Medicine Woman

  (Waynesville, North Carolina)
dangerous herbs, medicinal herbs, culinary herbs
[ Member listing ]


Before I started selling here on LOCAL HARVEST nearly 4 years ago, I was selling everything at the local farmers market.  I sold  herbs from culinary to medicinal.   Much of my culinary had spices mixed in, thus the name SPICES & HERBS BY ELAYNN.  I did the farmers market solely from 1999 to 2009 and then, I started selling here on LOCAL HARVEST.  However, much of my LOCAL HARVEST business has to do with the medicinal aspect.  So, I think a business name change is in order. 


My new business name will be MEDICINE WOMAN.  It will obviously take a while for it to catch on.   But, I think that it is a more appropriate business name since I grow and sell mostly medicinal herbs.


THANKS to all of you who have ordered from me and to those of you who faithfully read my blogs!  I ALWAYS hope YOU LOVE MY HERBS!!








Yogurt seems to have gotten its start in the United States around the 1960’s with the Hippie movement, but, around the rest of the world, yogurt has been considered a main food staple from nomadic people to kings of countries.   Yogurt was especially popular in Arab countries through the Middle East to Central Asia and Southern Europe.


It seems like, as usual, the commercial food industry with all of its added chemicals is now trying to make yogurt look bad,  however, yogurt made in the right way is one of the best foods a person can eat. Yogurt was one of the first foods that I introduced to each of my children when they were babies.  Instead of the cereal gruel that people gave their babies, I gave them yogurt. So, my children grew up with yogurt.  However, I never buy yogurt and neither will you once you learn how to make it yourself.  The tastes and texture is so different from store bought that once you start making your own yogurt, you will never be satisfied with the store stuff. 


I first started making yogurt in the 1970’s and am still making it at least once a week.  When my three children were growing up, each one of them knew how to make yogurt by the age of 8 years old.   At any time, someone in our family was making yogurt.  We all ate it for breakfast, lunch, snack, to go with salads (we made a nice fruit salad and mixed yogurt , honey and lemon and poured it over the fruit..Delicious!)   Yogurt is easy to eat and is filling.

You need two ingredients to make yogurt and a casserole dish with its cover or a bowl (also with some type of cover be it plastic wrap or even just a plate will do).  You also need some type of box (bread box maybe where you can put a  25 watt light bulb about 10 inches above, or  an oven with a light ( you don’t turn on the oven, ever). You can even just seal the cover on the dish real well and put the dish up high. Basically what you need is 100 degrees with no drafts . I had my husband make a yogurt box  for me, which consisted of a sturdy wood  box 20 inches tall, 14 inches wide and 20 inches in depth from front to back, with a little door on it  (11 inches by 14 inches)..  Inside up on top is a simple light fixture with a 25 watt light bulb. It is quite simple.  Since my yogurt box is in the kitchen and painted blue, I often get teased that I’m hatching chicks! J   The temperature needs to stay at 100 degrees , the heat source is of course from the light bulb. I put a regular room thermometer inside the box on top of the casserole container that the yogurt is in to gauge the temperature. The temperature should never go below 100 degrees or above 115 degrees , 120 will kill the culture, so 100 is just about right.

Now for the ingredients and method:. 1)   I use ½ and ½  for the milk. I have also been known to use canned milk ( not the sweeten condensed stuff), or goats milk. For those of you that are in other countries you could use reindeer and mare’s milk; cow, sheep,or goat’s milk; buffalo milk and even soybean can be used. 

2)  you can either :   purchase a small container of plain yogurt ( I have found Stoneyfield, Dannon and even often times just the store brand to work best.) Get the smallest container of either plain yogurt or vanilla (French, ok)  I use this method


OR:   from a health food store:  get pure lactic bacteria or yogurt culture.  


You will see recipes calling for other ingredients such as powdered milk, but, it is not necessary. All you need is milk and a starter.  (Once you make your first batch of yogurt, save at least one good size regular, not measuring, tablespoon of yogurt and simply mix it into your milk.  You will not need to purchase a starter again.)


Ok, we got the box ready, turn light on.  We got the milk and starter.   Now, let’s start small, so, find a small casserole dish with a cover to it, or a glass bowl with a plastic wrap or simply a dish to set over the bowl.  Get a sauce pan, not aluminum.

·         Pour the milk into the casserole dish (this is what the amount of yogurt will be), pour that into your saucepan.

·          Put the sauce pan over low to medium heat.

·          Heat the milk til you start to see it ripple or till the pan is HOT to touch on the sides.  You don’t want your milk to burn.    If you have a candy thermometer place it inside the pan along the side. The temperature should be around 250 degrees. 

·         Then, turn off the heat source.

·         Leave the pan ALONE!

·         It needs to drop to 105 degrees.

·          If you don’t have a thermometer, periodically put your hand on the outside of the pan and when it feels quite warm, but not hot, it is ready.  This can take a good 30 to 45 minutes. Do not disturb the milk. LEAVE IT ALONE

·         and let it cool down to 105 to 100 degrees on its own.       

·         Now,  take a spoon and skim the milk.  Discard the skin. 

·         Take at least 1 tablespoon ( or you can use the entire small container of yogurt) and about a ¼ of a teaspoon , not measuring, of sugar  and stir it into the milk.  Don’t go nuts, just stir a little to mix it. 

·          Pour into your casserole container, cover it.

·           Put the casserole dish in the box and shut the door.

·          Leave this alone, don’t stir, don’t jostle, just leave it alone! 

·         It will take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours in the box before the yogurt is ready. Don’t check the yogurt until about 4 hours,

·          then,  take a regular spoon that you use for stirring coffee or tea or eating your cereal with and put the spoon right in the middle of the yogurt. Don’t scoop, just put the spoon (even a table knife will work) in and out.  What you are looking for is the yogurt being the consistency of sour cream or a pudding. You don't want the yogurt liquidy, it needs to solidify.

·         Once your yogurt is the consistency of sour cream or pudding, it is ready. 

·         Very carefully take the casserole dish  out of the box and

·         put the dish in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.  It is then ready to eat. ( The sugar that you added when you mixed the yogurt culture and milk should help the yogurt to lose its tartness, that is the only purpose of using the sugar.  You DON'T have to use it  if you don't want to)  


You can then add to your individual servings whatever you want; peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, fruit, etc.  

If your yogurt fails, don’t throw it out.  Simply pour it back into the pan and begin over, using the steps above.  Also, it won’t take as long in the box, so, check it after about 4 hours.

Each time you make more yogurt, you simply use a tablespoon of the previous yogurt as a starter. 

This is a good, simple way to make your own yogurt, and, you know what is in it as well!


















  AND    OAK BARK     



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Dangerous Herbs that EVERYONE should be leery of

The desire to get back to nature is increasing the numbers and ages most likely to be poisoned  by using herbs.  It's not just the folks who want to use alternative medicine for their healthcare, larger numbers of us are hiking, camping and wild crafting. I have noticed  there are so many books written in the past 20 to 30 years by people supposedly in the know of herbs  and all saying basically about the same thing about the same herbs.  Many of the herbs these people suggest using are downright dangerous.  Furthermore, they are not using the herb formula correctly.


While it is true that many herb plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, we need to be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

Even though you may have heard of some or  all of the following herbs, be aware that they are not safe  for humans to use. 


The following is a list of herbs that EVERYONE should be leery of:



Apple (Balsam)

Apple (Bitter)


Belladonna Lily  of the Amaryllis Family


Bryony, Black

Bryony, European White

Bryony, White

Cabbage Tree

Calabar Bean

Calotropis Cherry Laurel



Coca, Bolivian

Cocculus, Indicus

Comfrey  (internally; externally  is ok if used sparingly)

Datura  (Angel’s Trumpet)

Dropwort, Hemlock Water




Hellebore, Black

Hellebore, False

Hellebore, Green

Hellebore, White Hemlock


Hemlock, Water

Hemp, Indian


Ignatius Beans

Ivy, Poison

Jin Bu Huan


Laurel, Mountain


Lovage, Water

Ma huang

Mescal Buttons

Nightshade, Black

Nightshade, Deadly Nux Vomica

Paris, Herb

Poppy, White

Saffron, Meadow





Wake Robin, American






We often hear words such as alterative,  anti microbial , aperient, cholagogue and other strange sounding names.  But, what are they?  These are all called actions or herbal properties. They refer to the energetic pathway of how an herb affects the body.  Every herb has more than one such action. 

