Agrimony Agrimonia eupatoria
was introduced to the Americas from Europe, where it has had a long
history of use dating back to the Romans and ancient Greeks. These
cultures, and other Mediteranean peoples, prized Agrimony for an array
of medicinal uses, including wound healing, asthma and as a sedative.
During the Middle Ages, this unique herb was revered for its supposed
magical qualities, and later on preeminent English herbalist Nicolas
Culpepper also touted the healing virtues of Agrimony. After
introduction to North America, Agrimony gained a reputation for
alleviating symptoms of fever with native peoples.
Artichoke Cynara scolymus
the culinary applications of this bulbous vegetable are well known,
Artichoke has enjoyed a long tradition of medicinal use extending back
to the early Greek cultures. Even today the healing virtues of Artichoke
remain relatively obscure. The strong bitter qualities of artichoke
leaf are said to enhance digestion by stimulating the release of bile
from the liver, potentially providing a safe and natural remedy to
elevated serum cholesterol levels.
Ashwagandha Withania somnifera
is regarded as one of the great rejuvenative herbs of India. According
to Ayurveda, the traditional healing system of India, the root of this
low-growing shrub is said to be effective for a host of debilitated
conditions, including general weakness, impotence, infertility, and
others. Ashwaganda is sometimes described as “Indian Ginseng” for the
significance of this botanical in Indian pharmacopoeia.
Astragalus Astragalus membranaceus
to China and Mongolia, Astragalus is revered in Chinese medicine for
its reputation as an immune strengthening tonic. It is said to augment
the body’s natural reserves and flow of energy (qi), potentially finding
success with a number of deleterious conditions from slow metabolism to
general debilitation. Astragalus is rapidly gaining popularity in the
West, and is often included in blends with other medicinals to promote
recovery in times of stress or illness.
Holy Basil Red & Green Ocimum tenuiflorum
in India as a sacred plant, Holy Basil, or Tulsi, is believed to help
bring purity and serenity to the heart and mind. The medicinal virtues
of Holy Basil are no secret to modern herbalists, who consider it to be a
safe but effective adaptogen capable of alleviating stress and
strengthening the nervous system. Fast growing with beautiful
multicolored leaves, Holy Basil is a welcome addition to the intrepid
Wood Betony Stachys offcinalis
widely revered, Wood Betony is once more rising to prominence following
a period of relative obscurity over the last few centuries. Both the
Greeks, Romans, and later European cultures valued Wood Betony for its
mild bitter and astringent qualities. An old Spanish saying 'He has as
many virtues as Betony’, shows the esteem in which Betony was held in
centuries past. Wood Betony was said to provide protection from curses,
and assist with the exorcism of bad spirits. Today, Wood Betony is
sometimes used to relieve headaches, neuralgia, stomach and abdominal
problems, bloating, heartburn, and gas.
Borage Borago officinalis
is originally native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean, and has a
long and noble history as both and medicinal and herb of lore. Once
known as the “herb of courage”, Borage flowers were used to decorate the
vestaments of departing crusaders. A wine prepared from Borage is said
to bestow courage and fearlessness upon the imbiber, and was often given
to soldiers before entering battle. In modern herbalism, Borage is said
to be effective against weak or diminished adrenal function, fevers,
inflammation, sore and inflamed eyes, colds, bronchitis, chronic
catarrh, congestion, pleurisy and fever.
Burdock Aritcum lappa
has a long history of use as a detoxifying herb, and is said to have a
strong affinity for the blood. It is also regarded as a diuretic,
flushing excess water from the body. Over the centuries, it has been
used as an antidote in cases of acute poisoning, fungal and bacterial
infection, and parasites. Common preparations of burdock include
decoction, tincture, and food source.
Catnip Nepeta cataria
to the Old World, and with a record of usage dating back more than 2000
years, Catnip also became a popular medicinal herb of numerous Native
American peoples, who found value in the treating cold, flus, pneumonia
and colic. A favorite of felines, in whom it elicits a state of
euphoria, today Catnip is often used as a bedtime tea for its ability to
calm the mind.
Cayenne Capsicum annum
are among the world’s longest plants, with a history extending back
nearly 7000 years. Fossil records indicate that hot peppers have been
consumed by humans even longer, nearly 9000 years. Today, Cayennes and
other hot peppers are the cornerstone spice of many different cuisines
across the globe, and within the last few centuries it has gained much
traction in the world of medical herbalism. Regarded by some as a
‘cure-all’, and rich in vitamin content, Cayenne is most widely regarded
as a circulatory stimulant said to strengthen the heart and blood
vessels while promoting increased vitality.
Codonopsis Codonopsis pilosula
of the more common adaptogen herbs of Chinese medicine, Codonopsis root
is rapidly gaining popularity for its reputation as “poor man’s
Ginseng”. Codonopsis is said to help lower elevated blood pressure,
provide additional immune support and replenish the body’s natural
reserves of energy (qi).
