HerbNET....for everything herbal......


Medicinal Herb Facts D-E Herbs



Contents of
this page

For even more information on specific herbs check out our Herbalpedia (TM) series


Dahnoon (Ilex cassine): A strong decoction of the plant was used by some native North American Indian tribes to induce vomiting. This was seen partly as a physical and partly a spiritual cleansing.

Dakota Vervain (Glandularia bipinnatifida):  As an effective sedative tea, particularly in the early feverish states of a cold or flu.  It also stimulates sweating.  It is a good remedy for children, although the taste leaves much to be desired.  The powdered tops are mixed with lard or Vaseline and applied to the back of the neck for back or neck pain.  The herb or tea is used for goats that have just kidded and have udder infections. 

Daisy (Bellis perennis (English): Flowers are used externally in lotions for skin disease, wounds, varicose veins, sore and watery eyes and bruises.  An infusion of the flower was drunk in the morning and at night for a fever.   Daisy is under investigation for possible use in HIV therapy.  The flowers contain compounds similar to those in Castanospermum. It is most often used as a gentle laxative.  Its fresh flowers are anodyne and help heal inflamed swellings and burns.  It is also beneficial for colds and chest problems, coughs and mucous congestion.  The tea is good for stomach and intestinal problems where some sort of internal fermentation is the source, also for catarrh, colic, and liver, kidney and bladder problems.  The juice can be used externally for injuries and suppuration. As a double treatment to relieve stiffness or soreness, wild daisy can be taken internally as a tea and applied externally in compresses. 

Damiana (Turnera diffusa):  As an aphrodisiac, damiana works by sending blood to the genital area.  It must be used consistently for several weeks before an effect is noticed.  The leaf is infused to treat sexual trauma, frigidity, and impotence. It also clears the kidneys, helps the digestion, relieves constipation, and benefits lung problems and coughs.  Due to its testosterogenic quality, damiana has always been seen as an herb for men, helpful in treating premature ejaculation and impotence.  It works well in combination with saw palmetto berry and/or ginseng and was used that way by Native Americans for this purpose.   
              It is a blood purifier with many of the same properties as parsley.  Its essential oil is irritating to mucous membranes, increasing the production while decreasing the thickness of fluids produced by these membranes and may account for its success as a diuretic, laxative, blood purifier and expectorant.      The effect is most pronounced in the reproductive and urinary systems.  It’s used in the treatment of urinary infections such as cystitis and urethritis due to the constituent arbutin, which is converted into hydroquinone, a strong urinary antiseptic, in the urinary tubules. 
It is a relaxing nervine and tonic with an affinity for nervous system problems that affect the reproductive system.  It works by increasing blood flow, blood oxygenation, and energy in the affected area while it relaxes the whole person.  It is also used for debility, depression and lethargy.  It has mild laxative properties.  It has traditionally been used to treat coughs, colds, enuresis, nephritis, headaches and dysmenorrhea.

Damianita (Chrysactinia mexicana): The flower is used for fever, rheumatism, and as a diuretic, sudorific, antispasmodic, and aphrodisiac

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Dandelion contains much that is beneficial to our bodies: bitter compounds, choline, inulin, large quantities of minerals such as calcium, sodium, silicic acid, sulfur and, in the fresh leaves, a high content of potassium.  The bitter compounds stimulate the appetite and promote digestion.  Choline affects the gallbladder and the intestines, often stimulating the mucous membranes of the large intestine in a laxative effect.  It also has a relationship to the liver’s lipid metabolism. Our daily requirement of choline is 2-3 grams and a lack of it increases fatty degeneration of the liver.  Dandelion can promote bile production in the liver and its secretion from the liver.  Dandelion root is a "blood purifier" that helps both the kidneys and the liver to improve elimination.  It helps clear up many eczema-like skin problems because of this.  The root has also been successfully used to treat liver diseases such as jaundice and cirrhosis along with dyspepsia and gallbladder problems.  Its use as a diuretic is favorable because it replaces the potassium that most diuretics remove.  It's the herb of choice for treating rheumatism, gout and heart disease as well as regulating hormonal imbalances.  Fresh latex removes warts if applied several times daily.  The Chinese have prescribed it since ancient times to treat colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, hepatitis, boils, ulcers, obesity, dental problems, itching, and internal injuries.  A poultice of chopped dandelion was also used to treat breast cancer.  Traditional Ayurvedic physicians used the herb in a similar manner.  Recent research shows a wide number of possibilities using dandelion.  It's diuretic property can make it useful in relieving the bloated feeling of PMS and in help with weight loss.  One study shows dandelion inhibits the growth of the fungus responsible for vaginal yeast infections.  It stimulates bile production and prevents gallstones.  There is a German preparation Chol-Grandelat (a combination of dandelion, milk thistle and rhubarb) prescribed for gallbladder disease.   Traditional formulas: dandelion and barberry; dandelion and parsley; dandelion and purslane  

Darnel (Lolium temulentum): Occasionally used in folk medicine to treat headache, rheumatism, and sciatica.  It is occasionally used externally in cases of skin eruption and tumorous growth.  It is sometimes used by doctors to treat dizziness, insomnia, blood congestion, and stomach problems. It may also be used for skin problems like herpes, scurf, and sores.

Date (Phoenix dactylifera): The fruit, because of its tannin content, is used medicinally as a detersive and astringent in intestinal troubles. In the form of an infusion, decoction, syrup or paste, is administered as a treatment for sore throat, colds, bronchial catarrh. It is taken to relieve fever, cystitis, gonorrhea, edema, liver and abdominal troubles. And it is said to counteract alcohol intoxication.  The seed powder is an ingredient in a paste given to relieve ague. A gum that exudes from the wounded trunk is employed in India for treating diarrhea and genito-urinary ailments. It is diuretic and demulcent. The roots are used against toothache. The pollen yields an estrogenic principle, estrone, and has a gonadotropic effect on young rats.

