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Medicinal Herb Facts L-M-N Herbs



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La Lot (Piper lolot) --It is also used for medicinal purposes, to relive a wide range of symptoms from inflammation to snakebites.

Labrador Tea (Ledum groenlandicum )  -- Pacific Northwest natives use a strong leaf tonic as a blood purifier and treatment for rheumatism.  Tribes farther north use the same infusion to combat cold symptoms.  They also marinate strong meats in it.  In Alaska, Labrador tea has been used to treat stomach ailments, hangovers, and dizziness, as well as pulmonary disorders including tuberculosis.  Infusions have also been used as a wash  to soothe itching rashes including poison ivy, sores, burns, lice, and leprosy.  In modern herbalism it is occasionally used externally to treat a range of skin problems. A tea is taken internally in the treatment of headaches, asthma, colds, stomach aches, kidney ailments etc. Externally, it is used as a wash for burns, ulcers, itches, chapped skin, stings, dandruff etc. An ointment made from the powdered leaves or roots has been used to treat ulcers, cracked nipples, burns and scalds.  The plant is apparently a mild narcotic, it was taken by Indian women three times daily shortly before giving birth 

Lacquer Tree (Loropetalum chinense): A decoction of the whole plant is used in the treatment of coughing in tuberculosis, dysentery, enteritis etc. The leaves can be crushed and pulverized for external application on wounds.

Ladies' Fingers (Anthyllis vulneraria - This plant is an ancient remedy for skin eruptions, slow-healing wounds, minor wounds, cuts and bruises, it is applied externally. Internally, as an infusion, it is used as a treatment for constipation and as a spring tonic. A decoction is used in compresses or bath preparations for treating inflamed wounds, ulcers and eczema, and in gargles and mouth washes.  It can be used as a substitute for ordinary tea mixed with the leaves of Wild Strawberry, Raspberry and the flowers of Blackthorn. The plant can be used fresh in the growing season, or harvested when in flower and dried for later use.   Old flowers are not dried because they turn brown and disintegrate.

Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum) A slightly bitter-tasting remedy, lady's bedstraw is used mainly as a diuretic and for skin problems.  The herb is given for kidney stones, bladder stones and other urinary conditions, including cystitis.  It is occasionally used as means to relieve chronic skin problems such as psoriasis, but in general, cleavers is preferred as a treatment for this condition.  Lady's bedstraw has had a  longstanding reputation, especially in France, of being a valuable remedy for epilepsy, though it is rarely used for this purpose today.  It has long been used in folk medicine as a styptic and for making foot baths. 

Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris) The root, harvested in spring or fall, and the leaves, harvested as the plant blooms in June, are used medicinally.  A decoction of the fresh root is  a powerful styptic which stops bleeding of a cut and is also used as an eyewash..  The leaves are also astringent and styptic owing to their tannin content. The tea is used internally for excessive menstrual bleeding, for prolonged blood loss due to menopausal or uterine fibroids and to reduce pains associated with periods as well as diarrhea. Lady’s mantle has a very rapid healing action and gargling with the herb after the loss or removal of teeth is one of the most beneficial activities the patient can indulge in. It is also very effective for mouth ulcers and sores as well as laryngitis. Any skin troubles, such as inflamed wounds or rashes, should also be bathed with a liquid made from this herb. It battles vomiting and flux and eases bruises and ruptures. After giving birth, women should drink a tea of Lady’s mantle, specially if it is mixed with shepherd’s purse or yarrow. It aids with debility of the abdomen and, for women who are likely to miscarry, it is strengthening for the fetus and the uterus. Culpeper claimed women who wanted to conceive should drink a decoction of Lady’s mantle for 20 days before conception. Once she’s pregnant, the woman should sit in a bath made from the decoction. Culpeper also recommended it for "green wounds" or gangrene.  One ounce of the dried leaves is added to a pint of water for medicinal purposes. While the plant is generally considered of historical interest in America, it has a long, continuing tradition as a popular European herb medicine.  Its astringency, and hence medicinal benefit, is attributed to the tannin content, though the plant has been little studied.  In Europe, decoctions or infusions of lady’s mantle are valuable to treat diarrhea and other gastrointestinal conditions. Europeans, especially Swedes, find it useful to reduce heavy menstruation and prevent menstrual and even intestinal cramping.  It is also recommended when a woman’s body is adjusting hormone levels such as after childbirth and during menopause.  Tinctures or gargles of the herb can help soothe irritated mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. A recent study identified the ellagitannins, agrimoniin and pendunculagin, in the herb. These compounds may be partly responsible for the plant’s biological activity. A trace of salicylic acid is also found in the plant.
Try using externally as a vaginal douche or following antibiotic treatment for trichomonas and candida infections when the healthy vaginal flora has been disturbed and requires strengthening.  Lady’s Mantle tea is also used as an adjunct treatment for ovarian failure or inflammation, irregular menstruation, prolapsed uterus, constitutional miscarriage and menopausal difficulties.   Avoid during pregnancy as it is a uterine stimulant.

Lady's Slipper  (Cypripedium calceolus var. pubescens) Lady’s slipper used to be a specific remedy to overcome depression, mental anxiety, and troubled sleep.  It was often recommended for women for both emotional and physical imbalances relating to menopause or menstruation, such as nervous tension, headaches, or cramps.  Lady’s slipper is said to increase nervous tone after a long disease and to relax nervous muscle twitches.  It is almost always given as an alcoholic tincture, since some constituents are not water-soluble.  Lady’s slipper is often compared to valerian, although valerian doesn’t create the uncomfortable side effects. 

Lady's Thumb (Polygonum persicaria) The Anglo-Saxons used Lady’s-thumb as a remedy for sore eyes and ears.  They called it Untrodden to Pieces, perhaps because it was so hardy and though that it survived even being stepped upon or otherwise crushed. 

Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina (S. lanata, S. olympia))  Lamb’s ears make a natural bandage and dressing to staunch bleeding.

Larch (Larix decidua(s) ) - The bark, stripped of its outer layer, has its main application as an expectorant in chronic respiratory problems such as bronchitis and pharyngitis and has also been given internally in the treatment of hemorrhage, cystitis and urethritis. A cold extract of the bark is used as a laxative. As an external application, it is useful in the treatment of chronic eczema and psoriasis. The powdered bark can be used on purulent and difficult wounds to promote their healing. The turpentine obtained from the resin is a valuable remedy in the treatment of kidney, bladder and rheumatic affections, and also in diseases of the mucous membranes and the treatment of respiratory complaints. Externally, the turpentine is used in the form of liniment plasters and inhalers. It has also been suggested for combating poisoning by cyanide or opium. The resin is applied to wounds, where it protects and counters infection.   A decoction of the bark is sometimes used to soothe eczema and psoriasis.

Larix, American (Larix laricina)   Tamarack was employed medicinally by a number of native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints.  It is used in the treatment of jaundice, anemia, rheumatism, colds and skin ailments. It is gargled in the treatment of sore throats and applied as a poultice to sores, swellings and burns. A tea made from the leaves is used as an astringent in the treatment of piles, diarrhea etc. An infusion of the buds and bark is used as an expectorant. The needles and inner bark are disinfectant and laxative. A tea is used in the treatment of coughs. A poultice made from the warm, boiled inner bark is applied to wounds to draw out infections, to burns, frostbite and deep cuts. The resin is chewed as a cure for indigestion. It has also been used in the treatment of kidney and lung disorders, and as a dressing for ulcers and burns.

Larkspur, Rocket (Delphinium ajacis)  Larkspur formerly had a reputation for its ability to consolidate and heal wounds, while the juice from the leaves is considered to be a remedy for piles and an infusion of the flowers and leaves has been used as a remedy for colicky children. However, the whole plant is very poisonous and it should not be used internally without the guidance of an expert.  Externally, it can be used as a parasiticide. A tincture of the seed is applied externally to kill lice in the hair.

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis)  : In the past, lavender has been used as a folk remedy for numerous conditions, including acne, cancer, colic, faintness, flatulence, giddiness, migraine, nausea, neuralgia, nervous headache, nervous palpitations, poor appetite, pimples, rheumatism, sores, spasms, sprains, toothache, vomiting and worms.  Lavender salts have been employed for centuries as a stimulant to prevent fainting; lavender oil vapor is traditionally inhaled to prevent vertigo and fainting. A compound tincture of lavender (also known as Palsy Drops) was officially recognized by the British Pharmacopoeia for over 200 years, until the 1940s.  Used to relieve muscle spasms, nervousness, and headaches, it originally contained over 30 ingredients.  Tests show that lavender’s essential oil is a potent ally in destroying a wide range of bacterial infections, including staph, strep, pneumonia, and most flu viruses. It is also strongly anti-fungal.  A lavender-flower douche is an effective treatment for vaginal infections, especially candida-type yeast infections.  Lavender ointments are rubbed into burns, bruises, varicose veins, and other skin injuries.  The straight oil is dabbed on stops the itching of insect bites.

Laver (Porphyra umbilicalis): Sloke gives off a green liquid, thought to be rich in iron (used as a dietary supplement). There is a story of one woman having had a case of dropsy cured by drinking two bottles of sloke water.  In Scotland, the natives ate the laver boiled, and dissolved into oil. It was said that if a little butter was added to it one might live many years on this alone, without bread or any other food, and at the same time undergo any laborious exercise.

Leadwort (Plumbago europaea )  Traditionally has been used for epilepsy and scabies.  The dried root is sometimes used as an astringent, or as a chewing-gum.  Chewing the root produces copious salivation. It has been used to treat toothache, and, in the form of a poultice or plaster, back pain and sciatica.

Lemon (Citrus limon )  The fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C and has cooling properties.  Lemon juice is a traditional remedy for sunburn, and it was once taken cold to relieve feverish conditions including malaria.   Today, hot lemon juice and honey is still a favorite home remedy for colds and its astringency is useful for sore throats. In the home, lemon juice may be used to descale kettles and acts as a mild bleach.  Lemons are an excellent preventative medicine and have a wide range of uses in the domestic medicine chest. The fruit is rich in vitamin C which helps the body to fight off infections and also to prevent or treat scurvy. It was at one time a legal requirement that sailors should be given an ounce of lemon each day in order to prevent scurvy. Applied locally, the juice is a good astringent and is used as a gargle for sore throats etc. Lemon juice is also a very effective bactericide. It is also a good antiperiodic and has been used as a substitute for quinine in treating malaria and other fevers.  Although the fruit is very acid, once eaten it has an alkalizing effect upon the body. This makes it useful in the treatment of rheumatic conditions.  The skin of the ripe fruit is carminative and stomachic. The essential oil from the skin of the fruit is strongly rubefacient and when taken internally in small doses has stimulating and carminative properties.  The stembark is bitter, stomachic and tonic.  Some of the plants more recent applications are as sources of anti-oxidants and chemical exfoliants in specialized cosmetics.  The bioflavonoids in the fruit help to strengthen the inner lining of blood vessels, especially veins and capillaries, and help counter varicose veins and easy bruising.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)  Lemon balm’s main action is as a tranquilizer.  It calms a nervous stomach, colic, or heart spasms.  The leaves are reputed to also lower blood pressure.  It is very gentle, although effective, so is often suggested for children and babies. The hot tea brings on a sweat that is good for relieving colds, flus and fevers and an antiviral agent has been found that combats mumps, cold sores and other viruses.  
          The tea has also been shown to inhibit the division of tumor cells.  Studies indicate that the herb slightly inhibits the thyroid-stimulating hormone and restricts Grave’s disease, a hyperthyroid condition.  Lemon balm’s antihistamine action is useful to treat eczema and headaches and accounts for the centuries-old tradition of placing the fresh leaf on insect bites and wounds.  
              Lemon balm has antipyretic, refreshing, cholagogic and stimulating properties. Use a pad soaked in the infusion to relieve painful swellings such as gout.  Use as ointment for sores, insect bites, or to repel insects.  Use hot infused oil as ointment or gentle massage oil for depression, tension, asthma and bronchitis.  
             A clinical multicentric study in Germany offers evidence of the antiviral activity of a specially prepared dried extract of lemon balm against herpes simplex infections.  The extract was a concentrated (70:1) dry extract of lemon balm which was included at a level of 1% in a cream base.  Patients applied the cream 2-4 times daily for 5-10 days.  In the group receiving the active Melissa cream, there was a significant improvement in symptoms on day two compared to the placebo group and on day five over 50% more patients were symptom-free than in the placebo group.  To be effective, the treatment must be started in the very early stages of the infection. 
              Research has clearly demonstrated the plant’s ability to impact the limbic system of the brain and “protect” the brain from the powerful stimuli of the body and should be part of any ADHD formula.

 Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) Infuse as a mildly sedative tea to soothe bronchial and nasal congestion, to reduce indigestion, flatulence, stomach cramps, nausea and palpitations.  Lemon verbena is especially useful for women. In the past, midwives gave a woman in the last phases of childbirth a strong tea to stimulate contractions of the uterus.  Ancient Egyptian medicine included it for this purpose.  Today, verbaline has been isolated from the plant and used as a stimulant for uterus contractions.  Do not use the oil internally during pregnancy.  Used as a cold compress or in an aroma lamp, it is wonderfully refreshing and aids the birth process where stamina is required.  It has also been said to stimulate milk production and to be helpful for infertility.   Its tonic effect on the nervous system is less pronounced than that of lemon balm, but nonetheless helps to counter depression.

Lemongrass  (Cymbopogon citrates) In East India and Sri Lanka, where it is called "fever tea," lemon grass leaves are combined with other herbs to treat fevers, irregular menstruation, diarrhea, and stomachaches.  Lemon grass is one of the most popular herbs in Brazil and the Caribbean for nervous and digestive problems.  The Chinese use lemon grass in a similar fashion, to treat headaches, stomachaches, colds, and rheumatic pains.  The essential oil is used straight in India to treat ringworm or in a paste with buttermilk to rub on ringworm and bruises.  Studies show it does destroy many types of bacteria and fungi and is a deodorant.  It may reduce blood pressure - a traditional Cuban use of the herb - and it contains five different constituents that inhibit blood coagulation.    

Lettuce, Larkspur (Lactuca ludoviciana): The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains 'lactucarium', which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower. It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used. The plant should be used with caution, and never without the supervision of a skilled practitioner. Even normal doses can cause drowsiness whilst excess causes restlessness and overdoses can cause death through cardiac paralysis. Some physicians believe that any effects of this medicine are caused by the mind of the patient rather than by the medicine. The sap has also been applied externally in the treatment of warts.

Lettuce, Prickly (Lactuca serriola): The whole plant is rich in a milky sap that flows freely from any wounds. This hardens and dries when in contact with the air. The sap contains 'lactucarium', which is used in medicine for its anodyne, antispasmodic, digestive, diuretic, hypnotic, narcotic and sedative properties. Lactucarium has the effects of a feeble opium, but without its tendency to cause digestive upsets, nor is it addictive. It is taken internally in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, neuroses, hyperactivity in children, dry coughs, whooping cough, rheumatic pain etc. Concentrations of lactucarium are low in young plants and most concentrated when the plant comes into flower It is collected commercially by cutting the heads of the plants and scraping the juice into china vessels several times a day until the plant is exhausted. This species does not contain as much lactucarium as L. virosa. An infusion of the fresh or dried flowering plant can also be used.

Lettuce, White: (Nabalus albus): The Chippewa doctor considered this a “milk root” and used the root as a remedy for female complaints, possibly as a douche in leucorrhea, to help arrest the discomforting white discharge of the vagina.  At the same time a tea of the leaves was taken as a diuretic to flush the poisons from the urinary organs.  To the Indians, the oozing bitter juice also corresponded to the pus of a sore, for which purpose he applied a poultice of the leaves to the bites of snakes and insects.  In time, the herb became better known for its content of the astringent tannic acid and was used not only in dysentery but as an everyday vulnerary, to heal cancerous and canker sores.  The powdered root is sprinkled on food to stimulate milk flow after childbirth. A tea made from the roots is used as a wash for weakness. A latex in the stems is diuretic it is used in female diseases. It is also taken internally in the treatment of snakebite. . Used in diarrhea and relaxed and debilitated conditions of the bowels.

Levant Wormseed (Artemisia cina)  Vermifuge. Santonin is particularly active against round-worms, and to some extent against threadworms.  Wormseed has been taken combined with honey or treacle or as a decoction, it must be used with care as high doses are toxic. 

Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)  Since Hippocrates' day licorice has been prescribed for dropsy because it does, indeed, prevent thirst--probably the only sweet thing that does.  The chief medicinal action of licorice is as a demulcent and emollient.  Its soothing properties make it excellent in throat and chest complaints and it is a very common ingredient in throat pastilles and cough mixtures.  It is also widely used in other medicines to counteract bitter tastes and make them more palatable.  Recent research has shown that it has a pain-killing effect on stomach ulcers and prolonged use raises the blood pressure.  Medicinally the dried peeled root has been decocted to allay coughs, sore throat, laryngitis, and urinary and intestinal irritations. The root is expectorant, diuretic, demulcent, antitussive, anti-inflammatory, and mildly laxative.  It has proven helpful in inflammatory upper respiratory disease, Addison's disease, and gastric and duodenal ulcers. Side effects may develop in ulcer treatment.  Licorice may increase venous and systolic arterial pressure causing some people to experience edema, and hypertension.  In some countries, licorice has been used to treat cancers. Licorice stick, the sweet earthy flavored stolons, are chewed.  Licorice chew sticks blackened Napoleon's teeth. In the 1940s Dutch physicians tested licorice's reputation as an aid for indigestion.  They came up with a derivative drug, carbenoxolone, that promised to help peptic ulcer patients by either increasing the life span of epithelial cells in the stomach or inhibiting digestive activity in general. Many cures were achieved in the experiments, but negative side effects--the patients' faces and limbs swelled uncomfortably--outweighed the cures.
          Certain agents in licorice have recently been credited with antibacterial and mild antiviral effects; licorice may be useful in treating dermatitis, colds, and infections.  It also has been used in a medicinal dandruff shampoo.  Other modern-day research found that the herb can reduce arthritic activity.
            An extract of licorice is made by crushing the fresh or stored roots, then boiling or passing steam through them and evaporating the liquid, leaving a thick paste or solid black glossy substance with a sharp fracture. The active ingredient Glycyrrhizin may cause hypertension from potassium loss, sodium retention, and in increase of extracellular fluid and plasma volume.  It is fifty times sweeter than sugar.  Licorice also reportedly contains steroid hormones, but their relation to licorice's biological activity is yet to be determined, though extracts have been shown to be estrogenic in laboratory animals. Perhaps the most common medicinal use is in cough syrups and cough drops; licorice soothes the chest and helps bring up phlegm. Licorice has also been used to treat ulcers, to relieve rheumatism and arthritis, and to induce menstruation.  In this country it was used in powder form as a laxative.
            Licorice root is being used today in France and China in eye drops that relieve inflammation.  Sodium salts of glycyrrhinic acid are extracted from the root and added to the eye drop formula.  The cortisone like action of the licorice root extract is responsible for its healing effects.

Life Root (Packera aurea)  Herbalists have prescribed the plant for the treatment of urinary tract problems such as kidney stones.  It is used as a douche for excessive vaginal discharge.  As a uterine tonic, Life Root may be used safely wherever strengthening and aid are called for. Useful for menopausal disturbances of any kind. Also useful for delayed or suppressed menstruation. For leucorrhoea it can be used as a douche. It has a reputation as a general tonic for debilitated states and conditions such as tuberculosis.  While often stated to be completely safe to use, recent research has found that the plant contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that, in isolation, can cause liver damage.  The roots and leaves are abortifacient, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, pectoral, stimulant and uterine tonic. It is used externally in the treatment of vaginal discharge.  A tea made from the plant was frequently used by the N. American Indians as a remedy for various female troubles, including the pain of childbirth. Pharmacologists have not reported any uterine effects, but the plant does contain an essential oil (inuline) plus the alkaloids senecine and senecionine (which are poisonous to grazing animals).

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris )   Used as a vermifuge in the US and as a tonic anti-periodic and febrifuge; used as a substitute for aloes and in the treatment of malaria.  

Lily, Giant Spider (Crinum latifolium): A leafy traditional Vietnamese herbal remedy, it was used in ancient times by the royalty to enhance longevity. It is currently used in Vietnam for a wide variety of health benefits in treatment for serious health conditions including prostate and ovarian disorders such as prostatitis, adenoma, benign prostate enlargement, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts and tumors. It is known to contain eleven different alkaloids and amino acids. Crinum latifolium also contains steroid saponins and antioxidants, supports cellular immunity, and has been researched as being an effective T-lymphocyte activator. It may also be used to assist the body in improving hypoxia, infection and chronic inflammation, detoxification, regeneration of tissues, hormone balancing and is particularly supportive to the prostate and ovaries.  The leaf juices of this plant are used in India to alleviate ear-ache, and the bulbs, after roasting, are laid on the skin to ease rheumatic pain.   Leaves of the herb smeared with castor oil and warmed is a useful remedy for repelling whitlows and other inflammations at the end of toes and fingers. You can also use bruised leaves of the herb mixed with castor oil for this purpose. The herb is also useful to treat inflamed joints and sprains. For earache and other ear complaints, use slightly warmed juice of the leaves mixed with a little salt. You can also use an oil prepared from the fresh juice for this purpose.  The bulbs are powerfully emetic and are used to produce vomiting in poisoning especially antiaries.

Lily, Mariposa (Calochortus gunnisonii): An infusion of the plant has been taken internally to treat rheumatic swellings  by the Acoma and Laguna Indians and by the Navajo to ease the delivery of the placenta.  Juice of the leaves were applied to pimples.

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis )  Lily of the Valley is perhaps the most valuable heart remedy used today.  It is used for nervous sensitivity, neurasthenia, apoplexy, epilepsy, dropsy, valvular heart diseases, heart pains and heart diseases in general.  It has an action equivalent to Foxglove without its potential toxic effects.  Lily of the Valley may be used in the treatment of heart failure and water retention where this is associated with the heart.  It will aid the body where there is difficulty with breathing due to congestive conditions of the heart.  Also used for arteriosclerosis with angina and arterial hypotension.  Lily of the Valley encourages the heart to beat more slowly regularly and efficiently.  It is also strongly diuretic, reducing blood volume and lowering blood pressure.  It is better tolerated than foxglove, since it does not accumulate within the body to the same degree.  Relatively low doses are required to support heart rate and rhythm, and to increase urine production.  An ointment made from the roots is used in the treatment of burns and to prevent scar tissue. 

