Common Medicinal Herbs

By | March 14, 2014

Medicinal Herbs

Many common medicinal herbs are found growing in the wild or are easily grown in your flower bed or vegetable garden, and provide an alternative to synthetic over-the-counter or prescription medications. Medicinal herbs may also have side effects, especially for people who are allergic to some medications, including aspirin. You should discuss the use of medicinal herbs with your doctor before using them.

Food plants, such as fruits, can be used as medicinal herbs as many of the nutritious compounds provide an alternative medicinal property. All fruits contain Vitamin C, which is astringent, allowing fruit juices to be used as an alternative for cleaning minor wounds, scratches, scrapes and rashes. Many wild edible plants were also often used as common medicinal herbs since they were readily available, easily dried and stored or made into tinctures. These food plants that have a beneficial medicinal use include Dandelion, Oats, Garlic and Onions.

Culinary spices are also often used in herbal remedies since the chemical compounds that they contain are beneficial to many body systems and have been used to treat minor external conditions as well. Cinnamon contains phenols and terpenes which are highly oxygenated, which alone improves the ability of cells to perform their function and provides a boost to the cells health. Herbal remedies for circulatory problems, respiratory ailments and colds improve your body’s ability to heal itself while providing relief.

For centuries people have relied on common medicinal herbs to provide medicine and when technology advanced enough to synthesize the compounds in these plants modern pharmacology was born. The compounds that make up aspirin are the same ones found in Willow Bark and while the herbal practitioners that lived hundreds of years ago did not understand the science behind their remedies modern scientists are finding that many of these medicinal herbal remedies are valid. Burdock was highly valued for its ability to heal many skin conditions and is now found in a number of commercially prepared skin products.

Alphabetical List of Specific Herbs, Their Uses and Properties

A – B – C – D – E – F – G – H – I – J – K – L – M – N – O – P – Q – R – S – T – U – V – W – X – Y – Z

-A-

Agave
Tribal people found many uses for the agave plant and some of those uses have carried over into the modern world.

Agrimony
Used as a tonic, diuretic and for congestive disorders, including diarrhea.

Alfalfa
Has been used traditionally for treating infections resulting from surgical incisions, bed sores and inner ear problems.

Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera restores skin tissues and may aid the healing of burns and sores.

Angelica
Good for treating anemia and weak glands, regulating monthly periods, correcting hot flashes and vaginal spasms (PMS).

Anise
Improves memory, get rid of oily skin, calm coughs, increases milk production for nursing mothers and acts as a natural antacid.

Arjuna
Alterative, astringent, cardiac stimulant, hemostatic, rejuvenative, tonic and lithontriptic.

Arnica
Promotes the healing of wounds, bruises, and irritation.

Artemisia
Also known as Sweet Annie. Antipyretic, antibacterial, antifungal, antimalarial.

Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha stimulates the immune system. It has also been shown to inhibit inflammation and improve memory.

Astragalus
Immune tonic, diuretic and also lowers blood pressure.

Avena
Has a reputation for nourishing the nervous and hormonal systems.

-B-

Barberry
Very effective for fighting bacterial infection and reducing inflammation.

Basil
Shown to be effective in the treatment of inflammation, digestive orders, diabetes and infection.

Bilberry
Has been used for cardiovascular, ophthalmological and digestive purposes.

Birch
Most commonly used as an anti-inflammatory and diuretic.

Bitter Orange
Used as an appetite suppressant and as a stimulant.

Black Cohosh
Found in most herbal blends for feminine conditions, including menopause.

Blueberries
Rich antioxidant content makes for numerous benefits of blueberries.

Borage
Has a calming and cooling effect and can help break fevers.

Boswellia
Used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat osteoarthritis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and bursitis.

Burdock
Used to clear the bloodstream of toxins, as a diuretic to promote the excretion of urine, and as a topical remedy to relieve skin problems.

Burdock Root
Used for the treatment of skin conditions which result in dry and scaly skin.

Butcher’s Broom
Has anti-inflammatory properties and is used in the treatment of varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

-C-

Calendula
Used for scrapes, bruises and especially burns.

Catnip
Used for treating headaches, nervous system disorders and pain.

Cat’s Claw
Used for treating cancer, depression, fatigue, arthritis, herpes and diabetes.

Cayenne
This herb’s heating qualities make it a valuable remedy for poor circulation and related conditions.

Chamomile
An anti-inflammatory that can be used to treat digestive tract ailments and other health problems.

Chaparral
Historically used to treat a range of diseases, including arthritis, the common cold, digestive ailments and cancer.

