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Uses in Folklore: Agrimony has a long history of medicinal use. The English believed it was an "all-heal." The Greeks used it to cure diarrhea and disorders of the gallbladder, liver and kidneys. Anglo-Saxons made a solution for healing wounds. In the United States and Canada, late into the 19th century, it was prescribed for many of these ills and more: skin diseases, asthma, coughs, and gynecological complaints.
Uses in Folklore: The Medes of ancient Persia are thought to have been the first to domesticate Alfalfa. It is very high in many nutrients, and is an inexpensive source of vitamins C, D, E, and K. Considered useful for the pituitary gland, reducing toxins in the liver, aids in digestion of protein, fats and carbohydrates. May help in reducing cholesterol and plaque deposits. Alfalfa is a natural antihistamine and can be useful for arthritis, ulcers or sinus congestion. The leaves of alfalfa are especially rich in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and beta carotene, as well as eight essential amino acids, chlorophyll, and the vitamins A, B complex, C, D, E, and K.
Uses in Folklore: Indians used a decoction of angelica as a general tonic to treat anemia, colic, flatulence, gout, indigestion, respiratory and urinary disorders. Recent research found that it has anti-inflammatory ability.
Uses in Folklore: Basil is a cultivated herb with medicinals values as well as culinary ones. Applied externally, basil is an excellent insect repellent. In India, basil was used as an antidote for snake venom.
Uses in Folklore: Black Cohosh has been used as a remedy for hysteria, St. Vitus' dance (chores), epilepsy, convulsions, and all spasmodic afflictions, as well as dropsy, rheumatism, spinal meningitis and asthma. It is said to be a wonderful remedy for high blood pressure and for equalizing circulation. Its effectiveness as a remedy for dysmenorrhea has not been successfully proven, but research suggests a pharmacological basis for its use in treating rheumatism and neuralgia. Black Cohosh relieves sinusitis and asthma by reducing congestion and mucous buildup; it eases coughing spasms, too. This herb helps bring down cholesterol levels, regulates blood pressure, combats rheumatic pain, and is a traditional remedy for hot flashes and menstrual cramps. Scientists have discovered that black cohosh contains an estrogen-like substance. It also contains two fatty acids (oleic and palmitic), phosphorus, tannin, vitamins A and B, and actaeine, cimicifungin, and isoferulic acid (a type of iron).
Uses in Folklore: A powerful relaxant of the uterus, this herb has been used for dysmenorrhea, false labor pains, and in threatened miscarriage as well. It has relaxant and sedative actions.
Uses in Folklore: American Indians used blue cohosh as a remedy for rheumatism, colic, bronchitis, whooping cough, and chronic uterine trouble. Herbalists today use the roots to treat bronchitis. Good experimental data exist to verify its effectiveness in treating rheumatism, and there is some evidence that the roots may have antispasmodic properties.
Uses in Folklore: For centuries buckthorn has been used to relieve constipation and keep the bowels regular. It was also used for rheumatism, gout, and skin diseases. Pharmacological evidence supports the use of buckthorn as a laxative.
Uses in Folklore: Used since the 14th century, by the Ojibway Indians, for treating cancer and ulcers. Burdock has antibacterial and antifungal properties: contains Vitamin A, selenium and chromium, and it helps regulate blood sugar levels and acts as an antioxidant. Burdock contains biotin, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, volatile oils, sulfur, tannins, three B vitamins, and vitamin E.
Uses in Folklore: Used for its anti-inflammatory properties and to improve structure of the veins. Suggested for hemorrhoids, varicose veins, circulation, leg cramps, phlebitis, thrombosis, and for inflammation of kidney and bladder.
Uses in Folklore: A strong circulatory stimulant with warming properties, it is a non-narcotic that increases blood flow and accelerates the antibiotic activities throughout the system. Capsicum, more familiarly known as cayenne pepper, improves circulation, cleans the blood, equalizing and strengthening the heart, arteries, capillaries and nerves.