Day Flower (Commelina communis): The leaves are used as a throat gargle to relieve sore throats and tonsilitis. A decoction of the dried plant is used to treat bleeding, diarrhea, fever etc.  Extracts of the plant show antibacterial activity.  An extract of Commelina communis  after decoction in water has been traditionally used for the treatment of diabetes in Korea.

Death Camas (Zygadenus elegans): Death camass was once used as an external medicine.  The Blackfoot Indians applied a wet bound dressing of the pulped bulbs to relieve the pain of bruises, sprains and rheumatism. 

Deertongue (Carphephorus odoratissimus  (Trilisa odoratissima, Liatris odoratissima))  The roots have been used for their diuretic effects and applied locally for sore throats and gonorrhea.  It has also been used as a tonic in treating malaria.  Demulcent, febrifuge, diaphoretic.  A powerful stimulant, highly regarded by Native Americans as an aphrodisiac, and said to induce erotic dreams.

Desert Lavender (Hyptis emoryi): Both the flowers and the leaves can be used to make a minty-tasting tea that is good for the stomach and throat.  It’s an anesthethic to the esophagus, thus extremely soothing to inflamed tissues. It is also a hemostatic, used by desert Indians to treat heavy menstruation and bleeding hemorrhoids as well as being given to women in childbirth.  Desert lavender is an excellent tea for hangovers and helps rid the mouth of the sour taste that comes with stomach flu.  Betulinic acid, with tumor-inhibitory properties, was identified from a chloroform extract by Sheth et al. (3). Tanowitz et al. (4) identified 34 constituents from the oil of a collection from San Diego Co., California, with 11.9% borneol as the most abundant constituent

Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens): : It has been recommended for treating a wide variety of conditions: cholecystitis, cholelithiasiss, gout, obesity, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis; Dyspepsia; Hypercholesterolemia; Hyperlipidemia.  It is a remedy from the Kalahari desert in Namibia with a well deserved reputation as an effective rheumatic remedy. A group of glycosides called harpagosides found in the root show a marked anti-inflammatory effect.  Devil’s claw is also considered by herbalists to be a potent bitter. Bitter principles, like the iridoid glycosides found in devil’s claw, stimulate the stomach to increase the production of acid, thereby helping to improve digestion.
In the west, Devil's claw has been recommended for treating a wide variety of conditions including diseases of the liver, kidneys, and bladder, as well as allergies, arteriosclerosis, lumbago, gastrointestinal disturbances, menstrual difficulties, neuralgia, headache, climacteric (change of life) problems, heartburn, nicotine poisoning, and above all, rheumatism and arthritis. 
Externally, devil's claw root is made into ointments for skin rashes, wounds and the like. Diabetes, hepatitis, kidney and bladder deficiency, nervous malaise and respiratory ailments are all treated with devil's claw preparations.  Insofar as hardening of the arteries pertains to complications of aging, devil's claw finds application. There is some concern in the industry about the difficulty of obtaining good devil's claw root; only certain portions of the root contain active constituents, and often the whole root is supplied to manufacturers.  To help circumvent this problem, standardized preparations are now being produced. 
             Not much research has been done in this area, but it has been established devil's claw root possesses a bitter value of 6,000, equal to the main Western bitter, gentian root. It would therefore be expected to possess similar gastro-intestinal properties. Indeed, in the few reported studies on g.i. problems, harpagophytum proved effective in treating such complaints as dyspepsia and conditions relating to the proper functioning of bile salts, the gallbladder, and the enterohepatic circuit. In a related manner, the herb helps to raise cholesterol and fatty acid levels in the blood. As one author points out, devil's claw may be the perfect treatment for elderly people with arthritis, obesity and hyperlipemia. 

               An early review paper on devil's claw suggested the plant was a good stimulant of the lymphatic system, with detoxifying effects that extended to the whole organism, and provided evidence from clinical studies involving close to 400 persons. The plant was indeed effective for most of the conditions listed in the folklore section above, especially as pertaining to the liver, gallbladder, bladder and kidneys.  
               More recent studies have found devil's claw preparations are generally well suited for the treatment of chronic rheumatism, arthritis, gout, spondylosis-induced lower back pain, neuralgia, headaches, and lumbago. One study found its anti-inflammatory effects equaled those of pyrazolone derivatives and the commonly prescribed anti-arthritic phenylbutazone. Analgesic effects of a subjective nature are reported, but objective tests are ambiguous on this point. Relief of pain is probably a side benefit of reduced inflammation. Improved mobility in the joints is often reported, as well as improved feeling of well-being. Currently, physicians in Europe are injecting devil's claw extract directly into arthritic joints, where it acts much like cortisone in terms of reducing inflammation. As in the case of most arthritis treatments, not everybody benefits, but there are enough to do to warrant further investigation of this plant, and to recommend it as a possible treatment option. 
A clinical study carried out in Germany in 1976 reported that devil's claw exhibited anti-inflammatory activity, comparable in many respects to the well-known anti-arthritic drug, phenylbutazone. Analgesic effects were also observed along with reductions in abnormally high cholesterol and uric-acid blood levels.

Devil’s Club (Oplopanax horridum): Devil's Club is used to stabilize blood sugar levels.  It is used routinely in the treatment of diabetes as a natural alternative to insulin.  Although devil’s club shares some pharmacological and therapeutic similarities with ginseng, it is not the same medicine.  It is a strong and safe respiratory stimulant and expectorant increasing the mucus secretions to initiate fruitful coughing and soften up hardened bronchial mucus that can occur later on in a chest cold.  The cold infusion, and to a lesser degree the fresh or dry tincture, is helpful for rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders , taken regularly and with sensible modifications to the diet.  It is more helpful when taken during remissions and has little effect during active distress.  Its main value is in modifying extremes of metabolic stress and adding a little reserve to offset the person’s internal cost of living.  .  Its use by Native Americans as a treatment for adult-onset diabetes has been substantiated by scientific studies in this century.  It seems to decrease the lust for sugars and binge food in those trying to lose weight or deal with generally elevated blood fats and glucose.  Seems to work best on stocky, mesomorphic, anabolic-stress-type, middle-aged people with elevated blood lipids, moderately high blood pressure, and early signs of adult onset, insulin-resistant diabetes.    Indians also used it to treat cancer.  Root strongly warms lymphatic system function; weakly warms central nervous system activity; weakly warms hepatic activity.   
Root weakly warms immunologic activity;  weakly warms mucosal activity; weakly warms parasympathetic nervous system activity; weakly warms renal activity; weakly warms reproductive system function; weakly warms respiratory system function; weakly warms skin activity; weakly warms sympathetic nervous system activity; weakly warms thyroid stress; weakly warms upper GI activity; weakly cools adrenal stress; weakly cools anabolic stress.

