medicinal plants, small list Flashcards

Terms Definitions
Achillea millefolium, Yarrow
was considered to be a medicinal plant in ancient times and the Middle Ages in Europe where tea from this herb was taken to stop internal bleeding. It is one of a small number of plants referred to as "all heal" in the English herbal tradition. Micmac Indians drank it with warm milk to treat upper respiratory infections. The Navajo Indians looked upon it as a panacea - "a life medicine". Modern researchers find good experimental evidence for yarrow's use as an anti-inflammatory agent and possibly as an astringent.
Alcea rosea, Hollyhock
The flowers are used in the treatment of repiratory and inflammatory ailments and the root extracts to produce marshmallow sweets.
Alchemilla vulgaris, Lady's Mantle
The common English name is accounted for by the leaves resemblance to a cloak worn by English women in medieval times. A preparation of dried leave was used to control diarrhea and to stop bleeding.
Allium sativum, Garlic
It has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes and as a culinary herb. In the Middle Ages, it was eaten daily as a protection against the plagues that ravished the European continent. Louis Pasteur described its antibacterial properties in 1858. Tons of garlic was used in World War I in field dressings to prevent infection. Alliin and allicin are sulfur-containing compounds that are antibacterial and anti-fungal. It is effective in lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and in boosting the immune system. Garlic is a natural pesticide against mosquito larvae.
Allium schoenoprasum, Chives
In traditional folk medicine these were eaten to treat and purge -- intestinal parasites, enhance the immune system, stimulate digestion, -- and treat anemia. -- Garlic and scallions, along with onions, leeks, chives, and shallots, are rich in flavonols, substances in plants that have been shown to have anti tumor effects. New research from China confirms that eating vegetables from the allium group (allium is Latin for garlic) can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
Allium tuberosum, Garlic Chives
In Chinese herbal medicine, these have been used to treat fatigue, control excessive bleeding, and as an antidote for ingested poisons. The leaves and bulbs are applied to insect bites, cuts, and wounds, while the seeds are used to treat kidney, liver, and digestive system problems.
Althea officinalis, True Marshmallow
The Greek physician Hippocrates described the value of althea in the treatment of wounds. Dioscorides, another Greek physician, prescribed a vinegar infusion for toothache and recommended a preparation of the seeds as a poultice for insect stings. Renaissance period herbalists used althea for sore throats, stomach problems, gonorrhea, leukorrhea, and as a gargle for infections of the mouth. -- Althea is a native of Asia that has been naturlized in America. Marshmallow syrup from the roots is used in treating coughs and irritated throats.
Anchusa officinalis, Bugloss
Preparations made from roots and/or stems have been used in modern folk medicine primarily as an expectorant (to raise phlegm) or as an emollient (a salve to sooth and soften the skin).
Anethum graveolens 'Fernleaf', Dill
is recorded as a medicinal plant for at least five thousand years in the writings of the Egyptians. Oil extracted from the seeds is made into potions and given to colicky babies. Adults take the preparation to relieve indigiestion.
Angelica archangelica, Angelica
Though all parts of the plant are medicinal, preparations are made mainly from the roots. Its medicinal uses include:relief of ingestion, flatulence and colic; improvements of peripheral arterial circulation e.g. Buerger's disease; a tonic for bronchitis
Anthemis nobilis, Roman Chamomile
It is used for the relief of gastric distress. Peter Rabbit's mother treated Peter with chamomile tea to alleviate the distress that followed the overindulgence of eating too much in Mr. McGregor's vegetable garden. Roman Chamomile resembles German Chamomile. Both Chamomiles are members of the same family. They have pale green feathery leaves and have flowers that resemble daisies with an apple-like fragrance.
Aquilegia canadensis, Columbine
Preparations of this plant are used as an astringent, analgesic, and a diuretic. American Indians used crushed seeds to relieve headaches.
