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U Herbs

Uhaloa (Waltheria indica)  Although it is frequently used to treat asthma and painful coughs, only the Hawaiians are known to use it for sore throats.  Sufferers chew the root bark and gargle the juice.  Uhaloa is a very effective treatment for high blood pressure and diabetes. The remedy is made by pounding a bundle of the root bark, stems and leaves with a little lemongrass and ginger for flavoring, then brewing the material into a strong decoction that is consumed over five days.  A traditional plant of the Hawaiian medica, Uhaloa is used for sore throat, common cold, cough, bronchial phlegm or mucous.
              In Polynesia the root bark (cortex) is chewed upon for sore throat, while in Hawaii it is used internally for arthritis, neuralgia and chronic cases of asthma.  An infusion of stem and leaves is also used.   Used against the diarrhea, unwanted pregnancy, painful menstruation and fatigue. Also used for dry itchy cough, mucous, chest colds or chest congestion. It is used as a poultice for minor infections.   Root and leaves used as anti-spasmodic, in treating abdominal disorders, as an analgesic in toothache, tonic, in treating joints affections, diarrhea, and ulcers.  The flowers of the ‘uhaloa are considered "good medicine for children" (more than 10 days old).

Umbrella Leaf (Diphylleia cymosa) A root tea was used by the Cherokees to induce sweating.  The rarity of this plant have made any medicinal uses it may have unimportant. It has effects similar to Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum). Because of its rarity, little research has been carried out into its medicinal virtues. However, it is believed that the root might contain podophyllin, an effective anti-cancer agent.

Umckaloabo (Pelargonium sidoides) For hundreds of years the Zulu, Basuto, Xhosa and Mfengi cultures have used Umckaloabo  as a curative for coughs, upper respiratory tract irritations and gastrointestinal concerns.  It has been successfully used for the treatment of respiratory infections like bronchitis, sinusitis, and pneumonia, tonsillitis and rhinopharyngitis.  It is often used as an alternative to antibiotics. Acute and chronic ear, nose and throat infections. Rapid improvement in the symptoms associated with colds and flu.  It has significant analgesic effects.  Extracts of Pelargonium sidoides have clear antibacterial characteristics against Streptococci, Staphylococci and Bacillus cereus. 
          While most other cough, cold and sinus medications simply mask outward symptoms, the mechanisms and actions of Pelargonium sidoides actually support faster recovery. Clinical trials show that Pelargonium sidoides shortens the duration and reduces the severity of upper respiratory irritations.  In a physician assessment of adults and children suffering from common cold, chest and throat irritations, was rated effective in nearly 90% of cases.
             The alcoholic extract of the root has been shown to have a three-way effect. 
The p.sidoides extract prevents bacteria from attaching to cells in the mucous membranes.  Similarly, p.sidoides prevents viruses from attaching to the mucous membrane cells and stimulates the body’s immune system in such a way that both bacteria and viruses are prevented from multiplying. The extract acts as an expectorant, allowing the body to expel contaminated mucous making conditions less suitable for the multiplication of the bacteria and viruses.  The three-way effect attacks the acute infection at its root, the stabilization of the immune system prevents a re-infection and the vicious circle of infection, short recovery phase and new infection is broken. Due to its bacteriostatic and immune-modulating characteristics p.sidoides appears to be a good alternative to the conventional therapy of treating respiratory illnesses with antibiotics. 

Usnea (Usnea barbata)  It has been shown to contain a strong tuberculostatic antibiotic, usnic acid, which, together with mucilage, is also found in some other lichens.  It is affective against most streptococcus and staphylococcus infections, and for trichomonas in women (take in tincture form every two hours for a week).  It is also good applied full strength to infected cuts, fungus infections, impetigo, gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract and streptococcus infections. 
           Usnea kills microbes by disrupting cellular metabolism, unlike other antibiotics which disrupt structural components of bacterial cells. Human cells are not affected. Usnea does not kill all bacteria, such as "gram-negative" microbes found in the gut. These naturally occurring bacteria are beneficial to our health. Unlike taking prescription antibiotics which kill the disease-causing bacteria as well as the natural flora in the vagina and gut, the use of Usnea does not adversely affect our natural body ecology.
            Generally, Usnea can be used for infections externally and internally caused by fungi (like ringworm or athlete's foot), yeast, gram-positive bacteria (as in strep throat, pneumonia), tuberculosis, or vaginal infections caused by trichomonas. An extract (tincture) is a convenient way to take Usnea. It can be diluted in a small amount of water for external application on the skin or for a vaginal douche.  Usnea is especially effective for acute bacterial infections when taken in extract form every two hours. Many have also had great success using Usnea for sinusitis, bronchitis, abcesses, pneumonia and colds when nothing else has worked.

Uva Ursi   (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)  Uva-ursi is one of the best natural urinary antiseptics.  It has been used extensively in herbal medicine to disinfect and astringe the urinary tract in cases of acute and chronic cystitis and urethritis.  However, it is not a suitable remedy if there is a simultaneous infection of the kidneys.  Experiments have shown that uva-ursi extracts have an antibacterial effect.  This action is thought to be stronger in alkaline urine-thus the efficacy of uva-ursi is likely to increase if it is taken in combination with a vegetable-based diet.  Sodium bicarbonate is often administered with uva ursi to help increase the alkalinity of the urine.  In the urinary tract, the arbutin in uva ursi is chemically transformed into an antiseptic chemical, hydroquinone.  Beta-carotene, present in generous quantities in uva ursi, is known to stimulate the production of epithelial cells.  Ursolic acid has antiseptic properties and the flavonoids have spasmolytic properties on the smooth muscles which help reduce reactions to pain stimulus in urinary tract infections and increase renal volume in inflamed renal tubules.    Uva Ursi’s allantoin may help spur wound healing.  Allantoin is the active ingredient in several over-the-counter skin creams for relief of oral herpes and for irritation associated with vaginal infections.  It’s the diuretic most often used in herbal weight-loss formulas as a diuretic.  Uva Ursi is among the herbs useful in diabetes for excessive sugar. 

Uzara (Xysmalobium undulatum) The native inhabitants of South Africa have long used the root of the uzara plant to treat digestive complaints.  In Europe it was first introduced as an antidiarrheal herb in the early 1900s and is also commonly recommended for digestive cramps and irritable bowel syndrome today because of its spasmolytic effect. 
             The dried root of 2-3 year old plants is used internally for acute diarrhea by inhibiting the intestinal peristalsis..  With a rational treatment, uzara stops diarrhea, pains and vomiting.  It is also used for afterbirth cramps, dysentery, stomach cramps, colic, edema, headaches, indigestion, and dysmenorrhea. Externally, Uzara root can be used in a poultice for treating sores and wounds.  The powdered root is snuffed by the Zulus for a sedative effect.


Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)  Valerian root is a general tranquilizer used for relieving nervous tension, insomnia, and headaches.  Widely studied, it has been shown to sedate the central nervous system due to the valepotriates and other components found in the essential oil. Valerian decreases muscle spasms, so is useful for cases of nervous digestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and stomach or menstrual cramps.  It contains many types of valeopotriates that have opposing effects, indicating that it has the ability to regulate many conditions.  In one study, it sedated agitated patients, but stimulated those suffering from fatigue.  Valerian improved the quality of sleep in subjects in another study, as observed in their brain-wave patterns.  It also reduced the time it took them to fall asleep, especially the elderly and the habitually poor sleepers, but did not affect their dream recall or ability to wake up in the morning.  In Germany, hyperactive children have been treated with valerian since the 1970s.  After taking valerian for only a few weeks, 120 children diagnosed as hyperactive, anxious, or learning disabled had better muscle coordination and reaction time, and showed less aggression, restlessness, anxiety, and fear.  Valerian may also lower blood pressure and strengthen the optic nerve in the eye, although thus far, only animal studies have been done.

Valerian, Indian (Valeriana wallichii) This Valerian has been used traditionally for thousands of years in Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine. It is commonly used for migraine symptoms, epilepsy, insanity, delirium, insomnia, skin diseases, obesity, scorpion stings, snake bites and as an essential oil in perfumery.  For epilepsy it is combined with mistletoe.  It has a remarkable influence on the cerebro-spinal system, hypochrondriasis (abnormal concern about one's health), hysteria, insomnia, migraines (does not cause side effects like normal sleeping tablets do, it strengthens the nerves instead of anesthetizing them), nervous unrest and nervous tension, neuralgia, neurasthenia, St. Vitus Dance.  Other uses have been to lower blood pressure and palpitations, menstrual cramps and to aid liver function.  Externally the pure oil of Valerian can be used for spinal rubs in diseases where the spinal cord needs lessened sensibility to pain and stimulation.  In its native area, the dry roots are used to remove foul odor of mouth caused by tooth trouble.  This species is an effective substitute for V. officinalis. 

Valerian, Marsh (Valeriana dioica) It is primarily used as a sedative, and several tribes used the root for nervous problems, hysteria, and cardiac palpitations.  The leaves and the roots are the parts of the plant that are used to prepare teas and decoctions. Plants that have not yet flowered are preferred. It has a tranquilizing effect with few of the side effects found in many of the synthetic sedatives but as with all wild plants the concentration of the active ingredient is extremely variable. Large doses can cause vomiting, stupor and dizziness. The Blackfoot Indians used an infusion of American Valerian roots for stomach problems.  The Thompson Indians of British Columbia found the plant useful as an external treatment for wounds.  The dried roots were powdered and sprinkled onto the wound as an antiseptic; the fresh roots were pounded and applied to the injured area; and the fresh leaves were chewed and placed on the wound.  The Bella Coola Indians used the oil from the flowers mixed with bear fat as a cure for baldness. The Cree Indians chewed the roots and rubbed them on their head and temples for headache. A poultice was also made and applied to the ears for earache.

Vanilla (Vanilla planiforlia)  In the 16th and 17th centuries vanilla was believed to have various medicinal properties and was used as a stomach herb, a stimulant and aphrodisiac and an antidote to poisons.  It was first included in European pharmacopoeias in the 18th century and was listed in the British and American ones for many years.  It acts on the nervous system and used to be used to treat hysteria and high fevers.

Vaquero (Dendropanax arboreus) Leaves and roots of this honey tree are used in Tico medicine.  It is also used for snakebites and externally for foot inflammation in Columbia and by the Tacana in the Bolivian Amazon. A preparation from the roots is used to treat fever. Leaves of Dendropanax arboreus showed cytotoxic activity especially against certain tumor cell lines.

Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens)  a source of the dopa that's converted by the brain to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Reductions in dopamine have been associated with Parkinson's disease, which occurs when brain cells that produce dopamine are destroyed.  Velvet beans have actually been used in clinical trials to treat Parkinson’s.  The researchers at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine used a velvet bean preparation called HP-0 which is derived from the inner part of the bean.  The HP-0 was standardized so that each gram of the preparation contained 33.33 milligrams of L-dopa.   Velvet bean also contains bufotenine (a cholinesterase inhibitor) and serotonin (a brain neurotransmitter that may be involved in learning, sleep, and control of moods).  Bufotenine treats parasitic intestinal worms; pesticide. In Ayurvedic medicine it’s considered a  tonic and aphrodisiac to the reproductive system, rejuvenative, excellent for Vata.  An herbal source of levadopa.  1 tablespoon = 25/100 Sinemet but without the carbidopa.  
It may help with improving sexual dysfunction, loss of libido, stimulating arousal, and increasing intensity and frequency of orgasms for both men and women.  L-Dopa is an effective inhibitor of pituitary prolactin release.  Excess prolactin is thought to cause erection failures.

Velvet Leaf (Cissampelos pareira) Practitioners commonly rely on velvet leaf as an excellent natural remedy for menstrual difficulties, including cramping and pain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), excessive bleeding, and fibroid tumors. Its ability to curb excessive menstrual bleeding very quickly can be quite remarkable. It is often employed in overall female balancing formulas, in kidney formulas (for its diuretic and smooth-muscle relaxant effects), and, in combination with other plants, in heart tonics and hypertension remedies.  It is also considered effective against malaria, fever, hepatic ailments, gastric ulcers, diabetes, anemia, high cholesterol, cerebral tonic, fever, typhoid, stomach ulcers, pain killer, chronic inflammation of the urinary passages, good diuretic, etc.  In North American herbal medicine, velvet leaf is used for many of the same conditions as in South America as well as for inflammation of the testicles and minor kidney problems.  Pereira root also acts as an antiseptic to the bladder and is therefore employed for the relief of chronic inflammation of the urinary passages. It is also a good diuretic.  The decoction of the stems and roots mixed with wild bee honey is used to treat sterile women. Root decoction used for post-menstrual hemorrhages, the alcoholic maceration, for rheumatism. Macerated leaves, bark and root, mixed with rum, are used by as aphrodisiac. Root decoction used as a cardio tonic, anti-anemic, anti-malarial. One tribe use a leaf decoction for fever and another use the decoction of the bark and stem as a dental analgesic. Some Ecuadorian tribes use the leaf decoction for conjunctivitis and snakebite.  Others use the root tea for difficult delivery  and nervous or weak children with colic.  Also used in homeopathy, in the form of a mother tincture.
             Abutua is a very useful herb for women’s affections.  Its antispasmodic action makes it influential in treating cramps, painful menstruation and pre and post-natal pain.  Brazilian Indian women have for centuries valued its analgesic powers, and the satchels of almost all midwives contain the root of this plant.  Helpful for menstrual cramps and difficult menstruation, pre- and post-natal pain  Aids poor digestion, drowsiness after meals and constipation. 

Velvetweed (Gaura parviflora)   a poultice made of the crushed plant has been used to treat muscular pains and arthritis

Vervain (Verbena officinalis)  Vervain achieved a reputation as a virtual panacea.  Colds, fevers, so-called nervous complaints, skin infections, and gout were among the disorders it was supposed to cure.  Herbalists still recommend vervain tea occasionally as a tonic, astringent, diuretic, diaphoretic, sedative, antispasmodic, and aphrodisiac.    In previous centuries, vervain leaves were used to treat autumn fevers.  They were found in formulas for liver and gall bladder problems and chronic skin conditions.  Vervain leaves were a traditional remedy for uterine cramping, and the glycosides they contain do show evidence of promoting menstruation and increasing mother’s milk.   They can also be taken during labor to stimulate contractions.  Vervain is made into a mouthwash for infected gums and a poultice for hemorrhoids or wounds.  A tea has been used  to treat insomnia, and as a digestive because of its bitter properties.  Vervain is prized as a restorative for the nervous system and is especially helpful for nervous tension.  It is thought to have a mild antidepressant action, and is used specifically to treat anxiety and the nervous exhaustion that follow long-term stress.   Vervain is also used in home-made liqueurs.  South American, Mexican and Chinese folk medicines suggest vervain tea for treating various growths and cancers, particularly of the neck, spleen and scrotum.  Avoid during pregnancy.
Chemically, vervain is quite different from aspirin, but German and Japanese studies suggest it has similar effects, combining mild pain relief with some ability to reduce inflammation. These findings support its traditional use in treating headache, toothache and wounds. 
Extracts have been shown to suppress thyroid hormone production by influencing levels of TSH in the body.