Here we will find out some of the actions and which herbs have these actions.  This is just   enough information to give you an idea of what these terms mean and what herbs would be in each category. Many herbs are in many different categories, thus, making them easy to work with. 

This is by no means conclusive and I probably won’t be able to list every herb in every category. 

Like I have mentioned before, herbalism is a huge field.      Also, I am mentioning herbs that have been used   and some people have found them to work.  This does not mean that I necessarily condone the use of some of these herbs.  For herbs that I really would not use myself I have an * just after the herb. 




REFRIGERANTS  are cooling herbs used as or in beverages to cool us on a hot day. They could also be used to bring down a fever.


EXAMPLES:  borage, burnet, licorice, lemon balm, raspberry leaves


SEDATIVES  are  herbs that exert a soothing or tranquilizing effect; sedatives may be general, local, nervous or vascular.  Sedatives calm the nervous system , thus reducing stress and nervousness throughout the body.  Many herbs have sedative qualities .


EXAMPLES:  black cohosh*, black haw*, catnip, chamomile flowers, cramp bark, lavender, lemon balm, lime blossom, motherwort*,red clover, rosemary,  squaw weed*, yarrow. Valerian*



SIALAGOGUE  stimulates the secretion of saliva from the salivary glands.


EXAMPLES: blue flag * cayenne, centuaury*, gentian, ginger, prickly ash, horse radish, licorice



SOPORIFIC  induces sleep


EXAMPLES:  hops, valerian*, chamomile, cramp bark ( b/c it relaxes the muscles and relieve tension; it is said to be safe to use during pregnancy  for nervous discomforts, however, I don’t suggest using this herb during pregnancy)


STIMULANTS  increases internal heat, dispels internal chills and strengthens metabolism and circulation.  Stimulants refuse to act in the presence of an excess of animal foods.  Stimulants and narcotics never act as quickly upon persons accustomed to using alcohol freely, as upon those who do not use alcohol.


EXAMPLES:  bayberry, black pepper, blood root, boneset, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cloves, cohash root, damiana, fever few, ginger root, golden rod, horseradish, hyssop, mother wort, mustard, nutmeg, pleurisy root, pennyroyal, peppermint, prickly ash, quaking aspen, sarsaparilla root, spearmint, summer savory, vervain, white pepper, wintergreen, yarrow, yellow root.



STYPTIC   (anti hemorrhagic)  Styptics reduce or stop external bleeding by their astringency.  ( contracting a blood vessel; stopping a hemorrhage by astringent action Anti-hemorrhagic or styptic herbs can prevent and stop excessive internal bleeding in some cases. Some herbs affect female reproductive organs and regulate excessive bleeding from fibroids and menstruation. Herbs that heal an irritated gastrointestinal tract may also stop bleeding from certain diseases.


EXAMPLES:  calendula,  (helps reduce the bleeding); shepherd’s purse (one of my favorites for female hemorrhaging after child birth and for certain other uterine bleeding); yarrow; witch hazel herb ( not the stuff you purchase in the drug store); comfrey leaf ( fresh); plantain leaf ( again in fresh form) .  These are tried and true old fashioned remedies.  You may not see these in the books and on line.  I have used all of these at various times on myself and others with excellent results.  I do not suggest the taking internally of comfrey or plantain, However, both are your new best friend when outside and you cut yourself quite badly, trust me. 



SUDORIFIC induce involuntary perspiration that helps to reduce fever, cool the body, and speed the elimination of toxins from the system. These herbs are useful in fevers, colds, and detoxification formulations

EXAMPLE:  chamomile, couch grass, peppermint



THYMOLEPTIC   modifies mood in serious affective disorders such as depression


EXAMPLES: Nervine tonics.   ST John’s wort,   passion flower; damiana,    Clary sage, lemon balm, lavender , mugwort, Siberian Ginseng.






TONICS   restore, nourish and support the entire body and exerts a gentle strengthening effect on the body.  There are certain tonics for certain body systems:


    CARDIOVASCULAR/ CIRCULATORY SYSTEM:   hawthorn, garlic, horse chestnut, lime blossoms, ginseng, motherwort

    DIGESTIVE SYSTEM:  aniseed chamomile, dandelion, garlic, golden seal, mugwort

(I don’t suggest as safe but everyone else seems to : acrimony, angelica, balmony (maybe I don’t know enough about it); centaury, comfrey, condurango, cranesbill, fringetree, gentian, rue, wormwood )


MUSCLES AND SKELTON SYSTOM:  boneset, burdock root, nettles, sarsaparilla, wild yams

( I don’t suggest these as safe, but, for those who feel they know more than everyone else: agrimony, angelica, black cohosh, bogbean, comfrey)

NERVOUS SYSTEM:  lemon balm, ginseng, mugwort,, oats

(I don’t suggest these as safe, but, for those who feel they know more than everyone else: black cohosh, bugleweed, damiana, Lady’s slipper ( is best as a lovely flower left in the woods); mistletoe ( also best left hanging in the archway somewhere at Christmastime), skullcap,


RESPIRATORY SYSTEM:  eucalyptus, Echinacea, mullein, hyssop, thyme, white horehound, licorice, marshmallow leaf


SKIN:  burdock root, comfrey leaf, Echinacea, dandelion leaf and root, marigold, nettles, red clover, sarsaparilla, yellow dock


VULNERARY  assists in healing of wounds by protecting against infection and stimulating cell growth. Applications are generally most effective when fresh herb is applied.


EXAMPLES:  all heal, calendula, comfrey leaf,  horse tail grass , marshmallow , oak bark ,  plantain




URINARY ANTI SEPTIC      shepherd’s purse, uva ursi, celery, cranberry, goldenrod, pine bark*, pipsissewa *,




Tone and normalize the function of the female reproductive system.

Examples: red raspberry leaves, nettles  ( these are the safest herbs to use); cramp bark (maybe, but, not during pregnancy)





US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health


THE HERBALIST by Joseph E.. Meyer


THE  COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERBAL MEDICINE  by Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila both pharmD

THE HONEST HERBAL  by Varro E. Tyler




Often times at the farmers market where I go, I hear people say that they are vegetarians and therefore don’t use herbs.   What I tell them: “O  Honeee, you don’t know what you’re missing!”  Just one herb can change the whole taste of your dish!


LET’S  START WITH A SALAD. For the most part, all you need is just a touch .  By that, I mean a very little amount.  You want to make your salad have a faint taste of "something else" that a person can just taste. 

 Most people have a pepper grinder and if you empty it and put in fennel seeds, grind that over your next vegetable salad and I can almost guarantee you that you will wonder how you managed without this wonderful taste!

If you have "Italian Seasoning" sprinkle that lightly all over your salad. 

Basil, either the fresh leaves or dried leaves can also be added to your salad.

Mint, particularly peppermint, spearmint and/or chocolate mint can really make for a cool salad.  Speaking of which, you can also use Lemon Balm or Lemon Verbena to your salad for a little bit of lemony flavor.  (Lemon Grass unless really, really fine might not be a good idea).

Dandelion blossoms and the greens when young, make for a very healthy salad. (Just make sure of your surroundings!  The neighbors’ dog will Not add to your health!)

Of course any of the onion family such as onions (Vidalia are great in a salad as are yellow onions),leeks, scallions, shallots, cilantro, chives, and garlic.

Dill weed, just a touch!

Oregano, and/or  Lemon thyme   again, just a touch!

Parsley, preferably fresh parsley

Rocket a/k/a arugula or rugula, roquette can be used as a salad green.

Burnet or salad burnet and  Watercress can also make for an interesting addition.

Tarragon, ( as in French or Mexican, not Russian)  particularly fresh, but recently dried is good too. Again, just a touch! Tarragon has a slightly spicy taste.

