Medicinal Actions

For thousands of years man has used the flora around him to heal his maladies. It was not until the late 19th century that the first pharmaceutical companies appeared. Those first mass produced medications were derived from many of the same herbal remedies listed here. Early Pharmaceutical companies advertised standardized dosages. This made it easier for the average person to purchase remedies over the counter. As these companies grew in popularity it was not long before they began to vilify the very herbal remedies they used in their offerings. Their campaign of misinformation was so successful that by the early 20th century herbalism all but died out in the United States. There have continued to be those who practiced herbalism, but they were relegated to the fringes of society. As the medical community grew in knowledge and arrogance, they further vilified the Herbal community. As the herbal community began to feel more and more marginalized many developed a deep seeded dislike and distrust of the medical community. It became two divided camps, each thinking the other had little or nothing to bring to the table. If we look at the rest of the developed world, most of them realize modern medicine and herbalism each have something to offer. More and more people in the United States are beginning to realize that by utilizing both herbalism and modern medicine we will be that much healthier.

I developed this list with that end in mind. It is by no means a complete list, but it is a pretty good start. If you mouse over the action a quick definition will appear. If you click on the action you will be taken to a definition of the action, and the list of corresponding herbs. Herbs that are highlighted red are those that are most recommended based upon efficacy. Herbs that are highlighted red and in BOLD text are ones I have found to be particularly effective. Herbs that are underlined are links to pages with detailed information about that individual herb.

Now for the legal stuff.

This list is meant for informative purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult qualified medical advice prior to starting an herbal regime.

Adaptogen:

Herbs that improve the body's ability to adapt to stress of any sort, including infection, mental stress, or fatigue.

Examples:

Astragalus membranaceus, Chaga Mushroom Inonotus obliquus, Ginseng Panax quinquefolius, Valerian Valeriana officinalis

Alterative:

Herbs that restore the proper function of the body, usually through altering metabolism by improving the tissues' ability to metabolize nutrients and eliminate wastes. Many of these herbs act through the kidneys, liver, lungs, bowels, or skin to eliminate wastes. Some stimulate digestion, some are antimicrobial, and some work through actions not as yet understood. Generally used as first line medicines in conditions of chronic inflammation or degeneration, for example, any sort of chronic skin condition, many types of arthritis, and auto-immune illnesses. Most herbs that have a primary action on the liver or kidneys can be considered alterative.

Examples:

Alfalfa Medicago sativa, Astragalus membranaceus, Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Bayberry (Sweet gale, Wax-Myrtle) Myrica gale, Trillium (Birthroot) Trillium spp., Bistort Persicaria bistorta, Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Black Root Leptandra Virginica, Black Walnut Bark Juglans nigra, Blessed Thistle Cnicus benedictus, Blue Flag Iris versicolor, Boxwood Buxus spp., BurdockArctium lappa, Pot Marigold Calendula, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Chaparral Larrea tridentata, Chickweed Stellaria media, CleaversGalium aparine, Comfrey Symphytum officinale L, Devil's Claw Harpagophytum procumbens, Dandelion Root Taraxacum officinale, Dogwood Cornus spp., Echinacea purpurea, Elder Sambucus L., Eyebright Euphrasia L., Fringe Tree Chionanthus L., Fumitory Fumaria, Garlic Allium sativum, Ginseng Panax L., Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis, Gotu Kola Centella asiatica, Guaiac Guaiacum L., Holly llex, Ironweed Vernonia spp., Kelp, Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Mandrake Mandragora L., Marshmallow Althaea officinalis, Mezereum Daphne mezereum, Milkweed Asclepias L., Nettles Urtica dioica, Oregon Grape Root Mahonia Nutt., Pilewort Ranunculus ficaria, Pipsissewa Chimaphila umbellata, Plantain Plantago spp., Pokeweed Phytolacca americana, Prickly Ash Zanthoxylum L., Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria, Raspberry Leaf Rubus idaeus, Red Clover Trifolium pratense, Rockrose Cistus L., Rhubarb Rheum rhabarbarum, Sarsaparilla Smilax aristolochiifolia, Sassafras Sassafras albidum, Soapwort Saponaria L., Speedwell Veronica L., Spikenard Nardostachys grandiflora, Black Spruce Picea mariana, St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Twinleaf Jeffersonia diphylla, Uva Ursi Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi, Virginia Creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Wafer Ash Ptelea trifoliata, Wahoo Euonymus atropurpurea, Walnut Juglans nigra, Wheatgrass Triticum aestivum, Willow Bark Salix spp., Wild Indigo Baptisia L., Wood Betony Stachys officinalis, Curly Dock Rumex crispus, Water Dock Rumex orbiculatus, Yarrow Achillea millifolium, Yellow Jessamine Gelsemium sempervirens, Yellow Parrila, Yerba Santa Eriodictyon spp., Yucca Root Yucca schidigera

Analgesic:

Herbs that relieve pain.

Examples:

Black Birch Betula lenta, Buttercup Ranunculus L., Chamomile Anthemis L., Celandine, Clove, Comfrey Symphytum officinale L, Echinacea Echinacea purpurea, Ginger Zingiber officinale, Henbane Hyoscyamus niger, Hops Humulus lupulus , Jimson Weed Datura stramonium, Lemongrass Cymbopogon L., Meadowsweet Spiraea spp., Goatsbeard Tragopogon L., Ghost Pipe Monotropa uniflora, Lady's Slipper Cypripedium acaule, Marijuana Cannabis sativa, Mint Mentha L., Monkshood Aconitum L., Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Nightshade, Noni Fruit, Opium Papaver somniferum, Pansy, Pokeweed Phytolacca americana, Poplar, Prickly Ash Zanthoxylum L., Primrose, Saffron, St. John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Sassafras Sassafras albidum, Skullcap Scutellaria L., Turmeric Curcuma longa, Wild Daisy, Willow Salix spp., Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens, Woodruff Asperula L., and Valerian Valeriana officinalis

Anhydrotic:

Herbs that decrease sweating.

Examples:

Astragalus Astragalus membranaceus

Anodyne:

Herbs that reduce pain by reducing the sensitivity of the nerves. Synonymous with ANALGESIC

Antacid:

Herbs that relieve excessive stomach acid. They may also possess demulcent effects to protect the stomach lining.

Examples:

Comfrey Leaves or Root Symphytum officinale L, Flax Seed, Dandelion Root Taraxacum officinale, Kelp, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Red Raspberry Rubus idaeus, Slippery Elm Ulmus americana, Wood Betony Stachys officinalis

Anthelmintic:

Destroy or expel worms from the digestive system. There are two categories of anthelmintics; Vermicides - these destroy worms without necessarily expelling them. They should be used with laxative herbs. Vermifuges - These herbs expel parasites and worms from the bowels. These will evacuate the upper intestines and the bowels very rapidly. There are two other categories that deal specifically with tapeworms, but most of the herbs will fall into the two mentioned. For informational purposes Taeniafuges expel tapeworms, and Taeniacides kill tapeworms in the body.

Examples:

Garlic Allium sativum, Tansy Tanacetum L., Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris

Antiabortive:

Herbs that help to inhibit abortive tendencies. The herbs will not interfere with the natural process of miscarriage when the fetus is damaged or improperly secured.

Examples:

American Mistletoe Phoradendron leucarpum, Kelp, Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium, Ragwort Packera spp

Antiarthritic:

Relieve gout or other arthritic conditions. Generally, ALTERATIVES

Examples:

Angelica, Arnica Arnica montana, Ashwagandha Withania somnifera, Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Bilberry Vaccinium cespitosum, Birch Betula spp., Camphor Tree Cinnamomum camphora, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Devil's Claw Harpagophytum procumbens, Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globules, European Mistletoe Viscum album, Giloy Tinospora cordifolia, Guggul Commiphora mukul, Larch Larix decidua, Nirgundi Vitex negundo, Poke Phytolaca americana, Shallaki Boswellia serrata, Sonth Zingiber officinale, Spruce Picea spp., Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica, Turmeric Curcumin longa, Willow Salix spp.