Vervain, Blue (Verbena hastata)  It treats fevers, colds, flu, hysteria, throat and lung congestion, liver disorders, and irregular menses and cramps.  This herb is more detoxifying and exerts its action both on the surface and internally as an alterative.  A natural tranquilizer and is helpful with colds and fevers, especially when the upper respiratory tract is involved. It will eliminate intestinal worms and is used externally for wounds.  When the circulation of the blood is weak and languid, it will increase and restore it to its proper operation.  The infusion, taken cold, forms a good tonic in cases of constitutional debility and during convalescence from acute diseases.   

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

Vetch, Tufted (Vicia cracca) Plant has been used as a galactogogue.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)  Vetiver roots are occasionally taken as a stimulating tonic drink in India.  They are used to improve digestion, encourage menstruation, and kill parasites.  It is said to have a “cooling” effect on the body and to increase sweating.  East Indians treat fevers, flus, and rheumatism with it. 

Vick's Plant (Plectranthus purpuratus) The leaves can be steeped in boiling water to vaporize the characteristic oils which are then inhaled, helping to clear nasal and respiratory passages. The leaves can also be applied as a poultice, or prepared in petroleum jelly-based ointments. Vasoline petroleum jelly works well.

Vidari (Ipomoea digitata) It is mucilaginous, bitter, and a nutritive tonic, useful in the management of abdominal pain, cramps, hysteria, nervous excitability, hormonal deficiency, impotency, senility, debility, liver and spleen complaints, fevers, infertility, colic, coughs, bronchitis, spermatorrhea, moderating menstrual discharges, general liver complaints, and emaciation in children. The tuberous root increases secretion of milk, emaciation, debility, poor digestion, increases weight, enlarged liver and spleen; moderates menstrual discharge, good for weak children. Also useful in leprosy, burning sensation, vomiting, blood disease. It improves voice and complexion. Flowers cause biliousness. According to Unani system of medicine, root is heating, dry, carminative, expectorant, anthelmintic, stomachic, appetizer, and useful in treatment of syphilis, gonorrhea and inflammation. Leaves enrich the blood.

Vietnamese Balm (Elsholtzia ciliata)  Its use is said to relieve the effects of excess alcohol. It is used in the treatment of common colds, edema and oliguria. The plant has a broad-spectrum antibacterial action.

Violet (Viola odorata)  Violets were known for their medicinal and antiseptic properties and were commonly used in antiseptics.  Violet tea is a sedative.  The leaves are useful for poultices to soothe and heal wounds.  The liquid extracts from the flowers and roots have expectorant and emollient properties.  It serves as an emetic in quantity, and has been used to treat respiratory disorders, as a gargle, in cough mixtures, and as a diuretic.  
Violet flowers contain generous amounts of rutin, which helps maintain the strength and integrity of capillary walls.  A few tablespoons would get you the 100 milligram daily dosage that research recommends is the most beneficial.  
Traditional Chinese medicine places violet leaf and root poultices on  hot swelling, inflammation, and mumps, while in the west, they traditionally have been used on swollen or tumorous breasts.

Violet, Birdsfoot (Viola pedata) A poultice of the leaves has been used to allay the pain of a headache.  An infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of dysentery, coughs and colds.  A poultice of the crushed root has been applied to boils.  The seeds have been recommended in uric acid gravel.  The plant parts and roots have been used as a mild laxative and to induce vomiting. A decoction of the above ground parts has been used to loosen phlegm in the chest, and for other pulmonary problems.

Violet, Canada (Viola canadensis) A tea made from the roots has been used in the treatment of pain in the bladder region.  The roots and leaves have traditionally been used to induce vomiting, they have also been poulticed and applied to skin abrasions and boils.

Violet, Canker (Viola rostrata) Said to be useful in pectoral and cutaneous diseases; also in syphilis

Violet, Chinese (Viola yezoensis) Clears toxins, reduces inflammation and is antibacterial.  Internally for boils, carbuncles, snakebite, skin disorders (especially erysipelas), mumps, and “hot” disorders with inflammation of the eyes, throat, or ears.

Violet, Common Blue (Viola sororia) Violet flowers and leaves are considered blood purifiers or detoxifiers. They’re a traditional treatment for cancer, especially breast cancer, taken internally and applied externally.   Violets contain rutin, which strengthens the capillaries, as well as vitamin C.  Violet-leaf tea is supposed to be good for lung congestion, coughs, colds, dysentery and infections, and a violet-leaf poultice is soothing for all kinds of skin irritations, small wounds and rashes as well as a headache.  A poultice of the crushed root has been applied to boils.

Violet, Dog's Tooth (Erythronium dens-canis) The freshly gathered roots are good against the worms in children and quickly ease the pains of the belly which the worms produce. The expressed juice is best, but if children will not take it, the roots should be boiled in milk. It is best to begin with a very small dose; and if that is well borne, to increase the quantity. The herb is mainly used externally as small internal doses cause vomiting. A poultice is made from the fresh leaves and applied to tumors, swellings and ulcers to stimulate healing. It is not recommended for internal use domestically.

Violet, Hooked Spur (Viola adunca) Early blue violet was used medicinally mostly by the Blackfoot and Bella Coola Indians. An infusion of the leaves and roots has been used to treat stomach problems and asthma in children, and also as a wash and poultice on sore and swollen joints. The roots and leaves have been chewed by women during childbirth. A poultice of the chewed leaves was applied to sore eyes. A poultice of the crushed flowers was applied to the side or chest in the  treatment of pain.  

Violet, Marsh Blue (Viola cucullata) Violet leaves are very effective in healing and give prompt relief in internal ulcers. For cancer they are a proven remedy.  Use externally for this purpose as a poultice, and take the tea internally.  For cancer and cancerous troths and other skin diseases, violet is especially beneficial when combined with red clover and vervaine.  Violet is a successful remedy in tumors, gout, coughs, colds, sore throat, sores, ulcers, scrofula, syphilis, bronchitis, and difficult breathing due to gases and morbid matter in the stomach and bowels.  Violet is wonderful for nervousness or general debility when combined with nerveroot, skullcap, or black cohosh.  Relieves severe headache and congestion in the head.  An infusion is very effective for whooping cough, colds and dysentery.  A poultice of the leaves has been used to reduce the pain of headaches. A poultice of the crushed root has been applied to boils.

Violet, White (Viola renifolia) Flower Essences: Indications: uncomfortable in closed spaces and constrained environments; fearful of losing one's identity in a group; unable to embody one's sensitivity in a comfortable way.


Wahoo   (Euonymous atropurpurea) The Sioux, Cree, and other Native American peoples used wahoo bark in various ways, as an eye lotion, a poultice for facial sores and for gynecological conditions.  Native Americans introduced the plant to early European settlers, and it became very popular in Britain as well as in North America in the 19th century.  Wahoo bark is considered a gallbladder remedy with laxative and diuretic properties.   It is prescribed for biliousness and liver problems as well as for skin conditions such as eczema (which may result from poor liver and gall bladder function), and for constipation.  In small doses, Euonymin stimulates the appetite and the flow of the gastric juice. In larger doses, it is irritant to the intestine and is cathartic. It has slight diuretic and expectorant effects, but its only use is as a purgative in cases of constipation in which the liver is disordered, and for which it is particularly efficacious. It is specially valuable in liver disorders which follow or accompany fever. It is mildly aperient and causes no nausea, at the same time stimulating the liver somewhat freely, and promoting a free flow of bile. It the past, it was often used in combination with herbs such as gentian as a fever remedy, especially if the liver was under stress.  Following the discovery that it contains cardiac glycosides, wahoo bark has been given for heart conditions. It is also a remedy for dandruff and scalp problems.  

Walking Fern (Asplenium rhizohyllum)  Used medicinally by the Cherokee Indians.  Those that dreamt of snakes drank a decoction of liverwort (Hepatica acutiloba) and walking fern to produce vomiting, after which dreams do not return. 

Wall Mustard (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) Like other members of the Cruciferae this plant contains sulphuraed glucosides, and the juice of the fresh plant may be drunk as an expectorant to aid catarrh.  The leaves have stimulant, diuretic, antiscorbutic and revulsant properties.

Wall Rue (Asplenium ruta-muraria)   A decoction of the fronds is good for kidney troubles and, boiled with chamomile flowers, makes a lotion that will rid the head of scurf and prevents falling hair.  Add a little oil of rosemary for greater efficiency.  A distilled water made from the fronds has proved of benefit in the treatment of many eye complaints. The plant is also considered to be useful in the treatment of coughs and ruptures in children. It was at one time used as a herbal remedy for rickets and its tannin content renders it suitable for stopping bleeding from small wounds.

Wallflower (Cheiranthus cheiri)  Although wallflower was formerly used as a diuretic, there was no understanding of its powerful effect on the heart.  In small doses it is cardiotonic, supporting a failing heart in a manner similar to foxglove.  In more than small doses it is toxic, and is therefore rarely used.  Traditionally used as a purgative, for liver disorders and as an emmenagogue.  The flowers and stems are used in the treatment of impotence and paralysis. The essential oil is normally used. This should be used with caution because large doses are toxic.   The seeds are used in the treatment of dry bronchitis, fevers and injuries to the eyes.

Wallflower, Coastal (Erysimum capitatum) A preventative against sun burn, the plant was ground up then mixed with water and applied to the skin. It relieves the pain caused by overexposure to heat.  A poultice of the whole pounded plant has been applied to open fresh wounds and rheumatic joints. An infusion of the whole plant has been used as a wash on aching muscles.  The crushed leaves have been sniffed as a treatment for headaches.  A poultice of the warmed root has been applied to treat the pain of toothache.  An infusion of the crushed seed has been drunk and used externally in the treatment of stomach or bowel cramps. For chest pains or pneumonia, as a tea; or powdered, mixed with Osha and water and applied to the chest as a poultice.  It is sometimes used as a preventative in households where some members have coughs; for chills from exposure to cold weather; and at the onset of cold symptoms

Walnut (Juglans regia)   The leaves and hull produce the fluid extract that possesses tonic, bitter properties, and an ethereal fluid extract used as a sun-tan oil.  The seeds are a mild yang tonic good for wasting diseases, emaciation and underweight conditions, and weakness and dryness of the colon and lungs.  The bark has mild astringent and laxative properties, the leaves and outer hulls are antiparasitical, antifungal and detoxifying.  The leaves are used internally the treatment of constipation, chronic coughs, asthma, diarrhea, dyspepsia etc. The leaves are also used to treat skin ailments and purify the blood. They are considered to be specific in the treatment of strumous sores.  Male inflorescences are made into a broth and used in the treatment of coughs and vertigo. The rind is used in the treatment of diarrhea and anemia. The seeds used internally in the treatment of low back pain, frequent urination, weakness of both legs, chronic cough, asthma, constipation due to dryness or anemia and stones in the urinary tract. Externally, they are made into a paste and applied as a poultice to areas of dermatitis and eczema.  The oil from the seed is  anthelmintic. It is also used in the treatment of menstrual problems and dry skin conditions. The cotyledons are used in the treatment of cancer. Walnut has a long history of folk use in the treatment of cancer, some extracts from the plant have shown anticancer activity.

Walnut, Arizona (Juglans major) A tea of the dried leaves is used for irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and chronic colon disorders; it also is used to treat dysentery.  For arthritis, the leaves and bark are boiled into a strong tea, taken internally, and applied to arthritic legs and back.

Wandering Jew (Tradescantia zebrina) This plant has been used medicinally for colds and high blood pressure in Jamaica.

Wapato (Sagittaria cuneata) The Maidu of California used an infusion of arrowhead roots to clean and treat wounds. The Navajo use these plants for headaches. The Ojibwa and the Chippewa used Sagittaria species as a remedy for indigestion. The Cherokee used an infusion of leaves to bathe feverish babies, with one sip given orally. The Iroquois used it for rheumatism, a dermatological aid, and a laxative. The Iroquois used it as a ceremonial blessing when they began planting corn.

Wasabi  (Wasabia japonica) The root is a pungent warming herb that stimulates the digestion. It is used internally as an antidote to fish poison.

Water Fennel (Oenanthe aquatica) It is used in the treatment of chronic pectoral affections, dyspepsia, intermittent fevers, obstinate ulcers etc. This plant should be used with great caution, and only under the supervision of an experienced practitioner. In overdose the fruits cause vertigo, intoxication and other narcotic effects. The roots have been used externally in the treatment of piles. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fruits. It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs etc.  The seeds have been most successfully used in chronic affections of the air-passages, as laryngitis, asthma, hemoptysis, catarrh, etc.; also in periodical febrile diseases, dyspeptic affections, and in indolent ulcerations.  It is used in consumption and bronchitis, to relieve troublesome cough, render expectoration less and easier, and produce sleep at night.

Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) In Kedah (Java), the flowers are used for medicating the skin of horses. The species is a "tonic." The main use of this weed is in goiter treatment.

