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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Herbal Plants

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Aloe vera syn. A. barbadensis (Liliaceae)
The clear gel found inside the plant's leaf contains aloin, are both used for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. It is a effective healer of wounds and burns, speeding up the rate of healing and reducing the risk of infection. The brownish part containing aloin is a strong laxative, useful for short-term constipation. Aloe is present in many cosmetic's formulae because its emollient and scar preventing properties.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Heals wounds, emollient, laxative.

Angelica arcangelica (Umbelliferae)
Angelica has been used to reduce muscular spasms in asthma and bronchitis. It has also been shown to ease rheumatic inflammation, to regulate menstrual flow and as an appetite stimulant. The stems are candied for culinary use.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antispasmodic, promotes menstrual flow.

Pimpinella anisum (Umbelliferae)
It has been used as a flavoring spice in recipes and as a diuretic, to treat digestive problems and to relieve toothache. Anise seeds are known for their ability to reduce flatulence and colic, to settle the digestion, to relieve colic, and to ease nausea and indigestion. It also has an expectorant and antispasmodics action that is helpful in countering period pain, asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis. The mild hormonal action of anise seeds may explain its ability to increase breast-milk production and its reputation for easing childbirth and treating impotence and frigidity. Anise essential oil is used externally to treat lice and scabies.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Reduces colic and flatulence, promotes digestion, antispasmodic

Arnica montana (Compositae)
Arnica improves the local blood supply and accelerates healing. It is anti-inflammatory and increases the rate of re-absorption of internal bleeding. The internal use of arnica is restricted to homeopathic dosages as it is potentially toxic.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, germicide, muscular soreness, pain reliever.

Maranta arundinacea (Marantaceae)
Its root is used as a poultice for smallpox sores, and as an infusion for urinary infections. It helps to relieve acidity, indigestion and colic, and is mildly laxative. It may be applied as an ointment or poultice mixed with some other antiseptic herbs such as comfrey.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, digestive, antiseptic.

Artemisia absinthium (Compositae)
Wormwood has a marked tonic effect on the stomach, the gallbladder and in adjusting weak digestive problems. It is used to expel roundworms and threadworms. By improving the functions of the digestive system it helps in many conditions, including anaemia. It is also a muscle relaxant occasionally used to treat rheumatism. The leaves of wormwood have antiseptic properties which may derive from the azulenes that the plant contains.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Bitter, carminative, muscle relaxant, antiseptic.

Ocimum sanctum (Labiatae)
The herb has very important medicinal properties - notably its ability to reduce blood sugar levels. It also prevents peptic ulcers and other stress related conditions like hypertension, colitis and asthma. Basil is also used to treat cold and reduce fever, congestion and joint pain. Due to its anti-bacterial and fungicide action, basil leaves are used on itching skin, insect biting and skin affections.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Lowers blood sugar levels, antispasmodic, analgesic, lowers blood pressure, reduces fever, fungicidal, anti-inflammatory.

Atropa belladonna (Solanaceae)
Herba bella dona, or "herb of the beautiful lady" is known for its poisonous effects (belladonna increases heartbeat and can lead to death), like many other plants it is an important and beneficial remedy when used correctly. Belladonna contains atropine used in conventional medicine to dilate the pupils for eye examinations and as an anesthetic. In herbal medicine, deadly nightshade is mainly prescribed to relieve intestinal colic, to treat peptic ulcers and to relax distended organs, especially the stomach and intestine. Deadly nightshade is also used as an anaesthetic in conventional medicine.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Smooth muscle, antispasmodic, narcotic, reduces sweating, sedative.

Styrax benzoin (Styraceae)
Its trunk exudes a gum well known for its strong astringent and antiseptic action. For this reason it is used externally to fight tissue inflammation and disinfection of wounds. When taken internally, benzoin gum acts to settle griping pain, to stimulate coughing, and to disinfect the urinary tract. Benzoin gum is widely used in cosmetics as an antioxidant in oils, as a fixative in perfumes and as an additive to soaps. When steam inhaled, it helps healing sore throats, head and chest colds, asthma and bronchitis.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, astringent, anti-inflammatory.

