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Uses--A-B Herbs


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Abcess Root (Polemonium reptans):  It is used almost exclusively in the treatment of pulmonary diseases.  Even in moderate doses, it is a powerful diaphoretic and will cause profuse sweating in the patient.  The herb is also an astringent and antiseptic and will soothe an inflamed bronchial mucosa and promote the rapid healing of an ulcerated throat.  The most valuable aspect is its use as an expectorant.  It will quickly remove mucous from the lungs and bronchi, and as the herb also produces a slight vasodilative action, it makes breathing easier and reduces coughing. 

Acacia 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.
                 Pods 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.

Acacia, Sweet (Acacia farnesiana )   Colombians bathe in the bark decoction as a treatment for typhoid.  The gummy roots have been chewed as a treatment for sore throat.  A decoction of the gum from the trunk has been used in the treatment of diarrhea. An infusion of the flowers has been used as a stomachic. It is also used in the treatment of dyspepsia and neuroses. The flowers are added to ointment, which is rubbed on the forehead to treat headaches.  The powdered dried leaves have been applied externally as a treatment for wounds. The green pods have been decocted and used in the treatment of dysentery and inflammations of the skin and raucous membranes. An infusion of the pod has been used in the treatment of sore throats, diarrhea, leucorrhoea, conjunctivitis, and uterorrhagia.

Acacia, Umbrella Thorn (Acacia tortilis)  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 (Aconitum napellus): Aconite is poisonous in all but the smallest doses and is rarely prescribed for internal use.  More commonly , it is applied to unbroken skin to relieve pain from bruises or neurological conditions.  In Ayurvedic medicine, aconite is used to treat neuralgia, asthma, and heart weakness.  Aconite has been added to salves because of its painkilling action on neuralgia, lumbago, and rheumatism.  The tincture has been given in one-drop doses for heart failure, high fevers, pneumonia, pleurisy and tonsillitis.  Use only under a professional’s supervision. 

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.

Adder’s Tongue (Erythronium americanum): Generally used as a poultice for ulcers and skin troubles.  An infusion of the leaves is taken for the relief of skin problems and for enlarged glands.  Various oil infusions and ointments made from the leaf and spike have been used to treat wounds, and poultices of the fresh leaves have been applied to soothe and heal bruises.  The bulbs of the plant have been recorded as emetic and as a substitute for Colchicium in the treatment of gout.  In the fresh state it has been reported to be a remedy for scurvy.  It is often used to treat scrofulous skin arising from tubercular infection.  Can mix the expressed juice with cider for internal use.  Must be used fresh. 

Adder's Tongue, English (Ophioglossum vulgatum( the fresh leaves make a most effective and comforting poultice for ulcers and tumors.  The expressed juice of the leaves is drunk as a treatment for internal bleeding and bruising.

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 gentler.  These substances increase the heart’s efficiency by increasing its output while slowing its rate.  Unlike foxglove, however, false hellebore’s effect on the heart is slightly sedative, and it is generally prescribed for patients with hearts that are beating too fast or irregularly. It is also used for mitral stenosis and edema due to heart failure.  False hellebore is recommended as a treatment for certain cases of low blood pressure.  False hellebore is strongly diuretic and can be used to counter water retention, particularly if this condition can be attributed to poor circulatory function.  It is an ingredient of several commercial German preparations for heart complaints and low blood pressure.  It is also found in Bechterew’s Mixture, a Russian formulation for heart conditions of nervous origin.

Adrue (Cyperus 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.

Aerva (Aerva lanata): 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.

Agar (Gelidium amansii )  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 commerce

Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria): Agrimony has long been used since Saxon times to heal wounds because it staunches bleeding and encourages clot formation. In the 15th century, it was the prime ingredient of “arquebusade water,” a battlefield remedy for gunshot wounds.  In France, the eau de arquebusade is still applied for sprains and bruises. A cooling astringent and mildly bitter, the aerial parts can be used for “hot” conditions like diarrhea, bronchitis and a gentle tonic for the digestion as a whole. Combined with other herbs such as corn silk, it is a valuable remedy for cystitis and urinary incontinence, and has also been used for kidney stones, sore throats, rheumatism, and arthritis.  It can be used as a suppository combining the extract with cocoa butter and inserting into the rectum for hemorrhoids, tapeworms and diarrhea.   The healing power is attributed to the herb’s high silica content.   Agrimony is indicated for chronic cholecystopathies with gastric sub-acidity.  Real success will be achieved only if the plant is used consistently for some time.  European herbalists suggest a few cups of agrimony tea daily to heal peptic ulcers and colitis, to gently control diarrhea, to tone the digestive tract lining, and to improve food assimilation.  One glycoside it contains has been shown to reduce excessive bile production in the gallbladder.

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, indigestion

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 bleeding.

Ajowan (Carum ajowan): In the Middle East, ajowan water is often used for diarrhoea and wind and in India the seeds are a home remedy for indigestion and asthma.  For reasons of both flavor and practicality its natural affinity is with starchy foods and legumes.  Because of its thymol content, it is a strong germicide, anti-spasmodic, fungicide, and anthelmintic.  Regular use of Ajwain leaves seems to prevent kidney stone formation.   It also has aphrodisiac properties and the Ananga Ranga prescribes it for increasing the enjoyment of a husband in the flower of his life  
         Ajwain 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 chronic cold.  
        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 (Akebia trifoliata):   A pungent, bitter herb that controls bacterial and fungal infections and stimulates the circulatory and urinary systems and female organs. It is a potent diuretic due to the high content of potassium salts.  Internally for urinary tract infections, rheumatoid arthritis, absence of menstruation, and insufficient lactation.  Taken internally, it controls gram-positive bacterial and fungal infections.

Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula (Frangula alnus)): Alder buckthorn is a laxative and a cathartic, and is most commonly taken as a treatment for chronic constipation.  Once dried and stored, it is significantly milder than senna or common buckthorn and may be safely used over the long term to treat constipation and to encourage the return of regular bowel movements. Alder buckthorn is a particularly beneficial remedy if the muscles of the colon are weak and if there is poor bile flow.  However, the plant should not be used to treat constipation resulting from excessive tension in the colon wall.  The berries also act as a milder purgative.  Fresh bark, powdered and mixed with vinegar, is used to topically treat fungal diseases of the skin and acne. 

Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum): The plant was used in ancient days to relieve dropsy.  The seeds were often soaked in wine to create a tonic for scurvy when other sources of vitamin C were not available and also to promote menstruation.  The root is a diuretic.  The crushed leaves or their juice was a soothing and healing treatment for cuts and minor abrasions.  It was also used for asthma.   These uses are now obsolete 

Alfalfa  (Medicago sativa ) 
The whole herb is used medicinally to help stop bleeding to benefit the kidneys and as a general tonic.   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 value.  An 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 hayfever.  It 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 inflammation.

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 externally.

Allspice (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.   

Almond (Prunus communis):    Bitter almonds when distilled yield an essential oil containing about 5% of prussic acid.  Almonds are usually processed to extract almond oil for cosmetic purposes.  It is helpful for alleviating itchy skin conditions, such as eczema.  The oil is popular with masseuses and aromatherapists as it is light, easily absorbed, and makes an excellent carrier oil for essential oils.  Little is used for medicinal purposes, but almond flour is sometimes used as sustaining food for diabetics.  Almond milk is still drunk as a kidney tonic and to ease heartburn.  The oil derived from a bitter variety of almond has sedative properties and is sometimes used in cough remedies.  As well as being a tasty addition to the diet, almonds are also beneficial to the overall health of the body, being used especially in the treatment of kidney stones, gallstones and constipation. Externally, the oil is applied to dry skins and is also often used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy. The seed is demulcent, emollient, laxative, nutritive and pectoral. When used medicinally, the fixed oil from the seed is normally employed. The seed contains 'laetrile', a substance that has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there does not at present seem to be much evidence to support this. The pure substance is almost harmless, but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very rapidly acting poison - it should thus be treated with caution. In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.  The leaves are used in the treatment of diabetes.  The plant contains the antitumor compound taxifolin.

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 properties.
          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 amputation.  It has also proved helpful in treating periodontosis.  One study injected aloe extracts into the diseased areas of 128 patients with varying degrees of gum disease.  Within a week, the development of symptoms stopped, pain decreased and marked improvement followed in all patients.
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 ferox 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.

 Aloewood  (Aquilaria malaccensis) :  Internally for digestive and bronchial complaints, fevers, and rheumatism (bark, wood).  Because of its astringent nature, the powdered wood of the aloe tree provide an effective skin tonic and is recommended by Ayurvedic physicians as an application for restoring pigment in leucoderma.  Powdered aloeswood provides an antiseptic so gentle it is used for ear and eye infections as well as on open wounds.

Alstonia (Alstonia scolaris, A constricta)  There are 43 species of alstonia trees.  The bark of the tree is used medicinally in the Pacific Rim and India.  Constricta, which is native to Australia, is used extensively as an Aboriginal folk remedy for fever, chronic diarrhea, dysentery and rheumatism.  Scholaris, found growing mostly in India, Pakistan and the Philippines, is used for the same purposes, but may also be employed as a treatment for malaria, and is thought to have aphrodisiac qualities.  In all cases the bark is powdered and made into a tea.  The inner bark of Alstonia constricta is said to possess marked antiperiodic properties, while the outer bark is stated to have been efficacious in curing certain forms of rheumatism. Further trials are needed, however, before it can be ranked as a substitute for quinine, or other of the cinchona alkaloids, yet it has proved as efficient in intermittents.  Scientific investigation has failed to show why it is of such service in malaria, but herbalists consider it superior to quinine and of great use in convalescence .  It lowers fever, relaxes spasms, stimulates lactation and expels intestinal worms.  Used for chronic diarrhea, dysentery and in intermittent fever; also as an anthelmintic. It is also much used by homoeopaths.

Alumroot  (Heuchera americana) The root of this plant may contain as much as 20% of its weight in tannins, acid compounds that serve to shrink swollen, moist tissues.  Alumroot’s strong astringency is likely to have earned the plant its common name.  Its overall effect is less than irritating than Cranesbill, Oak Bark or Canaigre.   Dried and powdered alumroot was used by Northwest Indians as a general digestive tonic, and herbalists still use it to stop minor bleeding and reduce inflammation.  It was listed in the US pharmacopoeia for similar purposes until 1882.  An infusion of the root was used to treat diarrhea, and a leaf poultice for skin abrasions.  A teaspoon of the chopped root, boiled in water for 20 minutes, can be used for gastroenteritis, particularly with symptoms of diarrhea and dry, bilious vomiting.  The tea makes an excellent gargle for sore throats, especially when combined with one-fourth teaspoon of golden seal root; a half cup drunk an hour before every meal will stimulate the healing of regenerating ulcers of the esophagus and stomach, but of little use for duodenal ulcers.  The root is an old folk remedy for dysentery, a cup drunk every two hours for at least a day.  Since most astringents are precipitated before reaching the colon, obstinate dysentery should be treated by an enema; a teaspoon of the chopped root boiled for twenty minutes in a pint of water,.  The same quantity can be used as a douche for vaginitis or mild cervicitis.  The finely ground root is a good first aid for treating cuts and abrasions, promoting almost instant clotting; if combined with equal parts golden seal root and Echinacea angustifolia root, the mixture makes an excellent antiseptic powder.