Uses in Folklore: Early Teutonic tribes discovered German Chamomile in southern Europe and the Near East, and this plant is still considered an extremely popular medicinal herb. Modern herbalists advocate a tea made from the flower heads for muscular spasms and to relieve pain and swelling caused by arthritis or an injury, and for use as a sedative. A recent study among humans supports using chamomile tea as a sedative. Extensive animal experiments reveal that the tea has anti-inflammatory properties, especially useful in allaying arthritis and other conditions characterized by pain, heat, redness and swelling. Scientific evidence also shows that the tea is a valid antispasmodic for relieving cramps. Chamomile contains traces of vitamin A, a high level of calcium and magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese and zinc.
Uses in Folklore: Used as a tonic, laxative and diuretic. Suggested for liver problems, hepatitis, digestion, congestion, gallstones and tonsillitis. Chicory contains the active components inulin. Herbalists recommend using this herb as an anti-inflammatory, choleretic, digestive tonic, laxative, mild diuretic and stomachic for anemia, liver disorders, kidney and gall stones, and urinary tract inflammations.
Uses in Folklore: Couchgrass has been used to treat urinary infections such as cystitis, urethritis and prostatitis. Its demulcent properties soothe irritation and inflammation. It is of value in the treatment of enlarged prostate glands. It may also be used in kidney stones and gravel.
Uses in Folklore: Dandelion is an effective blood and liver purifier; it increases the production of bile, aids digestion, and encourages the free flow of urine. It improves the functioning of the pancreas, spleen, liver, bladder, and kidneys. Dandelion is also helpful against anemia, gallstones, gout, hypoglycemia, rheumatism, jaundice, cirrhosis, hepatitis, cramps and constipation. It is reported to also reduce levels of serum cholesterol and uric acid, and may even help prevent breast cancer, and prevent age spots. Traditionally used to treat diabetes. Dandelion contains vitamins A, B-complex, C, and E, biotin, calcium, choline, inositol, iron, linolenic acid, magnesium, niacin, PABA, phosphorus, zinc, potash, proteins, resins, and sulfur. Dandelion stimulates metabolism by providing acids that are necessary for good digestion, and helpful to stressed intestines.
Uses in Folklore: The Indians chiefly employed this plant medicinally, prescribing it for poisonous bites and stings, toothache, and enlarged glands such as those resulting from mumps. Some doctors in the 19th century used it as an antiseptic and blood purifier. Echinacea is helpful to the lymphatic system and is a powerful immune system stimulant. It fights viral and bacterial infections and has anti-inflammatory properties. Also useful in cases of colic, colds, flu and infections of all kinds. Echinacea is regarded as an extremely safe herb with virtually no reported instances of toxicity.
Uses in Folklore: Evening primrose was a popular herb in American history. Many Indian tribes used it for treating obesity, intestinal complains, skin disorders and a variety of other afflictions. In England, during the 17th century, this herb was called the "King's cure-all" by herbalists, and it was considered a panacea for treating most ailments.
Uses in Folklore: Eyebright has a long history of use in the treatment of eye diseases. It has long been used on pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, due to its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties. Introduced into medical literature in the works of the pioneering naturalist St. Hildegard (1098 - 1179), this herb has long been praised for its medicinal values. Eyebright is extremely rich in the "eye vitamin"--vitamin A-- and in vitamin C. It contains moderate amounts of B complex, D, and traces of vitamin E., and iron and silicon, plus trace amounts of iodine, copper and zinc.
Uses in Folklore: The licorice-flavored fennel was in great demand during the Middle Ages as an appetite suppressant during times of fasting. It is an excellent stomach and intestinal remedy that relieves flatulence and colic.
Uses in Folklore: Feverfew has been used for centuries for treating migraine headaches. In recent years, it has regained its deserved reputation as a primary remedy for migraines. It is also reported that feverfew inhibits the release of two inflammatory substances thought to be the culprits of painful swollen joints, characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis. The anti-inflammatory effects of feverfew are cumulative. Don't expect one cup of tea to banish arthritis or migraines forever. Herbs work slowly. If taken faithfully, you can expect good results within two weeks to a month and excellent results by the end of two months. Reports state that, when taken as directed, migraines can go into remission. Feverfew has been used for centuries with no ill effects.
