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HERB FACTS

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Abcess Root (Polemonium reptans):  It is used almost exclusively in the treatment of pulmonary diseases.  Even in moderate doses, it is a powerful diaphoretic and will cause profuse sweating in the patient.  The herb is also an astringent and antiseptic and will soothe an inflamed bronchial mucosa and promote the rapid healing of an ulcerated throat.  The most valuable aspect is its use as an expectorant.  It will quickly remove mucous from the lungs and bronchi, and as the herb also produces a slight vasodilative action, it makes breathing easier and reduces coughing.

Acacia Bark (Acacia decurrens)  Strongly astringent, babul is used to contract and toughen mucous
membranes throughout the body in much the same way as witch hazel or oak bark does. Babul may be made into a variety of preparations: for instance, a lotion for bleeding gums, a gargle for sore throats, a wash for eczema, an eyewash for conjunctivitis and other eye problems, and a douche for excessive vaginal discharge. The herb is taken internally to treat diarrhea, mainly in the form of a decoction. In Ayurvedic medicine, babul is considered a remedy that is helpful for treating
premature ejaculation. .

Acacia, Sweet (Acacia farnesiana )   Colombians bathe in the bark decoction as a treatment for typhoid.  The gummy roots have been chewed as a treatment for sore throat.  A decoction of the gum from the trunk has been used in the treatment of diarrhea. An infusion of the flowers has been used as a stomachic. It is also used in the treatment of dyspepsia and neuroses. The flowers are added to ointment, which is rubbed on the forehead to treat headaches.  The powdered dried leaves have been applied externally as a treatment for wounds. The green pods have been decocted and used in the treatment of dysentery and inflammations of the skin and raucous membranes. An infusion of the pod has been used in the treatment of sore throats, diarrhea, leucorrhoea, conjunctivitis, and uterorrhagia.

Aconite (Aconitum napellus): Aconite is poisonous in all but the smallest doses and is rarely prescribed for internal use.  More commonly , it is applied to unbroken skin to relieve pain from bruises or neurological conditions.  In Ayurvedic medicine, aconite is used to treat neuralgia, asthma, and heart weakness.  Aconite has been added to salves because of its painkilling action on neuralgia, lumbago, and rheumatism.  The tincture has been given in one-drop doses for heart failure, high fevers, pneumonia, pleurisy and tonsillitis.  Use only under a professional’s supervision. 

Adam and Eve Root (Aplectrum hyemale): It has been used in folk remedies but is too rare to harvest. Admire it and leave it alone.  The corm has been used to treat bronchial illness.

Adder’s Tongue (Erythronium americanum): Generally used as a poultice for ulcers and skin troubles.  An infusion of the leaves is taken for the relief of skin problems and for enlarged glands.  Various oil infusions and ointments made from the leaf and spike have been used to treat wounds, and poultices of the fresh leaves have been applied to soothe and heal bruises.  The bulbs of the plant have been recorded as emetic and as a substitute for Colchicium in the treatment of gout.  In the fresh state it has been reported to be a remedy for scurvy.  It is often used to treat scrofulous skin arising from tubercular infection.  Can mix the expressed juice with cider for internal use.  Must be used fresh. 

Adder's Tongue, English (Ophioglossum vulgatum( the fresh leaves make a most effective and comforting poultice for ulcers and tumors.  The expressed juice of the leaves is drunk as a treatment for internal bleeding and bruising.

Adonis (Adonis vernalis):  The leaves and tops contain a number of biologically active compounds, including cardioactive glycosides that benefit the heart.  It dilates the coronary vessels.  They are similar to those found in foxglove but gentler.  These substances increase the heart’s efficiency by increasing its output while slowing its rate.  Unlike foxglove, however, false hellebore’s effect on the heart is slightly sedative, and it is generally prescribed for patients with hearts that are beating too fast or irregularly. It is also used for mitral stenosis and edema due to heart failure.  False hellebore is recommended as a treatment for certain cases of low blood pressure.  False hellebore is strongly diuretic and can be used to counter water retention, particularly if this condition can be attributed to poor circulatory function.  It is an ingredient of several commercial German preparations for heart complaints and low blood pressure.  It is also found in Bechterew’s Mixture, a Russian formulation for heart conditions of nervous origin.

Agar (Gelidium amansii )  Like most seaweeds and their derivatives, agar is nutritious and contains large amounts of mucilage.  Its chief medicinal use is as a bulk laxative.  In the intestines, agar absorbs water and swells, stimulating bowel activity and the subsequent elimination of feces.  It is principally used in scientific cultures and commerce

Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria): Agrimony has long been used since Saxon times to heal wounds because it staunches bleeding and encourages clot formation. In the 15th century, it was the prime ingredient of “arquebusade water,” a battlefield remedy for gunshot wounds.  In France, the eau de arquebusade is still applied for sprains and bruises. A cooling astringent and mildly bitter, the aerial parts can be used for “hot” conditions like diarrhea, bronchitis and a gentle tonic for the digestion as a whole. Combined with other herbs such as corn silk, it is a valuable remedy for cystitis and urinary incontinence, and has also been used for kidney stones, sore throats, rheumatism, and arthritis.  It can be used as a suppository combining the extract with cocoa butter and inserting into the rectum for hemorrhoids, tapeworms and diarrhea.   The healing power is attributed to the herb’s high silica content.   Agrimony is indicated for chronic cholecystopathies with gastric sub-acidity.  Real success will be achieved only if the plant is used consistently for some time.  European herbalists suggest a few cups of agrimony tea daily to heal peptic ulcers and colitis, to gently control diarrhea, to tone the digestive tract lining, and to improve food assimilation.  One glycoside it contains has been shown to reduce excessive bile production in the gallbladder.

Ajowan (Carum ajowan): In the Middle East, ajowan water is often used for diarrhoea and wind and in India the seeds are a home remedy for indigestion and asthma.  For reasons of both flavor and practicality its natural affinity is with starchy foods and legumes.  Because of its thymol content, it is a strong germicide, anti-spasmodic, fungicide, and anthelmintic.  Regular use of Ajwain leaves seems to prevent kidney stone formation.   It also has aphrodisiac properties and the Ananga Ranga prescribes it for increasing the enjoyment of a husband in the flower of his life  
         Ajwain is very useful in alleviating spasmodic pains of the stomach and intestines, in adults as well as children. Any colicky pain due to flatulence (gas), indigestion and infections in the intestines can easily be relieved by taking one teaspoonful of ajwain along with 2-3 pinches of common salt in warm water. Use half the dose in children. Mixed with buttermilk it is a good anti-acidic agent  
        For chronic bronchitis and asthma, mix ajwain with jaggery (gur). Heat the mixture to make a paste and take 2 teaspoonsful twice a day. However, diabetics should not take this preparation because of the sugar content. It helps to bring out the mucus easily. It also helps in chronic cold.  
        In an acute attack of common cold or migraine headache, put ajwain powder in a thin cloth and smell this frequently. It gives tremendous symptomatic relief according to some Ayurvedic experts.
         If people who consume excessive alcohol develop discomfort in the stomach, taking ajwain twice a day, will be very useful. It will also reduce the craving and desire for alcohol.

Akebia (Akebia trifoliata):   A pungent, bitter herb that controls bacterial and fungal infections and stimulates the circulatory and urinary systems and female organs. It is a potent diuretic due to the high content of potassium salts.  Internally for urinary tract infections, rheumatoid arthritis, absence of menstruation, and insufficient lactation.  Taken internally, it controls gram-positive bacterial and fungal infections.

Alder Buckthorn (Rhamnus frangula (Frangula alnus)): Alder buckthorn is a laxative and a cathartic, and is most commonly taken as a treatment for chronic constipation.  Once dried and stored, it is significantly milder than senna or common buckthorn and may be safely used over the long term to treat constipation and to encourage the return of regular bowel movements. Alder buckthorn is a particularly beneficial remedy if the muscles of the colon are weak and if there is poor bile flow.  However, the plant should not be used to treat constipation resulting from excessive tension in the colon wall.  The berries also act as a milder purgative.  Fresh bark, powdered and mixed with vinegar, is used to topically treat fungal diseases of the skin and acne. 

Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum): The plant was used in ancient days to relieve dropsy.  The seeds were often soaked in wine to create a tonic for scurvy when other sources of vitamin C were not available and also to promote menstruation.  The root is a diuretic.  The crushed leaves or their juice was a soothing and healing treatment for cuts and minor abrasions.  It was also used for asthma.   These uses are now obsolete 

Alfalfa  (Medicago sativa ) 
The whole herb is used medicinally to help stop bleeding to benefit the kidneys and as a general tonic.   It is a good laxative and a natural diuretic.  It is a folk remedy for arthritis and is reputed to be an excellent appetite stimulant.  Alfalfa possesses extremely high nutritional value.  An excellent source of vitamins A and D, alfalfa leaf is used in the infants’ cereal pablum.  Also rich in vitamin K, alfalfa leaf has been used in medicine to encourage blood clotting.  Alfalfa also lowers blood cholesterol.  Other recommended uses for alfalfa are for asthma and hayfever.  It has also been found to retard the development of streptozotocin diabetes in mice.    It is a traditional European and Russian tea for wasting diseases and is used in some German clinics as a dietary aid in Celiac Disease, together with traditional treatment and diet.  A safe and appropriate tea for pregnancy, along with raspberry leaves; also good to drink when sulfa or antibiotic drugs are taken.

Allspice (Pimenta dioica): Allspice was included in the British Codex from 1721-1914.  It was principally an aromatic stimulant and carminative, good for flatulence, indigestion and hysterical paroxyms.  Aqua pimentae was an ingredient in stomach and purgative medicines, and also played a part in the treatment of rheumatism and neuralgia.  The powdered berries have been used for dyspepsia and also to disguise the taste of disagreeable medicines.   

Almond (Prunus communis):    Bitter almonds when distilled yield an essential oil containing about 5% of prussic acid.  Almonds are usually processed to extract almond oil for cosmetic purposes.  It is helpful for alleviating itchy skin conditions, such as eczema.  The oil is popular with masseuses and aromatherapists as it is light, easily absorbed, and makes an excellent carrier oil for essential oils.  Little is used for medicinal purposes, but almond flour is sometimes used as sustaining food for diabetics.  Almond milk is still drunk as a kidney tonic and to ease heartburn.  The oil derived from a bitter variety of almond has sedative properties and is sometimes used in cough remedies.  As well as being a tasty addition to the diet, almonds are also beneficial to the overall health of the body, being used especially in the treatment of kidney stones, gallstones and constipation. Externally, the oil is applied to dry skins and is also often used as a carrier oil in aromatherapy. The seed is demulcent, emollient, laxative, nutritive and pectoral. When used medicinally, the fixed oil from the seed is normally employed. The seed contains 'laetrile', a substance that has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there does not at present seem to be much evidence to support this. The pure substance is almost harmless, but on hydrolysis it yields hydrocyanic acid, a very rapidly acting poison - it should thus be treated with caution. In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.  The leaves are used in the treatment of diabetes.  The plant contains the antitumor compound taxifolin.