Amadou (Fomes fomentarius): 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.

Amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus)  Medicinally, amaranth gained favor in the 17th century when the Doctrine of Signature prevailed.  To adherents of this doctrine, the bright crimson of the flowers signified blood—a clear indication that the plant would stop any kind of bleeding.  The herb does in fact possess astringent properties and herbalists have recommended an amaranth infusion for diarrhea and as a mouthwash for ulcers, to soothe inflammation of the pharynx and to heal canker sores.  Amaranth has also been employed to reduce blood loss and to treat diarrhea and dysentery..  A decoction is used to check excessive menstrual flow, excessive vaginal discharge..  Also used for sponging sores and ulcers.  It is a nutritional supplement and nutritive tonic.

Ambrette Seed (Abelmoschus moschatus (syn Hibiscus abelmoschus)
): Internally as a digestive and breath-freshener (seeds).  Externally for cramps, poor circulation, and aching joints, and in aromatherapy for anxiety and depression (oil)

Ammoniacum (Dorema ammoniacum)  Ammoniacum has been used in Western herbal medicine for thousands of years.   Chiefly used for respiratory troubles. Excellent for the relief of catarrh, asthma or bronchitis.  Also highly regarded as an energy stimulant.   Externally used for swollen joints and indolent tumors. Still listed in the British Pharmacopoeia as an antispasmodic and an expectorant that stimulates the coughing up of thick mucus.  Occasionally used to induce sweating or menstruation.

An Lu (Artemisia keiskeana): The seeds have a reputation for correcting sexual impotence in men and amenorrhea in women.  An infusion of the seeds also is used for post-partum pain

Anemone, Alpine (Anemone alpina): The whole, 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.

Angelica (Angelica archangelica): An old remedy for flatulence directed that the stalks e slowly chewed until the condition was relieved which may have been good advice, as it has been found that one of angelica’s constituents is pectin, an enzyme which acts on digesting food.  This herb is a useful expectorant for coughs, bronchitis and pleurisy, especially when they are accompanied by fever, colds or influenza.  The leaf can be used as a compress in inflammations of the chest.  Its content of carminative essential oil explains its use in easing intestinal colic and flatulence.  As a digestive agent it stimulates appetite and may be used in anorexia nervosa.  It has been shown to help ease rheumatic inflammations.  In cystitis it acts as a urinary antiseptic.  Angelica has proved itself to relieve muscle spasms of asthma and it’s been used to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, especially after extended use of birth control pills or an intrauterine device.   Combine with coltsfoot and white horehound for bronchial problems and with chamomile for indigestion, flatulence and loss of appetite.  The leaves are used in the bath to stimulate the skin. Angelica salve is helpful in cases of chronic rhinitis and sinusitis because it dissolves mucus and warms. Apply it twice daily to the area of the paranasal sinuses, forehead, root of the nose, nose, cheeks and angle of the jaw.  Angelica contains at least 14 anti-arrhythmic compounds, one of which is said to be as active as verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), a popular calcium channel blocker.  Because of its aromatic bitter properties, this plant is much used in bitters and liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse.  The volatile oil has carminative properties, counteracting flatulence, so that the action of this plant comes close to that of wormwood in this respect, a plant mainly used to treat gallbladder disease.

Angelica, Japanese (Angelica keiskei): In traditional 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 complaints.

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.  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 that species.  

Angostura (Galipea officinalis)  A strong bitter with tonic properties, angostura stimulates the stomach and digestive tract as a whole.  It is antispasmodic and is reported to act on the spinal nerves, helping in paralytic conditions.  Angostura is typically given for weak digestion, and is considered valuable as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery.  In South America, it is sometimes used as a substitute for cinchona to control fevers.

Anise (Pimpenella anisum):  Anise is a carminative and an expectorant.  It is also a good source of iron.  One tablespoon of anise seeds sprinkled on cookies, bread or cake provides 16% of the RDA for a woman and 24% of the RDA for a man.  A 1990 study tested the effect of certain beverage extracts on the absorption of iron.  The results showed that anise was the most effective of the extracts tested in promoting iron absorption.  The authors recommended offering this as a preventive agent to iron deficiency anemia.  To make a carminative tea that may relieve intestinal gas, crush 1 teaspoon of anise seeds per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-20 minutes and strain.  Drink up to 3 cups a day.  In a tincture, take to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day.  Diluted anise infusions may be given cautiously to infants to treat colic. For older children and people over 65, begin with low-strength preparations and increase strength if necessary.    Some people simply chew the anise seeds.    Early English herbalist Gerard suggested anise for hiccups.  It has also been prescribed as a milk promoter for nursing mothers and as a treatment for water retention, headache, asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, nausea, lice, infant colic, cholera and even cancer.  America’s 19th century Eclectic physicians recommended anise primarily as a stomach soother for nausea, gas, and infant colic.
Modern uses: Science has supported anise’s traditional use as a treatment for coughs, bronchitis, and asthma.  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 aid.  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 cirrhosis.  While there are no studies that support using anise to treat liver disease in humans, anise looks promising in this area.