Artemisia vulgaris, Mugwort
Named for the Greek moon goddess Artemis, a patron of women, Artemisia was considered an herbal ally for women in regulating the menstrual cycle and easing the transition to menopause. The herb has a long history of folk tradition and use. It was used as a flavoring additive to beer before hops became widely used. Mugwort was considered to have special properties that protected weary travelers against exhaustion. The Romans planted it by roadsides for passersby to put in their shoes to relieve aching feet. -- It is a natural insect repellant of moths as well as a culinary herb used in flavoring foods such as poultry stuffing. It is alleged to have many medicinal properties from hastening and easing labor to producing sedation. Its medicinal properties are questionable.
Asarum europeaum, European Ginger
In the past, it was used as an emetic, but it is obsolete because of toxicity. It is similar in use to Asarum canadense . was used by American Indians in the form of a root tea to treat respiratory, cardiac and "female" ailments. Asarum canadense contains aristocholic acid, an anti-tumor compound.
Asclepius incarnata, Butterfly Weed
It is used primarily in the treatment of respiratory disorders. Its uses are very similar to those of Asclepias tuberosa.
Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed or Pleurisy Root
This plant is native to North America. Omaha Indians ate the raw root to treat bronchitis and taught the pioneers to do the same. It is an expectorant; it promotes coughing that raises phlegm. It also contains cardiac glycosides and an estrogen-like substance. It is a component of Lydia E. Pinkham's Vegetable Compound (1875 to 1960) advertised for use in "womb trouble, sick headache, and nervous breakdowns".
Asperula odorata, Sweet Woodruff
Research suggests that it may have anti-arthritic properties. Historically, it has been used to treat liver disorders. In Germany, it is an essential ingredient in May wine drunk as a "spring tonic". The fragrance of dry leaves gives linen closets a sweet aroma that keeps moths away.
Baptisia australis, Blue False Indigo
American Indians used root tea as an emetic (to produce vomiting) and as a laxative. Root poultices were used to reduce inflammation, and held in the mouth against an aching tooth.
Baptisia tinctoria, Wild Indigo
Preparations made from the roots and leaves were used by North American Indians (Mohicans and Penobscots) in poltices to treat bruises, snake bites and superficial lacerations. Such preparations have effective antiseptic properties.
Borago officinalis, Borage
The ancient Greek naturalist Pliny said that this 'maketh a man merry and joyful.' Dioscorides, the first century Greek physician, mentioned the use of borage to 'comfort the heart, purge melancholy and quiet the lunatic person.' -- John Evelyn, the seventeenth century English herbalist, spoke of borage 'to revive the hypochondriac and cheer the hard student', while his contemporary Culpepper used the plant for 'putrid and pestilential fever, the venom of serpents, jaundice, consumption, sore throat and rheumatism.' -- For centuries it was thought to be a mood elevator when ingested as a tea or as leaves steeped in wine. This may or may not be the case. There is some evidence that perparations made from seed oil have a use in soothing and relieving inflammations associated with respiratory disorders.
Calamintha ascendens, Mountain Balm
A preparation from this plant stimulates sweating thereby loweing fever. It is also an expectorant and therefore a cough and cold remedy.
Calendula officinalis, Pot Marigold
Traditionally the flowers were used to impart a yellow color to cheese. Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic (bacteria, fungi and viruses) properties are responsible for the antiseptic healing effect when preparations of this plant are applied to skin wounds and burns. It can be used in the treatment of ringworm, cradle cap and athlete's foot.
Chamomilla recutita or Matricaria recutita, German Chamomile
The medicinal use of these dates back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. Chamomile has been used to treat a variety of conditions including chest colds, sore throats, abscesses, gingivitis, skin problems such as psoriasis, minor first degree burns, ulcerative colitis, stomach ulcers, and children's conditions such as chickenpox, diaper rash, and colic. -- Tea made from the dried flowers is used to treat a large varity of ailments. In experiments, the essential oil is found to be anti-fungal, ati-allergenic ad anti-inflammatory. -- -- Colchicum autumnale, Autumn Crocus -- Theophrastus (c.371-287 B.C.) noted it to be very toxic. In the fifth century (Byzantine Empire), it was used for the treatment of joint conditions. Colchicine is an alkaloid that relieves the joint pain and inflammation of gout. Colchicine is still derived from the plant itself because chemists have not been able to synthesize it inexpensively in the laboratory. -- -- Convollaria majalis, Lily-of-the-valley -- A tea of flowers and leaves was used in treating heart disease. It contains cardiac glycosides similar to those of the digitalis plant family.
