Medicine Woman

  (Waynesville, North Carolina)
dangerous herbs, medicinal herbs, culinary herbs
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 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.  






 MONKSHOOD/  ACONITE/  WOLFSBANE (Aconitum napellus L)


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING   naturally in the north temperate zones of   Britain, Europe, Asia and North America, usually preferring shady, moist places and is cultivated for the attractive flowers.


DANGER careless people have mistaken the tuberous “roots” for horseradish or celery and the leaves for parsley. Very toxic

There is no antidote. One mg. can kill a horse. It can be absorbed through the skin.


 SYMPTOMS: first symptoms, showing within a few minutes, include tingling of the   mouth, stomach and skin, restlessness, followed by slow pulse, incoordination and muscular weakness.

vomiting, diarrheas, convulsions and death by respiratory or cardiac failure may follow in up to eight hours.  Typically, the brain remains unaffected till the end. 


 CAUTION:   considered very dangerous!    Be very wary of anyone who claims to be knowledable of herbs and uses monkshood,  aconite or wolfsbane



 MORNING GLORY  (Ipomoea purpurea Lam) 


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING commonly cultivated throughout North America, Europe and Britain.


 DANGER    the seeds, which are often self administered, is d-lysergic acid amide, a  well

know hallucinogen. It has been held responsible for deaths linked to continuing

psychological disturbances over a period of days or weeks. Its effects are unpredictable and last for a number of hours.


 CAUTION  can cause permanent damage to the mind.



 NIGHT  BLOOMING JESSAMINE  (Cestrum nocturnum L) other related plants:  C.diurnum L (day blooming jessamin) cultivated in southern US. Its flowers are day- scented and

white and it is considered toxic.  C.parqui L'Her (willow leaved or green jessamine) is found wild in the southern US , also considered toxic.


 MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING in gardens in southern US.


 DANGER: probable cause is an alkaloid, perhaps atropine


 SYMPTOMS: the symptoms of poisoning include nervous and muscular excitement,  hallucinations, tachycardia    (abnormal rapidity of heart-beat), salivation, breathing difficulties and paralysis



 OLEANDER  (Nerium Oleander) of the Dogbane Family Apocynaceae. A/K/A  oleander,

dogbane, laurier rose, rosebay, Anvirzel, Xenavex .   Oleander is the official flower of the city of Hiroshima, having been the first to bloom following the atomic bombing of the city in 1945.  

 It is most commonly known as oleander, from its superficial resemblance to the unrelated olive

Olea. Oleander is one of the most poisonous of commonly grown garden plants


Oleander is a poisonous evergreen shrub or small tree identified by its fragrant white, red, pink, or purple flowers and long slender, leathery leaves, which grow in pairs opposite each other. Oleander is a very beautiful tree.


 MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING:   On the East Coast of the US,it can be planted as far north as Virginia Beach, Virginia, while in California and Texas it is naturalized

as a median strip planting. The white, pink and magenta flowers appear where little else is in bloom.

These tough-as-nails plants thrive along our freeways up and down the southern and hot climate

states. It is commonly used in landscaping freeway medians in California, Texas and other mild-

winter states in the Continental United States because it is upright in habit and easily maintained. Its toxicity renders it deer-resistant. It is tolerant of poor soils and drought


 DANGERS:  Oleander poisoning occurs when someone sucks nectar from the flowers or chews leaves from the oleander or yellow oleander plant. Poisoning can also happen  if you eat honey

made by bees that used the oleander plant for nectar.   Oleanders  are laced with bitter sap that contains Cardenolide Glycosides, which act upon the heart much like foxglove or Digitalis.


 Oleander is very difficult to eradicate once it is large and established. Burning any part of oleander creates toxic smoke.


 There have been numerous reports of poisoning and death from ingestion of oleander, oleander leaf tea, and its extracts. It has killed adults, children, pets, and livestock.


Even a small amount of oleander can cause death due to its effects on the heart. Since such tiny amounts can cause death.

Oleander supplements and extracts from any part of the oleander plant should not be used .   Even though oleander is poisonous, heavily  diluted oleander preparations have been promoted to treat a

variety of conditions including muscle cramps, asthma,  menstrual pain, epilepsy, paralysis, skin

diseases, heart problems, and cancer. It has also been used in folk remedies as an insecticide and to kill rats.