Anise Hyssop: The root of anise hyssop was an ingredient in North American Chippewa Indian lung formulas, and the Cree sometimes carried the flowers in their medicine bundles. The Cheyenne employed an infusion of the leaves for colds, chest pains from coughing and a weak heart.  The leaves in a steambath were used to induce sweating; and powdered leaves on the body for high fevers.  

Annatto: In the Caribbean, annatto leaves and roots are used to make an astringent infusion that is taken to treat fever, epilepsy, and dysentery.  The infusion is also taken as an aphrodisiac.  The leaves alone make an infusion that is used as a gargle.  The seed pulp reduces blistering when applied immediately to burns.  Taken internally, the seed pulp acts as an antidote for poisoning.  Used as a coloring agent for medical preparations such as ointments and plasters.

Antelope Horn (Asclepias viridis)   Used to relieve fever, it was drunk as a decoction of the root in cold water.  To relieve palpitation, the powdered root is rubbed over the heart area.  A poultice of the powdered root is used to treat neck and rib pains and a tea made from it is used to alleviate asthma and shortness of breath.

Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa )   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 (Prunus armeniaca )  :  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 support this.

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

Arbutus, 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. 

Areca 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 (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 valerian. 

Arrach (Chenopodium olidum)   An infusion of the dried leaves is used in the treatment of hysteria and nervous troubles connected with women's ailments.

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.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot  (Balsamorrhiza sagittata)  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 system.

Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) Hospitals formerly employed arrow root in barium meals given prior to X-raying the gastro-intestinal system.  When mixed with hot water, the root starch of this plant becomes gelatinous and serves as an effective demulcent to soothe irritated mucous membranes.  Used in much the same way as slippery elm.  It helps to relieve acidity, indigestion, and colic, and it exerts a mildly laxative action on the large bowel. 

Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)     Studies have shown that blood cholesterol levels dropped after eating artichoke.  An anticholesterol drug called cynara is derived from this plant.  In 1940, a study in Japan showed that artichoke not only reduced cholesterol but it also increased bile production by the liver and worked as a good diuretic.  This make artichoke useful for gallbladder problems, nausea, indigestion, and abdominal distension.     It has been found that globe artichoke contains the extract cymarin, which is similar to silymarin.  Researchers discovered that this extract promotes liver regeneration and causes hyperaemia.  It was also found that an artichoke extract caused dyspeptic symptoms to disappear.  The researchers interpreted the reduction in cholinesterase levels to mean that the extract effected fatty degeneration of the liver.  In 1969 a team of French researchers patented an artichoke extract as a treatment for kidney and liver ailments.   Although the leaves are particularly effective, all parts of the plant are bitter.  A Mediterranean home recipe uses fresh artichoke leaf juice mixed with wine or water as a liver tonic.  It is also taken during the early stages of late-onset diabetes.  It is a good food for diabetics, since it significantly lowers blood sugar.  In France it has been used to treat rheumatic conditions.

Asafetida (Ferula assa-foetida): Asafetida is said to have antispasmodic properties. It has been used in the past to treat hysteria and was sometimes taken as a sedative.  In India it is prescribed to treat flatulence and bronchitis.  It also has carminative, expectorant, laxative and sedative properties.  Asafetida acts as a local stimulant to mucous membrane, particularly that of the alimentary canal and therefore is a remedy of great value as a carminative in flatulent colic and a useful addition to laxative medicine.  There is evidence that the volatile oil is eliminated through the lungs which has been found useful for whooping cough, asthma, and bronchitis, as well as for croup and flatulent colic in infants.  It was formerly used as a sedative for hysteria, infantile convulsions, and spasmodic nervous conditions.  Some researchers have suggested that asafetida may help lower blood pressure and increase the amount of time it takes for blood to clot.  Like garlic, asafetida has been hung around the neck to ward off colds and other infectious diseases, but its only real effect seems to be its ability to keep other people and their colds at arm’ length. Owing to its vile taste it is usually taken in pill form, but is often given to infants per rectum in the form of an emulsion. The powdered gum resin is not advocated as a medicine, the volatile oil being quickly dissipated. Asafetida is admittedly the most adulterated drug on the market. Besides being largely admixed with inferior qualities of Asafetida, it has often red clay, sand, stones and gypsum added to it to increase the weight.

Asarabacca  (Asarum europaeum ) :  a strong emetic.  It has been substituted for Ipecac to produce vomiting.  The French use it for this purpose after drinking too much wine.  A 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 secretion).  Based 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.

Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)    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 quinine.  It is also said to be excellent for treatment of arthritic conditions.  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.

Ashwagandha: Practitioners of Ayurveduc medicine, the traditional medicine of India, regard this root as the Indian answer to ginseng for the male libido.  Some reference do not recommend on a daily basis but others do.   It is considered to reduce vata and kapha.  It is mainly used in the West as a restorative for the elderly and the chronically ill.  For such regenerative purposes, it can be taken as a milk decoction to which may be added raw sugar, honey, pippali and basmati rice.  As such, it inhibits aging and catalyzes the anabolic processes of the body.  It is a good food for weak pregnant women, it helps to stabilize the fetus.  It also regenerates the hormonal system, promotes healing of tissues, and can be used externally on wounds, sores, etc.  Five grams of the powder can be taken twice a day in warm milk or water, sweetened with raw sugar.  
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