Chickweed
Particularly noted for its cooling qualities, and is especially soothing when applied to skin problems presenting as hot and itchy.

Chrysanthemum
Research has shown that chrysanthemum has an antibiotic principle which is affective against infections.

Cinnamon
A powerful digestive aid. Also used for fibroiuds and indigestion

Cleavers
Used for kidney stones and other urinary complaints, such as cystitis.

Clove
Being anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial and antifungul are just a few of the medicinal properties of Cloves.

Comfrey
Contains a compound called allantoin, which when applied to the skin accelerates the healing of tissue and the closing of wounds.

Coptis
Contains a compound called berberine which has been shown to stop the multiplication of liver cancer and human colorectal cells.

Cordyceps Used to strengthen immunity in those who have undergone chemotherapy or are recovering from a debilitating disease.

-D-

Damiana
Used in many countries to provide a natural alternative to prescription drugs.

Dan Shen
This herb is commonly known as a heart tonic.

Dandelion
The leaves of this plant are a powerful diuretic and the roots are a blood purifier.

Dong Quai
A relatively safe herb effective in restoring balance disrupted by hormonal and blood disorders.

-E-

Echinacea
Some of the most common uses of this herb are immune system stimulation and theprevention of infections.

Elderberry
This herb is an immune stimulant, very useful in treating upper respiratory infections, asthma, bronchitis, influenza and sinusitis.

Elecampane
Has been used to combat intestinal parasites, yeast infections and congestive heart failure.

Ephedra
Clinical studies have shown that Ephedra is reasonably effective as decongestants, bronchodilators and vasoconstrictors.

Eucalyptus
Used to clear nasal passages, loosen phlegm, increase flow of blood to muscles, as a topical antiseptic, and as protection from bug bites.

Eyebright
A high concentration of tannins makes it an excellent anti-inflammatory and astringent.

-F-

Fennel Seed
This herb has antispasmodic, analgesic and diuretic properties.

Fenugreek
Provides relief from mild cases of gastrointestinal cramping and the menstrual discomfort.

Feverfew
Has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and migraine headaches.

-G-

Garlic
This popular herb lowers cholesterol levels and blood sugar which helps prevent heart attack and stroke.

Gentian
Gentian health benefits encompass the digestive, circulatory and immune systems.

Ginger
Ginger is the most widely used and available herbal remedy on the planet.

Ginkgo
Ginkgo’s healing properties are attributed to the presents of flavone glycosides and terpene lactones.

Ginseng
This herb is an aphrodisiac, analgesic, adaptogen and general stimulant.

Goldenseal
This herb has been used by Native Americans for centuries.

Gotu Kola
Studies show this herb has anti-inflammatory effects and improves blood flow throughout the body.

-H-

Hawthorn
This herb is used to protect against the early stages of heart disease.

Horehound
A popular remedy for sore throats and other minor conditions.

Horse Chestnut
A well-tolerated herbal medicine that clinical trials have found to help treat chronic venous insufficiency.

Ho She Wu
Widely used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and has been hailed overall as an anti-aging agent.

Hops
Acts primarily on the nervous, endocrine and digestive systems.

Horseradish
Strongly stimulates the digestion, increasing gastric secretions and appetite.

Horsetail
Has been in use for hundreds of years for its beneficial effects on the skeleton and connective tissue.

-I-

Ivy
Used extensively in Europe to combat asthma, other chronic respiratory ailments and symptoms of the common cold

-J-

Jasmine
In the East, the Chinese used the jasmine plant as a cleansing remedy.

-K-

Kava
Used to soothe stress, relieve anxiety and treat insomnia.

Kelp
A rich sources of iodine, a mineral important to thyroid health.

Khella
Uses span the cardiac, circulatory, respiratory and renal systems in addition to being used as an anti-inflammatory agent.

-L-

Lamb’s Ear
Used to help reduce swelling of injured or inflamed joints and muscles.

Lamb’s Quarter
One of the most nutritious wild foods you can eat.

Lavender
Lavender is a scent of choice when a person wants to alleviate symptoms of overall depression.

Lemon Balm
This herb has antibacterial and antiviral properties and is mildly sedating.

Lemon Verbena
Preparations from this plant can be used to create a breath freshening mouthwash

Licorice
Has been used by practitioners for thousands of years to treat ulcers, colds and skin disorders.

-M-

Marshmallow Root
Very popular alternative medication and its benefit in reducing inflammation has been scientifically documented.

Mate
Increases natural energy without causing sleeplessness.

Milk Thistle
Works to tone and restore the body, being especially useful in treating gall bladder and liver problems.