Dianthus anatolicus, Dianthus
is a member of large genus of Dianthus (approximately 300) many of which have been used in Chinese and European herbal medicine for a large number of disorders including cardiac, urinary, nervous and gastrointestinal. Preparations are made from the flowers, leaves and stems but not the roots. The flower preparations are markedly diuretic.
Dictamnus albus, Gas Plant
Dittany, a distillate of very volatile essential oils from the roots and flowers, is rarely used today. It is a diuretic, an anti-spasmodic (relaxes the muscles of the gastro-intestinal tract), an anti-helminthic (expels intestinal parasites), and a stimulant to the contraction of uterine muscle.
Digitalis ambigua, Perennial Foxglove
All species of the genus Digitalis contain cardiac glycosides in their roots, stems, leaves and blossoms. Cardiac glycosides are a group of chemical compounds that taken by mouth slow the rate and regulate the rhythm of the heart beat as well as strengthen the heart muscle. These chemical compounds are very complex. They are difficult and very expensive to synthesize in the laboratory. All sources of the digitalis cardiac glycosides are, therefore, plant materials grown in cultivation specifically for medicinal purposes. Preparations made of the dried ground leaves are no longer prescibed. Extracted compounds are prescribed instead.
Digitalis lanata, Grecian Foxglove
It is also called the wooly foxglove because of the texture of its leaves. It is a very important medicinal plant grown commercially for the cardiac glycoside digoxin. Lanoxin (digoxin) is used in the treatment of congestive heart failure alone or in combination with other drugs prescribed for the same purpose. Digoxin was first isolated from the other cardiac glycosides in 1930.
Digitalis purpurea, Common Foxglove
In 1775 Dr. William Withering, an English physician, discovered the efficacy of Digitalis purpurea in the treatment of severe congestive heart failure. He attributed its efficacy to a diuretic effect and published his findings based on clinical observations in 1785. The pharmacological properties of regulating the heart rate and rhythm and strengthening of the heart muscle were discovered later. -- The German ophthalmologist and botanist Ernst Fuchs is responsible for giving foxglove its Latin name in the Linneal binomial system of the naming of plants. To him and others before him, each blossom resembled a thimble, so he arrived at digitalis from the Latin digitus, finger and alis, suffix meaning pertaining to the qualities or characteristics of a finger. -- The thimble resemblance of the blossoms is also responsible for the English common name foxglove: "gloves for little folks", and the common German name der Fingerhut which translates as the finger hat (a thimble).
Echinacea purpurea syn E. angustifoli, Purple Cone Flower
Preparations of this plant were used by the Plain Indians (Comanche and Sioux) for the treatment of upper respiratory infections, burns, snakebites, and cancers. The European settlers learned about these indications from the Indians. It has been demonstrated that plant extracts stimulate the immune system to combat bacterial and viral infections. It also possesses antibiotic properties. Echinacea's name is derived from the Greek word for hedgehog and was inspired by the appearance of the flower's central cone.
Foeniculum vulgare, Fennel
It is a native of the Mediterranean. In the Middle Ages, it was considered an antidote to witchcraft. It is an antispasmodic that is used to relieve bloating. It is also a diuretic.
Helichyrsum italicum, Curry
Essential oils distilled from flowers are used in aromatherapy. The antioxidant activity of carbon dioxide extracts are under investigation. Preparations are used as anticoagulant, anasthetic, antispasmodic agents and for their antiviral and anti-fungal properties.
Hepatica acutiloba, Sharp Lobed Hepatica
this is from the Latin epatikos meaning "affecting the liver". The name comes from the shape of the leaves, said to resemble the human liver. Because of this, herbalists believed the plant to be effective in treating liver ailments.The medicinal use of Hepatica is a good example of the "Doctrine of Signatures." The Doctrine stated that, by observation, one can determine from the color of the flowers or roots, the shape of the leaves, the place of growing, or other signs (signatures), what the plant's purpose was in God's plan. -- A member of the buttercup family, hepatica was used by American Indians to make a tea for the treatment of liver and digestive ailments. The medicinal value fo this plant is not established.