Uses in Folklore: This herb is generally suggested as an effective diet aid. It contains hydroxycitric acid, which breaks down fats and carbohydrates, reduces cholesterol and decreases appetite.* Chromium -- Energy nutrient.
Uses in Folklore: Garlic has been used since 3,000 B.C. The volatile oil in garlic is composed of several compounds that contain sulfur. These compounds are believed responsible for garlic's pharmacological actions. Scientifically documented, it is anti-microbial, antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, antifungal, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. The heart- protective effects of garlic have also been established. It has a lipid-lowering effect; it decreases total serum cholesterol, while increasing high-density lipoproteins (the good cholesterol). Studies show that garlic decreases systolic blood pressure and diastolic pressure.
Uses in Folklore: Claimed to kill the organism that causes malaria. Herbalists suggest it for strengthening liver, pancreas, kidneys and spleen. Also for digestion (accelerates the emptying of the stomach), increased circulation, chronic urinary infection and arthritis.
Uses in Folklore: Ginger root (chewed) stimulates the salivary glands, which is said to be useful in paralysis of the tongue. Prized since ancient times both for its flavor and for its medicinal properties. In China, the tea has long been prescribed for colds, coughs, flu and hangovers. The Chinese believe that the tea has the power to strengthen lungs and kidneys. Tibetans use ginger to stimulate the vital energies of one who is debilitated, lethargic, or convalescing from an illness. Modern medicine recognizes many of the spice's time-honored virtues. It is a carminative and an aid in the digestion of fatty foods, as well as helpful in preventing motion sickness and vertigo.
Uses in Folklore: From earliest times, the Chinese held this tree in high regard for its medicinal properties. They used it for tuberculosis, bronchial congestion, kidney infections, depression, senility, toxic shock and circulatory ailments. Research indicates that the leaves may be effective against asthma. Tests also show that Ginkgo may be helpful in treating tinnitus. (Ringing in the ears) Herbalists recommend it for increasing blood flow and suggest it for many problems relating to circulation, as well as for hearing, vision, dizziness, ringing ears, senility, heart and kidney disorders, Alzheimer's, glucose utilization, asthma, memory loss, depression, and brain function. In addition to improving blood supply to the brain, ginkgo also increases the rate at which information is transmitted at the nerve cell level. By all accounts, the long-term use of Ginkgo is believed to be quite safe. No known serious side effects have been reported.
Uses in Folklore: Said to be a panacea. Beneficial to men for impotence or low sperm count, it stimulates the male sex glands and has proven successful against certain types of impotence. For women in menopause, it stimulates estrogen. Also suggested for senility, diabetes, anemia, headaches, and to normalize blood pressure. Ginseng provides measurable protection against radiation. Cancer patients find it softens the side effects of radiation treatment. Has an invigorating effect, increases stamina, and should not be taken before bedtime.
Uses in Folklore: Goldenseal is still a favorite remedy of Native Americans and herbalists everywhere. The medicinal value of goldenseal is believed to derive from its high content of berberine, an alkaloid constituent that has been widely studied. Berberine activates macrophages, immune system cells that destroy bacteria, viruses, tumor cells and other harmful foreign substances. Berberine's ability to inhibit the growth of the Candida organism, responsible for so many yeast infections, has also been documented. Research shows it has powerful antibiotic and immunostimulatory qualities.
Uses in Folklore: Contains antibiotic properties and was traditionally used for treating leprosy. Suggested for improving circulation and mental alertness. Also for fatigue, depression, rheumatism, blood diseases, high blood pressure, heart and liver functions, sore throat, tonsillitis, hepatitis, venereal disease, urinary tract infections, measles, insomnia, stress, edema and to speed healing of wounds. Used by the orientals to improve memory and retard the aging process.