Antiasthmatic:

Herbs that relieve the symptoms of asthma. Some, like Lobelia, are strong Antispasmodics that dilate the bronchioles. Others, like Mullein Verbascum thapsus, and Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum help break up the mucus. Some herbs like Mullein may be smoked for quick relief, which may also be taken as tea.

Examples:

Lobelia, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Rooibos African Red Tea, Wild Cherry Bark Prunus virginiana, Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum

Antibilious:

These herbs stimulate the flow of bile from the liver. Most of the remedies classified as BITTERS or HEPATICS also have cholagogue function. Bile aids in the digestion and assimilation of fats and fat-soluble nutrients. It also acts as a mild laxative to keep the bowels moving smoothly and prevent accumulation of material that could become toxic.

Examples:

Balmony, Fringetree, Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis

Antibiotic:

Herbs that inhibit the growth of, or destroy, bacteria, viruses or amoebas. Many of these herbs may have direct germ killing effects, but they work by stimulating the bodies own immune system response. Eating miso, tamari, or yogurt can help replace the good bacteria you can lose by taking antibiotics for an extended period of time.

Examples:

Acacia, Aloe, Chaparral Larrea tridentata, Cryptolepsis, Echinacea purpurea, Eucalyptus, Garlic Allium sativum, Ginger Zingiber officinale, Golden Seal Hydrastis canadensis, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Honey,  Hops Humulus lupulus, Iceland Moss, Juniper Berries, Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Marijuana Cannabis sativa, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Myrrh, Olive Leaf, Plantain Plantago spp., Rosemary Oil, Sage Salvia oficinalis, Sundew, Thyme, Usnea, Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris

Anticatarrhal:

Help remove excessive mucus, generally from the upper respiratory tract. Mucus is generally produced in the body's effort to remove infective organisms or to remove excessive carbohydrates. Some of these herbs make the mucus more watery so it is easier to expel, others decrease production.

Examples:

Angelica, Anise, Bayberry (Sweet Gale, Wax-Myrtle) Myrica gale, Bistort Persicaria bistorta, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Cinnamon Cinnamomum spp., Coltsfoot, Comfrey Symphytum officinale L, Cranesbill Geranium dissectum, Elder Sambucus L., Elecampane, Figs, Flax Seed, Garlic Allium sativum, Ginger Zingiber officinale, Ginkgo Biloba, Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis, Horseradish, Irish Moss, Lobelia, Lungwort, Marshmallow Althaea officinalis, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Raisins, Sage Salvia oficinalis, Wild Cherry Bark Prunus virginiana, Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum

Anticoagulant:

Herbs that break up or prevent clots.

Examples:

Yellow Sweet Clover Melilotus officinalis, White Sweet Clover Melilotus albus

Anticonvulsant:

Herbs that help reduce or prevent seizures.

Examples:

Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Kava Kava Piper methystycum, , Valerian Valeriana officinalis

Antidiabetic:

Herbs that help regulate and reduce blood sugar.

Examples:

Burdock Arctium annum, Garlic Allium sativum

Antidepressant:

Herbs that raise the mood and counteract depression. With the advent of modern pharmacology, it has been found that these herbs have an action on the chemicals that transmit nerve impulses in the brain; these "neurotransmitters" have been found to be in imbalance in most cases of severe depression.

Examples:

St John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum, Passion Flower Passiflora incarnata.

Antidiarrheal:

Alleviates diarrhea

Examples:

Agrimony Agrimonia eupatoria, Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus, Blackberry Rubus fruticosus, Cinquefoil Potentilla erecta, Coffee Coffea Arabica, Dogwood Cornus florida, Psyllium Seed Plantago afra, Uzara Xysmalobium undulatum

Antiemetic:

Herbs that reduce nausea and vomiting.

Examples:

Anise, Black Horehound, Cinnamon Cinnamomum spp., Cloves, Colombo, Ginger Zingiber officinale, Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis, Iceland Moss, Lemonbalm, Lobelia, Peach Leaves, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Raspberry Rubus idaeus, Red Clover Trifolium pratense, Spearmint Mentha spicata, Sweet Basil

Antiepileptic:

Herbs that help reduce or prevent seizures.

Examples:

Valerian Valeriana officinalis, Balck Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Kava Kava Piper methysticum

Antifungals:

Herbs which help the body destroy or resist pathogenic organisms. Some of these are actually antiseptic, killing the organisms (generally, "cidal" means organisms are killed, "static" means replication of organisms are stopped, and "fuge" means organisms, as in intestinal worms, are expelled.) Others support the function of the immune system to neutralize many pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. These herbs can support the body in fighting off many infections, but there are certainly times when anti-biotics can be life-saving.

Examples:

Cornflower Centaurea cyanus, Echinacea purpurea, Mountain Laurel Kalmia latifolia, Myrrh, Garlic Allium sativum, Thyme, Eucalyptus, Wild Indigo Baptisia L., Sage Salvia officinalis

Antihemorrhagic:

Herbs which stop or prevent bleeding. Astringents are often haemostatic.

Examples:

Yarrow Achillea millefolium, Cranesbill

Antihistamine:

Herbs that oppose the action of histamines.

Examples:

Kudzu Pueraria lobata

Antihydropic:

Relieves "dropsy" or fluid retention.

Examples:

Bearberry, Couch Grass, Buchu, Corn Silk, Dandelion

Antihydrotic:

Herbs that reduce or supress perspiration.

Examples:

Sage

Antihypertensive:

Herbs that reduce blood pressure.

Examples:

Garlic Allium sativum, Barberry Berberis vulgaris

Antihypothyroid:

Herbs that stimulate thyroid action.

Examples:

Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Kelp

Anti-Infective:

Herbs that combat infections.

Examples:

Bistort Persicaria bistorta, Clematis Clematis recta, Colchicum Colchicum autumnale, Jack-in-the-Pulpit Arisaema triphyllum, Kudzu Pueraria lobata, Lily-of-the-Valley Convallaria majalis, Mountain Laurel Kalmia latifolia, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Oats Avena sativa, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Picture Plant Sarracenia purpurea, Plantain Plantago spp., Sandalwood Santalum album, Sassafras Sassafras albidum, Sorrel Rumex acetosa, Spruce Picea spp., Thyme Thymus vulgaris, Turmeric Curcuma domestica, Yellow Dock Rumex crispus

Anti-Inflammatory:

Helps the body combat inflammation. Herbs classed as emollients, demulcents, and vulneraries often do this. Some anti-inflammatory herbs contain salicylates, the chemicals on which aspirin is based; some herbs contain precursors of steroidal compounds, and can balance the levels of steroids in the body; Others have a useful anti-inflammatory effect without a mechanism of action yet identified;

Examples:

Salicylates: Willow Bark Salix spp., Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens, Birch Betula spp., and Black Haw.
Steroidal: Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Wild Yam, and Ginseng Panax quinquefolius.
Unidentified: Black Cherry Prunus serotina, Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Bogbean, Choke Cherry Prunus virginiana, Devil’s Claw Harpagophytum procumbens, Marigold flowers, and Mullein Verbascum thapsus.

Antilithic:

Helps prevent the formation of stones or gravel in the urine, and can help the removal of those already formed. They may work by a combination of dissolving stones, washing out the components that could form them, or increasing urine flow so as to flush out the system.

Examples:

Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Bean, Bearberry, Birch Betula spp., Briar Hip, Buchu, Cascara Sagrada Frangula alnus, Chaparral Larrea tridentata, Chervil, Corn Silk, Cucumber, Dandelion Taraxacum officinale, Devil's Claw Harpagophytum procumbens, Dyer's Broom, Everlasting, Fraxinella, Goldenrod Solidago L., Gravel Root, Ground Ivy, Holly llex, Horsetail, Hydrangea Root, Juniper Berries, Knot Weed, Marshmallow Althaea officinalis, Meadowsweet Spiraea spp., Mouse Ear, Oregon Grape Root Mahonia Nutt., Parsley, Pimpernel, Pipsissewa Chimaphila umbellata, Plum, Queen of the Meadow, Ragwort Packera spp., Common Groundsel, European, Restharrow, Seven Barks, Uva Ursi Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi, Water Eryngo, Woodruff Asperula L., Yellow Toadflax

Antimalarial:

Herbs that prevent or treat Malaria.