Linden (Tilia spp)  Lime Blossom, or Linden, is well known as a relaxing remedy for use in nervous tension.   It has a reputation as a prophylactic against the development of arteriosclerosis and hypertension.  It is considered to be a specific in the treatment of raised blood pressure associated with arteriosclerosis and nervous tension. It initially increases peripheral circulation to fingers and toes, helping the evaporation of body heat, and then stabilizes blood vessels and body temperature.   Linden is an excellent remedy for stress and panic, and is used specifically to treat nervous palpitations. Its relaxing action combined with a general effect upon the circulatory system give lime blossom a role in the treatment of some forms of migraine.  The diaphoresis combined with the relaxation explains its value in feverish colds and flus.  The flowers bring relief to colds, and flu by reducing nasal congestion and soothing fever. Because of their emollient quality, linden flowers are used in France to make a lotion for itchy skin.  The tea is given to babies for teething.
The sapwood of a linden growing wild in the south of France (T. cordata) is used as a diuretic, choleretic, hypotensive and antispoasmodic.  A light infusion of the flowers is sedative, antispasmodic and diaphoretic.  It also thins the blood and enhances circulation. 

Lion's Ear (Leonotis nepetifolia)   The sheets are used against infectious diseases by infusing them and using them in inhalers and vapor baths as a preventative.  It is also used as an emmenagogue, amenorhea, fever and skin diseases.  . The sheets séches are sometimes used in Africa as substitute of the marijuana.   Used similarly to Lion’s Tail (Leonotis leonurus) it just blooms earlier.

Lion's Tail (Leonotis leonurus)  Many traditional uses have been recorded. The foliage is commonly made into a medicinal tea, which is favored for the hypnotic focus it gives. The leaves or roots are widely used as a remedy for snakebite and also to relieve other bites and stings. Decoctions of the dried leaf or root have been applied externally to treat boils, eczema, skin diseases and itching, and muscular cramps. Extracts are also used to relieve coughs, cold and influenza, as well as bronchitis, high blood pressure and headaches. Leaf infusions have been used to treat asthma and viral hepatitis. The tea is also used to treat headache, bronchitis, high blood pressure and the common cold.  This species is also important in Chinese/Vietnamese medicine as an euphoric, purgative and vermifuge.

Litsea cubeba   The root and stem are used in traditional Chinese medicine.   It expels wind and dampness, promotes the movement of qi and alleviates pain: for wind-damp painful obstruction and stomach aches.  Most commonly used for lower back pain.  It promotes the movement of qi and blood, warms the channels and alleviates pain: for dysmenorrhea that presents primarily with a distended and painful lower abdomen that improves with heat or pressure.  Also for blood stasis pain due to trauma, or other gynecological pain associated with blood stasis.  Also used for chills, headaches and muscle aches due to an exterior disorder. Has been reported to be useful in treating motion sickness.
         The fruits are reputed to alleviate chronic asthma, as well as being a treatment for coronary heart disease and high blood pressure.

Little Mallow (Malva parviflora )  The bruised leaves have been rubbed on the skin to treat skin irritations.  A strained tea of the boiled leaves has been administered after childbirth to clean out the mother’s system.  As a headache remedy, the leaves or the whole plant have been mashed and placed on the forehead.  Powdered leaves have been blown into the throat to treat swollen glands.  The leaves have been used to induce perspiration and menstrual flow, reduce fever, and treat pneumonia. The whole plant can be used as a poultice on swellings, running sores and boils.  The seeds are used in the treatment of coughs and ulcers in the bladder.  A decoction of the roots or leaves has been used as a hair rinse to remove dandruff and to soften the hair.

Live Forever (Sedum purpureum )   The fresh leaves yield a juice that is used as an astringent to help heal wounds.  The plant has enjoyed a reputation as an internal remedy for ulcers, lung disorders, and dysentery and as an external astringent for the treatment of slow-healing wounds.  It is a popular remedy for diarrhea, stimulates the kidneys and has a reputation in the treatment of cancer. A poultice of the crushed leaves has been used in the treatment of boils and carbuncles.

Liverwort, Common (Marchantia polymorpha): Cytotoxicity against the KB cells; antileukemic activity in several compounds from leafy liverworts. In China, to treat jaundice, hepatitis and as an extermal cure to reduce inflammation; in Himalayas for boils and abscesses; mixed with vegetable oils as ointments for boils, eczema, cuts, bites, wounds, burns

Liverwort, Great Scented (Conocephalum conicum): Mixed with vegetable oils as ointments for boils, eczema, cuts, bites, wounds and burns; inhibits growth of micro-organisms. 

Liverwort, Ker-gawl (Hepatica americana, (H. tribola); H. nobilis)  While rarely found in herbal remedies today, it is a mild astringent and a diuretic.  It stimulates gall bladder production and is a mild laxative.  Its astringency has also stopped bleeding in the digestive tract and the resultant spitting of blood.  Historically, liverwort has been used for kidney problems and bronchitis.  It’s active constituent, protoaneminin, has been shown to have antibiotic action.  The Russians use it in their folk medicine and also to treat cattle with “mouth sickness.” 

Liverleaf  (Hepatica acutiloba)  The herb has astringent and tonic properties.  It also has demulcent activity. The roots and leaves are used dried or fresh in a tea or syrup. Of little use. 

Lobelia (Lobelia inflata)  Lobelia was a traditional Native American remedy and its use was later championed by the American herbalist Samuel Thomson (1769-1843), who made the herb the mainstay of his therapeutic system.  He mainly used it to induce vomiting.  It was promoted by Jethro Kloss and later by Dr. John Christopher.   A powerful antispasmodic and respiratory stimulant, lobelia is valuable for asthma, especially bronchial asthma, and chronic bronchitis.  It relaxes the muscles of the smaller bronchial tubes, thus opening the airways, stimulating breathing, and promoting the coughing up of phlegm.  In the Western tradition, lobelia has always been combined with cayenne, its hot stimulant action helping to push blood into areas that lobelia has relaxed.  Lobelia is often most effective when the infusion or diluted tincture is applied externally.  It relaxes muscles, particularly smooth muscle, which makes it useful for sprains, and back problems where muscle tension is a key factor.  Combined with cayenne, lobelia has been used as a chest and sinus rub.  Due to its chemical similarity to nicotine, lobelia is employed by herbalists to help patients give up smoking.  Lobeline sulphate has been part of commercial over-the-counter antismoking lozenges.  It seems to replace physical addiction to nicotine without its addictive effects.    The Native Americans smoked it like tobacco for respiratory problems and it gained the name Indian tobacco.  Both drinking the tea and smoking lobelia, usually with other herbs to modify its intense reaction, have been employed to treat asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough. Plasters and liniments for sprains, muscle spasms, and insect bites and poultices for breast cancer sometimes contain lobelia.

Locoto (Capsicum baccatum): The hot and pungent fruit is antihemorrhoidal when taken in small amounts, antirheumatic, antiseptic, diaphoretic, digestive, irritant, rubefacient, sialagogue and tonic. It is taken internally in the treatment of the cold stage of fevers, debility in convalescence or old age, varicose veins, asthma and digestive problems. Externally it is used in the treatment of sprains, unbroken chilblains, neuralgia, pleurisy etc.

Lomatium (Lomatium dissecta)  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 

Long Dan Cao (Gentiana scabra) The root is a bitter, cooling, anti-inflammatory herb that stimulates the appetite and digestion, increases blood sugar levels and potentiates the sedative and analgesic properties of other herbs.  Internally used for liver disorders, eye complaints related to liver disharmony (such as conjunctivitis), acute urinary infections, hypertension with dizziness or tinnitus and tantrums in children.  Included in many Chinese patent remedies for “liver heat.”  It is also used in the treatment of jaundice, leucorrhoea, eczema, conjunctivitis, and sore throat.  

Long Pepper (Piper longum): The unripe spike of the plant and the root, which is thick and branched, is also medically important and is called modi or pippali-moolam. Long Pepper inhibits the secretion of digestive juice and lowers total stomach acid;  it lowers LDL and VLDL and TC; prevents hardening of the arteries; has a calming effect on CNS.  Seed used in cough and throat pain. Root used in paralysis, epilepsy, and stiff joints. Both seeds and root are used for cough, rheumatism, leprosy, and consumption. The herb is also believed to improve vitality.

Loofah (Luffa cylindrical )   In Chinese medicine, the inner skeleton of the dried fruit is used to treat pain in the muscles and joints, chest, and abdomen.  It is prescribed for chest infections accompanied by fever and pain, and is used to clear congested mucus.  Loofah is also given to treat painful or swollen breasts.  Research indicates the fresh vine has a stronger expectorant effect than the dried fruit.  Dried fruit fibers are used as abrasive sponges in skin care to remove dead skin and stimulate the peripheral circulation.             .

Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera )  The entire plant is used in medicine.  The Sacred water lotus has been used in the Orient as a medicinal herb for well over 1,500 years.  The leaf juice is used in the treatment of diarrhea and is decocted with liquorice (Glycyrrhiza spp) for the treatment of sunstroke.  A decoction of the flowers is used in the treatment of premature ejaculation. The flowers are recommended as a cardiac tonic. A decoction of the floral receptacle is used in the treatment of abdominal cramps, bloody discharges etc.  The flower stalk is used in treating bleeding gastric ulcers, excessive menstruation, post-partum hemorrhage.  The stamens are astringent and used in treating urinary frequency, premature ejaculation, hemolysis, epistasis and uterine bleeding.  A decoction of the fruit is used in the treatment of agitation, fever, heart complaints etc.  The seed is used in the treatment of poor digestion, enteritis, chronic diarrhea, insomnia, palpitations etc.  The plumule and radicle are used to treat thirst in high febrile disease, hypertension, insomnia and restlessness.  The root starch is used in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery etc, a paste is applied to ringworm and other skin ailments. It is also taken internally in the treatment of hemorrhages, excessive menstruation and nosebleeds. The roots are harvested in autumn or winter and dried for later use.  The root nodes are used in the treatment of nasal bleeding, hemoptysis, hematuria and functional bleeding of the uterus.  The plant has a folk history in the treatment of cancer, modern research has isolated certain compounds from the plant that show anticancer activity.   The leaves, which have antipyretic and refrigerant properties, are used against symptoms of summer-heat, such as headache, respiratory congestion, chronic thirst, and dark scanty urine.  The peduncle relieves stomachaches, calms restless fetus, and controls leukorrhea. 

Lotus, Blue (Nymphaea caerules): An aphrodisiac for both men and women as well as a general remedy for all illness enhancing sexual vigor and general good health. A tonic like ginseng, pain reliever like arnica, circulation stimulant richer than ginkgo biloba, and sexual stimulant richer than Viagra. It creates a feeling of well being, euphoria and ecstasy, as well as being widely used as a general remedy against illness, and is still used as a tonic for good health, consumed as an extract, 6-12 drops or up to 1 tsp to 1 Tbs in juice taken 1 to 3 times daily.  Traditionally,  fresh Blue Lotus was made into a tea or drank after being soaked in wine, usually followed by a cigarette made of the dried plant material.  Dried flowers are sometimes smoked for a mild sedative effect.   By itself, Lotus produces an opiate-like intoxication. Traditionally, Nymphaea caerulea was drunk after being soaked in warm water or wine, while the dried flowers were also smoked. About 5 grams of dried petals steeped in small amount of alcohol for a few hours to a week is said to have a synergistic effect with the Lotus, producing a euphoria. The overall effect of this combination is a narcotic empathogenic experience. According to recent studies, Blue Lily was found to be loaded with health-giving phytosterols and bioflavonoids. It turned out to be one of the greatest daily health tonics ever found.