For those who really want to be a little daring, add grated horseradish; cayenne peppers or any of the other hot peppers, cilantro. Turmeric and curry can be quite interesting











Here is another blog on herbs that go well with MEATS AND FISH.    You will note that many of the same herbs can be used on CHICKEN, TURKEY AND FISH.   Generally, you can mix together ½ to equal amounts of most herbs.


If you don’t have ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground allspice, ect,  use PUMPKIN PIE SPICE.  It has every one of those spices.

If you don’t have ground coriander, ground cumin; ground cardamom; ground ginger; ground turmeric and you need most of these, see if you have a curry mix spice. It again, has every one of those.

 Also, if you don't have dry  or powdered mustard, it is no sin to use the prepared stuff out of the jar.


POULTRY SEASONING    ( you can also just use ITALIAN SEASONING, if you don’t have the other ingredients or don’t want to bother mixing them)

A good easy recipe:

2 tbls marjoram

2 tbls savory

1  1/2 tbls Italian seasoning

1 1/2 teas thyme

should make 1/3 cup




 INDIAN SPICE RUB FOR POULTRY                  (you can also just use                                 curry powder, if you don’t have the   other ingredients)              


3 tbls curry powder

3 tbls chili powder

1 1/2 tbls ground allspice

1 1/2 tea ground cinnamon

a single recipe will coat a turkey,

two chickens, two ducks, four Cornish hens, turkey

Store away fr heat and light.  Will keep    for several weeks.


RECIPE FOR  INDIAN SPICE RUB FOR TURKEY         (CAN also be used for two    chickens, two ducks, 4 Cornish Hens)                


using the recipe for INDIAN SPICE RUB,  rub with your fingers all over the  meat and then refrigerate for 4-6 hours     or longer. Then place on the grill.                                                        


Generally speaking, you can use recipes for rubs and those for grilling interchangeably for : grilling, baking and broiling.   Rubs can be used as a marinade or just to rub onto the meat just before grilling or baking.


HERB RUBS FOR CHICKEN , LAMB and SEAFOOD :             equal amounts( say 3 tbls of each)  of: tarragon,  oregano ,dill weed, thyme ,rosemary, dry mustard and kosher salt.  Add (2 tbls) of lemon pepper mix pepper w/ lemon zest, and 1 tbls garlic  



ground cardamom ,  ground ginger,  cracked black pepper, ground turmeric,  ground cumin, ground coriander, ground allspice, ground cloves


FOR GRILLING CHICKEN OR TURKEY: oregano, sage, allspice, cumin 

Or try a mixture of: ground coriander,  garam masala,   turmeric,  hot red pepper, grated ginger

Or how about: lemon zest  , and/ or lemon pepper mix, garlic,  parsley, oregano,  marjoram,   rosemary,  mint,  tarragon

For a lemon flavor:    lemon  peel ,  lemon thyme,  lemon verbena,   lemon grass





Use any or all : paprika , ground cumin ground coriander ,ground or powdered mustard(there’s nothing saying that you can’t use prepared mustard just as well),red pepper flakes, celery seeds, ground ginger, ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, ancho pepper


FOR SPARE RIBS AND WINGS:    garlic, five spice powder, red pepper



chipotle pepper,  orange peel,    Mexican oregano,   ground cumin seed,  black peppercorns


For a nice  YUCATECAN MARINADE…This marinade will work with chicken breasts, fish such as tuna, swordfish and grouper, or shrimp. It also can act as a base for seviche made with shrimp, bay scallops, or any firm-flesh fish  USE  this for CHICKEN FAJITAS  or  SMOKED TURKEY BREASTS

orange peel ,   lime peel ,    lemon peel ,   chipotle ,  jalapeno pepper,  Mexican oregano ,  garlic,  mix or black peppercorns



Garlic,   onion, mint, basil,  oregano ,black peppercorns,  parsley,  lemon grass,


ASIAN MARINADE :  chicken   breasts (3-4 hrs); beef  & pork tenderloin (6-8 hrs);    kabobs (6-8 hrs); flank steak    (overnight).         Marnated   Flank steak   sandwich                                                                                      

Star anise,   five spice powder      grated ginger root      garlic


I hope this gives you some good ideas of how to really dress up your meals!  ENJOY!! 


Coffee Can Candle

When I was young, we lived way up in the Adirondack Mountains of NYS and it snowed constantly.  Back then, losing the electric in some areas was quite common during particularly bad  ice storms.  My father made a neat contraption that saved on flashlights.  We used it outside mostly to guide us to the barn or on walks.  You could even run with this thing and the light never went out!  The wind never blew it out either!


Let me see if I can remember how it was made: 

Take an empty  coffee can( 10 or 13 oz size)  (make sure it is tin) only one end open ( this is a good use for empty coffee cans)  and a regular candle that is no higher than 2 inches.  You can also use one of those small round tea candle lights. 

Now, put the coffee can on its side, measure 3 inches from the back of the can. Mark the side of the can and make a hole the width of your candle in to the side of the can.  (This is where the candle will be pushed in to the can, it should be snug, so, take a centimeter or so out. The candle is not to move once it goes in the hole. )  Now, With some type of tool that cuts tin, cut under the can the width of the candle. 

Take the candle and push it up thro the hole.  It has to be very tight or the candle will fall out. 


Now, on top of the can you are going to put a handle so that you can carry this without it burning you or you dropping it:  Take a piece of wire as in a wire coat hanger,  measure about  12 to 13 inches. Cut it.  Then make a hole at the top of the can near the ridged edge of each end (length wise)  just big enough for you to slip one end of the wire into the hole.  Slip the wire in both ends of the can, thus making a handle  (like a purse) to carry the can. Twist the wire so that it stays and doesn’t come out.  Light your candle . 


To use:  after you light the candle, face the can in the direction you are going.  By not cutting out the other end of the can, you have a good reflector.   This makes for a neat light and a reliable one at that!








Chaparral herb can cause liver and kidney damage


The herb  Chaparral refers to three herb species: Larrea tridentata, Larrea divaricata and Larrea mexicana, a/k/a  creosote bush, greasewood, or hediondilla  

Scientific/medical name(s): Larrea divaricata coville, Larrea tridentata (DC) coville


The Chaparral shrub grows in the Western United States and parts of Mexico and is used traditionally by the indigenous people of these regions to treat such conditions as rheumatism, arthritis, stomach pain, cancer, tuberculosis, bowel cramps, venereal disease,  HIV, colds and bronchitis.  


Proponents claim that Chaparral can help relieve pain, reduce inflammation, aid congestion, increase urine elimination, and slow the aging process. It is also promoted as an anti-cancer agent and an antioxidant (a compound that blocks the action of free radicals, activated oxygen molecules that can damage cells). Some promoters call it a “cleanser” or detox herb. A bitter and unpleasant-tasting tea or a tincture, Chaparral is also sometimes used with other herbs in “anti-cancer tea”.


Chaparral tea was used widely in the United States from the late 1950s to the 1970s as an alternative anti-cancer agent. Experimental studies in the 1960s showed that Chaparral could cause problems with kidney and liver function.


The FDA has recommended since 1968 that Chaparral  not be swallowed or taken internally by any other route. Chaparral can be highly toxic and has been reported to cause severe and permanent liver disease that can be fatal.


The growth of interest in alternative medicine led to increased use of Chaparral in the 1980s. By the early 1990s, there had been many reports of Chaparral-linked illnesses, and the FDA issued a warning. This resulted in sellers voluntarily removing many Chaparral products from stores. Despite many concerns and warnings, Chaparral has become available again, and is advertised and sold from Internet sites, but, not mine!


Since February 2006 - Health Canada has  warned consumers not to ingest the herb Chaparral in the form of loose leaves, teas, capsules or bulk herbal products because of the risk of liver and kidney problems.


Nordihydroguaiaretic acid (NDGA), the principal ingredient in Chaparral is a potent antioxidant.  At one time it was thought to be potentially useful in the treatment of cancer. However, studies were done on rats, not humans.  NDGA possesses considerable toxicity. 


