginseng and has some of its virtues as well.
Adenophora root is considered a restorative of body
vigor and, to some extent, a sexual reparative. It
is also employed by the Chinese as a tonic and for
the treatment of pulmonary ailments.
Adonis (Adonis vernalis): The
leaves and tops contain a number of biologically active
compounds, including cardioactive glycosides that
benefit the heart.
It dilates the coronary vessels.
They are similar to those found in foxglove but
substances increase the heart’s efficiency by
increasing its output while slowing its rate.
Unlike foxglove, however, false hellebore’s
effect on the heart is slightly sedative, and it is
generally prescribed for patients with hearts that are
beating too fast or irregularly. It is also used for
mitral stenosis and edema due to heart failure.
False hellebore is recommended as a treatment for
certain cases of low blood pressure.
False hellebore is strongly diuretic and can be
used to counter water retention, particularly if this
condition can be attributed to poor circulatory
is an ingredient of several commercial German
preparations for heart complaints and low blood
is also found in Bechterew’s Mixture, a Russian
formulation for heart conditions of nervous origin.
articulatus) The aromatic properties of
the drug cause a feeling of warmth to be diffused
throughout the whole system and it acts as a sedative in
dyspeptic disorders. Adrue is used in traditional
African and Asian medicine to control nausea, vomiting,
stomach pain, and gas. It is also used for headaches and
epilepsy; for blood in the urine, and for some female
disorders such as menstrual irregularity, breast pain,
and vaginal discharge.
The roots are diuretic and
demulcent. They are credited with tonic properties and
given to pregnant women. The roots and flowers are used
to cure headaches. The flowers are used for the removal
of kidney stones and in gonorrhea. Roots used in
headache and also as emulcent. Decoction of the root is
given as tonic to pregnant women. Also used for the
treatment of gonorrhea and kidney disorders, cutaneous
affections and sugar in urine. This herb is described as
"one of the best known remedies for bladder and kidney
stones." Ayurvedic practitioners recommend a decoction
of the plant to be taken internally for a few days to
dissolves the stone and to clear the urinary path. As a
tea it is used as a flushing-out treatment using more
than 2 liters per day, sometimes combined with a
medication for inflammations of the genitourinary tract
(cystitis, urethritis), urinary gravel and
nonobstructive stones, to prevent relapsing urinary
infections, gravel and stones and for inflammations of
the upper respiratory tract (bronchitis, phyarngitis,
etc; coughs due to thickened bronchial section, and
gastrointestinal tract. Externally it is used as a
poultice for minor skin inflammations. It is useful to
treat boils cephalgia, Cough, and lithiasis. For
fever: Crush the leaves in cold water and bathe.
) Like most seaweeds and their
derivatives, agar is nutritious and contains large
amounts of mucilage.
Its chief medicinal use is as a bulk laxative.
In the intestines, agar absorbs water and swells,
stimulating bowel activity and the subsequent
elimination of feces.
It is principally used in scientific cultures and
Agrimony has long been used since Saxon times to heal wounds because
it staunches bleeding and encourages clot formation. In the 15th
century, it was the prime ingredient of “arquebusade water,” a
battlefield remedy for gunshot wounds.
In France, the eau de arquebusade is still applied for sprains
and bruises. A cooling astringent and mildly bitter, the aerial parts
can be used for “hot” conditions like diarrhea, bronchitis and a
gentle tonic for the digestion as a whole. Combined with other herbs
such as corn silk, it is a valuable remedy for cystitis and urinary
incontinence, and has also been used for kidney stones, sore throats,
rheumatism, and arthritis. It
can be used as a suppository combining the extract with cocoa butter
and inserting into the rectum for hemorrhoids, tapeworms and diarrhea. The healing power is attributed to the herb’s high
silica content. Agrimony
is indicated for chronic cholecystopathies with gastric sub-acidity. Real success will be achieved only if the plant is used
consistently for some time. European
herbalists suggest a few cups of agrimony tea daily to heal peptic
ulcers and colitis, to gently control diarrhea, to tone the digestive
tract lining, and to improve food assimilation.
One glycoside it contains has been shown to reduce excessive
bile production in the gallbladder.
Ai Ye (Artemisia argyi):
The leaves have been found to have an antibacterial
action, effective against Staphylococcus aureus,
Bacillus typhi, B. dysenteriae, E. coli, B. subtilis,
Pseudomonas etc. A volatile oil extracted from the
plant is particularly effective in the treatment of
bronchitis and asthma - the oil is sprayed into the
throat and takes effect within one minute. The leaves
are used to treat excessive bleeding during
menstruation, bleeding during pregnancy or after labor,
bleeding of the nose, vomiting of blood, blood in
stools, diarrhea. They are also used in the treatment of
sterility, dysmenorrhea, coughs, asthma and in
moxibustion. The leaf stalks used to treat chronic
dysentery, eye disease. Seeds are used to treat sweating
at night, excessive gas in the system, tuberculosis,
Air Potato (Dioscorea
bulbifera): In folk medicine it has been used to
ease the pain on sprained ankles, and certain other uses
that is in combination with other plants. In healing the
sprained angle, the fruit of the vine, which is brownish
in color is cut in have and the insides are scraped out
and put into a cloth or something that will easily let the
fluid out of it we massaging the sprained ankle with it.
Always massage down toward the ground and outwardly of the
foot. TCM: Indications: rid of toxin,
relieves swelling, reduces phlegm, cools blood, stops
ajowan): In the Middle East, ajowan water
is often used for diarrhoea and wind and in India the seeds are a home
remedy for indigestion and asthma.
For reasons of both flavor and practicality its natural
affinity is with starchy foods and legumes.
Because of its thymol content, it is a strong germicide,
anti-spasmodic, fungicide, and anthelmintic.
Regular use of Ajwain leaves seems to prevent kidney stone
formation. It also
has aphrodisiac properties and the Ananga
Ranga prescribes it for increasing the enjoyment of a husband in
the flower of his life
is very useful in alleviating spasmodic pains of the stomach and
intestines, in adults as well as children. Any colicky pain due to
flatulence (gas), indigestion and infections in the intestines can
easily be relieved by taking one teaspoonful of ajwain along with 2-3
pinches of common salt in warm water. Use half the dose in children.
Mixed with buttermilk it is a good anti-acidic agent
For chronic bronchitis and asthma, mix ajwain with jaggery (gur). Heat the
mixture to make a paste and take 2 teaspoonsful twice a day. However,
diabetics should not take this preparation because of the sugar
content. It helps to bring out the mucus easily. It also helps in
In an acute attack of common cold or migraine headache, put ajwain powder in
a thin cloth and smell this frequently. It gives tremendous
symptomatic relief according to some Ayurvedic experts.
If people who consume excessive alcohol develop discomfort in the stomach,
taking ajwain twice a day, will be very useful. It will also reduce
the craving and desire for alcohol.
(Akebia trifoliata): A
pungent, bitter herb that controls bacterial and
fungal infections and stimulates the circulatory and
urinary systems and female organs. It is a potent
diuretic due to the high content of potassium salts.
Internally for urinary tract infections,
rheumatoid arthritis, absence of menstruation, and
Taken internally, it controls gram-positive
bacterial and fungal infections.
Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus
frangula (Frangula alnus)): Alder
buckthorn is a laxative and a cathartic, and is most
commonly taken as a treatment for chronic constipation.
Once dried and stored, it is significantly milder
than senna or common buckthorn and may be safely used
over the long term to treat constipation and to
encourage the return of regular bowel movements. Alder
buckthorn is a particularly beneficial remedy if the
muscles of the colon are weak and if there is poor bile
the plant should not be used to treat constipation
resulting from excessive tension in the colon wall.
The berries also act as a milder purgative.
Fresh bark, powdered and mixed with vinegar, is
used to topically treat fungal diseases of the skin and
Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum): The plant was used in ancient days to relieve dropsy.
The seeds were often soaked in wine to create a
tonic for scurvy when other sources of vitamin C were
not available and also to promote menstruation.
The root is a diuretic.
The crushed leaves or their juice was a soothing
and healing treatment for cuts and minor abrasions.
It was also used for asthma.
These uses are now obsolete
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa
) The whole herb is used medicinally to
help stop bleeding to benefit the kidneys and as a
It is a good laxative and a natural diuretic.
It is a folk remedy for arthritis and is reputed
to be an excellent appetite stimulant.
Alfalfa possesses extremely high nutritional
excellent source of vitamins A and D, alfalfa leaf is
used in the infants’ cereal pablum.
Also rich in vitamin K, alfalfa leaf has been
used in medicine to encourage blood clotting. Alfalfa also lowers blood cholesterol. Other recommended uses for alfalfa are for asthma and
has also been found to retard the development of
streptozotocin diabetes in mice.
It is a traditional European and Russian tea for
wasting diseases and is used in some German clinics as a
dietary aid in Celiac Disease, together with traditional
treatment and diet.
A safe and appropriate tea for pregnancy, along
with raspberry leaves; also good to drink when sulfa or
antibiotic drugs are taken.
Alkali Heath (Frankenia
salina): Used both internally and by injection
or spray, for catarrhal diseases and other discharges
from the mucous membranes, diarrhea, vaginal leucorrhea,
gonorrhea, and gleet, and the different types of
catarrh. The tea is a reliable astringent to reduce
inflammation of the alimentary tract, from mouth sores
to the intestines, relieving diarrhea and soothing piles
and hemorrhoids. It is an effective douche for vaginal
Alkali Heath (Sphaeralcea coccinea): This
plant’s Navajo name came from the sticky mixture that
occurs when the roots and leaves are pounded and soaked
in water. The resulting sticky infusion is put on sores
to stop bleeding and is used as a lotion for skin
disease. The dried powdered plant is used as dusting
powder. It is one of the life medicines and is used as
a tonic to improve the appetite, and to cure colds,
coughs and flu. The roots were used to stop bleeding,
and they were also chewed to reduce hunger when food was
scarce. The leaves are slimy and mucilaginous when
crushed, and they were chewed or mashed and used as
poultices or plasters on inflamed skin, sores, wounds
and sore or blistered feet. Leaves were also used in
lotions to relieve skin diseases, or they were dried,
ground and dusted on sores. Fresh leaves and flowers
were chewed to relieve hoarse or sore throats and upset
stomachs. Whole plants were used to make a sweet-tasting
tea that made distasteful medicines more palatable. It
was also said to reduce swellings, improve appetite,
relieve upset stomachs, and strengthen voices. The
Dakota heyoka chewed the plants to a paste and rubbed it
on their skin as protection from scalding. The tea is
very effective for a raspy, dry, sore throat; and, like
its relative Malva, it will soothe the urinary tract
when urination is painful. The tea is used for bathing
infants to prevent or retard thrush, and to soothe
chafing. It is soothing to almost any skin rash in
adults and children. Strong decoction, 4-6 fluid ounces
up to 4 times a day for internal use, as needed
(Pimenta dioica): Allspice
was included in the British Codex from 1721-1914.
It was principally an aromatic stimulant and carminative, good
for flatulence, indigestion and hysterical paroxyms. Aqua pimentae was
an ingredient in stomach and purgative medicines, and also played a
part in the treatment of rheumatism and neuralgia.
The powdered berries have been used for dyspepsia and also to
disguise the taste of disagreeable medicines.
Bitter almonds when distilled yield an essential oil
containing about 5% of prussic acid.
Almonds are usually processed to extract almond
oil for cosmetic purposes.
It is helpful for alleviating itchy skin
conditions, such as eczema.
The oil is popular with masseuses and
aromatherapists as it is light, easily absorbed, and
makes an excellent carrier oil for essential oils.
Little is used for medicinal purposes, but almond
flour is sometimes used as sustaining food for
milk is still drunk as a kidney tonic and to ease
oil derived from a bitter variety of almond has sedative
properties and is sometimes used in cough remedies.
As well as being a tasty addition to the diet,
almonds are also beneficial to the overall health of the
body, being used especially in the treatment of kidney
stones, gallstones and constipation. Externally, the oil
is applied to dry skins and is also often used as a
carrier oil in aromatherapy. The seed is demulcent,
emollient, laxative, nutritive and pectoral. When used
medicinally, the fixed oil from the seed is normally
employed. The seed contains 'laetrile', a substance that
has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed
to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer,
but there does not at present seem to be much evidence
to support this. The pure substance is almost harmless,
but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very
rapidly acting poison - it should thus be treated with
caution. In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous
compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and
gives a sense of well-being.
The leaves are used in the treatment of diabetes.
The plant contains the antitumor compound
Almond, Indian (Terminalia
catappa) Extracts from the leaves and bark
of the plant have proven anticarcinogenic, anti-HIV and
hepatoprotective properties (liver regenerating
effects), including anti-diabetic effects. The leaves
and bark have been used traditionally in the South
Pacific, for fungal related conditions. It may be
potentially beneficial for overall immune support, liver
detoxification and antioxidant support. The leaves
contain agents for chemo-prevention of cancer and
probably have anticarciogenic potential. They also have
a anticlastogenic effect (a process which causes breaks
in chromosomes) due to their antioxidant properties. The
kernel of Indian almond has shown aphrodisiac activity;
it can probably be used in treatment of some forms of
sexual inadequacies (premature ejaculation). Ethanol
extract of the leaves shown potential in the treatment
of sickle cell disorders. It appears as an anti-sickling
agent for those that suffer from sickle cell. It has
been shown to be of benefit for microbial balancing.; as
an aid to lowering high blood pressure and stress; as a
treatment for some forms of liver disorders; as an aid
in reducing the effect of several heart conditions . In
Asia it has long been known that the leaves of contain a
toxic, secondary metabolite, which has antibacterial
From other countries: the leaves, bark and
fruits are used for dysentery in Southeast Asia;
dressing for rheumatic joints in Indonesia and India;
the fruits and bark are a remedy for coughs in Samoa)
and asthma in Mexico; the fruits treat leprosy and
headaches in India and motion sickness in Mexico; the
leaves eliminate intestinal parasites in the Philippines
and treat eye problems, rheumatism and wounds in Samoa
while they’re used to stop bleeding during teeth
extraction in Mexico; fallen leaves are used to treat
liver diseases in Taiwan, and young leaves for colic in
South America; the juice of the leaves is used for
scabies, skin diseases and leprosy in India and
Pakistan; the bark is a remedy for throat and mouth
problems, stomach upsets and diarrhea in Samoa and for
fever and dysentery in Brazil.
Aloe (Aloe barbadensis) Commercial aloe juice is made from the inner leaf, which is
blended and strained, with a preservative added. To make aloe “gel”, the juice is thickened with seaweed
to mimic the leaf’s original thick consistency.
The crystalline part called aloin, a brownish gel
found alongside the leaf blade, is powdered and used in
some commercial laxatives.
It is so strong that it must be combined with
other herbs to prevent intestinal griping. The commercial juice and gel remove this part of the leaf, so
both the juice and the gel are soothing to digestive
tract irritations, such as peptic ulcers and colitis.
In one study, the stomach lesions of twelve
peptic ulcer patients were all completely healed.
A popular ingredient in commercial drug store
products, aloe is commonly used to soothe burns,
including sunburn and radiation burns.
Aloe is also applied to wounds, eczema, ringworm
and poison oak and poison ivy rashes.
There is evidence that it effectively regenerated
injured nerves. One study reports aloe to be successful in healing leg
ulcerations and severe acne and even finds that it
promotes hair growth.
When 56 frostbit patients were treated with a
product containing 70% aloe, only 7% developed
infections, compared to 98 frostbitten patients not
treated with aloe, 33 of whom eventually needed
has also proved helpful in treating periodontosis.
One study injected aloe extracts into the
diseased areas of 128 patients with varying degrees of
gum disease. Within
a week, the development of symptoms stopped, pain
decreased and marked improvement followed in all
Aloe is wide used in folk medicine, both as a
liniment and as a drink, to reduce the swelling and pain
of arthritis and rheumatism.
Diabetics in the Arabian peninsula eat aloe to
control their blood sugar levels.
A clinical study did find that when volunteers
who were not insulin dependent took half a teaspoon
daily for 4-14 weeks, their fasting blood sugar levels
were reduced by half, with no change in body weight.
Another preparation from aloe, carrisyn, is a
polysaccharide. It has been claimed that carrisyn directly kills various
types of viruses, including herpes and measles, and
possibly HIV. However,
research is still in the preliminary stages.
Aloe, Cape (Aloe
The bitter yellow juice
found just below the skin has been harvested for
centuries for its laxative properties, the treatment of
arthritis, for its healing properties and for use in
cosmetics. The hard, black, resinous product is
known as Cape aloes or aloe lump and is used mainly for
its laxative properties but is also taken for
arthritis. Cape Aloe contains aloin, principally used
as a purgative, particularly for sedentary or phlegmatic
types. Aloe tincture or extract is very gentle and
slow-acting although too frequent use is said to induce
piles. Taken in large doses, it can have a drastic
effect, even causing abortion, so it should never be
taken by pregnant women. It is also made into an
ointment for mild skin rashes and a decoction of its
juice acts as a mosquito repellent. Cape aloe is
sometimes blended with other bitter ingredients to
flavor alcoholic drinks.
for digestive and bronchial complaints, fevers, and
rheumatism (bark, wood). Because of its astringent nature, the powdered wood of the
aloe tree provide an effective skin tonic and is
recommended by Ayurvedic physicians as an application
for restoring pigment in leucoderma.
Powdered aloeswood provides an antiseptic so
gentle it is used for ear and eye infections as well as
on open wounds.
There are 43 species of alstonia trees.
The bark of the tree is used medicinally in the
Pacific Rim and India.
Constricta, which is native to Australia,
is used extensively as an Aboriginal folk remedy for
fever, chronic diarrhea, dysentery and rheumatism.
Scholaris, found growing mostly in India,
Pakistan and the Philippines, is used for the same
purposes, but may also be employed as a treatment for
malaria, and is thought to have aphrodisiac qualities.
In all cases the bark is powdered and made into a
tea. The inner bark of Alstonia constricta is said to
possess marked antiperiodic properties, while the outer
bark is stated to have been efficacious in curing
certain forms of rheumatism. Further trials are needed,
however, before it can be ranked as a substitute for
quinine, or other of the cinchona alkaloids, yet it has
proved as efficient in intermittents.
Scientific investigation has failed to show why
it is of such service in malaria, but herbalists
consider it superior to quinine and of great use in
convalescence . It
lowers fever, relaxes spasms, stimulates lactation and
expels intestinal worms.
Used for chronic diarrhea, dysentery and in
intermittent fever; also as an anthelmintic. It is also
much used by homoeopaths.
(Heuchera americana) The root of this plant
may contain as much as 20% of its weight in tannins,
acid compounds that serve to shrink swollen, moist
strong astringency is likely to have earned the plant
its common name. Its
overall effect is less than irritating than Cranesbill,
Oak Bark or Canaigre.
Dried and powdered alumroot was used by Northwest
Indians as a general digestive tonic, and herbalists
still use it to stop minor bleeding and reduce
was listed in the US pharmacopoeia for similar purposes
until 1882. An
infusion of the root was used to treat diarrhea, and a
leaf poultice for skin abrasions.
A teaspoon of the chopped root, boiled in water
for 20 minutes, can be used for gastroenteritis,
particularly with symptoms of diarrhea and dry, bilious
tea makes an excellent gargle for sore throats,
especially when combined with one-fourth teaspoon of
golden seal root; a half cup drunk an hour before every
meal will stimulate the healing of regenerating ulcers
of the esophagus and stomach, but of little use for
duodenal ulcers. The
root is an old folk remedy for dysentery, a cup drunk
every two hours for at least a day.
Since most astringents are precipitated before
reaching the colon, obstinate dysentery should be
treated by an enema; a teaspoon of the chopped root
boiled for twenty minutes in a pint of water,.
The same quantity can be used as a douche for
vaginitis or mild cervicitis.
The finely ground root is a good first aid for
treating cuts and abrasions, promoting almost instant
clotting; if combined with equal parts golden seal root
and Echinacea angustifolia root, the mixture
makes an excellent antiseptic powder.
Amadou has been used for
arresting hemorrhages, being applied with pressure to
the affected part; and for treating ingrown toenails, by
inserting between the nail and flesh. Way back in
history someone discovered that the upper sterile part
of the basidiocarps could be used both as a
blood-stopping agent and as a leather substitute. If the
sterile part of the basidiocarp is removed and shredded
properly it will make a brown cottony like material. If
this material is placed over bleeding wounds the blood
is immediately soaked up and rapidly coagulates in
contact with oxygen over a large surface, and the
bleeding successively terminates.
(Amaranthus hypochondriacus) Medicinally,
amaranth gained favor in the 17th century
when the Doctrine of Signature prevailed.
To adherents of this doctrine, the bright crimson
of the flowers signified blood—a clear indication that
the plant would stop any kind of bleeding.
The herb does in fact possess astringent
properties and herbalists have recommended an amaranth
infusion for diarrhea and as a mouthwash for ulcers, to
soothe inflammation of the pharynx and to heal canker
sores. Amaranth has also been employed to reduce blood loss and to
treat diarrhea and dysentery..
A decoction is used to check excessive menstrual
flow, excessive vaginal discharge..
Also used for sponging sores and ulcers.
It is a nutritional supplement and nutritive
Ambrette Seed (Abelmoschus moschatus (syn Hibiscus
Internally as a digestive and
Externally for cramps, poor circulation, and
aching joints, and in aromatherapy for anxiety and
(Dorema ammoniacum) Ammoniacum has been
used in Western herbal medicine for thousands of years. Chiefly used for respiratory troubles. Excellent for
the relief of catarrh, asthma or bronchitis.
Also highly regarded as an energy stimulant.
Externally used for swollen joints and indolent
tumors. Still listed in the British Pharmacopoeia
as an antispasmodic and an expectorant that stimulates
the coughing up of thick mucus.
Occasionally used to induce sweating or
An Lu (Artemisia
The seeds have a reputation
for correcting sexual impotence in men and amenorrhea in
women. An infusion of the seeds also is used for
Anemone, Alpine (Anemone
dried flowering plant was formerly used in the treatment
of toothache and rheumatic pain, but due to its toxicity
is has fallen into disuse
Anemone, Chinese (Pulsatilla
chinensis)... In Traditional Chinese
Medicine, pulsatilla is used as an anti-inflammatory
and is considered specific for amoebic and bacterial
dysentery with bloody stool, abdominal pain and
tenesmus and is often used with phellodendron bark,
coptis rhizome and ash bark, known as Pulsatilla
Decoction (Baitouweng Tang).
It is most commonly taken as a decoction to
counter infection within the gastrointestinal tract.
The root is also used to treat malarial fever.
In addition, this herb can be used with
flavescent sophora to prepare a lotion for the
treatment of trichomoniasis vaginalis.
The root contains the lactone protoanemonin
which has an irritant and antibacterial action.
Protoanemonin is destroyed when the root is dried.
The fresh herb is a cardiac and nervous
sedative, producing a hypnotic state with a diminution
of the senses followed by a paralyzing action.
A constituent similar to digitalis can be
extracted from the whole herb with the roots removed.
This is cardiotonic.