 The oleander leaf is on the Commission E (Germany's regulatory agency for herbs) list of unapproved herbs. This means that it is not recommended for use because it has not been proven to be safe or effective. The plant parts are toxic, whether cooked, raw, or made into tea.


The oleander plant is poisonous, and many people have died of heart failure or respiratory paralysis after eating parts of the plant or drinking tea made from it.


SYMPTOMS and signs of oleander toxicity are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, high potassium levels, dilated pupils, bloody diarrhea, seizures, loss of consciousness, slow or irregular

pulse, and heart block -- a blockage of the electrical impulses that stimulate the heart to contract.

There have been reports of death occurring after oral and/or rectal administration of the extract from the plant.





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





































































































































































































































































































































































































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.  




HENBANE/  BLACK HENBANE   (HYOSCYAMUS NIGER L)   other related plants: some eight species are recognized in the genus .  The family contains may other poisonous genre.



disturbed soils such as roadsides and waste places. 

Native  to Britain and Europe, Canada and the US. 


 DANGER   This is of the nightshade family.  The

alkaloids found in the seeds and juices are deadly

poisonous.  A fact that even the ancient Egyptians



 SYMPTOMS:  Delirium, visual disturbance, rapid

weak heartbeat, convulsions, coma, death. 

 CAUTIONS:  This is still being used as a medicinal

herb. Considered very dangerous!    Be very wary of

anyone who claims to be knowledable of herbs and

uses Henbane or Black Henbane



JAPANESE WISTERIA  (Wisteria floribunda DC) 

other related plants:  W. Sinensis (Chinese wisteria)

with blue/violet flowers is all considered toxic, as well

as the other seven species in the genus.


 MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING  throughout North America, Europe and Britain.


 DANGER:  Children have been poisoned by eating pods and seeds.

 SYPMPTOMS  those of gastroenteritis, with

abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.  In severe

cases serous dehydration occurred.  Easting only a

few seeds can produce poisoning.








Jimsonweed is a cosmopolitan weed of worldwide

distribution. It is found in most of the continental US

from New England to Texas, Florida to the far western

states. Jimsonweed is found in most southern

Canadian Provinces as well. It grows in cultivated fields

being a major weed in soybeans worldwide.

Jimsonweed is common on overgrazed pastures,

barnyards, and waste land preferring rich soils.


 DANGERS:  All parts of Jimsonweed are poisonous.

Leaves and seeds are the usual source of poisoning,

but are rarely eaten do to its strong odor and

unpleasant taste. Poisoning is more common in

humans than in animals. Children can be attracted by

flowers and consume Jimsonweed accidentally. In

small quantities, Jimsonweed can have medicinal or

hallucinogenic properties.   Poisoning can occur when

hungry animals are on sparse pasture with

Jimsonweed infestation. Most  animal poisoning results

from feed contamination. Jimsonweed can be

harvested with hay or silage, and subsequently

poisoning occurs upon feeding the forage. Seeds can

contaminate grains and is the most common poisoning

which occurs in chickens.


 SYMPTOMS: rapid pulse, restlessness, polydipsia ,

depression,  rapid breathing , Nervousness,   retained

urine,   coma, convulsions



LANTANA  (Lantana camara L)  other related plants: 

L.aculeata L., L. Sellowiana Link & Otto and L.

Ovatifolia Britton are described as equally toxic and all

species of    LANTANA should be considered

potentially dangerous.


 MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING in southern US, Canada, Europe and Britain


 DANGER: berries instrumental in poisoning and deaths


 SYMPTOMS:  gastrointestinal irritation with abdominal

pain, diarrhea, weakness, failure of the blood

circulation and death in serious cases.




LARKSPUR/Delphinm (Delphinium species) 


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING all over the northern hemisphere including North America. 


 DANGER  the whole plant may contain various

complex alkaloids.  The seeds are considered to

be highly toxic.


 SYMPTOMS  The alkaloids act on the nervous

system causing general weakness and eventual

respiratory paralysis, constipation, nausea and

abdominal pain. Vomit may enter the lungs, due to

general weakness and cause respiratory difficulties.




 LILY OF THE VALLEY  (Convallaria majalis L) 



places in gardens throughout the UK, Europe and

North America.