Chaparral is considered a dangerous herb that can cause irreversible, life-threatening liver damage and kidney damage, including cysts in the kidney and kidney failure. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cautioned against the internal use of Chaparral  

I personally would even caution against using Chaparral as a topical, since herbs go right into the body even quicker through the skin than even ingesting.

Chaparral very toxic and can cause serious and permanent kidney and liver damage and possibly death. It can also cause:

  •  Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  •  Weight loss
  •  Fever
  •  Skin rash and itching
  • Tiredness
  • Acute inflammation of the liver (hepatitis)
  •  Kidney cysts
  •  Kidney cancer

 Chaparral contains compounds that can both increase the risk of sunburn and cause skin irritation to parts of the body not exposed to the sun.

The herb has also been associated with severe hepatotoxicity, with some cases requiring liver transplantation.


Chaparral    may cause dangerous interactions and interfere with how some drugs work, especially those that may also affect your liver and kidneys.  Blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants);   diabetic drugs;    some antibiotics, and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for example, pain medicines such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, and others). Chaparral can also interfere with a type of antidepressant called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).


It is important that we test each active ingredient in the plant. When you take a complete plant as a medicine, it can be a bit ‘hit or miss’ because you take hundreds of different chemicals together. Any of these could affect you, the cancer, or other medicines you are taking.


Be very cautious about purchasing from herbalists who use this herb in their formulas. It is NOT  ok to use. 


This herb  is supported by traditional use   only. There is minimal or no scientific evidence proving its effectiveness.


 You can find excellant quality and very  safe herbs, herb teas, bath herbs and salves in my store here on LOCACL HARVEST. 

Local .  Look for








Group Health


The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines  by Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila


An Illustrated Guide  101 Medicinal Herbs by  Steven Foster


Natural Health Magazine The Complete Guide to Safe Herbs   by Chris D. Meletis   N.D.

The Complete Book of Natural AND Medicinal Cures  Prevention Magazine

The Honest Herbal  by Varro E. Tyler

CASCARA SAGRADA (Rhamnus Pursbiana) a/k/a sacred bark

   The native Americans used this for hundreds of years as a laxative.

Cascara Sagrada was accepted in medical

practice in the United States in 1877.


The bark should be dried for at least one year

before using.  Fresh cut, causes vomiting and

violent diarrhea


However, in 2002 The FDA has issued a ban in

the use of Cascara Sagrada as a laxative

ingredient in over the counter drug products. Use

of Cascara Sagrada has been associated with

abdominal pain and diarrhea; it is potentially




Cascara Sagrada has also been associated with

the development of chronic hepatitis. Short term

use may cause a terrific gripping effect on the

intestinal system, intestinal distress, including

inflammation of the colon, nausea and vomiting

and chronic or dangerously severe diarrhea.

Nursing mothers  who use this will pass the          

laxative effect to their infants. The strain on the

intestines and forced diarrhea could kill the infant.

Pregnant women can go into labor using Cascara



Long term use can lead to disorders of heart and

muscle function.


Cascara Sagrada acts unfavorably with

prescription medications.



You can find excellant quality and safe herbs, herb teas, bath herbs and salves in my store here on  LOCAL HARVEST  

Local .  Look for





Natural Health Magazine  The Complete Guide to Safe Herbs    by Chris D Meletis


The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicines  by Charles W. Fetrow  and Juan R. Avila

















Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)

BLACK COHOSH   (Cimicifuga racemosa)

 also known as black snakeroot, rattleweed, rattleroot, bugbane, bugwort, squaw root


 Do not confuse black cohosh with blue cohosh or white cohosh. These are unrelated plants. The blue and white cohosh plants do not have the same effects as black cohosh, and may not be safe.


Black Cohosh is an American herb, introduced into medical practice in America in 1828 and used briefly in Europe around 1860.  Only recently has Black Cohosh been given attention once again as an herb for menopausal symptoms.


 Black cohosh was used by Native Americans as a traditional folk remedy for women’s' health conditions, such as menstrual cramps and hot flashes, as well as  arthritis, muscle pain, sore throat, cough and indigestion. The juice of the plant was used as an insect repellent and was made into a salve and applied to snake bite.


 Black cohosh was also one of the principal ingredients in Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound.


 Today, black cohosh is used primarily as a nutritional supplement for hot flashes, mood swings, night sweats, vaginal dryness and other symptoms that can occur during menopause, as well as for menstrual cramps and bloating.


Side effects of black cohosh may include:  indigestion, headache, nausea, vomiting, and heaviness in the legs, weight gain, low blood pressure, seizures, visual disturbances and slow or irregular heartbeat. There have also been a number of cases of liver damage suspected to be associated with black cohosh.


People with a history of blood clots or stroke, seizures, liver disease and those who are taking medications for high blood pressure should not use black cohosh.   And because it may act like the hormone estrogen in the body, black cohosh could interfere with hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives.


Black cohosh may interfere with the effectiveness of the chemotherapy drug CISPLATIN. Also, combining black cohosh with the drug ESTRADIOL,(Alora, Combipatc, Estrace,, Estraderm, Fem Patch, Vivelle, ) could raise the body's estrogen level too high.


You should not use black cohosh if you have a hormone-sensitive condition, such as breast cancer, endometriosis, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, or fibroid tumors or,  if you have liver damage or drink alcohol in excessive quantities. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid black cohosh as the herb may stimulate contractions and lead to premature labor or miscarriage.


 It is suggested that you not use black cohosh for longer than 6 months


  In August 2006, Health Canada advised consumers of the possible link between black cohosh and liver damage. In June 2007, the United States Pharmacopeia proposed that black cohosh product labels contain a cautionary statement



You can find excellant quality and very  safe herbs, herb teas, bath herbs and salves in my store here  on LOCAL HARVEST ! Local .  Look for SPICES &   HERBS BY ELAYNN    



The Complete Guide to Herbal Medicine  by Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila


The Honest Herbal  by Varro E Tyler


Natural Health Magazine Complete Guide to Safe Herbs  by  Chris D. Meletis


101  Medicinal Herbs  by Steven Foster










































I used to live in the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York State and also in the state of Maine, so, I have had plenty of experience with cold weather, including getting stranded with my car, sliding into  snow banks or ditchs and, with children with me.  I also have looked up a couple of good websites, listed at the end of this blog and scrambled everything up to give you friends some ideas of how to dress properly in this freezing cold stuff.  ENJOY! And thanks to the websites that helped out here!


To start with ..stay inside as much as possible.  If you have to go out, shorten your stride in snow, ice, sleet, or heavy rain. Dress in layers. What does that mean? 



Layers means clothing that accommodates other clothing to keep your body warm in cold weather, whether you are going to stay inside or go outside.   Proper winter dressing means three layers:  wicking, insulating and protection.



The first layer is what is called wicking: This is the layer worn next to your skin, usually consisting of  thermal underwear made of a synthetic , usually polyester,  fiber that has "wicking" power. This means the fibers will wick (move) moisture away from your skin and pass it through the fabric so it will evaporate. This keeps you warm, dry and comfortable. Silk is good, as is cashmere and is a natural fabric that has wicking abilities.  Wool also is good. While the polypropylene layers are important, keep in mind that wool offers added protection to stay warm because, even when wet, wool will keep you warm. The wicking layer should fit snugly (not tight) next to the skin in order to effectively wick moisture. Comfort is key for the insulating layer. It should be loose enough to trap air between layers, but not so bulky that it restricts movement.



THE SECOND LAYER is called Insulating layer which includes sweaters, sweatshirts, vests and pullovers. The purpose of this layer is to keep heat in and cold out, which is accomplished by trapping air between the fibers. Popular insulation materials include:


•Fleece, a synthetic material which maintains its insulating ability even when wet and spreads the moisture out so it dries quickly.


•Wool, which naturally wicks away moisture.


While denim is not waterproof,  denim jeans is a good wind breaker when just doing errands or anything that isn't going to involve much water.  Also, if you wear denim jeans, wear them inside your boots so that they don't get wet and it won't be next to your skin. Water will soak through and you'll end up cold, wet and miserable. (Trust me! Jeans don’t dry fast and will stay wet and even get ice on them!)