Aloe (Aloe barbadensis)  Commercial aloe juice is made from the inner leaf, which is blended and strained, with a preservative added.  To make aloe “gel”, the juice is thickened with seaweed to mimic the leaf’s original thick consistency.  The crystalline part called aloin, a brownish gel found alongside the leaf blade, is powdered and used in some commercial laxatives.  It is so strong that it must be combined with other herbs to prevent intestinal griping.  The commercial juice and gel remove this part of the leaf, so both the juice and the gel are soothing to digestive tract irritations, such as peptic ulcers and colitis.  In one study, the stomach lesions of twelve peptic ulcer patients were all completely healed.  A popular ingredient in commercial drug store products, aloe is commonly used to soothe burns, including sunburn and radiation burns.  Aloe is also applied to wounds, eczema, ringworm and poison oak and poison ivy rashes.  There is evidence that it effectively regenerated injured nerves.  One study reports aloe to be successful in healing leg ulcerations and severe acne and even finds that it promotes hair growth.  When 56 frostbit patients were treated with a product containing 70% aloe, only 7% developed infections, compared to 98 frostbitten patients not treated with aloe, 33 of whom eventually needed amputation.  It has also proved helpful in treating periodontosis.  One study injected aloe extracts into the diseased areas of 128 patients with varying degrees of gum disease.  Within a week, the development of symptoms stopped, pain decreased and marked improvement followed in all patients.
           
Aloe is wide used in folk medicine, both as a liniment and as a drink, to reduce the swelling and pain of arthritis and rheumatism.  Diabetics in the Arabian peninsula eat aloe to control their blood sugar levels.  A clinical study did find that when volunteers who were not insulin dependent took half a teaspoon daily for 4-14 weeks, their fasting blood sugar levels were reduced by half, with no change in body weight.
           
Another preparation from aloe, carrisyn, is a polysaccharide.  It has been claimed that carrisyn directly kills various types of viruses, including herpes and measles, and possibly HIV.  However, research is still in the preliminary stages.   

Aloewood  (Aquilaria malaccensis) :  Internally for digestive and bronchial complaints, fevers, and rheumatism (bark, wood).  Because of its astringent nature, the powdered wood of the aloe tree provide an effective skin tonic and is recommended by Ayurvedic physicians as an application for restoring pigment in leucoderma.  Powdered aloeswood provides an antiseptic so gentle it is used for ear and eye infections as well as on open wounds.

Alstonia (Alstonia scolaris, A constricta)  There are 43 species of alstonia trees.  The bark of the tree is used medicinally in the Pacific Rim and India.  Constricta, which is native to Australia, is used extensively as an Aboriginal folk remedy for fever, chronic diarrhea, dysentery and rheumatism.  Scholaris, found growing mostly in India, Pakistan and the Philippines, is used for the same purposes, but may also be employed as a treatment for malaria, and is thought to have aphrodisiac qualities.  In all cases the bark is powdered and made into a tea.  The inner bark of Alstonia constricta is said to possess marked antiperiodic properties, while the outer bark is stated to have been efficacious in curing certain forms of rheumatism. Further trials are needed, however, before it can be ranked as a substitute for quinine, or other of the cinchona alkaloids, yet it has proved as efficient in intermittents.  Scientific investigation has failed to show why it is of such service in malaria, but herbalists consider it superior to quinine and of great use in convalescence .  It lowers fever, relaxes spasms, stimulates lactation and expels intestinal worms.  Used for chronic diarrhea, dysentery and in intermittent fever; also as an anthelmintic. It is also much used by homoeopaths.

Alumroot  (Heuchera americana) The root of this plant may contain as much as 20% of its weight in tannins, acid compounds that serve to shrink swollen, moist tissues.  Alumroot’s strong astringency is likely to have earned the plant its common name.  Its overall effect is less than irritating than Cranesbill, Oak Bark or Canaigre.   Dried and powdered alumroot was used by Northwest Indians as a general digestive tonic, and herbalists still use it to stop minor bleeding and reduce inflammation.  It was listed in the US pharmacopoeia for similar purposes until 1882.  An infusion of the root was used to treat diarrhea, and a leaf poultice for skin abrasions.  A teaspoon of the chopped root, boiled in water for 20 minutes, can be used for gastroenteritis, particularly with symptoms of diarrhea and dry, bilious vomiting.  The tea makes an excellent gargle for sore throats, especially when combined with one-fourth teaspoon of golden seal root; a half cup drunk an hour before every meal will stimulate the healing of regenerating ulcers of the esophagus and stomach, but of little use for duodenal ulcers.  The root is an old folk remedy for dysentery, a cup drunk every two hours for at least a day.  Since most astringents are precipitated before reaching the colon, obstinate dysentery should be treated by an enema; a teaspoon of the chopped root boiled for twenty minutes in a pint of water,.  The same quantity can be used as a douche for vaginitis or mild cervicitis.  The finely ground root is a good first aid for treating cuts and abrasions, promoting almost instant clotting; if combined with equal parts golden seal root and Echinacea angustifolia root, the mixture makes an excellent antiseptic powder.

Amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus)  Medicinally, amaranth gained favor in the 17th century when the Doctrine of Signature prevailed.  To adherents of this doctrine, the bright crimson of the flowers signified blood—a clear indication that the plant would stop any kind of bleeding.  The herb does in fact possess astringent properties and herbalists have recommended an amaranth infusion for diarrhea and as a mouthwash for ulcers, to soothe inflammation of the pharynx and to heal canker sores.  Amaranth has also been employed to reduce blood loss and to treat diarrhea and dysentery..  A decoction is used to check excessive menstrual flow, excessive vaginal discharge..  Also used for sponging sores and ulcers.  It is a nutritional supplement and nutritive tonic.

Ambrette Seed (Abelmoschus moschatus (syn Hibiscus abelmoschus)
): Internally as a digestive and breath-freshener (seeds).  Externally for cramps, poor circulation, and aching joints, and in aromatherapy for anxiety and depression (oil)

American Centuary (Sabatia angularis)    This herb, which should be gathered when in full bloom, is an active tonic, of the more stimulating class, with moderate and somewhat diffusive relaxing qualities, allied to the American  gentian, but rather milder.   Its chief power is exerted upon the stomach, gall-ducts, and spleen; and the general circulation and uterus feel it moderately.  A warm infusion gently promotes the menstrual secretion, in cases of debility.   Cold preparations increase appetite and digestion in weak and flaccid conditions of the stomach, and may be used for chronic dyspepsia and general debility.  By maintaining the portal circulation somewhat vigorously,  it proves of eminent service for the intermediate treatment of agues; and though not a nervine stimulant and antiperiodic as cinchona is, it is of decided value against intermittents where the cinchona preparations (and similar antiperiodics) prove too exciting to the nerve centers.  In cases of this class, I have several times arrested ague paroxysms by the fluid extract of this plant alone, with suitable daily hepatics; yet it is not strong enough to meet the chills of deeply-prostrated or congested cases.   It makes an excellent tonic addendum to such agents as fraxinus, angustura, or euonymus, in treating chronic biliousness with indigestion; and may be used to advantage with caulophyllum, convallaria, and similar uterine remedies, in chronic prolapsus, leucorrhea, hysteria, etc.   Its sustaining influence is shown to excellent advantage in the treatment of night sweats, exhaustion from excessive purulent discharges, recovery from malignant scarlatina, and other prostrated conditions.  Some use it for worms, as a tonic.   Usually given by infusion, made by digesting an ounce of the herb in a pint of hot water; of which a fluid ounce may be given every two or three hours during the intermission of an ague, or half a fluid ounce every three hours as a tonic.

American Cranesbill:
An astringent and clotting agent, American cranesbill is used today much as in earlier times.  The herb is often prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome and hemorrhoids, and it is used to staunch wounds.  It may also be used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding and excessive vaginal discharge.  As a douche it can be used in leucorrhea.  Its powerful astringent action is used in secondary dysentery, diarrhea, and infantile cholera (Boil with milk to which a little cinnamon has been added and the milk cooked down to half its liquid volume.).  Troublesome bleeding from the nose, wounds or small vessels, and from the extraction of teeth may be checked effectively by applying the powder to the bleeding orifice and, if possible, covering with a compress of cotton.  For Diabetes and Brights disease a decoction taken internally has proven effective of Unicorn root and Cranesbill.   One of the safest and most effective astringent herbs for gastrointestinal problems.

American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius):  Similar to Panax ginseng only milder  

American White Hellebore (Veratrum viride )   In standard medicine, Hellebore was employed for its irritant and sedative action in a wide range of complaints, including pneumonia, gout, rheumatism, typhoid and rheumatic fevers and local inflammations. American Hellebore preparations are well known to contain a complex mixture of steroid alkaloids (including jervine, pseudojervine, and meratroidine) that are still used by the medical profession to treat severe cases of high blood pressure and related cardiovascular conditions.  It is a very potent drug plant.  It is effective only in selected types of high blood pressure, and has many side effects if used over a long period of time. It has been used in the treatment of acute cases of pneumonia, peritonitis and threatened apoplexy. A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of chronic coughs and constipation. A portion of the root has been chewed, or a decoction used, in the treatment of stomach pain. The root has been used to make a skin wash and compresses for bruises, sprains and fractures. The powdered root has been applied as a healing agent to wounds and as a delousing agent. The stems have been scraped and the powder snuffed to induce sneezing. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a wash to treat aches and pains.

American Larix (Larix laricina)   Tamarack was employed medicinally by a number of native North American Indian tribes who used it to treat a variety of complaints.  It is used in the treatment of jaundice, anemia, rheumatism, colds and skin ailments. It is gargled in the treatment of sore throats and applied as a poultice to sores, swellings and burns. A tea made from the leaves is used as an astringent in the treatment of piles, diarrhea etc. An infusion of the buds and bark is used as an expectorant. The needles and inner bark are disinfectant and laxative. A tea is used in the treatment of coughs. A poultice made from the warm, boiled inner bark is applied to wounds to draw out infections, to burns, frostbite and deep cuts. The resin is chewed as a cure for indigestion. It has also been used in the treatment of kidney and lung disorders, and as a dressing for ulcers and burns.

American Speedwell  (Veronica americana )  American speedwell is primarily used as an expectorant tea, which is said to help move bronchial congestion and make coughing more productive.  It also has astringent and diuretic qualities.

Ammoniacum (Dorema ammoniacum)  Ammoniacum has been used in Western herbal medicine for thousands of years.   Chiefly used for respiratory troubles. Excellent for the relief of catarrh, asthma or bronchitis.  Also highly regarded as an energy stimulant.   Externally used for swollen joints and indolent tumors. Still listed in the British Pharmacopoeia as an antispasmodic and an expectorant that stimulates the coughing up of thick mucus.  Occasionally used to induce sweating or menstruation.