An old remedy for flatulence directed that the stalks e slowly
chewed until the condition was relieved which may have been good
advice, as it has been found that one of angelica’s constituents is
pectin, an enzyme which acts on digesting food. This herb is a useful expectorant for coughs, bronchitis and
pleurisy, especially when they are accompanied by fever, colds or
influenza. The leaf can
be used as a compress in inflammations of the chest.
Its content of carminative essential oil explains its use in
easing intestinal colic and flatulence.
As a digestive agent it stimulates appetite and may be used in
anorexia nervosa. It has
been shown to help ease rheumatic inflammations.
In cystitis it acts as a urinary antiseptic.
Angelica has proved itself to relieve muscle spasms of asthma
and it’s been used to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle,
especially after extended use of birth control pills or an
intrauterine device. Combine
with coltsfoot and white horehound for bronchial problems and with
chamomile for indigestion, flatulence and loss of appetite. The leaves are used in the bath to stimulate the skin.
Angelica salve is helpful in cases of chronic rhinitis and sinusitis
because it dissolves mucus and warms. Apply it twice daily to the area
of the paranasal sinuses, forehead, root of the nose, nose, cheeks and
angle of the jaw. Angelica
contains at least 14 anti-arrhythmic compounds, one of which is said
to be as active as verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), a popular calcium
channel blocker. Because of its aromatic bitter properties, this plant is much
used in bitters and liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse.
The volatile oil has carminative properties, counteracting
flatulence, so that the action of this plant comes close to that of
wormwood in this respect, a plant mainly used to treat gallbladder
Angelica, Japanese (Angelica
medicine, the plant is seen to be a strengthening
tonic. Similar to western angelica, Ashitaba has a
bitter taste and contains bitter principles and is used
to increase appetite, improve digestion, speed
elimination of waste and generally act as a digestive
tonic. When you break the stems and roots of Ashitaba,
a sticky yellow juice gushes out. In fact, this is one
of the unusual characteristics of the plant. The juice
is used topically to treat a host of skin conditions.
The juice of the plant is applied to boils, cysts, and
pustules to speed healing. It is used to clear athletes
foot fungal infections. It is applied to repel insects
and to speed healing and prevent infection in insect
bites. Indeed, applying the juice of the plant is said
to cure most skin conditions and to prevent infection in
wounds. It is used both in chronic and acute skin
Angelica, Wild (Angelica
sylvestris): As angelica increases the output or
urine and relieves flatulence, as well as inducing
sweating, its applications are: a tea prepared from
leaves, seeds and roots, is recommended for indigestion
or stomach pains. ½ glass of tea 3 times a day improves
digestion. Powdered root is used in cases of catarrh of
the respiratory tract, as well as in cases of severe
indigestion. It may be used as a gargle and as an
additive to bath-water. Water-extract mixed with white
vinegar, is used for rubbing down in cases of gout and
rheumatics, as well as backache. A decoction is
sometimes used in the treatment of bronchial catarrh,
coughs and dyspepsia. It is used as a substitute for
Angelica archangelica, but is less rich in active
principles and so is much less used medicinally than
A strong bitter with tonic properties, angostura
stimulates the stomach and digestive tract as a whole.
It is antispasmodic and is reported to act on
the spinal nerves, helping in paralytic conditions.
Angostura is typically given for weak
digestion, and is considered valuable as a remedy for
diarrhea and dysentery.
In South America, it is sometimes used as a
substitute for cinchona to control fevers.
(Pimpenella anisum): Anise
is a carminative and an expectorant.
It is also a good source of iron.
One tablespoon of anise seeds sprinkled on
cookies, bread or cake provides 16% of the RDA for a
woman and 24% of the RDA for a man.
A 1990 study tested the effect of certain
beverage extracts on the absorption of iron.
The results showed that anise was the most
effective of the extracts tested in promoting iron
The authors recommended offering this as a
preventive agent to iron deficiency anemia.
To make a carminative tea that may relieve
intestinal gas, crush 1 teaspoon of anise seeds per
cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-20 minutes and
Drink up to 3 cups a day.
In a tincture, take ½ to 1 teaspoon up to
three times a day.
Diluted anise infusions may be given cautiously
to infants to treat colic. For older children and
people over 65, begin with low-strength preparations
and increase strength if necessary.
Some people simply chew the anise seeds.
Early English herbalist Gerard suggested anise
It has also been prescribed as a milk promoter
for nursing mothers and as a treatment for
water retention, headache, asthma, bronchitis,
insomnia, nausea, lice, infant colic, cholera and even
America’s 19th century Eclectic
physicians recommended anise primarily as a stomach
soother for nausea, gas, and infant colic.
Modern uses: Science has supported anise’s
traditional use as a treatment for coughs, bronchitis,
According to several studies the herb contains
chemicals (creosol and alpha-pinene) that loosen
bronchial secretions and make them easier to cough up.
Another chemical (anethole) acts as a digestive
Anise also contains chemicals (dianethole and
photoanethole) similar to the female sex hormone
estrogen. Scientists suggest their presence probably
accounts for the herb’s traditional use as a milk
promoter and may help relieve menopausal discomfort.
One report shows that anise spurs the
regeneration of liver cells in laboratory rats,
suggesting a possible value in treating hepatitis and
there are no studies that support using anise to treat
liver disease in humans, anise looks promising in this
Anise Hyssop: The
root of anise hyssop was an ingredient in North American Chippewa
Indian lung formulas, and the Cree sometimes carried the flowers in
their medicine bundles. The Cheyenne employed an infusion of the
leaves for colds, chest pains from coughing and a weak heart.
The leaves in a steambath were used to induce sweating; and
powdered leaves on the body for high fevers.
Annatto: In the
Caribbean, annatto leaves and roots are used to make an astringent
infusion that is taken to treat fever, epilepsy, and dysentery.
The infusion is also taken as an aphrodisiac. The leaves alone make an infusion that is used as a gargle.
The seed pulp reduces blistering when applied immediately to
burns. Taken internally,
the seed pulp acts as an antidote for poisoning.
Used as a coloring agent for medical preparations such as
ointments and plasters.
Used to relieve fever, it was drunk as a decoction of
the root in cold water. To relieve palpitation, the powdered root is rubbed over the
heart area. A
poultice of the powdered root is used to treat neck
and rib pains and a tea made from it is used to
alleviate asthma and shortness of breath.
Plume (Fallugia paradoxa
) The roots dug in the fall are
boiled in water for coughs, drunk morning and evening,
and the tea used as a hair rinse after shampooing.
Reports are that the root and bark tea are a
good growth stimulant and tonic for the hair.
The powdered root (with tobacco) or the flowers
(with Horehound and flour) are used for painful joints
or soft tissue swellings, applied locally as a
poultice or fomentation.
The spring twigs bay be boiled and drunk for
indigestion and “spring” fevers.
) : Apricot fruit is
nutritious, cleansing, and mildly laxative. They are a
valuable addition to the diet working gently to
improve overall health. A decoction of the
astringent bark soothes inflamed and irritated skin.
Although the kernels contain highly toxic prussic
acid, they are prescribed in small amounts in the
Chinese tradition as a treatment for coughs, asthma,
and wheezing, and for excessive mucus and
constipation. An extract from the kernels,
laetrile, has been used in Western medicine as a
highly controversial treatment for cancer. The
kernels also yield a fixed oil, similar to almond oil
that is often used in the formulation of cosmetics.
Chinese trials show that apricot kernel paste helps
combat vaginal infection. The flowers are tonic,
promoting fecundity in women. The inner bark and/or
the root are used for treating poisoning caused by
eating bitter almond and apricot seeds (which contain
hydrogen cyanide). Another report says that a
decoction of the outer bark is used to neutralize the
effects of hydrogen cyanide. The decoction is also
used to soothe inflamed and irritated skin conditions.
It is used in the treatment of asthma, coughs, acute
or chronic bronchitis and constipation. The seed
contains 'laetrile', a substance that has also been
called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a
positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there
does not at present seem to be much evidence to
Aquatic Apple Moss (Philonotis
fontana): Used by Gasuite Indians of Utah to
alleviate pain of burns; crushed into paste and applied
as poultice; covering for bruises and wounds or as
padding under splints in setting broken bones. Indians
in the Himalayas use burned ash of mosses mixed with fat
and honey and prepared in ointment for cuts, burns, and
wounds. This mixture provides both healing and soothing
Trailing (Epigaea repens
) Regarded as one of the most
effective palliatives for urinary disorders.
Especially recommended for the aged. It is of
special value when the urine contains blood or pus,
and when there is irritation. It is one of the most effective remedies for cystitis,
urethritis, prostatitis, bladder stones and
particularly acute catarrhal cystitis. A good
remedy in cases where there is an excess of uric acid.
In extreme and nauseating backache, result of the
crystalline constituents of the urine not being
properly dissolved and washed out of the tubules. We
think of it when the urine is heavy and dark, brick
dust sediment, irritation and congestion of the
kidneys, renal sand and gravel in bladder. In
hemorrhage or cystitis, result of irritation of the
solids in the bladder it is an excellent remedy. Must
be drunk freely, preferably well diluted in hot water.
Infusion is a good form to take it in; but the
tincture may be given in 5 to 10 drop doses in 1/2 a cup of hot water. May also be taken in cold water when
desirable. Use in the same way as uva-ursi and buchu.
Nut (Areca catechu
) Mainly used in veterinary medicine to
expel tapeworms. Internally, used in traditional
Chinese medicine, to destroy intestinal parasites, and
for dysentery and malaria (seeds); as a laxative in
constipation with flatulence and bloating, and a
diuretic in edema rind). The nut is chewed as a
mild intoxicant. The dried areca nut is powdered
and used as a dentifrice, forming the basis of many
tooth powders in India and China. Ayurveda
recommends burning the areca nut to charcoal and
mixing this with a quarter part of powdered cinnamon
to produce an excellent tooth powder. It also
suggests a decoction made from the areca root as a
cure for sore lips. It moves chi downward and
removes food stagnation, helps digestion. It has
mild toxic properties and should be taken with a
purgative such as castor oil.
(Arnica montana): Used
externally, Arnica promotes the healing of wounds contracted through
blows, punctures, falls and cuts.
It is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, relieves pain from
injuries and promotes tissue regeneration. One can clean wounds,
abscesses, boils and ulcers with diluted Arnica tinctures and dress
them with a compress soaked in the same solution.
For contusions, sprains, bruises, bursitis, arthritis and
inflammation of the lymphatic vessels, apply packs of diluted Arnica
tincture. To relieve
headaches and visual disturbances due to concussion, apply such
compresses around the head and neck.
To prepare packs and washes, dilute one tablespoon of Arnica
tincture in a cup of boiled water (or where sensitivity is suspected,
double the water). The tincture made from the flowers is only used
externally, whereas the tincture made from the roots is used
internally for cases of hematoma and inflammation of the veins. Arnica
also improves the circulation. Arnica flowers are sometimes
adulterated with other composite flowers, especially Calendula
officinalis, Inula brittanica, Kragapogon pratensis, and Scorzonera
humilis. For tender feet a foot-bath of hot water containing 1/2 oz.
of the tincture has brought great relief. Arnica has been shown to be
an immuno-stimulant, as both the sesquiterpene lactone helenalin and
the polysaccharide fraction stimulate phagocytosis. Sesquiterpene
lactones are known to have anti-inflammatory activity and their
biological effects appear to be mediated through immunological
processes. As helenalin is one of the most active, this might help
account for the use of Arnica for pain and inflammation.
Arnica has been used for heart problems (as it contains a
cardiotonic substance), to improve circulation, to reduce cholesterol
and to stimulate the central nervous system.
But the internal use should only be done under supervision.
It displays astonishing stimulating, decongesting and relaxing
properties. The heart is
both stimulated in deficient conditions and relieved in excess ones,
depending on the case presented.
For sprains and
strains, arnica promotes healing and has an antibacterial action;
causes reabsorption of internal bleeding in bruises and sprains.
Apply as a cream to the affected area, or soak a pad in diluted
tincture and use as a compress. Take
homeopathic Arnica 6x every
1-2 hours. Do not use on
broken skin; use only homeopathic Arnica internally.
Clearing heat in the sense of both deficiency heat and fire
toxin is one of its strengths. In
Yin deficiency syndromes with either low fever or hot flushes, it
matches up well with the likes of hawthorn, rehmannia, mistletoe and
(Chenopodium olidum) An
infusion of the dried leaves is used in the treatment of
hysteria and nervous troubles connected with women's
Arrowhead Grass (Viola
japonica): Helps reduce inflammation and
detoxifies, cools the blood and alleviates pain. The
conditions that can be treated with this plant are boils,
ulcers, abscesses, acute conjunctivitis, laryngitis, acute
jaundice and hepatitis and various kinds of poisonings
such as by Tripterygium wilfordii. This special
preparation of the whole plant can be administer to treat
lung and chest troubles as an expectorant and specifically
for the treatment of chronic catarrhal accumulations.
The root of the plant is sometimes used as an
expectorant and mild immunostimulant. Native
Americans used the sticky sap as a topical antiseptic
for minor wounds. Medicinally,
the Indians used the large coarse Balsamroot leaves as
a poultice for burns. The roots were boiled and the
solution was applied as a poultice for wounds, cuts
and bruises. Indians also drank a tea from the roots
for tuberculosis and whooping cough. As
an antibacterial the tincture may be applied to
infections and hard to heal wounds. The tincture of
the root and bark may be used internally or externally
for bacterial problems. Perhaps the most common use
for arrowleaf balsamroot is as an immune system
enhancer. Use the tincture as you would Echinacea,
taking 1 tsp. twice daily to strengthen the immune
(Maranta arundinacea) Hospitals formerly
employed arrow root in barium meals given prior to
X-raying the gastro-intestinal system. When
mixed with hot water, the root starch of this plant
becomes gelatinous and serves as an effective
demulcent to soothe irritated mucous membranes.
Used in much the same way as slippery elm. It
helps to relieve acidity, indigestion, and colic, and
it exerts a mildly laxative action on the large bowel.
Studies have shown that blood cholesterol levels dropped
after eating artichoke. An anticholesterol drug
called cynara is derived from this plant. In 1940,
a study in Japan showed that artichoke not only reduced
cholesterol but it also increased bile production by the
liver and worked as a good diuretic. This make
artichoke useful for gallbladder problems, nausea,
indigestion, and abdominal distension.
It has been found that globe artichoke contains the
extract cymarin, which is similar to silymarin.
Researchers discovered that this extract promotes liver
regeneration and causes hyperaemia. It was also
found that an artichoke extract caused dyspeptic
symptoms to disappear. The researchers interpreted
the reduction in cholinesterase levels to mean that the
extract effected fatty degeneration of the liver.
In 1969 a team of French researchers patented an
artichoke extract as a treatment for kidney and liver
ailments. Although the leaves are
particularly effective, all parts of the plant are
bitter. A Mediterranean home recipe uses fresh
artichoke leaf juice mixed with wine or water as a liver
tonic. It is also taken during the early stages of
late-onset diabetes. It is a good food for
diabetics, since it significantly lowers blood sugar.
In France it has been used to treat rheumatic
(Ferula assa-foetida): Asafetida
is said to have antispasmodic properties. It has been used in the past
to treat hysteria and was sometimes taken as a sedative. In India it is prescribed to treat flatulence and bronchitis.
It also has carminative, expectorant, laxative and sedative
acts as a local stimulant to mucous membrane, particularly that of the
alimentary canal and therefore is a remedy of great value as a
carminative in flatulent colic and a useful addition to laxative
medicine. There is
evidence that the volatile oil is eliminated through the lungs which
has been found useful for whooping cough, asthma, and bronchitis, as
well as for croup and flatulent colic in infants.
It was formerly used as a sedative for hysteria, infantile
convulsions, and spasmodic nervous conditions.
Some researchers have suggested that asafetida may help lower
blood pressure and increase the amount of time it takes for blood to
clot. Like garlic,
asafetida has been hung around the neck to ward off colds and other
infectious diseases, but its only real effect seems to be its ability
to keep other people and their colds at arm’ length. Owing to its
vile taste it is usually taken in pill form, but is often given to
infants per rectum in the form of an emulsion. The powdered gum resin
is not advocated as a medicine, the volatile oil being quickly
dissipated. Asafetida is admittedly the most adulterated drug on the
market. Besides being largely admixed with inferior qualities of
Asafetida, it has often red clay, sand, stones and gypsum added to it
to increase the weight.
) : a
strong emetic. It
has been substituted for Ipecac to produce vomiting. The French use it for this purpose after drinking too much
little sniffed up the nostrils induces violent
sneezing and a heavy flow of mucus. This has caused it
to be used to remedy headache, drowsiness, giddiness,
catarrhs, and other conditions caused by congestion.
Asarabacca has been a component in many popular
commercial medicinal snuffs.
Asarabacca has been extensively investigated,
both chemically and pharmacologically.
It is rich in flavonoids.
The leaves contain a highly aromatic essential
oil that contains constituents that verify the value
of extracts as an errhine (for promotion of nasal
on human experiments, the expectorant properties of
both the roots and the leaves are quite good.
In Rumania, human experiments where infusions
of asarabacca were administered to people suffering
pulmonary insufficiency, the preparations were said to
have a beneficial effect on the heart condition,
including a diuretic effect.
From the types of irritant chemical compound
known to be present in this plant, one would expect
that catharsis would result from ingestion of extracts
prepared from asarabacca. However, it is violent in its action.
decoctions made from the bark and
leaves are a gentle laxative.
Taken regularly, the ash is said to prevent the
recurrence of bouts of malaria and is a substitute for
is also said to be excellent for treatment of
The seeds, including their wings, have been
used as a carminative.
Ash, Mountain (Sorbus
scopulina) An infusion of the branches has
been given to young children with bed-wetting problems.
The bark is febrifuge and tonic and has been used in
the treatment of general sickness.
of Ayurveduc medicine, the traditional medicine of India, regard this
root as the Indian answer to ginseng for the male libido.
Some reference do not recommend on a daily basis but others do.
It is considered to reduce vata
and kapha. It is mainly
used in the West as a restorative for the elderly and the chronically
ill. For such
regenerative purposes, it can be taken as a milk decoction to which
may be added raw sugar, honey, pippali and basmati rice.
As such, it inhibits aging and catalyzes the anabolic processes
of the body. It is a good
food for weak pregnant women, it helps to stabilize the fetus.
It also regenerates the hormonal system, promotes healing of
tissues, and can be used externally on wounds, sores, etc.
Five grams of the powder can be taken twice a day in warm milk
or water, sweetened with raw sugar.
By reducing overactivity and encouraging
rest and relaxation, withania is useful in countering the debility
that accompanies long-term stress.
Its high iron content makes it useful for anemia.
Withania has been widely researched in India.
Studies in 1965 indicated that the alkaloids are sedative,
reduce blood pressure, and lower the heartbeat rate.
Research in 1970 showed that withanolides, which are similar to
the body’s own steroid hormones, are anti-inflammatory. They also inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
The herb may be of use in chronic inflammatory diseases such as
lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and as a cancer preventative.
Trials in 1980 indicated that withania increases hemoglobin
levels, reduces graying of hair, and improves sexual performance.
It also helps recovery from chronic illness.
Traditional use: acne, adrenal disorders,
age spots, anemia, anorexia, arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis,
cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammatory diseases, convalescence,
debility, depression, diabetes mellitus, diarrhea, edema,
endometriosis, failing memory, fatigue, frigidity, hyperlipemia,
hypertension, immunodeficiency, impotence, indigestion, insomnia,
multiple sclerosis, poor attention span, ulcer
Considered a specific remedy for asthma, asmatica may
relieve symptoms for up to 3 months.
It is also beneficial in cases of hay fever,
and is prescribed for acute allergic problems such as
eczema and nettle rash.
The plant holds potential as a treatment for
chronic fatigue syndrome and other immune system
may relieve rheumatoid arthritis and may also be of
value in the treatment of cancer. Extensive laboratory and clinical research in India has
established that asmatica is an effective remedy for
the 1970s, a number of clinical trials showed that a
majority of asthmatic patients taking the herb for
just 6 days gained relief from asthma for up to a
further 12 weeks.
However, the leaves do produce side effects
The plant’s alternative name, Indian lobelia,
alludes not only to its value in treating asthma but
also to its irritating effect on the digestive tract.
(Asparagus officinalis) An
excellent diuretic, asparagus is also very nutritious.
It is high in folic acid, which is essential
for the production of new red blood cells.
Many herbalists recommend asparagus root for
rheumatism, due to the anti-inflammatory action of the
Powdered seed from the asparagus plant is good
for calming an upset stomach. It is used as a gentle but effective laxative where an
irritating cathartic would be inappropriate, while a
tea brewed from the mature fern has been used for
rheumatic and urinary disorders, and by Shakers to
treat dropsy. It
is used for a variety of urinary problems, including
root treats dryness of the lungs and throat,
consumptive diseases, tuberculosis and blood-tinged
also counteracts thirst and treats kidney yin
deficient lower back pains. Asparagus root is said to
increase love, devotion, and compassion. The most
adept Chinese herbal pharmacists will taste a new
shipment of asparagus root, testing it for sweetness.
They might then reserve the sweetest roots for
themselves, since these are believed to foster the
deepest feelings of spiritual compassion.
The roots are deeply nourishing to the yin
Asparagus, Chinese (Asparagus
cochinchinensis): This species has been used in
traditional Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. .
Internally used for fevers, debility, sore throats,
coughs, rhinitis, diphtheria, tuberculosis and
bronchitis. Asparagus root is used mostly for its
diuretic qualities. It may be helpful in treating
cystitis and other urinary-tract infections. It is taken
internally in the treatment of fevers, debility, sore
throats, coughs etc. It is often decocted with other herbs
and used in the treatment of a wide range of ailments
including diabetes mellitus. Prolonged usage is
recommended for the treatment of impotence. The plant has
a folk history for the treatment of cancer, modern
research has detected antitumor activity and it is now
being studied for the treatment of lung cancer. It is also
known as a woman’s tonic, and is good for the female
reproductive system. Chinese herbalists consider it a
valuable tonic that enhances love and compassion. The
best way to use asparagus root is by juicing the rot, or
making a tea from the dried root.
The tubers are antidermatosic, detergent, emollient and
vulnerary. They are mainly used externally in the
treatment of skin conditions and for lightening freckles.
They have also been employed internally as a cough remedy.
Use internally with caution, especially if you are
suffering from nephritis or gastritis.
Strengthens bones and
muscles. A decoction of the root, stems or leaves is used
in the treatment of abdominal cramps, amenorrhea,
diarrhea, myalgia, traumatic injuries and urinary stones.
Aster, New England (Aster
A poultice of
the root has been used in the treatment of pain, fevers
and diarrhea. The ooze of the roots has been sniffed in
the treatment of catarrh. A decoction of the whole plant
has been used in the treatment of all kinds of fevers
and in the treatment of weak skin. Aster novae-angliae
is deployed in decoction internally, with a strong
decoction externally, in many eruptive diseases of the
skin; it removes also the poisonous state of the skin
caused by Rhus or Shumach.
) : Strengthens digestion, raises
metabolism, strengthens the immune system, and
promotes the healing of wounds and injuries.