Lotus, Egyptian (Nymphaea lotus): A soothing, astringent herb that has diuretic and tranquilizing effects and is reputedly detoxicant and aphrodisiac.  The seeds, crushed in water are an old remedy for diabetes.  The rhizomes is useful in Diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia and general debility. The flowers are astringent and cardiotonic. The seeds are sweet, cooling, constipating, aphrodisiac, stomachic and restorative. It has found uses both as a culinary delight and starchy food staple as well as being used internally as a treatment for gastrointestinal disorders and jaundice.

Lovage (or Ligusticum levisticum)  Although no extravagant cures were attributed to lovage, medieval physicians and country folk claimed it alleviated a host of maladies.  Fresh juice from the plant squeezed into the eyes relieved conjunctivitis, and an infusion brewed from the seeds and dropped into the eyes remedied redness and dim vision.  Applied to the skin, this decoction was supposed to remove freckles.  People gargled with it, used it as a mouth wash, and drank it to mitigate pleurisy and flatulence.
Boils, carbuncles and other pustules were treated with hot poultices of lovage leaves.  A tea made from the leaves was said to promote menstrual discharge, soothe bronchitis and bring comfort in the early stages of diptheria.  Drinking the dried and powdered roots in a medium of wine, water or oil was held to improve the functioning of the lymphatic system, reduce obesity and flabbiness through diuretic action, and remedy colic, jaundice, urinary troubles and stomach disorders.  Main ingredient in many European diuretic preparations and is added to urinary tract formulas.  Can irritate kidneys, so it is not suggested when an infection is present but Commission E suggests making a tea with 2-4 teaspoons of dried herb per cup of boiling water and drinking it once a day for treating kidney stones.  Also used to promote menstruation and to ease migraine headaches.
The colonists in New England found an additional use for the dried root.  They nibbled bits of it in church to chase away the weariness caused by long and tedious sermons.  Also in the New World, the Shakers grew lovage and sold it for medicine and flavoring much like the monks did centuries earlier.  The Pennsylvania Germans dried its hollow stems to use as natural drinking straws.  A stimulating cordial called lovage was once popular at public houses and inns.  It was flavored with lovage, but was made primarily from tansy and yarrow.  Oil extracted from lovage roots was used in tobacco blends, perfumes and bath cologne.  Has been employed as a mouthwash for soothing tonsillitis and mouth ulcers.  

Lousewort (Pedicularis resupinata): The plant is used in the treatment of fevers, leucorrhoea, rheumatism, sterility and urinary difficulties. A decoction of the plant is used to wash foul ulcers

Lousewort, Marsh (Pedicularis palustris): Lousewort is poisonous and a powerful insecticide.  Formerly, an infusion of the plant was made to destroy lice and other insect parasites.  The plant is now rarely used.

Lovage, Chinese (Ligusticum sinense): Ligusticum is a Chinese herb that promotes circulation and regulates energy. Good for post-natal abdominal pain, painful abscesses, and headaches due to colds. The ligusticum roots and fruit are aromatic and stimulant, and have diuretic and carminative action. In herbal medicine ligusticum is used for disorders of the stomach and feverish attacks, especially for cases of colic and flatulence in children, its qualities being similar to those of Angelica in expelling flatulence, exciting perspiration and opening obstructions. The infusion of dried leaf  is used as a good emmenagogue.  Internally the dried rhizome and root  are also used for menstrual problems, postpartum bleeding, coronary heart disease and headaches (those caused by concussion). The root is soaked in alcohol for 2 weeks and then used in the treatment of gout

Lungwort   (Pulmonaria officinalis)  Lungwort has been used primarily for lung problems, especially in cases of bronchitis and laryngitis, and to reduce bronchial congestion.  The silica it contains restores the elasticity of lungs, and made it an appropriate remedy when tuberculosis was common.  Major ingredient in the English “Potters Balm of Gilead Cough Mixture.”  As a poultice, it helps enlarged thyroid, burns and tumors and reduces swelling and inflammation from injuries and bruises.  Potential use as a yin tonic.  An astringent, lungwort treats diarrhea, especially in children, and eases hemorrhoids.  Its properties are similar to those in comfrey.  Both contain allantoin, which promotes wound-healing action.   


Ma Dou Ling (Aristolochia contorta): A decoction of the fruit is used in the treatment of cancer, coughs, inflammation of the respiratory organs, hemorrhoids and hypertension. It is also used to resolve phlegm and lower blood pressure. It has an antibacterial action, effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Pneumococci, bacillus dysentericae etc. The root contains aristolochic acid. This has anti-cancer properties and can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Aristolochic acid can also be used in the treatment of acute and serious infections such as TB, hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and infantile pneumonia. It also increases the cellular immunity and phagocytosis function of the phagocytic cells. Aristolochic acid is said to be too toxic for clinical use. The root is used as a purgative in the treatment of rabies and also has sedative properties.

Mace   (Myristica fragrans): Carminative, stimulant, and tonic, mace aids the digestion, is beneficial to the circulation and is used to mollify febrile upsets and in Asia to relieve nausea.  Mace butter is employed as a mild counter-irritant and used in hair lotions and plasters.  As with nutmeg, large doses of mace can lead to hallucination and epileptiform fits, myristin being poisonous, but dangerous doses are unlikely to be taken in the course of everyday use.  Taken in a toddy, it was a cure for insomnia, but prolonged over-indulgence is now avoided as addictive.

Madagascar Periwinkle (Vinca rosea) In 1923, considerable interest was aroused in the medical world by the statement that this species of Vinca had the power to cure diabetes, and would probably prove an efficient substitute for Insulin, but V. major has long been used by herbalists for this purpose. Vincristine, a major chemotherapy agent for leukemia, and vinblastin (for Hodgkin’s disease) are derived from the plant.  The anti-cancer constituents are very strong and should only be taken under the supervision of a qualified health care practitioner.  Use as a fluid extract.  It has also been used in traditional herbal medicine to treat wasp stings (India), stop bleeding (Hawaii), as an eyewash (Cuba), and to treat diabetes (Jamaica); contains the alkaloid alstonine which can reduce blood pressure.

Madder (Rubia tinctorium )  Madder is still grown as a medicinal in central Europe and west Asia.  The root eliminates and prevents the formation of kidney and bladder stones, increases bile production and menstruation, and is a laxative. It is especially useful in urinary tract afflictions in which the system has become alkaline.  Powdered root is wound-healing, often used for skin ulcers.  Two ounces of the root can be boiled in six quarts of water and added to the tub to make a bath that will heal the skin. The red coloring agent is so potent that it turns the urine red and eventually even stains the bones, although no health problems are associated with these phenomena.  Infusions of leaves and stems treat constipation, diarrhea and bladder disorders.  It has a marked effect on the liver and has been found useful in jaundice.    A madder poultice encourages wound healing. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine in east India and considered an important “blood-purifying” herb that “cleans” the body by improving liver functions. Used for many pitta-type bleeding conditions.  Homeopathically used to treat anemia and ailments of the spleen.  

Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris  (A pedatum North American variety))  Medicinal Uses: Used by Western herbalists to treat coughs, bronchitis, excess mucus, sore throat, and chronic nasal congestion.  The plant also has a longstanding reputation as a remedy for conditions of the hair and scalp.  It may be used as an infusion.  Native American sometimes chewed the leaves of the plant to stop internal bleeding.  An extract of the plant has diuretic and hypoglycemic activity in animals.  It needs to be used fresh as it’s highly sensitive to time and heat.  Can be used in a poultice (raw and crushed), directly applied to a wound or scalded and infused for several minutes for a topical poultice to treat eczema, suppurating infections and wounds.  In the form of a hair lotion, it stimulates hair growth.  In a tea (1 plant in 1 cup water), it is excellent in treating coughs and chronic skin disorders.  In the case of poor blood circulation, take 3 cups daily.  A tincture is also a good choice as an effective concentrated preparation: 2/3 oz in 1 cup alcohol.  

Makabuhai (Tinospora crispa ): The Filipinos and Malays in general consider this vine as a universal medicine. It is the most popular of local medicinal plants. Makabuhai, the common Tagalog name; means, “to give life”. It is commonly prescribed as an aqueous extract in the treatment of stomach trouble, indigestion, and diarrhea. It is the basis of a popular preparation, which is used as a cordial, a tonic, or an ingredient in cocktails. It is also an effective remedy in the treatment of tropical ulcers. In powder form, it is prescribed in fevers. A preparation with coconut oil is an effective cure for rheumatism and also for flatulence of children (kabag). The preparation is made by chopping the makabuhai stem into pieces of 1 or 2 inches long, placing them in a jar with coconut oil, and “cooking” them under the sun. The jar is then put aside and not opened until a year has elapsed. A decoction of the stem is considered an effective cure if used as a wash for tropical ulcers. Father de Sta.Maria includes makabuhai in his book, “Manual de Medicinas Caseras,” and says that it is given the decoction or powder from as a febrifuge. The decoction of the stem is also an excellent vulnerary for itches, ordinary and cancerous wounds. Guerrero reports that internally it is used as tonic and antimalaria; externally as a parasiticide.
            Traditionally used in Thai medicine, Tinospora crispa is one ingredient in Thai folk remedies for maintaining good health. A decoction of the stems, leaves and roots is used to treat fever, cholera, diabetes, rheumatism and snake-bites, an infusion of the stem is drunk as a vermifuge, a decoction of the stem is used for washing sore eyes and syphilitic sores, the crushed leaves are applied on wounds and made into poultice for itch. Also it reduces thirst, internal inflammation, and increases appetite.
The drug (stem) is registered in the Thailand Pharmacopoeia, and commonly used in hospital to treat diabetes.
        In Vietnam the southern pharmacopoeia was developed and adapted in the 14th century by the monk Tue Tinh, to treat Vietnamese for diseases common to the tropics, while keeping the principles of Chinese medicine and blending into it the qualities of southern plants known to traditional popular medicine. To treat Malaria they use the Tinospora crispa.
               In general folklore, the stem decoction is considered antipyretic, useful as an antimalarial and a wash for skin ulcers. Traditionally an infusion is used to treat fever due to malaria and also in cases of jaundice and for use against intestinal worms. The antimalarial effect was confirmed in a study. A decoction of the stems, leaves and roots is used to treat fever, cholera, diabetes, rheumatism and snake-bites. An infusion of the stem is drunk as a vermifuge. A decoction of the stem is used for washing sore eyes and syphilitic sores. The crushed leaves are applied on wounds and made into poultice for itch.
            A decoction of the fresh root mixed with pepper and goat’s milk is given for rheumatism, where the dose is half a pint (in doses of two to four ounces according to another author under chronic rheumatism and syphilitic cachexia) every morning. It is said to be laxative and sudorific. When under this treatment the natives make a curry of the leaves, which they recommend to their patients. The leaves when agitated in water render it mucilaginous and is then sweetened with sugar and drunk when freshly made (half a pint taken twice-a-day). This is given for the cure of gonorrhea and is said to soothe the smarting and scalding. It is also used externally as a cooling and soothing application in prurigo, eczema, impetigo, etc.
        If allowed to stand for a few minutes, the mucilaginous parts separate, contract and float in the center Leaving the water clear, and almost tasteless.
          Decoction of the root in combination with ginger and sugar is given in cases of bilious dyspepsia and in cases of fevers with other bitters and aromatics. Roots rubbed with bonduc nuts in water are given for stomachache, especially in children.
                Indonesians use an infusion of the stems to treat fevers and malaria. They can also be used to treat stomachache and jaundice. The infusion is also useful in fevers caused by smallpox and cholera. Another popular use of this infusion is in a mixture for treating indigestion.
                In India, the leaves are made into a calming or soothing drug mainly for children that acts by relieving pain and flatulence. The juice of the leaves coagulates in water and forms a mucilage which is used externally as a cooling and soothing application in prurigo, eczema, impetigo etc.  Decoction of the root (1 in 10) mixed with long-pepper and goat's milk is given in doses of two to four ounces in chronic rheumatism and syphilitic cachexia. Roots rubbed with bonduc nuts in water are given for stomachache, especially in children.