Devil's Horsewhip (Achyranthes aspera)  The plant is highly esteemed by traditional healers and used in treatment of asthma, bleeding, in facilitating delivery, boils, bronchitis, cold, cough, colic, debility, dropsy, dog bite, dysentery, ear complications, headache, leucoderma, pneumonia, renal complications, scorpion bite, snake bite and skin diseases etc. Traditional healers claim that addition of A. aspera would enhance the efficacy of any drug of plant origin.    Prevents infection and tetanus.  Used to treat circumcision wounds, cuts.  Also used for improving lymphatic circulation, strengthens musculatured, improves blood circulation; Cold with fever, heat stoke with headache, malaria, dysentery; Urinary tract lithiasis, chronic nephritis, edema; Rheumatic arthralgia (joint pain). Used traditionally for infertility in women: Two ml decoction of root and stem is administered orally thrice a day for three months. Younger women respond better to this therapy.

Dewberry (Rubus caesius): The fruit is commonly used for a treatment for diarrhea and dysentery. Combination of the roots is treatment for coughs and also fevers.

Dill (Anethum graveolens): Carvone is a carminative. Limonene and phellandrene--an irritant found in oil of dill and many other essential oils--are photosensitizers.  Dill seed improves digestion and appetite and sweetens the breath.  The oil kills bacteria and relieves flatulence.    It is frequently used in Ayurvedic and Unani medicines for indigestion, fevers, ulcers, uterine pains and kidney and eye problems.  Ethiopians chew the leaves along with fennel to treat headaches and gonorrhea.  In Vietnam it is used to treat intestinal diseases.  Contemporary herbalists recommend chewing the seeds for bad breath and drinking dill tea both as a digestive aid and to stimulate milk production in nursing mothers.  The herb helps relax the smooth muscles of the digestive tract.  One study shows it's also an antifoaming agent, meaning it helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas bubbles.            
             Historically, injured knights were said to have placed burned dill seeds on their open wounds to speed healing.  A mixture of dill, dried honey and butter was once prescribed to treat madness.

Dittany of Crete (Origanum dictamnus)  As a medicinal plant, the herb has been utilized to heal wounds, soothe pain, and ease childbirth. The root has been used in a salve to treat sciatica, and the juice was consumed in wine to cure snake bite.  In addition, it has been used as a remedy against gastric or stomach ailments and rheumatism. 

Dock, Bloody (Rumex sanguineus): Has been used medicinally for cancer and for various blood diseases.  An infusion of the root is useful in the treatment of bleeding. The root is harvested in early spring and dried for later use. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of several skin diseases.

Dock, Japanese (Rumex japonicus): For internal use it is similar to da huang: nose bleeding, functional bleeding of the uterus, purpura due to thrombocytopenia, chronic hepatitis, inflammation of the anus, constipation. Fresh squeezed juice is effective for fungus infection of skin, hemorrhoids, inflammation of the mammary glands, and eczema.

Dodder (Cuscuta epithymum)  A mild laxative and a well regarded hepatic.  It is of value for the treatment of bladder and liver troubles.  It is also considered a remedy for kidney complaints. 

Dodder, Big Fruit (Cuscuta megalocarpa)  Indians used the plants in a bath for treatment of tuberculosis.  Early settlers put their fevered children in the same kind of bath. A poultice of the plant has been used to treat insect stings.  Indians believed the plant to be a useful contraceptive and gave it to their women.  It has also been considered a bile stimulant and a laxative.

Dodder, Common (Cuscuta europaea): In traditional folk medicine, a decoction was used as a laxative. The entire plant is used in Tibetan medicine, where it is considered to have a bitter, acrid and sweet taste with a heating potency. It is aphrodisiac, renal and a hepatic tonic, being used to increase semen, to treat pain in the wrist and limbs, vaginal/seminal discharge, polyuria, tinnitus and blurred vision.  

Dodder, Japanese (Cuscuta japonica)  Internally used for diarrhea, impotence, urinary frequency, vaginal discharge, and poor eyesight associated with liver and kidney energy weakness.  Also used for prostatis and neurological weakness.  It builds sperm, builds the blood, strengthens sinews and bones.  It also treats enuresis and seminal emission; constipation, backache and cold knees; and rheumatoid arthritis.  One of the safer and more affordable yang tonics.   The herb is reputed to confer longevity when used for prolonged periods, particularly in combination with Chinese yam.  The herb is nontoxic and can be used continuously for long-term periods except for the contraindication below.

Dog Lichen (Peltigera canina): Liver tonic.  The whole plant is used in the form of an infusion of 1 oz to 1 pt of boiling water and taken in doses of 2 fl oz as a liver tonic.  It is laxative.  It is best combined with other remedies for the liver such as dandelion

Dog's Tongue (Psychotria sulzneri):  Added to a mixture of medicinal leaves (usually 9) to make an herbal bath formula for bathing wounds, rashes, swellings, and for those who feel nervous and sleepless.  Mash leaves and flowers to apply as poultice on infected sores.  

Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)  Often called “the female ginseng.”  Though dong quai has no specific hormonal action, it exerts a regulating and normalizing influence on hormonal production through its positive action on the liver and endocrine system.  It has a sweet and unusually thick pungent taste and is warming and moistening to the body.  Chinese angelica is taken in Traditional Chinese Medicine as a tonic for “deficient blood” conditions, anemia and for the symptoms of anemia due to blood loss, pale complexion, palpitations, and lowered vitality.  Chinese angelica regulates the menstrual cycle, relieves menstrual pains and cramps and is a tonic for women with heavy menstrual bleeding who risk becoming anemic.  Since it also stimulates menstrual bleeding, other tonic herbs, such as nettle, are best taken during menstruation if the flow is heavy.  It is also a uterine tonic and helps infertility.  Chinese angelica is a “warming” herb, improving the circulation to the abdomen and to the hands and feet.  It strengthens the digestion and it also is useful in the treatment of abscesses and boils.  Research has shown that the whole plant, including the rhizome, strengthens liver function and the whole rhizome has an antibiotic effect.  In China, physicians inject their patients with Dong quai extract to treat sciatic pain.  Clinical trials show that when this extract is injected into the acupuncture points used to treat sciatica, about 90% of people receiving treatment report significant improvement.

Dragon Arum (Dracunculus vulgaris): Dioscorides thought it resembled a dragon. In ancient medicine it was used for the eyes and ears, for ruptures, convulsions and coughs.  Dioscorides says, “But being beaten small with honey, and applied, it takes away the malignancie of ulcers.”

Dragon's Blood (Daemonorops draco   syn Calamus draco)  a stringent, and regarded as effective for the treatment of dysentery.  It is applied externally as a wash or liniment to stop bleeding and promote healing.  Internally it is used for menstrual irregularities, chest pains, post-partum bleeding and traumatic injuries.  Doses of 10 to 30 grains were formerly given as an astringent in diarrhea, etc., but officially it is never at present used internally, being regarded as inert.  The following treatment is said to have cured cases of severe syphilis. Mix 2 drachms of Dragon's Blood, 2 drachms of colocynth, ˝ oz. of gamboge in a mortar, and add 3 gills of boiling water. Stir for an hour, while keeping hot. Allow to cool, and add while stirring a mixture of 2 oz. each of sweet spirits of nitre and copaiba balsam. Dragon's Blood is not acted upon by water, but most of it is soluble in alcohol. It fuses by heat. The solution will stain marble a deep red, penetrating in proportion to the heat of the stone.  

Dragon's Blood (Croton lechleri): For centuries, the sap has been painted on wounds to staunch bleeding, to accelerate healing, and to seal and protect injuries from infection. The sap dries quickly and forms a barrier, much like a "second skin." It is used externally by indigenous tribes and local people in Peru for wounds, fractures, and hemorrhoids, internally for intestinal and stomach ulcers, and as a douche for vaginal discharge. Other indigenous uses include treating intestinal fevers and inflamed or infected gums, in vaginal baths before and after childbirth, for hemorrhaging after childbirth, and for skin disorders.
            It is also used internally for ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach; as an antiviral for upper respiratory viruses, stomach viruses and HIV; internally and externally for cancer and, topically, for skin disorders, insect bites and stings.
             Some studies have found that the taspine, found in the red sap of dragon’s blood, appears to accelerate the healing of wounds.  But later research at the University of London, School of Pharmacy has cast doubt on taspine’s wound-healing power, suggesting instead that substances known as polyphenols may be responsible.    The same British study also examined the ability of dragon’s blood to kill certain human cancer cells and bacteria.  In laboratory tests on samples of human oral cancer cells, dragon’s blood sap proved toxic to those cells.  In addition, other components in the sap were believed to be valuable in killing off bacteria, making dragon’s blood useful as an anti-infective.

Drumstick (Moringa oleifera): The flowers, leaves, and roots are used in folk remedies for tumors, the seed for abdominal tumors. The root decoction is used in Nicaragua for dropsy. Root juice is applied externally as rubefacient or counter-irritant. Leaves applied as poultice to sores, rubbed on the temples for headaches, and said to have purgative properties. Bark, leaves and roots are acrid and pungent, and are taken to promote digestion. Oil is somewhat dangerous if taken internally, but is applied externally for skin diseases. Bark regarded as antiscorbic, and exudes a reddish gum with properties of tragacanth; sometimes used for diarrhea. Roots are bitter, act as a tonic to the body and lungs, and are emmenagogue, expectorant, mild diuretic and stimulant in paralytic afflictions, epilepsy and hysteria.
         The juice from the leaves is believed to stabilize blood pressure, the flowers are used to cure inflammations, the pods are used for joint pain, the roots are used to treat rheumatism, and the bark can be chewed as a digestive. 
              A decoction of the root bark of Moringa is used as fomentation to relieve spasm. The juice of the leaves is given as an emetic. The root and bark are abortifacient. The expressed juice of the fresh roots, bark, and leaves of Moringa is poured in the nostrils in stupor and coma. In Guinea, the bark and the roots are considered rubefacient and they are used as vesicants. The ground roots are mixed with salt and applied as a poultice to tumors. The bark and the leaves ground together are applied on head for neuralgia.
          In the Indian indigenous system of medicine (Ayurveda), the leaves of Moringa oleifera are described to remove all kinds of excessive pain, useful in eye diseases, cure hallucinations, and as an aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, dry tumors, hiccough, asthma etc.
              Drumsticks have been confirmed as a natural antibiotic and antifungal agent. Pterygospermin, which clinical tests seem to confirm is antitubercular, has been isolated in the drumstick’s root, although Ayurvedic medicine uses the root for liver disorders.
            Medicines made from drumsticks are also gynecologically valuable in childbirth as an aid for difficult deliveries.  Externally, applications compounded from drumsticks are used for leg spasms, while the seeds are ground and administered for unblocking nasal catarrhs.
            Moringinine acts on Sympathetic nerve endings and  can: Produces a rise in blood pressure; Acceleration of heart beat and constriction of blood vessels; Inhibits the tone and movements of involuntary muscles of the gastrointestinal tract; Contracts the uterus in guinea pigs and rabbits; Produces a slight diuresis due to rise of blood pressure; Relaxes bronchioles. 