Citrus bergamia syn. C. aurantium var. bergamia (Rutaceae)
Bergamot oil, expressed from the peel, assists in avoiding infectious diseases. In cosmetics it is used in preventing oily skin, acne, psoriasis and acne. The oil (or constituents of it) is sometimes added to sun-tanning oils. Bergamot oil is also used to relieve tension, relax muscle spasms and improve digestion.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Disinfectant, muscle relaxant.

Citrus aurantium (Rutaceae)
Its oil contains flavonoids which are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. Bitter orange juice is rich in vitamin C which helps the immune system. As an infusion, it helps to relieve fever, soothe headaches and lower fever. It yields neroli oil from its flowers, and the oil known as petitgrain from its leaves and young shoots. Both distillates are used extensively in perfumery. Orange flower water is a by-product of distillation and is used in perfumery and to flavor sweets and biscuits, as well as being used medicinally to reduce heart rate and palpitations, to encourage sleep and calm the digestive tract.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, digestive.

Peumus boldus (Umbelliferae)
It activates the secretion of saliva and gastric juices. 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". Boldo stimulates liver activity and bile flow and is chiefly valued as a remedy for gallstones and liver or gallbladder pain. It is normally taken for a few weeks at a time, either as a tincture or infusion. Boldo also has antiseptic properties which help in combating cystitis.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Bile and liver activity stimulant, digestive.

Calendula officinallis (Compositae)
Marigold is one of the best herbs for treating local skin problems. Infusions or decoctions of Calendula petals decrease the inflammation of sprains, stings, varicose veins and other swellings and also soothes burns, sunburns, rashes and skin irritations. These remedies are excellent for inflamed and bruised skin, their antiseptic and healing properties helping to prevent the spread of infection and accelerate the healing. Marigold is also a cleansing and detoxifying herb, and the infusion and tincture are used to treat chronic infections. Taken internally, it has been used traditionally to promote the draining of swollen lymph glands such as tonsillitis.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, astringent, heals wounds, antiseptic, detoxifying.

Cinnamomum camphora syn. Laurus camphora (Lauraceae)
Camphor crystals have strong antiseptic, stimulant and antispasmodic properties and are applied externally as unguents or balms as a counter-irritant and analgesic liniment to relieve arthritic and rheumatic pains, neuralgia and back pain. It may also be applied to skin problems, such as cold sores and chilblains, and used as a chest rub for bronchitis and other chest infections.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, antispasmodic, analgesic, expectorant.

Elettaria cardamomum (Zingiberaceae)
Cardamom is an excellent remedy for many digestive problems, helping to soothe indigestion, dyspepsia, gastralgia, colon spasms and flatulence. It has an aromatic and pungent taste and combines well with other herbs and helps to disguise the less pleasant taste of other herbs.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Eases stomach pain, carminative, aromatic, antispasmodic.

Carduus marianus syn. Silybum marianum (Compositae)
Milk thistle has been in use as a remedy for liver problems for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It is used in a whole range of liver and bladder conditions including hepatitis and cirrhosis. Recent research has confirmed that the herb has a remarkable ability to protect the liver from damage resulting from alcoholic and other types of poisoning. Today, milk thistle is widely used in the West for the treatment of a range of liver conditions.
MAIN PROPERTIES: Digestive, liver tonic, stimulates secretion of bile, increases breast-milk production, antidepressant.

Apium graveolens (Umbelliferae)
More familiar as a vegetable than as a medicine, celery find its main use in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and gout. Containing apiol, the seeds are also used as a urinary antiseptic. Celery is a good cleansing, diuretic herb, and the seeds are used specifically for arthritic complaints where there is an accumulation of waste products. The seeds also have a reputation as a carminative with a mild tranquilizing effect. The stems are less significant medicinally.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Anti-rheumatic, antispasmodic, diuretic, urinary antiseptic.

Chamomilla recutita syn. Matricaria recutita (Compositae)
Its flowers help to ease indigestion, nervousness, depressions and headaches, being ideal for emotion related problems such as peptic ulcers, colitis, spastic colon and nervous indigestion. Chamomile's essential oil have anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and anti-microbial activity. It is an excellent herb for many digestive disorders and for nervous tension and irritability. Externally, it is used for sore skin and eczema. Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is a close relation, used in a similar way.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, relaxant, carminative, bitter, nervine.