Don’t wear cotton including: cotton athletic socks, cotton jeans, cotton sweatshirts, or cotton T-shirts. Cotton absorbs moisture (sweat and snow), and retains it. When the wind blows, you will get very, very cold.


Wear tights , long johns or  thermal leggings whenever you wear a skirt or dress or pants.  (Ladies, this will keep you warm whether you are inside or out! )



For men or women, a good choice will be a shirt that is a blend of Merlino wool and polypropylene or a heavier shirt of polypropylene, several of which have a “waffle” style construction on the underside. On really cold days a wool shirt will be the final layer that will be topped off by a cold weather, windproof jacket. So a wool shirt is a good investment!


One pair of light-weight or medium-weight socks works best for skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing. Socks are made from a variety of materials, including polyester, silk, wool and nylon. Some socks have wicking properties similar to long underwear, meaning your feet will stay dry and comfortable. If you are going to be inside, a pair of slippers  that are crochet, knitted or even another heavier pair of socks is nice to wear over regular socks.



THE THIRD LAYER is known as protection layer or exterior layer. This is generally outside clothing such as coats, jackets and pants, hat, gloves, etc.  They serve as your guard against the elements of winter. They should repel water from snow, sleet or rain and block the wind, while also letting perspiration evaporate. For jackets and coats, goose down is the warmest insulation for its weight, and the higher the “fill” number, the better it insulates. Don’t let the down get compressed or it will loses its insulating ability.  A nice wool coat isn’t a bad investment either. I'm partial to fur coats and jackets as well as hats, as there isn't anything much warmer.


For recreation in the snow and cold, such as skiing, skating, snowboarding: one-piece suits, which combine a jacket and pants, are popular with many skiers, (and not a bad idea for the kids to play outside in either) especially on cold days and days where there is a lot of fresh powder snow. Look for functional hoods, cuffs, pockets and zippers ; details that truly make garments comfortable in a snowstorm.  Most snowboard clothing is still designed to fit looser than alpine skiwear, giving snowboarders freedom of movement. In addition, many snowboard pants are reinforced in the seat and knees for extra protection when kneeling or sitting on the snow.



Up to 60 percent of your body's heat can escape from an uncovered head, and can give you a headache. Wearing a hat, especially made from fleece or wool is or crochet or knitted a good idea. Next a wool or crochet or knitted,  scarf tucked in around the collar of your coat. The scarf can be loosened when needed to regulate heat loss during exertion. Wearing the scarf around your neck, mouth and nose will keep out the cold from entering your lungs. 


Look for gloves and mittens that use waterproof, breathable fabrics. Mittens, in general, are warmer than gloves, but offer you less dexterity. But, if your are just walking, mittens are good.  If you get leather gloves, be sure that there is a good lining in them and they should feel warm when you first try them on. Other gloves that are warm can be found in places such as Walmart, Target, TJ MAX, etc.  Snowboarding gloves and mittens often have a reinforced palm because of extra wear from adjusting bindings and balancing on the snow. Some snowboarding gloves and mittens also have built-in wrist guards, which are excellent for novice snowboarders. Cross country skiing gloves tend to be lighter-weight for extra movement and because you perspire more.


Sunglasses and goggles protect your eyes from damaging solar radiation. Look for 100 percent UV protection in sunglasses. Make sure the glasses fit snugly behind your ears and rest gently on the bridge of your nose. Snow, or any other reflective surface, makes ultraviolet (UV) rays stronger, while increased altitude also magnifies the danger. On flat-light days or when it's snowing, goggles are vital. They protect your eyes and special lens colors increase the contrast so you can properly discern terrain features. Goggles should form an uninterrupted seal on your face, extending above your eyebrows and below your cheekbones. Watch for gaps, especially around your nose.



FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE CHILDREN:   Cold weather can be dangerous for kids if they aren't dressed warmly.


  Avoid Cotton. Clothes made of cotton do not have the ability to insulate the child if they do become wet. Buy winter garments and clothing made of fleece and wool in order to keep your child warm.


Also, children can lose ‘up to sixty percent’ of their body heat if their heads are exposed so make sure that your children always have a hat on whenever they go out in the cold weather and keep it on. Always make sure that your children have socks and shoes or slippers on when  inside and warm socks and boots on when outside, no matter how young they are.  Also, put tights or legging under their dresses or pants; put a sweater or sweatshirt over their dresses or shirts. Wearing long john pants and shirt will help keep your youngster warm and toasty! Make sure that their dresses and shirts are long sleeved.


Keep an eye out that your children do not get wet while playing in the snow or on the ice, as it may seem “warm” to them.  However, the wetness makes children that much more vulnerable to the dangers of hypothermia and frostbite.



If you can’t just go out and buy all this clothing that is needed, you can find a lot of good, warm clothes at thrift stores , Good Will and Salvation Army places.  For those of you who are having financial difficulties, try calling the Red Cross  or shelters and see if they can help you. 




 Read more:


Charlie Burchfield is a past president of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association


















 Look for boots that go up to just below the knee and are made of insulated material or leather with a good, warm lining.  Stay away from the manmade pretty boots that will get ruined if they hit the water and are oftern cold to wear.























We often hear words such as aleratives,  anti

microbial , aperient, cholagogue and other strange

sounding names.  But, what are they?  These are all

called actions or herbal properties. They refer to the

energetic pathway of how an herb affects the body. 

Every herb has more than one such action. 

Here we will find out some of the actions and which

herbs have these actions.  This is just   enough

information to give you an idea of what these terms

mean and what herbs would be in each category. Many

herbs are in many different categories, thus, making them easy to work with. 

This is by no means conclusive and I probably won’t be

able to list every herb in every category. 

Like I have mentioned before, herbalism is a huge

field.      Also, I am mentioning herbs that have been

used   and some people have found them to work. 

This does not mean that I necessarily condone the use

of some of these herbs.  For herbs that I really would

not use myself I have an * just after the herb.  





DIAPORETIC  this is an action that aids the skin in the

elimination of toxins and promotes perspiration.

Commonly used as an aid in the relief of common

colds.  Diaphoretics act most favorably when

administered hot, before bedtime.

EXAMPLES:  angelica*, bayberry, blessed thistle, 

 Boneset,  catnip, cayenne, chamomile, elder flowers,

garlic, ginger, golden rod,  hawthorn,  hyssop, linden

flowers, lime blossom, peppermint, sassafras root,

thyme, white horehound,  yarrow


DIURETIC  increases the elimination of urine from the

body.  The fastest action generally is obtained by liquid

diuretics taken on an empty stomach and taken during

the day.  Physical exertion retards the effects of


EXAMPLES;   agrimony*  , bearberry* ,   bilberry,

boneset, borage, broom, buchu,  burdock root, celery

seed,   corn silk*, couch grass*,  dandelion leaf, , elder,

Hawthorn berries, horse tail,  juniper, lime blossom, 

 parsley , saw palmetto,  yarrow



EMETIC   herbs cause one to vomit. The main use of

emetics is as a first aid treatment of poisoning, where

they will empty the stomach content. .Most emetics

work through irritation, either of the stomach or the

nervous system.


EXAMPLES:  blood root*, boneset, elder flowers, white horehound, Echinacea,  lobelia* senga*, squill*




EMMENAGOGUE  Stimulate menstrual flow and activity. This term is often employed in the wider

context of tonics to the female reproductive systems.

EXAMPLES:  beth root*, black haw*, blessed thistle,

chamomile, chaste tree*, cramp bark, fenugreek,

gentian*, ginger, golden seal, juniper berry, calendula,

motherwort, mugwort, parsley, pasque flower*,

pennyroyal*, peppermint, raspberry, sage, rosemary,

rue*, southernwood*, squaw vine*, tansy* , vervian*,

wormwood*, yarrow


EMOLLIENT  herbs are  applied to the skin to soften,

soothe or protect it. They act externally in a manner

similar to the way demulcents act internally. Emollients

should  NOT  be used externally.


EXAMPLES: borage, chickweed*, coltsfoot*, comfrey,

elecampane*, fenugreek, flax seed, licorice,

marshmallow, mullein, oatmeal, plantain, slippery elm bark.