Hypericum perforatum, St. John's Wort
Several plants bear this name and they are so called because they can be counted on to be in bloom on June 24, the feast day of St. John the Baptist. Extracts made from the blossoms have been used for centuries to treat mental disorders and to ward off evil spirits. American Indians treated tuberculosis, wounds and severe pain with a tea made from its flowers. Hypericin, a very complex molecule, is of questionable value in the treatment of mild depression; it is strongly antiviral and is being investigated for use in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Hyssopus officinalis, Hyssop
is extensively used in the treatment of chest congestion and coughs, to soothe sore throats, and to act as a mild sedative. Topical applications of hyssop include use as a gargle for sore throat, as a poultice or compress for bruises, sprains, wounds, & insect bites, as a bath herb for rheumatism, and as a salve or chest rub for congestion.
Inula helenium, Elecampane
Inula may be used for the elimination of mucus from the lungs in respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and emphysema. It was traditionally used to treat the cough of pulmonary tuberculosis. Studies have shown that the active ingredient in the extract of the plant is a powerful antiseptic and bactericide, particularly effective against the organism that causes TB. Elecampane is also used to flavor liqueurs and is candied and used in confectionery.
Iris cristata Crested, Dwarf Iris
American Indians used the roots in tea to treat hepatitis and in animal fat ointments to treat skin ulcers.
Iris germanica, German Flag
The root (orris) is included in cough remedies primarily and never used alone. Dried orris has the fragrance of violets; it is included in some potpourris. Iris cristata and Iris versicolor are also used in Indian Medicine for the relief of symptoms and the treatment of various disorders without any scientific proof of efficacy thus far.
Lavendula officinalis syn. L. angustifolia, English Lavender
Lavare is the Latin verb "to wash". The Romans used the fragrance of the blossoms in their bath water hence the origin of the name lavendula. In the Middle Ages, it was used alone or in combination with other herbs to treat insomnia, anxiety states, migraine headaches and depression. The fragrance is relaxing hence the dry blossoms were stuffed in pillows and given to agitated patients to produce sedation. The oil is strongly antiseptic and used to heal wounds.
Levisticum officinale, Lovage
the root was used in folk medicine, primarily for its diuretic and carminative properties. Besides increasing the flow of urine and expelling gas, lovage was thought to be of value for treating kidney stones, jaundice, malaria, sore throat, pleurisy, and boils. Today, herbalists primarily recommend Lovage for urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones, to relieve flatulence, to regulate menstruation.
Liatris spicata, Gayfeather
Liatris stimulates the stomach mildly, and is used as a tonic and antispasmodic, relieving colic and soothing irritation.
Malva sylvestris, Common Mallow
Pliny II, 1st Century A.D. wrote that tea made from the seeds and mixed with wine relieved nausea. In 16th century Italy, it was considered a cure-all. American Indians made poultices from the plant and applied them to sores, insect stings and swollen limbs to relieve pain. Taken internally, it may be useful in treating digestive and urinary tract infections because it contains a large amount of mucilage.
Marrubium vulgare, Horehound
this is often used as a cough suppressant and expectorant in respiratory ailments. It is often made into a syrup or candy in order to disguise its very bitter flavor. As a tonic, it increases the appetite and aids digestion.
Matricaria chamomilla, German Chamomille
Essential oils distilled from dried flower heads are used topically for their antibiotic and antiseptic properties and internally for anti-inflammatory (gastritis), antiseptic, antispasmodic and sedative effects.
Melissa officinalis, Lemon Balm
this was introduced into medicine by the Arabs for treatment of depression and anxiety. In the 11th century Avicenna, the famous theologian, philosopher-physician, taught that "it causeth the mind and the heart to become merry". New research shows that its polyphenols can help significantly in the treatment of herpes simplex and zoster infections. Two other secondary compounds of this plant, citral and citronellal, calm the central nervous system.