Cicorium intybus (Compositae)
As a tea or extract, chicory root is a bitter digestive tonic that also increases bile flow and decrease inflammation. Its roasted root is commonly used as a coffee substitute. Chicory is an excellent mild bitter tonic for the liver and digestive tract. The root is therapeutically similar to dandelion root supporting the action of the stomach and liver and cleansing the urinary tract. Chicory is also taken for rheumatic conditions and gout, and as a mild laxative, one particularly appropriate for children. An infusion of the leaves and flowers also aids the digestion.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Digestive, liver tonic, anti-rheumatic, mild laxative.

Cinnamomum verum syn. C. zeylanicum (Lauraceae)
The infusion or powder is used for stomach pains and cramps. Traditionally, the herb was taken for colds, flu and digestive problems.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Warming stimulant, carminative, antispasmodic, antiseptic, anti-viral.

Eugenia caryophyllata syn. Syzgium aromaticum (Myrtaceae)
The dried flower buds, clove, are extensively used as spice. The buds, leaves and stems are used for the extractions of clove's oil. The oil contains eugenol, a strong anesthetic and antiseptic substance. Cloves are also well known for their antispasmodic and stimulant properties.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, mind and body stimulant, analgesic, antibacterial, carminative.

Symphytum officinale (Boraginaceae)
Comfrey leaves and roots contain allantoin, a cell multiplication agent that increases the healing of wounds. Today, it is still highly regarded for its healing properties. Externally it is used for rashes, wounds, inflammations and skin problems. Internally, comfrey has action over the digestive tract helping to cure ulcers and colitis. It is also used for a variety of respiratory problems.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Digestive problems, anti-inflammatory, wound healing, astringent.

Coriandrum sativum (Umbelliferae)
It aids digestion, reduce flatulence and improves appetite. It helps relieving spasms within the gut and counters the effects of nervous tension. Coriander is also chewed to sweeten the breath, especially after consumption of garlic (Allium sativum). It is applied externally as a lotion for rheumatic pain. Coriander essential oil is used in the manufacture of perfumes, cosmetics and dentifrices.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Digestive, antispasmodic, anti-rheumatic.

Cymbopogon citratus (Gramineae)
Its oil is used as a culinary flavoring, a scent and medicine. Lemon grass is principally taken as a tea to remedy digestive problems diarrhea and stomach ache. It relaxes the muscles of the stomach and gut, relieves cramping pains and flatulence and is particularly suitable for children. In the Caribbean, lemon grass is primarily regarded as a fever-reducing herb. It is applied externally as a poultice or as diluted essential oil to ease pain and arthritis.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Digestive, antispasmodic, analgesic.

Turnera diffusa syn. T. diffusa var. aphrodisiaca (Turneraceae)
It has an ancient reputation as an aphrodisiac and is an excellent remedy for the nervous system acting as a stimulant and tonic in cases of mild depression. Damiana has a strongly aromatic, slightly bitter taste. The leaves are used to flavor liqueurs and are taken in Mexico as a substitute for tea.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Nerve tonic, antidepressant, urinary antiseptic.

Taraxacum officinale (Compositae)
Known principally as a weed, dandelion has an astonishing range of health benefits. The leaves, which can be eaten in salads, are a powerful diuretic. The roots act as a "blood purifier" that helps both kidneys and the liver to remove impurities from the blood. This effect seems to be due to its potassium content. It also acts like a mild laxative and improves appetite and digestion.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Diuretic, digestive, antibiotic, bitter.

27) DILL
Anethum graveolens syn. Peucedanum graveolens (Umbelliferae)
Dill has always been considered a remedy for the stomach, relieving wind and calming the digestion. Dill's essential oil relieves intestinal spasms and griping and helps to settle colic, hence it is often used in gripe water mixtures. Chewing the seeds improves bad breath. Dill makes a useful addition to cough, cold and flu remedies, and is a mild diuretic. Dill increases milk production, and when taken regularly by nursing mothers, helps to prevent colic in their babies.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Digestive, antibacterial, antispasmodic, diuretic.

