Herbs Medicinal A guide for healing properties A to B

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This is part of an A to Z guide to the normally available herbs that are used in alternate healing.

All information provided on this Guide is for educational purposes only. Please seek professional advice before commencing any treatment.

See our other guides for the rest of this herb guide.

Although these herbs are safe for most people, we advise that you
consult with us or your holistic health practitioner. Some can
interact with other medications; others are ill-advised with
certain allergic conditions. Before putting anything in your body,
understand what is right for you based on your health history.

Listen to your body's wisdom.



Medicago sativa Family: Fabaceae (legume)

Part used: Leaves

Actions: Emollient, Purgative, Vulnerary

Indications: the Arabs valued this plant, they used alfalfa as fodder for their prize winning horses. Alfalfa is tropho-restorative; it contains all the nutrients, minerals and vitamin groups. It helps to reduce uric acid, and relieves some form of Arthritis, gout and rheumatism.



Pimpinella anisum family: Apiaceae (parsley)

part used: dried fruits

Actions: Anti-spasmodic, Aromatic Carminative Digestive Expectorant Galactagogue Stimulant Stomach tonic 

Indications: Aniseed may promote digestion, improves appetite, and may alleviate cramps and nausea. Smoothing herb for infant colic, it relieves flatulence. Aniseed may promote milk flow in nursing mother. Aniseed may be used to help ease bronchitis, it is known as an excellent expectorant, may sooth the trachea and ease irritable coughing.

Qualities: Dry, warm



Asparagus racemosa Family:Asparagaceae

Part used: Roots

Origin: India

Other names:Sanskrit -- Shatavari
Hindi -- Shatavari
English -- Indian Asparagus, Hundred Roots , Asparagus roots
Chinese - Tian men dong

Actions: Nutritive tonic Rejuvenative Aphrodisiac Galactogogue Laxative Antispasmodic Antacid Diuretic Antitumor Demulcent

Properties: Shatavari is perhaps best known as a female Rejuvenative. It is useful for infertility, decreased libido, threatened miscarriage, menopause, and leucorrhea and has the ability to balance pH in the cervical area. Dry membranes, such as those on the vaginal wall, are also brought into balance through the herbs demulcent action.
Men may benefit from the herb as well in the treatment of impotence and general sexual debility. In addition to it's applications for reproductive organs, Shatavari is also quite effective for stomach ulcers, hyperacidity and diarrhea. This herb making it useful in cases of bronchitis and chronic fevers soothes dry and irritated membranes in the upper respiratory tract. It is believed to bring into balance all of the body's fluids.

The most important herb in Ayurvedic medicine for women

Used internally for infertility, loss of libido, threatened miscarriage, menopausal problems. It both nourishes and cleanses the blood and the female reproductive organs. It is a good food for menopause or for those who have had hysterectomies, as it supplies many female hormones. It nourishes the ovum and increases fertility. This herb is known to increase Sattva, or positivity and healing power. It also enhances the feelings of spiritual love, and increases Ojas.

The male reproductive system will also benefit from Shatavari. It may be used in cases of sexual debility, impotence, spermatorrhea, and inflammation of sexual organs.

Useful for hyperacidity, stomach ulcers, dysentery, and bronchial infections.

Contraindications (Cautions): massive fibrocystic breasts, estrogen induced problems; estrogen induced fibrocystic changes or other problems




Astragalus membranaceus. Family: Fabaceae (legume)

Part used: Roots

Other names: Huang Qi

Actions: Immuno-stimulant Adaptogen Cardiotonic Diuretic

Hypotensive Renal tonic

Astragalus is an immuno stimulant, best used in long term, chronic infection but not in acute cases like cold and flue. Can increases cancer-fighting immune cells, prolongs life, and create remission with cancer and HIV/AIDS. May be a help with hepatitis, fevers, chronic fatigue syndrome, bronchitis, improves circulation and heart health. Known to be an immune strengthener and general tonic. Can reduce severity and length of colds, flu and infections; heals burns and energize.

In Chinese tradition: Strengthens the lung and the spleen. qualities: Sweet taste, slightly warm energy.

Preparation and dosage:

Decoction: Put 1/2 teaspoon of the root in 1 and ½ cup of water, bring to boil and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drink 3 times daily.

Caution: If you are under any medication, please consult your practitioner before taking this herb

Should not be used during acute stages of infection.




Berberis vulgaris Family: Berberidaceae

Part used: roots

Origin: Pakistan

Actions:  Alterative  Aperient  Cholagogue  Digestive tonic  Hepatotonic   Laxative

Indications: One of the best herbs for liver, stimulating the bile flow, it has an anti-inflammatory action on the gall bladder. It is a bitter, tonic, mild laxative. It might reduce the size of an enlarged spleen. It is effective against Malaria and protozoa infection.

Qualities: Bitter, cold, dry.

Preparation and dosage:

Decoction: Put 1 teaspoon of the bark in 1 and ½ cup of water, bring to boil and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes. Drink 3 times daily.

