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
Tribal people found many uses for the agave plant and some of those uses have carried over into the modern world.
Used as a tonic, diuretic and for congestive disorders, including diarrhea.
Has been used traditionally for treating infections resulting from surgical incisions, bed sores and inner ear problems.
Aloe Vera restores skin tissues and may aid the healing of burns and sores.
Good for treating anemia and weak glands, regulating monthly periods, correcting hot flashes and vaginal spasms (PMS).
Improves memory, get rid of oily skin, calm coughs, increases milk production for nursing mothers and acts as a natural antacid.
Alterative, astringent, cardiac stimulant, hemostatic, rejuvenative, tonic and lithontriptic.
Promotes the healing of wounds, bruises, and irritation.
Also known as Sweet Annie. Antipyretic, antibacterial, antifungal, antimalarial.
Ashwagandha stimulates the immune system. It has also been shown to inhibit inflammation and improve memory.
Immune tonic, diuretic and also lowers blood pressure.
Has a reputation for nourishing the nervous and hormonal systems.
Very effective for fighting bacterial infection and reducing inflammation.
Shown to be effective in the treatment of inflammation, digestive orders, diabetes and infection.
Has been used for cardiovascular, ophthalmological and digestive purposes.
Most commonly used as an anti-inflammatory and diuretic.
Used as an appetite suppressant and as a stimulant.
Found in most herbal blends for feminine conditions, including menopause.
Rich antioxidant content makes for numerous benefits of blueberries.
Has a calming and cooling effect and can help break fevers.
Used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat osteoarthritis, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and bursitis.
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.
Used for the treatment of skin conditions which result in dry and scaly skin.
Has anti-inflammatory properties and is used in the treatment of varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Used for scrapes, bruises and especially burns.
Used for treating headaches, nervous system disorders and pain.
Used for treating cancer, depression, fatigue, arthritis, herpes and diabetes.
This herb’s heating qualities make it a valuable remedy for poor circulation and related conditions.
An anti-inflammatory that can be used to treat digestive tract ailments and other health problems.
Historically used to treat a range of diseases, including arthritis, the common cold, digestive ailments and cancer.
Particularly noted for its cooling qualities, and is especially soothing when applied to skin problems presenting as hot and itchy.
Research has shown that chrysanthemum has an antibiotic principle which is affective against infections.
A powerful digestive aid. Also used for fibroiuds and indigestion
Used for kidney stones and other urinary complaints, such as cystitis.
Being anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial and antifungul are just a few of the medicinal properties of Cloves.
Contains a compound called allantoin, which when applied to the skin accelerates the healing of tissue and the closing of wounds.
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.
Used in many countries to provide a natural alternative to prescription drugs.
This herb is commonly known as a heart tonic.
The leaves of this plant are a powerful diuretic and the roots are a blood purifier.
A relatively safe herb effective in restoring balance disrupted by hormonal and blood disorders.
Some of the most common uses of this herb are immune system stimulation and theprevention of infections.
This herb is an immune stimulant, very useful in treating upper respiratory infections, asthma, bronchitis, influenza and sinusitis.
Has been used to combat intestinal parasites, yeast infections and congestive heart failure.
Clinical studies have shown that Ephedra is reasonably effective as decongestants, bronchodilators and vasoconstrictors.
Used to clear nasal passages, loosen phlegm, increase flow of blood to muscles, as a topical antiseptic, and as protection from bug bites.
A high concentration of tannins makes it an excellent anti-inflammatory and astringent.
This herb has antispasmodic, analgesic and diuretic properties.
Provides relief from mild cases of gastrointestinal cramping and the menstrual discomfort.
This popular herb lowers cholesterol levels and blood sugar which helps prevent heart attack and stroke.
Gentian health benefits encompass the digestive, circulatory and immune systems.
Ginkgo’s healing properties are attributed to the presents of flavone glycosides and terpene lactones.
This herb is an aphrodisiac, analgesic, adaptogen and general stimulant.
This herb has been used by Native Americans for centuries.
Studies show this herb has anti-inflammatory effects and improves blood flow throughout the body.
This herb is used to protect against the early stages of heart disease.