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale sattivum
much harangued by some as a common weed, Dandelion has long been
recognized for its myriad applications in medical herbalism. The
untreated leaves can be added to salads and other dishes and are enjoyed
for their slightly bitter quality. Dandelion root is often described as
a liver detoxifier thanks to its ability to stimulate bile production.
This affinity for the liver and its functioning explain why a host of
other health benefits are often ascribed to dandelion root, including:
improved digestion and appetite, enhanced mood, and more consistent skin
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis
is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean, and has found
application in medicine and magic in these regions and beyond for the
last two millennia. In ancient times, Hyssop was thought to provide
protection from the evil eye and witches if adorned in the home. Today
Hyssop is sometimes used to provide comfort to the upper respiratory
system and soothe the sore throat. It is also said to be effective as an
expectorant and promote improved circulation and digestion.
Lavender Lavendula officinalis
to the Mediterranean basin, in modern times Lavender is prized
worldwide for the gentle and soothing therapeutic properties. Although
it is commonly utilized for wound and skin healing abilities of the
essential oil, Lavender also makes a soothing tea or nervine tincture. A
hardy and familiar addition to any herb garden!
Marsh Mallow Althea officinalis
it is known more for the confectionery marshmallow, which adopted this
classical botanical’s namesake, Marsh Mallow was widely used as a
medicinal by the Greeks and Romans and other Mediterranean cultures of
the ancient world. The botanical name of Marsh Mallow, Althea
officinalis, is from the Greek “altho”, which mean “to cure”,
underscoring the significance of this handsome herb to Greek healers.
Traditionally, Marsh Mallow has been used to soothe coughs, sore
throats, indigestion, and as a topical agent it is said to be
anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and wound-healing.
Milky Oat Avena sativa
Oat Straw in unlikely to elicit the same enthusiasm as other nervine or
adaptogen herbs, this humble grain has earned a reputation as an
antidote for stress, general fatigue and a host of other nervous
imbalances. Milky Oat seeds were recognized by the Eclectic school of
herbalism popular in the late 19th century in the United States, and
also achieved some degree of popularity in Europe. Widely regarded as
one of the safest yet dependable remedies, Milky Oats make a worthy
addition to any herbalists medicine cabinet.
Great Plantain Plantago purshii
to Europe and tolerant of a wide range of conditions, Plantain has
traditionally been used to relieve diarrhea, treat lung conditions, and
similar conditions relating to excess bleeding and inflammation. Humble
and hardy, Plantain is classified as a diuretic, alternative, astringent
and vulnerary and is commonly used topically to assist with burns,
cuts, scrapes, bites and other mild external injuries. A mainstay of
traditional European Herbalism.
Solomon's Seal Polygunatum canaliculatum
Seal has been utilized in both New and Old World herbalism for
centuries, and has been said to have efficacy in treating a wide range
of conditions, including indigestion, constipation, broken bones,
external scrapes and bruises, inflammation, and general debility. 16th
century herbalist John Gerard attributes the name of this botanical to
its reputation for quickly ‘sealing’ external wounds and even broken
Valerian Valeriana officinalis
in the marketplace today for problems relating to anxiety and insomnia,
Valerian has been used in Europe for thousands of years. Such
properties were recognized by Hippocrates and Galen, and Valerian
remained popular following the fall of the Roman Empire. When dried,
Valerian root takes on a unique and distinct aroma that is not soon
forgotten. Over the centuries, Valerian came to have unusual uses, as in
medieval Sweden where new grooms carried Valerian in their wedding
clothes to ward off the “envy” of the elves.
Blue Vervain Verbena hastata
Vervain has a long history of use across Europe and into North Africa
and western Asia. The ancient Druids of Ireland considered Vervain to
have supernatural powers and held it in high esteem. Other cultures to
have included Blue Vervain in their pharmacopeias included the
Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and British. Later on, Dr. Edward
Bach included Vervain in his 38 flower remedies to promote balance of
body and mind. Blue Vervain has traditionally been used for a wide range
of imbalances, including colds, coughs, flus and more.
Violet Heartsease Viola tricolor
largely forgotten in modern herbalism, the use of Violet extends back
hundreds of years, if not longer. Such preeminent healers as
Hippocrates and Nicolas Culpeper utilized the moist, cool properties of
this botanical in their humoral systems of medicine, finding
applications for imbalances of the skin and eyes. Over the centuries,
some have also used Violet for problems of impaired digestion such as
The herbal information on this web site is intended for
educational purposes only. It is not the intention of the editor to
advise on health care. Please see a medical professional about any
health concerns you have.
Disclaimer - These
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web site is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any
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