Asmatica (Tylophora asmatica)   Considered a specific remedy for asthma, asmatica may relieve symptoms for up to 3 months.  It is also beneficial in cases of hay fever, and is prescribed for acute allergic problems such as eczema and nettle rash.  The plant holds potential as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome and other immune system disorders.  Asmatica may relieve rheumatoid arthritis and may also be of value in the treatment of cancer.  Extensive laboratory and clinical research in India has established that asmatica is an effective remedy for asthma.  In the 1970s, a number of clinical trials showed that a majority of asthmatic patients taking the herb for just 6 days gained relief from asthma for up to a further 12 weeks.  However, the leaves do produce side effects  The plant’s alternative name, Indian lobelia, alludes not only to its value in treating asthma but also to its irritating effect on the digestive tract.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)   An excellent diuretic, asparagus is also very nutritious.  It is high in folic acid, which is essential for the production of new red blood cells.  Many herbalists recommend asparagus root for rheumatism, due to the anti-inflammatory action of the steroidal glycosides.  Powdered seed from the asparagus plant is good for calming an upset stomach.  It is used as a gentle but effective laxative where an irritating cathartic would be inappropriate, while a tea brewed from the mature fern has been used for rheumatic and urinary disorders, and by Shakers to treat dropsy.  It is used for a variety of urinary problems, including cystitis.  The root treats dryness of the lungs and throat, consumptive diseases, tuberculosis and blood-tinged sputum.  It also counteracts thirst and treats kidney yin deficient lower back pains. Asparagus root is said to increase love, devotion, and compassion. The most adept Chinese herbal pharmacists will taste a new shipment of asparagus root, testing it for sweetness.  They might then reserve the sweetest roots for themselves, since these are believed to foster the deepest feelings of spiritual compassion.  The roots are deeply nourishing to the yin quality.

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. 

Asphodelus (Asphodelus albus): 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.

Aspidistra (Aspidistra elatior): 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 novae-angliae): 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.

Astragalus  (Astragalus membranaceous ) 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 lowering fever.

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.

Azisai (Hydrangea macrophylla): An extract of the leaves, roots and flowers are said to be a more potent antimalarial than quinine, due to one of its alkaloids.

Aztec Sweet Herb (Phyla scaberrima)  In 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   to 1 fluid drachm, is given as a respiratory sedative in coughs. It acts as an alterative on the mucous membrane.  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 passages.


Ba Ji Tian (Morinda officinalis)  The pungent, sweet-tasting ba ji tian is an important Chinese herb.  It is a kidney tonic, and therefore strengthens the yang. It is also used as a sexual tonic, treating impotence and premature ejaculation in men, infertility in both men and women, and a range of conditions, such as an irregular menstrual cycle.  Ba ji tian is also prescribed for conditions affecting the lower back or pelvic region, including pain, cold, and urinary weakness—especially frequent urination or incontinence.

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.

Badrang (Zanthoxylum limonella): 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.

Baeckea (Baeckea 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.

Bael (Aegle marmelos )  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 content.  It 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 earache.  A 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 injuries.

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 generalized paralysis.

Bai 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.

Bai 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.

Baical Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)   The root is used. Indications: ailments of “full” and “hot” excess: oppression in chest, thirst with no desire for water, dysentery and diarrhea, jaundice, body heat, irritability, blood in stool and sputum, nosebleeds.  Clinical tests in China found it improved symptoms in over 70% of patients with chronic hepatitis, increasing appetite, improving liver function and reducing swelling.  Other studies show it reduces inflammation and allergic reactions.  These effects are due to the flavonoids.  It is also likely that Baical skullcap may help venous problems and fragile capillaries.  The herb may be useful for problems arising from diabetes, including cataracts.  In Chinese medicine it is prescribed for hot and thirsty conditions such as high fevers, coughs with thick yellow phlegm, and gastrointestinal infections that cause diarrhea, such as dysentery.  It is also given to people suffering from painful urinary conditions.  It is now used for allergic conditions such as asthma, hay fever, eczema, and nettle rash, although its anti-inflammatory action is most useful for digestive infections.  It is a valuable remedy for the circulation.  In combination with other herbs, it is used to treat high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, varicose veins and easy bruising.  Applied to the skin, it treats sores, swelling and boils.  It appears to be useful for circulatory problems that arise from diabetes.  The seed is used to cleanse the bowels of blood and pus.

Bailahuen (Haplopappus 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.

Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorum)   It loosens phlegm, stops cough in both hot and cold conditions, aids the elimination of pus in the upper parts of the body, is effective for sore throat, lung abscess, and loss of  voice.  It has an ascending energy and is sometimes added in small amounts to formulas to direct the therapeutic action of other herbs to the upper parts of the body.   

Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum halicacabum)   In Indian herbal medicine, balloon vine root is used to bring on delayed menstruation and to relieve backache and arthritis.  The leaves stimulate local circulation and are applied to painful joints to help speed the cleaning of toxins.  The seeds are also thought to help in the treatment of arthritis.  The plant as a whole has sedative properties.  It has been prescribed for years by European skin specialists and family doctors. In a study of 833 patients with eczema, better than 4 out of 5 subjects reported improvement or remission of symptoms (inflammation, swelling, scaling, blisters/vesicles, dry skin, itching, burning and pain).  This small and delicate wiry climber can be used to treat piles, rheumatism, nervous disorders and chronic bronchitis. A paste of the leaves is a dressing for sores and wounds. Crushed leaves can also be inhaled to relieve headaches and the seeds used to relieve fever and body aches.  A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of itchy skin. Salted leaves are used as a poultice on swellings.  The leaf juice has been used as a treatment for earache.