Uses in Folklore: Gravel Root is used primarily for dissolving kidney stones or gravel. It is also beneficial in urinary infections.
Uses in Folklore: Many herbalists consider Hawthorn a tonic for the heart and useful for breaking up cholesterol and moving it out of the system. Aids in burning off excess calories. Suggested for circulation, irregular heart beat, kidney stones, stomach distension, diarrhea and sore throats.
Uses in Folklore: The Cherokee used hops like aspirin to ease pain, induce sleep, treat breast complaints, and for inflamed bladder and kidneys. Originally hops were used for their preservative value. They contain a natural substance that prevents the growth of gram-negative bacteria. Hops also contains the "wonder drug" GLA, found in Evening Primrose. GLA is used by the body to produce prostaglandins, which control the physiological responses that lower blood pressure, stimulate the immune system, reduce the risk of thrombosis and regulate brain function.
Uses in Folklore: Several species of horsetail have been used medicinally since early Roman times. It is an excellent astringent for the genito-urinary system. Herbalists often combine this herb with hydrangea in the treatment of prostate troubles. Horsetail contains calcium, copper, fatty acids, fluorine, selenium, nicotine, aconitic acid, equisitine, PABA, sodium, starch, vitamin B and zinc.
Uses in Folklore: Hydrangea's greatest use is in the treatment of inflamed or enlarged prostate glands. It may also be used for urinary stones or gravel associated with infections such as cystitis.
Uses in Folklore: The Potawatomi Indians used the juice of the jewelweed on many skin irritations; nettle stings, poison-oak and poison-ivy. Also excellent for treating fresh mosquito bites, bee and wasp stings, warts, bruises, athlete's foot, ringworm, minor burns, cuts, eczema and sores.
Uses in Folklore: Lavender has been used as an effective herb for headaches, especially when they are related to stress. It has been used successfully for clearing depression, especially if used in conjunction with other remedies. It can be used to soothe and promote natural sleep.
Uses in Folklore: Also known as Indian Tobacco, the Cherokee Indians used this herb for treating headaches, asthma, boils, colic, croup, syphilis, pertussis, sore throats and stiff necks. Early physicians use it as an expectorant, anti-asthmatic, emetic and stimulant to treat asthma, nerves, respiratory ailments, convulsions, diphtheria, epilepsy and tonsillitis. Herbalists recommend using it as an astringent and expectorant for respiratory ailments, chronic bronchitis and spasmodic asthma. It is also used to aid tobacco withdrawal symptoms.
Uses in Folklore: Soothes stomach ulcers, relieves menstrual cramps, softens varicose veins, and fights eruptive skin diseases, including herpes zoster (shingles). May be safely used wherever there is an inflammation. Also suggested in the treatment of gastric and duodenal ulcers, and for gall bladder problems and indigestion. This herb is remarkably free of any toxic effects.
Uses in Folklore: The presence of aspirin-like chemicals explains Meadowsweet's action in reducing fever and relieving pain. It is one of the best digestive remedies available and as such will be indicated in most conditions. It acts to protect and soothe the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, reducing excess acidity and easing nausea.
Uses in Folklore: The emperor Charlemagne (742 - 814) highly esteemed marshmallow, and ordered its cultivation for use as a tonic. A confection made from the herb was the inspiration for the candy called marshmallow. Medicinally the plant is rich in mucilage and good for soothing internal and external inflammations. Marshmallow is a soothing, healing demulcent, considered valuable for all lung ailments, including asthma. It has been used for centuries to soothe sore throats, ease a cough, and treat ulcers and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract. It is particulary useful against irritations caused by diarrhea and dysentery. It is also an excellent anti-inflammatory that helps relieve swollen and irritated joints. Marshmallow is mild in action and free of unwanted side effects.
Uses in Folklore: Mustard has a history in folklore as being used as a chest poultice for bronchitis and colds. This well-known spice has its main use in medicine as a stimulating external application. The rubefacient action causes a mild irritant to the skin, stimulating the circulation to that area.