Examples:

Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Black Catnip Phyllanthus amarus, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Croton Seeds Croton tiglium, Fever Bark Alstonia constricta, Hwema Bark Corynanthe pachyceras, Marijuana Cannabis sativa, Milk Thistle Silybum marianum, Neem Antelaea azadirachta, Quassia Picrasma excelsa, Quinine Cinchona pubescens, Simaruba Simaruba amara, Tree of Heaven Ailanthus altissima, Tulip Tree Liriodendron tulipifera, Wild Indigo Baptisia tinctoria

Antimicrobial:

Help the body destroy or resist pathogenic organisms. Some of these are actually antiseptic, killing the organisms (generally, "cidal" means organisms are killed, "static" means replication of organisms are stopped, and "fuge" means organisms, as in intestinal worms, are expelled.) Others support the function of the immune system to neutralize many pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. These herbs can support the body in fighting off many infections, but there are certainly times when antibiotics can be life-saving.

Examples:

Echinacea purpurea, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Myrrh, Garlic Allium sativum, Plantain Plantago spp., Thyme, Eucalyptus, Wild Indigo Baptisia L.,Sage Salvia oficinalis

Antimitotic:

Herbs that reduce or prevent spontaneous cellular mutations.

Examples:

Chaga Inonotus obliquus

Antimutagenic:

Herbs that reduce spontaneous mutations within cells. This may help reduce incidence of cancer.

Examples:

Comfrey, Chaga Inonotus obliquus,

Antineoplastic:

Herbs that inhibit the growth of tumors.

Examples:

Bitter Melon Momordica charantia, Cranberry Vaccinium macrocarpon, Kudzu Pueraria lobata, Pygeum Prunus africana

Antinociceptive:

Herbs that reduce the body's response to painful stimuli.

Examples:

Ghost Pipe Monotropa uniflora

Antioxidant:

Herbs that render free radicals harmless.

Examples:

Artichoke, Ashwagandha Withania somnifera, Bacopa Bacopa monniera, Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus, Ginger Zingiber officinale, Ginkgo, Grape Seed Extract, Green tea Camellia sinensis, Hawthorne, Milk Thistle Silybum marianum, Olive Leaf, Rosemary, St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Turmeric Curcuma longa,

Antiparasitic:

Destroy or expel worms from the digestive system. See Anthelmintic

Examples:

Garlic Allium sativum, Tansy Tanacetum L., Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris

Antipruritic:

Herbs that prevent or relieve itching.

Examples:

Butcher’s Broom Ruscus aculeatus, Evening Primrose Oenothera biennis, Jewelweed Impatiens capensis, Kudzu Pueraria lobata, Scarlet Pimpernel Anagallis arvensis, Sweet Gale Myrica gale, Vervain Verbena officinalis, Wheat Triticum aestivum

Antipsoriatic:

Herbs that alleviate symptoms of Psoriasis.

Examples:

Bitter Mellon Momordica charantia, Black Nightshade Solanum nigrum, Burdock Arctium lappa, Hogweed Heracleum sphondylium, Kudzu Pueraria lobata, Red Clover Trifolium pratense, Sarsaparilla Smilax spp., Sunflower Helianthus annuus, Teazle Dipsacus spp.

Antipsychotic:

Relieves the symptoms of Psychosis.

Examples:

Pygeum Prunus africana

Antipyretic:

Herbs that reduce fever. In general, herbalists don't like to reduce fever unless it also has some beneficial effect on the infection or inflammation causing the fever. They see fever as one of the body's ways of fighting infection, and try to use herbs that support the immune system and the other cleansing processes of the body. Thus, the DIAPHORETICS can lower body temperature by promoting perspiration, but they also help the body cleanse. Similarly, circulatory STIMULANTS increase blood flow to the skin and so promote a cleansing sweat. ALTERATIVES can act through an ANTI-MICROBIAL action, or through stimulation of the immune system, and can also help the body clear out the toxic waste products of an infective process.

Examples:

Alfalfa Medicago sativa, American Centaury, American Hellibore, Bird's Tongue, Birthwort, Bloodroot, Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum, Borage, Brooklime, Buck Bean, Camphor, Carline Thistle, Catnip, Chickweed Stellaria media, Cleavers, Colombo, Coral Root, Cranberries, Currant, Dogwood Cornus spp., Dulse, Elder Flowers, Ephedra (Mormon Tea, Ma Huang), European Centuary, Everlasting, Feverweed, Fraxinella, Fringe Tree Chionanthus L., Garlic Allium sativum, Gotu Kola Hedge Bindweed, Holly llex, Hops Humulus lupulus, Imperial Masterwort, Kelp, Lady's Mantle, Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis, Lemons, Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Limes, Magnolia, Monkshood Aconitum L., Olive, Oranges, Peruvian Bark,Poplar, Quassia, Rosemary, Skullcap Scutellaria L., Sumac, Sweet Flag, Willow Salix spp. Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris, Southernwood Artemisia abrotanum, Valerian Valeriana officinalis, Yellow Gentian, Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum

Antiretroviral:

Herbs which are effective against retroviruses (RNA viruses such as HIV and HSV).

Examples:

Aloe, Astragalus Astragalus membranaceus, Bromelain, Cats Claw, Frost Grape Vitis vulpina, Garlic, Licorice Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Magnolia Vine Berries, Multake, Prunella, Rooibos, Shitake, Turmeric

Antirheumatic:

Herbs that alleviate the symptoms of Arthritis.

Examples:

Arnica Arnica montana, Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Birch Betula spp., Camphor Tree Cinnamomum camphora, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Devil's Claw Harpagophytum procumbens, Eucalyptus Eucalyptus globules, European Mistletoe Viscum album, Larch Larix decidua, Poke Phytolaca americana, Spruce Picea spp., Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica, Willow Salix spp.

Antiscorbutic:

Herbs rich in Vitamin C which prevent or cure scurvy, a disease caused by deficiency of this vitamin. They are generally classed as ALTERATIVES.

Examples:

Alfalfa Medicago sativa, Barberry Berberis vulgaris Berries, Black Berries, Black Currant, Burdock Root Arctium lappa, Blueberries, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Chickweed Stellaria media, Citrus Fruits, Cranberries, Dandelion Taraxacum officinale, Eyebright Euphrasia L., Fennel Seed, Fenugreek Trigonella L., Hibiscus, Hops Humulus lupulus , Horsetail, Juniper Berries, Kelp, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Poke Root, Rose Hips, Stinging Nettle, Wood Betony Stachys officinalis, Curly Dock Rumex crispus

Antiseptic:

Inhibit growth of bacteria, and prevent infection, putrefaction, cell decay, and pus formation.

Examples:

Agave, Anise oil, Astragalus, Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Beth Root, Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus, Trillium (Birthroot) Trillium spp., Bistort Persicaria bistorta, Black Walnut Bark Juglans nigra, Buchu, Pot Marigold Calendula, Chamomile Anthemis L., Chaparral Larrea tridentata, Clove, Cubeb, Echinacea purpurea, Eucalyptus, Feverweed, Garlic Allium sativum, Golden Seal Hydrastis canadensis, Guaiac Guaiacum L., Heather, Hibiscus Flower, Juniper Berries, Iceland Moss, Lavender, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Mustard, Myrrh, Nasturtium, Nettles Urtica dioica Olive Leaf, Onion, Oregon Grape Root Mahonia Nutt., Plantain Plantago spp., Rosehips, Rosemary, Sage Salvia oficinalis, Sandalwood, Saw Palmetto Serenoa repens, Sassafras Sassafras albidum, Sweet Gum, Thyme, Tormentil, Turmeric Curcuma longa, White Oak Bark, White Pond Lily, Willow Bark Salix spp. Wild Indigo Baptisia L., Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris, Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum

Antispasmodic:

Helps prevent or ease muscle spasms in both skeletal muscles (the muscles that move bones) and smooth muscles (the muscles related to many of the body's involuntary functions, such as digestion). Many sedative, nervine, or hypnotic herbs also have anti-spasmodic effects. Those anti-spasmodic herbs with an affinity for the respiratory system are useful for asthma.