EXPECTORANT  support  the body in the removal of

excess amounts of mucus from the respiratory system.

Expectorants are often combines with DEMULCENTS .



EXAMPLES: aniseed, Balm of Gilead, balsam, blood

root*, coltsfoot*, comfrey (never used comfrey

internally), elder flower, elecampane*, garlic, golden

seal, hyssop, Iceland moss*, Irish moss*, licorice,

lobelia*, lungwort, marshmallow, mullein, pleurisy root,

senega*, skunk cabbage (if you’re brave), squill*,

thuja*, thyme, vervain*,white  or black horehound, wild




FEBRIFUGE a/k/a    ANTI PYRETIC   they bring down fevers.

EXAMPLE :   angelica*, blessed thistle, boneset,

borage, cayenne, elder flower, hyssop, pennyroyal*,

peppermint, raspberry, sage, vervain*




GALACTAGOGUE  help increase the flow of breast milk

EXAMPLES:   aniseed, blessed thistle, centaury*, fennel seed,  goat’s rue*




HEPATIC  aid the liver by toning and strengthening  it,  and increases the flow of bile.


EXAMPLE :  agrimoney*, aloe* (not internally), balmony*, barberry*, boldo, cascara segrada*, celery

seed, centaury*, clevers*, dandelion  root or leave,

elecampane*, fennel, fringe tree, gentian*, golden seal,

horseradish, hyssop, lemon balm,  milk thistle,

motherwort, Mountain Grape, yarrow, yellow dock*




HYPNOTIC    these herbs are meant to induce sleep,

but, not in a hypnotic trance as in a “high”.   I believe

these would be used in an instance of helping a person

to go into a deep sleep so that the body can heal. 



EXAMPLES:  chamomile, lime blossom, vervain*,

hops, skullcap*, valerian*, Jamaican dogwood*,

passion flower*, black haw*, cramp bark




LAXATIVE    these herbs promote the evacuation of the bowels


EXAMPLES:  balmony*, barberry*, buckthorn*,

burdock root, cascara sangrada*, clevers*, dandelion

root, flax seed, fringetree*, Mountain Grape, yellow


Personally, I think the best ones to use to get the

plumbing system moving are four sticks of licorice

candy and handful red grapes every day!  Easy!


NERVINES  a/k/a  RELAXANTS       these herbs tend to abate or relax temporarily, non-serious nervous

irritation, due to excitement, strain or fatigue.  Nervines

are beneficial in toning and strengthening the nervous system.



EXAMPLES:  black cohosh*, black haw*, blue

cohosh*, bugleweed*, chamomile, cramp bark,

damiana*, ginseng, hops, kola*, lavender, lemon balm,

lime blossom, lobelia*, mistletoe*, motherwort*, oat

straw, pasque flower*, passion flower*, peppermint,

red clover, rosemary, skullcap*, valerian*, vervain*




OXYTOCIC   stimulate the contraction of the uterus

and can help in childbirth for reasons such as: to

induce labor, in the removal of retained placenta and

management of post-partum bleeding. However, some

of these medicines have harmful side effects and

when taken in large quantities can lead to the death of

the unborn baby and/or uterine rupture, and other

longer term effects on the mother or baby. ( i.e you

might not want to fool around with this type of thing)


I personally would not use the following, however,

raspberry leaf, partridge berry and stinging nettle would

likely be safe enough to use.

This I found at  US National Library of Medicine

National Institutes of Health /

however, once again, I personally would not advise

using the herbs.  According to the just mentioned

website; “to induce labour (blue cohosh, black cohosh

and beth root) [99]. Preparations of black cohosh root

(Actaea racemosa [Nutt.] L.), Goldenseal root

(Hydrastis canadensis L.) and Chaste tree fruits (Vitex

agnus-castus L.) are listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia

and are available as dietary supplements to be used

for premenstrual stress syndrome, as emmenagogue

agents and for gynaecological problems” 

  HOWEVER, My findings   come up with the facts

that:   BLUE COHOSH is potentially toxic effect by

constricting the coronary blood vessels, thus

exerting a toxic effect on the cardiac muscle and

causes internal spasms.     BLACK COHOSH can

cause nausea and vomiting; low blood pressure

and Black cohosh should not be taken at all, for

any reason, by a pregnant woman!.  BETHROOT 

a/k/a birth root  can cause vomiting and has toxic

effects on the heart. Bethroot may stimulate the

uterus, but, not in the way one might desire! Little

scientific evidence supports bethroot’s traditional

uses in promoting childbirth and delivery or 

 managing postpartum bleeding. CHASTE TREE

side effects include abdominal pain, cramping,

diarrhea, headache, increased blood flow in the

vagina area, uterine bleeding.   GOLDENSEAL

ROOT  causes excessive sleepiness, slows down

breathing , reduced mental alertness , tingling in

the arms and legs, paralysis, seizure, slow pulse,


I delivered two of my babies at home and the placenta

held back on the first one.  So, after ½ hour of this

stuff, I simply put a (throw up pan or wash basinJ) in

between the toilet seat to catch the placenta  and made

myself an 8 oz glass of orange juice and 2

tablespoons of caster oil.  Trust me, it works and fast! 

The placenta was not torn anywhere.  End of problem!  J




THAT HERBS CAN NOT DO.  You’re messing

around with two lives!  (particularly  if you really

don’t know what the heck you are doing!)



PECTORAL    These herbs have the general

strengthening and healing effect on the respiratory

system, in other words, good for the lungs.  These

herbs are used to strengthen a weak chest. 



EXAMPLES: elecampane*, mullein, white horehound,

coltsfoot*, yarrow,  cayenne,  lobelia*,  blood root*,

sage, thyme, marshmallow, licorice, elder, hyssop, garlic.





You can find excellant quality and  safe herbs, herb teas, bath herbs and salves in my store here on LOCAL HARVEST!


Local .  Look for






US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health


THE HERBALIST by Joseph E.. Meyer


THE  COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERBAL MEDICINE  by Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila both pharmD

THE HONEST HERBAL  by Varro E. Tyler





We often hear words such as aleratives,  anti

microbial , aperient, cholagogue and other strange

sounding names.  But, what are they?  These are all

called actions or herbal properties. They refer to

the energetic pathway of how an herb affects the

body.  Every herb has more than one such action. 

Here we will find out some of the actions and

which herbs have these actions.  This is just

enough information to give you an idea of what

these terms mean and what herbs would be in

each category. Many herbs are in many different

categories, thus, making them easy to work with. 

This is by no means conclusive and I probably

won’t be able to list every herb in every category. 

Like I have mentioned before, herbalism is a hugh


 Also, I am mentioning herbs that have been used

and some people have found them to work.  This

does not mean that I necessarily condone the use

of some of these herbs.  For herbs that I really

would not use myself I have an * just after the




ADAPTOGENS   Enable the body to avoid

reaching a point of collapse or over stress b/c it

can adapt “around” the problem.   They help the

body deal with stress.  Adaptogens seem to

increase the threshold of resistance to damage

via support of adrenal gland and pituitary gland

function. A/K/A a tonic, especially when an herb

can have a normalizing effect.



EXAMPLES: dong quai, panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus),


CIRCULATORY SYSTEM Adaptogen are Hawthorn, Lime blossom and garlic







ALTERATIVES    are so called blood cleansers;

however, what they really do is act to alter the

body’s process of metabolism so that tissues can

best deal with the range of functions from

nutrition to elimination.  Many of the herbs with

this action improve the body’s ability to eliminate

waste from the body through the kidneys, liver,

lungs or skin.   They help assimilate nutrients and

eliminate metabolic waste products.  Alteratives

are good for skin diseases, arthritis and auto

immune problems.


EXAMPLES:   burdock root,   (for skin problems:

combine burdock root with red clover or yellow

dock *)  


Echinacea and marigold. Also nettles, alfalfa,

dandelion root, sarsaparilla 





ANTHELMINTIC  destroy or expel worms from the digestive system.  This term is synonymous with Vermifuge and Anti Parasitic.