Mentha piperita, Peppermint
this came into general use in the medicine of Western Europe only about the middle of the eighteenth century. Peppermint oil is the most extensively used of all the volatile oils, both medicinally and commercially. It is used for nausea, vomiting and to help relieve intestinal gas. Menthol is a common ingredient in rubs intended to relieve sore muscles or joints and may be used topically to soothe itchy skin.
Monarda didyma, Bee Balm
The Oswego Indians made tea from the aromatic leaves and introduced this practice to the original settlers as a beverage. The Shakers thought that the tea was effective in treating upper respiratory infections. They prescribed it for young brides to stimulate the appetite and regulate menstruation. The early settlers steamed the plant and inhaled fumes to clear their sinuses. It contains thymol which is a pleasant aromatic substance used in dentistry as a preservative and a fungicide. -- Oswego tea replaced imported tea after the Boston Tea Party on December 16, 1773. The embargo of imported tea by all of the American colonies led to the bankruptcy of the British East India Company.
Nepeta cataria, Catnip
this is an hallucinogen in cats but not in humans. It acts as an antispasmodic and a carminative relieving flatulence. It is also a mild sedative for the relief of insomnia.
Nicotiana sylvestris, Nicotiana
A member of a large family of Nicotianas whose leaves are used in making prepartions taken by mouth to induce vomiting and diarrhea, to relieve pain and to sedate. Preparations are used externally as a poultice in the treatment of joint swelling from arthritis, of skin diseases and of insect bites. Nicotine is a very effective biodegradable insecticide.
Ocimum basilicum, Sweet Basil
It is a native of India. Eating its leaves was prescribed by the first century Greek physician Dioscorides to relieve the pain of a scorpion's sting. The Ancient Romans used it to alleviate flatulence, counteract poisonings and to stimulate breast milk production. Applied externally, it is an insect repellant.
Oenothera biennis, Evening Primrose
This plant is called thus because its flowers open at night so that they can be pollinated by night-time insects such as the nocturnal sphinx moth. Native Americans applied a poultice made from the plant to bruises to relieve swelling and made a tea from the root to ease coughs. European settlers used evening primrose to treat wounds, coughs, sore throats, and digestive upsets. Evening primrose oil (EPO), extracted from the seeds, is used to treat a variety of health problems caused by a deficiency in essential fatty acids. The main active ingredient in EPO is an omega-6 fatty acid known as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). The oil may help ease PMS, diabetic neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis and eczema.
Paeonia officinalis, 'Mollis' Peony
A plant named after Paeon, physician to the Greek gods, by Theophrastus (372-c. 287 B.C.) For centuries, it has had a large place in classical antiquity as well as in ancient and modern Chinese medicine. In the time of Hippocrates, it was used to treat epilepsy. Dioscorides (40-90 A.D.) wrote that the root of the plant provokes menstruation and that it could be used to expel the placenta following childbirth. The root of herbaceous peonies has been used in Chinese medicine for 1500 years for menstrual disorders and to relieve the symptoms of menopause. Currently in Chinese medicine, the skin of the roots of a white variety of tree peony is used as a sedative for its "yin" properties.
Paeonia suffruticos 'Renkaku', White Tree Peony
Root and bark preparations are used in Chinese medicine as an antiseptic, a liver tonic , for relief of menstrual cramps and in the treatment of female infertility. Bark and root preparations are under study for possible analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic medical uses.
Papaver rhoeas, Corn Poppy
The Flanders poppy or corn poppy is medicinal and the unripe pods have a latex substance that contains the opiate derivatives. However, this poppy is not the commercial-legal or illegal-source of opium because the opiate derivatives occur in much greater concentration in P. somniferum. Flanders poppies are mentioned in In Flanders Fields a poem written by a Canadian surgeon during World War I. His poem is one of the most memorable war poems ever written, so for many decades following WWI, members of the American Legion sold fake Flanders poppies as boutonnières in the days leading up to Memorial Day to fund their philanthropic projects. Papaver rhoeas is used as an analgesic, a sedative or an antiasthmatic. Herbal remedies are prepared only from the flowers, all other plant parts are toxic.