Uses in Folklore: For centuries, American Indians have used this herb as a medicine to treat insomnia and nervousness. Today, herbalists use this plant and flower as a sedative and painkiller, and to help relieve dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cramps), tension headaches, and hysteria. Research indicates -- but is far from conclusive -- that the plant may have these effects.
Uses in Folklore: A natural antibiotic, antifungal bark from a tree in South America. Suggested for its anti-malaria properties, as tumor inhibiting and virus killing. Suggested by herbalists for blood cleansing and building the immune system, for candidia, smoker's cough, all infections, psoriasis, colitis, diabetes, ulcers, rheumatism, allergies, tumors, AIDS, leukemia, cancer and liver disease. It has been proven useful against candidiasis (yeast infections).
Uses in Folklore: Peppermint is one of the best carminative agents available, It has a relaxing effect on the visceral muscles and anti-flatulent properties. It was used in Egypt since ancient times as an effective medicinal and flavorful culinary herb. Peppermint contains menthol, volatile oils, menthone, methyl acetate, tannic acid, terpenes, and vitamin C. Pharmacists often use peppermint in compound medicines because of its well-known ability to make disagreeable- tasting drugs palatable.
Uses in Folklore: Prickly ash is said to be a wonderful tonic & stimulant. Indians used the bark to treat a range of illnesses, from gonorrhea to sore throat to rheumatism. Early settlers used the bark for syphilis, colic, scrofula, and liver troubles. Prickly ash is said to be good for asthma and cold symptoms, as well as beneficial in treating paralysis of the tongue and mouth. Researches, however, question the validity of the medicinal claims made for the plant.
Uses in Folklore: The Cherokee used this herb to treat sore throats, hemorrhages, diarrhea, stomach troubles, fever, boils, urinary disorders, liver ailments, gas, colic and female problems. The Chinese consider it to be a panacea for almost every illness, including tumors. Recent studies show that it is the best source of the antioxidant rosmarinic acid, and it is currently being studied as an anti-AIDS agent.
Uses in Folklore: Pumpkin seeds have been a popular folk remedy for expelling worms and treating urinary complaints. Recent research has shown that pumpkin seeds have anti-tumor properties, in particular, for treating an enlarged prostate. Pumpkin contains the active components resin, fatty oils, proteins, glycoside curcurbitin, vitamins and minerals.
Uses in Folklore: Known better as White Poplar, it is an excellent remedy to use in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism where there is much pain and swelling. It is most effective when used in a broad therapeutic approach and not by itself. Externally applied, it can be used to ease inflammation due to arthritis.
Uses in Folklore: Rosehips provide one of the best natural and freely available sources of vitamin C, also bioflavonoids. Rosehips also provide B-complex, vitamins A, D, and E, are high in organic iron and calcium, and contain measurable amounts of potassium, sulphur, silica and zinc, as well as fructose and tannins. Rosehips help the body's defenses against infections and especially the development of colds. Herbalists also suggest Rosehips as a blood purifier and to combat stress.
Uses in Folklore: Rue is one of the herbs that has been used since time immemorial as a fine remedy for the many ills of humanity. It is claimed to be an excellent remedy for stomach troubles, cramps in the bowels, nervousness, hysteria, and to relieve headaches. Scientific studies validate the effectiveness of rue as an antispasmodic.
Uses in Folklore: This herb has long had a reputation as an aphrodisiac and a potent tonic for the reproductive glands. Native Americans were using it for genitourinary disturbances long before the colonists arrived and adopted it. In Germany, it is well accepted as a treatment for benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), which translates to enlargement of the prostate gland.
Uses in Folklore: Scullcap contains scutellarin, a flavonoid with sedative and antispasmodic properties, used in 19th-century medicine for nervous disorders ranging from insomnia to epilepsy. Soothing to the nerves, it has been used to treat St. Vitus' dance, shaking palsy, convulsions, rheumatism, and for the prevention of epileptic seizures. Scullcap contains a moderate amount of zinc and trace amounts of some minerals, as well as vitamins A, C and E, plus tannins, sugars, volatile oils, fats, flavonoids, and a glycoside.