 DANGER  and SYMPTOMS:  the plants throughout

contain cardiac glycosides called convallarin and

convallamarin. Taken in small amounts the symptoms

are abdominal pain and purging with a slowing and

strengthening of the heartbeat. With larger amounts,

greater nervous involvement giving mental disturbance,

convulsions and perhaps death could occur.




 LOBELIA (LOBELIA INFLATA), also called Indian

tobacco ,"puke weed, gagroot, asthma weed,

vomitwort, rapuntium inflatum, bladderpod



in the southeastern part of Canada from Nova Scotia to

Southeast Ontario and British Columbia. It is also

present in the eastern half of the United States

(excluding the state of Florida).


The main parts used of the Lobelia plant are the

flowering parts and the seeds. The seeds are the most

potent because they contain lobeline, a piperidine alkaloid.


 Dangers:  Lobelia is a potentially toxic herb

Lobelia is considered to be a toxic herb because of its

lobeline affiliation.  This herb is toxic at low doses and

in some countries the sale of Lobelia is limited. In the

past Lobeline was used in anti-smoking products as a

deterrent for those with a smoking addiction. However,

the sale of smoking products that contained lobeline

was prohibited by the Food and Drug Administration in

1993 because it was not helpful to those who were

addicted to smoking. Lobelia also contains various

alkaloids other than lobeline which include lobelacrin, a

bitter glycoside, lobelianin, a pungent oil and resin,

acid, fats and gum. It also has 14 pyridine alkaloids


 SYMPTOMS:  include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea,

cough, dizziness, tremors, and more serious effects,

profuse sweating, convulsions, fast heartbeat, very low

blood pressure, collapse, coma, and possibly death


 If you have been diagnosed with heart disease,

tobacco sensitivity, seizure disorder, paralysis,

shortness of breath, high blood pressure, or are

recovering from shock, you should not take this herb. It

is also not recommended for women that are pregnant

or breastfeeding.


 People with high blood pressure, heart disease, liver

disease, kidney disease, tobacco sensitivity, paralysis,

seizure disorder, and shortness of breath, and those

recovering from shock should not take lobelia.


 Lobelia can irritate the GI tract. Lobelia may make

symptoms worse for people with ulcers, Chron's

disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or intestinal





not knowledable  enough  to differentiate between safe

and unsafe herbs.




 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
























































 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


















































































































































































Here is PART 2 of  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.  






DEADLY NIGHTSHADE   ATROPA BELLADONNA OR ATROPA BELLA-DONNA  A/K/A  Belladonna.      The name Atropa belladonna is in the nightshade family (Solanaceae), which it shares with potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, jimsonweed, tobacco, wolfberry, and chili peppers. The common names for this species include belladonna, deadly nightshade, divale, dwale,  banewort, devil's berries, naughty man's cherries, death cherries, beautiful death, devil's herb, great morel, and dwayberry.


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING:  It is naturalized in parts of North America, where it is often found in shady, moist locations with limestone-rich soils


DANGER:    The foliage and berries are extremely toxic, Contains alkaloids hyoscyamine, atropine, and hyoscine. Properties are sedative, narcotic, and act on the central nervous system. Small doses stimulate and large doses paralyze. Belladonna poisoning manifests within 15 minutes of ingestion. Belladonna is one of the most toxic plants found in the Eastern Hemisphere.  All parts of the plant contain tropane alkaloids.  The berries pose the greatest danger to children because they look attractive and can be mistaken for blueberries and have a somewhat sweet taste.  The consumption of two to five berries by a human adult is probably lethal. The root of the plant is generally the most toxic part, though this can vary from one specimen to another.  Ingestion of a single leaf of the plant can be fatal to an adult. The plant's deadly symptoms are caused by atropine's disruption of the parasympathetic nervous system's ability to regulate involuntary activities, such as sweating, breathing, and heart rate. The antidote for belladonna poisoning is physostigmine or pilocarpine, the same as for atropine.


The SYMPTOMS of belladonna poisoning include dilated pupils, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, tachycardia, loss of balance, staggering, headache, rash, flushing, severely dry mouth and throat, slurred speech, urinary retention, constipation, confusion, hallucinations, delirium, and convulsions




  DEATH CAMAS (ZIGADENUS VENENOSUS/ZIGADENUE GRAMINEUS RYDB.) MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING    Death camas occurs in some parts of western North America and can be easily confused with edible onions of genus Allium. They tend to grow in dry meadows and on dry hillsides as well as sagebrush slopes and mountain forests. The bulbs of Death Camas are oval and look like onions but does not smell like onions

DANGER     All parts of this plant with lovely flowers called the Death Camas are poisonous. It is dangerous for humans as well as livestock, though some poisoned by it have been treated.





MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING: Foxgloves are commonly cultivated as ornamentals in North America.  Also  in North America in open lands, roadsides and waste areas. Often abundant in clearings and after burning in light dry soils.

DANGER:  Foxglove has caused serious poisonings, and anti-digoxin Fab fragments are not particularly effective in treating foxglove poisoning. Most cases of toxicity have been caused by wild-food gatherers mistaking the plant for comfrey. Poisoning can result from eating any part of the plant or any material or drug derived from it. It contains about a dozen different cardiac glycosides


 SYMPTOMS of digitalis poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, stomachache, headache, bradycardia, atrioventricular heart block,irregular heartbeat and pulse, tremors, confusion, and visual disturbances, convulsions, and death






GOLDEN DEWDROP  (Duranta repens L)   MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING  in the open in southern Florida and sometimes cultivated elsewhere in green houses. Native to West Indies, South America and Key West.


DANGER and SYMPTOMS   the fruit contain a saponin-type poison which induces sleepiness, fever and convulsions.




Hemlock poisoning may refer to poisoning by either POISON HEMLOCK (CONIUM MACULATUM) OR WATER HEMLOCK FAMILY (CICUTA SPECIES AND OENANTHE CROCATA L.) Although related, poison hemlock and water hemlock toxicity have different pathophysiologies and clinical presentations. The root contains the greatest concentration of toxin in both species, although all plant parts are toxic


Poison hemlock, an exotic species introduced to the United States, is a ubiquitous plant with fernlike properties that may reach a height of 2 meters. Poison hemlock grows in diverse settings, including wooded areas, ditches, and waysides throughout the United States, and may be mistaken for other plants such as fool's parsley


Water hemlock is typically found growing in moist habitats, such as drainage ditches, marshes, and near bodies of fresh water.


Poison hemlock contains several piperidine alkaloid toxins (namely coniine) that are structurally similar to nicotine.


Water hemlock contains cicutoxin, a potent, noncompetitive gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor antagonist


SYMPTOMS FOR :  POISON HEMLOCK may include the following: Nausea and vomiting,   abdominal pain,  tachycardia,  tremor,   seizures (much more common with water hemlock) ,   bradycardia (late),   ascending paralysis (late), Coma,  respiratory failure


SYMPTOMS FOR WATER HEMLOCK:  Nausea and vomiting,  excessive salivation,   abdominal pain,  tachy/bradycardia,    hypotension/hypertension,   cardiac dysrhythmias/failure/arrest, delirium,  convulsions, opisthotonus, hemiballismus,  seizure (status epilepticus)



 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 (

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





























































































Here is a list of POISONOUS PLANTS throughout the UNITED STATES

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.  








AMERICAN HELLEBORE (VERATRUM VIRIDE) (BLACK AND GREEN): American false hellebore, American white hellebore.   Both American hellebore and European white hellebore contain jervine alkaloids, the constituents responsible for the plants' toxic cardiovascular effects (According to some references, the term "Hellebore" refers to a genus unrelated to, but commonly confused with, the genus Veratrum. Various species of the genus Veratrum are known as false hellebore or American hellebore, and white hellebore, but they are unrelated plants of the family Liliaceae and/or subfamily Melanthiaceae. The plant "hellebore" (not the genus) can refer to either genus Helleborus or Veratrum)


USED FOR:  The root and rhizome of American hellebore has been used historically for fever, pain, and high blood pressure, with a decoction (boiled in water) of the root being used for chronic coughs and constipation. Historically, the whole plant was not routinely used medicinally, only the root and rhizome.


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING a perennial plant native to the swampy areas and moist meadows of the eastern and western United States


DANGER :  Although American hellebore was formerly used as a tea or tincture, potentially toxic and irritating constituents preclude its modern day use by ingestion.


The toxic effects associated with American hellebore limit its ability to be used as an agent to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), related kidney/heart diseases, and hypertension associated with pre-eclampsia in pregnancy.