Balmony (Chelone glabra)   It is believed to be an appetite stimulant, and some herbalists prescribe the dried plant in an infusion to treat anorexia.  Balmony is a very bitter herb with a tea-like flavor that acts mainly as a tonic for the liver and digestive system. It also has anti-depressant and laxative effects. It is used internally in the treatment of consumption, debility, diseases of the liver, gallbladder problems, gallstones etc. It is also used to relieve nausea and vomiting, intestinal colic and to expel worms. Externally, it is applied as an ointment to inflamed tumors, irritable ulcers, inflamed breasts etc.  It Is beneficial for a weak stomach and indigestion, general debility, constipation, and torpid liver, it also stimulates the appetite, and in small doses is a good tonic during convalescence. In addition, balmony is an effective antheimintic. Externally, it is used for sores and eczema. The ointment is valuable to relieve the itching and irritation of piles.
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 jaundice; worms.

Balsam Fir  (Abies balsamea)    The resin obtained from the balsam fir has been used throughout the world and is a very effective antiseptic and healing agent. It is used as a healing and analgesic protective covering for burns, bruises, wounds and sores. It is also used to treat sore nipples and is said to be one of the best curatives for a sore throat. Tea made from the needles has been used to treat colds and asthma.  Canada balsam, an oleoresin gathered from blisters in the bark, has been used to relieve the pain of hemorrhoids, burns and sores and venereal disease.  Balsam fir is an antiseptic and stimulant, and has been used for congestion, chest infections, such as bronchitis, and urinary tract conditions such as cystitis and frequent urination.  It has been used in commercial mixtures to treat coughs and diarrhea.  Externally, balsam fir was rubbed on the chest or applied as a plaster for respiratory infections.  It is also used in bath extracts for rheumatic pain, and as a mouthwash.  The oil is used in ointments and creams, especially in the treatment of hemorrhoids. The buds, resin, and/or sap are used in folk remedies for treating cancers, corns, and warts.  The resin is used internally in propriety mixtures to treat coughs and diarrhea, though taken in excess it is purgative. A warm liquid of the gummy sap was drunk as a treatment for gonorrhea. A tea made from the leaves is antiscorbutic. It is used in the treatment of coughs, colds and fevers.

Balsam 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. 

Banaba (Lagerstroemia 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.

Baneberry (
Actaea arguta): 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 in place.

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.

Banyan Tree (Ficus benghalensis): 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 disease.   

Baobab (Adansonia 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 elasticizing properties.  
                       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 other complaints.
            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 infection-fighting properties.  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 pinkeye (conjunctivitis).  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.

Barley (Hordeum distichon): 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 cancer.

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 crus-galli): 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 disposition.   Basil is one of many healing herbs containing both pro-and anti-cancer substances.  On the prevention side, it contains Vitamin A & C, anti-oxidants that help prevent cell damage.  But basil also contains a chemical, estragole, that produced liver tumors in mice, according to a report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  However, the cancer risk, if any, remains unclear.  It’s on the FDA list of GRAS herbs.

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.  

Basil Thyme (Acinos arvensis): 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.  
           An 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. 
A 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.    In 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.  

Bay, Red (Persia borbonia):  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 limbs.

Bayberry (Myrica cerifera)   A key herb in the Thomsonian system of medicine, being the main astringent used for “any stomach or bowel derangement, particularly after fevers.”   Internally used for fevers, colds, influenza, excess mucus, diarrhea, colitis, excessive menstruation, and vaginal discharge.  Externally for sore throat, ulcers, sores, itching skin conditions, dandruff and hair loss.  Bayberry is commonly used to increase circulation, stimulate perspiration, and keep bacterial infections in check. Colds, flu, coughs, and sore throats benefit from treatment with this herb as a hot decoction.  It helps to strengthen local resistance to infection and to tighten and dry mucous membranes.  An infusion is helpful for strengthening spongy gums, and a gargle is used for sore throat.  Bayberry’s astringency helps intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and mucous colitis. It increases circulation to the area while acting to tone tissues involved. An infusion can also help treat excess vaginal discharge.  A paste of the powdered root bark may be applied onto ulcers and sores.  The powdered bark has been used as a snuff for congested nasal passages.  It has been used to treat post-partum hemorrhage and taken internally and used as a douche is recommended for excessive menstruation and leucorrhea.  It is used as a poultice to soothe varicose veins. Myricadiol has a mild effect on potassium and sodium levels.  Myricitrin is antibacterial and encourages the flow of bile.  The powder is strongly sternutatory and excites coughing. Water in which the wax has been 'tried,' when boiled to an extract, is regarded as a certain cure for dysentery, and the wax itself, being astringent and slightly narcotic, is valuable in severe dysentery and internal ulcerations. The leaves have provided vitamin C for curing scurvy.

Beach Pea (Lathyrus japonicus): 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 febrifuge.

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 pain.

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 stimulant.  The root is taken internally as a treatment for non-malignant swollen glands and especially for mastitis.  The root is thought to have a beneficial effect on the stomach, liver, and spleen, and may be taken to relieve indigestion and liver malfunction.

Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax): The roots 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.

Bear's Breeches (Acanthus mollis): 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.

Beavertail (Opuntia 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. 

Beech (Fagus grandifolia): 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 rodioei) 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 used now. 

Beechdrops (Epifagus virginiana):  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. 

Bei Sha Shen (Glehnia littoralis): 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.

Beleric 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 tubules.  The herb can also be used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, reducing tremors and rigidity, and improving speech and mobility.  The smooth muscle relaxant properties of deadly nightshade make it useful in conventional medicine as an anesthetic, particularly when digestive or bronchial secretions need to be kept to a minimum.
Ivan Raeff, a lay practitioner in Schipka, a village in Bulgaria, discovered that a total extract of  belladonna 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.  