Papaver somniferum, Poppy
The powers of the opium poppy for good or for evil have been known for about five thousand years. In 3000 BCE, the Sumerians called it "the joy plant". By 300 BCE, opium was being used by the Arabs, Greeks and Romans as a sedative and soporific. Morphine was isolated in 1803 by a German pharmacist. Morphine was the first plant alkaloid ever to be isolated. Heroin, a further refinement of morphine, is so addictive that its use is forbidden even as a medication. There are forty opium alkaloids in all; two of them are codeine and Papaverine. Codeine is a cough suppressant and a mild analgesic often combined with aspirin. Papaverine is a muscle relaxant used for gastrointestinal spasm and respiratory spasm triggered by asthma.
Passiflora incarnata, Passion Flower
The 16th Spanish explorers were enchanted by the beauty of the blossoms of this flowering vine and give it its name. For them, the blossom was full of the symbolism of Christ's crucifixion; hence the name Passion Flower. The fringed corona reminded them of the crown of thorns, the three stigmas reminded them of the three nails piercing the hands and feet, white stood for purity and blue-purple for heaven, and the 10 sepals for ten of the twelve apostles. Peter and Judas were excluded because the former denied Christ and the later betrayed him. American Indians used the flowers and dried fruits in making sedative preparations.
Physalis alkekengi, Chinese Lantern
Physalis is the Greek word for bladder. It provides the plant its botanical name because the pod resembles a bladder; and because of the pod's appearance, preparations from the red berry in the pod were used in the past as a diuretic and for the treatment of kidney and bladder stones. These medicinal properties have not been scientifically confirmed. It has not been prescribed since the end of the seventeenth century.
Podophyllium peltatum, May Apple
Extracts of the dried rhizome are used as a topical agent for removing warts and internally to treat testicular carcinomas and lymphomas.
Polemonium reptans, Jacob's Ladder or Greek Valerian
Known as Abscess Root in herbal medicine, this plant is used as an astringent, alterative, diaphoretic, expectorant and pectoral. It is used internally in the treatment of coughs, colds, bronchitis, laryngitis, tuberculosis, fevers and inflammatory skin diseases, including abscess and poisonous bites.
Pulmonaria officinalis, Lungwort
It is a native of Europe and the Caucasus. The plant is so called because the spotted leaves resemble lung tissue. It is used to treat chest ailments such as chronic bronchitis and asthma.
Ricinus cummunis 'rubra', Castor Bean Plant
Only the oil of this is non-toxic. Castor bean oil has a number of medicinal uses including laxative, purgative, cathartic and demulcent.The seeds of castor bean plant are very poisonous to people, animals and insects - just one milligram of ricin (one of the main toxic proteins in the plant) can kill an adult. It acts by inhibiting protein synthesis. Its property as a protein synthesis inhibitor is the theory behind its trials in cancer therapy.
Rosa gallica officinalis, Apothecary Rose
A native of Persia (Iran) that was described by the Ancient Greek poet Sappho as " the queen of flowers", this rose has had many uses over time. The Ancient Romans consumed the petals as food and marinated them in wine to use them as a cure for hangovers. Avicenna, a famous eleventh century Arab physician and philosopher living in Moslem Spain, prepared rose water from the petals that he used in treating his patients for a variety of ailments. Knights returning from the Crusades brought the plant to Europe. It was grown chiefly in monastic gardens for medicinal purposes. In the Middle Ages, the blossoms were used in aroma therapy for the treatment of depression. In the nineteenth century beginning in the time of Napoleon, French pharmacists grew them in pots at the entrances of their shops, hence the origin of the common name Apothecary Rose. The Apothecary Rose became the professional symbol of the pharmaceutical profession much as the balanced scales became the professional symbol of the legal profession. French druggists dispensed preparations made from this rose to treat indigestion, sore throats and skin rashes.
Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosemary
"____, that's for remembrance" Shakespeare. It is a symbol of fidelity between lovers. For centuries it has been used in bridal bouquets to make the statement that the bride will never forget the family she is leaving. It has been buried with the deceased and used in funeral bouquets to signify that the deceased member will never be forgotten by members of his or her family. In ancient Greece, students wore sprigs of this herb in their hair while they studied. Rosemary is believed to stimulate cerebral circulation thereby improving concentration and memory. It is used in the food industry as a garnish and for flavoring. The leaves contain a volatile oil used in the perfume industry.