Angelica (Angelica archangelica): An old remedy for flatulence directed that the stalks e slowly chewed until the condition was relieved which may have been good advice, as it has been found that one of angelica’s constituents is pectin, an enzyme which acts on digesting food.  This herb is a useful expectorant for coughs, bronchitis and pleurisy, especially when they are accompanied by fever, colds or influenza.  The leaf can be used as a compress in inflammations of the chest.  Its content of carminative essential oil explains its use in easing intestinal colic and flatulence.  As a digestive agent it stimulates appetite and may be used in anorexia nervosa.  It has been shown to help ease rheumatic inflammations.  In cystitis it acts as a urinary antiseptic.  Angelica has proved itself to relieve muscle spasms of asthma and it’s been used to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, especially after extended use of birth control pills or an intrauterine device.   Combine with coltsfoot and white horehound for bronchial problems and with chamomile for indigestion, flatulence and loss of appetite.  The leaves are used in the bath to stimulate the skin. Angelica salve is helpful in cases of chronic rhinitis and sinusitis because it dissolves mucus and warms. Apply it twice daily to the area of the paranasal sinuses, forehead, root of the nose, nose, cheeks and angle of the jaw.  Angelica contains at least 14 anti-arrhythmic compounds, one of which is said to be as active as verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), a popular calcium channel blocker.  Because of its aromatic bitter properties, this plant is much used in bitters and liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse.  The volatile oil has carminative properties, counteracting flatulence, so that the action of this plant comes close to that of wormwood in this respect, a plant mainly used to treat gallbladder disease.

Angostura (Galipea officinalis)  A strong bitter with tonic properties, angostura stimulates the stomach and digestive tract as a whole.  It is antispasmodic and is reported to act on the spinal nerves, helping in paralytic conditions.  Angostura is typically given for weak digestion, and is considered valuable as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery.  In South America, it is sometimes used as a substitute for cinchona to control fevers.

Anise (Pimpenella anisum):  Anise is a carminative and an expectorant.  It is also a good source of iron.  One tablespoon of anise seeds sprinkled on cookies, bread or cake provides 16% of the RDA for a woman and 24% of the RDA for a man.  A 1990 study tested the effect of certain beverage extracts on the absorption of iron.  The results showed that anise was the most effective of the extracts tested in promoting iron absorption.  The authors recommended offering this as a preventive agent to iron deficiency anemia.  To make a carminative tea that may relieve intestinal gas, crush 1 teaspoon of anise seeds per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10-20 minutes and strain.  Drink up to 3 cups a day.  In a tincture, take ½ to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day.  Diluted anise infusions may be given cautiously to infants to treat colic. For older children and people over 65, begin with low-strength preparations and increase strength if necessary.    Some people simply chew the anise seeds.    Early English herbalist Gerard suggested anise for hiccups.  It has also been prescribed as a milk promoter for nursing mothers and as a treatment for water retention, headache, asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, nausea, lice, infant colic, cholera and even cancer.  America’s 19th century Eclectic physicians recommended anise primarily as a stomach soother for nausea, gas, and infant colic.
           
Modern uses: Science has supported anise’s traditional use as a treatment for coughs, bronchitis, and asthma.  According to several studies the herb contains chemicals (creosol and alpha-pinene) that loosen bronchial secretions and make them easier to cough up.  Another chemical (anethole) acts as a digestive aid.  Anise also contains chemicals (dianethole and photoanethole) similar to the female sex hormone estrogen. Scientists suggest their presence probably accounts for the herb’s traditional use as a milk promoter and may help relieve menopausal discomfort.  One report shows that anise spurs the regeneration of liver cells in laboratory rats, suggesting a possible value in treating hepatitis and cirrhosis.  While there are no studies that support using anise to treat liver disease in humans, anise looks promising in this area.

Anise Hyssop: The root of anise hyssop was an ingredient in North American Chippewa Indian lung formulas, and the Cree sometimes carried the flowers in their medicine bundles. The Cheyenne employed an infusion of the leaves for colds, chest pains from coughing and a weak heart.  The leaves in a steambath were used to induce sweating; and powdered leaves on the body for high fevers.  

Annatto: In the Caribbean, annatto leaves and roots are used to make an astringent infusion that is taken to treat fever, epilepsy, and dysentery.  The infusion is also taken as an aphrodisiac.  The leaves alone make an infusion that is used as a gargle.  The seed pulp reduces blistering when applied immediately to burns.  Taken internally, the seed pulp acts as an antidote for poisoning.  Used as a coloring agent for medical preparations such as ointments and plasters.

Antelope Horn (Asclepias viridis)   Used to relieve fever, it was drunk as a decoction of the root in cold water.  To relieve palpitation, the powdered root is rubbed over the heart area.  A poultice of the powdered root is used to treat neck and rib pains and a tea made from it is used to alleviate asthma and shortness of breath.

Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa )   The roots dug in the fall are boiled in water for coughs, drunk morning and evening, and the tea used as a hair rinse after shampooing.  Reports are that the root and bark tea are a good growth stimulant and tonic for the hair.  The powdered root (with tobacco) or the flowers (with Horehound and flour) are used for painful joints or soft tissue swellings, applied locally as a poultice or fomentation.  The spring twigs bay be boiled and drunk for indigestion and “spring” fevers. 

Apricot (Prunus armeniaca )  :  Apricot fruit is nutritious, cleansing, and mildly laxative. They are a valuable addition to the diet working gently to improve overall health.  A decoction of the astringent bark soothes inflamed and irritated skin.  Although the kernels contain highly toxic prussic acid, they are prescribed in small amounts in the Chinese tradition as a treatment for coughs, asthma, and wheezing, and for excessive mucus and constipation.  An extract from the kernels, laetrile, has been used in Western medicine as a highly controversial treatment for cancer.  The kernels also yield a fixed oil, similar to almond oil that is often used in the formulation of cosmetics.  Chinese trials show that apricot kernel paste helps combat vaginal infection. The flowers are tonic, promoting fecundity in women. The inner bark and/or the root are used for treating poisoning caused by eating bitter almond and apricot seeds (which contain hydrogen cyanide). Another report says that a decoction of the outer bark is used to neutralize the effects of hydrogen cyanide. The decoction is also used to soothe inflamed and irritated skin conditions. It is used in the treatment of asthma, coughs, acute or chronic bronchitis and constipation. The seed contains 'laetrile', a substance that has also been called vitamin B17. This has been claimed to have a positive effect in the treatment of cancer, but there does not at present seem to be much evidence to support this.

Arbutus, Trailing (Epigaea repens )   Regarded as one of the most effective palliatives for urinary disorders. Especially recommended for the aged.  It is of special value when the urine contains blood or pus, and when there is irritation.  It is one of the most effective remedies for cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis, bladder stones and particularly acute catarrhal cystitis.  A good remedy in cases where there is an excess of uric acid. In extreme and nauseating backache, result of the crystalline constituents of the urine not being properly dissolved and washed out of the tubules. We think of it when the urine is heavy and dark, brick dust sediment, irritation and congestion of the kidneys, renal sand and gravel in bladder. In hemorrhage or cystitis, result of irritation of the solids in the bladder it is an excellent remedy. Must be drunk freely, preferably well diluted in hot water. Infusion is a good form to take it in; but the tincture may be given in 5 to 10 drop doses in 1/2 a cup of hot water. May also be taken in cold water when desirable. Use in the same way as uva-ursi and buchu. 

Areca Nut  (Areca catechu )  Mainly used in veterinary medicine to expel tapeworms.  Internally, used in traditional Chinese medicine, to destroy intestinal parasites, and for dysentery and malaria (seeds); as a laxative in constipation with flatulence and bloating, and a diuretic in edema rind).  The nut is chewed as a mild intoxicant.  The dried areca nut is powdered and used as a dentifrice, forming the basis of many tooth powders in India and China.  Ayurveda recommends burning the areca nut to charcoal and mixing this with a quarter part of powdered cinnamon to produce an excellent tooth powder.  It also suggests a decoction made from the areca root as a cure for sore lips.  It moves chi downward and removes food stagnation, helps digestion.  It has mild toxic properties and should be taken with a purgative such as castor oil. 

Arnica (Arnica montana): Used externally, Arnica promotes the healing of wounds contracted through blows, punctures, falls and cuts.  It is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, relieves pain from injuries and promotes tissue regeneration. One can clean wounds, abscesses, boils and ulcers with diluted Arnica tinctures and dress them with a compress soaked in the same solution.  For contusions, sprains, bruises, bursitis, arthritis and inflammation of the lymphatic vessels, apply packs of diluted Arnica tincture.  To relieve headaches and visual disturbances due to concussion, apply such compresses around the head and neck.  To prepare packs and washes, dilute one tablespoon of Arnica tincture in a cup of boiled water (or where sensitivity is suspected, double the water). The tincture made from the flowers is only used externally, whereas the tincture made from the roots is used internally for cases of hematoma and inflammation of the veins. Arnica also improves the circulation. Arnica flowers are sometimes adulterated with other composite flowers, especially Calendula officinalis, Inula brittanica, Kragapogon pratensis, and Scorzonera humilis. For tender feet a foot-bath of hot water containing 1/2 oz. of the tincture has brought great relief. Arnica has been shown to be an immuno-stimulant, as both the sesquiterpene lactone helenalin and the polysaccharide fraction stimulate phagocytosis. Sesquiterpene lactones are known to have anti-inflammatory activity and their biological effects appear to be mediated through immunological processes. As helenalin is one of the most active, this might help account for the use of Arnica for pain and inflammation. 
           
Arnica has been used for heart problems (as it contains a cardiotonic substance), to improve circulation, to reduce cholesterol and to stimulate the central nervous system.  But the internal use should only be done under supervision.  It displays astonishing stimulating, decongesting and relaxing properties.  The heart is both stimulated in deficient conditions and relieved in excess ones, depending on the case presented.  
For sprains and strains, arnica promotes healing and has an antibacterial action; causes reabsorption of internal bleeding in bruises and sprains.  Apply as a cream to the affected area, or soak a pad in diluted tincture and use as a compress.  Take homeopathic Arnica 6x every 1-2 hours.  Do not use on broken skin; use only homeopathic Arnica internally.  
           
Clearing heat in the sense of both deficiency heat and fire toxin is one of its strengths.  In Yin deficiency syndromes with either low fever or hot flushes, it matches up well with the likes of hawthorn, rehmannia, mistletoe and valerian. 

Arrach (Chenopodium olidum)   An infusion of the dried leaves is used in the treatment of hysteria and nervous troubles connected with women's ailments.

Arrowleaf Balsamroot  (Balsamorrhiza sagittata)  The root of the plant is sometimes used as an expectorant and mild immuno stimulant.  Native Americans used the sticky sap as a topical antiseptic for minor wounds.  Medicinally, the Indians used the large coarse Balsamroot leaves as a poultice for burns. The roots were boiled and the solution was applied as a poultice for wounds, cuts and bruises. Indians also drank a tea from the roots for tuberculosis and whooping cough.  As an antibacterial the tincture may be applied to infections and hard to heal wounds. The tincture of the root and bark may be used internally or externally for bacterial problems. Perhaps the most common use for arrowleaf balsamroot is as an immune system enhancer. Use the tincture as you would Echinacea, taking 1 tsp. twice daily to strengthen the immune system.

Arrowroot (Maranta arundinacea) Hospitals formerly employed arrow root in barium meals given prior to X-raying the gastro-intestinal system.  When mixed with hot water, the root starch of this plant becomes gelatinous and serves as an effective demulcent to soothe irritated mucous membranes.  Used in much the same way as slippery elm.  It helps to relieve acidity, indigestion, and colic, and it exerts a mildly laxative action on the large bowel. 