Male Fern (Dryopteris filix-mas (Syn Aspidium filix-mas))  :  One of the most effective of all “worm herbs,” male fern root, or the oleo-resin it yields, is a specific treatment for tapeworms.  It acts by paralyzing the muscles of the worm, forcing it to relax its hold on the gut wall.  Provided that the root is taken along with a nonoily purgative like scammony or black hellebore, it will flush out the parasites.  The roots are added to healing salves for wounds and rubbed into the limbs of children with rickets. It is also good for sores, boils, carbuncles, swollen glands and epidemic flu.  It inhibits bleeding of a hot nature and is combined with cedar leaves for uterine bleeding.  With other alteratives like honeysuckle, forsythia and dandelion it treats toxic blood conditions.  Fern tincture should be prepared in new batches every year. 

Mallow, Common   (Malva sylvestris): Though less useful than marsh mallow, common mallow is an effective demulcent.  The flowers and leaves are emollient and good for sensitive areas of the skin.  Mallow is beneficial in the treatment of painful swellings and is used as a digestive and diuretic herb, as well as in the making of an external lotion for acne.  The leaves have the reputation of easing the pain of a wasp sting if rubbed on the affected area.  A certain cure for a cold was believed to be bathing the feet in a decoction of the leaves, flowers and roots. Taken internally, the leaves reduce gut irritation, aids recovery from gastritis and stomach ulcers, laryngitis and pharyngitis, upper respiratory catarrh and bronchitis and have a laxative effect.  When common mallow is combined with eucalyptus, it makes a good remedy for coughs and other chest ailments.  As with marsh mallow, the root may be given to children to ease teething.  The fresh dried leaves are put into decoctions; the root may be dried, but it is best fresh, if chosen when there are leaves growing from it.

Mallow, Dwarf (Malva neglecta): Mallow root is highly regarded by herbalists as an effective demulcent and emollient.  Both of these actions are attributed to the plant’s mucilaginous qualities.  Roundleaf mallow is used as a lotion or internal medication for an injury or swelling (Navajo). All parts of the plant are astringent, laxative, urine-inducing, and have agents that counteract inflammation, that soften and soothe the skin when applied locally, and that induce the removal (coughing up) of mucous secretions from the lungs. The leaves and flowers are the main part used, their demulcent properties making them valuable as a poultice for bruise, inflammations, insect bites etc, or taken internally in the treatment of respiratory system diseases or inflammation of the digestive or urinary systems. They have similar properties, but are considered to be inferior to the marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis), though they are stronger acting than the common mallow (M. sylvestris). The plant is an excellent laxative for young children.

Man Vine (Agonandra racemosa): Man Vine is an excellent anti-spasmodic and in general quite relaxing to involuntary muscle tissues such as the uterus, stomach and intestines. Chop woody part of vine; boil a small handful in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes and drink 1 cup before each meal for constipation, intestinal gas, indigestion, mucus in stool, inability to eat even a small portion of food, gastritis, and any ailment to do with the digestive or alimentary tract. This same tea also acts as an excellent mild sedative, and can be drunk for backaches, neckache, headaches, muscle spasms, and for males who pass mucus in the urine.  The root is a superior remedy for male impotency—chop root and boil 1 small handful in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes; drink 1 cup before each meal.  Note that while drinking man vine tea, one must abstain from all acid foods, cold drinks, and beef.

Manaca (Brunfelsia uniflora): Used by native healers both medicinally and as hallucinogens.  Internally used as an alterative, and of the greatest value for the treatment of arthritis.  It eases pain and restores mobility quickly. In Peru, indigenous peoples apply a decoction of leaves externally for arthritis and rheumatism; they also employ a root decoction for chills. The root of manacá is said to stimulate the lymphatic system. It has long been used for syphilis, earning the name vegetable mercury. Though the aerial parts of the plant have active compounds, the root has been used primarily.
            Two of the constituents,  manaceine and manacine are thought to be responsible for stimulating the lymphatic system, while aesculetin has demonstrated analgesic, antihepatotoxic, antimutagenic, and anti-inflammatory activities in laboratory tests.  

Manchineel (Hippomane mancinella): Manchineel is occasionally used in folk medicine to treat parasitic disease of the skin. It is diuretic, and in 2-drop doses is reputed actively purgative. The Cubans make use of it in tetanus. It has been used in homeopathic medicine

Manketti Tree (Schinziophyton rautanenii): The roots are used as a remedy for stomach pains and diarrhea, the nuts tied around the ankles are said to relieve leg pains.  

Maori Mint (Mentha diemenica): A tea made from the leaves of most mint species has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses. A decoction of this plant was used occasionally to induce sweating.

Maple, Rock (Acer glabrum): A decoction of the wood and bark is said to cure nausea. An infusion of the bark has been used as a cathartic. A decoction of the branches, together with the branches of Amelanchier sp., was used to heal a woman's insides after childbirth and also to promote lactation.  One tribe of southern Vancouver Island used the bark to make an antidote for poisoning.

Maple, Silver (Acer saccharinum): An infusion of the bark is used in the treatment of coughs, cramps and dysentery. The infusion is also applied externally to old, stubborn running sores. A compound infusion is used in the treatment of 'female complaints'. The inner bark is boiled and used with water as a wash for sore eyes. An infusion is used internally in the treatment of diarrhea. An infusion of the root bark has been used in the treatment of gonorrhea.

Maple, Vine (Acer circinatum): The wood was burnt to charcoal and mixed with water and brown sugar then used in the treatment of dysentery and polio.  Coastal Aboriginal peoples have boiled the bark of the roots to make a tea for colds.

Mare's Tail, Common (Hippuris vulgaris): The whole plant is an effective vulnerary, the juice being taken internally or applied externally.  The old European herbalists recommended it for a number of uses, including: stopping internal and external bleeding, stomach ulcers, strengthening the intestines, closing wounds, inflammation and breakouts on the skin, coughs.  Culpepper, in common with the older herbalists, considered it of great value as a vulnerary:  'It is very powerful to stop bleeding, either inward or outward, the juice or the decoction being drunk, or the juice, decoction or distilled water applied outwardly.... It also heals inward ulcers.... It solders together the tops of green wounds and cures all ruptures in children. The decoction taken in wine helps stone and strangury; the distilled water drunk two or three times a day eases and strengthens the intestines and is effectual in a cough that comes by distillation from the head. The juice or distilled water used as a warm fomentation is of service in inflammations and breakings-out in the skin.'

Marigold, Irish Lace (Tagetes filifolia): The tea is said to be drunk as a refreshing beverage and to relieve minor ills.  Bolivians drink the decoction as a digestive.  Venezuelans employ it as an emollient and treatment for syphilis.  In Costa Rica, it is taken as a carminative to relieve colic and as a diuretic. Also used for prostate problems and difficulties associated with urination

Mariola (Parthenium incanum): The cold tea is taken for liver pain and for gallbladder spasms with semi-formed diarrhea.  Small amounts of the tea are taken for pregnancy morning sickness.  The salted tea is gargled and swallowed to relieve sore throats and tonsillitis.  Cold infusion of the herb, 2-4 fluid ounces up to 45 times a day.  For morning sickness, 1-2 fluid ounces up to 4 times a day

Marjoram, Sweet (Origanum majorana) Has digestive, antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic and diuretic properties.    Marjoram tea aids digestion, increases sweating and encourages menstruation.  In tests, it inhibits viruses such as herpes 1 and is an antioxidant that helps preserve foods containing it.  As a steam inhalant, marjoram clears the sinuses and helps relieve laryngitis.  Particularly helpful for gastritis and a weak tea is good for colic in children.  The plant is also sometimes made into an herb pillow for rheumatic pains.

Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)  Dr. Withering described a case in which a large bouquet of marsh marigolds brought into the sickroom of a spasmodic girl stopped her fits.  The cure was presumed a result of whatever the flowers exude.  Since then, the infusions have also been used to prevent fits.  A decoction of the herb has been used for dropsy and in urinary affections. The root tea induces sweating, is an emetic and an expectorant.  The leaf tea is a diuretic and a laxative.  Ojibwas mixed tea with maple sugar to make a cough syrup that was popular with colonists.  The syrup was used as a folk antidote to snake venom.  The plant contains anemonin and protoanemonin both with marginal antitumor activity.  It has also been used to treat warts: a drop of the leaf juice was applied daily until the wart disappeared.  The Chippewa applied the dried powdered and moistened or fresh root of cowslip twice daily to cure scrofula sores. 

Marshmallow (Althea officinalis): Used whenever a soothing effect is needed, marsh mallow protects and soothes the mucous membranes.  The root counters excess stomach acid, peptic ulceration, and gastritis.  It reduces the inflammation of gall stones. Marsh mallow is also mildly laxative and beneficial for many intestinal problems, including regional ileitis, colitis, diverticulitis, and irritable bowel syndrome  Marshmallow’s ability to bind and eliminate toxins allows the body to cleanse itself.  For this reason, it is added to arthritis, laxative, infection, female tonic, vermifuge and other cleansing formulas.  Taken as a warm infusion, the leaves treat cystitis and frequent urination.  Marsh mallow’s demulcent qualities bring relief to dry coughs, bronchial asthma, bronchial congestion, and pleurisy.  The flowers, crushed fresh or in a warm infusion, are applied to help soothe inflamed skin.  The root is used in an ointment for boils and abscesses, and in a mouthwash for inflammation.  The peeled root may be given as a chewstick to teething babies.  The dried root contains up to 35% of mucilage, 38% of starch and 10% of pectin and sugar.  Extracts have to be made with cold water if they are to contain the mucilage and not the starch, the latter dissolving only in hot water.  If marsh mallow is to be used for gargling rather than taken internally as a tea, the starch will be of additional benefit.  Marsh mallow root is very high in pectin. Taking pectin is an effective way to keep blood sugar levels down.  The root boiled in milk, will prove beneficial in treating diarrhea and dysentery.  It will also enrich the milk of nursing mothers, and at the same time increase milk flow.  Combining both Blessed Thistle and Marshmallow for enriched milk is especially effective.  Marshmallow’s ability to bind and eliminate toxins allows the body to cleanse itself.  For this reason, it is added to arthritis, laxative, infection, female tonic, vermifuge and other cleansing formulas. 

Masterwort, Great (Astrantia major): The rhizomes and flowering stems have medicinal action.  Their main constituent is an essential oil that acts as a stomachic.  In herbal medicine the dried herb is used in an infusion or as a powder to promote the flow of digestive juices and thus stimulate the appetite.  Great masterwort is also included in diuretic tea mixtures.  A decoction of the root is purgative.

Mastic (Pistacia lentiscus): Stimulant, diuretic. It has many of the properties of the coniferous turpentines and was formerly greatly used in medicine. Of late years it has chiefly been used for filling carious teeth, either alone or in spirituous solution, and for varnishes, and in the East in the manufacture of sweets and cordials. In the East it is still used medicinally in the diarrhoea of children and masticated to sweeten the breath. The most effective oil for treating varicose veins is mastic (Pistacia lentiscus), but it is very expensive and ill smelling. A good substitute is cypress oil. A blend for external use can be made by combining several essential oils: 10 drops cypress or 5 drops mastic; 10 drops lavender or geranium; 5 drops rosemary or juniper; and 5 drops chamomile. A massage oil can be made by adding 15 drops of this essential oil blend to an ounce of carrier oil, which should be rubbed gently into the legs several times each day. Always massage above the varicose area. For hemorrhoids, mix one tablespoon KY jelly to 10 drops of the essential oil blend, then apply.