Eucalyptus globulus (Myrtaceae)
Eucalyptus is a powerful antiseptic used all over the world for relieving coughs and colds, sore throats and other infections. The leaves cool the body and relive fever. Inhaling the vapors of the essential oils heated in water, clears sinus and bronchial congestions. Eucaliptol, one of the substances found in the essential oil, is one of the main constituents of the many existing commercial formulas of chest rubs for colds. The essential oil has also strong anti-biotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal action. Eucalyptus is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter cold remedies.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, expectorant, stimulates local blood flow, anti-fungal.

Foeniculum vulgare (Umbelliferae)
The primary use of fennel seeds is to relieve flatulence, but they also settle colic, stimulate the appetite and digestion. Fennel is also diuretic and anti-inflammatory. Like anise (Pimpinella anisum) and caraway (Carum carvi), it has a calming effect on bronchitis and coughs. An infusion of the seeds may be taken as a gargle for sore throats and as a mild expectorant. Fennel increases breast-milk production and the herb is still used as an eye wash for sore eyes and conjunctivitis. Essential oil from the sweet variety is used for its digestive and relaxing properties.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Digestive, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory.

Allium sativum (Liliaceae)
Recognized for its pungent odor and taste, garlic is a powerful home medicine for the treatment for a host of health problems. It is one of the most effective anti-biotic plants available, acting on bacteria, viruses and alimentary parasites. It counters many infections, including those of the nose, throat and chest. Garlic is also known to reduce cholesterol, helps circulatory disorders, such as high blood pressure, and lower blood sugar levels, making it useful in cases of late-onset diabetes.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antibiotic, expectorant, diaphoretic, hypotensive, antispasmodic, expels worms.

Gentiana lutea (Gentianaceae)
Gentian is a powerful bitter that stimulates appetite and promotes digestion through the increased production of saliva, gastric juices and bile. It also decreases gastric inflammation and kill worms. Gentian is also used to treat liver and spleen problems and to promote menstruation. Medicinally, gentian strengthens a weak or under-active digestive system.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Bitter, digestive stimulant, eases stomach pain.

Zingiber officinali (Zingiberaceae)
The Chinese consider ginger as an important drug to treat cold and encourage sweating. Ginger brings relief to digestion, stimulates circulation, reduce headaches and kill intestinal parasites.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Diaphoretic, carminative, circulatory stimulant, inhibits coughing, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic.

Ginkgo biloba (Ginkgoaceae)
Traditionally known as an anti-microbial and anti-tubercular action, it has now been shown that ginkgo as a profound activity on brain function and cerebral circulation. This action is useful to prevent dizziness, tinnitus, short-term memory loss, depression and other symptoms related to poor brain circulation. Its effect on poor circulation also used to treat other related disorders like diabetes, hemorrhoids and varicose veins. Ginkgo is also valuable for asthma.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Circulatory stimulant and tonic, anti-asthmatic, antispasmodic, anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory.

Panax ginseng (Araliaceae)
Ginseng increases mental and physical efficiency and resistance to stress and disease. It often shows a dual response like sedating or stimulating the central nervous system according to the condition it is being taken to treat. In the West, ginseng is regarded as a life-enhancing tonic.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Tonic, stimulant, physical and mental enhancement.

Grindelia camporum syn. G. robusta var. rigida (Compositae)
Its anti-spasmodic, expectorant and hypotensive actions find applications in treating heart conditions, asthmatic and bronchial conditions. It has been employed in the treatment of wooping cough, hay fever and cystitis. Externally in relieves and heals skin irritations and burns.
MAIN PROPERTIES: Anti-spasmodic, expectorant, hypotensive.

Hamamamelis virginiana (Hamamelidaceae)
Witch hazel acts mostly on the veins and circulation. For this reason it has been used to decrease the inflammation and pain of bruises, sore muscles, bleeding, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, phlebitis, and insect bites. American indians used poultices soaked in a decoction of bark to treat tumors and inflammations, especially of the eye, and took the herb internally for hemorrhaging and heavy menstrual bleeding.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Astringent, anti-inflammatory, stops external and internal bleeding.