Artichoke (Cynara scolymus)     Studies have shown that blood cholesterol levels dropped after eating artichoke.  An anticholesterol drug called cynara is derived from this plant.  In 1940, a study in Japan showed that artichoke not only reduced cholesterol but it also increased bile production by the liver and worked as a good diuretic.  This make artichoke useful for gallbladder problems, nausea, indigestion, and abdominal distension.     It has been found that globe artichoke contains the extract cymarin, which is similar to silymarin.  Researchers discovered that this extract promotes liver regeneration and causes hyperaemia.  It was also found that an artichoke extract caused dyspeptic symptoms to disappear.  The researchers interpreted the reduction in cholinesterase levels to mean that the extract effected fatty degeneration of the liver.  In 1969 a team of French researchers patented an artichoke extract as a treatment for kidney and liver ailments.   Although the leaves are particularly effective, all parts of the plant are bitter.  A Mediterranean home recipe uses fresh artichoke leaf juice mixed with wine or water as a liver tonic.  It is also taken during the early stages of late-onset diabetes.  It is a good food for diabetics, since it significantly lowers blood sugar.  In France it has been used to treat rheumatic conditions.

Asafetida (Ferula assa-foetida): Asafetida is said to have antispasmodic properties. It has been used in the past to treat hysteria and was sometimes taken as a sedative.  In India it is prescribed to treat flatulence and bronchitis.  It also has carminative, expectorant, laxative and sedative properties.  Asafetida acts as a local stimulant to mucous membrane, particularly that of the alimentary canal and therefore is a remedy of great value as a carminative in flatulent colic and a useful addition to laxative medicine.  There is evidence that the volatile oil is eliminated through the lungs which has been found useful for whooping cough, asthma, and bronchitis, as well as for croup and flatulent colic in infants.  It was formerly used as a sedative for hysteria, infantile convulsions, and spasmodic nervous conditions.  Some researchers have suggested that asafetida may help lower blood pressure and increase the amount of time it takes for blood to clot.  Like garlic, asafetida has been hung around the neck to ward off colds and other infectious diseases, but its only real effect seems to be its ability to keep other people and their colds at arm’ length. Owing to its vile taste it is usually taken in pill form, but is often given to infants per rectum in the form of an emulsion. The powdered gum resin is not advocated as a medicine, the volatile oil being quickly dissipated. Asafetida is admittedly the most adulterated drug on the market. Besides being largely admixed with inferior qualities of Asafetida, it has often red clay, sand, stones and gypsum added to it to increase the weight.

Asarabacca  (Asarum europaeum ) :  a strong emetic.  It has been substituted for Ipecac to produce vomiting.  The French use it for this purpose after drinking too much wine.  A little sniffed up the nostrils induces violent sneezing and a heavy flow of mucus. This has caused it to be used to remedy headache, drowsiness, giddiness, catarrhs, and other conditions caused by congestion.  Asarabacca has been a component in many popular commercial medicinal snuffs. 
           
Asarabacca has been extensively investigated, both chemically and pharmacologically.  It is rich in flavonoids.  The leaves contain a highly aromatic essential oil that contains constituents that verify the value of extracts as an errhine (for promotion of nasal secretion).  Based on human experiments, the expectorant properties of both the roots and the leaves are quite good.  In Rumania, human experiments where infusions of asarabacca were administered to people suffering pulmonary insufficiency, the preparations were said to have a beneficial effect on the heart condition, including a diuretic effect.  From the types of irritant chemical compound known to be present in this plant, one would expect that catharsis would result from ingestion of extracts prepared from asarabacca.  However, it is violent in its action.

Ash (Fraxinus excelsior)    decoctions made from the bark and leaves are a gentle laxative.  Taken regularly, the ash is said to prevent the recurrence of bouts of malaria and is a substitute for quinine.  It is also said to be excellent for treatment of arthritic conditions.  The seeds, including their wings, have been used as a carminative.

Ashwagandha: Practitioners of Ayurveduc medicine, the traditional medicine of India, regard this root as the Indian answer to ginseng for the male libido.  Some reference do not recommend on a daily basis but others do.   It is considered to reduce vata and kapha.  It is mainly used in the West as a restorative for the elderly and the chronically ill.  For such regenerative purposes, it can be taken as a milk decoction to which may be added raw sugar, honey, pippali and basmati rice.  As such, it inhibits aging and catalyzes the anabolic processes of the body.  It is a good food for weak pregnant women, it helps to stabilize the fetus.  It also regenerates the hormonal system, promotes healing of tissues, and can be used externally on wounds, sores, etc.  Five grams of the powder can be taken twice a day in warm milk or water, sweetened with raw sugar.  
         
By reducing overactivity and encouraging rest and relaxation, withania is useful in countering the debility that accompanies long-term stress.  Its high iron content makes it useful for anemia.  With ania has been widely researched in India.  Studies in 1965 indicated that the alkaloids are sedative, reduce blood pressure, and lower the heartbeat rate.  Research in 1970 showed that with anolides, which are similar to the body’s own steroid hormones, are anti-inflammatory.  They also inhibit the growth of cancer cells.  The herb may be of use in chronic inflammatory diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and as a cancer preventative.  Trials in 1980 indicated that withania increases hemoglobin levels, reduces graying of hair, and improves sexual performance.  It also helps recovery from chronic illness.  
          Traditional use: acne, adrenal disorders, age spots, anemia, anorexia, arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammatory diseases, convalescence, debility, depression, diabetes mellitus, diarrhea, edema, endometriosis, failing memory, fatigue, frigidity, hyperlipemia, hypertension, immunodeficiency, impotence, indigestion, insomnia, multiple sclerosis, poor attention span, ulcer

Asmatica (Tylophora asmatica)   Considered a specific remedy for asthma, asmatica may relieve symptoms for up to 3 months.  It is also beneficial in cases of hay fever, and is prescribed for acute allergic problems such as eczema and nettle rash.  The plant holds potential as a treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome and other immune system disorders.  Asmatica may relieve rheumatoid arthritis and may also be of value in the treatment of cancer.  Extensive laboratory and clinical research in India has established that asmatica is an effective remedy for asthma.  In the 1970s, a number of clinical trials showed that a majority of asthmatic patients taking the herb for just 6 days gained relief from asthma for up to a further 12 weeks.  However, the leaves do produce side effects  The plant’s alternative name, Indian lobelia, alludes not only to its value in treating asthma but also to its irritating effect on the digestive tract.

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)   An excellent diuretic, asparagus is also very nutritious.  It is high in folic acid, which is essential for the production of new red blood cells.  Many herbalists recommend asparagus root for rheumatism, due to the anti-inflammatory action of the steroidal glycosides.  Powdered seed from the asparagus plant is good for calming an upset stomach.  It is used as a gentle but effective laxative where an irritating cathartic would be inappropriate, while a tea brewed from the mature fern has been used for rheumatic and urinary disorders, and by Shakers to treat dropsy.  It is used for a variety of urinary problems, including cystitis.  The root treats dryness of the lungs and throat, consumptive diseases, tuberculosis and blood-tinged sputum.  It also counteracts thirst and treats kidney yin deficient lower back pains. Asparagus root is said to increase love, devotion, and compassion. The most adept Chinese herbal pharmacists will taste a new shipment of asparagus root, testing it for sweetness.  They might then reserve the sweetest roots for themselves, since these are believed to foster the deepest feelings of spiritual compassion.  The roots are deeply nourishing to the yin quality.

Astragalus  (Astragalus membranaceous ) Strengthens digestion, raises metabolism, strengthens the immune system, and promotes the healing of wounds and injuries.  It treats chronic weakness of the lungs with shortness of breath, collapse of energy, prolapse of internal organs, spontaneous sweating, chronic lesions, and deficiency edema.  It is very effective in cases of nephritis that do not respond to diuretics.
          
In China astragalus enjoyed a long history of use in traditional medicine to strengthen the Wei Ch'i or "defensive energy" or as we call it, the immune system. Regarded as a potent tonic for increasing energy levels and stimulating the immune system, astragalus has also been employed effectively as a diuretic, a vasodilator and as a treatment for respiratory infections.
            Antibacterial; used with the ginsengs; helpful for young adults for energy production and respiratory endurance; warming energy; helpful for hypoglycemia; used for "outer energy" as ginseng is used for "inner energy"; American Cancer Society publication reports it restored immune functions in 90% of the cancer patients studied; use to bolster the white blood cell count; strengthens the body's resistance; use for debilitating conditions; helps to promote the effects of other herbs; helps to improve digestion. Astragalus is of the most popular herbs used in the Orient; the Chinese name for astragalus is Huang Ch'i. It is a tonic producing warm energy and specifically tonifying for the lungs, spleen, and triple warmer via meridians.
             
In studies performed at the Nation Cancer Institute and 5 other leading American Cancer Institutes over the past 10 years, it has been positively shown that astragalus strengthens a cancer patient's immune system. Researchers believed on the basis of cell studies that astragalus augments those white blood cells that fight disease and removes some to those that make the body more vulnerable to it. There is clinical evidence that cancer patients given astragalus during chemotherapy and radiation, both of which reduce the body's natural immunity while attacking the cancer, recover significantly faster and live longer. It is evident that astragalus does not directly attack cancers themselves, but instead strengthens the body's immune system. In these same studies, both in the laboratory and with 572 patients, it also has been found that Astragalus promotes adrenal cortical function, which also is critically diminished in cancer patients.  
           Astragalus also ameliorates bone marrow pression and gastointestinal toxicity caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Astragalus is presently being looked upon as a possible treatment for people living with AIDS and for its potentials to prolong life.
             Scientists have isolated a number of active ingredients contained in astragalus, including bioflavanoids, choline, and a polysaccharide called astragalan B. Animal studies have shown that astragalan B is effective at controlling bacterial infections, stimulating the immune system, and protecting the body against a number of toxins.
            Astragalan B seems to work by binding to cholesterol on the outer membranes of viruses, destabilizing their defenses and allowing for the body's immune system to attack the weakened invader. Astragalus also increases interferon production and enhances NK and T cell function, increasing resistance to viral conditions such as hepatitis, AIDS and cancer. Astragalus shows support for peripheral vascular diseases and peripheral circulation.

Avens: Avens is an astringent herb, used principally for problems affecting the mouth, throat and gastrointestinal tract.  It tightens up soft gums, heals canker sores, makes a good gargle for infections for the pharynx and larynx, and reduces irritation of the stomach and gut.  It may be taken for peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and dysentery.  Avens has been used in a lotion or ointment as a soothing remedy for hemorrhoids.  The herb may also be used as a douche for treating excessive vaginal discharge.   Avens reputedly has a mild quinine-type action in lowering fever.

  -B-

Ba Ji Tian (Morinda officinalis)  The pungent, sweet-tasting ba ji tian is an important Chinese herb.  It is a kidney tonic, and therefore strengthens the yang. It is also used as a sexual tonic, treating impotence and premature ejaculation in men, infertility in both men and women, and a range of conditions, such as an irregular menstrual cycle.  Ba ji tian is also prescribed for conditions affecting the lower back or pelvic region, including pain, cold, and urinary weakness—especially frequent urination or incontinence.