Maturique (Cacalia decomposita): The roots are used to treat adult-onset, insulin-resistant diabetes.  An eighth of an ounce is taken in a cold infusion once or twice a day for several days, then handing to Bricklebush for maintenance.  Maturique seems to be the best initial therapy when a person is overweight, soft and tired.  But it is strong and most people who use it slip into a gentler approach for the long haul. The root tea or tincture is an excellent liniment for sprains, hyperextensions, and acute arthritis.  Folk uses also includes the plant as a purgative, and wounds.  The dried rhizome and root  may work to prevent gluconeogenesis (the formation of glycogen from noncarbohydrates such as protein or fat, by conversion of the later into glucose) in the liver. Its method of action is unclear, but it appears to dramatically lower serum-glucose.

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum ) In New England the root was used to stimulate glands and for gastrointestinal disorders.  The root was also used as a tonic for liver, lung, and stomach ailments.  A decoction was made by boiling the roots in water and was used to treat rheumatism.  This was also used on chickens who had diarrhea.  Years ago it was used as a poison for eliminating chipmunks.  Taken internally it is a powerful stimulant to the liver and intestines.  It is a very strong glandular stimulant and useful for treating chronic liver diseases, promoting bile flow and digestion, and in the elimination of obstructions and skin problems.   
The wart-removing drugs are produced from podophyllotoxin—found in mayapple rhizomes.  Its application must be restricted to abnormal tissue only.  The compound is thought to interfere with the wart’s development and blood supply.  The podophyllotoxin in mayapple has been found to stimulate the immune system while suppressing lymph cells.  It is more toxic to leukemia cells than to normal cells.  The tumor inhibitor was actually discovered in 1958, but the compound created digestive-tract irritations too severe to make it practical.  Now a semisynthetic derivative, etoposide, is being used for chemotherapy in Europe to treat lung cancer and cancer of the testicles.  It has been shown to restrict the activity of an enzyme necessary for the reproduction of cancer cells.  It was introduced in 1985 under the trade name Vepeside®. 
               Traditionally, podophyllotoxin has been collected from the roots of podophyllum emodi.  It is a wild plant that grows only in the Himalayan Mountains.  However, the plant has been declared endangered because too much of it has been collected in India.  Decreasing supplies of the plant in India have resulted in export restrictions.  Attempts to make copies of the cancer-fighting substance have proven costly.   Now, researchers from the United States Agriculture Department and the University of Mississippi have developed a way to get podophyllotoxin from the mayapple plant.  The researchers believe that both the mayapple and podophyllum emodi produce the substance as a form of protection against insects and other plant-eating creatures.  The plants store the substance until they are attacked. 
                The American researchers say their method is successful because it makes the mayapple think it is being attacked. This results in the release of large amounts of podophyllotoxin.   They say their system to remove podophyllotoxin from the mayapple is fast, effective and low cost.  The researchers say the mayapple plant provides a plentiful and renewable supply of the substance. And they add there may be increased demand for the mayapple plant as a crop if the method becomes widely used. 

Mayflower, Canada (Maianthemum canadense): A tea made from the plant has been used in the treatment of headaches and as a kidney tonic for pregnant women. It is also used as a gargle for sore throats and as an expectorant.

Meadow Rue (Thalictrum aquilegifolium)     Meadow rue is a purgative and diuretic.  It is a bitter digestive tonic that contains berberine or a similar alkaloid.  The leaves were sometimes added to spruce beer in the 19th century as a digestive tonic.  

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet is used to treat rheumatism, fevers, and pain in much the same way as aspirin is used, but it contains buffering agents that counter the drug’s side effects, such as gastric bleeding.  In fact, it prevents overacidity in the stomach and is considered one of the best herbal treatments for heartburn.  It would seem that reducing acidity within the stomach can help to reduce acid levels in the body as a whole, thereby helping joint problems (which are associated with acidity). It also improves digestion and helps to heal ulcers.  An antiseptic diuretic that promotes uric acid excretion, it is used for urinary tract problems.  Meadowsweet is also occasionally used for cystitis.  It was once the treatment of choice for children’s diarrhea.  The cleansing diuretic effect has given meadowsweet a reputation for clearing the skin and resolving rashes.  Given its mild antiseptic action it makes a good remedy for cystitis and urethritis, fluid retention and kidney problems.  The salicylate salts are said to soften deposits in the body such as kidney stones and gravel, as well as arteriosclerosis in the arteries.  Meadowsweet reduces fevers by suppressing the sympathetic temperature regulation center.

Melilot (Melilotus officinalis)  As with horse chestnut, long-term use of melilot—internally or externally—can help varicose veins and hemorrhoids.  Melilot also helps reduce the risk of phlebitis and thrombosis.  The plant is mildly sedative and antispasmodic, and is given for insomnia (especially in children) and anxiety.  It has been used to treat gas and indigestion, bronchitis, problems associated with menopause and rheumatic pains.  The infusion prepared with the dried parts has digestive and carminative properties.  The dried leaves have a scar-forming action and also repel moths.  Yellow melilot is used in poultices and salves for boils, swellings, arthritis, rheumatism and headaches.  For centuries there was a salve called simply Melilot.  It was compounded of the juice of young green Melilot plants boiled with rosin, wax, sheep tallow, and a little turpentine.  It was used to draw and heal all kinds of wounds and sores and remained popular for centuries.  A similar Melilot plaster can still be purchased today in many parts of Europe.  The tea is used to wash sores and wounds and as an antinflammatory eye wash.  For headaches and joint pains, try making melilot into an herb pillow.  In Germany, powdered melilot is mixed with an equal amount of water to make a poultice for treating hemorrhoids.  
             In Chinese medicine, it is considered sedative and astringent. When taken internally, it imparts its sweet fragrance to the body.

Mexican Marigold Mint (Tagetes lucida): internally for diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, colic, hiccups, malaria, and feverish illnesses.  Externally for scorpion bites and to remove ticks.

Mexican Poppy (Argemone mexicana )   The fresh latex of Mexican poppy contains protein-dissolving constituents, and is used to treat warts, cold sores, and blemishes on the lips. The whole plant acts as a mild painkiller.  An infusion of the seeds—in small quantities—is used in Cuba as a sedative for children suffering from asthma.  In greater quantities, the oil in the seeds is purgative.  The flowers are expectorant, and are good for treating coughs and other chest conditions.
The juice of the plant has a rubifacient and slightly caustic effect; used straight for warts, diluted for skin ulcerations, externally.  The fresh juice, greatly diluted, has a long traditional history as a treatment for opacities of the cornea.  The preserved juice, with three or four parts water, can be used for heat rash, hives, and jock itch.  One-half teaspoon in water in the morning for a few days will lessen the irritability of urethra and prostate inflammations.  The whole plant can be boiled into a strong tea and used for bathing sunburned and abraded areas for relief of pain. The dried plant is a feeble opiate and helps to reduce pain and bring sleep, a rounded tablespoon in t4ea.  The seeds are a strong cathartic, a teaspoon or two crushed in water and drunk. They have somewhat of a sedative and narcotic effect when eaten and have traditionally been smoked alone or with tobacco. 

Mi Meng Hua (Buddleia officinalis): The flowers and flower buds have an action similar to vitamin P, reducing the permeability and fragility of the blood vessels of the skin and small intestine. They are used in the treatment of various eye problems like night blindness, cataract and eyestrain. They are also used in the treatment of gonorrhea, hepatitis and hernia. A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of collyrium. Also used in the treatment of gonorrhea, hepatitis and hernia.  The root has been used for asthma and coughing with blood. Leaf used as decoction for collyrium, used in gonorrhea, hepatitis, hernia. 

Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum)    - Silymarin is poorly soluble in water, so aqueous preparations such as teas are ineffective, except for use as supportive treatment in gallbladder disorders because of cholagogic and spasmolytic effects. The drug is best administered parenterally because of poor absorption of silymarin from the gastrointestinal tract. The drug must be concentrated for oral use.   Silymarin’s hepatoprotective effects may be explained by its altering of the outer liver cell membrane structure, as to disallow entrance of toxins into the cell.  This alteration involves silymarin’s ability to block the toxin’s binding sites, thus hindering uptake by the cell.  Hepatoprotection by silymarin can also be attributed to its antioxidant properties by scavenging prooxidant free radicals and increasing intracellular concentration of glutathione, a substance required for detoxicating reactions in liver cells. 
Silymarin’s mechanisms offer many types of therapeutic benefit in cirrhosis with the main benefit being hepatoprotection. Use of milk thistle, however, is inadvisable in decompensated cirrhosis.  In patients with acute viral hepatitis, silymarin shortened treatement time and showed improvement in serum levels of bilirubin, AST and ALT. 

Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) A root decoction (either fresh or dried) strengthens the heart in a different way from digitalis, and without the foxglove derivative’s toxicity.  It also soothes the nerves and is listed as an emetic, anthelmintic (kills worms) and stomach tonic.  It helps relieve edema probably by strengthening the heart.  It’s also a diaphoretic and expectorant.  It’s used for coughs, colds, arthritis aggravated by the cold, threatened inflammation of the lungs, asthma, bronchitis, female disorders, diarrhea and gastric mucus.  The milky sap is used topically, fresh or dried, to reduce warts. 
The root is emetic and cathartic in large doses.  In average doses it is considered diuretic, expectorant and diaphoretic.  It is said to produce temporary sterility if taken as a tea.
Used for afflictions of the nerves and the urinary tract and for pressing

Milkweed, South African (Asclepias physocarpa): It is used for intestinal troubles in children or as a remedy for colds.  The powdered leaves were dried for snuff.

Milkwort, Fringed (Polygala paucifolia): Its primary purpose is antiseptic, to heal broken skin and infected sores  The milky exudation was also thought to quicken the removal of deposits from the bowels and kidneys. Fringed milkwort possesses similar properties to Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris), and may be employed as a substitute. The root of has a pleasant, spicy flavor, very similar to that of gaultheria. In doses of from 3 to 10 grains, bitter polygala is an excellent bitter tonic; from 10 to 30 grains act upon the bowels, and cause slight diaphoresis. An infusion has been found beneficial as a tonic in debility of the digestive organs. It may be used in all cases where a bitter tonic is indicated.

Miner’s Lettuce (Montia perfoliata): Apart from its value as a nourishing vegetable, miner’s lettuce, like its relative purslane, may be taken as a spring tonic and an effective diuretic.  