Examples:

Anise, Astragalus Astragalus membranaceus, Balm, Basil, Bedstraw, Belladonna, Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Black Haw, Blind Nettle, Blue Cohosh Caulophyllum thalictroides, Buttercup Ranunculus L., Pot Marigold Calendula, Cascara Sagrada Frangula alnus, Cayenne Pepper Capsicum annuum, Chamomile Anthemis L., Caraway, Catnip, Cayenne Capsicum annuum,, Celandine Chelidonium majus, Cinquefoil Potentilla L., Coriander, Corydalis, Cowslip, Cramp bark, Dill, Dog Poison, Siberian Ginseng Eleutherococcus senticosus, English Ivy, Fennel, Ferula, Garlic Allium sativum, Ghost PipeMonotropa uniflora, Gum Plant, Hawthorne, Henbane Hyoscyamus niger, Hibiscus Flower, Hops Humulus lupulus, Jimson Weed Datura stramonium, Kava Kava, Lady's Slipper Cypripedium acaule, Lavender, Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis, Lettuce, Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Lily of the Valley, Linden, Lobelia, Marijuana Cannabis sativa, Marjoram, Masterwort, Mint Mentha L., American Mistletoe Phoradendron leucarpum, Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca, Mugwort, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Muskmallow, Nettle Leaf Urtica dioica, Nerve Root, Oat, Onion, Parsley, Passion Flower Passiflora incarnata, Peony, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Pimpernel, Pluerisy Root, Prickly Ash Zanthoxylum L., Radish, Ragged Cup, Raspberry Rubus idaeus, Red Clover Trifolium pratense, Rosehips, Rosemary, Rue, Saffron, Sage Salvia oficinalis, Spearmint Leaf, St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Skullcap Scutellaria L., Skunk Cabbage, Sundew, Thyme, Twinleaf Jeffersonia diphylla, Valerian Valeriana officinalis, Vervain Verbena officinalis, Wild Daisy, Wild Yam, Woodruff Asperula L., Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris, Woundwort, Yarrow Achillea millifolium, Yellow Melilot, White Melilot, Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum

Antithrombotic:

Herbs that prevent formation of blood clots.

Examples:

Garlic, Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Antitoxin:

Herbs that act against the effects of specific toxins.

Examples:

Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Angelica, Plantain Plantago spp.

Antitussive:

Herbs that reduce or prevent cough.

Examples:

Coltsfoot, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Wild Cherry

Antiviral:

Herbs that kill viruses or render them unable to replicate.

Examples:

Comfrey Symphytum officinale, Echinacea purpurea, Plantain Plantago spp., Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Myrrh, Garlic Allium sativum, Thyme, Eucalyptus, Wild Indigo Baptisia L.,Sage Salvia oficinalis

Anxiolytic:

Herbs that reduce anxiety

Examples:

Ashwagandha Withania somnifera, Ghinkgo biloba, Hops Humulus lupulus, Kava Kava Piper methystycum, Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis, Passion Flower Passiflora L. St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Skullcap Scutellaria spp., Valerian Valeriana officinale, Wild Lettuce Lactuca spp.

Aperient:

A mild and gentle laxative. Promote only the natural bowel movement and function. Bulk forming herbs soak up water in the gut, creating a larger volume of softer stool

Examples:

Agar-Agar, Asparagus, Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum, Borage, Burdock Arctium lappa, Pot Marigold Calendula, Cucumber, Curly Dock Rumex crispus. Dandelion Taraxacum officinale, Dyer's Broom, Elder Sambucus L., Fig, Flax Seed, Fringe Tree Chionanthus L., Guar Gum, Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Olive Oil, Plum, Prunes, Psyllium, Raisins, Restharrow, Rhubarb root Rheum rhabarbarum, Rose, Rose Hips, Senna, Turtlebloom, Witch Grass

Aphrodisiac:

Herbs that increase sexual potency or excitement.

Examples:

Artichoke, Astragalus membranaceus, Burdock Arctium lappa, Carline Thistle, Celery, Clove, Coriander, Damiana, European Vervain Verbena officinalis, False Unicorn, Fennel, Fenugreek Trigonella L., Galangal, Ginseng Panax quinquefolius, Jasmine, Jimson Weed Datura stramonium, Kava Kava Piper methysticum, Lettuce, Lovage, Maca Root, Matico, Mint Mentha L., Onion, Plantain Plantago spp., Pride of China, Queen of the Meadow, Saffron, Sarsasparilla Root, Savory, Saw Palmetto Serenoa repens, Sundew, Walnut Juglans nigra, Water Eryngo

Aromatic:

These herbs are characterized by a strong, usually pleasant odor that stimulates the digestive system. Often used in cooking to add flavor, they also aid digestion.

Examples:

Allspice, Angelica, Anise Seed, Balm, Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Buchu, Chamomile Anthemis L., Caraway, Cardamon, Catnip, Cinnamon Cinnamomum spp., Cloves, Coriander, Cubeb, Dill, Fennel, Galangal, Ginger Zingiber officinale, Goldenrod Solidago L., Hops Humulus lupulus , Juniper, Khus-Khus, Lavender, Marjoram, Matico, Monarda, Nutmeg, Orris Root, Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Rosemary, Rue, Sage Salvia oficinalis, Sassafras Sassafras albidum, Savory, Star Anise, St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Sweet Cicely, Sweet Flag, Wax Myrtle, Wild Hyssop, Wood Betony Stachys officinalis, Woodruff Asperula L., Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris

Astringent:

Have a binding action on skin or mucous membranes that helps dry up mucous discharge, tone local blood vessels and varicosities, and stop bleeding. Most of these herbs are rich in tannins, compounds used to "tan" leather, which precipitate protein molecules; they produce a leathery, smooth coat over the tissue in question, thus reduce irritation on the surface by a mild numbing, reduce local inflammation by toning the vessels supplying the area, and create a barrier to infection in wounds and burns. Depending on the tissue they act upon, they are used to treat diarrhea, bleeding, mucous discharges, and the discomfort of varicosities and hemorrhoids.

Examples:

Agrimony Agrimonia L., Aloe Vera, Alpine Cranberry Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. spp., Amaranth Amaranthus L., Virginia Creeper Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Apple Fiber, Bearberry Uva Ursi Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi, Bears Garlic Allium sativum, Beechdrops, Beet Root, Bennet Geum urbanum, Betony Stachys officinalis, Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus, Birch Betula spp., Trillium (Birthroot) Trillium spp., Bistort Persicaria bistorta, Black Alder Alnus glutinosa, Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Pot Marigold Calendula, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Cinnamon Cinnamomum spp., Cinquefoil Potentilla L., Comfrey Symphytum officinale L, Cranesbill Geranium dissectum, Dandelion Root Taraxacum officinale, Dogwood Cornus spp., Elm Ulmus americana, Evening Primrose Oenothera L., Eyebright Euphrasia L., Fenugreek Trigonella L., Goldenrod Solidago L., Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis, Great Burnet, Ground Ivy, Hawthorn Berry, Hemlock Spruce, Hemp Nettle, Henna, Herb Robert, Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), Holly llex, Horse Chestnut, Horseweed, Houndstongue, Houseleek, Hyssop, Kidney Vetch, Knotweed, Lady's Mantle, Laurel, Lemon, Lettuce, Loosestrife Lythrum spp., Lungwort, Madder, Magnolia, Mallow, Marsh Tea, Matico, Meadowsweet Spiraea spp.Milfoil, Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca, Mountain Laurel, Mouse Ear, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Myrrh, Nettle, New Jersey Tea, Oak bark, Olive Leaf, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Periwinkle, Peruvian Bark, Pilewort Ranunculus ficaria, Pimpernel, Pipsissewa Chimaphila umbellata, Pitcher Plant, Plantain Plantago spp., Plum, Pomegranite, Pride of China, Privet, Queen of the Meadow, Radish, Raspberry Leaf Rubus idaeus, Red Eyebright Euphrasia L., Rhatany, Rhubarb Rheum rhabarbarum, Rockrose Cistus L., Rose, Rosehips, Rosemary, Rowan, Sage Salvia oficinalis, St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Sandalwood, Sanicle, Savory, Senna (Purging Cassia), Shinleaf, Soloman's Seal, Sorrel, Spotted Cranesbill Geranium dissectum, Squaw Vine Mitchella repens, Sticklewort, Storksbill, Sumac, Sweet Fern, Sweet Gum, Sycamore Maple, Tormentil, Vervain Verbena officinalis, Walnut Juglans nigra, Water Avens, Wax Myrtle, White Pond Lily, Wild Cherry Bark Prunus virginiana, Wild Indigo Baptisia L., Wild Strawberry, Willow Salix spp. Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens, Witch Hazel, Woundwort, Yarrow Achillea millefolium, Yellow Dock Rumex crispus, Water Dock Rumex orbiculatus, Yellow Toadflax, Yucca Root