It treats chronic weakness of the lungs with
shortness of breath, collapse of energy, prolapse of
internal organs, spontaneous sweating, chronic
lesions, and deficiency edema.
It is very effective in cases of nephritis that
do not respond to diuretics.
In China astragalus enjoyed a long history of
use in traditional medicine to strengthen the Wei Ch'i
or "defensive energy" or as we call it, the
immune system. Regarded as a potent tonic for
increasing energy levels and stimulating the
immune system, astragalus has also been employed
effectively as a diuretic, a vasodilator and as a
treatment for respiratory infections.
Antibacterial; used with the ginsengs; helpful for
young adults for energy production and respiratory endurance;
warming energy; helpful for hypoglycemia; used for
"outer energy" as ginseng is used for "inner
energy"; American Cancer Society publication
reports it restored immune functions in 90% of the
cancer patients studied; use to bolster the white
blood cell count; strengthens the body's resistance;
use for debilitating conditions; helps to promote the
effects of other herbs; helps to improve digestion.
Astragalus is of the most popular herbs used in the
Orient; the Chinese name for astragalus is Huang
Ch'i. It is a tonic producing warm energy and
specifically tonifying for the lungs, spleen, and
triple warmer via meridians.
In studies performed at the Nation Cancer
Institute and 5 other leading American Cancer
Institutes over the past 10 years, it has been
positively shown that astragalus strengthens a cancer
patient's immune system. Researchers believed on the
basis of cell studies that astragalus augments those
white blood cells that fight disease and removes some
to those that make the body more vulnerable to it.
There is clinical evidence that cancer patients given
astragalus during chemotherapy and radiation, both of
which reduce the body's natural immunity while
attacking the cancer, recover significantly faster and
live longer. It is evident that astragalus does not
directly attack cancers themselves, but instead
strengthens the body's immune system. In these same
studies, both in the laboratory and with 572 patients,
it also has been found that Astragalus promotes
adrenal cortical function, which also is critically
diminished in cancer patients.
Astragalus also ameliorates bone marrow pression and
gastointestinal toxicity caused by chemotherapy and
radiation. Astragalus is presently being looked upon
as a possible treatment for people living with AIDS
and for its potentials to prolong life.
Scientists have isolated a number of active
ingredients contained in astragalus, including
bioflavanoids, choline, and a polysaccharide called
astragalan B. Animal studies have shown that
astragalan B is effective at controlling bacterial
infections, stimulating the immune system, and
protecting the body against a number of toxins.
Astragalan B seems to work by binding to
cholesterol on the outer membranes of viruses,
destabilizing their defenses and allowing for the
body's immune system to attack the weakened invader.
Astragalus also increases interferon production and
enhances NK and T cell function, increasing resistance
to viral conditions such as hepatitis, AIDS and
cancer. Astragalus shows support for peripheral
vascular diseases and peripheral circulation.
Avens: Avens is
an astringent herb, used principally for problems affecting the mouth,
throat and gastrointestinal tract.
It tightens up soft gums, heals canker sores, makes a good
gargle for infections for the pharynx and larynx, and reduces
irritation of the stomach and gut.
It may be taken for peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome,
diarrhea, and dysentery. Avens
has been used in a lotion or ointment as a soothing remedy for
hemorrhoids. The herb may
also be used as a douche for treating excessive vaginal discharge. Avens reputedly has a mild quinine-type action in
Autumn Olive (Elaeagnus
umbellata): The flowers are astringent, cardiac
and stimulant. The seeds are used as a stimulant in the
treatment of coughs. The expressed oil from the seeds is
used in the treatment of pulmonary affections. The
fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich
source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins
A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds.
It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty
acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being
investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the
incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or
reversing the growth of cancers.
An extract of the leaves,
roots and flowers are said to be a more potent
antimalarial than quinine, due to one of its alkaloids.
Sweet Herb (Phyla
Belize, this is a favorite remedy for bronchitis and
dry, hacking coughs. Fresh plant material is boiled,
and the patient holds his head over the pot. The warm
mixture is then strained and sipped slowly. For
toothaches, the flowers are chewed or placed directly
on the gum. The
drug is used as a stimulating expectorant, the
tincture, in doses of ½
to 1 fluid drachm, is given as a respiratory
sedative in coughs. It acts as an alterative on the
Lippiol, in doses of 4 1/2 grains, causes
warmth, flushing, diaphoresis and drowsiness.
Indications: Persistent dry hard
resonant or ringing bronchial cough. Useful in chronic
bronchitis, having a soothing and sedative effect to
the mucous surface of the post-nasal region and
bronchial tubes, soothing and relieving irritability,
of these surfaces, and is a valuable expectorant in
these conditions. Its action is limited to the air
Ji Tian (Morinda
The pungent, sweet-tasting ba ji tian is an
important Chinese herb.
It is a kidney tonic, and therefore strengthens
the yang. It is also used as a sexual tonic, treating
impotence and premature ejaculation in men, infertility
in both men and women, and a range of conditions, such
as an irregular menstrual cycle.
Ba ji tian is also prescribed for conditions
affecting the lower back or pelvic region, including
pain, cold, and urinary weakness—especially frequent
urination or incontinence.
Baby's Tears (Phyllanthus
liebmannianus): Boil an entire plant in 3
cups water for 2 minutes; strain and drink for stomatitis,
internal infections, kidney stones, and stoppage of
urine. Use same preparation to bathe infants who are ill.
The bark and fruit are
attributed with stomachic properties. Mullilam oil, an
orange-scented, steam-distilled extract from the fruits,
is reported to have a variety of medical applications.
The methanolic extract of the Zanthoxylum rhetsa Roxb.
stem bark, given by oral route to mice at doses of 250
and 500 mg/kg, significantly reduced the abdominal
contraction induced by acetic acid and the diarrheal
episodes induced by castor oil in mice.
frutescens): Tea of the leaves is used to treat
sunstroke, fever. Indonesians consider the decoction to
be diuretic, emmenagogue, refrigerant and tonic. It is
also used for dysmenorrheal, parturition and as a
tonic. Leaves and flowers are also used in Indochina
for catarrh, headache and rheumatism. Packets of leaves
are burned under the bed of colic sufferers.
) The astringent half-ripe bael fruit
reduces irritation in the digestive tract and is
excellent for diarrhea and dysentery. The ripe fruit is
a demulcent and laxative, with a significant vitamin C
eases stomach pain and supports the healthy function of
this organ. Pulped, the flesh of Bael is an excellent curative for
dysentery, while the fragrant juice is used as an
appetizer, for curing stomach disorders, and for
purifying the blood.
Bael’s astringent leaves are taken to treat
peptic ulcers. A decoction of leaves is a favorite
remedy for ailments that often occur during seasonal
changes—fevers, influenza, fatigue.
The tree’s most unusual application is for
piece of dried root is dipped in the oil of the neem
tree an set on fire.
Oil from the burning end is dripped into the ear
(not recommended to try)
Bai Lian (Ampelopsis
japonica): Roots are used to expel phlegm; treat
inflammation of the skin, burns, boils, ulcers, acne,
swellings, vaginal and uterine discharges. A decoction
of the roots is used in the treatment of tuberculous
cervical nodes, bleeding from hemorrhoids and burn
Bai Mao Xia Ku Cao (Ajuga
decumbens) The leaf decoction is used for
bladder ailments, diarrhea, eye trouble, fever; juice
for bugbites, burns, cuts, and tumors. Fresh leaves are
pounded with boiled rice and poulticed onto carcinoma.
A shoot decoction is bathed onto neuralgic and rheumatic
parts. A hot decoction of the seed is used for
diarrhea, stomach ache. The plant is used for
abscesses, boils, bronchitis, burns, cancer, cold,
colic, epistaxis, fever, fungoid diseases, hemorrhage,
hypertension, inflammation, pneumonia, snakebite, sore
throat and tonsillitis. The whole plant promotes tissue
regeneration. A decoction of the stem is bathed onto
neuralgic and rheumatic parts.
Bai Qian (Cynanchum
stauntonii): Decoctions of all parts are used as
a febrifuge and for treating internal fever. The roots
are used medicinally for pulmonary tuberculosis,
infantile malnutrition due to intestinal parasites,
influenza, cough, and chronic bronchitis.
Bai Wei (Cynanchum
atratum): The roots are used to treat fever,
coughs, blood in urine, inflammation of the urethra.
Cardiac tonic ingredients of bai wei stimulate the heart
muscle and improve contraction and slow down heart
rate. Bai wei can inhibit pneumococcus. Toxic amount:
30-40 grams. Koreans use the root to treat women
in pregnancy and parturition, for fever and micturition,
and to apply externally to rounds.
Bai Zhi (Angelica
anomala): The plant is used to lower arterial
pressure, increase diuresis and stimulate contraction of
the smooth muscles, especially the uterus, but without
causing abortion. It is also used in the treatment of
colds and headaches, coryza, leucorrhoea, boils and
abscesses. Small quantities of angelicotoxin, one of the
active ingredients in the root, have an excitatory
effect on the respiratory center, central nervous system
and vasculomotor center. It increases the rate of
respiration, increases blood pressure, decreases the
pulse, increases the secretion of saliva and induces
vomiting. In large doses it can cause convulsions and
Zhi (Angelica dahurica
) Bai Zhi has been used for
thousands of years in Chinese herbal medicine where it
is used as a sweat-inducing herb to counter harmful
external influences. The pungent, bitter bai zhi is
used for frontal headaches and aching eyes, nasal
congestion, and toothache.
Like its cousins angelica and Chinese angelica,
it is warming and tonic, and it is still given for
problems attributed to “damp and cold” conditions,
such as sores, boils, and ulcers affecting the skin.
Bzi zhi also appears to be valuable in treating
the facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia.
Small quantities of angelicotoxin, one of the
active ingredients in the root, have an excitatory
effect on the respiratory center, central nervous
system and vasculomotor centre. It increases the rate
of respiration, increases blood pressure, decreases
the pulse, increases the secretion of saliva and
induces vomiting. In large doses it can cause
convulsions and generalized paralysis.
Zhu (Atractylodes macrocephala
) Bai Zhu is widely used in
traditional Chinese medicine. It has traditionally
been used as a tonic for the digestive system,
building qi and strengthening the spleen.
The rhizome has a sweet, pungent taste, and is
used to relieve fluid retention, excessive sweating,
and digestive problems such as diarrhea and vomiting.
It is also used in the treatment of poor
appetite, dyspepsia, abdominal distension, and edema.
It is often used in conjunction with other herbs such
as Codonopsis tangshen and Glycyrrhiza uralensis.
Combined with Baical skullcap (Scutellaria
baicalensis) it is used to prevent miscarriage.
The root is used. Indications: ailments of “full”
and “hot” excess: oppression in chest, thirst with
no desire for water, dysentery and diarrhea, jaundice,
body heat, irritability, blood in stool and sputum,
tests in China found it improved symptoms in over 70%
of patients with chronic hepatitis, increasing
appetite, improving liver function and reducing
studies show it reduces inflammation and allergic
effects are due to the flavonoids. It is also likely that Baical skullcap may help venous
problems and fragile capillaries.
The herb may be useful for problems arising
from diabetes, including cataracts.
In Chinese medicine it is prescribed for hot
and thirsty conditions such as high fevers, coughs
with thick yellow phlegm, and gastrointestinal
infections that cause diarrhea, such as dysentery.
It is also given to people suffering from
painful urinary conditions.
It is now used for allergic conditions such as
asthma, hay fever, eczema, and nettle rash, although
its anti-inflammatory action is most useful for
It is a valuable remedy for the circulation.
In combination with other herbs, it is used to
treat high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, varicose
veins and easy bruising.
Applied to the skin, it treats sores, swelling
and boils. It
appears to be useful for circulatory problems that
arise from diabetes.
The seed is used to cleanse the bowels of blood
baylahuen): The medicinal properties lie
principally in its resin and volatile oil, the resin
acting chiefly on the bowels and urinary passages, and
the volatile oil on the lungs. It does not cause
disorder to the stomach and bowels, it is a valuable
remedy in dysentery, chronic diarrhea specially of
tuberculous nature and in chronic cystitis. Internally
is it used as a tea for loss of appetite and non-ulcer
dyspepsia with fullness, flatulence, change of bowel
habits, etc. associated with minor disorders of the
hepatobiliary tract (chronic cholecycstitis,
nonobstructive gallstones, chronic hepatitis and for
inflammations of the upper respiratory tract. Also as a
diaphoretic hot tea for the common cold and to enhance
the effects in problems of the genitourinary tract, the
fluid intake should be more than 2 liters per day.
Externally it is used as a wet compress or poultice for
minor skin inflammations and wounds.
Bakula (Mimusops elengi):
The bakula also produces a berrylike fruit, which
turns yellow when ripe. The pulp is given to patients
suffering from stomach upsets, but the unripe berry is
considered a useful masticatory, and is also used as an
infusion to provide a general health tonic. The flowers,
fruit, and bark of the bakula are all astringent, and they
are used as elements in an Ayurvedic lotion for wounds and
ulcers. The bark, which is powdered and made into a
gargle for infected mouth and gums, is one of the main
ingredients in an Ayurvedic tooth powder recommended for
patients with spongy gums. Traditional remedies are: A
decoction of the astringent bark or flower is taken to
treat fever and diarrhea. The leaves pounded with
Nigella seeds are applied as a hot compress or burned
and smoke inhaled to alleviate the discomfort of an
ulceration nose. The juice of the leaves is dropped into
sore eyes to treat eye ache. A decoction of the bark with
tamarind bark is used as a lotion to treat skin
affections. An infusion of the bark is used as a nasal
wash against mucous discharge. The bark is used as a
component in a poultice to treat leucorrhoea and pimples.
The leaves are burned and smoke inhaled to treat asthma,
affection of the nose and mouth. A decoction of the bark
is gargled as a dental strengthener to fix teeth loosened.
It also to treat sore throat or relaxed uvula to
strengthen the gums. A tincture of the bark is employed as
an embrocation to treat rheumatism and distended abdomen.
A decoction of the bark is used to treat blennorrhea,
sprue, gonorrhea and itch. Fruit of Bakula is made into a
paste by grinding it with alcohol. It will stop
menstruation, if taken during the period of menstruation.
loosens phlegm, stops cough in both hot and cold
conditions, aids the elimination of pus in the upper
parts of the body, is effective for sore throat, lung
abscess, and loss of
has an ascending energy and is sometimes added in small
amounts to formulas to direct the therapeutic action of
other herbs to the upper parts of the body.
In Indian herbal medicine, balloon vine root is used to
bring on delayed menstruation and to relieve backache
and arthritis. The leaves stimulate local
circulation and are applied to painful joints to help
speed the cleaning of toxins. The seeds are also
thought to help in the treatment of arthritis. The
plant as a whole has sedative properties. It has been
prescribed for years by European skin specialists and
family doctors. In a study of 833 patients with eczema,
better than 4 out of 5 subjects reported improvement or
remission of symptoms (inflammation, swelling, scaling,
blisters/vesicles, dry skin, itching, burning and pain).
This small and delicate wiry climber can be used
to treat piles, rheumatism, nervous disorders and
chronic bronchitis. A paste of the leaves is a dressing
for sores and wounds. Crushed leaves can also be inhaled
to relieve headaches and the seeds used to relieve fever
and body aches. A tea made from the leaves is used
in the treatment of itchy skin. Salted leaves are used
as a poultice on swellings. The leaf juice has been used as a treatment for earache.
is believed to be an appetite stimulant, and some
herbalists prescribe the dried plant in an infusion to
treat anorexia. Balmony
is a very bitter herb with a tea-like flavor that acts
mainly as a tonic for the liver and digestive system. It
also has anti-depressant and laxative effects. It is
used internally in the treatment of consumption,
debility, diseases of the liver, gallbladder problems,
gallstones etc. It is also used to relieve nausea and
vomiting, intestinal colic and to expel worms.
Externally, it is applied as an ointment to inflamed
tumors, irritable ulcers, inflamed breasts etc.
It Is beneficial for a weak stomach and
indigestion, general debility, constipation, and torpid
liver, it also stimulates the appetite, and in small
doses is a good tonic during convalescence. In addition,
balmony is an effective antheimintic. Externally, it is
used for sores and eczema. The ointment is valuable to
relieve the itching and irritation of piles.
Balmony is an excellent agent for liver problems.
It acts as a tonic on the whole digestive and absorptive
system. It has a stimulating effect on the secretion of
digestive juices, and in this most natural way its
laxative properties are produced. Balmony is used in
gall stones, inflammation of the gall-bladder and in
jaundice. It stimulates the appetite, eases colic,
dyspepsia and biliousness and is helpful in debility.
Externally it has been used on inflamed breasts, painful
ulcers and piles. It is considered a specific in gall
stones that lead to congestive jaundice.
Herbalists consider this herb a useful remedy for
gastro-intestinal debility with hepatic torpor or
jaundice. Dyspeptic conditions attending convalescence
from prostrating fevers are often aided by it, and
should be studied particularly for vague and shifting
pain in the region of the ascending colon.
Kings Dispensatory describes it as being tonic,
cathartic, and anthelmintic. Especially valuable in
jaundice and hepatic diseases, likewise for the removal
of worms, for which it may be used in powder or
decoction, internally and also in injection. Used as a
tonic in small doses, in dyspepsia, debility of the
digestive organs, particularly when associated with
hepatic inactivity, and during convalescence from
febrile and inflammatory diseases. It is valuable after
malarial fevers as a tonic and to unlock the secretions
when checked by quinine. Recommended in form of ointment
as an application to painful and inflamed tumors,
irritable and painful ulcers, inflamed breasts, piles,
etc. Kings gives the following specific indications:
Gastro-intestinal debility, with hepatic torpor or
The resin obtained from the balsam fir has been used
throughout the world and is a very effective antiseptic
and healing agent. It is used as a healing and analgesic
protective covering for burns, bruises, wounds and
sores. It is also used to treat sore nipples and is said
to be one of the best curatives for a sore throat. Tea
made from the needles has been used to treat colds and
balsam, an oleoresin gathered from blisters in the bark,
has been used to relieve the pain of hemorrhoids, burns
and sores and venereal disease.
Balsam fir is an antiseptic and stimulant, and
has been used for congestion, chest infections, such as
bronchitis, and urinary tract conditions such as
cystitis and frequent urination.
It has been used in commercial mixtures to treat
coughs and diarrhea.
Externally, balsam fir was rubbed on the chest or
applied as a plaster for respiratory infections.
It is also used in bath extracts for rheumatic
pain, and as a mouthwash.
The oil is used in ointments and creams,
especially in the treatment of hemorrhoids. The buds,
resin, and/or sap are used in folk remedies for treating
cancers, corns, and warts.
The resin is used internally in propriety
mixtures to treat coughs and diarrhea, though taken in
excess it is purgative. A warm liquid of the gummy sap
was drunk as a treatment for gonorrhea. A tea made from
the leaves is antiscorbutic. It is used in the treatment
of coughs, colds and fevers.
Poplar (Populus balsamifera): Balsam
poplar has a long history of medicinal use. It was valued
by several native North American Indian tribes who used it
to treat a variety of complaints, but especially to treat
skin problems and lung ailments. In modern herbalism it is
valued as an expectorant and antiseptic tonic. The buds
are used as a stimulating expectorant for all conditions
affecting the respiratory functions when congested. In
tincture they have been beneficially employed in
affections of the stomach and kidneys and in scurvy and
rheumatism, also for chest complaints.
The leaf buds are covered with a resinous sap
that has a strong turpentine odor and a bitter taste. They
are boiled in order to separate the resin and the resin is
then dissolved in alcohol. The resin is a folk remedy,
used as a salve and wash for sores, rheumatism, wounds
etc. It is made into a tea and used as a wash for sprains,
inflammation, muscle pains etc.
The bark is cathartic and tonic. Although no
specific mention has been seen for this species, the bark
of most, if not all members of the genus contain salicin,
a glycoside that probably decomposes into salicylic acid
(aspirin) in the body. The bark is therefore anodyne,
anti-inflammatory and febrifuge. It is used especially in
treating rheumatism and fevers, and also to relieve the
pain of menstrual cramps. A tea made from the inner bark
is used as an eye wash and in the treatment of scurvy.
It is an excellent hemorrhoid treatment. For
burns it lessens pain, keeps the surface antiseptic and
also stimulates skin regeneration. The tincture is a very
effective therapy for chest colds, increasing protective
mucus secretions in the beginning, when the tissues are
hot, dry and painful. Later, it increases te softening
expectorant secretions when the mucus is hard and impacted
on the bronchial walls, and coughing is painful. Are
aromatics are secreted as volatile gases in expiration.
This helps to inhibit microorganisms and lessen the
likelihood of secondary, often more serious, infections.
Bamboo Brier (Smilax
rotundifolia): The stem prickles have been
rubbed on the skin as a counter-irritant to relieve
localized pains, muscle cramps and twitching. A tea
made from the leaves and stems has been used in the
treatment of rheumatism and stomach problems. The
parched and powdered leaves have been used as a dressing
on burns and scalds. The wilted leaves have been used as
a poultice on boils. A tea made from the roots is used
to help the expelling of afterbirth.
speciosa): There has been much research done on
Banaba leaves and their ability to reduce blood sugar,
and its "insulin-like principle." In the Philippines,
Banaba is a popular medicine plant and is used in
treatment of diabetes mellitus. It is high in corosolic
acid which is used in many treatments for diabetes. It
is a natural plant insulin, can be taken orally, and has
no side effects, according to Japanese research.
The effect of banaba
resembles that of insulin as it transports sugar into
the cells, but the method is not identical and, contrary
to insulin, banaba does not stimulate the body's cells
into storing fat. It rather seems to be able to
counteract the storing of fat.
Numerous studies have been done on
this herb, much of it in Japan. One study mixed banaba dried leaf powder with chicken feeds, and then
analyzed the yolk of the chicken egg. When the banaba
enriched egg yolk was fed to diabetic mice, their blood
sugar level was normalized. In another study, the
alcohol extract of banaba leaves was sprayed into the
air of a room at night while the patient was sleeping
via a mist generating device. It was found that as the
person slept, their lungs received trace amounts of
corosolic acid which helped regulate blood sugar levels.
Recent studies have shown that the entire herb is useful
in lowering blood sugar, and that corosolic acid is
probably not the only active ingredient in banaba
leaves. . The roots are used for stomach problems.
Internally, the root has the
same uses as Black Cohosh, with the exception of the
estrogenic ones. The roots have been considered laxative
and capable of causing vomiting. They have been ground,
mixed with tobacco or grease, and rubbed on the body to
treat rheumatism. The powdered root is a good
counterirritant, the powder mixed with hot water, applied
where appropriate, and covered with hot towels. A pinch
of the dried ground seeds added to a dish of food was once
a treatment for diarrhea. Ground seeds mixed with pine
pitch were applied as a poultice for neuralgia. The dried
root is made into a strong tea, a little bit of which is
drunk and the rest used as a pain-relieving wash for acute
arthritis and swollen joints. Sometimes powdered wild
tobacco is moistened with the baneberry for a poultice and
the mixture covered with cheesecloth or muslin to hold it
Baneberry, White (Actaea
pachypoda): Baneberry root tea is sometimes used
as an appetite stimulant, but is also used to treat
stomach pains, coughs, colds, menstrual irregularities,
and postpartum pains. It works well in increasing milk
flow in nursing women and is used as a purgative after
childbirth. White Baneberry has been used as a remedy
for snake-bite, especially rattlesnake bite.