A popular remedy for sore throats and other minor conditions.
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.
Acts primarily on the nervous, endocrine and digestive systems.
Strongly stimulates the digestion, increasing gastric secretions and appetite.
Has been in use for hundreds of years for its beneficial effects on the skeleton and connective tissue.
Used extensively in Europe to combat asthma, other chronic respiratory ailments and symptoms of the common cold
In the East, the Chinese used the jasmine plant as a cleansing remedy.
Used to soothe stress, relieve anxiety and treat insomnia.
A rich sources of iodine, a mineral important to thyroid health.
Uses span the cardiac, circulatory, respiratory and renal systems in addition to being used as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Used to help reduce swelling of injured or inflamed joints and muscles.
One of the most nutritious wild foods you can eat.
Lavender is a scent of choice when a person wants to alleviate symptoms of overall depression.
This herb has antibacterial and antiviral properties and is mildly sedating.
Preparations from this plant can be used to create a breath freshening mouthwash
Has been used by practitioners for thousands of years to treat ulcers, colds and skin disorders.
Very popular alternative medication and its benefit in reducing inflammation has been scientifically documented.
Increases natural energy without causing sleeplessness.
Works to tone and restore the body, being especially useful in treating gall bladder and liver problems.
Closely associated with digestion, including bad breath and stomach ailments, but also has a variety of analgesic and respiratory applications.
Used in Malaysia and Polynesia to treat high blood pressure, immune deficiency, diabetes, depression, menstrual problems, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Beneficial in balancing hormones and women’s menstrual cycles.
An old-time remedy for bronchitis and dry, unproductive coughs.
Nasturtiums have been eaten for their high vitamin content for centuries.
Administered topically, orally or even vaginally, Neem extracts are antiseptic, contraceptive and diuretic.
Has a reputation for nourishing the nervous and hormonal systems.
Olive leaf is said to be effective against even antibiotic resistant bacteria, yeast strains and fungi.
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.
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.
Best known for it’s minty scent and ability to help with digestive ailments.
A powerful healing agent as well as a purgative and emetic.
Used to relieve pain associated with toothaches and arthritis.
Used for centuries to treat diarrhea, hemorrhoids, constipation and urinary problems.
One of the most popular pregnancy herbs because it has both relaxing and toning or astringent actions.
The single most useful herb in establishing fertility.
Used as an overall tonic to boost energy, promote longevity and combat stress.
Used effectively as a remedy for constipation for over two thousand years.
It’s strong antioxidant properties have made it a popular natural remedy for centuries.
A potent antiseptic, antioxidant, and antispasmodic.
The root contains plant steroids and saponins, which have been credited with many of its pharmacological properties.
Has been used traditionally as a diuretic and to stimulate immune response.
Strangely, it is used as both a stimulant and a calming agent.
Daily use of seaweed provides optimum nourishment for the hormonal, lymphatic, urinary, and nervous systems.
Used historically as an antiscorbutic, antiseptic, diuretic, hepatic, and laxative.
One of the benefits of the herb is its ability to stop many types of bleeding.
These mushrooms have been used for food and medicine for thousands of years.
This herb helps the body deal with stress and prevents a condition known as adrenal burnout.
Used to treat amenorrhea, breast pain and to induce uterine contractions, aiding in the expulsion of the placenta.
Very soothing to the stomach lining and is sometimes made into a gruel and offered to colicky babes.
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.
Not only does it have a variety of medicinal uses, it can also be eaten as a food.
Tea Tree Oil
This herb has antibacterial, anti fungal and antiseptic properties
This fragrant herb has culinary uses and internal/external medicinal applications.
Has been used effectively as a remedy for constipation for over two thousand years.
High in antioxidants and has anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties as well.
Used for hundreds of years for its powerful topical and internal properties.
Is a popular treatment for infections of the kidneys and bladder.
Used primarily as a mild sedative to calm restlessness and anxiety and overcome mild insomnia.
Works to stabalize declining hormone levels that sometimes occur in the years leading up to, and following, menopause
This herb is an analgesic with painkilling properties silmilar to aspirin.
This herb is a traditional digestive aid and stomach tonic useful in treating gastrointestinal conditions.
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.