 Water Hyssop (Bacopa monnieri)  Bacopa is an Ayurvedic herb used in India for more than 3,000 years for memory enhancement, epilepsy, insomnia, and as a mild sedative. It is also employed for a wide range of other disorders, including indigestion, ulcers, gas and constipation, asthma and bronchitis. The whole plant is used in the treatment of boils, toothache and as a blood purifier. The juice along with ginger juice and sugar is used for children’s stomach disorders. A decoction of the leaves is useful in the treatment for cough and rheumatism. It is used for asthma and as a cardio tonic. Brahmi is also known to promote fertility and prevent miscarriage.  Studies show that bacopa has antioxidant properties, protects mental function in those with epilepsy who take the drug phenytion, while a study on rats showed bacopa administration improves learning skills. Two saponins, designated as bacopaside I and II, have been isolated from Bacopa monniera.   In China, it is taken as a yang tonic for impotence, premature ejaculation, infertility, and rheumatic conditions.  In Indonesia, the plant is a remedy for filariasis (a tropical disease caused by worms).  In Cuba, water hyssop is used as a purgative, and a decoction of the whole plant is taken as a diuretic and laxative.  The expressed juice is mixed with oil and applied as a rub for arthritic pain.
                Indian research suggests that water hyssop improves mental function and memory and reduces learning time.  Contemporary formulas often combine Bacopa monniera with other herbs and nutritional supplements known to promote mental functioning such as Ginkgo biloba, ginseng, and phosphatidylserine. Such formulas may also be applicable as protection against the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions of mental deterioration associated with aging.  The plant is used to increase the speed of learning and to increase sharpness and perception by the sense organs.  The plant is thought to be particularly useful for the promotion of memory in children. In India, brahmi tea is given to babies to encourage optimal mental development. Brahmi has been administered in religious schools to help students enhance their memory for learning ancient sacred hymns.  Studies suggest that Brahmi is a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in brain tissue.
            The herb has a bitter taste and in Ayurvedic medicine it is generally used in the form of paste or juice. Sugar, jaggery (raw date sugar), or honey may be added. Some of the traditional preparations with brahmi are brahmi Ghrita (in ghee, clarified butter), sarasvatarishta (a decoction used as a brain tonic), brahmi rasayana (a rejuvenating formulation with other herbs), brahmi taila (medicated oil), brahmi sarbat (a cooling drink).

Water Lily, Fragrant (Nymphaea odorata) The roots, in decoction, were much esteemed by Indian squaws as an internal remedy, and injection and wash for the worst forms of leukorrhea, its properties in this direction being due to its astringency.  A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of TB, chronic bronchial complaints, diarrhea, dysentery, gastrointestinal inflammation, gonorrhea, vaginal discharge, inflamed glands, mouth sores and to stop bleeding.  A poultice made from the roots is used in the treatment of swellings, boils, tumors, inflamed skin, vaginitis etc. The roots are harvested in the autumn once the plant has died down, and are dried for later use.  A complete cure of uterine cancer by a decoction and uterine injection has been recorded.   Very effective in dropsy, kidney troubles, catarrh of the bladder, or irritation of the prostate. Excellent for infant bowel troubles.  Heals inflamed gums. Externally, a poultice of the macerated root and/or leaves made for painful swellings, boils, ulcers, wounds, and cuts. Apply the powdered root, combined with flaxseed, as a poultice  to suppurating glands; its styptic properties were also fully known and utilized.  A tea made from the root makes a good gargle for irritation and/or inflammation in the mouth and throat, used as an eyewash, and a vaginal douche. As a lotion, it helps heal sores, makes skin soft and smooth. Both root and leaves are sometimes made into poultices for wounds, cuts, and bruises. A folk tradition, a mixture of root and lemon juice was used to remove freckles and pimples.

Water Lily, Prickly (Euryale ferox) The leaf is used in cases of difficult parturition. The seed is a sweet and sour astringent herb that acts as a tonic for the kidney and the spleen. The seed is analgesic and aphrodisiac. It is taken internally in the treatment of chronic diarrhea, vaginal discharge, kidney weakness associated with frequent urination, impotence, premature and involuntary ejaculation and nocturnal emissions.

Water Lily,  White (Nymphaea alba} The rhizome of the white water lily is astringent and antiseptic.  A decoction treats dysentery or diarrhea due to irritable bowel syndrome.  White water lily has also been employed to treat bronchial congestion and kidney pain, and taken as a gargle for sore throats. The rhizome may be used to make a douche for vaginal soreness and discharge, or to make a poultice, often in combination with slippery elm or linseed, for boils and abscesses.  The plant has been found to lower blood pressure in animals. The flowers are anaphrodisiac and sedative. They have a generally calming and sedative effect upon the nervous system, reputedly reducing the sex drive and making them useful in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety and similar disorders.  A complete cure of uterine cancer by a decoction and uterine injection has been recorded. 

Water Lily, Yellow (Nuphar lutea) The rhizomes are used medicinally.  They are currently being investigated for their physiological effects.  In small doses these constituents have a cardiotonic action and they are included in certain pharmaceutical preparations prescribed in Europe.  They affect the central nervous system and in large amounts they may cause paralysis.  Yellow Water lily is not used in herbal medicine but tinctures are used in homeopathy. It should be used only under medical supervision. A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of 'sexual irritability', blood diseases, chills etc. The root is poulticed and applied to swellings, inflammations, cuts etc. The root contains steroids and is a folk remedy for infertility.   

Water Plantain (Alisma plantago, syn Alisma triviale)  The leaves are used in the treatment of cystitis, dysentery, renal calculus, gravel etc.  It is useful in treating the weak and elderly for whom other diuretics may be too strong, and is particularly good for chronic urinary tract infections or yin deficient heat.  Also used internally for cardiovascular disease.  The fresh leaf is rubefacient. It is used in the treatment of leprosy and is also applied locally to bruises and swellings.  Dried stem bases eaten, or grated and taken with water in treating digestive disorders such as heartburn, cramps and stomach flu.  The powdered seed is an astringent, used in cases of bleeding. The seed is also said to promote sterility.  The root has a wide range of medicinal uses. It is antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, diuretic and hypotensive. It is said to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels while it also has an antibacterial action on Staphococci, Pneumococci and Mycobacteria. The root is used in the treatment of oliguria, edema, nephritis, acute diarrhea, cholesterolemia and fatty liver. It has been thought of as a cure for rabies, though this has not been substantiated. The whole plant is believed to promote conception. Believed to stimulate the female genitalia.  Used in traditional Chinese medicine for kidney weakness, which manifests as deafness, tinnitus, and dizziness. 

Water Shield (Brasenia schreberi)  The leaves are crushed and applied to abscesses and boils, and are also used in the treatment of phthisis and dysentery. A decoction of the seed is antidotal. It is also used in the treatment of dysentery and to relieve thirst.  The plant is used in the treatment of cancer.  The fresh leaves were used like lichen, in pulmonary complaints and dysentery; when dry the gelatinous matter almost disappears, yet they impart mucilage to the water. 

Water Soldier (Stratiotes aloides)  The herb has had a high reputation for treating wounds, especially when these are made by an iron implement. It is applied externally. The plant is also said to be of use in the treatment of St. Anthony's Fire and also of bruised kidneys.

Water Violet (Hottonia palustris) Flower Essence: Helps you to develop warmer relationships with others when your pride or independence makes you appear aloof.

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)  Watercress is a valuable source of vitamins and a good detoxifying herbs.  Its high content of vitamin C and minerals makes it a remedy that is particularly valuable for chronic illnesses.  Herbalists recommend the herb for catarrh and bronchitis, and also for skin problems since it helps the body to eliminate wastes.  It is used to treat fluid retention, mucus in the lungs and indigestion.  It also stimulates metabolism, promotes bile metabolism and helps dispel gas.  Eaten raw, it not only prevents inflamed or bleeding gums but is considered one of the best natural depuratives.  Crushed leaves are applied as poultice for rheumatism and gout.  The juice or the crushed leaves dabbed on the skin every day is said to remove facial blemishes, and applied under the arms, they are known to be of use as a deodorant.  The raw seeds used as vermifuge. 

Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum capitatum) The large leaves can be applied to minor wounds as a protective field dressing and have a slightly astringent quality that makes them useful in poultice form for insect bites and other minor skin irritations

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus, syn Citrullus vulgaris, Cucurbita sativus)   Watermelon is best known as a thirst-quenching fruit that comes into season when temperature are at their hottest.  In traditional Chinese medicine it is used precisely to counter “summer heat” patterns characterized by excessive sweating, thirst, raised temperature, scanty urine, diarrhea, and irritability or anger. Watermelon fruit and juice soothe these symptoms, increasing urine flow and cleansing the kidneys.  The fruit’s refreshing properties extend to the digestive system, where it clears gas. Watermelon may be used in the treatment of hepatitis.  In hot weather it is helpful for those suffering from bronchitis or asthma. The cooling fruit pulp may be applied to hot and inflamed skin and to soothe sunburn.  The fruit, eaten when fully ripe or even when almost putrid, is used as a febrifuge The fruit is also diuretic, being effective in the treatment of dropsy and renal stones. The fruit contains the substance lycopine (which is also found in the skins of tomatoes). This substance has been shown to protect the body from heart attacks and, in the case of the tomato at least, is more effective when it is cooked.  The seeds can be mashed and used to expel worms.  The seed is sometimes used in the treatment of the urinary passages and has been used to treat bed wetting. It also has a hypotensive action. The dried pulp was once used as a powerful purgative.  It contains a cucurbitacin glycoside with antitumor properties. A fatty oil in the seed, as well as aqueous or alcoholic extracts, paralyze tapeworms and roundworms.  The rind of the fruit is prescribed in cases of alcoholic poisoning and diabetes.  The root is purgative and in large dose is said to be a certain emetic.

Wax Gourd (Benincasa hispida) All parts of the fruit are used medicinally. The rind of the fruit is taken internally in the treatment of urinary dysfunction, summer fevers etc. The ashes of the rind are applied to painful wounds.  A  decoction of the seed is used internally in the treatment of vaginal discharges and coughs. In combination with Rheum palmatum it is used to treat intestinal abscesses. In Ayurvedic medicine the seed is used in the treatment of coughs, fevers, excessive thirst and to expel tapeworms. The oil from the seed is also used as an anthelmintic.  The fruit is used in Ayurvedic medicine in the treatment of epilepsy, lung diseases, asthma, coughs etc. The fruit juice is used in the treatment of insanity, epilepsy and other nervous diseases. Recent research has shown that the fruits contain anti-cancer terpenes. An infusion of the root is used in the treatment of gonorrhoea.  In Chinese herbal medicine, a decoction of wax gourd seeds is used to “drain dampness” and “clear heat.”  It is given for chest conditions and for vaginal discharge.  In combination with Chinese rhubarb, it is prescribed for intestinal abscesses.  The fruit is classified as cooling, diuretic, and laxative.  It is thought to act as an aphrodisiac and is used for peptic ulceration and debility.  In an ancient Indian recipe, the juice from the fruit is mixed with lime juice (Citrus aurantifolia)  The fruit appears to have an anti-cancerous effect

Weeping Forsythia (Forsythia suspensa): Lian Qiao has been used in Chinese herbalism for over 4,000 years and is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs.  A bitter-tasting, pungent herb with an antiseptic effect, lian qiao is chiefly used to treat boils, carbuncles, mumps, and infected neck glands.  It is also a remedy for colds, flu, sore throats, and tonsillitis, and for the early stages of fevers.  It is given in combination with other herbs for dysentery and skin infections, and is used for “cold” swellings of the neck (as in tuberculosis of the lymph glands).  The fruit is a bitter astringent herb that stimulates the heart, nervous system and gall bladder. It contains vitamin P, which is used to strengthen capillaries. It is used internally in the treatment of acute infectious diseases such as mumps, and also for tonsillitis, urinary tract infections allergic rashes etc. The fruit is harvested when fully ripe and is dried for use in decoctions. The plant has a similar action to Lonicera japonica and is usually used in combination with that species to achieve a stronger action. The flowers have a broad-spectrum antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphococcus aureus, Shigella dysenteriae, haemolytic streptococcus, pneumococcus, Bacillus typhi, Mycobacterium tuberculi etc.  The plant is vermifuge, though the part used is not stated.  The leaves are febrifuge and are also poulticed onto ulcerated glands and hemorrhoids. A decoction of the leaves and twigs is used in the treatment of breast cancer. The root is used in the treatment of cancer, colds, fever and jaundice. In Chinese folk medicine, it is a treatment for breast cancer.  This herb is sometimes taken to induce menstruation.  Research in China indicates that forsythin is significantly antimicrobial and reduces nausea and vomiting.  Source: Crimson Sage  

White Musali (Asparagus adscendens) The tuberous root or rhizome is used in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and general debility. It is used as an aphrodisiac as well as to increase sperm count. Its use as general tonic is also well known all over India.  The dried roots are used in Unani medicine as an aphrodisiac as they are rich in glycosides. It has been found very effective in increasing male potency and is considered as an alternative to Viagra.  It offers significant protection against stress induced changes. It cures many physical illness and weakness and it is used for increasing general body immunity.  It is used in case of pre-natal and post-natal problems; the root powder is fried in ghee and chewed in the case of apthae of mouth and throat.  It is also used in formulations of Body-building medicines.  Can be taken as a milk decoction, powder, confection

White Olive, Chinese (Canarium album) In Chinese medicine the raw fruit is an antidote for eating poisonous fish.  It is used for sore throat, toothache, inebriation, and diarrhea. The ripe fruit is edible and considered sedative.  It is used as a liver tonic and to eliminate apprehension.  The powdered seed has been used to treat earache, inflammation.   It is believed to also dissolve fish bones swallowed accidentally, while juice from the kernel is reputed to soften bones lodged in the throat.

Whitebeam (Sorbus aria) Both the flowers and the fruit are mildly diuretic, laxative and emmenagogue. An infusion is used in the treatment of painful menstruation, constipation and kidney disorders.

Whitlow Grass (Draba verna) The plant is used as a treatment for whitlows. According to Culpepper: A strong infusion of the whole plant, fresh gathered, is an excellent sweetener of the blood and juice, and good against scorbutic complaints in general  Those who wish to use it all the year, should make a syrup of its juice in the Spring, or beat the leaves into a conserve with sugar, for the dried plant loses all its virtues, and is only to be had fresh for a short time in the spring.

Wild Coffee (Senna ligustrina) The leaves have recorded uses as a drink and wash for skin disorders.  It is said to be good for problems of the kidneys like jaundice, for bladder problems like bed wetting, hence the colloquial name piss-a-bed.  It acts as a tonic for the liver, and also has a diuretic action.  The roots are used for treating jaundice, dropsy and liver troubles.  The leaves are employed in Cuba as a purge.

Willow Grass (Polygonum amphibium) An infusion of the leaves and stems has been used to treat stomach pains and children with diarrhea.  The root has been eaten raw, or an infusion of the dried, pounded roots used, in the treatment of chest colds. A poultice of the fresh roots has been applied directly to the mouth to treat blisters.  As a cooling blood purifier this plant is preferred in France to Sarsaparilla. 

