Herbal Medicinal Properties
The remarkable aspect of herbs is their combination of several
different healing properties. Thus, each herb will have a combination of
specific effects on particular systems of the body, and also some very general
effects. By carefully matching the herbal properties with the symptoms
being treated, it is possible to confront the entire scope of the disease at
once, achieving a cure quickly and with the minimum possible dosage.
Also, by referencing the herbal properties, it becomes easier to substitute one
herb for another.
Also known as blood purifiers, these agents gradually and
favorably alter the condition of the body. They are used in treating
toxicity of the blood, infections, arthritis, cancer and skin eruptions.
Some Alteratives include: Red
Root, Black Walnut Bark,
Burdock, Calendula, Ginseng, Licorice,
Powder, White Willow
Bark, and Nettle Leaf.
Herbs that are taken to relieve pain.
Some Analgesics include: Echinacea,
Chamomile, Ginger, Lemongrass, Noni
Turmeric, White Willow
Bark, and Valerian.
that neutralize excess acids in the stomach and intestines. Many also
have demulcent properties to protect the stomach lining.
Some Antacids are Dandelion
Elm Bark, and Kelp.
that help to inhibit abortive tendencies. The herbs will not interfere with the
natural process of miscarriage when the fetus is damaged or improperly secured.
Herbs that relieve the symptoms of asthma. Some, like
Lobelia, are strong Antispasmodics that dilate the bronchioles. Others,
Santa help break up the mucus. Some herbs like Mullein may be smoked
for quick relief, which may also be taken as tea. Other Antiasthmatics
Berry Juice, Ginseng,
Red Tea, and Wild Cherry Bark.
Substances that inhibit the growth of, or destroy, bacteria,
viruses or amoebas. While many herbal antibiotics have direct germ
killing effects, they have as a primary action, the stimulation of the body's
own immune response. Excessive use of antibiotics will eventually destroy
the beneficial bacteria of the intestines. In fighting stubborn
infections it is a good idea to maintain favorable intestinal flora by eating
miso, tamari, or fresh yogurt. Important antibiotic herbs include, Echinacea
and Olive Leaf
Herbs that eliminate or counteract the formation of mucus. A
treatment for catarrh should also include the use of herbs that aid elimination
through sweat (diaphoretics), urine (diuretics), and feces (laxatives).
Anticatarrhal herbs include: Cayenne
Biloba, Sage, Cinnamon, Mullein, Wild Cherry Bark,
and Yerba Santa.
Cooling herbs used to reduce or prevent fevers. Cooling may
refer to neutralizing harmful acids in the blood (excess heat) as well as
reducing body temperature.
Antipyretics include: Alfalfa,
Skullcap, Dulse, Rosemary, White Willow
Bark, and Kelp.
Herbs that can be applied to the skin to prevent the growth of
bacteria. This includes the Astringents.
Some Antiseptics include: Calendula,
Astragalus, Chamomile, Hibiscus Flower,
Olive Leaf, Rosehips, Rosemary, Turmeric, White Willow
Santa, and Sage.
that prevent or relax muscle spasms. They may be applied either
internally or externally for relief. Antispasmodics are included in most
herb formulas to relax the body and allow it to use its full energy for
Some Antispasmodics include: Astragalus, Cayenne
Skullcap, Hibiscus Flower,
Hops, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Licorice,
Mullein Leaf, Nettle Leaf,
Valerian, Passionflower, Peppermint, Red
Sage, Spearmint Leaf, Yerba Santa,
Substances used to improve sexual potency and power.
Aphrodisiacs include: Astragalus, Burdock, Ginseng, and Maca
Herbs that have a constricting or binding effect. They are
commonly used to check hemorrhages and secretions, and to treat swollen tonsils
and hemorrhoids. The main herbal Astringents contain tannins, which are
found in most plants, especially in tree barks.
Important Astringents include: Aloe Vera, Apple
Root, Calendula, Cayenne
Root, Eyebright, Fenugreek, Hawthorn
Flower, Mullein Leaf, Olive Leaf, Peppermint, Raspberry
Leaf, Rosehips, Rosemary, Sage, St.
Johnâ€™s Wort, White Willow
Bark, Wild Cherry Bark,
and Yucca Root.
Herbs and spices taken to relieve gas and griping (severe pains in
Examples of Carminatives include: Astragalus, Cayenne
Ginger, Ginseng, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Lemongrass, Peppermint,
Sage, Valerian, Wild Cherry Bark,
and Yerba Santa.
Substances used to promote the flow and discharge of bile into the
small intestine. These will also be laxatives, as the bile will stimulate
Some Cholagogues are: Aloe
Wormwood, and Yerba mate.
Soothing substances, usually mucilage, taken internally to protect
damaged or inflamed tissues. Usually a Demulcent herb will be used along
with diuretics to protect the kidney and urinary tract, especially when kidney
stones and gravel are present.