Bellflower (Campanula 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 them.

Bellwort (Uvularia 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 circumcision.

Bergamot (Bergamot didyma)  Bergamot tea is soothing and relaxing and makes a good night-time drink.  Add a handful of fresh leaves to your bath to sooth tired and aching limbs (in a net bag).  Native Americans used the leaves of monarda as a poultice and compress on skin eruptions, as a tea for colds and flus and inhaled as a steam to relieve sinus and lung congestion.  Scientific evidence shows that bergamot may inhibit the herpes simplex and the related chicken pox viruses.  It is also combined with other herbs to treat urinary tract infections and indigestion.

Bergamot Fruit (Citrus bergamia): 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.

Bethroot (Trillium erectum )   Is 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 childbirth.  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 chronic headaches.  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. 

Bigroot (Marah 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.

Bilberry (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. 
Modern 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.

Bindweed (Convolvulus 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 hepatic constipation.

Birch, Water (Betula occidentalis) The bark is antirheumatic, astringent, lithontripic, salve and sedative. A decoction of the flowers and leaves has been used as an abortifacient.

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 pulcherrima): Traditionally 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 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 pulmonary problems.

Birthwort (Aristolochia clematitis )  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 ulcers.  Birthwort 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. 
Chinese 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 asthma.  The 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 condyloma.  Traditionally it’s demonstrated efficacy against a variety of bacterial infections including tuberculosis.   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 medicine.

Bishop’s 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.  

Bistort (Polygonum bistorta or Persicaria bistorta)  Roots and leaves were used to counteract poisons and to treat malaria and intermittent fevers.  Dried and powdered it was applied to cuts and wounds to staunch bleeding, and a decoction in wine was taken for internal bleeding and diarrhea (especially in babies).  It was also given to cause sweating and drive out the plague, smallpox, measles and other infectious diseases.  Bistort is rich in tannins and one of the best astringents.  Taken internally, it is excellent for bleeding, such as from nosebleeds, heavy periods and wounds, and for diarrhea and dysentery.  Since it reduces inflammation and mucous secretions it makes a good remedy for colitis and for catarrhal congestion.  It was originally recommended in 1917 as a treatment for debility with a tendency towards tuberculosis.  It has also been used externally for pharyngitis, stomatitis, vaginal discharge, anal fissure, purulent wounds, hemorrhoids, mouth ulcers and gum disease.  Comes well with Geranium maculatum. 

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. In Poland, 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 wounds.

Bitter Apple (Citrullus colocynthis): Dried 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 menstruation.

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.
             An infusion 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 and sedative. 

Bitter Orange (Poncirus trifoliate): The thorns are used in the treatment of toothache.  The stem bark is used in the treatment of colds. The 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 stomach.

Bitter 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 pressure.  It 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 kidneys.  It 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 American mandrake.  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 hours.  This 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.

Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara )   It 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 conditions.  It 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 “felonwort”  The 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. 

Bitterweed (Heleniuim 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 anti-tumor activity.

Black Catechu (Acacia catechu)  Black Catechu is a powerful astringent used in chronic diarrhea, dysentery and mucous colitis.  It is also a clotting agent.  It helps reduce excess mucus in the nose, the large bowel, or vagina.  It also treats eczema and hemorrhages.  As a douche it is used in leucorrhea.  As a mouthwash or gargle it is used in gingivitis, stomatitis, pharyngitis and laryngitis.  It may be used as an infusion, tincture, powder or ointment.  A small piece of cutch dissolved in the mouth is an excellent remedy for bleeding gums and canker sores.  The power and tincture are also applied to infected gums and have been used to clean the teeth.  In Ayurvedic medicine, decoctions of the bark and heartwood are used for sore throat.  Research is that cutch has been shown to lower blood pressure, its mechanism of action is thought to be bradykinin related and due to vasodilation.

Black 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 dysentery.

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa): Black cohosh root improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure and body temperature by dilating blood vessels and increasing peripheral circulation.  The constituents responsible for these actions are so resinous, the traditional virtues of this herb are best extracted by using hot water and preferably alcohol on the fresh root.  A central nervous system depressant, black cohosh directly inhibits vasomotor centers that are involved with inner ear balance and hearing.  One of the uses for black cohosh recognized by doctors is for relief of ringing in the ears.  The Native Americans knew that it encouraged uterine contractions and used it to facilitate labor.  It is also used to reduce the inflammation and muscular pain of rheumatism and inflammatory arthritis, especially when it is associated with menopause  and to treat problems of the respiratory system.  Chinese physicians use several related plants to treat headache, to ripen and bring out skin rashes such as measles, diarrhea, bleeding gums and some gynecological problems.   
Black 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.  
Cimicifugin, 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. 

Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa): The 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 later use.
             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 prunifolium):  Black Haw has a very similar use to Crampbark to which it is closely related.  It is a powerful relaxant of the uterus and is used for dysmenorrhea and false labor pains.  It may be used in threatened miscarriage as well (often in combination with false unicorn root).  Its relaxant and sedative actions explain its power in reducing blood pressure, which happens through a relaxation of the peripheral blood vessels.  It may be used as an anti-spasmodic in the treatment of asthma.  It improves circulation to the uterus and ovaries, and thereby promotes nutrition to the pelvic area.  
It 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 rheumatic complaints.  

If 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. 

Hellebore, 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 delayed menstruation.  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 syrup.

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.

Black Nightshade (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 medication.
         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 fevers.
             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 toothaches.

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra): 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.