Mint (Mentha spp): Ayurvedic physicians have used mint for centuries as a tonic and digestive aid and as a treatment for colds, cough, and fever.  Medieval German abbess/herbalist Hildegard of Bingen recommended mint for digestion and gout.  Shortly after Culpeper wrote about the benefits of mint, peppermint and spearmint were differentiated, and herbalists decided the former was the better digestive aid, cough remedy, and treatment for colds and fever.  Spearmint cannot replace peppermint in combined bile and liver or nerve herbal teas even though it is used as a stomachic and carminative.   
The Chinese use bo he ( M. arvensis) as a cooling remedy for head colds and influenza and also for some types of headaches, sore throats, and eye inflammations.  As a liver stimulant, it is added to remedies for digestive disorders or liver qi (energy) stagnation).  Disperses wind-heat: for patterns of wind-heat with fever, headache and cough.  Clears the head and eyes and benefits the throat: for patterns of wind-heat with sore throat, red eyes, and headache.  Vents rashes: used in the early stages of rashes such as measles to induce the rash to come to the surface and thereby speed recovery. 
Peppermint also contains antioxidants that help prevent cancer, heart disease and other diseases associated with aging.  From Jim Duke’s “Green Pharmacy” comes a Stone Tea for gallstone attach:  brew a mint tea from as many mints as possible especially spearmint and peppermint and add some cardamom, the richest source of borneol, another compound that is helpful.
The oil of peppermint has been shown to be antimicrobial and antiviral against Newcastle disease, herpes simplex, vaccinia, Semliki Forest and West Nile viruses.
Menthol is an allergic sensitizer that may cause hives.  The menthol in oil of peppermint is an effective local anesthetic.  It increases the sensitivity of the receptors in the skin that perceive the sensation of coolness and reduces the sensitivity of the receptors that perceive pain and itching.  Menthol is also a counterirritant, an agent that causes the small blood vessels under the skin to dilate, increasing the flow of blood to the area and making the skin feel warm.  When you apply a skin lotion made with menthol, your skin feels cool for a minutes, then warm.  Menthol’s anesthetic properties also make it useful in sprays and lozenges for sore throats.

Mint, Habek (Mentha longifolia): A popular traditional medicine. It is mainly used for respiratory ailments but many other uses have also been recorded. It is mostly the leaves that are used, usually to make a tea that is drunk for coughs, colds, stomach cramps, asthma, flatulence, indigestion and headaches. Externally, wild mint has been used to treat wounds and swollen glands. The infusion of leaves is taken as a cooling medicine. Dried leaves and flowers tops are carminative and stimulant. It is believed to the best remedy for headaches.  In parts of Africa it is used for opthalmatic diseases.  The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use.  It will make a soothing drink for coughs and colds.  The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses. Externally it has been used to treat wounds and swollen glands.

Mint, Japanese (Mentha arvensis piperascens): Japanese mint, like many other members of this genus, is often used as a domestic herbal remedy, being valued especially for its antiseptic properties and its beneficial effect on the digestion. A tea made from the leaves has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are a classical remedy for stomach cancer. It is said to relieve hay fever symptoms within minutes. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though can be toxic in large doses.

Mint, River (Mentha australis): The river mint is widespread in inland areas of Australia and was used as a medicinal plant by the Aborigines.  It was boiled in water and used for the relief of coughs and colds.  It is recorded the plant was used by the Aborigines to induce abortions.  It was also used by early settlers as a tonic. A tea made from the leaves of most mint species has traditionally been used in the treatment of fevers, headaches, digestive disorders and various minor ailments. The leaves are harvested as the plant comes into flower and can be dried for later use. The essential oil in the leaves is antiseptic, though it is toxic in large doses and can cause abortions.

Mistletoe (Viscum album): Despite the traditional belief that European and American mistletoe have opposite actions, science has found out that they contain similar active chemicals and have similar effects.  Mistletoe has the ability to slow the pulse, stimulate gastrointestional and uterine contractions, and lower blood pressure.   
          European mistletoe is chiefly used to lower blood pressure and heart rate, ease anxiety, and promote sleep.  In low doses it also relieves panic attacks, headaches, and improves concentration.  European mistletoe is also prescribed for tinnitus and epilepsy.  In anthroposophical medicine, extracts of the berries are injected to treat cancer.    
European mistletoe’s efficacy as an anticancer treatment has been subject to a significant amount of research.  Studies going back 25 years show mistletoe impairs the growth of test-tube tumor cells.  In Germany three mistletoe-based chemotherapy agents are administered by injection to treat human cancers.  The great advantage offered by mistletoe extracts is that unlike other chemotherapeutic drugs, their immunostimulant and tonic effects are nontoxic and well tolerated.    There is no doubt that certain constituents, especially the viscotoxins, exhibit an anticancer activity, but the value of the whole plant in cancer treatment is not fully accepted.
Several Indian tribes used American mistletoe to induce abortions and it stimulate contractions during childbirth.  Koreans use mistletoe tea to treat colds, muscle weakness and arthritis.  Chinese physicians prescribe the dried inner stems as a laxative, digestive aid, sedative and uterine relaxant during pregnancy.

Mockernut (Carya alba): The inner bark has been used as a dressing for cuts and has also been chewed to treat sore mouths.

Mosote (Priva lappulacea): The plant is used in Choco cough medicine.  For internal parasites, boil a handful of leaves in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes; drink 3 cups of tea daily for 3 days, followed by a purge.  Leaves parched over a flame are powdered and applied to sores, infections, wounds, and fungal conditions.  Mash leaves into a poultice and rub juice on itching skin condition or rashes.

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca )   Motherwort is primarily an herb of the heart.  Several species have sedative effects, decreasing muscle spasms and temporarily lowering blood pressure.  Chinese studies found that extracts decrease clotting and the level of fat in the blood and can slow heart palpatations and rapid heartbeat.  Another of motherwort’s uses is to improve fertility and reduce anxiety associated with childbirth, postpartum depression, and menopause. If used in early labor it will ease labor pains and calms the nerves after childbirth.  Take motherwort only once soon after giving birth as consistent use before the uterus has clamped down may cause bleeding to continue.  Use one to two times a day in the weeks following birth for easing tension and supporting a woman through the feelings that come with new mothering. Do not use during pregnancy.  Motherwort  helps bring on a delayed or suppressed menstrual flow, especially when someone is anxious and tense.  Chinese women often use it combined with dong quai as a menstrual regulator.  Avoid using for menstrual cramps when bleeding is heavy.  It strengthens and relaxes the uterine muscles and eases uterine cramping.     It also reduces fevers, and is especially suggested for illnesses associated with nervousness or delirium. Motherwort was formerly used to treat rheumatism and lung problems, like bronchitis and asthma.  Motherwort may help an overactive thyroid but does not depress normal thyroid function.   Tincture the leaves and flowers as soon as you pick them. If you prefer to dry them, lay the leaves and stalks onto screens.  Motherwort tea has a very bitter taste.  Chinese medicine uses the seeds to aid in urination; cool the body system; treat excessive menstrual flow, absence of menstruation. 

Mouse Ear (Pilosella officinarum)  Mouse-ear hawkweed relaxes the muscles of the bronchial tubes, stimulates the cough reflex and reduces the production of mucus.  It is used for respiratory problems where there is a lot of mucus being formed, with soreness and possibly even the coughing of blood.  It is considered a specific in cases of whooping cough.  It may also be found beneficial in bronchitis or bronchitic asthma.  The astringency and the diuretic action also help to counter the production of mucus, sometimes throughout the respiratory system.  The herb is used to control heavy menstrual bleeding and to ease the coughing up of blood.  Externally it may be used as a poultice to aid wound-healing or specifically to treat hernias and fractures.  A powder made from it was used to stem nosebleeds.  The tea is an occasional home remedy for fever and diarrhea.

Mozote (Triumfetta semitriloba): In Costa Rica, mozote is used as a treatment for colds and diarrhea. The aqueous extract in Costa Rican folk medicine as remedy for the treatment of peptic ulcer.  Mexicans use a decoction of the root for treating venereal disease, as well as kidney and liver problems, while a more astringent leaf decoction is used in Yucatan to treat hemorrhoids and leucorrhea

Mu Tung (Akebia quinata): A popular traditional remedy for insufficient lactation in nursing mothers is to simmer 10-15 grams of this herb together with pork knuckles for 3 hours, adding water as needed, then drinking the herbal broth throughout the day.

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)-- The classic herb for premenstrual symptoms, used in tea and the bath.  Use a standard infusion of two teaspoons per cup of water steeped for 20 minutes, take ¼ cup flour times a day.  It makes a good foot bath for tired feet and legs.  Cleansing to the liver, it promotes digestion.  Mugwort is an emmenagogue, especially when combined with pennyroyal, blue cohosh, or angelica root.  It is helpful in epilepsy, palsy, and hysteria and is useful for fevers.
HOMEOPATHIC: Homeopaths use Artemisia vulgaris for petit mal epilepsy, somnambulism, profuse perspiration that smells like garlic and dizziness caused by colored lights.  It is especially effective when given with wine.  

Mugwort, Mountain (Artemisia franserioides): As a cold and flu medicine it is drunk cold to settle the stomach, and hot to bring on and to reduce fever.  It also is brewed as a bitter tonic for stomach pains and acidosis from greasy and rancid foods. Also used for diarrhea. 

Mugwort, Wild (Artemisia lactiflora): White mugwort is a bitter aromatic tonic herb. The leaves and flowering stems are used internally in traditional Chinese medicine to treat menstrual and liver disorders.

Muira Puama (Ptychopetalum olacoides (Liriosma ovata is a different species but often used interchangeably)   Historically, all parts of the plants have been used medicinally, but the bark and roots are the primary parts of the plant utilized. It has long been used in the Amazon by indigenous peoples for a number of purposes and found its way into herbal medicine in South America and Europe in the 1920's. Indigenous tribes in Brazil use the roots and bark taken internally as a tea for treating sexual debility and impotency, neuromuscular problems, rheumatism, grippe, cardiac asthenia, gastrointestinal asthenia and to prevent baldness. It is also used externally in baths and massages for treating paralysis and beri-beri.
         Muira puma has a long history in herbal medicine as an aphrodisiac, a tonic for the nervous system an antirheumatic and for gastrointestinal disorders. In 1925, a pharamacological study was published on muira puama which indicated it effectiveness in treating disorders of the nervous system and sexual impotency which indicated that "permanent effect is produced in locomotor ataxia, neuralgias of long standing, chronic rheumatism, and partial paralysis." In 1930, Penna wrote about Muira puama in his book and cited physiological and therapeutic experiments conducted in France by Dr. Rebourgeon which confirmed the efficacy of the plant for "gastrointestinal and circulatory asthenia and impotency of the genital organs." Two closely related species of Ptychopetalum were used interchangeably when it became popular in the 1920's and 30's - P. olacoides and P. uncinatum and a third species, Liriosma ovata syn Dulacia inopiflora, (which also had a common name of muira puama) was used as well. Early European explorers noted the indigenous uses and the aphrodisiac qualities of muira puama and brought it back to Europe, where it has become part of the herbal medicine of England. Because of the long history of use of Muira puama in England, it is still listed in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, a noted source on herbal medicine from the British Herbal Medicine Association, where it is recommended for the treatment of dysentery and impotence. It has been in the Brazilian Pharmacopeia since the 1950's.
             Scientists began searching for the active components in the root and bark of Muira puama to determine the reasons for it efficacy in the 1920's. Early research discovered that the root and bark were rich in free fatty acids, essential oil, plant sterols, and a new alkaloid which they named "muirapuamine." Since it continued to be used throughout the world as an aphrodisiac and treatment for impotency as well as for hookworms, dysentery, rheumatism and central nervous system disorders with success, scientists began researching the plant's constituents and pharmacological properties again in the late 1960's, continuing on until the late 1980's.
             Muira puama is still employed around the world today in herbal medicine. In Brazil and South American herbal medicine, it is used a neuromuscular tonic, for asthenia, paralysis, chronic rheumatism, sexual impotency, grippe, ataxia, and central nervous system disorders In Europe, it is used to treat impotency, infertility, neurasthenia, menstrual disturbances and dysentery. It has been gaining in popularity in the United States where herbalists and health care practitioners are using muira puama for impotency, menstrual cramps and PMS, neurasthenia and central nervous system disorders. The benefits in treating impotency with muira puama has recently been studied in two human trials which showed that Muira puama was proven to be effective in improving libido and treating erectile dysfunction. In a study conducted in Paris, France, of 262 male patients experiencing lack of sexual desire and the inability to attain or maintain an erection, 62% of the patients with loss of libido reported that the extract of muira puama "had a dynamic effect" and 51% of patients with erectile dysfunctions felt that muira puama was beneficial. The second study conducted by Waynberg in France evaluated the positive psychological benefits of Muira puama in 100 men with male sexual asthenia.
           It is important to note that to achieve the beneficial effects of the plant, proper preparation methods must be employed. The active constituents found in the natural bark thought to be responsible for Muira Puama's effect are not water soluble nor are they broken down in the digestive process. Therefore taking a ground bark or root powder in a capsule or tablet will not be very effective. High heat for at least 20 minutes or longer in alcohol in necessary to dissolve and extract the volatile and essential oils, terpenes, gums and resins found in the bark and root that have been linked to Muira Puama's beneficial effects.