Ayurvedic doctors noted that
medicines derived from the banyan assisted in blood
clotting, contained major antiseptic and astringent
properties, and an infusion from banyan bark alleviated
diabetes. The astringent leaves and bark of the tree are
employed to relieve diarrhea and dysentery and to reduce
bleeding. As with other Ficus species, the latex is
applied to hemorrhoids, warts, and aching joints. The
fruit is laxative and the roots are chewed to prevent gum
digitata): The bark of this tree has been used
traditionally to fight fevers. The leaves may be an
excellent source of mineral salts, especially calcium,
phosphor and iron, amino acids and provitamin A. There
are aspects of considerable interest which require
further trials on man, in order to confirm the
properties extolled by traditional medicine. Baobab
products do not pretend to be a miraculous panacea, but
can simply contribute to rebalancing and restoring the
main functions of the organism and the epidermis,
offering well-being and energy. Only 5 g a day are
beneficial to maintain the state of well-being of the
organism, since it increases the resistance to viruses
(such as flu and herpes), regularizes the intestine,
glycemia and the blood cholesterol values, gives
strength, energy and resistance, rebalances mood swings,
alleviates menstrual pains, and is anti-anemic,
febrifugal and anti-inflammatory. Its beneficial
properties may also be applied to obtain a healthy skin
and to tackle the effects of premature ageing by virtue
of the antioxidant, softening, smoothing and
The bark, which
contains several flavonols, has been sold commercially
in Europe under the name ‘cortex cael cedra’, as a fever
treatment, and substitute for cinchona bark.
The off-white, powdery substance inside the
fruit shell is apparently rich in ascorbic acid. It is
this white powdery substance which is soaked in water to
provide a refreshing drink somewhat reminiscent of
lemonade. This drink is also used to treat fevers and
Medicinally, it has many applications. The
pulp is consumed to treat fever, diarrhea, malaria,
hemoptysis and scorbutic complaints (vitamin C
deficiency). The bark and leaves are also useful in the
treatment of fever, and are reported to have
anti-inflammatory and diaphoretic properties. The seed
is either pulped and applied externally, or drink in
water, to cure gastric, kidney and joint diseases. In
the Kalahari, San bushmen use the seeds as an antidote
to Strophanthin, a common plant-derived arrow poison.
Barberry (Berberis vulgaris): Barberry
acts on the gallbladder to improve bile flow and
ameliorate conditions such as gallbladder pain,
gallstones, and jaundice.
Barberry’s strongly antiseptic property is of
value in cases of amebic dysentery, cholera and other
similar gastrointestinal infections.
Barberry is one of the mildest and best liver
tonics known, good for jaundice, hepatitis and diabetes.
The berberine in barberry has remarkable
Studies around the world show it kills
microorganisms that cause wound infections (Staphylococci,
Streptococci), diarrhea (Salmonella, Shigella),
dysentery (Endamoeba histolytica), cholera (Vibrio
cholerae), giardiasis Giardia lamblia),
urinary tract infections (Escherichia coli) and
vaginal yeast infections (Candida albicans).
Berberine may also fight infection by stimulating
the immune system.
Studies show that it activates the macrophages,
white blood cells that devour harmful microorganisms.
In Germany, a berberine preparation, Ophthiole,
is used to treat sensitive eyes, inflamed lids, and
Barberry contains chemicals that may help reduce
elevated blood pressure by enlarging blood vessels.
The bark is astringent, antidiarrheal, and
healing to the intestinal wall—in short, barberry has
a strong, highly beneficial effect on the digestive
system as a whole.
It helps in the treatment of chronic skin
conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The decoction
makes a gentle and effective wash for the eyes, although
it must be diluted sufficiently before use.
Liquid of the chewed root was placed on injuries
and on wounds, while cuts and bruises were washed with a
root decoction. A
preparation of the bark or berries will be useful as a
gargle for sore mouth and chronic opthalmia.
It has been successfully used to treat
Leishmaniasis (infections transmitted by sandflies).
It has the ability to reduce an enlarged spleen
and acts against malaria.
Barberry, Japanese (Mahonia
bealei): A decoction of the root and root bark
is used in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis,
recurring fever and cough in rundown body systems,
rheumatoid arthritis, backache, weak knees, dysentery
and enteritis. Berberine, universally present in
rhizomes of Mahonia species, has marked antibacterial
effects and is used as a bitter tonic. Since it is not
appreciably absorbed by the body, it is used orally in
the treatment of various enteric infections, especially
bacterial dysentery. It should not be used with
Glycyrrhiza species (Liquorice) because this nullifies
the effects of the berberine. Berberine has also shown
antitumor activity. The taste is bitter. The plant
detoxifies, reduces inflammations and breaks fevers.
Anti-influenza effect of alkaloids from roots of Mahonia
bealei. was studied in vitro. The experiment in embryo
indicated that the alkaloids at concentration of 0.25
mg/ml obviously inhibited the proliferation of influenza
virus Al, and at concentration of 20 mg/ml showed no
side-effect on embryo.
An excellent food for
convalescence in the form of porridge or barley water,
barley is soothing to the throat and provides easily
assimilated nutrients. It can also be taken to clear
mucus. Its demulcent quality also soothes inflammation of
the gut and urinary tract. Barley aids in the digestion
of milk and is given to babies to prevent the development
of curds within the stomach. It is commonly given to
children suffering from minor infections or diarrhea, and
it is particularly recommended for treatment for fever.
Made into a poultice, barley seed is a useful remedy for
soothing and reducing inflammation in sores and
swellings. Chinese research suggests that barley may be
of aid in the treatment of hepatitis. Trials undertaken
elsewhere in the early 1990’s indicate that barley may
help control diabetes, and that barley bran may have the
effect of lowering cholesterol and preventing bowel
Barley, Foxtail (Hordeum
jubatum) The dry root can be wrapped, then
moistened and used as a compress for styes in the eyes
or on swollen eyelids.
Barnyard Grass (Echinochloa
Reported to be
preventative and tonic, barnyard grass is a folk remedy
for treating carbuncles, hemorrhages, sores, spleen
trouble, cancer and wounds. The shoots and/or the roots
are applied as a styptic to wounds. The plant is a tonic,
acting on the spleen.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
The Chinese used it to treat stomach, kidney and blood ailments.
During the 11th century, Hildegard of Bingen used
basil in a complicated mixture to treat cancerous tumors.
By the 17th century, basil was widely used in Europe
to treat colds, warts, and intestinal worms.
In Ayurvedic medicine, the juice is recommended for snakebites,
as a general tonic, for chills, coughs, skin problems and earaches.
It is called tulsi. The
oil kill intestinal parasites confirming its traditional use in Malaya
and as a stomach soother and treatment for a broad range of intestinal
ailments. Indian researchers have reported that basil kills bacteria
when applied to the skin and have used basil oil successfully to treat
acne. One animal study
shows basil stimulates the immune system by increasing production of
disease-fighting antibodies by up to 20%.
In the West it is considered a cooling herb and is used for
rheumatic pain, irritable skin conditions and for those of a nervous
is one of many healing herbs containing both pro-and anti-cancer
substances. On the
prevention side, it contains Vitamin A & C, anti-oxidants that
help prevent cell damage. But
basil also contains a chemical, estragole, that produced liver tumors
in mice, according to a report published in the Journal
of the National Cancer Institute.
However, the cancer risk, if any, remains unclear.
It’s on the FDA list of GRAS herbs.
Basil-Leaved Parietaria (Parietaria
judaica): Basil-leaved parietaria has been
valued for over 2,000 years for its diuretic action, as
a soother of chronic coughs and as a balm for wounds and
burns. In European herbal medicine it is regarded as
having a restorative action on the kidneys, supporting
and strengthening their function. The whole herb,
gathered when in flower is an efficacious remedy for
kidney and bladder stones and other complaints of the
urinary system such as cystitis and nephritis. It should
not be prescribed to people with hay fever or other
allergic conditions. The leaves can be usefully employed
externally as a poultice on wounds etc. They have a
soothing effect on simple burns and scalds. A tea made
from this plant will ease upset stomachs and make one
feel better when one has a cold. It also helps the
liver and relieves fever.
A stimulant, diuretic herb
that benefits the digestive system and irritates the
tissues, causing a temporary improvement in local blood
supply. Basil thyme was a great favorite of the ancient
herbalists, though it is little used medicinally at
present. The essential oil has been applied externally as
a rubefacient, whilst one drop of it put into a decayed
tooth is said to alleviate the pain. The plant has also
been added to bath water, especially for children, and is
said to be a strengthener and nerve soother. Internally
used for shortness of breath, melancholy, and improving
the digestion. Externally, oil was once distilled to
treat bruises, toothache, sciatica, and neuralgia.
Bay (Laurus nobilis):
The Romans used bay leaves and berries for the treatment of liver
disorders. The French at
one time used bay as an antiseptic.
Now the Lebanese steep the berries and leaves in brandy in the
sun for a few days and drink it to calm queasy stomachs.
Bay oil from the berries and leaves can be used in salves and
liniments for rheumatism, bruises and skin problems.
Both fruit and leaves also stimulate the digestion.
A decoction of fruit or leaves made into a paste with honey or
syrup can be applied to the chest for colds and other chest problems.
The oil contains a powerful bacteria killing chemical that is
used in some dentifrices. For
frequent migraines add bay leaves to feverfew.
Bay leaves have demonstrated to help the body used insulin more
efficiently at levels as low at half-teaspoon.
experimental convalescent home in Russia encourages patients to smell
bay leaves to sharpen the memory.
Ancient Romans and Greeks placed a rolled bay leaf in the nose
or stuck a leaf on the forehead when troubled by headaches.
tea of bay leaves is excellent for the digestion and is somewhat
astringent as well. A
facial steam bath, for cleansing and clearing the skin, is made in the
same way as the tea, with the addition of chamomile flowers, rosemary
leaves, and rose petals. For
hysteria: to calm the patient, have them drink tea made from a bay
leaf. Pour 1 cup boiling
water over 2 bay leaves. Remove
the leaves after steeping 10 minutes and sweeten with honey.
one study, laboratory animals were given a fatal dose of strychnine,
then promptly treated with a bay oil preparation.
They all lived, but researchers weren't sure why.
Red bay was
widely employed medicinally by the Seminole Indians who
used it to treat a variety of complaints, but especially
as an emetic and body cleanser. It is little, if at all,
used in modern herbalism. An infusion of the leaves
can be used to abort a fetus up to the age of four
months. An infusion is also used in treating fevers,
headaches, diarrhea, thirst, constipation, appetite loss
and blocked urination. A strong decoction is emetic and
was used as a body purification when treating a wide
range of complaints. A decoction of the leaves is used
externally as a wash on rheumatic joints and painful
key herb in the Thomsonian system of medicine, being
the main astringent used for “any stomach or bowel
derangement, particularly after fevers.”
Internally used for fevers, colds, influenza,
excess mucus, diarrhea, colitis, excessive
menstruation, and vaginal discharge.
Externally for sore throat, ulcers, sores,
itching skin conditions, dandruff and hair loss.
Bayberry is commonly used to increase
circulation, stimulate perspiration, and keep
bacterial infections in check. Colds, flu, coughs, and
sore throats benefit from treatment with this herb as
a hot decoction.
It helps to strengthen local resistance to
infection and to tighten and dry mucous membranes.
An infusion is helpful for strengthening spongy
gums, and a gargle is used for sore throat.
Bayberry’s astringency helps intestinal
disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and mucous
colitis. It increases circulation to the area while
acting to tone tissues involved. An infusion can also
help treat excess vaginal discharge.
A paste of the powdered root bark may be
applied onto ulcers and sores.
The powdered bark has been used as a snuff for
congested nasal passages.
It has been used to treat post-partum
hemorrhage and taken internally and used as a douche
is recommended for excessive menstruation and
It is used as a poultice to soothe varicose
veins. Myricadiol has a mild effect on potassium and
Myricitrin is antibacterial and encourages the
flow of bile.
The powder is strongly sternutatory and excites
coughing. Water in which the wax has been 'tried,'
when boiled to an extract, is regarded as a certain
cure for dysentery, and the wax itself, being
astringent and slightly narcotic, is valuable in
severe dysentery and internal ulcerations. The leaves
have provided vitamin C for curing scurvy.
Chinese used this Pacific Rim wild food as a tonic for the
urinary organs and intestinal tract. Eskimo considered
the peas poisonous...Iroquois treated rheumatism with
cooked whole young plant.
Beak Willow (Salix bebbiana):
A poultice of the chewed root inner bark has been applied
to a deep cut. The shredded inner bark has been used as
sanitary napkins to 'heal a woman's insides'. A poultice
of the damp inner bark has been applied to the skin over a
broken bone. A decoction of the branches has been taken by
women for several months after childbirth to increase the
blood flow. A poultice of the bark and sap has been
applied as a wad to bleeding wounds. The fresh bark of
all members of this genus contains salicin, which probably
decomposes into salicylic acid (closely related to
aspirin) in the human body. This is used as an anodyne and
Beardtongue, Large (Penstemon
grandiflorus): The Dakota used a decoction of
roots to treat chest pains and the Kiowa to treat
stomachaches. The Pawnee used a tea made of the leaves
to treat fever and chills. The roots were chewed to a
pulp and placed it in a cavity to relieve toothache
Bearsfoot (Polymnia uvedalia) Regarded
as a valuable aid for quick pain relief. It is also a
gentle laxative, especially good for the aged, and a
root is taken internally as a treatment for
non-malignant swollen glands and especially for
root is thought to have a beneficial effect on the
stomach, liver, and spleen, and may be taken to relieve
indigestion and liver malfunction.
are styptic. A poultice of the chewed root has been
applied to wounds. A decoction of the grated root has been
used as a wash on bleeding wounds, sprains and broken
limbs. The washed roots have been rubbed to make a lather
and then used to wash sore eyes.
The herb’s appreciable
quantities of mucilage and tannin substantiate its
traditional use as a treatment for dislocated joints and
burns. These constituents are found in many wound-healing
plants. Acanthus paste applied to a dislocated joint
tends to normalize the affected muscles and ligaments,
alternately the relaxing and tightening them to encourage
the joint back into its proper place and to precipitate
the healing process. The plant’s soothing, emollient
properties are also useful in the treatment of irritated
mucous membranes within the digestive and urinary tracts.
Acanthus is similar to marsh mallow in that it can be used
externally to ease irritation, and internally to heal and
protect. The juices of the fresh plant, or an infusion of
the leaves and flowers, stimulate the appetite, cleanse
the liver and improve the digestion.
Beaumont's Root (Veronicastrum
virginicum): Native Americans used this plant as a
remedy for several ailments including as a laxative,
treatment for fainting and treating kidney stones. The
root was used as a blood cleanser. It was used for
ceremonial purification to cleanse the body by inducing
vomiting by drinking tea made from the plant's dried
root. The fresh root is a violent cathartic and possibly
emetic, the dried root is milder in its action, but less
certain. The root also gently excites the liver and
increases the flow of bile. An infusion has been used in
the treatment of diarrhea, coughs, chills and fevers, and
also to ease the pain of backaches. A tea made from the
roots is strongly laxative.
basilaris): The older pads served as medicine.
Their pulp provided a wet dressing for bruises and
sores, bites and lacerations, an application said to
deaden pain and hasten healing.
A concoction made of fresh or
dried leaves was applied by the pioneers to burns, scalds,
and frostbite, Indians steeped a handful of fresh bark in
a cup or two of water and used it for skin rashes,
particularly those caused by poison ivy. In Kentucky,
beech sap was one ingredient of a syrup compounded to
treat tuberculosis. Decoctions of either the leaves or
the bark were administered internally, as a treatment for
bladder, kidney, and liver ailments.. A decoction of the
root or leaves was believed to cure intermittent fevers,
dysentery, and diabetes, while the oil from the nut was
given for intestinal worms.
Beebeeru Bark (Nectandra
The alkaloids are strong
tonics, promoting digestion, sustaining the circulation,
and mildly stimulating the nervous system. Many persons
compare it to quinine; but it is not such an intense
nerve stimulant as that article, and is more distinctly
favorable to digestion, and to the improvement of the
general tone of the system. It has been used in agues.
In cases where the nervous system is sensitive, and
quinine is likely to cause excitement, bebeerin is a
preferable agent. As a tonic in periodical neuralgia,
atonic prolapsus and dyspepsia, and low forms of
periodical hysteria, it can be used to much advantage.
It relieves passive menorrhagia and has been used in
some cases of exhaustive discharges, as colliquative
diarrhea, and hectic from excessive suppuration. Rarely
It has been
used especially for asthma and is valuable in the
treatment of obstinate ulcers of the mouth or stomach
and diarrhea. A strong, cooled decoction was applied as
an external application in skin disorders, ulcers, and
erysipelas, and is said to arrest gangrene. It was
called cancer root because of its folk use as a local
application to cancerous ulcers. As for its internal
application, its use is indicated for its
astringent-healing properties. The decoction (one part
to three pars warm water) has been employed as a quickly
binding action in diarrhea. But more important, teas of
the herb have been taken for bleeding internal ulcers
with astonishingly lasting results. The roots and tops
are powdered and sprinkled on the place to be treated.
A tea may be made and used as a wash. A combination of
beech drops and cherry bark can be used to treat
hemorrhages of the bowels. This combination also makes
an excellent gargle for ulcers of the mouth.
Beggers Tick (Bidens
frondosa): Used in palpitation of the heart,
cough, and uterine derangement. Roots or seeds are also
used as an expectorant in throat irritation. Bidens
frondosa in infusion has cured several cases of
croup, even where they have been considered beyond
aid. A strong infusion of the plant, sweetened with honey,
was administered to the children, warm, in doses of a
tablespoonful or more every 10 or 15 minutes, until it
vomited. A quantity of mucous and membranous shreds were
ejected, followed by immediate relief; the children passed
into a sleep, from which they awakened perfectly well. In
a few hours after the emetic operation of the warm
infusion, it acted as a cathartic. The leaves from which
the infusion was made, were, at the same time placed in a
piece of flannel with some brandy added to them, and laid
over the chest and throat. This plan is also beneficial in
colds, acute bronchial and laryngeal attach from
exposure to cold, etc. An infusion of the seeds formed
into a syrup with honey, is useful in whooping-cough.
For urethritis and cystitis that has had
several closely spaced occurrences, with antibiotics
helping briefly but with the irritation returning shortly
after the finish of the regimen try several days of the
tea or tincture. If the pain goes away, continue the tea
for a few more days to finish up the membrane healing.
Bidens is also an excellent herb for benign prostatic
hypertrophy, usually decreasing the membrane irritability
both in the urinary tract and the rectum, and often, over
a few weeks of use, noticeably shrinking the prostate and
giving its connective tissue better tone. For this
purpose, it combines well with equal parts of white sage.
For elevated uric acid in the blood and a
history of gout or urate kidney gravel, Bidens will
increase the efficiency of the kidney’s excretion of uric
acid from the blood; it will also act as a diuretic to
dilute the urine. It has no effect on the production of
uric acid by the body. Since the mechanism for
stimulating the excretion is different from that of
Shepherd’s Purse, the two can be combined for increased
effects. The herb is active against staph infections, and
can be used as a wash, sitz bath, and eyewash. Its
astringency helps take away the inflammation and pain as
well. Its astringency and anti-inflammatory effects on the
mucus membranes help act as a tonic and preventative for
gastritis and ulcers, and diarrhea and ulcerative colitis.
For respiratory infections or irritated membranes due to
shouting, smoking, or dust, the tea or tincture acts to
soothe the membranes, increase mucus secretions and
expectoration, and decrease edema and swelling. For some
asthma aggravated or induced by infection, it may be
enough to turn the problem around. The tea will often
help hay fever and sinus headaches from allergies,
infections or pollution.
For mucus discharges, use the tea two or three times a day
for a week. This includes cloudy urine, vaginal
discharges, mucus colitis, mucoid conjunctivitis, and
chronic throat and nasal discharges.
This supplement is used in
traditional Chinese medicine as an expectorant and to
treat bronchitis and whooping cough. Its mechanism of
action is unknown, but animal models reveal analgesic
properties. It is reported that glehnia root can
hemolyze blood cells, stimulate myocardial
contractility, and exert antibacterial effects. Various
extracts from glehnia root display analgesic effects in
a mouse study utilizing acetic acid-induced writhing
tests. Concentrations of 10-50 mg/kg polyacetylene and
80-100 mg/kg coumarin fractions are necessary to elicit
analgesia. The roots improve functioning of the liver
and kidneys; treat lung diseases, coughs including
hacking cough, fever, chest pain. It is especially
effective in treating joint pain and muscle pain, both
of acute injuries and in chronic conditions like
rheumatoid or osteo arthritis. It can be topically
applied and taken internally. In Japan, Hamaboufuu is
an important plant in traditional folk medicine. One
ancient use is as an annual tonic. On the day of the
Japanese New Year, Japanese people drink a medicinal
alcoholic beverage called Toso. The drink contains
several medicinal herbs of which Hamaboufuu is one.
Drinking it on the New Year’s day is said to insure
health in the coming year. It is registered in the
Japanese Herbal Medicines Codex.
Myrobalan (Terminalia belerica):
Beleric myrobalan fruit is astringent,
tonic, and laxative. It is principally employed as a
treatment for digestive and respiratory problems. In
Ayurvedic medicine, the ripe fruit is taken for diarrhea
and indigestion, and the unripe fruit is used as a
laxative for chronic constipation. Beleric myrobalan is
also often used to treat upper respiratory tract
infections that cause symptoms of sore throats,
hoarseness, and coughs. Externally, the fruit is applied
as a lotion for sore eyes. Alcoholic extract of the fruit
shows a marked bile- stimulant activity, and increases the
total solid content in the bile secreted in anaesthetised
dogs but aqueous extract has poor activity; 30 mg/kg
alcoholic extract shows increase in bile secretion; blood
pressure and respiration do not get affected. But a higher
dose 60 mg/kg produces a fall in blood pressure and a dose
of 100 mg/kg is fatal. The cold water extracts possess
antibacterial activity. 'Triphala' and each of its three
constituents- Haritaki, Bibhitaka and Amalaki are well
known Rasayana drugs (rejuvenating agents). They prevent
aging and impart longevity, immunity, enhance body
resistance against disease and improve mental faculties.
The beneficial effects are studied on all seven dhatus.
Unripe fruit is purgative. Dried ripe fruit is
astringent and employed in dropsy, piles and diarrhea.
It is also used in fever, applied to the eyes, and is
useful in sore throat and bronchitis. Bibitaki is the best single herb for
generally controlling Kapha. It is a powerful rejuvenative
herb that nourishes the lungs, throat, voice, eyes and
hair. It excels at removing stones and accumulations of
toxins (mucus, cholesterol, mineral deposits) in the
digestive, urinary, and respiratory tracts. It is unique
in being both laxative and astringent, so it purges the
bowels, while simultaneously toning the tissues of the
digestive tract. Bibitaki has been
shown in recent studies to protect the liver from damage.