Bael (Aegle marmelos )  The astringent half-ripe bael fruit reduces irritation in the digestive tract and is excellent for diarrhea and dysentery. The ripe fruit is a demulcent and laxative, with a significant vitamin C content.  It eases stomach pain and supports the healthy function of this organ.  Pulped, the flesh of Bael is an excellent curative for dysentery, while the fragrant juice is used as an appetizer, for curing stomach disorders, and for purifying the blood.  Bael’s astringent leaves are taken to treat peptic ulcers. A decoction of leaves is a favorite remedy for ailments that often occur during seasonal changes—fevers, influenza, fatigue.   The tree’s most unusual application is for earache.  A piece of dried root is dipped in the oil of the neem tree an set on fire.  Oil from the burning end is dripped into the ear (not recommended to try)

Bai Zhi (Angelica dahurica )   Bai Zhi has been used for thousands of years in Chinese herbal medicine where it is used as a sweat-inducing herb to counter harmful external influences. The pungent, bitter bai zhi is used for frontal headaches and aching eyes, nasal congestion, and toothache.  Like its cousins angelica and Chinese angelica, it is warming and tonic, and it is still given for problems attributed to “damp and cold” conditions, such as sores, boils, and ulcers affecting the skin.  Bzi zhi also appears to be valuable in treating the facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia.  Small quantities of angelicotoxin, one of the active ingredients in the root, have an excitatory effect on the respiratory center, central nervous system and vasculomotor centre. It increases the rate of respiration, increases blood pressure, decreases the pulse, increases the secretion of saliva and induces vomiting. In large doses it can cause convulsions and generalized paralysis.

Bai Zhu (Atractylodes macrocephala )   Bai Zhu is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. It has traditionally been used as a tonic for the digestive system, building qi and strengthening the spleen.  The rhizome has a sweet, pungent taste, and is used to relieve fluid retention, excessive sweating, and digestive problems such as diarrhea and vomiting.  It is also used in the treatment of poor appetite, dyspepsia, abdominal distension, and edema. It is often used in conjunction with other herbs such as Codonopsis tangshen and Glycyrrhiza uralensis. Combined with Baical skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) it is used to prevent miscarriage.

Baical Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)   The root is used. Indications: ailments of “full” and “hot” excess: oppression in chest, thirst with no desire for water, dysentery and diarrhea, jaundice, body heat, irritability, blood in stool and sputum, nosebleeds.  Clinical tests in China found it improved symptoms in over 70% of patients with chronic hepatitis, increasing appetite, improving liver function and reducing swelling.  Other studies show it reduces inflammation and allergic reactions.  These effects are due to the flavonoids.  It is also likely that Baical skullcap may help venous problems and fragile capillaries.  The herb may be useful for problems arising from diabetes, including cataracts.  In Chinese medicine it is prescribed for hot and thirsty conditions such as high fevers, coughs with thick yellow phlegm, and gastrointestinal infections that cause diarrhea, such as dysentery.  It is also given to people suffering from painful urinary conditions.  It is now used for allergic conditions such as asthma, hay fever, eczema, and nettle rash, although its anti-inflammatory action is most useful for digestive infections.  It is a valuable remedy for the circulation.  In combination with other herbs, it is used to treat high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, varicose veins and easy bruising.  Applied to the skin, it treats sores, swelling and boils.  It appears to be useful for circulatory problems that arise from diabetes.  The seed is used to cleanse the bowels of blood and pus.

Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorum)   It loosens phlegm, stops cough in both hot and cold conditions, aids the elimination of pus in the upper parts of the body, is effective for sore throat, lung abscess, and loss of  voice.  It has an ascending energy and is sometimes added in small amounts to formulas to direct the therapeutic action of other herbs to the upper parts of the body.   

Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum halicacabum)   In Indian herbal medicine, balloon vine root is used to bring on delayed menstruation and to relieve backache and arthritis.  The leaves stimulate local circulation and are applied to painful joints to help speed the cleaning of toxins.  The seeds are also thought to help in the treatment of arthritis.  The plant as a whole has sedative properties.  It has been prescribed for years by European skin specialists and family doctors. In a study of 833 patients with eczema, better than 4 out of 5 subjects reported improvement or remission of symptoms (inflammation, swelling, scaling, blisters/vesicles, dry skin, itching, burning and pain).  This small and delicate wiry climber can be used to treat piles, rheumatism, nervous disorders and chronic bronchitis. A paste of the leaves is a dressing for sores and wounds. Crushed leaves can also be inhaled to relieve headaches and the seeds used to relieve fever and body aches.  A tea made from the leaves is used in the treatment of itchy skin. Salted leaves are used as a poultice on swellings.  The leaf juice has been used as a treatment for earache.

Balmony (Chelone glabra)   It is believed to be an appetite stimulant, and some herbalists prescribe the dried plant in an infusion to treat anorexia.  Balmony is a very bitter herb with a tea-like flavor that acts mainly as a tonic for the liver and digestive system. It also has anti-depressant and laxative effects. It is used internally in the treatment of consumption, debility, diseases of the liver, gallbladder problems, gallstones etc. It is also used to relieve nausea and vomiting, intestinal colic and to expel worms. Externally, it is applied as an ointment to inflamed tumors, irritable ulcers, inflamed breasts etc.  It Is beneficial for a weak stomach and indigestion, general debility, constipation, and torpid liver, it also stimulates the appetite, and in small doses is a good tonic during convalescence. In addition, balmony is an effective antheimintic. Externally, it is used for sores and eczema. The ointment is valuable to relieve the itching and irritation of piles.
            
Balmony is an excellent agent for liver problems. It acts as a tonic on the whole digestive and absorptive system. It has a stimulating effect on the secretion of digestive juices, and in this most natural way its laxative properties are produced. Balmony is used in gall stones, inflammation of the gall-bladder and in jaundice. It stimulates the appetite, eases colic, dyspepsia and biliousness and is helpful in debility. Externally it has been used on inflamed breasts, painful ulcers and piles. It is considered a specific in gall stones that lead to congestive jaundice.
             Herbalists consider this herb a useful remedy for gastro-intestinal debility with hepatic torpor or jaundice. Dyspeptic conditions attending convalescence from prostrating fevers are often aided by it, and should be studied particularly for vague and shifting pain in the region of the ascending colon.
            Kings Dispensatory describes it as being tonic, cathartic, and anthelmintic. Especially valuable in jaundice and hepatic diseases, likewise for the removal of worms, for which it may be used in powder or decoction, internally and also in injection. Used as a tonic in small doses, in dyspepsia, debility of the digestive organs, particularly when associated with hepatic inactivity, and during convalescence from febrile and inflammatory diseases. It is valuable after malarial fevers as a tonic and to unlock the secretions when checked by quinine. Recommended in form of ointment as an application to painful and inflamed tumors, irritable and painful ulcers, inflamed breasts, piles, etc. Kings gives the following specific indications: Gastro-intestinal debility, with hepatic torpor or jaundice; worms.

Balsam Fir  (Abies balsamea)    The resin obtained from the balsam fir has been used throughout the world and is a very effective antiseptic and healing agent. It is used as a healing and analgesic protective covering for burns, bruises, wounds and sores. It is also used to treat sore nipples and is said to be one of the best curatives for a sore throat. Tea made from the needles has been used to treat colds and asthma.  Canada balsam, an oleoresin gathered from blisters in the bark, has been used to relieve the pain of hemorrhoids, burns and sores and venereal disease.  Balsam fir is an antiseptic and stimulant, and has been used for congestion, chest infections, such as bronchitis, and urinary tract conditions such as cystitis and frequent urination.  It has been used in commercial mixtures to treat coughs and diarrhea.  Externally, balsam fir was rubbed on the chest or applied as a plaster for respiratory infections.  It is also used in bath extracts for rheumatic pain, and as a mouthwash.  The oil is used in ointments and creams, especially in the treatment of hemorrhoids. The buds, resin, and/or sap are used in folk remedies for treating cancers, corns, and warts.  The resin is used internally in propriety mixtures to treat coughs and diarrhea, though taken in excess it is purgative. A warm liquid of the gummy sap was drunk as a treatment for gonorrhea. A tea made from the leaves is antiscorbutic. It is used in the treatment of coughs, colds and fevers.

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris):  
Barberry acts on the gallbladder to improve bile flow and ameliorate conditions such as gallbladder pain, gallstones, and jaundice.  Barberry’s strongly antiseptic property is of value in cases of amebic dysentery, cholera and other similar gastrointestinal infections.  Barberry is one of the mildest and best liver tonics known, good for jaundice, hepatitis and diabetes. 
           
The berberine in barberry has remarkable infection-fighting properties.  Studies around the world show it kills microorganisms that cause wound infections (Staphylococci, Streptococci), diarrhea (Salmonella, Shigella), dysentery (Endamoeba histolytica), cholera (Vibrio cholerae), giardiasis Giardia lamblia), urinary tract infections (Escherichia coli) and vaginal yeast infections (Candida albicans).  Berberine may also fight infection by stimulating the immune system.  Studies show that it activates the macrophages, white blood cells that devour harmful microorganisms.  In Germany, a berberine preparation, Ophthiole, is used to treat sensitive eyes, inflamed lids, and pinkeye (conjunctivitis).  Barberry contains chemicals that may help reduce elevated blood pressure by enlarging blood vessels. 
           
The bark is astringent, antidiarrheal, and healing to the intestinal wall—in short, barberry has a strong, highly beneficial effect on the digestive system as a whole.  It helps in the treatment of chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The decoction makes a gentle and effective wash for the eyes, although it must be diluted sufficiently before use.  Liquid of the chewed root was placed on injuries and on wounds, while cuts and bruises were washed with a root decoction.  A preparation of the bark or berries will be useful as a gargle for sore mouth and chronic opthalmia.    It has been successfully used to treat Leishmaniasis (infections transmitted by sandflies).  It has the ability to reduce an enlarged spleen and acts against malaria.

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) The Chinese used it to treat stomach, kidney and blood ailments.  During the 11th century, Hildegard of Bingen used basil in a complicated mixture to treat cancerous tumors.  By the 17th century, basil was widely used in Europe to treat colds, warts, and intestinal worms.  In Ayurvedic medicine, the juice is recommended for snakebites, as a general tonic, for chills, coughs, skin problems and earaches.  It is called tulsi.  The oil kill intestinal parasites confirming its traditional use in Malaya and as a stomach soother and treatment for a broad range of intestinal ailments.  Indian researchers have reported that basil kills bacteria when applied to the skin and have used basil oil successfully to treat acne.  One animal study shows basil stimulates the immune system by increasing production of disease-fighting antibodies by up to 20%.  In the West it is considered a cooling herb and is used for rheumatic pain, irritable skin conditions and for those of a nervous disposition.   Basil is one of many healing herbs containing both pro-and anti-cancer substances.  On the prevention side, it contains Vitamin A & C, anti-oxidants that help prevent cell damage.  But basil also contains a chemical, estragole, that produced liver tumors in mice, according to a report published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  However, the cancer risk, if any, remains unclear.  It’s on the FDA list of GRAS herbs.

Bay (Laurus nobilis): The Romans used bay leaves and berries for the treatment of liver disorders.  The French at one time used bay as an antiseptic.  Now the Lebanese steep the berries and leaves in brandy in the sun for a few days and drink it to calm queasy stomachs.   Bay oil from the berries and leaves can be used in salves and liniments for rheumatism, bruises and skin problems.  Both fruit and leaves also stimulate the digestion.  A decoction of fruit or leaves made into a paste with honey or syrup can be applied to the chest for colds and other chest problems.  The oil contains a powerful bacteria killing chemical that is used in some dentifrices.  For frequent migraines add bay leaves to feverfew.  Bay leaves have demonstrated to help the body used insulin more efficiently at levels as low at half-teaspoon.  
           An experimental convalescent home in Russia encourages patients to smell bay leaves to sharpen the memory.  Ancient Romans and Greeks placed a rolled bay leaf in the nose or stuck a leaf on the forehead when troubled by headaches. 
           