Uses in Folklore: Slippery elm is an old-fashioned remedy, said to have many wonderful uses. It is very nutritious, and soothing to the stomach. Indian medicine men found slippery elm to be effective in treating diarrhea, bowel, bladder and kidney troubles, as well as bronchitis. Slippery elm will stay on an ulcerated and cancerous stomach when nothing else will. Research has established that it does have the demulcent (soothing to the mucous membranes) and emollient (skin-softening) properties that have been ascribed to it in folk medicine.
Uses in Folklore: American Indians used spicebush for treating coughs, cramps, delayed menses, dysmenorrhea, hives, croup, measles and as an anodyne. The Creek bathed in a tea made from spicebush and willow to relieve the pain and swelling of rheumatism. It is also an excellent insect repellent.
Uses in Folklore: Used for treating nervous disorders, anemia, bedwetting, uterine cramping and to expel intestinal parasites. At one time, the leaves, soaked in wine or brandy, were drunk to counter melancholy and madness. The mood-altering effects of St. John's wort have been substantiated. German research has confirmed that it also has anti-bacteria properties. Herbalists consider this herb useful in treating AIDS, though not a cure. Suggested for improving the immune system.
Uses in Folklore: An herb from South America, 200 - 300 times sweeter than sugar with NO calories. Recently approved in the USA as a dietary supplement. May be used instead of sugar. Does not upset blood sugar levels, and causes no cell changes. Suggested for weight loss diets, diabetes, hypoglycemia, hypertension, infections and support of the pancreas.
Uses in Folklore: The antiseptic and preservative properties of thyme were known to the ancient Egyptians who used the oil for embalming. The Romans valued the oil for its antiseptic properties, using it as an antidote for headaches and depression. Externally, this cultivated herb is used as a wash for scabies, gout, rheumatism, insect bites, eczema, and as a soothing skin tonic.
Uses in Folklore: Suggested by most herbalists for bladder and urinary infections. Suggested for kidney stones, diabetes, hemorrhoids, liver, spleen, pancreas, PMS, gonorrhea, and to strengthen the heart muscle.
Uses in Folklore: American Indians used a boiled extract of valerian root for calming the nerves. Early settlers used it as a sedative, especially for nervousness and anxiety accompanied by insomnia. It was also mentioned as an agent that relieves muscle spasms. This calming herb has tranquilizing properties with marked sedative action, and has a soothing effect on the entire central nervous system. This herb is nature's first choice as a sleep inducer.
Uses in Folklore: Traditionally used to relieve pain, this herb has mild narcotic properties. Suggested by herbalists for toothache, whooping cough, bronchitis & chronic pain.
Uses in Folklore: This valuable herb was at one time the sole source of the chemicals that were used as the raw materials for contraceptive hormone manufacturing. Contains high levels of progesterone and natural steroids. Highly recommended by herbalists for PMS symptoms, menopause symptoms, hot flashes, fibrocystic breasts, cramping, and for liver and gall bladder problems.
Uses in Folklore: Wood Betony feeds and strengthens the central nervous system and also has a sedative action. It finds use in nervous debility associated with anxiety and tension It will ease headaches and neuralgia when they are of nervous origin.
Uses in Folklore: Yarrow was used in a wide variety of medicinal treatments by at least fifty eight Indian tribes. It is one of the best diaphoretic herbs and is a standard remedy for aiding the body to deal with fevers. Yarrow lowers blood pressure due to a dilation of the peripheral vessels. As a urinary antiseptic it is indicated in infections such as cystitis.
Uses in Folklore: This herb has been used to stimulate the mind and the nervous system to retard aging, and it works well with other healing herbs to improve their effects. Suggested for arthritis, headaches, hemorrhoids, fatigue, stress, allergies, hay fever, fluid retention, blood purifier, and to stimulate cortisone production. Yerba mate contains chlorophyll, iron, trace minerals, and the vitamins B5, C & E.
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