Belladonna (Atropa belladonna) A
belladonna derivative, atropine is used to dilate eyes
prior to eye operations and for some eye exams.
It has been official in the U.S.
Pharmacopoeia since 1820.
The tropane alkaloids inhibit the
parasympathetic nervous system, which controls
involuntary body activities.
This reduces saliva; gastric, intestinal and
bronchial secretions as well as the activity of the
urinary tubules, bladder, and intestines.
It is the tropane alkaloids that increase the
heart rate and dilate the pupils.
It is prescribed to relax distended organs,
especially the stomach and intestines, relieving
intestinal colic and pain. It helps peptic ulcers and it relaxes spasms of the urinary
herb can also be used to treat the symptoms of
Parkinson’s disease, reducing tremors and rigidity,
and improving speech and mobility.
The smooth muscle relaxant properties of deadly
nightshade make it useful in conventional medicine as
an anesthetic, particularly when digestive or
bronchial secretions need to be kept to a minimum.
Ivan Raeff, a lay practitioner in Schipka, a
village in Bulgaria, discovered that a total extract
root was successful in treating encephalitis.
And the whole extract was better tolerated than
the pure alkaloid atropine.
A proprietary preparation resulting from this
research is Tremoforat.
Belladonna leaves applied externally are used
as a treatment and possible cure for cancer by both
Western herbalists and in Chinese folk medicine.
trachelium): For pains in the ear, the blossoms
of bellflower were gathered, boiling in a covered pan
and after steeping the liquid, used to wash the ears.
If one had pain in the stomach, the root of this plant
was cooked and spirits added. After steeping for three
hours, a small drink helped ease the pain. In the
smaller villages of Poland, children suffering from
consumption were bathed in this herb: if the child’s
skin darkened after such a bath, it was a sign that
he/she would live. If it didn’t, the disease would take
perfoliata): The root is
used as a poultice or salve in the treatment of boils,
wounds and ulcers. A tea made from the roots is used in
the treatment of coughs, sore mouths and throats, inflamed
gums and snakebites. It is suitable for use by children.
An infusion of the crushed roots has been used as a wash
to treat sore eyes.
Benzoin (Styrax benzoin):
When taken internally, benzoin gum acts to settle cramps,
to stimulate coughing, and to disinfect the urinary
tract. Infusions help to clear matter from the bronchial
tubes. It is one of the best expectorants, and is an
ingredient of Friars Balsam, an antiseptic and expectorant
steam inhalation for sore throats, head and chest colds,
asthma, and bronchitis. For croup, the child inhales
vapors from a small amount of boiled water to which a
teaspoon of a benzoin tincture has been added. It is also
an antiseptic and an astringent for healing small cuts.
The resin is a common ingredient in skin-protective
products, where it aids the healing of chapped or
blistered skin. It tightens and disinfects the affected
tissue. It also has stimulant properties. Medicinally it
was used to relieve shingles, ringworm and a number of
other skin disorders. In other parts of southern Asia,
benzoin was employed to mend sores on the feet and was
traditionally applied to heal the wound made by
(Bergamot didyma) Bergamot
tea is soothing and relaxing and makes a good
Add a handful of fresh leaves to your bath to
sooth tired and aching limbs (in a net bag).
Native Americans used the leaves of monarda as
a poultice and compress on skin eruptions, as a tea
for colds and flus and inhaled as a steam to relieve
sinus and lung congestion.
Scientific evidence shows that bergamot may
inhibit the herpes simplex and the related chicken pox
It is also combined with other herbs to treat
urinary tract infections and indigestion.
Bergamot Fruit (Citrus
Bergamot is not used much in herbal medicine, but it can
be used to relieve tension, relax muscle spasms, and
improve digestion. It is used internally for colic in
babies as orange blossom water and externally in douches
and baths for vaginal infections as an oil.
Betel (Piper betle):
Betel leaves are chiefly used as a
gently stimulant, apparently inducing a mild sensation of
well-being. They also affect the digestive system,
stimulating salivary secretions, relieving gas, and
preventing worm infestation. In many Asian traditions,
including Ayurvedic medicine, betel leaves are thought to
have aphrodisiac and nerve tonic properties. In Chinese
herbal medicine, betel root, leaves, and fruit are
sometimes used as a mild tonic and stomach-settling herb.
The root has been used with black pepper or jequirity to
produce sterility in women.
said to have been in use among the aborigines and
early settlers of North America. It is a plant that
contains a natural precursor of the female sex
hormones, which the body may use if it needs to or
otherwise leaves unused, an example of the normalizing
power of some herbs.
It is antiseptic, astringent and tonic
expectorant, being used principally in hemorrhages, to
promote parturition, and externally, usually in the
form of a poultice, as a local irritant in skin
diseases, or to restrain gangrene. The leaves,
boiled in lard, are sometimes applied to ulcers and
tumors. The roots may be boiled in milk, when they are
helpful in diarrhea and dysentery.
Bethroot is a valuable remedy for heavy
menstrual or intermenstrual bleeding, helping to
reduce blood flow.
It is also used to treat bleeding associated
with uterine fibroids.
Bethroot may also be taken for bleeding within
the urinary tubules and, less often, for the coughing
up of blood.
It remains a valuable herb in facilitating
A douche of bethroot is useful for excessive
vaginal discharge and yeast infections.
The acrid species are useful in fevers and
chronic affections of the air-passages. Merely
smelling the freshly-exposed surface of the red Beth
roots will check bleeding from the nose.
Betony (Stachys officinalis) The
drug is largely concentrated in the leaves, though the
root is regarded as specific for the liver with a
gentle laxative action.
Betony’s real value is as a remedy for
headaches and facial pain. The plant is also mildly sedative, relieving nervous stress
and tension. In
herbal medicine, betony is thought to improve nervous
function and to counter overactivity.
It is taken to treat “frayed nerves,”
premenstrual complaints, poor memory, and tension. Taken daily with boiled warm milk, it is good remedy for
The plant has astringent properties and in
combination with other herbs such as comfrey and
linden flowers, it is effective against sinus
headaches and congestion.
Betony may be taken alone or with yarrow to
help staunch nosebleeds.
If applied externally, it stops bleeding,
promotes healing and draws out boils and splinters.
It is also mildly bitter.
The French recommended the leaves for lung,
liver, gallbladder and spleen problems.
It stimulates the digestive system and the
liver, and has an overall tonic effect on the body. Trigonelline, one of its constituents has been shown to lower
blood sugar levels.
fabaceus) Used to treat rheumatism and venereal
disease. Sometimes the raw root was rubbed directly
over the ailing parts. It was roasted, a paste made of
its ashes, and applied in a plaster or a poultice to the
patient’s flesh, there to remain until blisters formed
as a certain sign that a cure was underway.
(Vaccinium myrtillus): Medicinal Uses: A drink of the fruit and roots steeped in gin is an old
remedy to stop diarrhea and relieve nausea and indigestion though
large amounts of the whole berries eaten with their seeds and skin
provide a laxative bulk. Normally
the dried fruit is markedly binding and has an antibacterial action. They can decrease intestinal inflammation and help protect
the digestive tract lining. The
berries are also said to be a refrigerant that lowers body heat. Studies show an effect on heart contractions and blood
vessels that is thought to be caused by the berries stimulating the
production of prostaglandins. There
is evidence that they also help prevent blood clots.
Bilberry’s high anthocyanin content makes it a potentially
valuable treatment for varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and capillary
fragility. Bilberries are incorporated into European pharmaceuticals
that are used to improve circulation.
Several scientific studies support this use.
In Russia, berries and leaves are used to treat colitis,
stomach problems and sugar diabetes.
The leaves are also found in folk remedies of other countries
to treat diabetes. The
glucoquinine in the leaves does show a weak ability to lower blood
sugar. Clinical studies
have been proposed to back the hypoglycemic effects found in animals.
German researchers have also suggested that the quinic acid
produced from a tea of dried bilberry leaves is a potential treatment
for rheumatism and gout. A
decoction of the fruit is used as a mouthwash.
research shows that the fruit contains compounds known as
anthocyanosides which contribute to visual acuity.
Italian researchers shows that a mixture of anthocyanosides
from bilberry plus vitamin E halted the progression of lens clouding
in 97% of people with early-stage cataracts. Regular use of the fruit
results in quicker adjustment to darkness and glare and improved
visual acuity both at night and in bright light during the day.
It may be useful in the prevention and treatment of glaucoma
since it strengths connective tissue and prevents free radical damage.
sepium): The dried rhizomes,
roots, and leaves are used in the preparation of laxatives
and remedies for gallbladder problems. It was also used
in folk medicine for jaundice. Women drank this tea to
help stomach cramps or to guard against a miscarriage.
The fresh leaves, made into a poultice, helped to bring a
boil to a head. American Indians were said to have rubbed
the leaves of the plant over their bodies and then handled
rattlesnakes without dancer. The fresh sap of the plant
when crushed is an effective treatment for fevers relating
to infections such as tonsillitis, sinusitis, otitis, etc.
Take 1 Tbsp juice, 3 times a day for it. A mother
tincture made from the root is used primarily to treat
Birch, Water (Betula
The bark is antirheumatic,
astringent, lithontripic, salve and sedative. A
decoction of the flowers and leaves has been used as an
Bird Cherry (Prunus padus):
The bark from young twigs is the medicinally active part.
An infusion of the bark is used in the treatment of colds,
feverish conditions, rheumatic and arthritic pain. Bird
Cherry should be used internally only under strict medical
supervision. It is also used in homeopathy
Bird in the Bush (Bulbous corydalis):
Bulbous Carydalis has been used as a vermifuge in the
past. The tubers are used medicinally. When dried they
have a strong aroma and bitter taste. They contain
alkaloids, the most important being corydaline and
bulbocapnine. Bulbocpnine has antispasmodic, sedative and
hallucinogenic properties. It lowers the blood pressure
and inhibits the contractions of striated muscles. In
some countries it is used in preparations to treat
Parkinson’s disease and other serious neurological
disorders, vertigo and muscular tremors. Bulbocapnine is
also beneficial before and after treatment with
anesthetics. The root has traditionally been used to
lower pain and strengthen the circulation.
Bird of Paradise (Caesalpinia
the seed has been used as a liver tonic. In Latin
America: for ‘irritacion”, an infantile disease
characterized by fever, swollen belly, cold hands and
feet, perspiration, and diarrhea—squeeze a large double
handful of leaves in 1 gallon of hot water and allow to
soak in sun all day; bathe infant with this warm sun tea
for 3 nights and give ¼ cup to drink after each bath. For
both children and adults suffering from “tristesa”—sadness
and grief—bathe in this mixture. A methyl alchohol
extract of the dried bark of Bird of Paradise flower was
shown to have in vitro activity against Staphylococcus
aureus and a water extract of the fresh leaves was
shown to have strong in vitro antifungal activity against
Ustilago maydis and Ustilago nuda, both
plant pathogens. A methanol extract of dried root bark
was shown to have in vitro activity against
Staphylococcus aueus and Escherichia coli. An
ethanol-chloroform extract of fresh seed pods was shown to
have tumor promoting effect (94% enhancement of sarcoma
HS1 tumor) in mice.
Bird's Foot Trefoil (Lotus
corniculatus): Recommended for the treatment of
heart palpitations, nervousness, depression and insomnia
Birdsfoot Violet (Viola pedata):
A poultice of the leaves has been used to allay the pain
of a headache. An infusion of the plant has been used in
the treatment of dysentery, coughs and colds. A poultice
of the crushed root has been applied to boils. The seeds
have been recommended in uric acid gravel. The plant
parts and roots have been used as a mild laxative and to
induce vomiting. A decoction of the above ground parts has
been used to loosen phlegm in the chest, and for other
) Used to
treat: abdominal complaints, cancer, cancer (nose),
depurative, leg ulcers, menstrual troubles, polyps
(nose), tumor, wounds.
Not used much today, birthwort was formerly
used to treat wounds, sores, and snake bite.
It has been taken after childbirth to prevent
infection and is also a potent menstruation-inducing
herbs and a (very dangerous) abortifacient.
A decoction was taken to encourage healing of
has also been used for asthma and bronchitis.
Chinese research into aristolochic acid has shown it
to be an effective wound healer.
Aristolochia species are used in China,
but the medicinal use has been banned in Germany
because of the toxicity of aristolochic acid.
herbalists use the fruit when there is lung heat and
inflammation, with or without deficiency, but with the
presence of phlegm. For these conditions, it stops
coughing and wheezing. It is also used internally to
treat bleeding hemorrhoids.
Birthwort, Frail (Aristolochia debilis
) Internally used for arthritis,
purulent wounds, hypertension, snake and insect bites,
and gastric disorders involving bloating (roots); for
asthma, wet coughs, bronchitis, hypertension and
hemorrhoids (fruits). Indications: heat in the lungs
manifested as cough with profuse yellow sputum and
fruit (Madouling) is used with Loquat Leaf, Peucedanum
root, Mulberry bark and Scutellaria root.
Deficiency of the lungs manifested as cough
with scanty sputum or with bloody sputum and shortness
of breath. Fruit
is used with Glehnia root, Ophiopogon root, Aster root
and Donkey hide gelatin.
Biscuit Root (Lomatium dissectum):
Both Lomatium and Ligusticum were used by Native Americans and early
American medical practitioners for a variety of chronic or severe
infectious disease states, particularly those of viral origin. Modern
research is rather limited, but clinical trials have supported the
inclusion of these botanicals for viral infections including HIV and
it’s demonstrated efficacy against a variety of bacterial infections
Lomatium contains an
oleoresin rich in terpenes. It acts as a stimulating expectorant,
enhancing the liquification and consequent elimination of mucus from
the lungs. It also appears to exert a strong antibacterial activity,
interfering with bacterial replication and inducing increased
phagocytosis. The resin also contains a number of furanocoumarins
including nodakenetin, columbianin and pyranocoumarin. These resins
may be responsible for the plant's antiviral effect. They may also be
partly responsible for the phagocytic action lomatium causes.
Based on empirical evidence and discussions with clinical
herbalists, lomatium can be used as an antimicrobial, especially in
the lungs and upper respiratory tract. It provides quick-acting relief
in cases of viral or bacterial infection, particularly when there is a
large amount of thick or sticky mucus and infection is deep-seated and
persistent. Consider taking lomatium for pneumonia, infective
bronchitis and tuberculosis.
As an immunostimulant, this herb is traditionally used to treat
colds and flus. Many cases during the 1920s U.S. influenza epidemic
were successfully treated with lomatium by the professional herbalists
of the time, and it has been used for this purpose by Native Americans
since the introduction of influenza to the Americas. Its
infection-fighting ability makes lomatium valuable as a mouthwash and
gargle for oral and throat infections, as a douche for bacterial and
viral infections or candida, as a skin wash for infected cuts or
wounds, and in many other first- aid situations. Both tea and
tincture forms are commonly used. For acute bacterial or viral
infections, 2.5 ml of the tincture diluted in water can be used three
to four times daily. A painful, itchy full-body rash that can persist
for days occurs frequently when the crude tincture is used.
It seems to occur more commonly with the strong, fresh-root
preparation and disappears when treatment stops.
Biscuit Root (Cymopterus
bulbosus): The plant has been eaten as a stomach
Weed (Ammi majur)
The seeds in an infusion or as
a tincture, calm the digestive system. They are also diuretic and,
like visnaga, have been used to treat asthma and angina. Bishops’
weed reputedly helps treat patchy skin pigmentation in vitiligo. It
has also been used for psoriasis. The seeds in an infusion or as a
tincture, calm the digestive system. They are also diuretic and, like
visnaga, have been used to treat asthma and angina. Bishops’ weed
reputedly helps treat patchy skin pigmentation in vitiligo. It has
also been used for psoriasis.
bistorta or Persicaria bistorta) Roots
and leaves were used to counteract poisons and to
treat malaria and intermittent fevers.
Dried and powdered it was applied to cuts and
wounds to staunch bleeding, and a decoction in wine
was taken for internal bleeding and diarrhea
(especially in babies).
It was also given to cause sweating and drive
out the plague, smallpox, measles and other infectious
is rich in tannins and one of the best astringents.
Taken internally, it is excellent for bleeding,
such as from nosebleeds, heavy periods and wounds, and
for diarrhea and dysentery.
Since it reduces inflammation and mucous
secretions it makes a good remedy for colitis and for
It was originally recommended in 1917 as a
treatment for debility with a tendency towards
has also been used externally for pharyngitis,
stomatitis, vaginal discharge, anal fissure, purulent
wounds, hemorrhoids, mouth ulcers and gum disease.
Comes well with Geranium maculatum.
Biting Stonecrop (Sedum
acre): The bruised leaves,
fresh or in ointments, are soothing for wounds, abcesses,
bruises and minor burns. Taken internally, the plant, or
its expressed juice, has an emeto-cathartic action, and
was recommended in scrofulous affections, malarial fevers,
and even in epilepsy; however, it is rarely employed at
the present day, except, occasionally, as a local
application to glandular enlargements, to scrofulous
ulcers, and to some chronic cutaneous maladies—the fresh
leaves only (bruised) being used—thus applied to warts,
corns, or similar growths, it is said to ultimately effect
their removal. It is said to relieve "the extreme
sensitiveness associated with disorders of the
reproductive function" (Scudder, Spec. Med., p.
238). It has been considered useful in intermittent fever
and in dropsy. In large doses it is emetic and cathartic,
and applied externally will sometimes produce blisters.
Traditionally known as an abortive. In Scotland,
this plant was used in the past as a vermifuge, as a cure
for scurvy and scrofula (tuberculosis of the lymph glands
in the neck). The plant contains an acrid juice, and this
has been used in the treatment of cancer, acts as an
emetic, and has been used to cure dropsy. An old recipe
against dropsy proposes boiling an ounce of the plant in
twelve ounces of ale, the resultant infusion to be taken
over the period of a day in four doses.
as a treatment for a sore throat, it was scalded and
applied to the throat. The juice from the leaves, crushed
and applied to cancerous ulcers as a poultice, brought
relief and healing if changed frequently. Rinsing the
mouth with a decoction of the herb strengthened the gums
and decreased the damage caused by scurvy. Fried with an
equal amount of thyme in unsalted fat, it made a salve for
Apple (Citrullus colocynthis):
pulp of unripe fruit is used medicinally for its drastic
purgative and hydragogue cathartic action on the
intestinal tract. When the fruit is ripe its pulp dries to
form a powder used as a bitter medicine and drastic
purgative. So strong that it is mostly used only in
combination with other herbs. The pulp or leaves is a folk
remedy for cancerous tumors. A decoction of the whole
plant, made in juice of fennel, is said to help
indurations of the liver. Roots may also be used as
purgative against ascites, for jaundice, urinary diseases,
rheumatism, and for snake-poison. The colocynth is also
used for amenorrhea, ascites, bilious disorders, cancer,
fever, jaundice, leukemia, rheumatism, snakebite, tumors
(especially of the abdomen), and urogenital disorders. The
plant figures into remedies for cancer, carcinoma,
endothelioma, leukemia, corns, tumors of the liver and
spleen, even the eye.
Bitter Ash (Picrasma excelsa):
Quassia is an excellent remedy in
dyspeptic conditions due to lack of tone. As with all
bitters, it stimulates the production of saliva and
digestive juices and so increases the appetite. It may
safely be used in all cases of lack of appetite such as
anorexia nervosa and digestive sluggishness. The wood has
been used to prepare “qQuassia cups.” A Quassia cup is
filled with hot water and the wqater is allowed to cool
somewhat before being drunk. This results in a liquid
that is very bitter and thus acts to stimulate the
appetitie. Quassia cups can be used in this way for a
number of years and will retain an ability to produce a
bitter water extract.. It is used in the expulsion of
threadworms and other parasites, both as an enema and an
infusion. The herb’s bitterness has led to its being used
as a treatment for malaria and other fevers, and in the
Caribbean it is given for dysentery. Externally as a
lotion it may be used against lice infestations.
Bitter Cress (Cardamine amara):
Used medicinally since early times as a stomachic
Bitter Dock (Rumex obtusifolius):
Studies have validated the traditional prescription of
bitter dock tea as a laxative. The root was steeped and
applied to skin eruptions, especially for children. The
root contains tannin and is astringent and blood purifier.
A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment
of jaundice, whooping cough, boils and bleeding. An
infusion of the root has been used as a wash, especially
for children, to treat skin eruptions. One report says
that the root has been used as a contraceptive to stop
Bitter Milkwort (Polygala amara):
The plant is used primarily as a discharging agent, the
effect being attributed to the saponines as well as the
galtherin and its aglycon. Due to its bitter constituents
it is used as an appetite stimulant and a stomachic. The
Greek name Polygala means “plenty of milk” and explains
its use as a galactogogue. This effect is said to be
caused by the saponines. The flowering stems, sometimes
with the roots, are used medicinally. When dry they have
a distinctive bitter taste (the specific epithet amara
means bitter). It is used in the form of a decoction or
powder to treat coughs, bronchitis and other infections of
the upper respiratory tract, and digestive disorders. It
is also included in proprietary expectorant medicines. In
folk medicine it is still recommended for nursing mothers
but it has not been established whether the plant really
is a galactagogue. An infusion is used to treat stomach
upsets, bladder and kidney disorders etc.
Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium ssp
aurantium): The strongly acidic fruit of the
bitter orange stimulates the digestion and relieves
flatulence. Synephrine, found in bitter orange, is
structurally related to the neurotransmitters epinephrine
and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are suggested
to have an antidepressant effect as well as a stimulatory
effect on the heart even in small doses. The amino acid
found in foods called l-phenylalanine is a precursor to
tyrosine. As such, it is involved in brain biochemical
processes involving neurotransmitters epinephrine,
norepinephrine, and dopamine thereby promoting elevated
mood, mental alertness, and appetite suppression.
of the fruit is thought to soothe headaches, calm
palpitations and lower fevers. The juice helps the body
eliminate waste products, and, being rich in vitamin C,
helps the immune system ward off infection. If taken to
excess, however, its acid content can exacerbate
arthritis. In Chinese herbal medicine, the unripe fruit,
known as zhi shi, is thought to “regulate the qi”
helping to relieve flatulence and abdominal bloating, and
to open the bowels. The seeds are used to treat pimples
and freckles. The distilled flower water is antispasmodic
Bitter Orange (Poncirus
The thorns are
used in the treatment of toothache. The stem bark is
used in the treatment of colds.
fruit, with the endocarp and seeds removed, is
carminative, deobstruent and expectorant. It is used in
the treatment of dyspepsia, constipation and abdominal
distension, stuffy sensation in the chest, prolapse of
the uterus, rectum and stomach. It is milder in effect
than the immature fruit and is better used for removing
stagnancy of food and vital energy in the spleen and
Root (Apocynum androsaemifolium
) Famous as a safe
cathartic and heart tonic; it is also a powerful emetic
and diuretic. Bitter
root was a popular remedy among the Indians for
syphilis. Small doses act as a vasoconstrictor, slowing
and strengthening the heartbeat and raising the blood
is a strong diuretic, useful in cardiac dropsy and the
like, but authorities differ as to whether it increases
urine by irritation of the kidneys or dilation of the
renal artery, or both.