Willow, Beak (
Salix bebbiana) A poultice of the chewed root inner bark has been applied to a deep cut. The shredded inner bark has been used as sanitary napkins to 'heal a woman's insides'. A poultice of the damp inner bark has been applied to the skin over a broken bone. A decoction of the branches has been taken by women for several months after childbirth to increase the blood flow.  A poultice of the bark and sap has been applied as a wad to bleeding wounds.  The fresh bark of all members of this genus contains salicin, which probably decomposes into salicylic acid (closely related to aspirin) in the human body. This is used as an anodyne and febrifuge.

Willow, Black (Salix nigra)
  Black willow is a safe natural source of aspirin-like chemicals which helps to explain its reputation in the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis where there is much associated pain and inflammation.  It may be used as part of a wider treatment for any connective tissue inflammation anywhere in the body, but it is especially useful in rheumatoid arthritis.  It may also be used in fevers such as influenza.  The bark has been used in the treatment of gonorrhea, ovarian pains and nocturnal emissions. The bark of this species is used interchangeably with S. alba. It is taken internally in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, gout, inflammatory stages of auto-immune diseases, diarrhea, dysentery, feverish illnesses, neuralgia and headache. The bark can be used as a poultice on cuts, wounds, sprains, bruises, swellings etc. The leaves are used internally in the treatment of minor feverish illnesses and colic.

Willow, Coyote (Salix exigua) The bark has been used in the treatment of sore throats, coughs and certain fevers. A decoction of the dried roots has been used in the treatment of venereal diseases. The fresh bark of all members of this genus contains salicin, which probably decomposes into salicylic acid (closely related to aspirin) in the human body. This is used as an anodyne and febrifuge. The leaves of coyote willow are soaked in water, and the liquid is used as an emetic.

Willow, Desert (Chilopsis linearis) In northern Mexico, the flowers are made into a tea and a moist hot poultice.  It is used for hectic coughing with a flushed face and the sensations of chest and lung tiredness with a rapid, thin pulse.  The powdered leaves and bark are an excellent first aid dusted liberally on scratches, rock scrapes, etc.  The tincture works similarly.  Its most important use is due to its anti-fungus and anti-Candida properties.  As a tea or a tincture, it inhibits Candida suprainfections.  It can be uses as a douche for candidiasis as well.  Useful after antibiotic therapy, especially combined with Echinacea and/or Chaparro Amargosa.

Willow, Purple (Salix purpurea)  The bark is a very rich source of salicin, which is used in making aspirin. The bark of this species is used interchangeably with S. alba. It is taken internally in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis, gout, inflammatory stages of auto-immune diseases, diarrhea, dysentery, feverish illnesses, neuralgia and headache. The bark is removed during the summer and dried for later use.  The leaves are used internally in the treatment of minor feverish illnesses and colic, cancerous sores and chronic dysentery. The leaves can be harvested throughout the growing season and are used fresh or dried.  The twigs are used in the treatment of cancer, dysentery and ulcers.  The bark of the stem and roots is anodyne and styptic. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism.  Internally it is used as a standardized extract for minor cases of rheumatic complaints, headaches and feverish states.  It is also used as a tea for inflammations of the gastrointestinal tract.  Externally it is used for minor skin inflammations, wounds and ulcers and for leucorrhea

Willow, Seep (Baccharis salicifolia) Leaves were used in a hair wash solution to prevent baldness.  A decoction of leaves and stems was used in as an women’s hygienic agent.  An infusion of leaves was used as an eyewash.  The tea is drunk for hay fever, sinusitis and frontal headaches. The herb is boiled into a disinfecting wash to clean and dress wounds.  It also is mildly anesthetic to cuts and wounds.

Willow, White (Salix alba)  Medicinal Uses: The values of willow lie in the glycosides salicin and populin as well as the tannin.  The uses are many, but most specifically in the reduction of inflammations of joints and membranes.  Useful for headache (caused by dampness and heat in the gastrointestinal tract), recurring fevers, gonorrhea, ovarian pains, dyspepsia, dysentery, chronic diarrhea, neuralgia, rheumatic aches and pains, worms, edema and hay fever.  It has been used internally in the treatment of dyspepsia connected with debility of the digestive organs, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, inflammatory stages of auto-immune diseases, feverish illnesses, neuralgia and headache. Its tonic and astringent properties render it useful in convalescence from acute diseases, in treating worms, chronic dysentery and diarrhea. The fresh bark is very bitter and astringent. The salicin in it probably decomposes into salicylic acid  in the human body. This is used as an anodyne and febrifuge. The glycosides are excreted in the urine as salicylic acid, salicyl alcohol, and related compounds; this renders the tea useful for urethra and bladder irritability, acting as an analgesic to those tissues.  Most of our plants are not particularly potent and a fair amount of the bark or stem is needed.  Up to an ounce a day can be consumed in tea if needed, but take no more than is needed for the problem.  Willow bark is a strong but benign antiseptic, and a good poultice or strong wash is made of the fresh or dried herb.  For infected wounds, ulcerations, or eczema, the plant should be boiled in twice its volume of water in a covered pot for at least half an hour, some borax or boric acid added (tablespoon to a pint of water), and the tea used externally as often as necessary.  It also may be taken as a bitter tonic in small doses before meals, to hasten convalescence from acute disease.  The leaves are used internally in the treatment of minor feverish illnesses and colic. An infusion of the leaves has a calming effect and is helpful in the treatment of nervous insomnia. When added to the bath water, the infusion is of real benefit in relieving widespread rheumatism.

Willowherb (Epilobium parviflorum) Small-flowered willow herb has been used as remedies in folk medicine, particularly in Central Europe, for the treatment of prostate disorders and abnormal growths. This pleasant herb and flower tea was highly recommended by Austrian herbalist, Maria Treben, for ailing men with prostate abnormalities.  Enlarged prostate, prostatitis, kidney or bladder disorders, gastro-intestinal disorders, mouth mucus membrane lesions, rectal bleeding, menstrual disorders, cystitis, Preliminary (in vitro) studies at the Prostate Center of Vancouver found that very low concentrations of an extract from small-flowered willow herb tea, in the micrograms per ml level, was among the most active ever seen against abnormal cells and growths of the prostate. Several extracts from Epilobium parviflorum, were evaluated in biochemical assays with 5-alpha-reductase and aromatase, two enzymes involved in the etiology of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Aqueous extracts displayed inhibition of these enzymes and the active compounds identified were macrocyclic ellagitannins, oenothein A1, B1 and B2, which can make up to 14% of crude plant extracts. Out of a total of 92 plant phenolic extracts tested, small-flowered willow herb was also found to have high antioxidant activity.  Small-flowered willow herb tea is also recommended for treating urinary tract infections in women. Take as a tea for oral, vaginal, and intestinal candidias.  An ingredient of Swedish bitters.

Willowherb, Hairy (Epilobium hirsutum) The leaves have been used as astringents, but there are some reports of violent poisoning with epileptic-like convulsions as a result of its use. This remedy has been discarded by professional herbalists as the use of the leaves has been associated with poisonings and convulsions.

Winter Worm-Summer Grass (Cordyceps sinensis) Cordyceps has been used for about 2000 years in the Far East.  It was virtually unknown to the Western part of the world until the Chinese women’s track team broke records in 1993 and was found to be part of their dietary supplements.  It is prized as a male sexual elixir and often appears in tonic formulas, particularly herbal liquors.  It is comparable in cost to good ginseng, and like many tonic herbs, it can be cooked and consumed together with tonic foods.  Traditional sources suggest stewing a male duck with this herb stuffed into its cavities.    
               Some of the specific actions are: It is very effective in tonifying arrhythmia with an efficacy up to 94%. When the product was applied to 200 different ailments, no toxic side effect was detected;   It helps strengthen the immune system of tumor patients who have received radiotherapy, chemotherapy or an operation. It is remarkable for stabilizing the hemogram, increasing the blood cells and protein for producing blood plasma, and for eliminating the ill effects after various therapies. Furthermore, the product is a synergist for reinforcing the efficacy of radiotherapy.  It provides remarkable benefits for various Climatic Age Illness, Impotence, Emission, Neurasthenia, Rheumatoid arthritis, Cirrhosis, flabby waist and knee.  It is also effective in lowering the lipoproteinemia level, and in preventing Arterio-Sclerosis, Coronary heart disease as well as certain other diseases related to blood vessels of the brain.  It helps stimulate the immune system of the elderly and strengthen their resistance to illness. Frequent dosage can prevent senile disorders.  One of the reasons for aging is due to the insufficient secretion of sexual hormones. Cordyceps sinensis is, in this regard, a hormone stimulator. Morever, the aging effect is to a large extent attributed to the rise of active monoamine oxidize enzyme inside the body and Cordyceps Sinensis can effectively inhibit the rising of such enzyme. Thus, it is an anti-aging medicine which helps regenerate the organic functioning of humans.  After a three-week dose, patients with the aforesaid symptoms would feel promising improvement. In general, this product is a tonic good for bodily nourishment and for stimulating brain activity.  Long-term administration can reinforce the body against foreign attacks, improve the organic functioning, strengthen the immune system and in turn help bring longevity.

            Improved insulin sensitivity due to cordyceps has been demonstrated in both normal rats and humans. These effects are presumably mediated by the polysaccharide fraction of cordyceps, and multiple polysaccharides from cordyceps which reduce blood sugar in diabetic mice have been identified. It should be noted that cordyceps should be used with caution by those with low blood sugar.

Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)  Winterberry is widely used by native peoples of North America for its astringent properties.  Black Alder's medicinal properties include acting as a tonic, reducing fevers (febrifuge) and as an astringent, useful for tightening tissue and reducing secretions. The decoction of the bark is prepared by boiling 2 ounces of bark in 3 pints of water down to 2 pints, this being given internally in diarrhea and malarial disorders, and externally in indolent sores and chronic skin disease. The berries should not be used as a substitute for the bark. In intermittent fever it can be used like Peruvian Bark, and is valuable in jaundice, gangrenous affections, dropsy, and when the body is devitalized by discharges. The bark is well known as an ingredient in several alternative syrups. Barton, mentioning black alder under the names of Virginia winterberry, reported that the bark was astringent, bitter and pungent; that the berries were bitter: that it was long a popular remedy, ordinarily employed as a decoction in intermittent fevers, dropsy, and gangrene, in the last of which it had "great efficacy." It was also given internally, and externally as a wash. The bark when infused is a strong and reliable cathartic without any griping action.  Black alder bark is widely used in blood disorders, indolent sores, and chronic skin ailments.  For this purpose, it is often combined with burdock, yellow dock and sarsaparilla.  A decoction of the bark is used internally in the treatment of diarrhea, malaria etc, and externally in the treatment of indolent sores and chronic skin disease. The bark contains about 4.8% tannin. It is harvested in the autumn before the first frosts. The fruit is cathartic. A suitable preparation of the ground bark may be obtained by simmering in unsalted lard or vegetable oil, or allowing to soak in alcohol for 8-10 days.   

Wintercress (Barbarea vulgaris) The leaves are vulnerary and have been used as a poultice for treating wounds.  A tea made from the leaves is appetizer, antiscorbutic and diuretic.

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)  Wintergreen is strongly anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and soothing to the digestive system.  It is an effective remedy for rheumatic and arthritic problems and, taken as a tea, it relieves flatulence and colic. It reestablishes fundamental flow patterns.  It heals chronic mucus discharge.  It is diuretic and astringent but increases menses and lactation.  The essential oil, in the form of a liniment or ointment, brings relief to inflamed, swollen, or sore muscles, ligaments, and joints, and can also prove valuable in treating neurological conditions such as sciatica and trigeminal neuralgia.  The oil is sometimes used to treat cellulitis, a bacterial infection causing skin to become inflamed.  The Inuit of Labrador and other native peoples eat the berries raw, and use the leaves to treat headaches, aching muscles and sore throat. The methyl salicylate found in wintergreen leaves is closely related to salicylic acid.  Accordingly, the leaf tea is given for the same conditions treated by aspirin, such as colds, flu, fever, muscle pain, arthritis and rheumatism.  It has also been used to treat asthma and skin problems.  In contrast to aspirin, small amounts relieve stomach indigestion instead of causing it.  Native Americans chewed wintergreen leaves to improve their breathing while carrying loads or running and on long treks.  In some regions, Early American settlers had their children chew the roots for 6 weeks every spring to reduce tooth decay.  They also steeped the berries in brandy for a winter tonic.  It is a skin softener that will smooth rough, callused skin.  In liniments, it eases muscular, arthritic and rheumatic pains and is readily absorbed into skin.  It's a popular flavoring for toothpaste and other dental preparations.

Wintergreen, One-Sided (Orthilia secunda) A strong decoction of the root has been used as an eye wash.  It is also used for women’s problems such as: uterus fibromyoma, myoma, barrenness and is a good anti-inflammatory agent.

Wintergreen, Spotted (Chimaphila maculata) The leaves and fruit have been used to increase urine flow, as a tonic, and for treating diarrhea, syphilis, nervous disorders, and ulcers.  The plant has an antiseptic influence on the urinary system and is sometimes used in the treatment of cystitis. An infusion of the plant has been drunk in the treatment of rheumatism and colds. A poultice of the root has been used to treat pain while the plant has also been used as a wash on ulcers, scrofula and cancers. All parts of the plant can be used, though only the leaves are officinal. 

Wire Wis (Lygodium venustum) To treat skin fungus, boil a large double hand handful of leaves in 1 quart of water for 10 minutes; soak affected area in very hot mixture twice daily.  Apply fresh plant juice to sores, rashes, and skin conditions.  A poultice can be made from the leaves and applied to head for headaches.