A tea of bay leaves is excellent for the digestion and is somewhat astringent as well.  A facial steam bath, for cleansing and clearing the skin, is made in the same way as the tea, with the addition of chamomile flowers, rosemary leaves, and rose petals.  For hysteria: to calm the patient, have them drink tea made from a bay leaf.  Pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 bay leaves.  Remove the leaves after steeping 10 minutes and sweeten with honey.    In one study, laboratory animals were given a fatal dose of strychnine, then promptly treated with a bay oil preparation.  They all lived, but researchers weren't sure why.  

Bayberry (Myrica cerifera)   A key herb in the Thomsonian system of medicine, being the main astringent used for “any stomach or bowel derangement, particularly after fevers.”   Internally used for fevers, colds, influenza, excess mucus, diarrhea, colitis, excessive menstruation, and vaginal discharge.  Externally for sore throat, ulcers, sores, itching skin conditions, dandruff and hair loss.  Bayberry is commonly used to increase circulation, stimulate perspiration, and keep bacterial infections in check. Colds, flu, coughs, and sore throats benefit from treatment with this herb as a hot decoction.  It helps to strengthen local resistance to infection and to tighten and dry mucous membranes.  An infusion is helpful for strengthening spongy gums, and a gargle is used for sore throat.  Bayberry’s astringency helps intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and mucous colitis. It increases circulation to the area while acting to tone tissues involved. An infusion can also help treat excess vaginal discharge.  A paste of the powdered root bark may be applied onto ulcers and sores.  The powdered bark has been used as a snuff for congested nasal passages.  It has been used to treat post-partum hemorrhage and taken internally and used as a douche is recommended for excessive menstruation and leucorrhea.  It is used as a poultice to soothe varicose veins. Myricadiol has a mild effect on potassium and sodium levels.  Myricitrin is antibacterial and encourages the flow of bile.  The powder is strongly sternutatory and excites coughing. Water in which the wax has been 'tried,' when boiled to an extract, is regarded as a certain cure for dysentery, and the wax itself, being astringent and slightly narcotic, is valuable in severe dysentery and internal ulcerations. The leaves have provided vitamin C for curing scurvy.

Bearsfoot (Polymnia uvedalia) 
Regarded as a valuable aid for quick pain relief. It is also a gentle laxative, especially good for the aged, and a stimulant.  The root is taken internally as a treatment for non-malignant swollen glands and especially for mastitis.  The root is thought to have a beneficial effect on the stomach, liver, and spleen, and may be taken to relieve indigestion and liver malfunction.

Belladonna (Atropa belladonna)  A belladonna derivative, atropine is used to dilate eyes prior to eye operations and for some eye exams.  It has been official in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia since 1820.  The tropane alkaloids inhibit the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls involuntary body activities.  This reduces saliva; gastric, intestinal and bronchial secretions as well as the activity of the urinary tubules, bladder, and intestines.  It is the tropane alkaloids that increase the heart rate and dilate the pupils.  It is prescribed to relax distended organs, especially the stomach and intestines, relieving intestinal colic and pain.  It helps peptic ulcers and it relaxes spasms of the urinary tubules.  The herb can also be used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, reducing tremors and rigidity, and improving speech and mobility.  The smooth muscle relaxant properties of deadly nightshade make it useful in conventional medicine as an anesthetic, particularly when digestive or bronchial secretions need to be kept to a minimum.
           
Ivan Raeff, a lay practitioner in Schipka, a village in Bulgaria, discovered that a total extract of  belladonna root was successful in treating encephalitis.  And the whole extract was better tolerated than the pure alkaloid atropine.  A proprietary preparation resulting from this research is Tremoforat. Belladonna leaves applied externally are used as a treatment and possible cure for cancer by both Western herbalists and in Chinese folk medicine.  

Bergamot (Bergamot didyma)  Bergamot tea is soothing and relaxing and makes a good night-time drink.  Add a handful of fresh leaves to your bath to sooth tired and aching limbs (in a net bag).  Native Americans used the leaves of monarda as a poultice and compress on skin eruptions, as a tea for colds and flus and inhaled as a steam to relieve sinus and lung congestion.  Scientific evidence shows that bergamot may inhibit the herpes simplex and the related chicken pox viruses.  It is also combined with other herbs to treat urinary tract infections and indigestion.

Bethroot (Trillium erectum )   Is said to have been in use among the aborigines and early settlers of North America. It is a plant that contains a natural precursor of the female sex hormones, which the body may use if it needs to or otherwise leaves unused, an example of the normalizing power of some herbs.  It is antiseptic, astringent and tonic expectorant, being used principally in hemorrhages, to promote parturition, and externally, usually in the form of a poultice, as a local irritant in skin diseases, or to restrain gangrene. The leaves, boiled in lard, are sometimes applied to ulcers and tumors. The roots may be boiled in milk, when they are helpful in diarrhea and dysentery.  Bethroot is a valuable remedy for heavy menstrual or intermenstrual bleeding, helping to reduce blood flow.  It is also used to treat bleeding associated with uterine fibroids.  Bethroot may also be taken for bleeding within the urinary tubules and, less often, for the coughing up of blood.  It remains a valuable herb in facilitating childbirth.  A douche of bethroot is useful for excessive vaginal discharge and yeast infections.  The acrid species are useful in fevers and chronic affections of the air-passages. Merely smelling the freshly-exposed surface of the red Beth roots will check bleeding from the nose.

Betony (Stachys officinalis)  The drug is largely concentrated in the leaves, though the root is regarded as specific for the liver with a gentle laxative action.  Betony’s real value is as a remedy for headaches and facial pain.  The plant is also mildly sedative, relieving nervous stress and tension.  In herbal medicine, betony is thought to improve nervous function and to counter overactivity.  It is taken to treat “frayed nerves,” premenstrual complaints, poor memory, and tension.  Taken daily with boiled warm milk, it is good remedy for chronic headaches.  The plant has astringent properties and in combination with other herbs such as comfrey and linden flowers, it is effective against sinus headaches and congestion.  Betony may be taken alone or with yarrow to help staunch nosebleeds.  If applied externally, it stops bleeding, promotes healing and draws out boils and splinters.  It is also mildly bitter.  The French recommended the leaves for lung, liver, gallbladder and spleen problems.  It stimulates the digestive system and the liver, and has an overall tonic effect on the body.  Trigonelline, one of its constituents has been shown to lower blood sugar levels. 


Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus
): Medicinal Uses: A drink of the fruit and roots steeped in gin is an old remedy to stop diarrhea and relieve nausea and indigestion though large amounts of the whole berries eaten with their seeds and skin provide a laxative bulk.  Normally the dried fruit is markedly binding and has an antibacterial action.  They can decrease intestinal inflammation and help protect the digestive tract lining.  The berries are also said to be a refrigerant that lowers body heat.  Studies show an effect on heart contractions and blood vessels that is thought to be caused by the berries stimulating the production of prostaglandins.  There is evidence that they also help prevent blood clots.  Bilberry’s high anthocyanin content makes it a potentially valuable treatment for varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and capillary fragility. Bilberries are incorporated into European pharmaceuticals that are used to improve circulation.  Several scientific studies support this use.  In Russia, berries and leaves are used to treat colitis, stomach problems and sugar diabetes.  The leaves are also found in folk remedies of other countries to treat diabetes.  The glucoquinine in the leaves does show a weak ability to lower blood sugar.  Clinical studies have been proposed to back the hypoglycemic effects found in animals.  German researchers have also suggested that the quinic acid produced from a tea of dried bilberry leaves is a potential treatment for rheumatism and gout.  A decoction of the fruit is used as a mouthwash. 

           
Modern research shows that the fruit contains compounds known as anthocyanosides which contribute to visual acuity.  Italian researchers shows that a mixture of anthocyanosides from bilberry plus vitamin E halted the progression of lens clouding in 97% of people with early-stage cataracts. Regular use of the fruit results in quicker adjustment to darkness and glare and improved visual acuity both at night and in bright light during the day.  It may be useful in the prevention and treatment of glaucoma since it strengths connective tissue and prevents free radical damage. Recommendation is a standardized bilberry extract (with 25% anthocyanidin) at a dose of 80-160 milligrams 3 times a day.

Birthwort (Aristolochia clematitis )  Used to treat: abdominal complaints, cancer, cancer (nose), depurative, leg ulcers, menstrual troubles, polyps (nose), tumor, wounds.  Not used much today, birthwort was formerly used to treat wounds, sores, and snake bite.  It has been taken after childbirth to prevent infection and is also a potent menstruation-inducing herbs and a (very dangerous) abortifacient.  A decoction was taken to encourage healing of ulcers.  Birthwort has also been used for asthma and bronchitis. 
Chinese research into aristolochic acid has shown it to be an effective wound healer.  Aristolochia species are used in China, but the medicinal use has been banned in Germany because of the toxicity of aristolochic acid. 
Chinese herbalists use the fruit when there is lung heat and inflammation, with or without deficiency, but with the presence of phlegm. For these conditions, it stops coughing and wheezing. It is also used internally to treat bleeding hemorrhoids.

Birthwort, Frail (Aristolochia debilis )
  Internally used for arthritis, purulent wounds, hypertension, snake and insect bites, and gastric disorders involving bloating (roots); for asthma, wet coughs, bronchitis, hypertension and hemorrhoids (fruits). Indications: heat in the lungs manifested as cough with profuse yellow sputum and asthma.  The fruit (Madouling) is used with Loquat Leaf, Peucedanum root, Mulberry bark and Scutellaria root.  Deficiency of the lungs manifested as cough with scanty sputum or with bloody sputum and shortness of breath.  Fruit is used with Glehnia root, Ophiopogon root, Aster root and Donkey hide gelatin.


Biscuit Root (Lomatium dissectum): 
Both Lomatium and Ligusticum were used by Native Americans and early American medical practitioners for a variety of chronic or severe infectious disease states, particularly those of viral origin. Modern research is rather limited, but clinical trials have supported the inclusion of these botanicals for viral infections including HIV and condyloma.  Traditionally it’s demonstrated efficacy against a variety of bacterial infections including tuberculosis.   Lomatium contains an oleoresin rich in terpenes. It acts as a stimulating expectorant, enhancing the liquification and consequent elimination of mucus from the lungs. It also appears to exert a strong antibacterial activity, interfering with bacterial replication and inducing increased phagocytosis. The resin also contains a number of furanocoumarins including nodakenetin, columbianin and pyranocoumarin. These resins may be responsible for the plant's antiviral effect. They may also be partly responsible for the phagocytic action lomatium causes.
              Based on empirical evidence and discussions with clinical herbalists, lomatium can be used as an antimicrobial, especially in the lungs and upper respiratory tract. It provides quick-acting relief in cases of viral or bacterial infection, particularly when there is a large amount of thick or sticky mucus and infection is deep-seated and persistent. Consider taking lomatium for pneumonia, infective bronchitis and tuberculosis.
                As an immunostimulant, this herb is traditionally used to treat colds and flus. Many cases during the 1920s U.S. influenza epidemic were successfully treated with lomatium by the professional herbalists of the time, and it has been used for this purpose by Native Americans since the introduction of influenza to the Americas.  Its infection-fighting ability makes lomatium valuable as a mouthwash and gargle for oral and throat infections, as a douche for bacterial and viral infections or candida, as a skin wash for infected cuts or wounds, and in many other first- aid situations.  Both tea and tincture forms are commonly used. For acute bacterial or viral infections, 2.5 ml of the tincture diluted in water can be used three to four times daily. A painful, itchy full-body rash that can persist for days occurs frequently when the crude tincture is used.  It seems to occur more commonly with the strong, fresh-root preparation and disappears when treatment stops.