EXAMPLES:  aloe * (not internally), garlic, pomegranate, tansy (not internally), thuja, wormwood, and rue*




ANALGESICS   relieve pain.


EXAMPLES:  chamomile, catnip, cramp bark, lobelia*, valerian*




ANTACIDS   neutralize excess stomach acid


EXAMPLES:  fennel, kelp, slippery elm





 ANTI ABORTIVES  inhibit simultaneous abortion and bleeding


EXAMPLES:   red raspberry, skullcap*, cramp bark*




ANTI ASTHMATICS   relieve wheezing


EXAMPLES:   mullein, lobelia*, wild cherry bark




ANTI BILIOUS       These herbs help the body to

remove excess bile and can thus aid in cases of

biliary and jaundice conditions.  Compare wirh

Cholagogues and Hepatics, with whom they are

often synonymous.



EXAMPLES:   balmony*, barberry*, dandelion, fringetree *, golden seal, mugwort, vervain*, wild yam, wormwood.





 inhibit or destroy bacteria and viruses while

stimulating the body's immune response.  The

only time we should use anti biotic is in an



EXAMPLE:  Echinacea, goldenseal, thyme, juniper berries




ANTI CATARRHALS  eliminate and help prevent

excess mucus formation (sinus area)  These are

used for ear, nose and throat infections.


EXAMPLE: golden rod * is one of the best plant

remedies we have for catarrhal states, especially

for upper respiratory catarrh, whether acute or

chronic. It may be used in combination with other

herbs in the treatment of influenza.  (for upper

respiratory  Echinacea, elder, golden rod)


Elder is another herb. Use the flowers ( may use

elder flowers with peppermint, yarrow or hyssop

for colds and fevers.)

Peppermint can be used widely wherever there is

excess mucous being secreted. Peppermint is

one of the best carminative agents available. 

Use with elder flowers and yarrow.


OTHER HERBS THAT ARE ANTICATARRHAS:   cayenne, garlic, marshmallow, mullein, sage, thyme


EXAMPLES: cayenne, ginger, cinnamon, anise, mullein,




ANTI EMETIC   reduce a feeling of nausea and can help relieve or prevent vomiting.


EXAMPLES:  black horehound,   ( combine with

meadowsweet and chamomile)

Lemon Balm    combine with hops, chamomile or

meadowsweet. For digestive trouble.  (for stress

and tension use lemon balm and lavender)


OTHER HERBS THAT ARE ANTI EMETIC:   cayenne, dill, cloves, fennel, ginger




ANTI INFLAMMATORY   help the body to combat

inflammations Herbs mentioned  under

demulcents, emollients and vulneraries will often

act in this way, especially when they are applied



EXAMPLES:  chamomile, white willow bark , 




CIRCULATORY SYSTEM: these herbs may be of

use for reducing inflammation in blood vessels:

lime, hawthorn berries, yarrow


DIGESTIVE SYSTEM: chamomile, licorice, golden seal, calendula, peppermint


URINARY SYSTEM: golden rod


MUSCLES AND SKELETON  willow bark, meadowsweet, feverfew.




ANTI LITHIC   are herbs that prevent the

formation of stones or gravel in the urinary

system and can help the body in the removal of

those already formed.   Anti lithics should always

be used with demulcents and anti microbial

herbs.  There were no herbs listed that I would

use. But for those of you who want to know:

pellitory of the wall (Parietaria diffusa); buchu,

bearberry , juniper, hydrangea (Hydrangea

arborescens); parsley piert (Aphanes arvensis);

gravel root, couchgrass, stone root, sea holly,

wild carrot



ANTI MICROBIAL   herbs can help the body to

destroy or resist pathogenic microorganisms.  It

is a mistake to talk about remedies being

“anti biotic” as this literally means anti life.

Many plants with this action are also anti

inflammatory and  anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti

viral.  The only time we should ever use anti

biotic is in an emergency. 


EXAMPLES:  Echinacea is the prime remedy to

help the body rid itself of microbial infections. It is

effective against both bacterial and viral attacks,

by supporting the body’s own immunity.   Used

with yarrow it will effectively stop cystitis.



aniseed, caraway, cayenne, clove, coriander,

eucalyptus, garlic, juniper, marigold, marjoram,

peppermint, plantain (not internally), rosemary,

sage, thyme.




ANTI PYRETICS  reduce fever by neutralizing acidic blood and cooling the body.


EXAMPLES: elder flowers, peppermint, basil, skullcap*




ANTI SEPTICS  inhibit bacteria growth both internally and externally


EXAMPLES:   thyme, sage




ANTI SPASMODICS  relax muscle spasms and cramps



EXAMPLES:  for  the  respiratory system:  thyme, aniseed, oregano, and garlic


THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM:  chamomile, hops, peppermint, sage, thyme, dill, fennel




APERIENT      is a mild and gentle form of

laxative. aperients work in such a way that only

the natural bowel movements and functions are



EXAMPLES:   Rhubarb root Rheum palmatum

(not the garden rhubarb that we make pies and

jellies with). Psyllium, linseed, agar agar, yellow

dock root*,  dandelion root, burdock root,






APHRODISIACS  rejuvenate sexual organs and their functions



EXAMPLES:  ginseng, garlic



AROMATIC  herbs have a strong and often

pleasant odor, which can stimulate the digestive

system.  and are useful in aromatherapy. 


EXAMPLES:  aniseed, , fennel, caraway, white

horehound, lemon balm, basil, caraway,

cardamom, celery chamomile, cinnamon, cloves,

coriander, dill, fennel, hyssop, ginger,

meadowsweet, peppermint, rosemary, sage





 ( a/k/a  ANTI HAEMORRHAGIC) dry up 

discharges, swollen tonsils, and hemorrhoids. 

They are also wound healing and act as a barrier

against infection.  Int the gut, they reduce

inflammation and inhibit diarrhoes and are widely

used in the various diseases of digestion. They

are symptomatic, not preventative.


EXAMPLES:  aloe juice*, shepherd's purse, white

oak bark, blackberry leaves, self heal, turmeric,

ginger, meadowsweet, comfrey  (not internally) ,

marshmallow root , yarrow (not internally)





BITTER   These are herbs that have a

predominately bitter taste.  Because of Bitter

herbs wide effect on the body’s physiology they

help enormously in treating the body as an

integrated whole. 


EXAMPLES:  yarrow (not internally), dandelion

leaf, rue, wormwood, gentian root*, hops,

valerian*, white horehound,  greater celandine*,

barberry*, balmony*,  boldo,  golden seal,

centaury*, chicory, mugwort, blessed thistle,

willow bark





CARDIAC TONIC   general term for herbal remedies that have a beneficial action on the heart. 




FOR THE CIRCULATORY SYSTEM: hawthorn berries, yarrow, rosemary, lemon balm, garlic.


FOR THE MUSCLES AND SKELETON SYSTEM:   cayenne, ginger, mustard 




CARMINATIVES  relieve gas and intestinal

stagnation, while increasing circulation.  These

aromatic spices can be used daily to promote

better digestion, assimilation, and elimination


WARMING CARMINATIVES work best for people

who have weak digestion

EXAMPLE:  anise, basil, bay leaves, ginger,

cinnamon, cloves


COOLING CARMINATIVES work well for people

who get toxic headaches from the foods they eat

or overeat.


EXAMPLES:  mints, chrysanthemum, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel





CHOLAGOGUES  promote bile flow and stimulate peristalsis


EXAMPLES:  aloe vera (not internally) , Oregon grape root,  barberry, culver’s root*, wild yam root




DEMULCENTS soothe inflamed tissue


EXAMPLE:  comfrey leaves (not internally); marshmallow root, slippery elm, flaxseed tea, fenugreek



DIAPHORETICS  promote sweating as a warm

tea and act as diuretic when served cold. Primary

action is on the respiratory system and sinuses. 


EXAMPLES: ginger, flaxseed, sage


STIMULATING DIAPHORETICS are hot and pungent. They drain the lymphatics.