Important Demulcents include: Apple
Dulse, Fenugreek, Ginseng, Kelp, Marshmallow Root Root, Milk Thistle, Mullein Leaf, Slippery Elm Bark,
and Oat Straw.
Herbs used to induce sweating. To administer Diaphoretics
effectively, the stomach and bowels should be emptied by fasting and using an
enema. However, laxatives should not be used before using these
herbs. Sweating teas should be hot; when given cold, they act as
Some Diaphoretics include: Burdock, Calendula,
Lemon Balm, Peppermint, Rosemary, and Spearmint Leaf.
Herbs that increase the flow of urine. They are used to
treat water retention, obesity, lymphatic swellings, nerve inflammations such
as lumbago and sciatica, infections of the urinary tract, skin eruptions, and
kidney stones. Whenever a Diuretic is given, a lesser amount of Demulcent
herb is also given to buffer the effect of the diuretic on the kidneys (especially
when the Diuretic contains irritating properties) and to protect the tissues
from the movement of kidney stones.
Some Diuretics include: Alfalfa, Astragalus, Beet
Flower, Marshmallow, Nettle Leaf,
Burdock, Dandelion, Hops, Oat
mate, and Hawthorn
Herbs that promote menstruation, usually causing it to occur
earlier, and sometimes with increased flow. These have been used in the
past to induce abortions, so extreme caution is advised. All of these,
when taken in sufficient quantity to cause abortion, have other strong effects
on the body. None of these should be taken when a woman wants to be
pregnant. These are now commonly used to help regulate the menstrual
Herbs with strong Emmenagogue properties include: Pennyroyal, Juniper Berries,
and Black Cohosh.
Herbs with some emmenagogue properties include: Aloe Vera, Calendula,
Chamomile, Lemon Balm, and Nettle Leaf.
Substances that are softening, soothing, and protective to the
These include Aloe Vera, Fenugreek, Kelp, Marshmallow
Root, and Slippery
Herbs that assist in expelling mucus from the lungs and
Expectorants include: Eyebright,
Fenugreek, Ginseng, Lemongrass, Licorice,
Elm Bark, Wild Cherry Bark,
Yucca Root, and Yerba Santa.
Substances that increase the secretion of milk.
Anise Seed, Cumin, Dandelion
Root, and Fennel.
Substances that arrest hemorrhaging. These include
astringents and herbs that affect the coagulation of blood.
Cayenne Pepper, Mullein,
Herbs that promote bowel movements. A strong laxative that
causes increased intestinal peristalsis is called a purgative in many texts.
Some laxatives include: Aloe Vera, Black
Walnut Bark, Elder
Yerba mate, and Yucca
Herbs that help to dissolve and eliminate urinary and biliary
stones and gravel.
For kidney and bladder stones, use Parsley, Dandelion
Root and Nettle Leaf.
For the gallbladder, use Wild Cherry Bark
and Cascara Sagrada.
Herbs that calm nervous tension and nourish the nervous
Herbs with nervine properties include: Chamomile, Hops, Passionflower, Rooibos African Red
Tea, Rosemary, Skullcap, and Valerian.
Herbs that destroy parasites in the digestive tract or on the
Parasiticides include: Chamomile, Cinnamon,
Cloves, Black Walnut Bark, Nettle Leaf,
Substances that increase the flow of blood at the surface of the
skin and produce redness where they are applied. Their function is to
draw inflammation and congestion from deeper areas. They are useful for
the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, and other joint problems and for
Rubefacients include: Cayenne
Olive Leaf, and Wheatgrass
Herbs that strongly quiet the nervous system. These will
include antispasmodics and nervines. Useful Sedatives include: Valerian, Hops, Chamomile, Passionflower, St. Johnâ€™s Wort, Wild Cherry Bark,
Substances that stimulate the flow of saliva and thus aid in the
digestion of starches.
Some Sialagogues are Beet
Rooibos African Red
Tea, and Yerba Santa.
Herbs that increase the energy of the body, drive the circulation,
break up obstruction and warm the body.
Stimulants include: Bee
Ginger, Ginkgo Biloba, Rosemary, Sage, Peppermint, Raspberry
Yerba Santa,and Astragalus.
Stomachics - see
Herbs that promote the functions of the systems of the body.
Most Tonics have general effects on the whole body, but also have a marked
effect on a specific system.
Some tonic herbs include: Acai
Berry Juice, Alfalfa, Apple
Root, Fenugreek, Ginseng, Hawthorn
Milk Thistle, and Yerba mate.
Herbs that encourage the healing of wounds by promoting cell
growth and repair.
Some Vulneraries are: Aloe
Calendula, Fenugreek, Ginseng, Mullein Leaf, Rosemary,
Roott, and Slippery