Mint
Closely associated with digestion, including bad breath and stomach ailments, but also has a variety of analgesic and respiratory applications.

Morinda
Used in Malaysia and Polynesia to treat high blood pressure, immune deficiency, diabetes, depression, menstrual problems, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Motherwort
Beneficial in balancing hormones and women’s menstrual cycles.

Mullein
An old-time remedy for bronchitis and dry, unproductive coughs.

-N-

Nasturtium
Nasturtiums have been eaten for their high vitamin content for centuries.

Neem Oil
Administered topically, orally or even vaginally, Neem extracts are antiseptic, contraceptive and diuretic.

-O-

Oatstraw
Has a reputation for nourishing the nervous and hormonal systems.

Olive Leaf
Olive leaf is said to be effective against even antibiotic resistant bacteria, yeast strains and fungi.

Oregano Oil
Provides a boost to the immune system, helping individuals rid colds and flu as well as protect from infection.

Oregon Grape Root
Used to fight bacterial infections. It also helps purify the blood and liver.

-P-

Passionflower
This a is a wonderfully relaxing herb useful for treating chronic insomnia.

Pau d’ Arco
One of the best known herbs from the Amazon rain forest.

Peppermint
Best known for it’s minty scent and ability to help with digestive ailments.

Poke
A powerful healing agent as well as a purgative and emetic.

 

Prickly Ash
Used to relieve pain associated with toothaches and arthritis.

Psyllium
Used for centuries to treat diarrhea, hemorrhoids, constipation and urinary problems.

-R-

Raspberry Leaf
One of the most popular pregnancy herbs because it has both relaxing and toning or astringent actions.

Red Clover
The single most useful herb in establishing fertility.

Reishi
Used as an overall tonic to boost energy, promote longevity and combat stress.

Rhubarb
Used effectively as a remedy for constipation for over two thousand years.

Rooibos
It’s strong antioxidant properties have made it a popular natural remedy for centuries.

Rosemary
A potent antiseptic, antioxidant, and antispasmodic.

-S-

Sarsaparilla
The root contains plant steroids and saponins, which have been credited with many of its pharmacological properties.

Saw Palmetto
Has been used traditionally as a diuretic and to stimulate immune response.

Schisandra
Strangely, it is used as both a stimulant and a calming agent.

Seaweed
Daily use of seaweed provides optimum nourishment for the hormonal, lymphatic, urinary, and nervous systems.

Sheep Sorrel
Used historically as an antiscorbutic, antiseptic, diuretic, hepatic, and laxative.

Sheoherd’s Purse
One of the benefits of the herb is its ability to stop many types of bleeding.

 

Shiitake
These mushrooms have been used for food and medicine for thousands of years.

Siberian Ginseng
This herb helps the body deal with stress and prevents a condition known as adrenal burnout.

Skullcap
Used to treat amenorrhea, breast pain and to induce uterine contractions, aiding in the expulsion of the placenta.

Slippery Elm
Very soothing to the stomach lining and is sometimes made into a gruel and offered to colicky babes.

Sirulina
International health organizations have hailed Spirulina as one of the “Greatest Superfoods on Earth”.

St. John’s Wort
One of the most versatile herbs used in natural health care.

Stinging Nettle
Not only does it have a variety of medicinal uses, it can also be eaten as a food.

-T-

Tea Tree Oil
This herb has antibacterial, anti fungal and antiseptic properties

Thyme
This fragrant herb has culinary uses and internal/external medicinal applications.

Turkey Rhubarb
Has been used effectively as a remedy for constipation for over two thousand years.

Turmeric
High in antioxidants and has anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties as well.

-U-

Usnea
Used for hundreds of years for its powerful topical and internal properties.

Uva Ursi
Is a popular treatment for infections of the kidneys and bladder.

-V-

Valerian
Used primarily as a mild sedative to calm restlessness and anxiety and overcome mild insomnia.

Vitex
Works to stabalize declining hormone levels that sometimes occur in the years leading up to, and following, menopause

-W-

Willow Bark
This herb is an analgesic with painkilling properties silmilar to aspirin.

-Y-

Yarrow
This herb is a traditional digestive aid and stomach tonic useful in treating gastrointestinal conditions.

Yellow Dock
Has proven to be a useful tool in the prevention and treatment of many health issues.

Scientists continue to research common medicinal herbs confirming many of the home remedies and alternative treatments used by people which may lead to more effective, safer more natural therapies.

Common medicinal herbs are easy to find, grow and use plus the side effects may be less than over the counter preparations or prescription medications.

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