Drumstick Tree (Moringa peregrine): The seeds of the common small tree Moringa peregrina are turned into a yellowish oil that cures abdominal pains, infantile convulsion and for childbirth. The testa is removed, powdered and then has salt and water added.

Du Huo (Angelica pubescens): The roots and rhizomes are used to treat nose bleed, blood in urine, rheumatic arthritis, lumbago, common cold, headache; increase menstrual flow.  A decoction is used to promote menstruation, to treat rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatism, headache, toothache and abscesses.

Dulse (Rhodymenia palmate): In several traditions of European herbal medicine, dulse was used to remove parasites, to relieve constipation, and as a treatment for scurvy. It is a superior source of the iodine the body needs to make the thyroid hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine which affect weight and metabolic rate.  The complex polysaccharides in the herb make it a gentle alternative to psyllium or senna in the treatment of constipation.
                 Externally, the fresh blades can be used to treat skin diseases, headaches, and to help expel placenta. It is used as a gentle laxative. Dulse has also been used to help prevent fibroid tumors of the breasts, the uterus or the ovaries and in cases of swollen lumps or enlargements of the intestinal area. Natural, organically-bond iodine extracts from Dulse are used for the treatment and prevention of thyroid disease, and clinical trials on daily molecular iodine supplementation have shown that cyclical breast lumps and cysts are completely resolved within two months. The iodine in Dulse can also prevent goiter.
                  Dulse has an alkalizing effect on the blood that neutralizes wastes that build up in the body and also aids in removing radioactive and heavy metals from the body. It also prevents the absorption from the gut by binding these elements, which include radioactive strontium, barium, and cadmium. This is done by transforming them into harmless salts (via a substance called alginic acid) that are easily eliminated. Dulse has elements to eliminate excess uric acid from the system and has been used for genitourinary problems such as kidney, bladder, prostrate, and uterus.  Clinical documentation shows that taking some each day can reduce enlarged prostrates in older men and urination can become painless.
             Seaweeds may reduce the risk of poisoning from environmental pollution by providing fiber that increases fecal bulk and also reduces cholesterol levels through the retardation of bile acid absorption. Recent research has suggested that Dulse may help reverse hardening of the arteries, reduce high blood pressure, regress and prevent tumors  Research has shown that Dulse extracts inhibited HeLa cell proliferation that is found in human cervical adenocarcinoma and has also been found in animal studies to reduce the risk of intestinal and mammary cancer.
                It has been used to treat the problems associated with thyroid malfunction. Liquid Dulse can help to soothe an irritated throat and mucous membranes. It has been used for enlarged thyroid and lymph nodes, swollen and painful testes and to reduce edema. Seaweeds are used to promote wound healing. New generation dressings such as the hydrocolloid dressings are seaweed base as they provide optimal conditions for healing to begin.  It is known to prevent seasickness. Thus it should be of value in other conditions where motion sickness is the cause such as vertigo and labrynthitis or Meniere's Disease.

Durian (Durio zibethinus): The flesh is said to serve as a vermifuge. In Malaya, a decoction of the leaves and roots is prescribed as a febrifuge. The leaf juice is applied on the head of a fever patient. The leaves are employed in medicinal baths for people with jaundice. Decoctions of the leaves and fruits are applied to swellings and skin diseases. The ash of the burned rind is taken after childbirth. The leaves probably contain hydroxy-tryptamines and mustard oils.
          The odor of the flesh is believed to be linked to indole compounds which are bacteriostatic. Eating durian is alleged to restore the health of ailing humans and animals. The flesh is widely believed to act as an aphrodisiac because it improves  sexual function for those who are kidney yang deficient.
          In the late 1920's, Durian Fruit Products, Inc., of New York City, launched a product called "Dur-India" as a "health-food accessory" in tablet form, selling at $9 for a dozen bottles, each containing 63 tablets–a 3-months' supply. The tablets reputedly contained durian and a species of Allium from India, as well as a considerable amount of vitamin E. They were claimed to provide "more concentrated healthful energy in food form than any other product the world affords"–to keep the body vigorous and tireless; the mind alert with faculties undimmed; the spirit youthful.
            A toothpaste flavored with durian is currently marketed for durian fanciers. The Malays, besides looking on the durian fruit as tonic, consider the root medicinal, taking a decoction of it for a fever, which has lasted three days. The leaves and root are used in a compound for fevers. The leaves are utilized in medicinal baths for jaundice. The juice enters into a preparation for bathing the head of a fever patient.  In Java the fruit-walls are used externally for ski complaints. Considered by many to be the strongest aphrodisiac in the world
           Decoction of the leaves and roots is used as antipyretic; the leaves are used in medicinal baths for people with jaundice; decoctions of the leaves and fruits are applied to swellings and skin diseases; the ash of the burned rind is taken after childbirth. 

Dyers Greenwood (Genista tinctoria)   Both the flowering stems and seeds are the medicinal parts. Dyer's Greenweed was used as a laxative, to expel uroliths and for gout. It has strong diuretic, weak cardioactive and laxative properties.  Besides being a remedy for kidney and urinary disorders, it has also been used to strengthen heart action, to raise blood pressure and to alleviate rheumatic and arthritic pain. It has diuretic, cathartic and emetic properties and both flower tops and seeds have been used medicinally, though it has never been an official drug.  The powdered seeds operate as a mild purgative, and a decoction of the plant has been used medicinally as a remedy in dropsy and is stated to have proved effective in gout and rheumatism, being taken in wineglassful doses three or four times a day.  The ashes form an alkaline salt, which has also been used as a remedy in dropsy and other diseases.  In the fourteenth century it was used, as well as Broom, to make an ointment called Unguentum geneste, 'goud for alle could goutes,' etc. The seed was also used in a plaster for broken limbs.  A decoction of the plant was regarded in the Ukraine as a remedy for hydrophobia, but there's not much scientific evidence on this use.  