Ruta graveolens, Rue
It is native to the Mediterranean that was used in Ancient Greece to stimulate menstrual bleeding and to induce abortion.
Salvia sclarea, Clary Sage
The seeds were once commonly used to treat eye diseases therefore it is also know as clear eye. It has also been used for gastro-intestinal disorders such as indigestion and flatulence. It stimulates estrogen production so it is used as a remedy for menopausal complaints such as hot flashes.
Salvia officinalis, Sage
Salvia, is derived from the Latin salvere, "to be saved", in reference to the curative properties of the plant. Sage has numerous traditional medicinal uses as an astringent, as an antiseptic, as a carminative and as an estrogenic. Its antiseptic qualities make it an effective gargle for inflammations of the mouth, tongue or throat. The leaves applied to an aching tooth will often relieve the pain. It is an important domestic herbal remedy for disorders of the digestive system.
Sanguisorba officinalis, Salad burnet
It grows in the wild from Maine to Minnesota and beyond. It is used to stop bleeding. American soldiers in the Revolutionary War drank tea made from the leaves before going into battle to prevent excessive bleeding if they were wounded. It is antibacterial. It is currently in use in Chinese herbal medicine to control bleeding and to stop vomiting.
Scilla siberica, Siberian Squill
Syrups and tinctures are used as emetics and cathartics as well as diuretics in the treatment of congestive heart failure. It is also used in expectorants to treat lung disorders. It was used by the Greek physician Epimerides hence it is also know as Epemenidiea.
Sedum purpureum, Live-forever
In the first century A.D., Pliny, the Roman naturalist, stated that the juice of this plant was good for treating wounds and fistulas. In more recent herbal medicine, it has been prescribed to be taken internally for the treatment of ulcers, lung disorders, and diarrhea; and externally it has been prescribed for slow healing ulcers.
Sempervivum tectorum, Hen-and-chicks or Houseleek
The Latin botanical name has an historical reference. Charlemagne (742-814 A.D.) recommended that his subjects plant these hardy prolific plants on the roof of their houses to ward off lightening and fire. The leaves contain tannins and mucilage that are soothing to skin. It is used in the treatment of burns, skin wounds and infections.
Solidago canadensis, Golden Rod
The name Solidago, from the Latin solido, "to make whole", indicates its use as a wound-healing herb. Goldenrod is a safe and gentle remedy for a number of disorders. It is a valuable astringent remedy treating wounds and bleeding. Antioxidant and diuretic, goldenrod is a valuable remedy for urinary tract disorders. The plant contains saponins that are antifungal and act specifically against the Candida fungus, the cause of yeast infections and oral thrush. The herb can also be taken for sore throats, chronic nasal congestion, and diarrhea. Due to its mild action, goldenrod is appropriate for treating gastroenteritis in children. It may be used as a mouthwash or douche for yeast infections.
Stachys byzantina, Lamb's Ears
Lamb's ears foliage bandages wounds and reputedly reduces the pain of bee stings.
Stachys officinalis, Betony
In ancient times wood betony had no fewer than 29 uses in treating physical diseases and was used well into the Middle Ages to ward off evil or ill humors. The plant contains about 15% tannin which makes it useful as an astringent in treating diarrhea and irritations of the throat, mouth, and gums. It also is valued as a remedy for chronic headaches and facial pain and as a mild sedative to treat anxiety and tension.
Stylophorum diphyllum, Calendine Poppy
It contains glaucine . Preparations are used in the treatment of insomnia, upper respiratory infections, and to reduce fever as well as in ointments for the treatment of burns and superficial abrasions. In veterinary medicine, ointments are used in the treatment of mastitis.
Symphytum officinale, Comfrey
this contains allantoin used in ointments for psoriasis and other skin problems. It has been known since Greek and Roman antiquity and used primarily externally as a poultice for surface wounds and to form a cast to hold broken bones immobile while they knit. Comfrey is a corruption of the Latin "con firma" implying that the bone is "made firm". "Symphyton" is derived from the Greek "plants growing together" in the sense of "causing to unite".