One of the reasons preventing its more frequent
use in medicine is the variability of absorption,
metabolization, effects and pharmacology. It is used today when the hepatic organs are sluggish.
Its influence is slow but persistent and extends
through the gall ducts, gall cyst, liver tubuli and also
the muscular and mucous membranes of the bowels and
is quite stimulating to the gall ducts, influencing the
excretion of bile, and especially valuable when the
stools are clay-colored, indicating a lack of bile.
In jaundice, take 3-5 drops of the fluid extract
every 2 or 3 hours and, if caused by occlusion, add
If the pulse is below par, add a little capsicum.
If using large doses for gall stones, add some
ginger or aniseed. Because it influences a discharge of bile and the bowels in
the way it does, a soft stool will result in about 6-8
is quite in order where torpid conditions are found, but
is not good in irritated and sensitive conditions.
The green fruit was boiled and used for a heart
and kidney treatment.
Bitter Root (Lewisia
rediviva): An infusion of the root has been used
to increase the milk flow in nursing mothers, to relieve
heart pain and the pain of pleurisy and also as a blood
purifier. The root has been eaten raw to counteract
the effects of poison ivy rash and as a treatment for
diabetes. The pounded dry root has been chewed in the
treatment of sore throats. A poultice of the raw
roots has been applied to sores.
is used mainly as an alterative internally for eruptic
skin diseases and ulcers including eczema, itchiness,
psoriasis and warts.
Externally a decoction of the twigs, applied as a
wash, may also help to lessen the severity of these
has a very cool energy and is useful for most
inflammatory conditions, including ulcerative colitis
and inflammatory rheumatic diseases.
It also is used for severe high fevers with
extreme excitability and acts as a cooling sedative for
hysteria and anxiety as well as chronic jaundice.
It was also used for felons (inflammations of
finger-end joints), hence the common name
herb may also be taken to relieve asthma, chronic
bronchitis and rheumatic conditions, including gout.
Recent research indicates that bittersweet
contains a tumor-inhibiting agent, beta-solamarine,
which may have some promise in treating cancer.
autumnale): The flowers and
leaves have been snuffed to cause sneezing and clear nasal
passages, and to treat colds. The plant parts and flowers
have been used to treat intestinal worms. They have been
thought to be poisonous to fish and insects. The powdered
leaves are sternutatory. An infusion of the leaves is
laxative and alterative. An infusion of the stems has
been used as a wash in the treatment of fevers. The plant
contains helenalin, a compound that has shown significant
Catechu (Acacia catechu) Black
Catechu is a powerful astringent used in chronic
diarrhea, dysentery and mucous colitis. It is also a clotting agent.
It helps reduce excess mucus in the nose, the
large bowel, or vagina.
It also treats eczema and hemorrhages.
As a douche it is used in leucorrhea.
As a mouthwash or gargle it is used in
gingivitis, stomatitis, pharyngitis and laryngitis. It may be used as an infusion, tincture, powder or ointment.
A small piece of cutch dissolved in the mouth is
an excellent remedy for bleeding gums and canker sores.
The power and tincture are also applied to
infected gums and have been used to clean the teeth. In Ayurvedic medicine, decoctions of the bark and heartwood
are used for sore throat.
Research is that cutch has been shown to lower
blood pressure, its mechanism of action is thought to be
bradykinin related and due to vasodilation.
Black Cherry (Prunus
serotina): Figuring in
official pharmacopoeias and much used in the
Anglo-American tradition, black cherry bark effectively
counters chronic dry and irritable cough. Due to its
powerful sedative action on the cough reflex, Wild Cherry
bark also finds its use in the treatment of bronchitis and
whooping cough. It can be used with other herbs in the
control of asthma. It must be remembered, however, that
the inhibition of a cough does not equate with the healing
of a chest infection, which will still need to be
treated. It may also be used as a bitter where digestion
is sluggish. It is an outstanding remedy for weakness of
the stomach with irritation, such as ulcers, gastritis,
colitis, diarrhea and dysentery. It is helpful combined
in digestive tonics with such herbs as licorice, ginseng,
cyperus, anise and tangerine peel. These herbs are
macerated for two weeks to six months in rice wine. They
are then strained and the resulting tincture is taken in
teaspoonful doses before meals. The cold infusion of the
bark may be helpful as a wash in cases of inflammation of
the eyes. The astringent bark also eases indigestion and
the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, especially when
these conditions are of nervous origin. The medicinal
properties of this plant are destroyed by boiling, so the
plant should only be allowed to steep in warm water. The
root bark and the aromatic inner bark have expectorant and
mild sedative properties and a tea made from either of
them has been used to ease pain in the early stages of
labor. The tea is also used in the treatment of fevers,
colds, sore throats, diarrhea etc. A decoction of the
inner bark has been used in the treatment of laryngitis.
The root bark has been used as a wash on old sores and
ulcers. The fruit has been used in the treatment of
Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga
racemosa): Black cohosh root improves blood circulation and lowers
blood pressure and body temperature by dilating blood vessels and
increasing peripheral circulation.
The constituents responsible for these actions are so resinous,
the traditional virtues of this herb are best extracted by using hot
water and preferably alcohol on the fresh root.
A central nervous system depressant, black cohosh directly
inhibits vasomotor centers that are involved with inner ear balance
and hearing. One of the
uses for black cohosh recognized by doctors is for relief of ringing
in the ears. The Native
Americans knew that it encouraged uterine contractions and used it to
facilitate labor. It is
also used to reduce the inflammation and muscular pain of rheumatism
and inflammatory arthritis, especially when it is associated with
menopause and to treat
problems of the respiratory system.
Chinese physicians use several related plants to treat
headache, to ripen and bring out skin rashes such as measles,
diarrhea, bleeding gums and some gynecological problems.
cohosh has estrogenic effects, meaning it acts like the female sex
hormone estrogen. This
may lend support to its traditional use for menstrual complaints.
It is thought to reduce levels of pituitary luteinizing
hormone, thereby decreasing the ovaries’ production of progesterone. A German trial published in 1995, revealed that black
cohosh in combination with St. John’s wort was 78% effective at
treating hot flashes and other menopausal problems.
Black cohosh is used to optimize estrogen levels perhaps by
competing with estrogen receptor sites when estrogen is overabundant
but may promote estrogen production when estrogen is low. It is the
prime women’s tonic for any uterine condition involving
inflammation, pain, or low estrogen.
It promotes fertility and softens the impact of menopause.
Using black cohosh during menopause can reduce intensity and
frequency of hot flashes, support and ease the body’s changes, helps
counteract menopausal prolapses, improves digestion, relieves
menstrual pain and irregularity, relieves headaches, relieves
menopausal arthritis and rheumatism.
the ranunculoside in black cohosh, exhibits antispasmodic and sedative
properties in the fresh root. When
the root is cut or bruised, an enzyme is released which reacts with
cimicifugin to produce protoanemonine, which is unstable in water but,
when dried, is readily oxidized to an anemonic acid which has no
physiological activity. The
antispasmodic and sedative properties of black cohosh are only present
in the whole, fresh root.
The dried, powdered black cohosh in common use today contains
only the irritating principles.
Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa):
gum from the buds was used in preparations for baldness,
sore throats, whooping cough and tuberculosis. Some tribes
placed the gum that exudes from the burls of cottonwood
directly on cuts and wounds. Western balsam poplar has a
long history of herbal use. It was commonly used by many
native North American Indian tribes who valued it
especially for its antiseptic and expectorant properties,
using it to treat lung complaints, wounds, skin conditions
etc. It is still commonly employed in modern herbalism
with much the same uses.
The leaf buds are covered
with a resinous sap that has a strong turpentine odor and
a bitter taste. They also contain salicin, a glycoside
that probably decomposes into salicylic acid (aspirin) in
the body. The buds are antiscorbutic, antiseptic,
balsamic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant and tonic. They
are taken internally in the treatment of bronchitis and
upper respiratory tract infections. They should not be
prescribed to patients who are sensitive to aspirin.
Externally, the buds are used to treat colds, sinusitis,
arthritis, rheumatism, muscular pain and dry skin
conditions. They can be put in hot water and used as an
inhalant to relieve congested nasal passages. The buds are
harvested in the spring before they open and are dried for
Although no specific mention has been seen for this
species, the bark of most, if not all members of the genus
contain salicin, a glycoside that probably decomposes into
salicylic acid (aspirin) in the body. The bark is
therefore anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge. It is
used especially in treating rheumatism and fevers, and
also to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps.
Black Haw: (Viburnum
Black Haw has a very similar use to Crampbark to which it is
closely related. It is a
powerful relaxant of the uterus and is used for dysmenorrhea and false
labor pains. It may be used in threatened miscarriage as well (often in
combination with false unicorn root).
Its relaxant and sedative actions explain its power in reducing
blood pressure, which happens through a relaxation of the peripheral
blood vessels. It may be
used as an anti-spasmodic in the treatment of asthma.
It improves circulation to the uterus and ovaries, and thereby
promotes nutrition to the pelvic area.
treats all nervous complaints, including convulsions, hysteria and
spasms. It also is used
to treat palpitations and hysterical fits.
It is good for all painful affections including arthritic and
taken in the latter part of pregnancy, it helps promote normal uterine
contractions and antagonizes irregular ones.
It prevents afterpains, post partum hemorrhage and helps ensure
normal involution of the uterus.
Other benefits include relief of morning sickness and lowering
of arterial blood pressure.
Black (Helleborus niger
) The active constituents have an action
similar to that of those found in foxglove.
Toxic when taken in all but the smallest doses,
the acrid black hellebore is purgative and cardiotonic,
expels worms, and promotes menstrual flow.
In the 20th century, the cardiac
glycosides in the leaves came into use as a heart
stimulant for the elderly.
The herb has also been taken to stimulate
Now considered too strong to be safely used.
Black Horehound (Ballota nigra): Black horehound has a long history of
herbal use, though is not widely employed in modern
herbalism because of its unpleasant flavor. An excellent
remedy for the settling of nausea and vomiting where the
cause lies within the nervous system rather than in the
stomach. It may be used with safety in motion sickness,
where the nausea is triggered through the inner ear and
the central nervous system. This herb will also be of
value in helping the vomiting of pregnancy, or nausea and
vomiting due to nervousness. This remedy has a reputation
as a normalizer of menstrual function and also as a mild
expectorant. Long been considered a remedy for
convulsions and low spirits. Black horehound is thought
to be mildly sedative and antispasmodic and is
occasionally taken for arthritis and gout. It may be
substituted for white horehound, but its medicinal effect
is inferior. The fresh herb is sometimes used to make a
Black Locust (Robinia
pseudoacacia): The flowers are antispasmodic,
aromatic, diuretic, emollient and laxative. They are
cooked and eaten for the treatment of eye ailments. A tea
made from the flowers was tried for headaches, stomach
pains, and nausea, and locust blossoms steeped in wine
were used to treat anemia. An infusion of the flowers and
leaves is recommended for pyrosis, esophagitis, and
gastro-duodenal ulcer. Then taken in gargles, they
alleviate throat irritation. The inner bark and the root
bark are emetic, purgative and tonic. The root bark has
been chewed to induce vomiting, or held in the mouth to
allay toothache. The fruit is narcotic. This probably
refers to the seedpod. The leaves are cholagogue and
emetic. The leaf juice inhibits viruses.
Black Medick (Medicago lupulina): Aqueous
extracts of the plant have antibacterial properties
against micro-organisms. The plant has agents that are
capable of easing pain or discomfort. Legume
isoflavones seem to be estrogenic and are believed by
some NCI scientists to prevent cancer.
(Solanum nigrum): Used to produce
vomiting, and purging, black nightshade was felt to purify
the blood of toxins. In North America the Comanches,
Houmas, and Rappahannock employed the plant internally as
a treatment for tuberculosis, to expel worms, induce sleep
and as an eye wash. The external application of the
leaves in skin problems has been recorded since the
ancient Greek Dioscorides. Arabic physicians utilized the
bruised leaves as an application for burns. A poultice of
freshly crushed leaves or a compress soaked in
concentrated decoction was applied as an analgesic in
cases of itching, hemorrhoids and arthritis. It can be
used to tighten the gums when teeth are loose. It can be
an appropriate remedy for epilepsy, spasms and cramps of
the extremities. The leaves have been freely used in
cancer, scurvy and scrofulous affection, in the form of an
ointment. For home use it is best to use the plant in the
ointment preparation, as in internal, large amounts it
will produce sickness and vertigo, and in most cases
should be prescribed by persons knowing both patient and
The berries are used in fever,
diarrhea and heart disease. Also used to dilate the
pupil. The plant juice in doses of 6-7 oz in chronic
enlargement of the liver, chronic skin diseases, spitting
of blood and hemorrhoids. The leaf juice for inflammation
of the kidneys and bladder, gonorrhea, chronic enlargement
of the liver and spleen. A hot infusion is a strong
diaphoretic, 1-2 grains only. As a diuretic and depurative
a decoction of the leaves is used for dropsy, chronic
enlargement of liver and jaundice. Syrup of the herb is
used as expectorant, diaphoretic, in cooling drinks for
Externally a paste of the plant is a useful application
for corroding ulcers, chancre, sever burns, herpes and
rheumatic joints. The hot leaves applied in poultice form
will relieve swollen and painful scrotum and testicles,
also rheumatic gout, eruptions of the skin, corroding
ulcers, tumors, whitlow and burns. A decoction of the
leaves is used for bathing tumors, inflamed, irritated and
painful parts of the body. This diluted decoction is
effectively added to the syringe for vaginal discomfort.
Black Oak (Quercus
velutina): The inner bark contains quercitannic
acid and is used medicinally, mainly as a mild astringent.
It is inferior to the bark of white oaks because it
contains large amounts of tannin. The bark is used in the
treatment of chronic dysentery, intermittent fevers,
indigestion, asthma and lost voice. An infusion has been
used as a gargle for sore throats, hoarseness colds etc.
The bark can be chewed as a treatment for mouth sores. An
infusion of the bark has been used as a wash for sore and
chapped skin. A decoction of the crushed bark has been
used as a wash for sore eyes. Any galls produced on the
tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the
treatment of hemorrhages, chronic diarrhea, dysentery etc.
Black Spruce (Picea
mariana): A poultice of the inner bark has been
applied to inflammations. A tea made from the inner bark
is a folk remedy for kidney stones, stomach problems and
rheumatism. An infusion of the roots and bark has been
used in the treatment of stomach pains, trembling and
fits. A resin from the trunk is used as a poultice and
salve on sores to promote healing. The resin can be mixed
with oil and used as a dressing on purulent wounds, bad
burns, skin rashes, scabies and persistent scabs. The
resin can be chewed as an aid to digestion. A decoction
of the gum or leaves has been used in treating respiratory
infections and kidney problems. An infusion of the leaves
has been used as a bath or a rub in treating dry skin or
sores. A decoction of the young twigs has been used in
the treatment of coughs. A decoction of the cones has
been drunk in the treatment of diarrhea. A decoction has
been used externally as a gargle to treat sore throats.
The cones have been chewed to treat a sore mouth and
Black Walnut (Juglans
The fruit, leaves, and bark of this tree
offer many benefits. The inner bark of the tree is a
mild laxative, and was used commonly during the American
Revolution. The peel of the fruit is reputed to be useful
for treating ulcers and syphilis. Taken internally, black
walnut helps relieve constipation and is also useful
against fungal and parasitic infections. It may also help
eliminate warts. Rubbed on the skin, black walnut extract
is reputed to be beneficial for eczema, herpes, psoriasis,
and skin parasites. The juice of the fruit is considered
useful for treating tapeworms, as a laxative, and as a
gargle in treating diphtheria. A leaf infusion is used
against bedbugs. An infusion of the bark is used to treat
diarrhea and also to stop the production of milk, though a
strong infusion can be emetic. The bark is chewed to allay
the pain of toothache and it is also used as a poultice to
reduce the pain of headaches. The juice from the fruit
husk is applied externally as a treatment for ringworm.
The husk is chewed in the treatment of colic and applied
as a poultice to inflammations. The burnt kernels, taken
in red wine, are said to prevent falling hair, making it
fair. Green husks are supposed to ease the pain of
toothache. A tea made from the leaves is astringent. An
infusion has been used to lower high blood pressure. It
can be used as a cleansing wash. The pulverized leaves
have been rubbed on the affected parts of the body to
destroy ringworm. The oil from the ripe seeds has been
used externally in the treatment of gangrene, leprosy, and
wounds. The sap has been used to treat inflammations.
fructicosus): The root-bark and the leaves are
strongly astringent, depurative, diuretic, tonic and
vulnerary. Blackberry-leaf tea is a domestic remedy for
sore throats, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids. It is reputed to
clean the kidneys and urinary tract of stones and gravel.
Chewing the fresh leaves is an ancient cure for bleeding
or spongy gums. The leaves can also be used as a gargle to
treat sore throats, mouth ulcers and gum inflammations. A
decoction of the leaves is useful as a gargle in treating
thrush and also makes a good general mouthwash. The fresh,
lightly boiled leaves were applied to piles, and
blackberry vinegar is a home remedy of long standing for
feverish colds. The berries make a pleasant gargle for
leucordermis): An infusion of the root or the
leaves has been used in the treatment of diarrhea and
upset stomachs. A mild infusion of the roots has
been used in the treatment of influenza. A poultice
of the powdered stems has been used to treat cuts and
nigrum): Blackcurrant fruits are a good source of
minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin C. They have
diuretic and diaphoretic actions, help to increase bodily
resistance to infections and are a valuable remedy for
treating colds and flu. The juice, especially when fresh
or vacuum-sealed, helps to stem diarrhea and calms
are cleansing, diaphoretic and diuretic. By encouraging
the elimination of fluids they help to reduce blood volume
and thereby lower blood pressure. An infusion is used in
the treatment of dropsy, rheumatic pain and whooping
cough, and can also be used externally on slow-healing
cuts and abscesses. It can be used as a gargle for sore
throats and mouth ulcers. The leaves are harvested during
the growing season and can be used fresh or dried. French
research has shown that blackcurrant leaves increase the
secretion of cortisol by the adrenal glands, and thus
stimulate the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.
This action may prove useful in the treatment of
An infusion of the young roots
is useful in the treatment of eruptive fevers. A
decoction of the bark has been found of use in the
treatment of calculus, dropsy and hemorrhoidal tumors.
The seed is a source of gamma-linolenic acid, an
unsaturated fatty acid which assists the production of
hormone-like substances. This process is commonly blocked
in the body, causing disorders that affect the uterine
muscles, nervous system and metabolism. There are no
records of the oil from this species being used
medicinally, though it is used in cosmetic preparations.
virginica): Native Americans used it to clear bile
and to aid digestion. Contains a volatile oil and when
dried is used in the treatment of dysentery, enteritis and
allied complaints. When fresh the root itself is an
emetic. It is still used in small doses today as a
laxative and a remedy for liver and gallbladder disorders.
Leptandrin excites the liver gently and promotes the
secretion of bile without irritating the bowels or
purging. As it is also a tonic for the stomach, it is very
useful in diarrhea, chronic dysentery, cholera infantum,
and torpidity of the liver. The accounts of its use are
conflicting, perhaps owing to the difference in the action
of the root in its dry and fresh states. There appears to
be a risk of the fresh root producing bloody stools and
possibly abortion, though a decoction may be useful in
intermittent fever. It has been stated that the dried root
has been employed with success in leprosy and cachetic
diseases, and in combination with cream of tartar, in
dropsy. When jaundice is due to liver congestion, use
Black Root, as it will help whenever there is any sign of
liver problems. The herb also treats flatulence and
bloating, and eases the discomfort of hemorrhoids and
rectal prolapse. It is occasionally given for skin
problems if poor liver function is a factor.
spinosa): The syrup from sloes is an astringent
medicine and used to stem nose-bleeding. It is massaged
into the gums causing firmness and so preventing the teeth
from becoming loose. And rubbed onto the teeth, it can
remove tartar and improve their whiteness, giving them a
sparkle. An infusion of the leave in warm water and used
as a mouthwash has much the same effect. A tea from the
flowers serves as a purgative. It is also recommended for
stomach complaints and to stimulate the urinary and
intestinal processes. It is also used to clean the skin
and remove blemishes. The stone-free fruit is used to
make jam to aid the functions of the stomach and stop
diarrhea. The crushed fruit (with stones) is used as a
base for vaginal rinses and to arrest brewing. A
decoction from the bark is used to reduce fever.
Although no specific mention has been seen for this
species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and
prunasin, substances which break down in water to form
hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small
amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates
respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of
Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) Bathe in
a bark infusion for rheumatism.
Bladder Campion (Silene
vulgaris): The plant is said to be emollient and
is used in baths or as a fumigant. The juice of the plant
is used in the treatment of ophthalmia.
Bladder Senna (Colutea arborescens): The
leaves are diuretic and purgative. The leaves are
sometimes used as a substitute for senna as a laxative,
though they are much milder in their action. The seeds
are emetic but also toxic. Taken in the form of an
infusion, 1 or 2 drachms of the seeds will excite
vulgaris): The whole plant is mildly astringent,
diuretic and vulnerary. It is used as a poultice on
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia
The plant is used as a diuretic,
taken to give relief from painful urination. An infusion
of the leaves is taken internally, and a poultice applied
externally, in the treatment of gout. For sinus or
indigestion headaches, the plant is mashed and steeped in
water or vinegar, and the resulting solution is applied to
the head. One strong cup a day of the tea, taken for 7
days, is said to help infertility in women. The hot tea,
taken for several days is used for bladder pain and
infections in the cold winter months. A simple tea is
brewed from the flowers for a blood tonic; it also is
taken for anemia. The powdered flowers can be inhaled for
headaches, but some people are allergic to them
Blazing Star (Mentzelia albicaulis): A
poultice of the crushed, soaked seeds has been applied
to burns and also to relieve the pain of toothache. Used
as a poultice and hot herb bath for arthritis and
sprained or inflamed joints. Also used as a diuretic.
Simple tea as needed or for bathing
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra
The early Eclectics seemed
to have used Corydalis primarily as an alterative-tonic
remedy, with reference to dermatological conditions. An
alterative of great value where indicated. Increases the
vitality and influences metabolism. Especially indicated
in all glandular derangement with general depraved
condition of the system, where the nutritive forces are
impaired. It increases waste and improves nutrition.
More especially indicated in above conditions where
there is an enlarged abdomen, the result of atony, or
where there is a persistently coated tongue and fetid
breath. In diarrhea and dysentery where tongue is
coated, breath fetid and digestion poor, it is a good
remedy. In amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea and leucorrhea where
there is a relaxed condition of the uterine supports it
is a valuable adjunct to other indicated remedies. In
eczema and other skin diseases with relaxed conditions
it is curative. It is an antisyphilitic and can be used
in all stages of syphilis, strumous conditions, nodular
swelling, enlarged glands, with good results. Dicentra
is used primarily for its analgesic and anodyne
properties in western herbalism today. In Asian medicine
however, it is also used as a cardiac remedy for
arrythmias and hypertension as well as a hypnotic for
thistle has been used as a treatment for liver
disorders, as well as menstrual problems. It seems to detoxify the liver.