Witch Hazel  (Hamamelis virginiana)   Witch hazel was highly valued in Native American medicine.  Many tribes rubbed a decoction on cuts, bruises, insect bites, aching joints, sore muscles, and sore backs.  They also drank witch hazel tea to stop internal bleeding, prevent miscarriage, and treat colds, fevers, sore throat and menstrual pain.  The colonists adopted these uses until the 1840s when an Oneida medicine man introduced the plant to Theron T. Pond of Utica, NY.  Pond learned of the plant’s astringent properties and ability to treat burns, boils, wounds and hemorrhoids.  In 1848, he began marketing witch hazel extract as Pond’s Golden Treasure.  Later, the name was changed to Pond’s Extract and witch hazel water has been with us ever since. The Eclectic text, King’s American Dispensatory, listed that the decoction was very useful the fluid extract had little to recommend it.  It as listed in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1862 through 1916 and in the National Formulary from 1916-1955.  It was finally dropped because the 24th edition of The Dispensatory of the United States stated witch hazel is “so nearly destitute of medicinal virtues, it scarcely deserves official recognition…[Its continued use serves only to fill] the need in American families for an embrocation [liniment] which appeals to the psychic influence of faith.” Contemporary herbalists recommend only the decoction of witch hazel bark.  Though the commercial witch hazel water may not contain tannins, it does contain other chemicals with reported antiseptic, anesthetic, astringent, and anti-inflammatory action.  Witch hazel water is an ingredient in Tucks, Preparation H Cleansing Pads and several German hemorrhoid preparations.  Witch hazel itself contains large quantities of tannins.  These have a drying, astringent effect, causing the tightening up of proteins in the skin and across the surface of abrasions.  This creates a protective covering that increases resistance to inflammation and promotes healing of broken skin.  Witch hazel also appears to help damaged blood vessels beneath the skin.  It is thought that this effect may be due to the flavonoids as well as to the tannins.  When witch hazel is distilled it retains its astringency, suggesting that astringent agents other than tannins are present.  Witch hazel is very useful for inflamed and tender skin conditions, such as eczema.  It is mainly used where the skin has not been significantly broken and helps to protect the affected area and prevent infection.  It is valuable for damaged facial veins, varicose veins and hemorrhoids, and is an effective remedy for bruises.  Due to its astringent properties, it helps to tighten distended veins and restore their normal structure. A lotion can be applied to the skin for underlying problems such as cysts or tumors.  Witch hazel also makes an effective eyewash for inflammation of the eyes.  Less commonly, it is taken internally to alleviate diarrhea, helping to tighten up the mucous membranes of the intestines, and for bleeding of any kind.  Japanese research showed witch hazel to have sufficient antioxidant activity to have potential against wrinkles.

Woad (Isatis tinctoria)   The Chinese and East Indians used woad as both a dye and a medicine.  They considered it a broad-spectrum antibiotic and used it to treat many different infections and also for inflammation.  Both leaves and roots are used when there are swollen glands, such as in cases of mumps, tonsillitis, or laryngitis.  High fevers, diphtheria, and hepatitis are other problems that respond to woad.  The herb is so astringent, that is not usually given internally as a medicine and has only been used as a plaster, applied to the region of the spleen and as an ointment for ulcers, inflammation and to staunch bleeding.
Indications are for delirium, fainting spells, heat rash, dry and sore throat, abscesses, and swelling due to internal heat excess; erysipelas.  Effective preventive in chronic encephalitis; suppresses or kills a broad range of germs.   

Woad, Chinese (Isatis indigotica) Isatis leaf is useful for febrile diseases and diseases associated with epidemics. Often, both the leaf and the root are used together for a variety of contagious diseases, including mumps. Despite the strength of this herb, it can be used by all, regardless of their constitution, for febrile epidemic diseases. Considering the fact that conventional Western medicine has little to offer for contagious viral diseases, this is one of a few herbs that deserve wider appreciation for their antiviral properties. It is especially effective when there is infection in the lungs and for skin conditions involving rashes or blotches. 
            Isatis Root is one of the most effective anti-virals. It is therefore useful for a wide range of infectious viral and bacterial conditions, including the common cold, influenza, sore throat, and epidemic diseases, such as mumps. It cools the blood and is effective for damp-heat conditions, such as jaundice. It r
emoves toxins, antibacterial, enhances the action of the white blood cells, supports circulation and blood flow.
            It contains an anti-leukemic compound, indirubin, which is effective for granulocytic leukemias when taken in sufficient dosage. This herb is rarely used in treatment of other cancers, though it has been used experimentally as an ingredient in formulas for various cancers. In a review of antineoplastic Chinese herb compounds, rabdosia and isatis received only brief mention for esophageal cancer and leukemia, respectively. Another, more recent, review of this subject, included mention of isatis and indirubin for leukemia, but did not mention rabdosia. According to An Illustrated Guide to Antineoplastic Chinese Herbal Medicine, the isatis extract called qingdai is administered in doses of 6-10 grams per day; the isolated indirubin is given in doses of 150-200 mg/day. When used in the amounts found helpful for leukemia treatment, qingdai and indirubin can cause intestinal irritation in some users.
       Isatis exhibits broad-range anti-bacterial effects against Shigella, Salmonella and hemolytic Streptococcus. Isatis has been shown to increase spleen weight and the numbers of peripheral white blood cells in lab animals. Traditional Chinese medicinal indications include dissipating heat, alleviating fire toxicity and cooling the blood. It is an ingredient in the prostate protocol called PC-Spes along with
Glycyrrhizza glabra, Panax pseudoginseng, Ganoderma lucidum, Scutellaria baicalensis, Dendrantherma morifolium, Rhabdosa rebescens, and Serenoa repens). Its actions are believed to be immune stimulating, antitumor, antiviral, antiinflammatory, and hormone modulating. Because of side effects, such as gynecomastia (breast enlargement), thrombosis (blood clots), and impotence, PC-Spes should only be used with a physician's supervision.

Wolfberry, Chinese (Lycium chinense) Both the berries and the root are used and traditionally the plant is believed to promote long life.  The fruit is one of the most popular tonics used in Chinese herbal medicine.  The fruit protects the liver from damage caused by exposure to toxins. It is also used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, vertigo, nocturnal emissions and aching back and legs.  The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavanoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers. The seed is used as a hemostat for the control of bleeding, with a special action on the kidneys and sex organs. In China, lycium berries are taken as a blood tonic.  They improve the circulation and absorption of nutrients by the cells and help with many symptom including dizziness, tinnitus, blurred vision, and wasting conditions.  A decoction of the berries is a liver and kidney tonic. In TCM, the liver is associated with the eyes, and lycium berries are considered excellent for failing eyesight.  The root bark stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls involuntary bodily functions such as digestive secretions. The root is used in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis and pneumonia in small children, chronic febrile disease, night sweats, cough and asthma, tuberculosis, hypertension and diabetes mellitus.  Because of recent research, lycium root is beginning to be used in China to treat people suffering from high blood pressure.  The root bark contains betaine. This can increase the rate of growth of farm animals and increase the weight and amount of eggs, it is used in the treatment of achlorhydria, atherosclerosis and hepatic diseases.

Wolfberry, Desert (Lycium pallidum) Use Wolfberry when there is excessive eye and nose discharge in allergic situations.  In addition, when lower respiratory tract tissues are congested and there are accompanying feelings of bronchial tightness Wolfberry can prove opening to this area.  Wolfberry’s moderately anti-cholinergic activity shifts constrictive emphasis away from these affected respiratory tissues.  This effect is most useful when this area is deemed over active, from an array of causes, but mostly because of an allergic-immune mediated response of some sort; Wolfberry shrinks tissues and allays hyper-secretion.
            Wolfberry’s effect is also noticeable in gut and intestinal centered distresses.  Nausea, intestinal spasms and general over-excitability of these areas respond well to Wolfberry.  The plant acts well to quell chills, sweating and nausea (much like the drunken juice of 1 or 2 raw potatoes) from over-exposure to chemical herbicides, fertilizers and other conventional agricultural productions. Wolfberry is a mild drug plant, meaning it suppresses symptoms and does not have much underlying value beyond temporally diminishing distresses, albeit in a limited way.  In chronic issues, Wolfberry works well in formula with other more supportive herbs.  It thereby can diminish surfaces distresses while deeper issues, possibly exaggerated immune responses or stress patterns can be addressed.
             Topically the freshly poulticed plant or liniment can be applied to acute stings, swellings, contusions and other injuries where the skin is not broken.  In this respect, Wolfberry acts like other Nightshade family plants applied externally.  It moderately reduces pain and inflammation similarly to, although weaker than Datura or Tobacco.  The Navajo use the ground root for toothache.

             The ground up root has been placed in a tooth cavity to bring relief from toothache. The bark and the dried berries have been used as a 'life medicine'. The fruit of many members of this genus is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavonoids and other bio-active compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers. A feeble, useful and safe anticholinergic for hay fever, colds and diarrhea  

Wolfsbane (Aconitum vulparia) This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

Wood Apple (Feronia limonia)   The fruit is much used in India as a liver and cardiac tonic, and, when unripe, as an astringent means of halting diarrhea and dysentery and effective treatment for hiccough, sore throat and diseases of the gums. The pulp is poulticed onto bites and stings of venomous insects, as is the powdered rind.   Juice of young leaves is mixed with milk and sugar candy and given as a remedy for biliousness and intestinal troubles of children. The powdered gum, mixed with honey, is given to overcome dysentery and diarrhea in children.  Oil derived from the crushed leaves is applied on itch and the leaf decoction is given to children as an aid to digestion. Leaves, bark, roots and fruit pulp are all used against snakebite. The spines are crushed with those of other trees and an infusion taken as a remedy for menorrhagia. The bark is chewed with that of Barringtonia and applied on venomous wounds.

Wood Sage (Teucrium scorodonia (T scordonia))  Wood sage may be used for all infections of the upper respiratory tract, especially for colds and influenza.  It may be used as a diaphoretic in all fevers.  It can prove beneficial in some cases of rheumatism.  There is a marked stimulation of gastric juices, thereby aiding digestion and relieving flatulent indigestion.  It’s equal to gentian root as a bitter tonic.  Externally wood sage will speed the healing of wounds, boils and abscesses.

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis acetosella)  The herbalist Nicholas Culpeper, writing in England in the 1500’s, reported wood sorrel’s medicinal virtues.  He recommended the plant “to quench thirst, to strengthen a weak stomach, to stay vomiting,” and he noted that it was “excellent in any contagious sickness or pestilential fever.”  By the 1800’s this species of sorrel had been introduced into North America.  One herbalist noted that a decoction, or extract, of wood sorrel was being used to treat inflammatory disorders, fevers, and diseases of the kidneys and bladder.  A decoction of the leaves is used in the treatment of fevers, both to quench the thirst and allay the fever. Externally, the leaves are crushed and applied locally to dispel boils and abscesses, they also have an astringent affect on wounds.  The juice of the leaves turns red when clarified and makes a fine, clear syrup, which was considered as effectual as the infusion. The juice used as a gargle is a remedy for ulcers in the mouth, and is good to heal wounds and to stanch bleeding. Sponges and linen cloths saturated with the juice and applied, were held to be effective in the reduction of swellings and inflammation. A conserve, Conserva Ligulae, used to be made by beating the fresh leaves up with three times their weight of sugar and orange peel, and this was the basis of the cooling and acid drink that was a remedy in malignant fevers and scurvy.

Wood Sorrel, Violet (Oxalis violacea) In New Mexico, a teaspoonful of fresh or dried powdered leaves is boiled in a cup of water and taken in the morning to help expel intestinal worms.  The raw greens have been eaten in the early spring as a blood tonic, after a winter without greens.  The plant has been used to create a feeling of coolness in a person with fever, and to increase urine flow.  A cold infusion is used to stop a person vomiting. An infusion can be used as a blood purifier, it is said to be a treatment in the early stages of cancer. An infusion of the plant is drunk and also used as a wash in treating children with hookworm. An infusion of the leaves, mixed with oil, can be used as a salve on sores.

Wood Sorrel, Yellow (Oxalis stricta) An infusion of the plant has been used in the treatment of fevers, stomach cramps and nausea. A poultice of the plant has been used to treat swellings.

Woollygrass (Imperata cylindrical)  Chinese medicinal herb sued for all cases of “heat excess.”  Strong hemostatic action; immediately stops bleeding wounds and suppresses bruises.  The flowers are used in the treatment of hemorrhages, wounds etc. They are decocted and used to treat urinary tract infections, fevers, thirst etc.  The root is used in the treatment of nose bleeds, hematuria, hematemesis, edema and jaundice. The root has antibacterial action against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus dysenteriae etc. Extracts of the plant have shown viricidal and anticancer activity. 

Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)  Wormwood leaves’ primary use is to stimulate the gallbladder, help prevent, and release stones, and to adjust resulting digestive problems.  Clinical studies with volunteers proved that wormwood does effectively increase bile.  It expels roundworms and threadworms, probably due to is sesquiterpene lactones.  It is also a muscle relaxer that is occasionally added to liniments, especially for rheumatism.  Members of the Bedouin African tribe place the antiseptic leaves inside their nostrils as a decongestant and drink it for coughs.  Wormwood is an extremely useful medicine for those with weak and underactive digestions.  It increases stomach acid and bile production and therefore improves digestion and the absorption of nutrients, making it helpful for many conditions including anemia.  It also eases gas and bloating, and if the tincture is taken regularly, it slowly strengthens the digestion and helps the body return to full vitality after a prolonged illness.   

Wormwood, African (Artemisia afra) Artemisia afra is used in many different ways and one of the most common practices is to insert fresh leaves into the nostrils to clear blocked nasal passages. Another maybe not so common use is to place leaves in socks for sweaty feet. The roots, stems and leaves are used in many different ways and taken as enemas, poultices, infusions, body washes, lotions, smoked, snuffed or drunk as a tea. A. afra has a very bitter taste and is usually sweetened with sugar or honey when drunk. Wilde-als brandy is a very popular medicine still made and sold today. Margaret Roberts lists many other interesting uses which includes the use in natural insecticidal sprays and as a moth repellent.
          Used mainly as an aqueous decoction or infusion applied externally or taken orally, the extremely bitter taste being masked by the addition of sugar or honey. Fresh leaf may be added to boiling water and the vapors inhaled.  For the treatment of cough, croup, whooping cough, influenza, fever, diabetes, gastro-intestinal disorders and intestinal worms.  As an inhalation for the relief of headache and nasal congestion or a lotion to treat hemorrhoids. In traditional practice, fresh leaf is inserted into the nostrils to relieve nasal congestion or placed in boiling water as a steam bath for menstrual pain or after childbirth. Warmed leaves may be applied externally as a poultice to relieve inflammation and aqueous infusions administered per rectum or applied as a lotion to treat hemorrhoids.  African Artemisia afra foliage was smoked by many Indian tribes to induce visionary states during religious ceremonies. It is a strong narcotic, analgesic and antihistamine. It is an excellent smoke or smoke-mix, reputed for its hallucinogenic effects and psychoactive properties. In Central America and the Caribbean Islands, it is dried and smoked along with Cannabis sativa as an aphrodisiac.  Volatile oils from the plant resulted in significant activity against Aspergillus ochraceus, A. niger, A. parasiticus, Candida albicans, Alternaria alternata, Geotrichum candidum, and Penicillium citrium

Wormwood, Black (Artemisia genipi)  Action is similar to that of wormwood only slightly less bitter and a little less efficacious.  It stimulates gastric secretion.  In medicine it may be replace by wormwood, which is better for sluggish digestion and stomach disturbances.  Not often used because of scarcity.