Bactericidal:

Herbs that kill bacteria.

Examples:

Echinacea purpurea, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Myrrh, Garlic Allium sativum, Plantain Plantago major, Thyme, Eucalyptus, Wild Indigo Baptisia L., Sage Salvia oficinalis

Bitter:

The bitter taste of these herbs seems to stimulate the release of digestive hormones in the gut. This stimulates appetite, and is of value in convalescence. It helps normalize the secretory functions of pancreas, duodenum, and liver. It increases the secretion of bile, and aids the liver in detoxification. There is also evidence that these herbs help the gut wall repair local damage. Note that these herbs should not generally be used in pregnancy (anything that increases gut contractions can also increase uterine contractility) Also called BITTER TONICS.

Examples:

Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris, Rue, Gentian

Carminative:

These herbs are generally rich in aromatic oils. Their main action is to soothe and settle the gut wall, easing gripping and allowing the removal of gas. Many of the aromatic herbs have a carminative effect.

Examples:

Allspice, Angelica, Anise, Astragalus, Balm, Basil, Betony Stachys officinalis, Bergamot Monarda citriodora, Brier Hip, Buchu, Caraway, Cardamom, Carline Thistle, Carrot, Catnip, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Celery, Chamomile Anthemis L., Chickweed Stellaria media, Cinnamon Cinnamomum spp., Cloves, Coriander, Cubeb, Dill, Fennel, Ferula, Feverfew, Garlic Allium sativum, Ginger Zingiber officinale, Goldenrod Solidago L., Hyssop, Juniper, Laurel, Lavender, Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis, Lemongrass Cymbopogon L., Lovage, Marjoram, Masterwort, Milfoil, Monarda, Myrrh, Nutmeg, Onion, Orange, Parsley, Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Pimpernel, Pleurisy Root, Rue,Sage Salvia oficinalis Salvia oficinalis, Sarsaparilla Smilax aristolochiifolia, Savory, Star Anise, Sweet Cicely, Sweet Flag, Thyme, Valerian Valeriana officinalis, Wild Ginger Zingiber officinale, Wild Cherry Bark Prunus virginiana, Wild Hyssop, Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens, Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris, Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum

Cathartic:

Herbs that clean waste material from the whole digestive system, including bowels, liver, and gall bladder. Can have a very strong effect. Due to the considerable griping they produce, are often used with ginger. Strong cathartics are often listed as poisonous, and should be used with caution. Contrast with APERIENTS and LAXATIVES.

Examples:

Aloes, Asarum, Bird's Tongue, Black Root Leptandra Virginica, Blue Flag Iris versicolor, Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum, Buck Bean, Castor Bean, Dogbane, Elder Sambucus L., Hellebore, Holly llex, Jalap, Mandrake Mandragora L., Mezereum Daphne mezereum, Mulberry, Pokeweed Phytolacca americana, Scotch Broom, Senega Snakeroot, Senna, Stillingia, Walnut(Butternut), Wild Jalap, Yellow Toadflax

Cholagogue:

These herbs stimulate the flow of bile from the liver. Most of the remedies classified as BITTERS or HEPATICS also have cholagogue function. Bile aids in the digestion and assimilation of fats and fat-soluble nutrients. It also acts as a mild laxative to keep the bowels moving smoothly and prevent accumulation of material that could become toxic.

Examples:

Aloe Vera, Artichokes, Balmony, Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Black Root Leptandra Virginica, Blue or American Gentian, Burdock Arctium lappa, Pot Marigold Calendula, Cat's Foot, Chicory, Dandelion Taraxacum officinale, Elder Sambucus L., Elecampane, European Centaury, Fern, Fumitory Fumaria, Fringed Gentian, Fringetree, Garlic Allium sativum, Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis, Heather, Hedge Bindweed, Hemp Agrimony Agrimonia L., Lavender, Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Linden, Milk Thistle Silybum marianum, Mint Mentha L., Mouse Ear, Mugwort, Olive, Radish, Red Pimpernel, Red Clover Trifolium pratense, Rosemary, Senna, Soapwort Saponaria L., Stiff Gentian or Gallweed, Turtlebloom, Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris, Yarrow Achillea millifolium, Yellow Dock Rumex crispus, Yellow Gentian, Yerba mate

Cicatrisant:

Herbs that aid wound healing. See VULNERARIES

Examples:

Hounds tooth, Comfrey Symphytum officinale L, Plantain Plantago spp.

Demulcent:

Herbs rich in mucilage which soothe and protect inflamed or irritated tissue. When they are used on the skin, demulcent herbs are called EMOLLIENTS. Depending on where they work, they can reduce irritation in the bowel and help heal ulcers, ease cough, or relax painful spasm in the bladder, ureters, and sometimes even the uterus

Examples:

Acacia, Almond, Althea, Barley, Apple Fiber, Burdock Arctium lappa, Chickweed Stellaria media, Cinnamon Cinnamomum spp., Colombo, Comfrey Symphytum officinale L., Dulse, Elm Ulmus americana, Fenugreek Trigonella L., Fig Tree, Flax, Ginseng Panax qinquifolius, Great Burnet, Gum Plant, Hibiscus Hibiscus esculentus, Hollyhock, Iceland Moss, Indian Corn, Irish Moss, Kelp, Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Lungwort, Mallow Malva neglecta, Marshmallow Root Althaea officinalis, Milk Thistle Silybum marianum, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Oat Straw, Olive, Pansy, Plantain Plantago spp., Slippery Elm Bark, White Pond Lily, Wild Daisy, Witch Grass

Deobstruent:

These herbs will remove obstructions from the alimentary canal and other areas.

Examples:

Barberry Berberis vulgaris (liver), Culver's Root (bowel), Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis (glands), Gravel Root (kidneys), Hydrangea Root (kidneys), Plantain (blood, kidneys)

Depurative:

A term synonymous with ALTERATIVE

Desiccant:

Herbs that will dry surfaces by absorbing moisture.

Examples:

Agar Agar, Bladderwrack Powder, Corn Starch, Marshmallow Powder, Slippery Elm Powder

Detoxicant:

Herbs that support the liver in removing toxic substances from the body. See HEPATIC. Contrast with ANTITOXINS, which work against specific toxins.

Diaphoretic:

Herbs that promote sweating. This can help the vital function of removing waste products through the skin. Or it can help cool the body during a fever. They are thought to work by dilating the capillaries in the skin, which stimulates the sweat glands. Many of these herbs work as diaphoretics if taken hot, but as DIURETICS if taken cold.