In many European countries blessed thistle
tablets are prescribed along with acetaminophen or
aspirin to counterbalance the potential liver damage
these drugs can cause. Many women take blessed thistle
to regulate their periods.
It seems to stimulate the appetite and many
herbalists prescribe it to their anorexic patients.
It is often combined with other herbs that are
beneficial to the liver, such as milk thistle,
artichoke or red clover.
The leaves are considered one of the best herbs
for increasing mother’s milk.
Blessed thistle is antibiotic, destroying staph
and other infections, although it has not proved very
effective against harmful intestinal bacteria.
Externally used as a healing balm for wounds
and ulcers. Combines
well with turtlehead and cola for anorexia and with
meadowsweet, agrimony and cinquefoil for diarrhea.
Bloodroot has been used as a diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue,
expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, and tonic. Bloodroot has been used
historically in numerous topical preparations for the treatment of
various skin cancers, and also for sores, warts, eczema, and other
dermal & epidermal problems. It has also been used internally in
herbal preparations for congestive lung conditions such as emphysema
and chronic bronchitis. Studies find that sanguinarine, a compound
found in bloodroot, kills bacteria, stops them from converting
carbohydrates into gum tissue-eating acid, and blocks enzymes that
destroy collagen in gum tissue. Some
studies have shown small amounts to be even more effective in reducing
dental plaque than chlorhexidine, the active ingredient in mouthwashes
and the effects can last up to 4 hours. Some companies are now making
toothpaste and mouthwash using it as an active ingredient.
The root in a vinegar extract makes a very good antifungal wash
for athlete’s foot. Prepared
as a powder, bloodroot may be sniffed to treat nasal polyps.
paste of the root has been recommended to remove warts and the powder
is used in a number of cancer salves (a process too complicated for
this monograph). Carcinomas
of the human nose and ear have responded to topical treatment with a
preparation containing bloodroot extract.
Blue Camas (Camassia
A decoction of the roots has
been used to induce labor. An infusion of the leaves has
been used to treat vaginal bleeding after birth and to
help expel the placenta.
Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
: The Eclectic doctors used blue cohosh to reduce labor pains, painful
menstruation, stomach cramps, as an abortifacient
and for joints
stiff from arthritis or rheumatism.
Herbalists also use it to help with irregular menstruation or a
weak uterus. Researchers
in India have discovered evidence that the American Indians may have
been correct in using blue cohosh as a contraceptive.
In animals, the herb inhibits ovulation.
There has been some comparison to goldenseal in its effect and
it has been used as an effective control for chronic yeast infections.
The bitter principles in blue cohosh (notably methylcytistine)
constrict peripheral blood vessels, stimulates the small intestine and
respiration and produces hyperglycemia in a manner similar to nicotine
but only about one-fortieth as toxic.
They are also antifungal.
It is a relatively complicated herb to use.
It appears that the dose required for balancing the menstrual
cycle changes throughout the cycle.
If too much is taken intestinal cramping and headaches often
occur. It can either
stimulate a uterus to contract or inhibit contractions.
It is used for amenorrhea in women whose cycles are blocked by
physical congestion or nervous or hormonal imbalance.
It is used in early pregnancy to prevent miscarriages, though
for this use it is usually taken in small doses combined with other
antispasmodics such as cramp bark.
Its other important use is as a hormonal and tissue toner.
Blue cohosh is given along with uterine astringent tonics for
tears or surgical damage to the reproductive system during, but
especially after, chronic reproductive infections; it also helps
shrink fibroids or growths and promotes fertility.
Tinctures are more effective than water-based tea since the
active ingredients are not fully water soluble.
Blue Curls (Trichostema lanceolatum):
An infusion of its leaves was an external wash for
treating headaches, and when combined with those of
Turkey Mullein, a lotion applied to victims of typhoid
To the Chumash it was important to mothers in labor used
to help expel the placenta.
Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)
The Coast Miwok have used tea
made from blue-eyed grass to treat stomach-aches.
Coastanoans and Hispanic Californians have used the tea
to reduce fever. The Ohlone used
an infusion of the roots and leaves as a cure for
indigestion and stomach pain, and similar uses are
recorded from other Native American peoples. The
roots were used as a purgative.
Blue False Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis):
The root is antiemetic, emetic and purgative. A poultice
of the root is anti-inflammatory and is held in the
mouth to treat toothaches. A hot tea was used as a
purgative and a cold tea to prevent vomiting. The plant
is under investigation as a potential stimulant of the
Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium
angustifolium): The root is astringent. An
infusion is used to treat diarrhea in adults and children.
The leaves are eaten as a cooked green to regulate the
bowels. An infusion of the plant has been used to treat
stomach complaints and stomach worms.
Blue Flag (Iris versicolor): Blue flag is currently used mainly to
detoxify the body. It increases urination and bile
production and has a mild laxative effect. It is used to
treat liver diseases, jaundice and hepatitis. This
combination of cleansing actions makes it a useful herb
for chronic skin diseases such as acne and eczema,
especially where gallbladder problems or constipation
contribute to the condition. Blue flag is also given for
biliousness and indigestion. The fresh root is quite
acrid and when taken internally causes nausea, vomiting,
colic and purging. The dried root is much less acrid.
Taken internally as a tea, the root has been used as a
strong laxative or emetic that also acts strongly on the
liver and promotes the excretion of excess body fluids. It
is also a stimulant for the circulatory and lymphatic
system. Its detoxifying effect make it useful in the
treatment of psoriasis, acne, herpes, arthritis, swollen
glands, pelvic inflammatory disease etc. The traditional
use of blue flag for gland problems persists. It is also
believed by some to aid weight loss. Only small doses are
used for clearing the liver, usually in combination with
other alterative herbs. Externally, it is applied to skin
diseases, wounds and rheumatic joints. The roots are
harvested in late summer and early autumn and are usually
dried for later use. The roots were boiled in water and
then mashed to make a poultice which was used to relieve
the pain and swelling associated with sores and bruises.
Blue Gentian (Gentiana parryi): The
bitter root is one of the best stomach tonics. Take the
tincture ½ hour before meals to relieve chronic
indigestion, acid stomach, and to stimulate HCI
Blue Lettuce (Lactuca
A tea of the
roots and stems has been used by the Okanagan-Colville
Indians of British Columbia in the treatment of diarrhea
in children. Hemorrhoids have been treated by applying a
moist, usually warm or hot mass of plant material. The
whole plant is rich in a milky sap, containing 'lactucarium',
which is used in medicine for its mildly pain-relieving,
antispasmodic, digestive, urination-inducing, hypnotic,
narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has mild
narcotic effects. It has been taken internally in the
treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity
in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain
etc. The sap has also been applied externally in the
treatment of warts. An infusion of the roots and stems
has been given to children in the treatment of diarrhea.
The sap has also been applied externally in the
treatment of warts.
Glory (Ipomoea nil):
The seed is used in the
treatment of edema, oliguria, ascariasis and
constipation. The seed contains small quantities of the
hallucinogen LSD. This has been used medicinally in the
treatment of various mental disorders. Therapeutic
benefits are somewhat enhanced when used in combination
with costus and ginger. Simply add 1-2 grams of each to
the above decoction.
Vervain (Verbena macdougali): Treats
painful or nervous stomach. This upright mountain
relative of Moradilla is used for the same purposes
Bogbean is a most useful herb for the treatment of
rheumatism, osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
It has a stimulating effect upon the walls of the
colon which will act as an aperient, but it should not
be used to help rheumatism where there is any colitis
or diarrhea. It has a marked stimulating action on the
digestive juices and on bile-flow and so will aid in
debilitated states that are due to sluggish digestion,
indigestion and problems of the liver and
is a strongly bitter herb that encourages the appetite
and stimulates digestive secretions.
It is commonly taken to improve an underactive
or weak digestion, particularly if there is abdominal
for anorexia. This
herb is tonic, cathartic, deobstruent and febrifuge.
Other uses are for muscular weakness in myalgic
encephalomyelitis and chronic infections with debility
and exhaustion. May be combined with black cohosh and
celery seed to relieve joint and muscular pain.
An extract is made from the leaves, which
possesses strong tonic properties, and which renders
great service in rheumatism, scurvy, and skin
diseases. An infusion of 1 oz. of the dried leaves to
1 pint of boiling water is taken in wineglassful
doses, frequently repeated. It has also been
recommended as an external application for dissolving
glandular swellings. Finely powdered Bogbean leaves
have been employed as a remedy for ague, being said to
effect a cure when other means fail. In large doses,
the powder is also purgative. It is used also as an
herb tobacco. Buckbean
tea, taken alone or mixed with wormwood, centaury or
sage, is said to cure dyspepsia and a torpid liver.
Boldo Leaf (Peumus boldus):
Boldo is one of the best liver tonics in the world and also has an
affinity for kidneys and bladder.
Boldo activates the secretion of saliva and
stimulates liver activity and bile flow and is chiefly valued
as a remedy for gallstones and liver or gallbladder pain.
one of its constituents, induces the flow of bile as well as the total
amount of solids that it excretes. Its protective action over the
hepatic cells has been demonstrated "in vitro" and "in
vivo". It is normally taken for a few weeks at a time, either as
a tincture or infusion. Boldo
is also a mild urinary antiseptic and demulcent, and may be taken for
infections such as cystitis. In
the Anglo-American tradition, boldo is combined with barberry and
fringe tree in the treatment of gallstones.
It makes a drinkable tea and combined with goldenseal is
excellent for kidney and bladder infections.
Boldo leaves are the subject of a German
which allows the use for mild gastrointestinal spasms and dyspeptic
disorders as well as a subject of a US monograph which shows that
boldo causes clinically significant diuresis. The plant is used in
homeopathy in the treatment of digestive disorders, as a laxative,
choleretic, diuretic, and for hepatic disturbances. The leaves have
been used for worms, and Dr. James Duke reports its traditional use
for urogenital inflammations like gonorrhea and syphilis, as well as
for gout, jaundice, dyspepsia, rheumatism, head colds and earaches.
Boldo is rich in phytochemicals including at least 17 known
alkaloids. A total of at least 38 phytochemical compounds have been
properties of the leaves has also been documented.
A recent human study demonstrated that Boldo relaxes smooth
muscle and prolongs intestinal transit which validated again its
traditional medicinal uses. The
average therapeutic dose is reported to be 2-3 grams daily.
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum):
: Parts used: tops and
leaves. European studies
show this herb helps treat minor viral and bacterial infections by
stimulating white blood cells to destroy disease-causing
microorganisms more effectively.
In Germany, physicians currently use boneset to treat viral
infections, such as colds and flu. One study shows boneset is mildly anti-inflammatory, lending
some support to its traditional use in treating arthritis.
in small doses it often gives relief very quickly. It reduces fever and clears up mucous build-up in the lungs.
It gently empties any toxins which may be stored in the colon.
It relaxes the joints and eases the terrible pain which often
accompanies the flu. Some
people have found it to be very useful for their rheumatism.
Boneset is dual in action, depending on how it is administered,
when cold a tonic, when warm emetic diaphoretic.
It is extremely bitter to the taste and is disliked by
children, but in these cases a thick syrup of boneset, ginger and
anise is used by some for coughs of children, with good results.
flavonoids and the sesquiterpene lactones in the essential oil appear
to work together in an as yet undetermined fashion to produce the
antipyretic and diaphoretic effect.
The essential oil also irritates mucous membranes resulting in
its expectorant effect. The irritation may also stimulate peristalsis.
the bitter and aromatic components of the herb, it contains the
mucilaginous polysaccharride inulin which could mitigate the harshness
of the herb. Tannins are also present which tone inflamed tissue.
One study also mentions the presence of pyrrolizidine
alkaloids. These are
apparently of the same chemical class as the hepatoxic alkaloids found
in comfrey. Flavonoids have even shown some antitumor properties.
Borage (Borago officinalis):
Medicinal: Poultices from the leaves are used to cool and soothe
inflammations. In Latin
America, a borage tea is drunk for lung problems.
With its high mucilage content, borage is a demulcent and
soothes respiratory problems. Its emollient qualities make it helpful
for sore and inflamed skin—prepared either as freshly squeezed
juice, in a poultice, or as an infusion. The flowers encourage sweating, and the leaves are diuretic.
The seed oil is particularly rich in polyunsaturated fats and
is superior in this respect to evening primrose oil.
Borage seed oil is used to treat premenstrual complaints,
rheumatic problems, eczema, and other chronic skin conditions. Gamma
linoleic acid (GLA) which is found in borage seed oil (also evening
primrose and black currant oils) is used to reduce inflammation, boost
immunity and help maintain cell membranes in painful inflammatory
disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Research has also shown that GLA supplements can help
recovering alcoholics stay sober and slow down the damage that alcohol
is known to cause to brain and liver cells.
To help with Raynaud massage the oil into the fingers.
Used internally as sedative
and antispasmodic. Externally it is employed as
antiphlogistic in stomatitis, nasal mucositis,
The drug’s analgesic and antipyretic properties make it an
excellent external remedy for abscesses, boils, sores,
sore throat and other external heat excess symptoms.
The young shoots
are diuretic, refrigerant and vermifuge. The young shoots
have been eaten as a treatment for cancer. The leaves have
been used in a steam bath as a treatment for arthritis. A
decoction of the plant as been used in the treatment of
tuberculosis. A poultice of the pounded fronds and leaves
has been used to treat sores of any type and also to bind
broken bones in place. The root is antiemetic, antiseptic,
appetizer and tonic. A tincture of the root in wine is
used in the treatment of rheumatism. A tea made from the
roots is used in the treatment of stomach cramps, chest
pains, internal bleeding, diarrhea, colds and also to
expel worms. The poulticed root is applied to sores, burns
and caked breasts. An infusion of the plant has been used
to expel intestinal worms and treat diarrhea. Native
Americans used it to increase urine flow and to relieve
stomach cramps. Medicine was made from the roots for
Turkey Illness, symptoms of which are toes and fingers
permanently bent. The plant was chosen because of its
resemblance to turkey feet.
grandiflora): It assists in lowering high blood
sugar levels in type II diabetics who are
insulin-resistant. In addition, it helps improve the
stomach lining and digestion because it increases not
only the quality, but the quantity of hydrochloric acid
that secretes in the stomach. This is important because
foods that take a long time to digest often cause acid
indigestion. The brickellia plant also helps to
stimulate fat digestion in the gallbladder by evacuating
bile from the gallbladder and bile synthesis in the
liver. A medium-strong cup of tea is taken in
mid-afternoon and mid-morning. Diet control and little
or no alcohol intake supplement this treatment.
Sometimes Maturique is used to start the treatment,
followed by maintenance on bricklebush. A patent
medicine herb tea called Hamula is made in Mexico and
widely used in the Southwest, but its main herb is
bricklebush. In Mexico it has been known to be
used in baths for acute arthritis. It can also be
helpful to treat diarrhea and other digestive problems.
It may also have the potential to prevent or help
cataracts in certain cases.
Bristly Crowfoot (Ranunculus
used to raise blisters.
farinose): The dried herb is chewed, or the tea
used, as a mouthwash to alleviate toothache, sore gums or
a sore mouth. The powdered herb is mixed with water for a
hot poultice, and the tea taken for acute arthritis
episodes. The bright yellow resin is burned for an
aromatic incense and chewed as an expectorant. A simple
tea of leaves for mouthwash and gargle. Powdered leaves
Broad Bean (Vicia faba): The
ground dried beans have bee used to treat mouth sores. In
New Mexico, a paste made of ground beans and hot water is
applied to the chest and back as a treatment for
Brooklime (Veronica beccabunga):
The plant is rich in vitamin C. Before citrus fruits were
imported into England, it was sold in London’s streets for
sailors to take to sea to prevent scurvy. Aucubin has
been reported to stimulate the uric acid secretion of the
kidneys and break up and pass kidney stones and to treat
anemia and fevers. It seems to have a mild laxative
effect in animals. The fresh leaves can be used, mashed,
as a poultice for burns, itching, and wounds. The juice
of the fresh plants, being high in vitamin C, is used in
spring tonics. It brings on menstruation and helps expel
a dead fetus. The herb is heated with oil and vinegar and
applied to tumors and swellings.
Broom Corn (Sorghum
bicolor): Sorghum is a folk remedy for cancer,
epilepsy, flux, and stomachache. The root is used for
malaria in southern Rhodesia; the seed has been used for
breast disease and diarrhea; the stem for tubercular
swellings. In India, the plant is considered
anthelminthic and insecticidal, and in South Africa, in
combination with Erigeron canadense., it is used
for eczema. In China, where the seeds are used to make
alcohol, the seed husk is braised in brown sugar with a
little water and applied to the chest of measles
patients. The stomachic seeds are considered beneficial
in fluxes. Curacao natives drink the leaf decoction for
measles, grinding the seeds with those of the calabash
tree (Cresentia) for lung ailments. Venezuelans
toast and pulverize the seeds for diarrhea. Brazilians
decoct the seed for bronchitis, cough and other chest
ailments, possibly using the ash for goiter. Arubans
poultice hot oil packs of the seeds on the back of those
suffering pulmonary congestion. According to Grieve's
Herbal, a decoction of ca 50 g seed to a liter of water
is boiled down to ca 1/2 liter as a folk medication for
kidney and urinary complaints. The inflorescence is
astringent and hemostatic. Sorghum contains such
hard-to-find nutrients as iron, calcium and potassium.
Before the invention of the daily vitamins, many doctors
prescribed sorghum as a daily supplement for those low
in these nutrients.
Broom Moss (Dicranum
scoparium): The CH2Cl2 extract of Dicranum
scoparium was found to possess pronounced
antimicrobial activity against Bacillus cereus,
Bacillus stearothermophilus, Bacillus subtilis,
Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli.
The ingredient sparteine reduces the
heart rate and the isoflavones are estrogenic.
Broom is used mainly as a remedy for an
irregular, fast heartbeat and to treat cardiac edema.
The plant acts on the electrical conductivity
of the heart, slowing and regulating the transmission
of the impulses.
Broom is also strongly diuretic, stimulating
urine production and thus countering fluid retention,
often in combination with uva ursi or dandelion.
Since broom causes the muscles of the uterus to
contract, it has been used to prevent blood loss after
tips are seeds are soluble in water and alcohol.
It is also used for acute constipation.
Broom, Spanish (Spartium
Broom in its medicinal properties closely resembles the
common Broom, but is from five to six times more active.
The symptoms produced by overdoses are vomiting and
purging, with renal irritation. The plant is an
efficacious and potent diuretic The seeds have been used
to a considerable extent in dropsy, in the form of a
tincture. An alkaloid found in this plant is used as a
purgative, emetic or diuretic. Diosorides declares, “The
seed of this, & ye flowers being drank with Melicrat in
quantity of 5 Oboli (about 2 drams) doth purge upward with
Broom Snakeroot (Gutierrezia
sarothrae): Broom snakeroot was used by western
Indians in poultices for treating insect bites.
Preparations of the plant have also been used to treat
rheumatism and malaria. A decoction of the roots has been
used in the treatment of painful urination, diarrhea and
stomach aches. The roots have been placed in boiling water
and the steam inhaled in the treatment of respiratory
complaints. The flowers are laxative. A decoction of the
fresh flowers has been used in the treatment of diarrhea.
The leaves are cathartic, febrifuge and sedative. An
infusion has been used in the treatment of coughs and
colds. It has also been used as a bath to treat fevers and
sores, including those caused by venereal diseases. A
poultice of the moistened leaves has been used to treat
bruises, wounds, sprains, nose bleeds and insect stings. A
strong, black infusion of the plant has been used as a rub
on rheumatic joints. An infusion of the leaves has been
used as a pleasant and refreshing bath for arthritis. To
reduce uterine swelling after childbirth, a little of the
tea is taken as a beverage, and a cloth moistened with the
tea is applied as a poultice. This treatment is repeated
frequently, accompanied by massage of the abdomen. A weak
tea is used as a douche or sitz bath to treat vaginitis.
This herb has
long been renowned in China as a potent sexual tonic for
both men and women. Yang Kui-gei (Precious Concubine),
the pampered and notoriously seductive consort to the
elegant Tang dynasty emperor Ming Huang, is said to have
used this herb daily as a sexual tonic. Most women use
it primarily to promote healthy ovulation and enhance
fertility, while men enjoy it mainly to strengthen their
sexual organs and increase sexual vitality. It is
particularly recommended as a cure and preventive for
excess loss of semen due to involuntary ejaculation, a
condition that Chinese physicians regard as a grave
threat to male health and longevity. Ancient Chinese
almanacs sometimes refer to it as the Magic Medicine of
Eternal Youth and Immortality.
The stems of cistanche are sliced to produce
the pharmacy materials. Modern use of cistanche in
Chinese herbalism is to treat yang deficiency that
contributes to fertility problems (including impotence
and female infertility) and reproductive system
disorders such as profuse menstrual bleeding or
leukorrhea. Additionally, it is used for coldness of the
lower back and legs that leads to pain (e.g., lumbago)
or weakness (e.g., muscle flaccidity). As a secondary
property, cistanche is a mild laxative for dry stool.
The fleshy stem is
prepared for medicine by cleaning it and then soaking it
in wine, after which the central fingers are removed.
It is then salted and dried in the sun.
salty. It mainly treats the five taxations and seven
damages, supplements the center, eliminates cold and
heat and pain in the penis, nourishes the five viscera,
strengthens yin, and boosts essence qi. In females, it
makes pregnancy possible and treats concretions and
conglomerations. Protracted taking may make the body
virginicus): A decoction of the roots is used in
the treatment of backaches. A tea made from the leaves
is used in the treatment of diarrhea. Externally, it is
used as a wash for frostbite, sores, itching, piles and
poison ivy rash.
Bryony (Bryonia dioica and
Bryonia alba): The cooked root was effective in
healing wounds on a horse’s hoof. It treats connective
tissue pain anywhere in the body and rheumatic pains in
the chest caused by fluid accumulation and chronic cough.
It is good for pleurisy, bronchitis, pneumonia,
blood-streaked expectoration and glandular enlargements
with chronic inflammations. It is the remedy for
inflammation of the serous tissues and is also useful for
peritonitis and synovial inflammations. It will help to
control the cough and pain associated with influenza. It
is particularly useful for conditions that are caused by
cold. It is also given for other inflammatory conditions
such as duodenal ulcers and may be used to reduce high
blood pressure. Externally, it is used as a rubefacient,
in muscular and joint pains and pleurisy, acting as a
counterirritant, causing swelling and increased blood flow
to the area. A powerful cathartic and purgative. The
whole herb has an antiviral effect.