Wormwood, Chinese (Artemisia apiacea) Chinese medicinal herb useful against fevers and malaria. It inhibits the maturation of malaria parasites in the body. Known for its cooling effect and its ability to clear toxins from the system. Powerful antibiotic, and stops bleeding especially nose bleeds. The plant can be used interchangeably with Artemisia annua

Wormwood, Fringed (Artemisia frigida) First introduced as a substitute for quinine.  Used to combat indigestion by chewing leaves.  The leaves are used in the treatment of women's complaints. The plant contains camphor, which is stimulant and antispasmodic. An infusion of the leaves is used in the treatment of biliousness, indigestion, coughs and colds while the leaves are chewed and the juice swallowed to treat heartburn. A poultice of the chewed leaves is used as a poultice to reduce swellings and the leaves are also placed in the nose to stop nosebleeds. A hot poultice of the leaves has been used to treat toothache. The leaves can be used as a sanitary towel to help reduce skin irritation. They are also drunk as a tea when the woman is menstruating or to treat irregular menstruation. The dried leaves are burnt in a room as a disinfectant. A decoction of the root is used as a stimulant and tonic.

Wormwood, Mountain (Artemisia tilesii) The plant is used in the treatment of cancer and to prevent infections in wounds etc. An infusion of the leaves and flowering tops is used as a laxative and to treat stomach aches. An infusion is used internally to treat rheumatism and is also applied externally to swollen joints. A poultice of the leaves is applied to skin infections and to cuts to stop the bleeding. A decoction is used as an eyewash.  The Tanainas soak A. tilesii leaves in water and rub them on the bodies of pregnant women or put them on the stomach as a poultice. They also make medicine switches to help arthritis and other aches. Boiled or soaked in hot water, it is made into a tea used as a wash for skin rash, cuts, blood poisoning, sore eyes, or any kind of infection. Use boiled or soaked leaves wrapped in cloth as a hot pack for toothache, earache, and snow-blindness. For athlete's foot, the Outer Cook Inlet people wear fresh leaves inside their socks. Artemisia tilesii is one of the medicinal herbs used by Della Keats (a respected healer) in Kotzebue, and by the people of the northwestern region of Alaska. It is highly regarded as a tonic tea if you don't drink too much at a time. Dried leaves are powdered to use externally in a salve for burns or infections. The plant was used by western Eskimos as an antitumor agent in Unalakleet and as a fever and infection inhibitor in Aniak.

Wormwood, Roman (Artemisia pontica) A medicinal plant against colds and as a bitter stomachic.  A decoction of the leaves and flowers is used for colds, as a tonic and as an anthelmintic; the leafy top is a bitter stomachic and induces perspiration. It is milder in its properties than common wormwood.

Wormwood, Sea (Artemisia maritima) These flower heads are especially effective against Ascaris lumbricoides, which are nematode worms similar to earthworms, white in color, that frequently infest the intestine of children.  These flowers have also proven effective against other intestinal parasites. Its medicinal virtues are similar to wormwood, A. absinthum, though milder in their action. It is used mainly as a tonic to the digestive system, in treating intermittent fevers and as a vermifuge


Xi Xin (Asarum sieboldii syn Asarum heterotropoides)  A decoction is used in the treatment of colds, severe toothache, rheumatic pain and chronic bronchitis with copious and thin phlegm. It is particularly effective as an analgesic remedy for all types of aches and pains in the head.  It is used for congestion in the Eustachian tubes and upper sinus cavities.

Xiang Ru (Elsholtzia splendens) A decoction of this herb is a traditional Chinese remedy for halitosis.  For this purpose, it should be taken internally and used as a gargle and mouthwash. Its use is said to relieve the effects of excess alcohol. It is used in the treatment of common colds, edema and oliguria. The plant has a broad-spectrum antibacterial action.

Xu Duan (Dipsacus asper) The plant is used in the treatment of rheumatism. It also has a long history of folk use in the treatment of breast cancer.  The root is used to strengthen the bones and tendons and liver, stimulate blood circulation, treat weakness of the limbs, for arthritis and rheumatic complaints, and to prevent miscarriage.  Roots also used to treat lumbago, trauma as a result of a fall, rheumatic pain, excessive menstrual bleeding

Xuan Fu Hua (Inula japnoica (syn I. Britannica var. chinensis) )  Used in traditional Chinese medicine as a mildly warming expectorant remedy, it is especially suitable when phlegm has accumulated in the chest.  The herb is often prescribed for bronchitis, wheezing, chronic coughing, and other chest complaints brought on by “cold conditions” (profuse phlegm, nausea and vomiting, hiccups and flatulence.  Xuan fu hua also has a bitter action, and it helps to strengthen digestive function.  The flowers are normally used in medicinal preparations, but the aerial parts are also taken, generally for les serious conditions.  The flowers have an antibacterial action, but this can be destroyed by proteins in the body.   The plant has been mentioned as a possible treatment for cancer of the esophagus.


Yacon  (Polymnia sonchifolia) The tubers are soothing as well as nourishing to the spleen, stomach, lungs and pancreas, and valued as a strengthening tonic for the whole body, giving energy and vitality. Being low in calories, this is a practical vegetable for dieters and diabetics, and the inulin has proved beneficial in stabilizing blood sugar levels. The tuber can be eaten regularly as a food, or juiced for a refreshing drink. Some diabetics juice the tuber and freeze the juice in small containers, to have it available all through the year. Fructose enhances the digestion of foods, particularly the metabolism of carbohydrates, and has a thermogenetic effect, helping the body to burn off calories that have been stored as fat. Leaves are used fresh or dried as a tea with hypoglycemic properties and are commercially sold as such in Brazil.  Yacon reduces the risk of arteriosclerosis associated with resistance to insulin and dislipemia, and has been shown to be effective in feeding hypercaloric disorders, based fundamentally on carbon hydrates. The experimental data show that the oligofructose inhibits the hepatic lipogenesis and consequently they have a hypotrigliceridemic effect.  Yacon reduces the risk of osteoporosis because it improves the breakdown and absorption of calcium in the body, as well as increasing bone density and bone mass. The dried leaves are used to prepare a medicinal tea. Dried yacon leaves are used in Japan, mixed with common tea leaves. Hypoglycemic activity has been demonstrated in the water extract of dried yacon leaves, feeding rats with induced diabetes in Japan.  Eating oligofructose improves health of intestine because of the bifidus bacteria (beneficial) in the colon are stimulated.

Yam, Chinese (Dioscorea oppositifolia) The Chinese yam, called Shan Yao in Chinese herbalism, is a sweet soothing herb that stimulates the stomach and spleen and has a tonic effect on the lungs and kidneys. The tuber contains allantoin, a cell-proliferant that speeds the healing process. The root is an ingredient of "The herb of eight ingredients", traditionally prescribed in Chinese herbalism to treat hyperthyroidism, nephritis and diabetes.
            A gentle tonic, shan yao is prescribed for tiredness, weight loss, and lack of appetite.  The root strengthens a weak digestion, improves appetite, and may help bind watery stools.  It counters excessive sweating, frequent urination, and chronic thirst, and it is also given for chronic coughs and wheezing.  The traditional use of shan yao, indicates a hormonal effect.  It is also taken to treat vaginal discharge and spermatorrhea. The Chinese use the yam to brighten the eyes and as an elixir and an important tonic for the spleen and stomach.  The drug also lowers blood sugar and is used in diabetes.
            This is one of several herbs under intensive medical research in China as a tonic restorative for immune deficiency.  The herb helps restore impaired immune functions, stimulates secretions of vital immune factors, and enhances overall immune response throughout the system. 
            The roots of most, if not all, members of this genus, contains diosgenin. This is widely used in modern medicine in order to manufacture progesterone and other steroid drugs. These are used as contraceptives and in the treatment of various disorders of the genital organs as well as in a host of other diseases such as asthma and arthritis.

Yam, Glutinous (Dioscorea japonica) Tubers used to treat indigestion, diarrhea, dysentery. The tubers are employed as a nutrient tonic and digestant in chronic enteritis and diarrhea; also prescribed in nocturnal enuresis, spermatorrhea, neurasthenia.  The roots of most, if not all, members of this genus, contains diosgenin. This is widely used in modern medicine in order to manufacture progesterone and other steroid drugs. These are used as contraceptives and in the treatment of various disorders of the genitary organs as well as in a host of other diseases such as asthma and arthritis.

Yam, Intoxicating (Dioscorea hispida) Pounded tubers are used for sores on the feet, skin diseases and boils. Rhizome serves as sedative, maturative and insecticide.

Yam, Wild (Dioscorea villosa)  The plant is also known as colic root and rheumatism root in North America, indicating its use by European settlers for these conditions.     Diosgenin, a breakdown product of dioscin, was first identified by Japanese scientists in 1936.  This discovery paved the way for the synthesis of progesterone and of corticosteroid hormones such as cortisone.  For this reason it is sometimes expensive, because pharmaceutical firms buy up large crops on the global market. This use of the root, coupled with its traditional use as an antispasmodic and antirheumatic gave rise to the saying that wild yam is a natural steroid.  Indeed, it contains compounds that are similar in chemical structure to steroids, but these compounds must be digested, absorbed and processed by one’s body before becoming steroids or hormones.  Eating foods such as wild yam thus provides the building blocks for many complex glandular manufacturing processes.  The herb’s combination of anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic actions makes it extremely useful in treatments for arthritis and rheumatism. It reduces inflammation and pain, and relaxes stiff muscles in the affected area.  It stimulated the removal of accumulated wastes in the system.  Wild yam helps to relieve cramps, muscle tension, and colic.  It can be an effective treatment for digestive problems, including gallbladder inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, and diverticulitis.  In large doses it is regarded as a diuretic and acts as an expectorant.
                 In North and Central America, wild yam is a traditional relaxing remedy for painful menstruation, ovarian pain, and labor.   It is classically given for uterine pain, such as severe menstrual pain, or shooting pain beyond cramps.  It’s also used for ovarian spasm and inflammation such as occurs with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).  To relieve the nauseous symptoms of pregnancy, Dioscorein is the very best and is prompt in action given in small, frequent doses.  It is useful as part of a natural approach to any endocrine imbalance.  For extremely heavy periods wild yam root tincture, 20-30 drops taken daily for the two weeks preceding the expected onset of menses, can supply enough progesterone precursors to remedy flooding.  Ointment made from wild yam roots may be the able to restore youthful moistness and elasticity to post-menopausal vaginal tissues.  However, this is where a lot of misinformation and controversy occurs.
            Today most USP progesterone is, in fact, extracted from soy.  Neither USP nor human progesterone is present in either of the major plant sources (soybean or wild yam). Yams contain the sterol diosgenin, whereas soybeans contain the sterol stigmasterol—both of which have progesterone-like effects.  The substances sold as USP progesterone is produced in the lab by hydrolyzing extracts of soy or yam and converting saponins into sapogenins, two of which, sarsasapogenin (soy) and diosgenin (yam) provide the majority of derivation of natural progesterone produced for medical purposes.  While diosgenin may have some progestogenic or even phytoestrogenic action, the effect varies from one person to another.  Some doctors say that the human body cannot convert wild yam or diosgenin to hormones and that conversion to progesterone must take place in a laboratory. It is possible, however, that some women’s bodies are better able to utilize plant-derived compounds than others.  It is also important to remember that while the mechanism of phytogenic activity may not be clearly understood at this time, botanical supplementation continues to gain support among everywhere because it works for them.  There has been a great deal of confusion pertaining to the progesterone content of various manufacturers’ transdermal creams.  The bioavailability of the progesterone in such products is of paramount importance. The quality of a formulation and its delivery system determines the absorption and effectiveness.  It’s essential that you know your product and your supplier and above all observe your body’s response to the product of your choice.  Wild yam, given in combination with black cohosh, is not only common in menopause formulas but is also an effective pain-relieving remedy for rheumatoid arthritis, especially in the inflamed stages of flare-up.     Solvent in water. As a primary liver tonic herb, wild yam activates and stimulates liver activity.  High concentrations of steroidal saponins provide the building blocks required by the liver to synthesize sex hormones. Whenever both the liver and reproductive system are implicated as the cause of hormone imbalance, wild yam is the herb of choice to use in the formula.             

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium): Due to the flavonoids they contain, yarrow flowers encourage circulation, lower blood pressure and help stop bleeding anywhere in the body. A couple of cups of hot yarrow, peppermint and elder flower tea is an old remedy for reducing fevers and treating colds, measles, and eruptive diseases.  It also helps relieve urinary tract infections and stones. The tea benefits the kidneys.  Cramps and rheumatism are treated with the tea, as are intestinal gas, diarrhea, anorexia and hyperacidity.  In China, yarrow is used in poultices and to ease stomach ulcers.  It is said to stop excessive blood flower especially well in the pelvic region, so is used to decrease excessive menstruation, postpartum bleeding, and hemorrhoids.  Chewing the fresh leaves relieves toothache. Yarrow contains a chemical also present in chamomile and chamazulene, that helps relax the smooth muscle tissue of the digestive tract, making it an antispasmodic.

Yarrow, Golden (Eriophyllum confertiflorum) Delfina Cuero, a Kumeyaay or Southern Diegueno Indian, made the following comments about Eriophyllum confertiflorum in her autobiography:  " This is used for someone with pimples on their face.  They were told to boil the whole plant and wash face in water to clear away the pimples".  The woolly fuzz that densely coves the leaves and stems was collected by Native Americans and used as a cure for rheumatism. 

Yarrow, Musk (Achillea moschata) The plant is known in Switzerland as forest lady's herb and has been used there for centuries as a stomach tonic.  An infusion is used in the treatment of liver and kidney disorders, as a tonic to the digestive system, exhaustion, nervous headaches etc.    The oil stimulates gastric secretion and improves appetite; it is feebly diuretic and has a mild antitussive action.  The principle uses are lack of appetite, sluggish digestion; flatulence, diarrhea.