Crataegus oxyacantha & C. monogyna (Rosaceae)
It has been shown that its effects are only present when a whole plant preparation is used. Its applications are: the loss of cardiac function, feelings of congestions and oppression in the hearth region. Western herbalists consider it literally to be a "food for the heart", increasing blood flow to the heart muscles and restoring normal heart beat. Recent research has confirmed the validity of these uses.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Cardiotonic, diuretic, astringent, dilates blood vessels, relaxant, antioxidant.

Hyssopus officinalis (Labiatae)
Currently an undervalued medicinal herb, hyssop is potentially useful as it is both calming and tonic. It has a large spectrum of uses which are due to its anti-spasmodic action. It is used in coughs, bronchitis, tight-chestedness, respiratory catarrh, sore throat and common cold. As a sedative, hyssop is a useful remedy against asthma in both children and adults, especially where the condition is exacerbated by mucus congestion.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Anti-spasmodic, expectorant, diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory, hepatic.

Jasminum grandiflorum (Oleaceae)
Jasmine flowers make a calming and sedative infusion, taken to relieve tension. The oil is considered antidepressant and relaxing. It is used externally to soothe dry and sensitive skin.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Aromatic, anti-spasmodic, expectorant.

Juniperus communis (Cupressaceae)
It is a valuable remedy for cystitis, and helps relieve fluid retention, but should be avoided in cases of kidney disease. In the digestive system, juniper is warming and settling, easing colic and supporting the function of the stomach. Taken internally or applied externally, juniper is helpful in the treatment of chronic arthritis, gout and rheumatic conditions. Applied externally as a diluted essential oil, it has a slightly warming effect on the skin and is thought to promote the removal of waste products from underlying tissues.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Diuretic, anti-microbial, carminative, anti-rheumatic.

Raphanus sativus (Cruciferae)
Radish stimulates the appetite and the digestion. The juice of the black radish is drunk to counter gassy indigestion and constipation. Black radish juice has a tonic and laxative action on the intestines, and indirectly stimulates the flow of bile. Consuming radish generally results in improved digestion, but some people are sensitive to its acridity and strong action. In China, radish is eaten to relieve abdominal distention.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Digestive, mild laxative.

Rauvolfia serpentina (Apocynaceae)
Indian snakeroot contains reserpine, a substance now widely used to lower blood pressure and lessen some symptoms of mental illness. The root has a pronounced sedative and depressant effect on the sympathetic nervous system. By reducing the system's activity, the herb brings about the lowering of blood pressure. It may also be used to treat anxiety and insomnia, as well as more serious mental health problems such as psychosis.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antidepressant, lowers blood pressure.

Rheum palmatum (Polysonaceae)
Its main use is as a laxative safe even for young children due to its gentle action. It is also extremely effective in the treatment for many digestive problems. Paradoxically, it is a laxative when taken in large doses but has a constipating effect in small measures. The rhizome has an astringent, unpleasant taste.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Laxative, constipating, astringent, eases stomach pain, antibacterial.

60) ROSE
Rosa gallica (Rosaceae)
The essential oil, called "attar of rose", is used in aromatherapy as a mildly sedative, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory remedy. Rose petals and their preparations have a similar action. They also reduce high cholesterol levels. Rosewater is mildly astringent and makes a valuable lotion for inflamed and sore eyes.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Aromatic, antidepressant,, sedative, anti-inflammatory.

Rosmarinus officinalis (Labiatae)
Rosemary is a well-known and greatly valued herb that is native to southern Europe. It has been used since antiquity to improve and strengthen the memory. Rosemary leaves increase circulation, reduce headaches and have anti-bacterial and fungal properties. Rosemary improves food absorbtion by stimulating digestion, the liver, the intestinal tract, and the gallbladder. It also is used in antiseptic gargles for sore throats, gum problems and canker sores. Rosemary has a long-standing reputation as a tonic, invigorating herb, imparting a zest for life that is to some degree reflected in its distinctive aromatic taste.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Tonic, stimulant, astringent, nervine, anti-inflammatory, carminative.