Bryony, Black (Tamus communis):
It used to be freely used, when rubbed on flesh, to
relieve rheumatic and arthritic pains and gout. It is
also an effective diuretic. The expressed juice of the
fresh root, mixed with a little white wine, has been used
as a remedy for gravel, being a powerful diuretic, but it
is not given internally now, and is not included in the
British Pharmacopoeia. The expressed juice of the root,
with honey, has also been used as a remedy for asthmatic
complaints, but other remedies that are safer should be
As an external irritant, Black Bryony has been
helpful, and it was formerly much employed. The macerated
root was applied as a stimulating plaster, and in gout,
rheumatism and paralysis has been found helpful in many
instances. This should not be done without expert advice
since it can cause painful blisters. A tincture made from
the root proves a most useful application to
unbroken chilblains, and also the fruits, steeped
in gin, are used for the same remedy. Black Bryony is a
popular remedy for removing discoloration caused by
bruises and black eyes, etc. The fresh root is scraped to
a pulp and applied in the form of a poultice.
Bu Gu Zhi (Psoralea corylifolia):
Valued as a yang tonic, bu gu zhi is taken in China to
treat impotence and premature ejaculation and to improve
vitality. The one-seeded fruits (or the seed plus the
seedpod) are highly regarded as an aphrodisiac and tonic
to the genital organs. It is used in the treatment of
debility and other problems reflecting “kidney yang
deficiency”, such as febrile diseases, premature
ejaculation, impotence, lower back pains, frequent
urination, incontinence, bed wetting etc. It is also used
externally to treat various skin ailments including
leprosy, leucoderma and hair loss. The seed and fruit
contain psoralen. This causes the skin to produce new
pigment when exposed to sunlight and is used for treating
vitiligo and psoriasis. This has been supported by Chinese
studies. In Vietnam, a tincture of the seeds is used to
treat rheumatism. It is antifungal and for most skin
diseases should be taken internally and externally. For
the latter, the seeds are crushed and topically applied in
a poultice. Research has been done on using the seeds for
alopecia. An injection of psoralea extracts and exposure
to ultraviolet light were used in 45 cases. Within six
months hair was completely resored in 36% of the cases and
there was a significant restoration in another 30%. In
Ayurveda it is used as an anti-pitta herb, for skin
diseases and hair loss. The antibacterial action of the
fruit inhibits the growth of Mycobacterium tuberculos.
The plant yields a useful medicinal oleoresin, it treats
kidney disorders, impotence, premature ejaculation,
betulina and A. crenulata) The
leaves are used locally for antiseptic purposes and to
ward off insects.
In western herbalism, the leaves are used for
infections of the genito-urinary system, such as
cystitis, urethritis and prostates.
Internally used for urinary tract
infections (especially prostates and cystitis),
digestive problems, gout, rheumatism, coughs, and
colds, often combined with Althaea officinalis.
Externally used in traditional African medicine
as a powder to deter insects and in a vinegar-based
lotion for bruises and sprains.
Buckeye, California (Aesculus
californica) The crushed fruit is applied
as a salve on hemorrhoids. The Pomo Indians used the
fruit to expel worms from the bowels of their horses and
the bark of the tree to cure toothaches. Small
fragments were placed in the cavity of the patient’s
tooth and kept firmly in place until the pain receded.
Buckler Fern, Broad (Dryopteris
dilatata) The root contains 'filicin', a
substance that paralyses tapeworms and other internal
parasites and has been used as a worm expellent. It is
one of the most effective treatments known for
tapeworms. Its use should be immediately followed by a
non-oily purgative such as magnesium sulphate in order
to expel the worms from the body. An oily purge, such as
caster oil, increases the absorption of the fern root
and can be dangerous. The root is harvested in the
autumn and can be dried for later use, it should not be
stored for longer than 12 months. This remedy should be
used with caution and only under the supervision of a
qualified practitioner. The root is toxic and the dosage
is critical. The root is also used in the treatment of
(Rhamnus catharticus (R. frangula)
) Buckthorn bark treats stubborn
constipation, liver congestion, dropsy, hemorrhoids,
colic and obesity. It is milder than its near relative
has a generally calming effect on the
gastrointestinal tract and may be used for an
extended period of time for chronic constipation.
It also is good for treating ulcerative colitis
and acute appendicitis.
Taken hot, it will induce perspiration and
lower fevers. It is used with alterative formulas in small amounts, since
its mild laxative effect helps eliminate toxins and
treat conditions such as gallstones, itching, lead
poisoning, parasites, skin diseases and worms.
In ointment form it is very effective in
treating warts and various skin problems.
esculentum): Buckwheat is a
bitter but pleasant tasting herb that is frequently used
medicinally because the leaves are a good source of rutin.
Rutin is useful in the treatment of a wide range of
circulatory problems, it dilates the blood vessels,
reduces capillary permeability and lowers blood pressure.
Buckwheat is used to treat a wide range of circulatory
problems. It is best taken as a tea or tablet,
accompanied by vitamin C or lemon juice to aid
absorption. Buckwheat is used particularly to treat
fragile capillaries, but also helps strengthen varicose
veins and heal chilblains. Often combined with linden
flowers, buckwheat is a specific treatment for hemorrhage
into the retina. The leaves and shoots of flowering plants
are acrid, astringent and vasodilator. It is used
internally in the treatment of high blood pressure, gout,
varicose veins, chilblains, radiation damage etc. A
poultice made from the seeds has been used for restoring
the flow of milk in nursing mothers. An infusion of the
herb has been used in the treatment of erysipelas (an
acute infectious skin disease).
Buffalo Gourd (Cucurbita
foetidissima): Several plant parts of buffalo
gourd have medicinal attributes that tribes implement
into their culture. The Isleta-Pueblo Indian boiled the
roots applying the infusion to chest pains. The Tewa
grind the root into a powder drinking it with cold water
for laxative effects (not safe: can cause diarrhea and
irritation of the digestive tract). Cahuilla Indians
used to chew the pulp of the gourd and apply the pithy
mass to open sores, or boil the dried root and drink the
decoction as either an emetic or a physic. A poultice
of the mashed plant has been used to treat skin sores,
ulcers etc. The complete seed, together with the husk,
is used as a vermifuge. This is ground into a fine
flour, then made into an emulsion with water and eaten.
It is then necessary to take a purgative afterwards in
order to expel the tapeworms or other parasites from the
body. As a remedy for internal parasites, the seeds are
less potent than the root of Dryopteris felix-mas, but
they are safer for pregnant women, debilitated patients
and children. The juice of the root is also disinfecting
and remedies toothache. The baked fruit rubbed over
rheumatic areas will relieve pain. The seeds and flowers
help control swelling. The seed also acts as an
effective vermicide (kills worms-- Grind seed into a
fine flour; mix with water and drink). The poultice of
the smashed plant will remedy skin sores and ulcers.
Mix root with olive oil; apply to infected area. The
pulp of the gourd was mixed with soap and applied to
sores and ulcers that other poultices and plasters had
failed to cure. The supperating parts were liberally
dusted with a quantity of pulverized dried seeds. The
root was used to cure a bad case of piles or kill a mass
of maggots infesting an open wound.
Bugle (Ajuga reptans): Bugle has a long history of
use as a wound herb and, although little used today, it is
still considered very useful in arresting hemorrhages and
is also used in the treatment of coughs and spitting of
blood in incipient consumption. It has mild analgesic
properties and it is still used occasionally as a wound
healer. It is used to treat bleeding from cuts and other
wounds. The leaves are simmered to make an infusion. It
is also mildly laxative and traditionally has been thought
to help cleanse the liver. In the past it was recommended
for coughs, ulcers, rheumatism, and to prevent
hallucinations after excessive alcohol consumption.
Externally used for bruises and tumors. It is thought to
possess heart tonic properties. The plant is usually
applied externally. It is also commonly used fresh in
ointments and medicated oils.
Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus):
Bugleweed is principally
prescribed to treat an overactive thyroid gland and the
racing heartbeat that often accompanies this condition.
It is also considered an aromatic and tonic astringent
that reduces the production of mucus. It should be used
only in its fresh state (or freshly tinctured), not
dried. For treating traumatic bruises and injuries, it is
combined with other herbs in a liniment, and also taken
internally. Good for cardiac problems. Studies indicate
that bugleweed reduces the activity of the thyroid gland
by slowing the release of the hormone thyroxine in the
thyroid. It should help ease abnormal excitability,
relieve acute hyperventilation, slow a rapid heart rate
and relieve spastic coughing from those suffering from
spontaneous hyperthyroidism. Bugleweed is also useful in
many heart and vascular system disorders. It is believed
to work in the cardiovascular system in a way that is
similar to the drug digitalis—by strengthening the
heartbeat while slowing a rapid pulse. But it is
virtually free of the dangerous side effects.
Bugleweed is a good hemostatic or coagulant
for home use, nearly as specific as shepherd’s purse
without the latter’s diuretic or hypertensive effects. The
fresh tincture is preferable, but the dried herb is
adequate; one-fourth to one-half teaspoon of the tincture
or a rounded teaspoon to tablespoon of the herb in tea.
Treatment should be continued one dose after the bleeding
has stopped to allow firm clotting or sealing. It can be
used for nosebleeds, excess menstruation, bleeding piles
and the like. Particularly useful for two or three days
after labor, exerting little effect on colostrums or milk
Bugloss (Echium vulgare):
Viper's bugloss was once considered
to be a preventative and remedy for viper bites. It is
related to borage, Borago officinalis, and has many
similar actions, especially in its sweat-inducing and
diuretic effects. In recent times, however, it has fallen
out of use, partly due to lack of interest in its
medicinal potential and partly to its content of
pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are toxic in isolation. An
infusion of the plant is taken internally as a diuretic
and in the treatment of fevers, headaches, chest
conditions etc. The juice of the plant is an effective
emollient for reddened and delicate skins, it is used as a
poultice or plaster to treat boils and carbuncles. The
roots contain the healing agent allantoin. Excellent for
evacuating the bowels without griping effect. It is also
taken to clear phlegm from the bronchial tubes. The
significant mucilage content has also proved helpful in
treating skin conditions. The flowers are mildly tonic
and antiseptic. The plant is said to be efficacious in the
treatment of snake bites. When chopped up finely, the
fresh flowering heads can be made into a poultice for
treating whitlows and boils.
Bulbous Buttercup (Ranunculus
bulbosus): The root has been placed in a tooth
cavity to act as a painkiller. A decoction of the plant
has been used in the treatment of venereal disease. It is
directly applied to remove warts. The juice is topically
applied to rheumatic and gouty joints to relieve these
conditions. A tincture may be both externally applied and
taken internally to treat shingles and sciatica
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis):
The flavonoids have earned this plant a reputation as an
anti-inflammatory and general analgesic among contemporary
herbalists, and researchers are investigating its
properties as an anti-cancer agent. Modern interest in
bunchberry’s pharmaceutical qualities may have stemmed
from its Native American reputation as an antidote to a
variety of poisons. The leaves have been known to be
burned and powdered, then applied to topical sores. A
mild tea made from the roots has been used to treat colic
in infants. The leaves and stems are analgesic, cathartic
and febrifuge. A tea has been used in the treatment of
aches and pains, kidney and lung ailments, coughs, fevers
etc. The fruits are rich in pectin which is a capillary
tonic, antioedemic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and
hypotensive. Pectin also inhibits carcinogenesis and
protects against radiation. The mashed roots have been
strained through a clean cloth and the liquid used as an
eyewash for sore eyes and to remove foreign objects from
Bupleurum (Bupleurum falcatum):
Internally used for malaria, blackwater fever, uterine and
rectal prolapse, herpes simplex, hemorrhoids, sluggish
liver associated with mood instability, menstrual
disorders and abdominal bloating. Often used raw with
wine for feverish illnesses, with vinegar as a circulatory
stimulant, and mixed with tortoise blood for malaria.
First mentioned in Chinese medical texts around AD200, it
is one of the most important Chinese herbs for treating
the liver because it acts on diseases of a mixed
conformation, both internal and chronic and both external
and acute, both hot and cold, both deficient and excess.
It is one of the major chi regulating or carminative herbs
that help regulate moodiness. It has a strong ascending
energy, so that it is also added in small amounts to tonic
formulas to raise the yang-vitality, treat organ prolapse
and raise sagging spirits. It is used for hepatitis and
all liver disorders and to help resolve and bring out
eruptic diseases. One of the peculiarities of Bupleurum
is its capacity to ‘dredge’ out old emotions of sadness
and anger that may be stored in the organs and tissues of
The root contains saikosides. These saponin-like
substances have been shown to protect the liver from
toxicity whilst also strengthening its function, even in
people with immune system disorders. These saikosides also
stimulate the body's production of corticosteroids and
increase their anti-inflammatory affect. The plant is
often used in preparations with other herbs to treat the
side effects of steroids. Promising new research out of
China and Japan has shown Bupleurum's ability to
protect the adrenal glands from steroid-induced atrophy.
In Ayurvedic medicine it would be considered
to be anti-kapha and anti-pitta but pro-vata. Ayurvedic
doctors do not normally used this herb but a combination
of turmeric and barberry root.
Burdock (Arctium lappa):
Western herbalists have long used burdock for its demulcent action,
both externally and internally, and for its alterative effects on the
blood and urinary system. During the Middle Ages, remedies for kidney stones contained
burdock in the belief that a stony character in a medicine would cure
the stony ailment.
Chinese find it more valuable as a healer of hot (yang) conditions. It
enters the liver meridian and benefits spleen deficiency.
Its diaphoretic and diuretic properties make it valuable for
eliminating excess nervous energy, sweating out toxins, and cooling
the heat of infections. They
also use it for colds, flus, measles, and constipation.
The Chinese also consider burdock to be a strengthening
most popular western use of burdock root is as a primary herb in blood
purifier formulas. It is
also used to cleanse the body of uric acid and other residues that
accumulate from rheumatism, arthritis, and gout.
Seeds are sometimes used for skin problems. The shredded leaves
have also been folded into egg whites and applied as a skin dressing
to accelerate healing. Tests
confirm that it kills both bacterial and fungal infections.
French herbalists have used the fresh root to lower blood sugar
levels in diabetics because it contains the easily digestible starch
“inulin”. It is also
believed, but not proven, that the root regenerates liver cells and
stimulates the gallbladder. Burdock
is used in many parts of the world in herbal cancer treatments, was an
ingredient in the Hoxsey formula, and is one of the four ingredients
in the Essiac formula. If you want to try burdock in conjunction with other cancer
therapy, a suggested use is to make a decoction by boiling 1 teaspoon of root in 3 cups of water for 30
Drink up to 3 cups a day.
Has a sweet taste, similar to celery root.
Or as a tincture, take ½ to 1 teaspoon up to three times a
Greater (Sanguisorba officinalis):
burnet is employed mainly for its astringent action, being
used to slow or arrest blood flow. In both the Chinese
and European traditions, it is taken internally to treat
heavy periods and hemorrhage. Externally a lotion or
ointment may be used for hemorrhoids, burns, wounds, and
eczema. Modern research in China has shown that the whole
herb heals burns more effectively than the extracted
tannins (the astringent component of the plant). Patients
suffering from eczema showed marked improvement when
treated with an ointment made from the root and petroleum
jelly. The leaves are used in the treatment of fevers and
bleeding. Externally, Greater burnet is a valuable
astringent and is employed for a variety of
gastro-intestinal problems, including diarrhea, dysentery,
and ulcerative colitis, particularly if accompanied by
bleeding. The root is used in the treatment of peptic
ulcers, hematuria, menorrhagia, bloody stool, dysentery,
diarrhea, hemorrhoids and burns. All parts of the plant
are astringent, but the root is most active. Great burnet
is an excellent internal treatment for all sorts of
abnormal discharges including diarrhea, dysentery and
leucorrhea. It is used externally in the treatment of
burns, scalds, sores and skin diseases. This species was
ranked 19th in a Chinese survey of 250 potential
tripartite (Bidens tripartita) Valuable
astringent used for hemorrhage wherever it occurs
including uterine hemorrhage and conditions producing
blood in the urine.
It may be used for fevers and water retention
when this is due to a problem in the kidneys. Used to
relieve disorders of the respiratory system.
The astringency helps counteract peptic
ulceration, diarrhea, and ulcerative tract ailments. Externally in Russia used for alopecia. Often combined with comfrey, agrimony, calamus or ginger when
treating digestive tract ailments.
Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla
lonicera): The leaves are
diuretic. A compound decoction has been used in the
treatment of stomach aches. The plant is used as a gargle
in catarrhal angina. The root is diuretic, galactogogue,
laxative and ophthalmic. A cooled infusion has been used
as an eyewash for sore eyes. The bark is laxative and
ophthalmic. An infusion has been used to increase milk
flow in a nursing mother and as an eyewash for sore eyes.
Bush Tea (Cyclopia genistoides):
Often dried and drunk as tea in South Africa. Also of
great value to sufferers from kidney and liver disorders.
To make the tea the stems and leaves are chopped into
small pieces, wet and then left in heaps where they
ferment spontaneously, They may be heated in an oven to
about 60C - 70 C to enhance the process. After sufficient
fermentation, the tea is spread out in the sun to dry.
After sifting, it is ready for use. Honeybush tea, with
its own distinct sweet taste and aroma, is made like
ordinary tea, except that simmering enhances the flavor.
Drinking honeybush tea is said to promote good health,
stimulate the appetite, and the milk flow of lactating
Honeybush tea is a herbal infusion and many
health properties are associated with the regular
consumption of the tea. It has very low tannin content and
contains no caffeine. It is therefore especially valuable
for children and patients with digestive and heart
problems where stimulants and tannins should be avoided.
Research on Honeybush tea has only started
recently in the 90’s and already great progress was made
on testing and researching the medicinal values of this
tea. De Nysschen et al found 1995 three major phenolic
compounds in honeybush tealeaves: a xanthone c-glycoside,
mangiferin and O-glycosides of hesperitin and
isosakuranetin, two flavanones.
Honeybush tea is normally consumed with milk
and sugar, but to appreciate the delicate sweet taste and
flavor, no milk or sugar should be added. Descriptions of
the flavor vary from that of hot apricot jam, floral,
honey-like and dried fruit mix with the overall impression
of sweetness. The tea has the added advantage that the
cold infusion can also be used as iced tea and that it
blends well with fruit juices. Honeybush tea is prepared
by boiling about 4-6 g of the dried material
(approximately 2-3 tablespoonfuls) per liter for 20
Broom (Ruscus aculeatus
) Butcher’s Broom is a popular treatment
for leg cramps and arthritis.
The plant contains steroidlike compounds that can
reduce inflammation. It is also a mild diuretic and can
help reduce swollen hemorrhoids.
For venous insufficiency.
It is available in capsule and tincture form, as
well as an ointment for hemorrhoids.
Butcher's broom can be taken before surgery to
Butter Tree (Madhuca
longifolia): The expectorant
flowers are used to treat chest problems such as
bronchitis. They are also taken to increase production of
breast milk. The leaves are applied as a poultice to
relieve eczema. In Indian folk medicine, the leaf ash is
mixed with ghee (clarified butter) to make a dressing for
wounds and burns. The seed oil is laxative, and is taken
for constipation and to loosen the stool of hemorrhoid
sufferers. The oil is also applied to itchy skin. Mahua
preparations are used for removing intestinal worms, in
respiratory infections, and in cases of debility and
emaciation. The astringent bark extract is used for
dental-related problems, rheumatism, and diabetes, while
the seed oil is efficacious in treating skin ailments.
The distilled juice of the flowers is considered a tonic,
both nutritional and cooling.
It has been used mainly to treat chest
problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and whooping cough.
Butterbur helps to strengthen digestion, in
particular where indigestion results from obstructed
bile flow. It
not only eases spasms in muscles, but has a
pain-relieving effect too.
It can also be used for fevers. This herb has
also been given for inflammation of the urinary tract,
and the fresh leaves can be used externally as a
poultice to treat wounds and skin eruptions.
(Ranunculus sceleratus) The
celery-leafed buttercup is one of the most virulent of
plants. When bruised and applied to the skin it raises a
blister and creates a sore that is not easy to heal. If
chewed it inflames the tongue and produces violent
effects. The herb should be used fresh since it loses
its effects when dried. The leaves and the root are used
externally as an antirheumatic. The seed is tonic and
is used in the treatment of colds, general debility,
rheumatism and spermatorrhea. When made into a tincture,
given in small diluted doses, it proves curative of
stitch in the side and neuralgic pains between the
ribs. Mostly used homeopathically.
cinerea): The inner bark is
the medical portion and that of the root is considered the
best. It has a feeble odor and a peculiarly bitter,
somewhat acrid taste. Its medicinal virtues are extracted
by boiling water, except its astringency, which it yields
to alcohol. Butternut is a mild cathartic, operating
without pain or irritation and resembling rhubarb in
evacuating without debilitating, the alimentary canal. It
was highly esteemed and much employed as a laxative by the
Army during the Revolutionary War. The liquid extract is
very valuable in chronic constipation, especially combined
with a carminative herb such as ginger or angelica. It
will tone the entire alvine membrane, being particularly
tonic to the lower bowels, influencing peristalsis. It is
moderately slow, operating in 4-8 hours, but very
reliable. It relieves the portal circulation, especially
where the liver is engorged. It will bring about the
ejection of bile and the cleansing of the hepatic and
alvine accumulations, but it will not bring about water
evacuations. It is considered excellent for other bowel
affections, particularly dysentery, in which it has
acquired considerable reputation. A simple syrup of
butternut can be made as follows: Fl X butternut ½ oz, 4
oz sugar, and 10 oz boiling water. Mix and bottle. Dose
is 1 Tbsp twice daily, children in proportion. This syrup
is excellent for hemorrhoids and rectal hemorrhage, FE
stone root may be added. For tapeworm, it is considered a
reliable remedy, especially for children. The oil may be
applied to irritated sores. Butternut also lowers
cholesterol levels and promotes the clearance of waste
products by the liver. It has a positive reputation in
treating intestinal worms. An infusion of the dried outer
bark is used in the treatment of toothache.
Butterwort (Pinguicula vulgaris):
Although the plant is protected in Europe, a Swiss medical
laboratory used to carry on a profitable traffic,
illegally importing hundreds of pounds of butterwort
leaves from France, which it used to manufacture a cough
syrup. Whole stations of this uncommon plant were
destroyed in the process. Butterwort is rarely employed
in European herbal medicine today. Its main use is as a
cough remedy, with properties similar to those of sundew,
another insect-eating plant. Butterwort may be used to
treat chronic and convulsive coughs. The thick
plantain-shaped leaves were used for application to sores
and chapped hands.
Button's Snakeroot Eryngo (Eryngium
aquaticum): Indians used this plant to
prevent poisoning, reduce fever, and increase urine flow.
They pounded the root, mixed it with water, and drank the
potion as a cure for kidney trouble, neuralgia and
arthritis, and as a blood purifier. They also chewed the
stems and leaves as a nosebleed remedy, and used a tea of
the plants to cure severe dysentery. A decoction of the
plant was drunk at some Indian ceremonials to induce
vomiting. It is used now mainly in the treatment of
disorders of the kidneys and sexual organs. It has been
used as an antidote to snake poison. The pounded roots
are used as a diuretic. An infusion of them is used to
reduce fevers. The plant is used as an antidote to
snakebites. The roots are chewed and applied to the bite.
A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh or dried root.