Blackberry (Rubus 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 swallowing.

Blackcap (Rubus 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 wounds.

Blackcurrant (Ribes 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 indigestion.           
            The leaves 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 stress-related conditions.   
         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.

Blackroot (Leptandra 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.

Blackthorn (Prunus 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 well-being.

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 vomiting.

Bladderwort (Utricularia vulgaris): The whole plant is mildly astringent, diuretic and vulnerary. It is used as a poultice on wounds.

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia pinnatifida): 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 formosa): 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 insomnia.

Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)  Blessed thistle has been used as a treatment for liver disorders, as well as menstrual problems.  It seems to detoxify the liver.  In many European countries blessed thistle tablets are prescribed along with acetaminophen or aspirin to counterbalance the potential liver damage these drugs can cause. Many women take blessed thistle to regulate their periods.  It seems to stimulate the appetite and many herbalists prescribe it to their anorexic patients.  It is often combined with other herbs that are beneficial to the liver, such as milk thistle, artichoke or red clover.  The leaves are considered one of the best herbs for increasing mother’s milk.  Blessed thistle is antibiotic, destroying staph and other infections, although it has not proved very effective against harmful intestinal bacteria.  Externally used as a healing balm for wounds and ulcers.  Combines well with turtlehead and cola for anorexia and with meadowsweet, agrimony and cinquefoil for diarrhea. 

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis): 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.  
The 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 quamash): 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.

Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) : The Eclectic doctors used blue cohosh to reduce labor pains, painful menstruation, stomach cramps, as an abortifacient  and for  joints stiff from arthritis or rheumatism.  Herbalists also use it to help with irregular menstruation or a weak uterus.  Researchers in India have discovered evidence that the American Indians may have been correct in using blue cohosh as a contraceptive.  In animals, the herb inhibits ovulation.  There has been some comparison to goldenseal in its effect and it has been used as an effective control for chronic yeast infections.  The bitter principles in blue cohosh (notably methylcytistine) constrict peripheral blood vessels, stimulates the small intestine and respiration and produces hyperglycemia in a manner similar to nicotine but only about one-fortieth as toxic.  They are also antifungal.   It is a relatively complicated herb to use.  It appears that the dose required for balancing the menstrual cycle changes throughout the cycle.  If too much is taken intestinal cramping and headaches often occur.  It can either stimulate a uterus to contract or inhibit contractions.  It is used for amenorrhea in women whose cycles are blocked by physical congestion or nervous or hormonal imbalance.   It is used in early pregnancy to prevent miscarriages, though for this use it is usually taken in small doses combined with other antispasmodics such as cramp bark.  Its other important use is as a hormonal and tissue toner.  Blue cohosh is given along with uterine astringent tonics for tears or surgical damage to the reproductive system during, but especially after, chronic reproductive infections; it also helps shrink fibroids or growths and promotes fertility.  Tinctures are more effective than water-based tea since the active ingredients are not fully water soluble.

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 immune system.

Blue 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 hour before meals to relieve chronic indigestion, acid stomach, and to stimulate HCI secretion.

Blue Lettuce (Lactuca pulchella): 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.   

Blue Morning 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.

Blue Vervain (Verbena macdougali): Treats painful or nervous stomach. This upright mountain relative of Moradilla is used for the same purposes

Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata )  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 gall-bladder.  Bogbean 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 discomfort.  Used 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.   Boldine, 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 therapeutic monograph 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 identified.  Antioxidant 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.   
Taken 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.  
The 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.   
Besides 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.  

Borneol (Dryobalanops aromatica): Used internally as sedative and antispasmodic.  Externally it is employed as antiphlogistic in stomatitis, nasal mucositis, conjunctivitis.    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.

Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum): 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.

Bricklebush (Brickellia 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 pennsylvanicus): It is used to raise blisters.  

Brittlebush (Encelia 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 for poultice.

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 pneumonia.

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.

Broom, Scotch (Sarothamnus scoparius)   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 childbirth.  Both tips are seeds are soluble in water and alcohol.  It is also used for acute constipation.

Broom, Spanish (Spartium junceum): The Spanish 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 violence.”

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.

Broomrape (Cistanche salsa): 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.
            Cistanche is 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 light.

Broomsedge (Andropogon 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 preferred.
           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, lumbago etc.

Buchu (Agathosma 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 dandruff.

Buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus (R. frangula) )  Buckthorn bark treats stubborn constipation, liver congestion, dropsy, hemorrhoids, colic and obesity. It is milder than its near relative cascara.  It 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. 

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum 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 production.

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 the eyes.

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 body.
           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. 
            The 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 aphrodisiac. 
The 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 minutes.  Cool.  Drink up to 3 cups a day.  Has a sweet taste, similar to celery root.  Or as a tincture, take to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day. 

Burnet, Greater (Sanguisorba officinalis): Great 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 anti-fertility plants.

Burr Marigold (Bidens 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 mothers.
           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 minutes.

Butcher's 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 prevent thrombosis 

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. 

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)   It has been used mainly to treat chest problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and whooping cough.  Butterbur helps to strengthen digestion, in particular where indigestion results from obstructed bile flow.  It not only eases spasms in muscles, but has a pain-relieving effect too.  It can also be used for fevers. This herb has also been given for inflammation of the urinary tract, and the fresh leaves can be used externally as a poultice to treat wounds and skin eruptions.

Buttercup, Celery-Leaved (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.

Butternut (Juglans 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 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.    



The Herb Growing & Marketing Network
Maureen Rogers, Director
PO Box 245, Silver Spring, PA 17575-0245
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