Caution:Avoid during pregnancy or breastfeeding.


Birch or silver birch   

Betula Family: Betulacelae

Part used: leaves

Other names: Black birch, sweet birch, spice birch.

Actions:  Anti-inflammatory  Antirheumatic  Diuretic  Anthelmintic (expel worms)  Astringent

Indications: Birch leaves show anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and diuretic activities. Traditional healers have been using Birch in remedy for skin rashes, hair loss and rheumatic complaints. Sweet Birch can have good results against cellulite; it may help in eliminating toxins and has a diuretic mild action.

Qualities: cold, dry.

Dosage and preparation:

INFUSION: 1 teaspoonful leaves to ½ cup of hot water, steep 2-3 min, strain and drink 1 cup per day, 1 mouthful at a time.

Caution: Salicylate sensitivity.



INFUSION: For one cup of boiling water use 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb, leave to infuse 10-15 minutes. should be drunk twice daily



Black Cohosh Wildcraft  

Cimicifuga racemosa Family: ranunculaceae

part used: root and rhizome dried.

Actions:  Antirheumatic  Antitussive    Hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian regulatory  Sedative    Emmenagogue  Astringent.

Indications: Black Cohosh was worshiped by the North American Native Indians. . It may be used as a relaxant, regulator of the female reproductive system. Black Cohosh may relieve painful or delayed menstruation, ovarian cramps or cramping of the womb. Black Cohosh may work as a relaxing nervine, by reducing spasms of the uterus; it may help in case of difficult labor. Black Cohosh may be beneficial for the respiratory tract, it may ease pulmonary complaints. Black Cohosh may be helpful for treating tinnitus.

Qualities: cold, dry

Caution: May occasionally cause nausea and vomiting. Do not take during pregnancy.


Decoction:  For a cup1/2 of boiling water use 1 teaspoonfuls of the dried root and bring to boil. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Should be drunk three times daily.


Bladderwrack powder Wildcraft    

Fucus vesiculosus Family: Fucaceae

Part used: whole plant (sea weed)

 Other names: Kelp, fulminaria, seaweed,

Actions:   Antirheumatic   Anti obesity   Thyroid stimulant

Indications: Kelp is well known for treating under active thyroid glands and goiter where obesity is associated with thyroid dysfunction. Kelp may be useful in reducing the excess weigh associated with an  inproper diet. Kelp may help relieve rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis, Kelp  can be used both internally and as external application upon inflamed joints.

Qualities: cold 1 st degree, moist

Dosage and preparation:

Infusion: 2-3 tsp of the dried herb added to a cup of boiling water, leave it to infuse 10 minutes. Drink 3 times daily.



Peumus boldo Family: momimiaceae

part used: leaves

Actions:   Cholagogue   Hepatic  Diuretic  Sedative  Demulcent

Indications: Boldo is specific for gall bladder problems like stones or inflammation. Its action is Cholagogue, hepatic, diuretic and sedative. Boldo may help cystitis.

Qualities: cold, bitter

preparation and dosage:

infusion: for a cup of boiling water, use one teaspoon of dried leaves. Infuse for 10 minutes, drink at least three times a day.

Always make sure to drink it at the right temperature! Warm



Eupatorium perfoliatum Family: Compositae

Part used; Dried aerial part origin:

Other names: Agueweed, eupatorium, sweating plant, teasel, wood boneset, Indian sage.

Actions:   Diaphoretic  Aperient  Tonic  Antispasmodic  Relaxing for the mucous membrane  Cathartic  Diaphoretic   Emetic  Febrifuge   Tonic.

Indications: One of the best remedy to help reduce fever (anti pyretic) useful in case of flue (influenza), help clearing of the upper respiratory tract of mucous congestion. It has a tonic and laxative effect, can be taken for rheumatic illness. Taking cold it has a tonic and mild laxative effect, taken warm, it is diaphoretic and emetic and can be used to break up common cold fever and flu. Boneset is a cleansing herb, may help to clear toxic waste out of the body, may be helpful for Gout, dysuria.

Qualities: Cooling, potential dry.

Dosage and preparation:

Preparation and dosage: Infusion: for a cup of boiling water add 1-2 teaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Should be drunk every half and hour during the flue with some honey.


Brahmi or Bacopa organic

Bacopa monniera or Brahmi tea Family:Scrophulariaceae(snapdragon)

Parts used: tops of the plants.

Actions:   Diaphoretic  Aperient   Tonic   Antispasmodic   Relaxing for the mucous membrane  Cathartic  Diaphoretic  Emetic  Febrifuge   Tonic.

Indications: Traditional Ayurvedic herb, given for blood cleansing, fevers, inflammation, joint pain, and a variety of skin disease. Brahmi may be valuable for the treatment of conditions related to impaired mental capacity. Brahmi induces a sense of calm and peace, it improves cognitive functions. Brahmi may help the curative of irritable bowel syndrome especially if diarrhea is present. Brahmi has an history of increasing intelligence, longevity and blood circulation in the brain so act on the memory specially taken in conjunction with Gingko Biloba.