62) RUE
Ruta graveolens (Rutaceae)
The rutin contained in the plant helps to strengthen fragile blood vessels and alleviates varicose veins. Rue is also used due to its antispasmodic properties, especially in the digestive system where it eases griping and bowel tension. The easing of spasms gives it a role in the stopping of spasmodic coughs. In European herbal medicine, rue has also been taken to treat conditions as varied as hysteria, epilepsy, vertigo, colic, intestinal worms, poisoning and eye problems. The latter use is well founded, as an infusion used as an eyewash brings quick relief to strained and tired eyes, and reputedly improves the eyesight.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antispasmodic, increases peripheral blood circulation, relieves eye tension.

Salvia sclarea (Labiatae)
Clary sage has been perceived both as a weaker version of its close relative, sage (S. officinalis), and as a significant herb in its own right. Since the seeds were once commonly used to treat eye problems, it was also known as "clear eye". An antispasmodic and aromatic plant, clary sage is used today mainly to treat digestive problems such as wind and indigestion. It is also regarded as a tonic, calming herb that helps relieve period pain and premenstrual problems. Owing to its estrogen-stimulating action, it is most effective when levels of this hormone are low.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Astringent, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, estrogenic, reduces sweating, tonic.

64) SAGE
Salvia officinalis (Labiatae)
Its leaves are a well-known cold germ and flu fighter. It has been found to be very effective to reduce many physical emissions like sweating and is an excellent remedy for sore throats, poor digestion and irregular periods. It is also taken as a gently stimulating tonic. It has a slightly warm, noticeably bitter and astringent taste.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Astringent, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, estrogenic, reduces sweating, tonic.

Santalum album (Santalaceae)
The heartwood is most often used in perfumery, but it has also been taken as a remedy in China since around AD 500. Sandalwood and its essential oil are used for their antiseptic properties in treating genito-urinary conditions such as cystitis and gonorrhea. In India, a paste of the wood is used to soothe rashes and itchy skin. In China, sandalwood is held to be useful for chest and abdominal pain.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, aromatic.

Smilax spp. (Liliaceae)
Sarsaparilla is anti-inflammatory and cleansing, and can bring relief to skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and general itchiness, and help treat rheumatism, rheumatoid, arthritis and gout. Sarsaparilla also has a progesterogenic action, making it beneficial in pre-menstrual problems, and menopausal conditions such as debility and depression.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic.

Pinus sylvestris (Pinaceae)
Its oil, extracted from the leaves, is added to disinfectants and other preparations. Scots pine leaves, taken internally, have a mildly antiseptic effect within the chest, and may also be used for arthritic and rheumatic problems. Essential oil from the leaves may be taken for asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory infections, and for digestive disorders such as wind. Scots pine branches and stems yield a thick resin, which is also antiseptic within the respiratory tract. The seeds yield an essential oil with diuretic and respiratory-stimulant properties.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, diuretic and anti-rheumatic.

Sesamum indicum (Pedaliaceae)
The seeds are prescribed for problems such as dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and blurred vision. Owing to their lubricating effect within the digestive tract, the seeds are also considered a remedy for constipation. Sesame seed oil benefits the skin and is used as a base for cosmetics. A decoction of the root is used in various traditions to treat coughs and asthma.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Digestive, aromatic, antispasmodic.

Hypericum perforatum (Guttiferae)
St. John's wort flowers at the time of the summer solstice, and in medieval Europe it was considered to have powerful magical properties that enabled it to repel evil. The most well-known action of St. John's wort is in repairing nerve damage and reducing pain and inflammation. It is taken to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps, sciatica and arthritis. The oil is applied to inflammations, sprains, bruises and varicose veins. St. John's wort is also used to treat circulation problems, bronchitis and gout.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antidepressant, antispasmodic, astringent, sedative, relieves pain, anti-viral.

Artemisia dracunculus (Compositae)
Tarragon is widely used as a herb in cooking. In French, it is sometimes known as herbe au dragon, because of its reputed ability to cure serpent bites. While tarragon stimulates the digestion, it is reputed to be a mild sedative and has been taken to aid sleep. With its mild menstruation-inducing properties, it is taken if periods are delayed. The root has traditionally been applied to aching teeth.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, digestive.