EXAMPLES:  camphor, basil, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, eucalyptus (not internally), ginger, sage, thyme.



fevers and remove toxins from the skin. They

perform well at the onset of acute symptoms of



EXAMPLES: catnip, chamomile, chrysanthemum,

peppermints, elder flowers, yarrow flowers,









Here is a list of POISONOUS PLANTS throughout the

UNITED STATES for those open minded people who do

not really believe that all herbs are for human or even animal

consumption, and can comprehend the fact that many herbs are poisonous.

 I'm not going to go into the description of these plants, you can usually get a good colored picture with descriptions

from other books and online.  However, many books and

often online information  do not even state if the plant is

poisonous or not.  So, I'm going to go through as many plants that I can find and think of and just give the common names of the plants, the Latin names, other plants that may

be related, where they are most apt to grow and the dangerous part of the plant and symptoms of poisoning.  




THIS IS PART 5 and the last of this series:



POKE WEED/ROOT   Phytolacca americana L.)  of the poke weed family   a/k/a  poke root, poke salad (or poke sallet), poke berry, poke, Virginia poke, inkberry, cancer root, American nightshade, pigeon berry


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING Pokeweed is found from Maine to Minnesota  and southward, and is fairly common in southern   and southeastern Iowa.   Usually, it grows in rich pasture lands, in recently   cleared areas, along fencerows, and in waste places and open spots in woodlands.   


 USES:   Proponents claim that pokeweed can be taken internally to treat a number of conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, tonsillitis, mumps, swollen glands, chronic excess mucus, bronchitis, mastitis, and constipation.

They also say that the herb is an effective treatment for fungal

infections, joint inflammation, hemorrhoids, breast abscesses, ulcers, and bad breath. Herbalists also claim that external

application of a preparation made from the plant relieves itching, inflammation, and skin diseases.



DANGER:   All parts of the pokeweed are poisonous, particularly the roots. The leaves and stems

are next in toxicity, and the berries have the smallest amount of poison. The entire pokeweed plant

contains a poisonous substance similar to saponin. The alkaloid phytolaccine also occurs in

small amounts However, children have been poisoned by eating raw pokeweed berries, and some

have died. The practice of brewing pokeweed plant parts with hot water to make tea has caused poisoning. Thoroughly cooking the plant reduces its toxicity.


SYMPTOMS:The effects of eating the uncooked or improperly prepared plant can include

nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headaches, blurred vision, confusion, dermatitis,

dizziness, and weakness. Convulsions, low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, heart block (a

blockage of the electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to contract), and death may occur.   If

taken internally, pokeweed is a slow acting but a violent emetic. Vomiting usually starts about 2

hours after the plant or parts of it have been eaten. Severe cases of poisoning result in purging, spasms, and sometimes  convulsions. If death occurs, it is usually due to paralysis of the respiratory organs.




not knowledable  enough  to differentiate between safe

and unsafe herbs



 POINSETTIA   (Poinsettia pulcherrima R. Grah)  other related plants ornatmentals such as E. Marginata (snow on the mountain), E. Cyparissias (Cypress spurge), E. Milli Ch. Des Moulins

(crown of thorns cactus), E. Lactea Haw. (Candelabra cactus) and  E. Tirucalli L. (pencil, Malabar or spurge trees) also contains irritant juice and are potentially dangerous.


 MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING  as a houseplant or in greenhouses throughout the temperate zone, frequently used for winter decoration because of its showy red bracts. Native to tropical Mexico and Central America


 DANGER   young children have ready access to this house plant. The leaf is what appears to be poisonous.


SYMPTOMS  prior to death the symptoms were vomiting and purgation of the bowels accompanied by delirium. The milky sap is capable of producing blistering of the skin and gastroenteritis.




 ROSARY PEA/ PRECATORY BEAN  ( Abrus precatorius L) 


 MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING in the southern US as a tropical plant or ornamental. Necklaces and trinkets made with the seeds were formerly common in North America, Britain and Europe.  It is now banned in many places but may still be encountered.


 DANGER the seeds are very toxic, less than one seed contains enough abrin to kill an adult.


 SYMPTOMS:  at first gastrointestinal, with purging and temperature fluctuations followed by incoordination and paralysis.  Many different tissues are found to be damaged during post mortem examinations.


 CAUTION:  growing plants, seeds and any objects containing the seeds should be considered highly dangerous.




 RHUBARB  (R.xcultorum   or  Rheum Rhaponicum)) of the Buckwheat family  This is the rhubarb that grows  in your garden.

 There is another RHUBARB  that appear to grown in China or Turkey and is known as medicinal rhubarbs.  They are  R. palmatum and R. officinale also members of the buckwheat family.


 MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING   commonly cultivated as a food plant for its edible petioles in Britain, Europe and North America. The original plant was probably from Siberia.


 DANGER  The leaf blades contain dangerous quantities of oxalic acid and soluble oxalates and have caused deaths when eaten as a vegetable, even when small quantities were consumed


 SYMPTOMS  ingestion of large amounts of raw or cooked leaf blades can cause severe abdominal pains and cramps, nausea, vomiting, weakness, labored breathing, internal bleeding,

reduced urine formation, convulsions and coma followed rapidly by death. Blood clotting is reduced, probably due to combination with plasma calcium to form oxalates.


 CAUTION:  The only part that can be safely consumed safely is the reddish stem. 



(R.xcultorum   or  Rheum Rhaponicum  or R. palmatum and R. officinale  AS A MEDICINAL. 





SPURGE LAUREL/MEZEREON  (Daphne mezereum L)  other related pants: D.laureola L  has blue/black fruit and persistent leaves.  D. cneorum L  has orange and D genkwa Sieb & Zucc. white fruits


 MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING commonly grown as an ornamental in gardens and used by flower arrangers in Europe, Britain and North America.


 DANGER  the fruit especially, but other parts as well. The juice of the plant is a primary irritant and produces burning and inflammation of the mouth and throat.


 SYMPTOMS:  Severe gastroenteritis occurs with vomiting and bloody diarrhea. Weakness, stupor, renal damage with hematuria and convulsions may occur before death







 TRUMPET FLOWER/ Chalice vine  (Solandra guttata Don.)  other related plants: most of the six or so species of SOLANDRA are considered toxic



MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING commonly cultivated outdoors in the warmer parts of the US and in greenhouses elsewhere in North America, Europe and Britain, Native to Mexico


 DANGER   the plant contains solanine type alkaloids and may produce poisoning if eaten.


SYMPTOMS:  dry throat, headache, weakness, fever, delirium, hallucinations and circulatory and respiratory failure. Death has occurred from chewing fragments of the flowers.





 WILD BLACK CHERRY  (Prunus serotina Ehrh)  other related plants:  the fruit stones of nearly all species of   Prunus are considered toxic--including many with edible fruits

such as apricot, peach, bitter almond, cherry laurel  and wild cherry due to the presence of cyanide producing glycosides.



 MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING  found in woods and hedges in the eastern US and Canada.


 DANGERS   children have been poisoned and died from eating the kernels which contain a cyanogenetic glycoside.  The leaves are also toxic. The amount of other food eaten greatly influences the amount of cyanide absorbed. In small amounts the blood may remain red even in the veins, due to upsetting of the normal use of oxygen by the body tissues.  In larger amount a short period of rapid breathing is followed by collapse and death.


CAUTION   they should never be eaten like nuts




 VIRGINIA CREEPER /WOODBINE   (Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L)        A member of the grape family.


 MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING in the US, Britain and Europe.   Is commonly cultivated in gardens and around houses.


 DANGER:  the berries have proved to be toxic among both animals and humans



You can find excellant quality and very safe herbs, herb teas, bath herbs and salves in my store here on LOCAL HARVEST!


Local .  Look for




101 Medicinal Herbs  by Steven Foster


The Honest Herbal by Varro E Tyler


Dr. James Duke, formerly chief of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Medicinal Plant Resources Laboratory


The 'PDR for Herbal Medicines'


Natural Standard Professional Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (


The American cancer society


Contributor Information and Disclosures Author Daniel E Brooks, MD  Co-Medical Director, Banner Good Samaritan Poison and Drug Information Center, Department of Medical Toxicology, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center






























































































































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