Examples:

General: Burdock Arctium lappa, Bergamot Monarda citriodora, Pot Marigold Calendula, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Chamomile Anthemis L., Ginger Zingiber officinale, Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Rosemary, and Spearmint Leaf
Stimulating: Angelica, Blessed Thistle Cnicus benedictus, Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum, Buchu, Elder Flowers, Ephedra, Garlic Allium sativum, Horseradish, Hyssop, Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Sage Salvia oficinalis, Spearmint Mentha spicata, Yarrow Achillea millefolium
Neutral: Horehound, Safflower, Sarsaparilla Smilax aristolochiifolia, Sassafras Sassafras albidum.
Relaxing: Burdock Arctium lappa, Pot Marigold Calendula, Catnip, Chamomile Anthemis L., Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis, Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca, Mugwort, Passion Flower Passiflora incarnata, Pleurisy Root, Thyme, Vervain Verbena officinalis, Willow Salix spp. Wild Yam

Discutient:

Herbs which act by dissolving abnormal growths and tumors.

Examples:

Black Walnut Bark Juglans nigra, Bloodroot, Burdock Root Arctium lappa, Cabbage Leaf, Chaparral Larrea tridentata, Devil's Claw Harpagophytum procumbens, Garlic Allium sativum, Sanicle, Red Clover

Diuretic:

Herbs that increase the formation and flow of urine. They are used to treat water retention, obesity, lymphatic swellings, nerve inflammations such as lumbago and sciatica, infections of the urinary tract, skin eruptions, and kidney stones. Whenever a Diuretic is given, a lesser amount of Demulcent herb is also given to buffer the effect of the diuretic on the kidneys (especially when the Diuretic contains irritating properties) and to protect the tissues from the movement of kidney stones.

Examples:

Bearberry, Bergamot Monarda citriodora, Couch Grass, Cranberry, Buchu, Corn Silk, Dandelion Taraxacum

Emetic:

Herbs that cause vomiting. They have been used in the past in conditions characterized by a great deal of mucus, to clear the mucus from the body. In modern herbalism, they are used to cause forceful emptying in cases of poisoning.

Examples:

Ipecacuanha Cephaelis ipecacuanha, Adder's Tongue, American Hellebore, Asarum, Black Alder Alnus glutinosa, Red Alder, Smooth Alder, Black Root Leptandra Virginica, Bloodroot, Blue Vervain Verbena officinalis, Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum, Carline Thistle, Dogbane, Dog Poison, Dog's Mercury, Elder Sambucus L., European Centaury, Garden Violet, Hellebore, Hemp Agrimony Agrimonia L., Holly llex, Lobelia, Mezereum Daphne mezereum, Milkweed Asclepias L., American Mistletoe Phoradendron leucarpum, Nightshade, Peyote, Pilewort Ranunculus ficaria, Pride of China, Rockrose Cistus L., St. Benedict Thistle, Scotch Broom, Senega Snakeroot, Skunk Cabbage, Solomon's Seal, Spurge (Cypress, Flowering, Garden, Milk-Purslane, Petty), Stillingia, Twinleaf Jeffersonia diphylla, Water Eryngo, Wild Indigo Baptisia L., Wild Yam

Emmenagogue:

Herbs that stimulate menstrual flow, often used to refer to all herbs that normalise and tone the female reproductive system, although these remedies would better be called uterine tonics.

Examples:

Examples of strong Emmenagogues: Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Juniper Berries, and Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium
        Herbs with some Emmenagogue properties include: American Centaury, Angelica, Balm, Aloe Vera, Bergamot Monarda citriodora, Birthwort, Bloodroot, Blue Cohosh Caulophyllum thalictroides, Brooklime, Caraway, Chamomile Anthemis L., Chicory, Trillium (Birthroot) Trillium spp., Cotton, Ergot, European Vervain Verbena officinalis, False Unicorn Root, Flax, Fraxinella, Hellebore, Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), Hyssop, Imperial Masterwort, Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis, Lovage, Madder, Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca, Nettle Leaf Urtica dioica, Parsley, Pot Marigold Calendula, Ragwort Packera spp., Rosemary, Rue, Saffron, Squaw Vine Mitchella repens, Sumac, Sweet Flag, Tansy Tanacetum L., Tarragon, Thuja, Wood Sorrel Oxalis spp., Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Emollient:

See DEMULCENT...emollients have a soothing and healing effect like demulcents, but specifically on the skin.

Examples:

Aloe Vera, Chickweed Stellaria media, Fenugreek Trigonella L., Flax seed, Kelp, Mallow Malva neglecta, Marshmallow Root, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Plantain Plantago spp., Slippery Elm Bark

Estrogenic:

Herbs that normalize the balance of estrogens in the body. Often supply compounds the body can make into estrogens if more are needed. These herbs are often used to ease the symptoms of menopause.

Examples:

Angelica, Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca, Wild Yam

Expectorant:

Herbs that help the body to remove excess mucous from the lungs. Stimulating expectorants work by irritating the lining of the bronchioles to stimulate expulsion of mucous; examples include Balm of Gilead, Elecampagne, Violet, and White Horehound. Many of these herbs can act as EMETICS in large doses. The relaxing expectorants soothe bronchial spasm and promote the production of a more watery mucous that is easier to cough up.

Examples:

Coltsfoot, Eyebright Euphrasia L., Fenugreek Trigonella L., Hyssop, Lemongrass Cymbopogon L., Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Marshmallow Althaea officinalis, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Nettle Leaf Urtica dioica, Plantain Plantago spp., Red Clover Trifolium pratense, Slippery Elm Bark, Wild Cherry Bark Prunus virginiana, Yucca Root Yucca schidigera, and Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum

Febrifuge:

Herbs that reduce fever. Herbalists understand that a fever is the body's way of fighting off an infection. As long as the body is able to eliminate waste, they do not typically use herbs to reduce fever. They may also lower a fever when it has some beneficial effect on the infection or inflammation causing the fever. They will also lower fever if for some reason the body's ability to eliminate waste has been compromised. They will first attempt to repair the waste eliminating system that is not functioning properly, and try to use herbs that support the immune system and the other cleansing processes of the body. They may give DIAPHORETICS to lower body temperature by promoting perspiration, and help the body cleanse. Or they may give circulatory STIMULANTS to increase blood flow to the skin and so promote a cleansing sweat. ALTERATIVES can act through an ANTI-MICROBIAL action, or through stimulation of the immune system, and can also help the body clear out the toxic waste products of an infective process.

Fungicide:

Herbs that kill fungus. See ANTI-MICROBIAL.

Galactagogue:

Herbs that increase lactation. Generally need to be used in the context of a very good diet and general health to be effective.

Examples:

Anise Seed, Basil, Borage, Caraway, CleaversGalium aparine, Cumin, Dandelion Root Taraxacum officinale, Dill, European Vervain Verbena officinalis, Fennel, Fenugreek Trigonella L., Goat's Rue, Iceland Moss, Milk Thistle Silybum marianum, Milkwort, Nettle Urtica dioic

Haemostatic:

Herbs which stop or prevent bleeding. ASTRINGENTS are often haemostatic

Examples:

Bayberry (Sweet Gale, Wax-Myrtle) Myrica gale ( Uterus), Beth Root (General), Black Alder Alnus glutinosa, Blackberry (Uterus), Bistort Persicaria bistorta, Black Cohosh (Lungs), Cayenne (Powerful), Club Moss, Comfrey Symphytum officinale L, Cranesbill Geranium dissectum, Ergot, Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis (Uterus, bowels), Great Burnett, Horsetail, Knotweed, Mullein (Bowels, general), Nettles Urtica dioica Sting Nettle Root (General), Plantain Plantago spp., Raspberry Leaf Rubus idaeus, Red Alder, Shave Grass, Smooth Alder, Storksbill (Uterus), Tormentil, White Oak Bark (General), Witch Hazel, Yarrow Achillea millefolium

Hepatic:

Herbs that support the function of the liver. They tone, strengthen, and in some cases increase bile flow (see CHOLAGOGUE ). BITTERS often exert their function through stimulation of the liver. Important for general health as the liver is the primary organ responsible for removing toxins from the body.