Edelweiss (Leontopodium alpinum): : It is not toxic, but has been used traditionally in folk medicine as a remedy against abdominal and respiratory diseases. Extracts and individual constituents of Leontopodium alpinum  were tested for their antimicrobial activity in two different assays. Extracts were screened in agar diffusion assays, whereas the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) of single compounds were determined by the microbroth dilution method according to NCCLS criteria. Significant antimicrobial activities were found against various strains of Enterococcus faecium, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Streptococcus pyogenes strains. These results support the ethnomedicinal use of Leontopodium alpinum for the treatment of respiratory and abdominal disorders.

Elder: (Sambucus nigra):  Key actions: Flowers: expectorant, reduces phlegm, circulatory stimulant, promote sweating, diuretic, topically anti-inflammatory; Berries: promote sweating, diuretic, laxative; Bark: purgative, promotes vomiting, diuretic; topically--emollient.  The berries help coughs, colic, sore throats, asthma and flu.  A pinch of cinnamon makes the tea more warming.  The berries have also been taken for rheumatism and erysipelas.  They are mildly laxative and also help diarrhea. 
            The flowers are infused for fevers, eruptive skin conditions such as measles and severe bronchial and lung problems.  The infusion is relaxing and produces a mild perspiration that helps to reduce fever.  The flowering tops tone the mucous linings of the nose and throat, increasing their resistance to infection.  They are prescribed for chronic congestion, allergies, ear infections and candidiasis.  Infusions of the flowering tops and other herbs can reduce the severity of hay fever attacks if taken for some months before the onset of the hay fever season.   A classic flu remedy is a mixture of elderflower, yarrow and peppermint teas. 
By encouraging sweating and urine production, elder flowering tops promote the removal of waste products from the body and are of value in arthritic conditions. 
The specific compounds in elder flowers have not been well established for the diuretic and laxative properties.  The compound sambuculin A and a mixture of alpha- and beta-amyrin palmitate have been found to exhibit strong antihepatotoxic activity against liver damage induced experimentally by carbon tetrachloride.  
The bark’s energetics are bitter and toxic.  Only bark that has been aged for a year or more should be used or cyanide poisoning may result.  The Western species are more toxic.           This herb has two compounds that are active against flu viruses.  It also prevents the virus from invading respiratory tract cells.  A patented Israeli drug (Sambucol) that contains elderberry is active against various strains of viruses.  It also stimulated the immune system and has shown some activity in preliminary trials against other viruses, such as Epstein-Barr, herpes and even HIV. 

Elder, Dwarf (Aralia hispida): Very valuable in dropsy, gravel, suppression of urine, and other urinary disorders. The bark of the root is the strongest, but that of the stem is also used. It is a relaxant and mild stimulant, acting with but moderate promptness, leaving behind gentle tonic effect, and influencing the kidneys chiefly. A portion of its power is unquestionably expended upon the uterus, and slightly upon the circulation toward the surface; both of which effects have usually been overlooked. It has a slightly warming, bitter taste, and is rather pleasant to the stomach.
          It is mostly used in compounds for dropsy, and is one of the best of its class; but for any sub-acute or chronic torpor of the renal organs, with aching back and scanty urine, it is an agent of peculiar value. In high-colored urine, and in chronic aching and weakness of the bladder, it is equally beneficial. It promotes menstruation a little; and is a good adjunct to other remedies in the treatment of mild leucorrhea, amenorrhea, and other female disorders. It is generally prepared in decoction, two ounces to the quart; of which two or three fluid ounces may be given three times a day. Used warm, it will promote gentle diaphoresis.
A tea made from the leaves is diaphoretic. An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of heart diseases.

Elder, Mexican (Sambucus mexicana): An infusion of the blossoms has been used in the treatment of upset stomachs, fevers, sore throats, colds and flu. A decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of constipation.  A widely used treatment for fever, combined with equal parts of Brook Mint or Pennyroyal as a tea.  A tea of the flowers and/or dried berries acts as a simple diuretic to treat water retention.  As a face wash for acne and pimples, use a tea of the flowers. Take as a tea up to 3 times a day.

Elecampane (Inula helenium): European scientists have discovered elecampane contains a chemical, alantolactone, that helps expel intestinal parasites and is better than santonin and less toxic (1 teaspoon of root to a cup of water, bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes, drinking up to 3 cups a day). It is also anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and fungicidal adding to its potential therapeutic action in the intestine.             
           All chronic lung conditions such as bronchitis and asthma are helped by it.  It is generally mixed with other lung herbs (often white horehound, coltsfoot, pleurisy root and yarrow).  It is a constitutional treatment for general catarrhal conditions such as chronic pulmonary affections that have symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, wheezing in the lungs, a specific for whooping cough in children, pneumonia, diseases of the breast and malignant fevers, hepatic torpor, dyspepsia and the feeling of stitches in the side caused by the spleen.   It’s warming for a cold, wet cough.  It doesn’t suppress the cough, but increases expectoration.   
          Elecampane produces an active principle called helenin, which is antiseptic and antibacterial, making the root useful in salves and surgical dressings.  Elecampane contains an essential oil that consists primarily of sesquiterpene lactones.  The root also contains the complex carbohydrate inulin.  This starchy material swells and forms a slippery suspension when mixed with digestive fluids.  The inulin soothes the lining of the digestive tract and provides the benefits of viscous fiber.  It also apparently elicits a sympathetic expectorant response to mucous membranes of the respiratory system.
             A bitter-aromatic tonic, elecampane root increases appetite and promotes digestion.  Europeans with indigestion still sometimes sip on a cordial made by infusing the roots, sugar and currants in white port.  In Russia, the whole root is preserved in vodka to store it for winter use.  Soluble in alcohol and partially in water.  Used in China for certain cancers. Wash used for facial neuralgia, sciatica. Experimentally, tea strongly sedative to mice.  