Qualities: Astringent in taste, cold, turning sweet..

Dosage and preparation:

Infusion: 1 teaspoon  of the dried herb added to a cup of boiling water, leave it to infuse 10 minutes. Drink 3 times daily.




Garcinia cambogia Family: Garcinia (Guttiferae)

Parts used: Berries

Other names:Brindleslim;  Citrithin;  Citrimax;  Goraka;  Katch puli;  Malabar Tamarind

Indications: Today Garcinia cambogia is primarily used as a weight loss aid. Studies at Brandies University in the 90s, showed positively that HCA helps curb appetite, and reducing food intake. Another study performed by pharmaceutical giant Hoffman La-Roche found that HCA does in fact inhibit fat production and helps suppress the appetite. In addition to aiding in weight reduction, Garcinia cambogia increases your energy level

Native to India and southeast Asia, Garcinia cambogia, a small pumpkin-like fruit, has long been used in Asia as a seasoning and as a weight loss aid. The rind of this fruit is rich in a substance called hydroxycitric acid (HCA), which is closely related to the citric acid found in oranges and grapefruits. HCA blocks the conversion of sugary foods and starches into fats, which increases energy to help burn fat already stored in the body. It may also raise the levels of serotonin, a chemical in the brain that is a key factor in appetite control.

Caution: Garcinia cambogia is generally safe for use by healthy individuals when taken in the recommended doses. If you have diabetes, or Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other related diseases do not use this product. Pregnant or nursing women should consult with their physician before using this product. Safety in young children or those with severe liver or kidney disease is not known.

Qualities: Acid.

Dosage and preparation:

Infusion: 1/2 teaspoon of the powdered herb added to a cup of boiling water, leave it to infuse 10 minutes. Drink 3 times daily.

The best way I know of how to use brindleberry for fat loss is to take 250-500mg, three times daily, 30-60 minutes before meals.  However, recent research indicates that higher doses will increase the effects further.  Since brindleberry appears to be quite safe even at higher doses (500-1000mg), your budget may be the deciding factor.




Sarothamnus scoparius, Syn: Cytisus Scoparius Family: Papilionaceae

Parts used:Flowering tops

Actions:  Cardioactive  Diuretic  Hypertensive  Peripheral vasoconstrictor  Astringent.

Indications: Used mainly under professional supervision, Broom is used mainly as a remedy for an irregular and/or fast heartbeat. The plant is subject to legal restrictions in some countries. Valuable remedy where there is a weak hear and low blood pressure. Broom may ease over profuse menstruation.

Dosage and preparation:

Infusion: add1 teaspoon of the dried herb to a cup of boiling water, leave it to infuse 10/15  minutes. Drink 3 times daily.

Caution: Do not take during pregnancy or if suffering from high blood pressure.



Bupleurum chinensis Family: Apiaceae (parsley)

Parts used: Roots

Origin: China (Chai hu)

Actions:   Anti-inflammatory  Anti-tussive   Bitter tonic (digestive)  Diaphoretic  Hepatoprotective  Hepatotonic   Renal tonic  Renal protective  Tonic.

Indications: Bupleurum is a liver stimulating, anti-viral, anti- allergies. Chinese tonic herb for the liver. Bupleurum may helps the relieve of cold and flu, improve circulatory system, it has been used for Herpes simplex, measles and the relief of peptic ulcers. Bupleurum may be valuable herb for treating organ prolapse.

Qualities: bitter, cold.

Dosage and preparation:

Infusion: add 1 teaspoon of the dried herb to a cup of boiling water, leave it to infuse 10/15 minutes. Drink 3 times daily.

Caution: May rarely cause loose stool, nausea, and flatulence.




Arctium lappa Family: compositae

Parts used: Roots, rhizome.

Other names: bardana, burr seed, cockleburr grass, hareburr, hurrburr, turkey burrseed.

Actions:  Anti-inflammatory  Alterative   Aperient  Depurative  Diuretic   Cholagogue   Diaphoretic.

Indications: Burdock is one of the most valuable herbs for the treatment of skin problems, specially for dry, scaly skin. Burdock is a traditional remedy for treating Gout condition and kidney stones. Its properties are antibacterial, anti-fungal, diuretic, hypoglycemic (lower blood sugar). It also appears to have an anti-tumor action. Burdock is considered the best herb for blood cleansing, it cleanses the body of bile and detoxify the kidneys and gall bladder. Burdock is said to eliminate and neutralize poison. It increases perspiration (diaphoretic). Valuable herbs in the treatment of Arthritis, sciatica and Gout. It helps the body to get rid of acid wastes.

Qualities: cold.

Dosage and preparation:

Decoction: add1 teaspoon of the root to a cup of boiling water, let stand for 5 hours then bring to the boil. Drink 1 cup daily.

 Can be use externally as cleansing lotion.

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