Examples:

Agrimony Agrimonia L., Aloe Vera, Asparagus, Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Bayberry (Sweet Gale, Wax-Myrtle) Myrica gale, Blue Flag Iris versicolor, Boldo, Buckthorn, Carrot, Cascara Sagrada Frangula alnus, Curly Dock Rumex crispus, Dandelion Taraxacum officinale, Fennel, Garden Sage Salvia oficinalis, Hyssop, Mandrake Mandragora L., Milk Thistle Silybum marianum, Poke Root, Self-Heal, Wild Yam, Wood Betony Stachys officinalis

Hypnotic:

Herbs that help induce sleep. This effect can result from muscle-relaxing properties, volatile oils that reduce psychological tension, or remedies that act on the nervous system itself. Almost any hypnotic remedy can become addictive if used consistantly for any long period. Should be used as part of a holistic approach to sleeplessness, including exercise, diet, relaxation exercises, and counselling regarding sources of stress.

Examples:

Passion Flower Passiflora incarnata, Hops Humulus lupulus, Kava Kava Piper methysticum, Skullcap Scutellaria L., Valerian Valeriana officinalis

Hypoglycemic:

Herbs that help regulate and reduce blood sugar.

Examples:

Burdock Arctium lappa, Garlic

Immunostimulant:

herbs which stimulate the immune system.

Examples:

Astragalus Astragalus membranaceus, Burdock Arctium lappa, Echinacea Echinacea purpurea, Stinging Nettles Urtica dioica, Yarrow Achillea millefolium,

Laxative:

Herbs that promote contractions of the bowels to stimulate removal of feces. Generally differentiated from the gentler APERIENTS which promote normal bowel activity, in that these stronger herbs act by irritating the bowels so they evacuate more forcefully.

Examples:

Agave, Aloe Vera, Apple tree bark, Asparagus, Black Walnut Bark Juglans nigra, Cascara, Chickweed Stellaria media, Dog's Mercury, Ferula Ferula foetida, Fig tree, Fumitory Fumaria, Garden Violet, Larch, Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Lily of the Valley, Mexican Damiana, Olive, Pansy, Peach tree, Plum Prunus domestica Prunus americana, Pokeweed Phytolacca americana, Raspberry Rubus idaeus, Senna, Sorrel, Tamarind, Wahoo*, Walnut Juglans cinerea, Wild Daisy, Wild Oregon Grape Root Mahonia Nutt., Yellow Parilla, Yerba Mate, Yucca Root

Lithotriptic:

Herbs that help to dissolve and eliminate urinary and biliary stones and gravel.

Examples:

For kidney and bladder stones, use Parsley, Dandelion Taraxacum officinale, and Nettle Leaf Urtica dioica.
For the gallbladder, use Wild Cherry Bark Prunus virginiana, and Cascara Sagrada Frangula alnus

Lymphatic:

Herbs that will stimulate and cleanse the lymphatic system.

Examples:

Black Walnut Bark Juglans nigra, Chaparral Larrea tridentata, Dandelion Taraxacum officinale, Dock Rumex crispus, Echinacea purpurea, Garlic Allium sativum, Oregon Grape Root Mahonia Nutt., Poke

Lypolytic:

Herbs that normalize lipids in the body. These herbs are gaining attention as we learn more about the effects of the ratios of different types of lipids in the causation of heart disease.

Examples:

Dong Quai, Garlic

Narcotic:

Powerful ANODYNES which often also have HYPNOTICS function

Examples:

Ghost Pipe Monotropa uniflora, Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum Wild Lettuce Lactuca virosa

Nervine:

Herbs that exert an effect on the nervous system. See the categories below.

Examples:

Nervine Relaxant: Herbs that promote relaxation of the nervous system. Often act to sedate or produce sleep, or to relax muscles.  Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Catnip, Chamomile Anthemis L., Hyssop, Kava Kava Piper methysticum, Linden blossom, Musk-mallow Malva moschata, Passion Flower Passiflora incarnata, Black Haw, Cramp Bark, Lady's Slipper Cypripedium acaule, Hops Humulus lupulus , California Poppy, Lavender, Pleurisy Root, St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Valerian Valeriana officinalis
Nervine Stimulant: Herbs that stimulate the nervous system. Coffee, Tea, Mate, Kola Nut
Nervine Tonic: Herbs that support and strengthen the nervous system. Kava Piper methysticum, Oats, St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Vervain Verbena officinalis, Skullcap Scutellaria L.

Nutritive:

Herbs that nourish the body. Useful in convalescence or anorexia.

Examples:

Marshmallow Althaea officinalis, Hemp seeds

Oxytocic:

These herbs will promote and can assist in easier childbirth. See Uterine Tonic

Examples:

Birthwort, Blue Cohosh Caulophyllum thalictroides, Marijuana Cannabis sativa, Cotton, Ergot, Peruvian Bark

Parasiticide:

Herbs that destroy parasites in the digestive tract or on the skin.

Examples:

Blackberry, Black Walnut Bark Juglans nigra, Chamomile Anthemis L., Cinnamon Oil, Chaparral Larrea tridentata, Cloves, Echinacea Echinacea purpurea, False Unicorn, Garlic Allium sativum, Gentian, Nettle Leaf Urtica dioica, Rue, Thyme, Wood Betony Stachys officinalis, Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris

Parturient:

Herbs that support and facilitate the birthing process. These are often Uterine Tonics or stimulants. See Oxytocic

Examples:

Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Blue Cohosh Caulophyllum thalictroides, Chaste Berry, False Unicorn Root, Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca, Raspberry Rubus idaeus, Squaw Vine Mitchella repens

Pectoral:

Herbs that strengthen the lungs. All expectorants are pectorals, but this class includes herbs that aid the lungs through other actions as well.

Examples:

Elecampagne, Lobelia, Blood Root, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Pleurisy Root

Relaxant:

Herbs which induce relaxation. See Nervine

Examples:

Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Black Haw, California Poppy, Catnip, Chamomile Anthemis L., Cramp Bark, Ghost Pipe Monotropa uniflora, Hops Humulus lupulus, Hyssop, Kava Kava Piper methysticum, Lady's Slipper Cypripedium acaule, Lavender, Linden blossom, Musk-mallow Malva moschata, Passion Flower Passiflora incarnata, Pleurisy Root, St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Valerian Valeriana officinalis

Rubefacient:

Herbs that increase the flow of blood at the surface of the skin and produce redness where they are applied. Their function is to draw inflammation and congestion from deeper areas. They are useful for the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, and other joint problems and for sprains.

Examples:

Bergamot Monarda citriodora, Buttercup Ranunculus L., CayenneCapsicum annuum, Cinnamon Cinnamomum spp., Cowslip, Ginger Zingiber officinale, Hellebore, Horseradish, Juniper, Knotweed, Mezereum Daphne mezereum, Monarda, Mustard Seed, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Olive Leaf, Pasque Flower, Peppermint Oil, Prickly Ash Zanthoxylum L., Rosemary Oil, Rue, Thyme Oil, Wheatgrass Triticum aestivum, Powder

Sedative:

Herbs that strongly quiet the nervous system. These will include antispasmodic and nervine

Examples:

Birch Betula lenta, Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Black Haw, Bloodroot, Bugleweed (arterial, nervine), Catnip, Celery seeds, Chamomile Anthemis L., Coral Root, Ferula Ferula foetida, Feverweed, Garden Sage Salvia oficinalis, Goldthread, Hawthorn, Hops Humulus lupulus , Hyssop, Indian Pipe Monotropa uniflora, Kava Kava Piper methysticum, Lavender, Lady's Slipper Cypripedium acaule, Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis, Lettuce, Monkshood Aconitum L., Mountain Laurel, New Jersey Tea, Passion Flower Passiflora incarnata, Peach Tree, Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium, Peony, Peppermint Mentha piperita, Periwinkle Vinca minor, Red Clover Trifolium pratense, Saffron, Saw Palmetto Serenoa repens, Skullcap Scutellaria L., Sorrel, Spearmint Mentha spicata, St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Sweet Flag, Thyme, Valerian Valeriana officinalis, Wild Black Cherry, Witch Hazel, Wood Betony Stachys officinalis, Yellow Jessamine Gelsemium sempervirens

Sialagogue:

Substances that stimulate the flow of saliva and thus aid in the digestion of starches.