Malaleuca alternifolia (Myrtaceae)
Tea tree, and in particular its essential oil, is one of the most important natural antiseptics. Useful for stings, burns, wounds and skin infections of all kinds, the herb merits a place in every medicine chest. Its therapeutic properties were first researched during the 1920s and it is now widely used in Europe and the US, as well as in Australia.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral.

Thymus vulgaris (Labiatae)
Its main medicinal application is in treating coughs and clearing congestion. Many current formulas for mouth washes and vapor rubs contain thymol, one of the constituents found in thyme. It also improves digestion, destroys intestinal parasites and is an excellent antiseptic and tonic.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, tonic, relieves muscle spasm, expectorant.

Curcuma longa syn. C. domestica (Zingiberaceae)
Best known for its bright yellow color and spicy taste to lovers of Indian food, its medicinal value is not so well known. However, recent research has confirmed the effects traditionally associated in ancient practices in the treatment of digestive and liver problems. The herb has also been shown to inhibit blood-clotting, relieve inflammatory conditions and help lower cholesterol levels.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Stimulates secretion of bile, anti-inflammatory, eases stomach pain, antioxidant, antibacterial.

Valeriana officinalis (Valerianaceae)
Valerian root is a general tranquilizer used for relieving nervous tension, insomnia and headaches. Valerian decreases muscular spasm, being useful in cases of nervous digestion, bowel syndrome, stomach and menstrual cramps. Valerian helps relieve stress and has become an increasingly popular remedy in recent decades. It is a safe, non-addictive relaxant that reduces nervous tension and anxiety and promotes restful sleep.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Sedative, relaxant, relieves muscle spasm, relieves anxiety, lowers blood pressure.

Verbena officinalis (Verbenaceae)
Verbena is used in mouth washes for infected gums and as a poultice for hemorrhoids. A tea has been used as a nerve tonic, to treat insomnia and to help digestion. It has tonic, restorative properties, and is used to relieve stress and anxiety, and to improve digestive function.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Nervine, tonic, mild sedative, stimulates bile secretion, mild bitter.

Salix alba (Salicaceae)
White willow is an excellent remedy for arthritic and rheumatic pain, affecting the joints like knees and hips.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, reduces fever, anti-rheumatic, astringent.

Artemisia absinthium (Compositae)
Wormwood leave's primary uses is to stimulate the gallbladder, help prevent and release stones, and to adjust digestive malfunctions. It also increases bile secretion and is useful in expelling intestinal worms. It is taken in small doses and sipped, the intensely bitter taste playing an important part in its therapeutic effect. In the past, wormwood was one of the main flavorings of vermouth (whose name derives from the German for wormwood).

MAIN PROPERTIES: Aromatic bitter, stimulates secretion of bile, anti-inflammatory, eliminates worms, eases stomach pains, mild antidepressant.

Thymus serpyllum (Labiatae)
Like its close relative thyme (Thymus vulgaris), wild thyme is strongly antiseptic and anti-fungal. It may be taken as an infusion or syrup to treat flu and colds, sore throats, coughs, whooping cough, chest infections, and bronchitis. Wild thyme has anti-catarrhal properties and helps clear a stuffy nose, sinusitis, ear congestion and related complaints. It has been used to expel thread worms and roundworms in children, and is used to settle wind and colic. Wild thyme's antispasmodic action makes it useful and is used to settle wind and colic. Wild thyme is also used in herbal baths and pillows.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, anti-fungal, antispasmodic.

Achillea millefolium (Compositae)
It has long been taken as a strengthening bitter tonic and all kinds of bitter drinks have been made from it. Yarrow helps recovery from colds and flu and is beneficial for hay fever. It is also helpful for menstrual problems and circulatory disorders.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antispasmodic, astringent, bitter tonic, increases sweating, lowers blood pressure, reduces fever, mild diuretic and urinary antiseptic.

Canananga odorata syn. Canangium odoratum (Annonaceae)
Their scent is thought to have aphrodisiac qualities. The flowers and essential oil are sedative and antiseptic. The oil has a soothing effect, and its main therapeutic uses are to slow an excessively fast heart rate and to lower blood pressure. With its reputation as an aphrodisiac, ylang-ylang may be helpful in treating impotence.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, aromatic, regulates blood pressure.

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