Yarrow, Sweet (Achillea ageratum) A chloroform extract from Achillea which includes stigmasterol and sitosterol was prepared. By comparing it with the pure compounds an anti-inflammatory effect (with mouse ears) is assumed. The topical anti-inflammatory effect of the chloroform extract from Achillea ageratum (Asteraceae) and of stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol, isolated of this extract has been evaluated, against to 12-0-tetradecanoylphorbol acetate (TPA)-induced mouse ear edema, using simple (acute model) and multiple applications (chronic model) of the phlogistic agent. Myeloperoxydase activity also was studied in the inflamed ears. In the acute model the extract exerted a dose-dependent effect. All the doses assayed (1, 3 and 5 mg/ear) significantly reduced the edema (50%, 66% and 82%, respectively). The isolated sterols stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol (with doses of 0.5 mg/ear) had similar effect as the extract with doses of 1 and 3 mg (59% and 65% respectively). In the chronic model the anti-inflammatory effect generally was a more moderate one. The highest dose of the extract decreased the edema reduction to 26% with the highest dose of the extract applied. With the compounds the effect decreased to 36% with stigmasterol, and 40.6% with beta-sitosterol. Myeloperoxydase activity (MPO) was reduced by the extract and the compounds in the acute model, however, in the chronic edema, the enzyme inhibition was very weak with all treatments even with the standard substance. These results indicate that the chloroform extract of Achillea ageratum and some of the its components stigmasterol and beta-sitosterol are more effective as topical anti-inflammatory agents in acute than in the chronic process and their action is markedly influenced by the inhibition of neutrophil migration into inflamed tissue.

Yarrow, Yellow (Achillea coarctata) Yarrow plants have astringent properties and act as a mild laxative.

Yaupon (Ilex vomitoria) A decoction of the leaves is emetic. 

Yellow Archangel (Lamium galeobdolon (Galeobdolon luteum, Lamiastrum galeobdolon) (  The crushed leaves bound to open sores will cause rapid healing.

Yellow Clintonia (Clintonia borealis) The plant contains diosgenin a chemical from which progesterone is manufactured. It is anti-inflammatory and Native Americans used it to treat injuries of various kinds from bruises to burns and infections. A root tea was used as a tonic and to aid in childbirth. The leaves are cardiac and disinfectant. A poultice has been applied to open wounds, burns, ulcers, scrofulous sores and infections. 

Yellow Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) A potent medicinal herb, yellow jasmine is prescribed in small doses as a sedative and antispasmodic, most commonly to treat neuralgia.  Yellow jasmine is often given for nerve pain affecting the face.  The herb is also applied externally to treat intercostals neuralgia and sciatica.  Yellow jasmine’s antispasmodic property is employed in treating whooping cough and asthma.  The herb is occasionally taken to treat migraine, insomnia, and bowel problems, and also to reduce blood pressure.  A tea made of the flowers was once thought to be good for coughs, shortness of breath, pleurisy, and stomach pains, as well as to help in childbirth.  Gelsemium also reduces the overstimulation of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and calms the overtonicized vascular system.  The therapeutic action of yellow jasmine can be classified as cardiosedative.  It as a calming effect on the heart in patients with extrasystoles and functional heart disorders  The tincture is the most practical dosage form.

Yellow Rattle (Rhinanthus minor) The plant is ophthalmic.  Rhianthus has been reported to be an effective substitute for eyebright.  Used as an internal tea for colds and an external wash for the eyes.

Yellow Starwort (Inula britannica) Xuan Fu Hua is used in Chinese herbalism as a mildly warming expectorant remedy and it is especially suitable where phlegm has accumulated in the chest. The flowers are more commonly used, but the leaves are also used, generally for less serious conditions. The flowers are used internally in the treatment of bronchial complaints with profuse phlegm, nausea and vomiting, hiccups and flatulence. The flowers have an antibacterial action, but this can be destroyed by proteins in the body. The plant is harvested when in flower and can be dried for later use. The plant has been mentioned as a possible treatment for cancer of the esophagus.

Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima (syn Xanthorhiza apiifolia, Zanthorrhiza apifolia))   Yellowroot survives to this day as a folk remedy in parts of the US South, where the root is chewed to freshen the mouth and sharpen the tastebuds.  Tea brewed from the roots serves as a mouthwash and as a medicine for throat and stomach disorders.  The root is astringent and a blood tonic. An infusion of the root is also used to treat mouth ulcers, stomach ulcers, colds, jaundice etc. An infusion of the roots has also been used to treat piles, though the report does not specify if it is used internally or externally.  The root contains the alkaloid 'berberine' which is used for its tonic properties and for digestive disorders. It stimulates the secretion of bile and bilirubin and may be helpful in correcting high tyramine levels in people with liver cirrhosis.

Yen Hu Suo (Corydalis ambigua) In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yan Hu Suo has been used for thousands of years for its powerful analgesic properties. Research into the mechanism of action of Corydalis, in particular DHC(dehydrocorydaline) extracted from the root, suggests that Corydalis not only inhibits anti-body mediated allergic reactions, but also influences cell-mediated allergic reactions, through an inhibitory effect on antigen-induced histamine release from peritoneal mast cells. The root has a history of over a thousand years use in mitigating pain. This species was ranked 10th in a test of 250 potential antifertility drugs.

Yerba Buena, (Satureja douglasii) Esteemed by California Indians as a carminative for colic, a blood purifier, a febrifuge, a reliever of arthritic symptoms, and a general tonic and panacea.  The leaf tea was a remedy for upset stomach.  The Costanoan Indians made a strong decoction of the herb for pinworms or held the leaves in their mouths to treat toothache.  The warm leaves were also poulticed on the outside of the jaw to treat toothache. Chumash women drank the water in which the leafy vines of Yerba Buena were boiled to promote menstrual discharge.  Dosage is 10-30 drops of the tincture or as a tea.  A complementary herb to add to catnip or to chamomile.  Use as a skin wash for rashes and prickly heat.  For arthritis make a tea of equal parts parsley, yerba buena and yerba santa. 

Yerba de Alonso Garcia (Dalea formosa) Pueblo Indians and the Apaches used it as a treatment for growing pains and aching bones.  The Hopis use it for influenza and virus infections, considering it a “cold” herb for hot conditions.  New Mexican Spanish will make a strong bath with the branches and bathe in it for a couple of hours to relieve arthritic pains.

Yerba del Buey (Grindelia nuda var. aphanactis) Pharmaceutical uses include waxes and resins, and a source of acids and alkaloids used for kidney problems, skin abrasions, and sores. Sticky blossoms can be placed on an aching tooth. As a balsamic bitter tea, the flowering tops are widely used for sore throat and incipient chest colds; and combined with yerba santa and honey as an expectorant.  The sticky flowers, boiled are used to treat bladder and urethral infections. It is effective but intensely bitter. The flowers, boiled in lard are a stimulating salve for burns and slowly healing ulcers.  It is also used internally and externally to treat bites caused by red ants.  The sticky juice can hold cuts together until they heal.

Yerba del Cancer (Acalypha lindheimeri) The leaves and flowers are brewed as a mild tea for regular use to treat stomach and duodenal ulcers. It also seems effective for colitis. 

Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica), Yerba Mansa is considered by herbalists  to have many properties similar to Goldenseal though it is not related botanically or chemically  It is used for slowly healing boggy conditions of the mouth, intestinal and urinary tracts and lungs.  It is astringent to the connective tissues that form the membrane structure, but it stimulates better fluid transport, helping to remove the exudates that prevent repair of the irritation that began the whole mess.  Mouth, gum and throat sores are helped by the herb, as are ulcers of the stomach and duodenum.  Use ¼  teaspoon of either tincture in water, a standard infusion, 2-3 oz or 2 #00 capsules, 2-3 times a day.  It is also used for bleeding gums and herpes simplex.  As a diuretic, yerba mansa stimulates the excretion of nitrogenous acids, especially uric acid, which can aid many types of joint problems.  It is also substantially aspirin-like in its anti-inflammatory effects.  Drink as a tea for arthritis…1/2 cup up to 5 times a day.  It is antibacterial and antifungal, so it affords a fine external first aid or dressing for abrasions or contusions.  A sitz bath for bartholin gland cysts and perianal fissures or  boils usually  brings quick healing.   Use 1 teaspoon of the tincture per quart of water, or a 1:64 decoction of the powdered root.  The powdered root is an impeccable dust when mixed with four parts of a soothing starch for diaper rash and chafing.  The leaves, although much feebler and chemically simpler, make a fine bath for general pain of the muscles and joints.  A water percolation (1:10) with 20% glycerine and 10% alcohol added when finished, is an excellent nasal spray for hay fever, lingering head cold, or the results of cocaine or snuff abuse.  Used by itself (powdered root) or combined with Cypress and Chaparral, it's an excellent for athlete's foot.

Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguarensis), A basic, hot, caffeine beverage tea, helpful as a remedy for hangovers and sick headaches, and as a morning wake-up drink. It is used in popular medicine and employed in commercial herbal preparations as a stimulant to the central nervous system, a diuretic, and an anti rheumatic.    It can be drunk green, or lightly roasted in a frying pan for a more robust flavor.  It is preferable to coffee for those with gastritis or colitis and easier on the kidneys than Chinese tea.  Take up to 3 times a day.  Not for use by those avoiding caffeine sources in managing fibrocystic breast disease or for other reasons.
           Yerba Maté is the subject of a German Monograph which lists its uses for mental and physical fatigue, and having "analeptic, diuretic, positively inotropic, positively chronotropic, glycogenolytic and lipolytic effects." Yerba maté has been used medicinally as a diuretic, tonic, and a central nervous system stimulant. Another traditional use has been as a depurative (to promote cleansing and excretion of waste).  Herbalist, Daniel Mowrey, states that yerba mate is a "whole body tonic," even in large amounts" and "promotes balances in many body systems without overstimulating any system." Yerba mate's tonic effect on the body helps to regulate sleep cycles and reduce fatigue.  Mate is used to reduce appetite, invigorate the body, and affects the muscles by reducing fatigue.
          In Europe, Mate is used for weight loss, "as the ideal slimming remedy which facilitates losing weight in a natural way and still the distressing feelings of hunger and thirst."  Dr. James Balch, MD recommends Yerba Maté for arthritis, headache, hemorrhoids, fluid retention, obesity, fatigue, stress, constipation, allergies and hay fevers stating that it "cleanses the blood, tones the nervous system, retards aging, stimulates the mind, controls the appetite, stimulates the production of cortisone, and is believed to enhance the healing powers of other herbs."
            Research on the active constituents of Yerba Maté were reported in the mid-1970s through mid-1980's   The primary active chemical constituency of yerba maté is made up of 0.3-2.0% caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, saponins, and 10% chlorogenic acid.   Sterols resembling ergosterol and cholesterol are also present in yerba maté.  In addition, Yerba Mate is a rich source of minerals and 15 amino acids are present in the leaves.  In a study by Swantson-Flatt with the closely related Ilex species guayusa, the maté extract "retarded the development of hyperglycaemia" in streptozotocin diabetic mice and "reduced the hyperphagia, polydipsia, body weight loss, and glycated haemoglobin."  This study suggests the presence of potentially useful antidiabetic agents in Mate. The antioxidant properties demonstrated clinically by Yerba Maté were reported in two clinical studies demonstrating its high antioxidant values linked to rapid absorption of known antioxidant phytochemicals found in Mate leaves.  Of most recent clinical interest is a group of known and novel saponins that researchers have isolated in Mate leaves. Saponins are a group of phytochemicals with known pharmacological activities, including, as the latest research shows, stimulating the immune system.

Yerbe Santa (Eriodictyon californicum)  Excellent decongestants, used for any lung or sinus condition that is juicy, hypersecretory and gaggy.  It decreases the secretions and lessens the underlying inflammation.  With its decongestant effects and its high level of flavonoids, Yerba Santa is very useful for chronic gastritis and chronic urethral irritation (use a cold tea--take ½ cup up to 5 times a day).  The flavonoids help to strengthen the fragile, irritated membrane capillaries that are distended and leaky from the chronic irritation that underlies the problem. Yerba Santa coats the mucous membranes and holds the aqueous component in contact with the cells. It provides a unique method to reintroduce the mucoprotective effects of sustained moisturization.  It dilates the bronchial tubes which makes it excellent for asthma and hay fever.  For mild bronchial spasms, smoking the leaves along with the tea can improve the effects. Often combined with Yerba del Buey.  E. californica is more soluble in alcohol while the other varieties do better in water.  Dosage: Dry herb tincture: 20-30 drops up to 5 times a day.   Other uses include: catarrh of the bladder, hemorrhoids, and as a poultice for bruises, sprains,   wounds, and insect bites.  

Yerba Santa, Narrow Leaf (Eriodictyon angustifolium)  An important lung and bronchial medicine, most useful when phlegm is loose, milky, and profuse and the lungs, throat, and  sinuses feel weak and boggy.  Often combined with Yerba de buey.  It also is effective for head colds and sinus infections. The cold tea is used as a disinfecting diuretic for bladder and urethra pain.  New research is showing that it also has some anti-microbial properties.
Yerba Santa's medicinal properties are strongest right after blooming, either in late spring or after a drought-breaking rain has brought out new foliage. Use the leaves either fresh or dried. Gather by breaking off branches full of leaves. Spread out the branches or hang them individually to dry. If you leave the branches clumped together in a bag or box, the resin on the tops of the leaves will glue the leaves together so you will end up with a black, sticky, unusable mass. Once dried, the resin is no longer a problem. When using fresh leaves for tea or tincture, cut them into small pieces with scissors or a knife, then use alcohol to clean the resin build up from the utensil. If dried leaves are being used, simply crumble them into small pieces. For smoking, it is best to use the mature leaves that are starting to dry and turn yellow around the edges and are almost ready to fall off, found near the base of large stems and the main trunk of the bush.  
             Yerba Santa is a great upper respiratory herb. It has a resinous coating and is aromatic. Use as a tea or tincture for coughs, lung and sinus congestion and infused in oil for muscle and chest rubs. In order to infuse Yerba Santa into oil you must first sprinkle it with alcohol to dissolve the resins. Drink the tea hot to induce sweating to break a fever. Inhale the steam from the hot tea to clear sinus and chest congestion. It thins mucous and is useful as an expectorant, decongestant and bronchial dilator for chest colds, bronchitis, asthma, sinus infections and hay fever. The resin complex and phenols in Yerba Santa make it useful for mild bladder and urethra infections. Since these properties are only partially water soluble, an alcohol tincture is preferable, twenty to thirty drops in water several times per day. Yerba Santa has no specific toxicities in moderate doses and up to an ounce of the leaves can be used to make a tea or infusion to drink in one day. It is safe for children, using one half of the normal adult dose. The leaves can also be used in a vaporizor to relief congestion. 
           Inhaling smoke from Yerba Santa leaves is useful to calm mild bronchial spasms. Burning a Yerba Santa smudge can be used to warm up trigger points, especially on the hands and feet. This will give relief from headache and muscle spasms. The fresh leaves make a pleasant and tasty chewing gum, bitter and balsamic at first, with a sweet aftertaste which freshens the mouth and breath.
In Baja, for skin eruptions, boil leaves with Atriplex and wash the sores. Or grind dry leaves and apply. For malaria, make a tea with Haplopappus and Larrea, and massage with the lotion. For stiff neck, tie the leaves around the throat. For sore throat, make a leaf tea. For aches, bruises, wounds, bruises, wounds, heat leaves, apply to affected area. For coughs, colds, boil leaves and drink.