Elephant Tree (Bursera microphylla): The resin was an Aztec remedy.  In the 16th century, Fray Bernardino de Sahagun wrote that a little ground copal, the size of a small fingernail, added to water and drunk only7 once a day on an empty stomach would cure diarrhea.  The resin, bark and leaves are steeped in tequila or grain alcohol to make a tincture that is applied to gum sores, cold sores, and abscessed teeth.  The dried stems and leaves are drunk in a tea to relieve painful urination, and as a stimulating expectorant for slowly healing bronchitis and chest colds.  A tea of the leaves or the leaves and bark is used as a tonic to fortify the immune system.

Elephantheads (Pedicularis groenlandica): The Cheyenne Drug used a tea of powdered leaves and stems taken to stop or loosen a coughs. They also used a tea of smashed leaves and stems taken for coughs.  All of the Pedicularis' are tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, powerful aphrodisiacs, and sedatives. They are often employed medicinally for muscle pain and tension, particularly back pain. . It is also used for muscle strain due to overwork, sprains, joint pain, night-time cramps, and as a preliminary before bodywork such as massage. It is very relaxing to voluntary muscles, but large amounts can make a person goofy and lethargic.  Pedicularis are also used for their psychological effects, good for anger, fear, pain, anxiety. The whole flowering herb is harvested for the tincture, but only the flowers, fresh or dried, are made into a tea.  At least one Native American tribe is known to smoke the flowers of certain Pedicularis species for their medicinal effects and narcotic effects. These plants are a welcome addition to any smoking mixture both as flavor and a narcotic. Elephant's Head is claimed to have the best flavor but is the mildest, but every Pedicularis has an excellent taste. P. Densiflora being the most potent species

Elodea (Elodea canadensis): An infusion of the plant has been used as a strong emetic.

Embauba (Cecropia peltata): The corrosive and astringent latex is used against warts, calluses, herpes, ulcers, dysentery, and venereal diseases. A tea made from the leaves is widely employed as a cure for asthma and thought to be useful in treating a wide variety of other ailments including liver disease, cardiovascular problems, Parkinson's disease, and snakebite. It also is used to ease childbirth and menstrual complaints.  Various substances have been extracted from yagrumo hembra for medicinal use, including one that increases cardiac muscular contraction and acts upon the kidneys as a diuretic. A substance extracted from the roots is said to heal wounds, and the leaves are often used as a poultice to reduce swelling and as an abrasive

Enchanter's Nightshade (Circaea lutetiana): The plant has been used as a treatment on wounds. A compound infusion has been drunk and also used as a wash on injured parts of the body.

Epazote (Chenopodium ambrosioides) Has been used for centuries beginning with the Mayans.  By the middle of the 18th century, medicinal use of the plant was firmly established in the US.  Mexican mothers steep epazote in milk and sugar to rid their children of intestinal parasites, especially roundworms and hookworms.  Helps prevent flatulence.  The ingredient ascaridol is a powerful worm expellent.  The Catawba made a poultice from the plant, which they used to detoxify snake bite and other poisonings.  It has also been used as a digestive remedy, being generally taken to settle colic and stomach pains.  Wormseed leaves have antispasmodic properties.  A decoction of the leaves or of the whole plant brings relief to a variety of gastrointentinal problems.  Its muscle-relaxing action has led to its use in the treatment of spasmodic coughs and asthma.  The plant also has external uses. Juice expressed from the whole herb is applied as a wash for hemorrhoids.  In addition, the whole plant is thought to have wound-healing properties.  Dose: of the oil, 4-20 drops with honey, or molasses, for children according to age.  The infusion of the tops and pulverized seeds, 1 teaspoonful to 1 cupful of boiling water; steep 15 min. administer in wineglassful amounts.  To expel worms: omit the evening meal, give the prescribed dose and again in the morning before breakfast, followed by a herbal cathartic; repeat for three days to make sure the larva is expelled.  Was official in the US Pharmacopeia for more than a century, from 1820-1947.

Ephedra (Ephedra sinica and E. vulgaris)  Ephedra’s active constituents are strong central nervous system stimulants, more powerful than caffeine but less potent than amphetamine.  Ephedrine itself opens the bronchial passages, thus acting as a bronchodilator, stimulates the heart, and increases blood pressure, metabolic rate, and perspiration and urine production.  It also reduces the secretion of both saliva and stomach acids.  Traditional Zen monks used ephedra to promote calm concentration during meditation.  In China, ephedra is popular for chills and fevers, coughs and wheezing, and in combination with rehmannia is given to treat kidney yin deficiency.  For asthma use with almond; for “wind-cold” injury use with cinnamon; for allergic skin reaction use with mint and cicada moltings.  Ephedra is used principally in current Western herbal medicine as a treatment for asthma and hay fever, and for the acute onset of colds and flu.  It also helps to raise blood pressure, cool fevers, and alleviate rheumatism.  The whole plant contains many compounds—some active, some inert, which in combination seem to act synergistically. The whole plant can be used at a much lower dosage than isolated constituents and it has significant therapeutic effects, including dilating the bronchial airways and increasing blood flow to the skin.  Unlike ephedrine, the whole plant rarely gives rise to side effects.  One study shows ephedrine helps smokers quit by decreasing cigarette cravings.  Ephedrine causes uterine contractions in laboratory animals.  Pregnant women should not use it.  Other women may try it to initiate menstruation. 