Bishop’s Weed (Ammi majur) The seeds in an infusion or as a tincture, calm the digestive system. They are also diuretic and, like visnaga, have been used to treat asthma and angina. Bishops’ weed reputedly helps treat patchy skin pigmentation in vitiligo. It has also been used for psoriasis. The seeds in an infusion or as a tincture, calm the digestive system. They are also diuretic and, like visnaga, have been used to treat asthma and angina. Bishops’ weed reputedly helps treat patchy skin pigmentation in vitiligo. It has also been used for psoriasis.  

Bistort (Polygonum bistorta or Persicaria bistorta)  Roots and leaves were used to counteract poisons and to treat malaria and intermittent fevers.  Dried and powdered it was applied to cuts and wounds to staunch bleeding, and a decoction in wine was taken for internal bleeding and diarrhea (especially in babies).  It was also given to cause sweating and drive out the plague, smallpox, measles and other infectious diseases.  Bistort is rich in tannins and one of the best astringents.  Taken internally, it is excellent for bleeding, such as from nosebleeds, heavy periods and wounds, and for diarrhea and dysentery.  Since it reduces inflammation and mucous secretions it makes a good remedy for colitis and for catarrhal congestion.  It was originally recommended in 1917 as a treatment for debility with a tendency towards tuberculosis.  It has also been used externally for pharyngitis, stomatitis, vaginal discharge, anal fissure, purulent wounds, hemorrhoids, mouth ulcers and gum disease.  Comes well with Geranium maculatum. 

Bitter Root (Apocynum androsaemifolium )  Famous as a safe cathartic and heart tonic; it is also a powerful emetic and diuretic.  Bitter root was a popular remedy among the Indians for syphilis. Small doses act as a vasoconstrictor, slowing and strengthening the heartbeat and raising the blood pressure.  It is a strong diuretic, useful in cardiac dropsy and the like, but authorities differ as to whether it increases urine by irritation of the kidneys or dilation of the renal artery, or both.  One of the reasons preventing its more frequent use in medicine is the variability of absorption, metabolization, effects and pharmacology.  It is used today when the hepatic organs are sluggish.  Its influence is slow but persistent and extends through the gall ducts, gall cyst, liver tubuli and also the muscular and mucous membranes of the bowels and kidneys.  It is quite stimulating to the gall ducts, influencing the excretion of bile, and especially valuable when the stools are clay-colored, indicating a lack of bile.  In jaundice, take 3-5 drops of the fluid extract every 2 or 3 hours and, if caused by occlusion, add American mandrake.  If the pulse is below par, add a little capsicum.  If using large doses for gall stones, add some ginger or aniseed.  Because it influences a discharge of bile and the bowels in the way it does, a soft stool will result in about 6-8 hours.  This is quite in order where torpid conditions are found, but is not good in irritated and sensitive conditions.  The green fruit was boiled and used for a heart and kidney treatment.

Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara )   It is used mainly as an alterative internally for eruptic skin diseases and ulcers including eczema, itchiness, psoriasis and warts.  Externally a decoction of the twigs, applied as a wash, may also help to lessen the severity of these conditions.  It has a very cool energy and is useful for most inflammatory conditions, including ulcerative colitis and inflammatory rheumatic diseases.  It also is used for severe high fevers with extreme excitability and acts as a cooling sedative for hysteria and anxiety as well as chronic jaundice.  It was also used for felons (inflammations of finger-end joints), hence the common name “felonwort”  The herb may also be taken to relieve asthma, chronic bronchitis and rheumatic conditions, including gout.  Recent research indicates that bittersweet contains a tumor-inhibiting agent, beta-solamarine, which may have some promise in treating cancer. 

Black Catechu (Acacia catechu)  Black Catechu is a powerful astringent used in chronic diarrhea, dysentery and mucous colitis.  It is also a clotting agent.  It helps reduce excess mucus in the nose, the large bowel, or vagina.  It also treats eczema and hemorrhages.  As a douche it is used in leucorrhea.  As a mouthwash or gargle it is used in gingivitis, stomatitis, pharyngitis and laryngitis.  It may be used as an infusion, tincture, powder or ointment.  A small piece of cutch dissolved in the mouth is an excellent remedy for bleeding gums and canker sores.  The power and tincture are also applied to infected gums and have been used to clean the teeth.  In Ayurvedic medicine, decoctions of the bark and heartwood are used for sore throat.  Research is that cutch has been shown to lower blood pressure, its mechanism of action is thought to be bradykinin related and due to vasodilation.

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa): Black cohosh root improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure and body temperature by dilating blood vessels and increasing peripheral circulation.  The constituents responsible for these actions are so resinous, the traditional virtues of this herb are best extracted by using hot water and preferably alcohol on the fresh root.  A central nervous system depressant, black cohosh directly inhibits vasomotor centers that are involved with inner ear balance and hearing.  One of the uses for black cohosh recognized by doctors is for relief of ringing in the ears.  The Native Americans knew that it encouraged uterine contractions and used it to facilitate labor.  It is also used to reduce the inflammation and muscular pain of rheumatism and inflammatory arthritis, especially when it is associated with menopause  and to treat problems of the respiratory system.  Chinese physicians use several related plants to treat headache, to ripen and bring out skin rashes such as measles, diarrhea, bleeding gums and some gynecological problems.   
           
Black cohosh has estrogenic effects, meaning it acts like the female sex hormone estrogen.  This may lend support to its traditional use for menstrual complaints.  It is thought to reduce levels of pituitary luteinizing hormone, thereby decreasing the ovaries’ production of progesterone.   A German trial published in 1995, revealed that black cohosh in combination with St. John’s wort was 78% effective at treating hot flashes and other menopausal problems.   Black cohosh is used to optimize estrogen levels perhaps by competing with estrogen receptor sites when estrogen is overabundant but may promote estrogen production when estrogen is low. It is the prime women’s tonic for any uterine condition involving inflammation, pain, or low estrogen.  It promotes fertility and softens the impact of menopause.   Using black cohosh during menopause can reduce intensity and frequency of hot flashes, support and ease the body’s changes, helps counteract menopausal prolapses, improves digestion, relieves menstrual pain and irregularity, relieves headaches, relieves menopausal arthritis and rheumatism.  
           
Cimicifugin, the ranunculoside in black cohosh, exhibits antispasmodic and sedative properties in the fresh root.  When the root is cut or bruised, an enzyme is released which reacts with cimicifugin to produce protoanemonine, which is unstable in water but, when dried, is readily oxidized to an anemonic acid which has no physiological activity.  The antispasmodic and sedative properties of black cohosh are only present in the  whole, fresh root.  The dried, powdered black cohosh in common use today contains only the irritating principles. 

Black Haw: (Viburnum prunifolium):  Black Haw has a very similar use to Crampbark to which it is closely related.  It is a powerful relaxant of the uterus and is used for dysmenorrhea and false labor pains.  It may be used in threatened miscarriage as well (often in combination with false unicorn root).  Its relaxant and sedative actions explain its power in reducing blood pressure, which happens through a relaxation of the peripheral blood vessels.  It may be used as an anti-spasmodic in the treatment of asthma.  It improves circulation to the uterus and ovaries, and thereby promotes nutrition to the pelvic area.  
           
It treats all nervous complaints, including convulsions, hysteria and spasms.  It also is used to treat palpitations and hysterical fits.  It is good for all painful affections including arthritic and rheumatic complaints.  

           
If taken in the latter part of pregnancy, it helps promote normal uterine contractions and antagonizes irregular ones.  It prevents afterpains, post partum hemorrhage and helps ensure normal involution of the uterus.  Other benefits include relief of morning sickness and lowering of arterial blood pressure. 

Black Hellebore (Helleborus niger )  The active constituents have an action similar to that of those found in foxglove.  Toxic when taken in all but the smallest doses, the acrid black hellebore is purgative and cardiotonic, expels worms, and promotes menstrual flow.  In the 20th century, the cardiac glycosides in the leaves came into use as a heart stimulant for the elderly.  The herb has also been taken to stimulate delayed menstruation.  Now considered too strong to be safely used.

Blessed Thistle (Cnicus benedictus)  Medicinal Uses:  Blessed thistle has been used as a treatment for liver disorders, as well as menstrual problems.  It seems to detoxify the liver.  In many European countries blessed thistle tablets are prescribed along with acetaminophen or aspirin to counterbalance the potential liver damage these drugs can cause. Many women take blessed thistle to regulate their periods.  It seems to stimulate the appetite and many herbalists prescribe it to their anorexic patients.  It is often combined with other herbs that are beneficial to the liver, such as milk thistle, artichoke or red clover.  The leaves are considered one of the best herbs for increasing mother’s milk.  Blessed thistle is antibiotic, destroying staph and other infections, although it has not proved very effective against harmful intestinal bacteria.  Externally used as a healing balm for wounds and ulcers.  Combines well with turtlehead and cola for anorexia and with meadowsweet, agrimony and cinquefoil for diarrhea. 

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis): Bloodroot has been used as a diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, and tonic. Bloodroot has been used historically in numerous topical preparations for the treatment of various skin cancers, and also for sores, warts, eczema, and other dermal & epidermal problems. It has also been used internally in herbal preparations for congestive lung conditions such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Studies find that sanguinarine, a compound found in bloodroot, kills bacteria, stops them from converting carbohydrates into gum tissue-eating acid, and blocks enzymes that destroy collagen in gum tissue.  Some studies have shown small amounts to be even more effective in reducing dental plaque than chlorhexidine, the active ingredient in mouthwashes and the effects can last up to 4 hours. Some companies are now making toothpaste and mouthwash using it as an active ingredient.  The root in a vinegar extract makes a very good antifungal wash for athlete’s foot.  Prepared as a powder, bloodroot may be sniffed to treat nasal polyps.  
           
The paste of the root has been recommended to remove warts and the powder is used in a number of cancer salves (a process too complicated for this monograph).  Carcinomas of the human nose and ear have responded to topical treatment with a preparation containing bloodroot extract.  

Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) : The Eclectic doctors used blue cohosh to reduce labor pains, painful menstruation, stomach cramps, as an abortifacient  and for  joints stiff from arthritis or rheumatism.  Herbalists also use it to help with irregular menstruation or a weak uterus.  Researchers in India have discovered evidence that the American Indians may have been correct in using blue cohosh as a contraceptive.  In animals, the herb inhibits ovulation.  There has been some comparison to goldenseal in its effect and it has been used as an effective control for chronic yeast infections.  The bitter principles in blue cohosh (notably methylcytistine) constrict peripheral blood vessels, stimulates the small intestine and respiration and produces hyperglycemia in a manner similar to nicotine but only about one-fortieth as toxic.  They are also antifungal.   It is a relatively complicated herb to use.  It appears that the dose required for balancing the menstrual cycle changes throughout the cycle.  If too much is taken intestinal cramping and headaches often occur.  It can either stimulate a uterus to contract or inhibit contractions.  It is used for amenorrhea in women whose cycles are blocked by physical congestion or nervous or hormonal imbalance.   It is used in early pregnancy to prevent miscarriages, though for this use it is usually taken in small doses combined with other antispasmodics such as cramp bark.  Its other important use is as a hormonal and tissue toner.  Blue cohosh is given along with uterine astringent tonics for tears or surgical damage to the reproductive system during, but especially after, chronic reproductive infections; it also helps shrink fibroids or growths and promotes fertility.  Tinctures are more effective than water-based tea since the active ingredients are not fully water soluble.
            

Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata )
  Medicinal Uses: Bogbean is a most useful herb for the treatment of rheumatism, osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It has a stimulating effect upon the walls of the colon which will act as an aperient, but it should not be used to help rheumatism where there is any colitis or diarrhea. It has a marked stimulating action on the digestive juices and on bile-flow and so will aid in debilitated states that are due to sluggish digestion, indigestion and problems of the liver and gall-bladder.  Bogbean is a strongly bitter herb that encourages the appetite and stimulates digestive secretions.  It is commonly taken to improve an underactive or weak digestion, particularly if there is abdominal discomfort.  Used for anorexia.  This herb is tonic, cathartic, deobstruent and febrifuge. Other uses are for muscular weakness in myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic infections with debility and exhaustion. May be combined with black cohosh and celery seed to relieve joint and muscular pain.  An extract is made from the leaves, which possesses strong tonic properties, and which renders great service in rheumatism, scurvy, and skin diseases. An infusion of 1 oz. of the dried leaves to 1 pint of boiling water is taken in wineglassful doses, frequently repeated. It has also been recommended as an external application for dissolving glandular swellings. Finely powdered Bogbean leaves have been employed as a remedy for ague, being said to effect a cure when other means fail. In large doses, the powder is also purgative. It is used also as an herb tobacco.  Buckbean tea, taken alone or mixed with wormwood, centaury or sage, is said to cure dyspepsia and a torpid liver.

Boldo Leaf (Peumus boldus): Boldo is one of the best liver tonics in the world and also has an affinity for kidneys and bladder.  Boldo activates the secretion of saliva and  stimulates liver activity and bile flow and is chiefly valued as a remedy for gallstones and liver or gallbladder pain.   Boldine, one of its constituents, induces the flow of bile as well as the total amount of solids that it excretes. Its protective action over the hepatic cells has been demonstrated "in vitro" and "in vivo". It is normally taken for a few weeks at a time, either as a tincture or infusion.  Boldo is also a mild urinary antiseptic and demulcent, and may be taken for infections such as cystitis.  In the Anglo-American tradition, boldo is combined with barberry and fringe tree in the treatment of gallstones.  It makes a drinkable tea and combined with goldenseal is excellent for kidney and bladder infections.
            
Boldo leaves are the subject of a German therapeutic monograph which allows the use for mild gastrointestinal spasms and dyspeptic disorders as well as a subject of a US monograph which shows that boldo causes clinically significant diuresis. The plant is used in homeopathy in the treatment of digestive disorders, as a laxative, choleretic, diuretic, and for hepatic disturbances. The leaves have been used for worms, and Dr. James Duke reports its traditional use for urogenital inflammations like gonorrhea and syphilis, as well as for gout, jaundice, dyspepsia, rheumatism, head colds and earaches.    Boldo is rich in phytochemicals including at least 17 known alkaloids.  A total of at least 38 phytochemical compounds have been identified.  Antioxidant properties of the leaves has also been documented.  A recent human study demonstrated that Boldo relaxes smooth muscle and prolongs intestinal transit which validated again its traditional medicinal uses.  The average therapeutic dose is reported to be 2-3 grams daily. 

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum): :  Parts used: tops and leaves.  European studies show this herb helps treat minor viral and bacterial infections by stimulating white blood cells to destroy disease-causing microorganisms more effectively.  In Germany, physicians currently use boneset to treat viral infections, such as colds and flu.  One study shows boneset is mildly anti-inflammatory, lending some support to its traditional use in treating arthritis.   
           
Taken in small doses it often gives relief very quickly.  It reduces fever and clears up mucous build-up in the lungs.  It gently empties any toxins which may be stored in the colon.  It relaxes the joints and eases the terrible pain which often accompanies the flu.  Some people have found it to be very useful for their rheumatism.  Boneset is dual in action, depending on how it is administered, when cold a tonic, when warm emetic diaphoretic.  It is extremely bitter to the taste and is disliked by children, but in these cases a thick syrup of boneset, ginger and anise is used by some for coughs of children, with good results.  
           
The flavonoids and the sesquiterpene lactones in the essential oil appear to work together in an as yet undetermined fashion to produce the antipyretic and diaphoretic effect.  The essential oil also irritates mucous membranes resulting in its expectorant effect. The irritation may also stimulate peristalsis.   
           
Besides the bitter and aromatic components of the herb, it contains the mucilaginous polysaccharride inulin which could mitigate the harshness of the herb. Tannins are also present which tone inflamed tissue.  One study also mentions the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids.  These are apparently of the same chemical class as the hepatoxic alkaloids found in comfrey.  Flavonoids have even shown some antitumor properties.

Borage (Borago officinalis): Medicinal: Poultices from the leaves are used to cool and soothe inflammations.  In Latin America, a borage tea is drunk for lung problems.  With its high mucilage content, borage is a demulcent and soothes respiratory problems. Its emollient qualities make it helpful for sore and inflamed skin—prepared either as freshly squeezed juice, in a poultice, or as an infusion.  The flowers encourage sweating, and the leaves are diuretic.  The seed oil is particularly rich in polyunsaturated fats and is superior in this respect to evening primrose oil.  Borage seed oil is used to treat premenstrual complaints, rheumatic problems, eczema, and other chronic skin conditions. Gamma linoleic acid (GLA) which is found in borage seed oil (also evening primrose and black currant oils) is used to reduce inflammation, boost immunity and help maintain cell membranes in painful inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.   Research has also shown that GLA supplements can help recovering alcoholics stay sober and slow down the damage that alcohol is known to cause to brain and liver cells.  To help with Raynaud massage the oil into the fingers.  

Broom (Sarothamnus scoparius (Cytisus scoparius)   The ingredient sparteine reduces the heart rate and the isoflavones are estrogenic.  Broom is used mainly as a remedy for an irregular, fast heartbeat and to treat cardiac edema.  The plant acts on the electrical conductivity of the heart, slowing and regulating the transmission of the impulses.  Broom is also strongly diuretic, stimulating urine production and thus countering fluid retention, often in combination with uva ursi or dandelion.  Since broom causes the muscles of the uterus to contract, it has been used to prevent blood loss after childbirth.  Both tips are seeds are soluble in water and alcohol.  It is also used for acute constipation.

Buchu (
Agathosma betulina and A. crenulata)  The leaves are used locally for antiseptic purposes and to ward off insects.  In western herbalism, the leaves are used for infections of the genito-urinary system, such as cystitis, urethritis and prostates.  Internally used for urinary tract infections (especially prostates and cystitis), digestive problems, gout, rheumatism, coughs, and colds, often combined with Althaea officinalis.  Externally used in traditional African medicine as a powder to deter insects and in a vinegar-based lotion for bruises and sprains.

Buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus (R. frangula) )  Buckthorn bark treats stubborn constipation, liver congestion, dropsy, hemorrhoids, colic and obesity. It is milder than its near relative cascara.  It has a generally calming effect on the gastrointestingal tract and may be used for an extended period of time for chronic constipation.  It also is good for treating ulcerative colitis and acute appendicitis.  Taken hot, it will induce perspiration and lower fevers.  It is used with alterative formulas in small amounts, since its mild laxative effect helps eliminate toxins and treat conditions such as gallstones, itching, lead poisoning, parasites, skin diseases and worms.  In ointment form it is very effective in treating warts and various skin problems. 

Burdock (Arctium lappa): Western herbalists have long used burdock for its demulcent action, both externally and internally, and for its alterative effects on the blood and urinary system.  During the Middle Ages, remedies for kidney stones contained burdock in the belief that a stony character in a medicine would cure the stony ailment. 
            The Chinese find it more valuable as a healer of hot (yang) conditions. It enters the liver meridian and benefits spleen deficiency.  Its diaphoretic and diuretic properties make it valuable for eliminating excess nervous energy, sweating out toxins, and cooling the heat of infections.  They also use it for colds, flus, measles, and constipation.  The Chinese also consider burdock to be a strengthening aphrodisiac. 
           
The most popular western use of burdock root is as a primary herb in blood purifier formulas.  It is also used to cleanse the body of uric acid and other residues that accumulate from rheumatism, arthritis, and gout.  Seeds are sometimes used for skin problems. The shredded leaves have also been folded into egg whites and applied as a skin dressing to accelerate healing.  Tests confirm that it kills both bacterial and fungal infections.     French herbalists have used the fresh root to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics because it contains the easily digestible starch “inulin”.  It is also believed, but not proven, that the root regenerates liver cells and stimulates the gallbladder.  Burdock is used in many parts of the world in herbal cancer treatments, was an ingredient in the Hoxsey formula, and is one of the four ingredients in the Essiac formula.  If you want to try burdock in conjunction with other cancer therapy, a suggested use is to make a decoction  by boiling 1 teaspoon of root in 3 cups of water for 30 minutes.  Cool.  Drink up to 3 cups a day.  Has a sweet taste, similar to celery root.  Or as a tincture, take ½ to 1 teaspoon up to three times a day.   

Burr Marigold (Bidens tripartite (Bidens tripartita)  Valuable astringent used for hemorrhage wherever it occurs including uterine hemorrhage and conditions producing blood in the urine.  It may be used for fevers and water retention when this is due to a problem in the kidneys. Used to relieve disorders of the respiratory system.   The astringency helps counteract peptic ulceration, diarrhea, and ulcerative tract ailments.  Externally in Russia used for alopecia.  Often combined with comfrey, agrimony, calamus or ginger when treating digestive tract ailments.

Butcher's Broom (Ruscus aculeatus )  Butcher’s Broom is a popular treatment for leg cramps and arthritis.  The plant contains steroidlike compounds that can reduce inflammation. It is also a mild diuretic and can help reduce swollen hemorrhoids.  For venous insufficiency.  It is available in capsule and tincture form, as well as an ointment for hemorrhoids.  Butcher's broom can be taken before surgery to prevent thrombosis  

Butterbur (Petasites hybridus)   It has been used mainly to treat chest problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and whooping cough.  Butterbur helps to strengthen digestion, in particular where indigestion results from obstructed bile flow.  It not only eases spasms in muscles, but has a pain-relieving effect too.  It can also be used for fevers. This herb has also been given for inflammation of the urinary tract, and the fresh leaves can be used externally as a poultice to treat wounds and skin eruptions.

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