Examples:

Beet Root, Betel Nut Piper betle, Black Pepper, Blue Flag Iris versicolor, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Currant Ribes rubrum, Echinacea purpurea, European Centaury, Ginger Zingiber officinale, Lemon, Licorice Root Glycyrrhiza lepidota, Moneywort Lysimachia nummularia, Prickly Ash Zanthoxylum L., Quassia Picrasma excelsa Rooibos African Red Tea, Senega Snakeroot, Seven Barks (Hydrangea), Water Eryngo, Yerba Santa Eriodictyon californicum

Soporifics:

Herbs that will assist in giving a restful and relaxing sleep.

Examples:

Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Catnip, Hops Humulus lupulus , Kava Kava Piper methysticum, Lady's Slipper Cypripedium acaule, Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca, Mullein Verbascum thapsus, Passion Flower Passiflora incarnata, Skullcap Scutellaria L., Valerian Valeriana officinalis, Vervain Verbena officinalis

Stimulant:

Generally, herbs that cause an increase in body functions. In older herbals, this term refers specifically to stimulants of the circulatory system

Examples:

Bayberry (Sweet Gale, Wax-Myrtle) Myrica gale, Bergamot Monarda citriodora, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Prickly Ash Zanthoxylum L., Yarrow Achillea millefolium. See CARDIAC.

Stomachic:

Herbs that tone and stimulate action of the stomach. See BITTER.

Styptic:

Herbs that will stop bleeding, both internal and external.

Examples:

Bennet Geum urbanum, Beth Root, Bistort Persicaria bistorta, Blackberry, Blind Nettle, Cranesbill Geranium dissectum, Horsetail, Horseweed, Loosestrife Lythrum spp., Matico, Plantain Plantago spp., Rhatany, Sanicle Sanicula europaea, Shepherd's Purse, Spotted Cranebill, Tormentil, White Oak Bark, Witch Hazel, Woundwort, Yarrow Achillea millifolium

Thymoleptic:

Herbs that raise the mood and counteract depression. With the advent of modern pharmacology, it has been found that these herbs have an action on the chemicals that transmit nerve impulses in the brain; these "neurotransmitters" have been found to be in imbalance in most cases of severe depression.

Examples:

St John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Passion Flower Passiflora incarnate

Tonic:

Herbs that strengthen and support the function of a specific organ or, in some herbals, the whole body.

Examples:

Alfalfa Medicago sativa Apple Fiber, Burdock Arctium lappa, Cayenne Capsicum annuum, Dandelion Root Taraxacum officinale Eyebright Euphrasia L., Fenugreek Trigonella L., Ginseng Panax L., Hawthorn Berry, Hops Humulus lupulus, Milk Thistle Silybum marianum, Common Plantain Plantago spp., and Yerba Mate
Specific Tonics
-Blood: Chaparral Larrea tridentata, Echinacea Echinacea purpurea, Garlic
-Cardiac: Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Bugleweed, Foxglove Digitalis purpurea, Hawthorne, Ginseng Panax L., Hawthorn, Hedge Hyssop, Hellebore, Lily of the Valley, Lime blossom, American Mistletoe Phoradendron leucarpum, Monarda, Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca, Peyote, Raspberry Rubus idaeus, Wahoo
-Gall Bladder:    Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis, Oregon Grape Root Mahonia Nutt., Parsley, Wild Yam
-Intestinal: Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Blackberry Leaves, Cascara Sagrada Frangula alnus, Cranesbill Geranium dissectum, Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis
-Kidney: American Mistletoe Phoradendron leucarpum, Buchu, Burdock Root Arctium lappa, Cleavers, Dandelion Taraxacum officinale, Fo-ti, Horsetail, Kava Kava Piper methysticum, Parsley, Pipsissewa Chimaphila umbellata, Saw Palmetto Serenoa repens, Uva Ursi.
-Liver: Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Buckthorn Bark, Cascara Sagrada Frangula alnus, Dandelion Taraxacum officinale, Eyebright Euphrasia L., Fo-ti, Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis, Mandrake Mandragora L., Stoneroot.
-Lung: Beth Root, Comfrey Symphytum officinale L, Elecampane, Fenugreek Trigonella L., Garlic Allium sativum, Lungwort, Pluerisy Root
-Nerve: American Mistletoe Phoradendron leucarpum, Celery, Chamomile Anthemis L., Hops Humulus lupulus, Kava Kava Piper methysticum, Lady's Slipper Cypripedium acaule, Lobelia, St. John's Wort Hypericum perforatum, Valerian Valeriana officinalis
-Sexual: (1) Female - Black Haw, Damiana, Don Quai, False Unicorn, Ginseng Panax L., Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca, Squaw Vine Mitchella repens, Yohimbe Pausinystalia johimbe
(2) Male - Damiana, American Ginseng Panax quinquefolius, Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca, Plantain Plantago spp., Sarsaparilla Smilax aristolochiifolia, Saw Palmetto Serenoa repens, Yohimbe Pausinystalia johimbe
-Uterine:Tone and normalize the function of the female reproductive system. Black Cohosh Actaea racemosa, Blue Cohosh Caulophyllum thalictroides, Chaste Berry, False Unicorn Root, Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca, Raspberry Rubus idaeus, Squaw Vine Mitchella repens

Vasoconstrictor:

Herbs which reduce blood flow.

Examples:

Ma Huang Ephedra sinica, Witch Hazel Hamamelis virginiana, Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis, Bugleweed Lycopus virginicus

Vasodilator:

Herbs which Increase blood flow.

Examples:

American Hellebore Veratrum viride, Garlic Allium sativum, Barberry Berberis vulgaris, Black Cohosh Cimicifuga racemosa, Coleus forskholii Coleus, Cramp Bark, (Black Haw) Viburnum spp., Fenugreek Trigonella foenum-graecum, Ginger Zingiber officinale, Ginkgo Biloba, Goldenthread Coptis spp., Ginseng Panax spp., Hawthorn Crataegus spp., Horseradish Amoracia rusticana, Kava Kava Piper methysticum, Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis, Linden Flower Tilia europaea, Olive Leaf Olea europaea, Parsley Petroselinum crispum, Prickly Ash Xanthoxylum americanum, Skullcap Scutellaria L., Stinging Nettles Urtica dioica, Valerian Valeriana officinalis, Vervain Verbena officinalis, Yarrow Achillea millefolium, Yohimbe Pausinystalia johimbe

Vermicide:

Herbs that kill intestinal worms. See ANTHELMINTIC.

Vermifuge:

Herbs that promote expulsion of intestinal worms. See ANTHELMINTIC.

Vulnerary:

Herbs that help wounds or inflammations to heal; can refer to lesions of the skin or mucus membranes. Many ASTRINGENTS, DEMULCENTS, and EMOLLIENTS have vulnerary actions. Sometimes the vulnerary function is due to tannins producing an impervious layer that protects the wound as it heals. Sometimes mucilage soothes and keeps the tissue moist. Comfrey contains a compound called allantoin, which stimulates cell growth, and helps heal broken bones as well as skin. Comfrey contains hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA's). These have been shown to increase the incidents of liver failure. Rats given injections of pure PA's developed cancer. It is therefore not recommended that you take comfrey internally. Herbs with ANTI-MICROBIAL action can also assist wound healing by guarding against infection.

Examples:

BurdockArctium lappa, Comfrey Symphytum officinale L, Chickweed Stellaria media, Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis, Marigold, Marshmallow Althaea officinalis, Plantain Plantago spp., Yarrow Achillea millefolium, Willow Bark.