Ephedra, Joint Fir (Ephedra distachya): Members of this genus contain various medicinally active alkaloids (but notably ephedrine) and they are widely used in preparations for the treatment of asthma and catarrh. The whole plant can be used at much lower concentrations than the isolated constituents - unlike using the isolated ephedrine, using the whole plant rarely gives rise to side-effects. The plant also has antiviral effects, particularly against influenza.   Ephedrine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system dilating the coronary vessels.  It has a powerful and rapid antiallergic action. Indicated to combat coughs, asthma, hay fever, nettle-rash, some edema and eczema conditions.  A tincture and an extract are used.  It is used to relieve acute muscular and rheumatic pains (when it is called teamsters' tea), as a stimulant, and in the cardio tonics in Ayurveda. It is sometimes identified with the legendary drug soma, as described in the Avesta and the Rig Veda,  the respective ancient sacred texts of the Zoroastrian and Hindu faiths.  Valued in Chinese medicine almost as much as Ephedra sinica. The branches and root are used in Siberia as a remedy in gout and syphilis.
              The stems are a pungent, bitter, warm herb that dilates the bronchial vessels while stimulating the heart and central nervous system. They are used internally in the treatment of asthma, hay fever and allergic complaints. They are also combined with a number of other herbs and used in treating a wide range of complaints.

Ephedra, Torrey (Ephedra torreyana): In some areas of the southwest this species is preferred as a diuretic to the greener species (Ephedra viridis and E. trifurca). Native tribes of the southwest used it for a variety of ailments.  The Pima made a decoction from stems and used as an antiluetic (anti-syphilitic).  The Mescalero Apache made a decoction from the entire plant and used as an antiblenorrhagic.  Spanish New Mexicans made a decoction and used it to reduce fever and to relieve kidney pain. This plant has a wide reputation as a cure for syphilis. The recipe is:  boil a handful of the plant in a quart of water, then strain through a cloth. Drink one glass of this tea (hot) at least three times a day, about 1 hour before meals. When the pain is gone, one must eat a chopped red onion three times before meals for approximately 6 to 8 days.  A decoction of the stems is used, in treating coughs, bladder and kidney problems and stomach disorders.  A decoction of the leaves and stems has been used as a lotion on itchy skin.  
               The stems of most members of this genus contain the alkaloid ephedrine and are valuable in the treatment of asthma and many other complaints of the respiratory system. The whole plant can be used at much lower concentrations than the isolated constituents - unlike using the isolated ephedrine, using the whole plant rarely gives rise to side-effects. Ephedra does not cure asthma but in many cases it is very effective in treating the symptoms and thus making life somewhat easier for the sufferer. The stems can be used fresh or dried and are usually made into a tea, though they can also be eaten raw. The young stems are best if eating them raw, though older stems can be used if a tea is made The stems can be harvested at any time of the year and are dried for later use.

Eternal Flower (Helichrysum stoechas): Formerly used as an expectorant.  The ointment it seems to have beneficial effects on skin diseases, while reduced in aerosol it is a good remedy against bronchitis and asthma.  

Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis)  The tiny seeds were used as an unspecified medicine by the Forest Potawatomis.  The Flambeau Ojibwas used the whole plant, soaked in warm water, to make a poultice to heal bruises.  The Omahas also made a poultice from some part of the four-point evening primrose. GLA is responsible for many of the herb’s properties.  It is an anticoagulant that is thought to reduce high blood pressure, prevent heart attacks and guard against coronary artery disease.  A 1981 clinical study at the St. Thomas Hospital in London gave evening primrose oil to 65 women with premenstrual syndrome and 61% of the participants found their symptoms completely disappeared and another 23% felt partial relief.  There was noticeable improvement in the skin conditions of 99 people with eczema when they were treated with evening primrose oil in a double-blind study.  In another study, the oil was found to improve dry and brittle nails and combines with zinc treatments, it helped acne and dry eyes, as well as nails.  In 1987, the Glasgow Royal Infirmary of Scotland saw improvement in 60% of its rheumatoid arthritis patients who took a combination of evening primrose and fish oil instead of their regular drugs.  A study by the Highland Psychiatric Research Group at the Draig Dunain Hospital, Inverness, Scotland, found that evening primrose encouraged regeneration of liver cells damaged by alcohol consumption.  Other researchers think it may also prevent alcoholic poisoning, hangovers, postdrink depression and alcohol withdrawal.  It is thought to stop alcohol from damaging brain cells by bolstering them with unsaturated fats.  .  A New York City hospital found that more than 10% of overweight people tested with evening primrose oil lost weight.  In another study, two-thirds of hyperactive children studied responded favorably to the oil. 
Evening primrose oil improved Parkinson’s-induced tremors in 55% of those who took the equivalent of 2 teaspoons a day for several months.  Some studies suggest that GLA helps relieve symptoms of Raynaud’s disease.  In one study, EPO was massaged into the fingers of people with Raynaud’s disease and about half improved.

Eyebright (Euphrasia officinalis)  Eyebright is similar, but much weaker in action, to golden seal when it comes to its use as an eyewash.  It contains astringent and antibiotic principles that are useful for cleansing the eye.  Systemic effects such as stimulation of the liver to release vitamin A are unfounded scientifically.  It tightens the mucous membranes of the eye and appears to relieve the inflammation of conjunctivitis and blepharitis.  Its ability to counter mucus means that it is often used for infectious and allergic conditions affecting the eyes, middle ear, sinuses, and nasal passages. It is helpful in acute or chronic inflammations, stinging and weeping eyes as well as over-sensitivity to light. Although eyebright counters liquid mucus, it should be used guardedly for dry and stuffy congestion, which tends to be made worse by the plant’s astringency.
Used internally it is a powerful anti-catarrhal and thus may be used in nasal catarrh, sinusitis and other congestive states. In catarrhal conditions it combines well with golden rod, elder flower or goldenseal.  In allergic conditions where the eye are affected it may be combined with Ephedra.  As an eye lotion it mixes with Goldenseal and distilled witch hazel.    Eyebright tea may be given internally at the same time.  The mechanism of action is not yet known.  




The Herb Growing & Marketing Network
Maureen Rogers, Director
PO Box 245, Silver Spring, PA 17575-0245
717-393-3295; FAX: 717-393-9261