Mullein (Verbascum thrapsis): One of the primary herbs for any lung problem, including whooping cough, asthma, bronchitis and chest colds.  It was traditionally smoked for lung conditions.  It is also a diuretic used to relieve urinary tract inflammation, diarrhea, and inflammation, colitis, or other bleeding in the bowel.  The flowers extracted into olive oil make a preparation that is known to reduce the pain and inflammation of earache, insect bites, bruises, hemorrhoids, and sore joints.  A distilled flower water or a poultice has been placed on burns, ringworm, boils and sores.  The leaves are used in homeopathic products for migraine and earache.   

Mustard, Chinese (Brassica cernua): The seeds treat pain in nerves, arthritis, pneumonia

Mustard, Tansy (Descurainia pinnata): The Navajo and Cahuilla Indians used this plant for medicinal purposes. The ground up seeds was used in the treatment of stomach complaints. A poultice of the plant has been used to ease the pain of toothache. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a wash on sores.

Mustard, Tumble  (Sisymbrium altissimum): The leaves and flowers have medicinal properties that has been used to cause tissue to contract. They also contain an agent that is effective against scurvy.

Mustard, Wormseed (Erysimum cheiranthoides): A drink made from the crushed seed is used as a vermifuge. It is intensely bitter but has been used on children and expels the worms both by vomit and by excretion. A decoction of the root has been applied to skin eruptions. Occasionally used as an anthelmintic.  It is also used in folk medicine to treat rhueumatism, jaundice, dropsy and asthma. The root mixed in water was applied to skin eruptions

Myrrh  (Commiphora myrrha): Germany’s Commission E has endorsed powdered myrrh for the treatment of mild inflammations of the mouth and throat because it contains high amounts of tannins.  Myrrh improves digestion, diarrhea and immunity.  It treats coughs, gum disease, wounds, candida, overactive thyroid and scanty menstruation.  Used for: amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, menopause, cough, asthma, bronchitis, arthritis, rheumatism, traumatic injuries, ulcerated surfaces, anemia, pyorrhea.  Used to kill yeast (10 capsules daily). 
Myrrh is used internally for stomach complaints, tonsillitis, phayrngitis and gingivitis, and externally for ulcers, boils and wounds.  Acts directly and rapidly on peptic  glands to increase activity, in this way increasing digestion.  Promotes absorption and assimilation of nutrients.  Good for obesity and diabetes.  For inner ear infections, combine equal parts of echinacea and mullein with one-part myrrh to make a tea.
Increases circulation, stimulates flow of blood to capillaries.  Clears out mucus-clogged passages throughout the body.  Antiseptic to mucus membranes, regulates secretions of these tissues.  Good for glandular fever, fever symptoms like cold skin, weak pulse. 
Research suggests that it can lower blood cholesterol levels.  In China, it is taken to move blood and relieve painful swellings.  For an infusion that might help prevent heart disease, use 1 teaspoon of powdered herb per cup of boiling water.  Steep 10 minutes.  Drink up to 2 cups a day.  Myrrh tastes bitter and unpleasant.  Add sugar, honey and lemon or mix it into an herbal beverage blend to improve flavor.

Myrtle (Myrtus communis): The plant is powerfully antiseptic owing to the myrtol it contains and it has good astringent properties.  In medicine the leaves were used for their stimulating effect on the mucous membranes, and for the chest pains and dry coughs of consumptive people.  

Myrtle, Lemon-Scented (Backhousia citriodora): Made as a tea for coughs, colds and other respiratory ailments, sinus and stress. Lemon myrtle tea is used for free blood flow and to make the blood less sticky.  Singers have also told us lemon myrtle tea is a good tonic for their throats.



Naked Broom Rape (Orobanche uniflora): Used for both its laxative and sedative properties.  Folkloric use has been as a remedy for cancer.

Nasturtium, (Tropaeolum majus): Nasturtium is an antiseptic and digestive herb, also used to treat respiratory and urinary disorders; seeds are a vermifuge and crushed for use in poultices for boils and sores.

Negrito  (Simarouba glauca):   Researchers have confirmed strong antiviral properties of the bark in vitro against herpes, influenza, polio, and vaccinia viruses. Another area of research on simarouba and its plant chemicals has focused on cancer and leukemia. The quassinoids responsible for the anti-amebic and antimalarial properties have also shown in clinical research to possess active cancer-killing properties.

Nepitella,  (Calamintha nepeta)  Calamintha nepita breaks a fever by promoting sweating. It is also used as an expectorant and helps to cure jaundice. Effective when applied to snake bites and insect stings. In the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, a study reported in 1993 showed that Calamintha nepita when analyzed for its antimicrobial and fungicide activities it was found to have a biotoxic effect.

Neroli,  (Citrus aurantium ssp. Aurantium)—bitter orange: The strongly acidic fruit of the bitter orange stimulates the digestion and relieves flatulence.  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 distilled flower water is antispasmodic and sedative. 

Nettles (Urtica dioica): Nettle leaves are a blood builder often used as a spring tonic and to treat anemia and poor circulation.  They contain both iron and vitamin C, which aids iron absorption.  In the past, nettle was eaten or sipped to reduce uric acid and to treat gout and arthritis. It encouraged mother’s milk, lowers blood sugar and decreases profuse menstruation.  It acts as a light laxative and diuretic (possibly due to its flavonoids and high potassium content).  Both a tea and a poultice of cooked nettles are used to treat eczema and other skin conditions (combines well with figwort and burdock).  An astringent that stops bleeding, the powder is snuffed to stop nosebleeds.  Curled dock leaves provide a remedy for the nettle’s sting and the fresh juice of nettles themselves relieves the sting as well.  Nettle is used by asthmatics-mix the juice of the leaves or roots with honey, take to relieve bronchial or asthmatic troubles.  The seeds were once thought to allay consumption, the infusion being taken in wine glass doses.  They were also given in wine as a cure for ague, in powder form they were used for goiter, also important in reducing diets.  It was thought that a fever could be cured by pulling a nettle up by the roots, reciting the names of the sick man and his parents.  Nettle tea was once used for dropsy and as a diuretic.  Tincture of nettle is made of 2 oz of the green herb to one pint of proof spirit; Infusions are made by adding 1 oz of the herb to a pint of boiling water.

Nettle, Bull (Solanum eleagnifolium): Treats cutaneous diseases, syphilitic conditions, excites venereal functions, leprosy, teeter, eczema, scrofula, rheumatic and cachectic affections, ill-conditioned ulcers, glandular swellings, obstructed menstruation, and as a treatment of cancers. Tea is taken 1-2 cups is good for skin/hair diseases and worms. Bark in vodka is taken a few drops at a time for heart disease.  Externally 1 lb of bark is heated slowly in 1 lb of lard for 8 hours treats painful tumors, ulcers, irritated skin, piles, burns, scalds, etc..

New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)  The bark of the red roots was used as a sedative, stimulant, and antispasmodic and for treating respiratory diseases, high blood pressure, and enlarged spleens.    The plant has been used to treat gonorrhea, dysentery, and eye disease in children.  The root is reported to be a stimulant, a sedative, and a means of loosening phlegm.  Much later, a commercial preparation of the bark was used to prevent hemorrhaging after surgery.  New Jersey tea root-bark has been recommended for various chest problems, including chronic bronchitis, nervous asthma, whooping cough, and consumption. It has also been used as a gargle for inflammations and irritations in the mouth and throat, particularly for swollen tonsils. American Indians used a tea made from the whole plant for skin problems (including skin cancer and venereal sores). Ceanothus is one of the few remedies which has a direct affinity for the malfunction of the spleen, and is of special help in all ailments where there is despondency and melancholy.  It is an indirect herbal agent for diabetes.  Especially useful in nervousness when mentally disturbed, bilious sick headache, acute indigestion and nausea due to inactivity of the liver.  The astringent action of a strong tea for hemorrhoids will decrease the tissue if used often.  Red Root is a lymphatic remedy, stimulating lymph and interstitial-fluid circulation.   It prevents the buildup of congested fluids in lymphatic tissue as well as clearning out isolated fluid cysts that may form in some soft tissues.  It will help reabsorption of some ovarian cysts and testicular hydroceles when combined with Dong Quai or Blue Cohosh and Helonias Roots.  For breast cysts that enlarge and shrink with the estrous cycle and have been diagnosed medically as such, combine the Red Root with Cotton Root, Inmortal, or 3-5 drop doses of Phytolacca tincture.
            It is an excellent treatment for tonsil inflammations, sore throats, enlarged lymph nodes, and chronic adenoid enlargements.

Nigella, (Nigella sativa): Nigella is considered carminative, a stimulant, and a diuretic.  A paste of the seeds is applied for skin eruptions and is sure to relieve scorpion stings.  The seeds are antiseptic and used to treat intestinal worms, especially in children.  The seeds are much used in India to increase breast milk.  The seeds are often scattered between folds of clothes as an effective insect repellant. 

Nigella,  (Nigella sativa):  Nigella is considered carminative, a stimulant, and diuretic.  A paste of the seeds is applied for skin eruptions and is sure to relieve scorpion stings.  The seeds are antiseptic and used to treat intestinal worms, especially in children.  The seeds are much used in India to increase breast milk. The seeds are often scattered between folds of clothes  as an effective insect repellent.  Alcoholic extracts of the seeds are used as stabilizing agents for some edible fats.  In India, the seeds are also considered as stimulant, diaphoretic and emmenagogue. Some of the conditions nigella has been used for include: eruption fever, puerperium (Iraq); liver disease (Lebanon); cancer (Malaya); joints, bronchial asthma, eczema, rheumatis (Middle East); with butter for cough and colic (North Africa); excitant (Spain); boosing immune system, colds (U.S.)    A recent study in South Carolina at the International Immuno-Biology Research Laboratory showed that there was some action against cancer cells using nigella plant extract. 

Ningpo Figwort (Scrophularia ningpoensis): A bitter, saline, cooling herb that lowers fever, blood pressure, and blood sugar, and has antibacterial effects.  Small doses act as a heart tonic; large doses depress cardiac function.  The root is used internally for feverish illnesses with symptoms such as rashes, delirium, and insomnia (associated with excess heat), dry cough, throat infections, abscesses, and carbuncles. Small doses are cardiotonic; large doses impeded cardiac functions; the drug also lowers blood sugar. 

Nutmeg, California (Torreya californica): The nuts have been chewed as a treatment for indigestion. A decoction of the nuts has been used in the treatment of tuberculosis. The crushed seeds have been rubbed on the temples in the treatment of headaches. They have also been rubbed on the body to cause sweating in the treatment of chills and fevers.  






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