Tanacetum parthenium syn. Chrysanthemum parthenium, Feverfew
Parthenion is the Greek word for girl. Feverfew is Elizabethan English and comes from febrifuge, an old medical term for a medicine that reduces fever. Feverfew is an effective remedy for migraine. Parthenolide appears to inhibit the release of the hormone serotonin that triggers migraine. It has also been shown to reduce fever, hence the name Feverfew.
Tanacetum vulgare, Tansy
this was used as a strewing herb in the Middle Ages to repel fleas and other insects. A tea from the leaves was once commonly taken for colds, stomachaches and for use in ridding the digestive tract of infestations of worms. Externally tansy tea can be used as a wash to treat scabies, as a poultice to place on cuts and bruises, and as a compress for relief from joint pain. The essential oil contains thujone which has also been shown to be a uterine stimulant.
Taraxacum officinale, Dandelion
Used primarily in Eastern European traditional medicine. It is used primarily as a diuretic but also taken internally to treat arthritis and gastro-intestinal disorders. It is applied externally to treat eczema and other skin conditions. It is eaten raw in "spring salads" and cooked as a vegetable when the plants are very young before flowering.
Teucrium chamaedrys, Germander
Native to Central Europe and harvested when in bloom for tonics to treat diarrhea. It is also an astringent. It contains anti-microbial properties and has been shown to lower cholesterol levels.
Thymus citriodorus, Lemon Thyme
Used to make pediatric oral preparations that are tasty and sweet to relieve an "upset tummy". It is also in ointments and in "sleep pillows".
Thymus vulgaris, Thyme
It was used in the Middle Ages as a treatment of epilepsy and depression. In 1975, a German pharmacist discovered that the plant's essential oil, thymol, was a powerful disinfectant topically and an antibiotic/antifungal agent when taken orally. It is an antispasmodic and an anti-tussive used effectively in cough syrups to raise sputum and relieve coughing.
Tropaelum majus, Nasturtium
A native of Peru, it is a culinary as well as a medicinal herb that is used in Andean Indian herbal medicine. All parts of the plant posses an antibiotic and vitamin C. Taken internally, it stimulates coughing and reduces phlegm production. Applied externally, it is antiseptic.
Vaccinium angustifolium syn V. myrtilloides, Lowbush blueberry
The Chippewa Indians used the flowers to treat psychosis. The fruit contains anthocyanosides. These chemical compounds are very powerful antioxidants that are very effective in the prevention of heart disease and cancer.
Valeriana officinalis, Garden Heliotrope
the botanical name comes from the Latin, valere, which means "to be well". In the first century, Dioscorides, a Greek physician in service to the Romans, described its pharmaceutical properties. Recent research in Germany and Switzerland shows that valerian encourages sleep, improves sleep quality and lowers the blood pressure. The valepotriates reduce nervous activity by prolong the action of an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
Verbascum thapsus, Mullein
Medicinally, it is expectorant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, astringent, and demulcent (which means soothing). Mullein tea is primarily used as an effective treatment for coughs and lung disorders. Due to its mucilage content, Mullein is also a soothing emollient for inflammatory skin conditions and burns.
Veronica officinalis, Speedwell
In modern herbal medicine, speedwell tea, brewed from the dried flowering plant, sometimes serves as a cough remedy or as a lotion applied to the skin to speed wound healing and relieve itching.
Viola tricolor, Johnny-jump-up or Heartease
From this plant a bitter tea is made that is taken internally for lung disorders and is applied externally for skin diseases. The tea is an expectorant and a diuretic. Its other common name, Heartease, refers to a romantic notion that it provides comfort and consolation to separated lovers. In the nineteenth century, the juice of the plant constituted the main ingredient of love potions.
Waldsteinia fragarioides, Barren Strawberry
American Indians preparations of leaves, roots, and flowers to induce labor and to regulate menstruation as well as for the treatment of other disorders.
Zingiber officinale, Ginger
It is a native of tropical rain forests. It contains a powerful substance that is very effective in the treatment of motion sickness and nausea following surgery. It is also used as a digestive remedy; and as a circulation stimulant, it causes blood vessels to dilate.
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