Yew (Taxus baccata (syn T. baccata var. aurea, T. baccata var. fastigiata, T. baccata var. fastigiata-aurea, T. baccata var. washingtonii, T. canadensis var. washingtonii[, T. cuspidate, T. fastigiata)   The yew tree is a highly toxic plant that has occasionally been used medicinally, mainly in the treatment of chest complaints. Modern research has shown that the plants contain the substance 'taxol' in their shoots. Taxol has shown exciting potential as an anti-cancer drug, particularly in the treatment of ovarian cancers.  Taxol inhibits cell division and has been extensively researched for its potential as an anticancer drug.   Unfortunately, the concentrations of taxol in this species are too low to be of much value commercially, though it is being used for research purposes. It is most commonly found in the Pacific yew.  This remedy should be used with great caution and only under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. See also the notes above on toxicity.  The leaves have been used internally in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, hiccough, indigestion, rheumatism and epilepsy. Externally, the leaves have been used in a steam bath as a treatment for rheumatism. Homeopathy: A homeopathic remedy is made from the young shoots and the berries. It is used in the treatment of many diseases including cystitis, eruptions, headaches, heart and kidney problems, rheumatism etc. 

Yew, Pacific (Taxus brevifolia) The Pacific yew is a highly toxic plant but it was employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints. Pacific yew contains taxol, which, since clinical trials in the US, has been hailed as one of the most promising drugs for treating ovarian and other cancers. However, an enormous number of trees are needed to supply the bark for the drug; in order to provide sufficient taxol to treat a cancer patient, the bark of six trees is required.  In the US this exploitation led to the Pacific Yew Act (1992), which provides for the management of the tree on federal lands, covering both its harvesting an conservation.  This remedy is very toxic and, even when used externally, should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. . A decoction of the branches and leaves has been used in the treatment of lung problems. An infusion of the crushed leaves has been used externally as a wash to cause perspiration and effect a general improvement in the health. A poultice of the crushed leaves has been applied to wounds.  A decoction of small woody pieces has been used in the treatment of internal complaints including stomach pains and blood in the urine.

Yin Chen Hao (Artemisia capillaries )  Yin chen hao is an effective remedy for liver problems, being specifically helpful for treating hepatitis with jaundice.  Traditional Chinese medicine holds that it is bitter and cooling, clearing “damp heat” from the liver and gall ducts and relieving fevers.  Yin chen hao is also anti-inflammatory and diuretic.  It was formerly used in a plaster for headaches.  Research indicates that yin chen hao has a tonic and strengthening effect on the liver and gallbladder and digestive system.  It is an effective remedy for liver problems, being specifically helpful in treating hepatitis with jaundice.    An infusion of the young shoots is used internally in the treatment of jaundice, hepatitis, gall bladder complaints and feverish illnesses. Externally it has been applied in the form of a plaster for treating headaches. 

Yohimbe (Pausinystalia yohimbe (Coryanthe yohimbe)): Yohimbine is an agrenergic blocker and has a long-standing reputation as a sexual stimulant.  A recent study in rats has shown this to be justifiable despite earlier clinical studies which gave equivocal results;  the dose of yohimbine is very important as too high a dose leads to general depression.  Recommended dose is 1-2 capsules per day (early, with food).  It is a broader glandular tonic that works on several glands: adrenals, gonads, thyroid, and pituitary.  It’s a good short-term energy booster.  It’s also the only herb or natural substance scientifically verified to be an aphrodisiac by orthodox medical studies.  
The African herb yohimbe has been proven to improve a man’s staying power.  It improves the operation of the nerves that promote desire while dampening those that stimulate ejaculation.  Men with sexual dysfunction problems notice the benefits the most.  It both causes the dilation of peripheral and mucous membrane blood vessels along with central nervous system stimulation.   The action takes about 30 minute to take effect and then continues for a couple of hours.  Yohimbe contains the compound yohimbine, a major ingredient in several prescription drugs for impotence.  The concentrate yohimbine occasionally increases heartbeat, raises blood pressure or increases irritability, depression, nervousness or dizziness.  If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, use only under the care of a professional. It should not be used by people with kidney disease. Also, don’t take it with diet aids, commercial nasal decongestants that contain ephedrine, or with cheese, red wine or liver since combining these sometimes cases wide effects, such as headaches.  There is a prescription medication based on yohimbine.
The only Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medicine for impotence is yohimbine - an alkaloid isolated from the bark of the yohimbe tree (Pausinystalia yohimbe) native to tropical West Africa. Yohimbine hydrochloride increases libido, but its primary action is to increase blood flow to erectile tissue. Contrary to a popular misconception, yohimbine has no effects on testosterone levels.  When used alone, yohimbine is successful in 34-43 percent of cases.   

Yohimbe, False (Corynanthe pachyceras) The bark is used internally used as a tea for feverish states and the common cold, and as an adjuvant for minor hypertension.  It is claimed to be aphrodisiac and recommended for erectile dysfunction.  In the Central African Republic, a macerate of the branch bark is drunk in palm wine as an aphrodisiac and as an agent for staying awake

Yomogi (Artemisia princeps) Leaves are used to treat eczema, itchy skin and excessive womb bleeding in China.  The fuzz on the underside of the leaves is gathered and used in moxibustion in Japan. Its juice is effective at stopping bleeding, lowering fevers and purging the stomach of impurities. It can also be boiled and taken to relieve colds and coughs.  The technique of treatment for cold (diaphoretic treatment) was called Yay (oneself)-su (pan)-maw (steam)-kare (to cause to do). The decocted mugwort was boiled in a large pan. The patient sitting near the hearth holds the pan. Patient’s head needs to be covered with a hood-like cloth (a blanket would be good), covering his/her face and the pan. Then the steam/vapor causes the patient to perspire. Sometimes the patient drinks the decoction to accelerate the process. The process lasts for 5 to 8 minutes depending upon the steam flow and condition of the patient. The patient perspires profusely.  Ainu people used to treat venereal disease such as syphilis and gonorrhea with mugwort plants. Washing genitals with leaves and stems of mugwort or/and drinking the decoction were found to be effective for controlling such venereal diseases.   Some eye diseases were treated with leaves of mugwort plant. Broiled leaves of the plant used to be attached to the eyelid of the affected eyes.   Yomogi is highly recommended in all inflammatory conditions, especially asthma, hay fever and atopic dermatitis. In these cases, it should be used internally and put into the bath. It is safe to be used long term and should be used first to get the condition under control and then at any sign of a return of the condition.  A recently rediscovered use of Yomogi is in the prevention and treatment of malaria. Travelers venturing to countries with malaria are now again at risk, as the traditional treatments are no longer working as effectively. Recent research and history reveals Yomogi is an excellent preventative which modern travelers should think about adding to their travel bag before heading to countries troubled with malaria. It can be used to stimulate the body whenever infection is a problem. 

Yuan Zhi (Polygala tenuifolia )  Yuan Zhi contains triterpenoid saponins, these promote the clearing of phlegm from the bronchial tubes. The plant is used mainly as an expectorant and stimulant to treat bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis and whooping cough.  It acts mainly as a tonic for the heart and kidney energies. It is taken internally in the treatment of coughs with profuse phlegm, bronchitis, insomnia, palpitations, poor memory, anxiety, depression and nervous tension. Externally it is used to treat boils and carbuncles. The leaves are used as a tonic for the kidneys. This herb is reputed to improve cerebral functions such as memory, learning, and clarity, and strengthen mental powers such a will and insight. This is probably due to its highly tonifying effects on the kidneys and heart, whose energies govern many important mental faculties.

Yucca    (Yucca filamentosa, Y baccata, Y arizonica, Y elaza, Y whipplei ssp caespitosaYucca is used for arthritis, rheumatism, gout, urethritis and prostates.  At one time it was considered an important source of phytosterols and used in the manufacturing of steroidal hormones.  Y glauca has been shown to have some activity against one strain of melanoma.  The amino acids in Yucca leaves have been shown to inhibit viruses, namely herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2, and cytomegalovirus.  One possible biochemical mechanism responsible for Yucca’s anti-inflammatory benefits lies in the plant’s steroidal saponins interacting with steroid receptors in the body, altering prostaglandin synthesis. Another possibility is that these chemicals may induce the production of anti-inflammatory steroidal compounds in the human body.

Yucca, Mohave (Yucca schidigera) Among the maladies this yucca has been used to treat are headaches, bleeding, gonorrhea, arthritis and rheumatism. It reduces cholesterol, and is good for Addison’s Disease. The Arthritic Society has written numerous articles on the benefits of using Yucca.  Diuretics and emetics are commonly made from both the root and leaves of the Yucca.  Ground blossoms mixed with yucca suds and used to wash newborn infants and make their hair grow. There is said to be no better tonic or stimulant for the hair than a free application of a solution of this juice in alcohol, water, or glycerine. Besides the Saponin, it contains a large number of raphides, which probably add mechanically to the stimulation.  The rotten root can be crushed and boiled to make suds. Drinking these suds is said to induce the menopause in women, thereby rendering then infertile.  Some people have used yucca extract to help them stop smoking

Yun Shih (Caesalpinia decapetala) The leaves are emmenagogue and laxative. They are also applied externally to burns. The root is purgative.  The seeds can be used as anthelmintic, antipyretic, analgesic and to treat dysentery and malaria.



Zallouh (Ferulis harmonis) Zallouh has a long tradition of use by men with erectile problems and for men and women with low libido.  But the root has also enjoyed even broader use for sexual enhancement among health men and women, to increase sexual frequency and to increase pleasure.  It is rich in antioxidants and it helps to retard the aging process.    The plant has also undergone scientific clinical study.  An extract of the root is made in a combination of alcohol and water.  The taste is quite bitter and it’s best to put it in milk or fruit juice. 

Zedoary (Curcuma zedoaria (round) C. zerumbet (long): Useful in flatulent colic and debility of the digestive organs, though it is rarely employed, as ginger gives the same, or better results. It is highly valued for its ability to purify the blood.  Like turmeric, Zedoary is an antiseptic and a paste applied locally to cuts and wounds helps healing.  It is used as an ingredient in bitter tincture of Zedoary, antiperiodic pills (with and without aloes) bitter tincture, antiperiodic tincture (with and without aloes). Zedoary is also rich in starch and is given to babies and invalids in India.  It is combined with pepper, cinnamon and honey and used to treat colds.   It is used in Indian perfumes called ittars as well as in some drinks.  A paste of a little zedoary and cream makes a good face mask and keeps the skin clear and shining.  An ingredient in Swedish bitters.  The rhizome is used in China to treat certain types of tumors.  In Chinese trials, zedoary has reduced cervical cancer, and increased the cancer-killing effects of radiotherapy chemotherapy.  

Zhe Bei Mu (Fritillaria thunbergii (syn F. callicola, F. verticillata, Uvularia cirrhosa))   Zhe bei mu increases the coughing up of mucus and relieves irritability in the respiratory tract.  It is given for the treatment of bronchitis and tonsillitis, and for fever and respiratory symptoms accompanying other acute infections such as flu.  Zhe bei mu is thought to act specifically on tumors and swellings of the throat, neck, and chest, and is taken for thyroid gland nodules, scrofula (tuberculosis of the lymph glands of the neck), abscesses and boils, and breast cancer.  It has also been used to treat dysentery, and to increase breast-milk production.  They contain fritimine which diminishes excitability of respiratory centers, paralyses voluntary movement and counters effects of opium. The bulbs are thought to act specifically on tumors and swellings of the throat, neck and chest, and they are taken in the treatment of thyroid gland nodules, scrofula, abcesses and boils and breast cancer. The bulb is used internally in the treatment of coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia, feverish illnesses, abscesses etc. The bulbs also have a folk history of use against cancer of the breast and lungs in China. This remedy should only be used under the supervision of a qualified practitioner, excessive doses can cause breathing difficulties and heart failure.

Zhi Mu (Anemarrhena asphodeloides )  Internally used for high fever in infectious diseases, tuberculosis, chronic bronchitis, and urinary problems.  Zhi mu is used in Chinese herbal medicine for “excess heat” – fever, night sweats, and coughs.  It has a bitter taste and a “cold temperament,” and is used to treat canker sores, particularly in combination with rehmannia and Scrophularia ningpoensis.  Externally as a mouthwash for mouth ulcers. Therapeutic action is slightly altered by cooking with wine or salt. It has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, B. paraatyphi, Proteus and Pseudomonas. It is taken internally in the treatment of high fevers in infectious diseases, TB, chronic bronchitis and urinary problems. It should not be given to patients with diarrhea and should be administered with caution since when taken in excess it can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure. Externally, it is used as a mouthwash in the treatment of ulcers. The rhizome is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

Zi Cao

Zuta Levana (Micromeria fruticosa) A tea is claimed to lower high blood pressure. In Turkey, the tea is used to treat stomach ulcers . Halomint is a mixture of dry herbs, with essential oils, for preparing an infusion.  Particularly recommended for treating insomnia, hyperactivity, and stress, chronic digestion difficulties, headaches, muscular pains, indigestion and excessive blood pressure. Contains chamomile, passion fruit, verbena, zuta levana, marjoram, Melissa and orange.  It enhances parasympathetic activity and induces sleep. Usage instructions:  Pour boiling water on the mixture, wait two minutes, filter and drink.  The tea may be sweetened.