Currently, there is a lack of scientific information regarding the safety or effectiveness of American hellebore as a whole plant, or homeopathically


SYMPTOMS    Internally violently narcotic. Symptoms of hellbore poisoning include salivation, nausea, vomiting, colic, diarrhea, weak heartbeat, vertigo, ringing ears, disturbed vision, coronary arrest. Green hellebore is a cardiac hellbore is a cardiac stimulant. Applied locally, the fresh root is an irritant.






AMERICAN POKEWEED (PHYTOLACCA AMERICANA) American Pokeweed is also known as American nightshade, cancer jalap, oakum, garget, inkberry, pigeon berry, pecan bush, poke root, pokeweed, redweed, scoke, red ink plant and chui xu shang lu, parts of this plant are highly toxic to livestock and humans.. The fruits of American Pokeweed look edible too like the Jerusalem cherry that's why Pokeweed poisonings are common. Although the fruits are toxic to humans, they're not to birds. The toxic components of the plant are saponins. Deaths are currently uncommon, although there are cases of emesis and catharsis, but at least one death of a child who consumed crushed seeds in a juice has occurred.






AUTUMN CROCUS/ MEADOW SAFFRON  ( Colchicum autumnale L) 


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING  in damp woods and meadows on non acid soils. Native to Europe and Great Britain and cultivated in US


DANGER  All parts of the plant are poisonous due to alkaloids such as colchicine.


SYMPTOMS  gastrointestinal irritation with abdominal pain diarrhea.  Muscular weakness, breathing difficulties and occasionally coma, convulsions and respiratory failure may occur.  The toxins can pass in the milk of animals that have eaten Colchicum and can accumulate during slow ingestion to reach a toxic level.





BLACK LOCUST/ ACACIA   (ROBINIA PSEUDOACACIA L)    twenty species are described from North America. MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING native to eastern and central US and extending into south Canada.  Sometimes grown for timber.


DANGER  Children have been poisoned by the seeds and all parts of the plant.  Poison is due to the presence of a toxin called “robin” and a glycoside “robitin”> SYMPTOMS  vomiting, diarrheas, weakness, dilated pupils, weak irregular pulse and breathing difficulties






BLUE COHOSH: CAULOPHYLLUM THALICTROIDES (L.) MICHX. A/K/A  Squaw-root, Papoose-root, Caulophylle faux-pigamon yellow ginseng and blue ginseng Berberidaceae (Barberry Family)


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN  GROWING:   found in hardwood forest of the eastern United States, and favors moist coves and hillsides, generally in shady locations, in rich soil. It grows in eastern North America, from Manitoba and Oklahoma east to the Atlantic Ocean


DANGER:  Toxic to the heart muscle and may harm intestines. Seeds are poisonous. Powder is strongly irritating to mucous membranes. Some of the compounds found in blue cohosh, such as caulophyllosaponin, methylcytosine, and caulosaponin, appear to constrict coronary vessels, limiting blood flow to the heart and reducing its ability to pump. One published case report documents profound heart failure in a child born to a mother who used blue cohosh to induce labor     may cause; 1) perinatal stroke, 2) acute myocardial infarction, profound congestive heart failure and shock and 3) severe multi-organ hypoxic injury.


POISONOUS PART:     Raw seeds, roots


SYMPTOMS:  Vomiting and diarrhea .   Eating the raw seeds or roots can cause poisoning symptoms and skin contact can also result in skin irritation. The roasted seeds are sometimes used as a safe coffee substitute. The toxic compounds in the plant are alkaloids and saponins. The plant is considered to have a relatively low level of toxicity.




Scotch BROOM (Cytisus scoparius), Bannal, basam, Besenginaterkraut, besom, bissom, bream, broom, broom tops, broomtops, browme, brum, common broom, Cystisi scoparii flos, Cystisus scoparius, Cytsus scoprfus, English broom, European broom.  Also referred to as broom. Not to be confused with Spanish broom (Spartium junceum), which has been associated with severe toxicity, or Butcher's broom (Ruscus aculeatus).


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING:   Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius), also referred to as broom, is a perennial woody plant native to Europe. The species was introduced as a garden ornamental to North America and now is common across western Canada and California. Scotch broom plants grow up to 10 feet tall  and spreads quickly and aggressively at the expense of other plants and trees and is often considered a pest.


DANGERS:  There is particular concern about the potential toxicity of scotch broom due to the presence of small amounts of the toxic alkaloids sparteine and isosparteine, which are found in both the flowers and herb (above-ground parts). Sparteine has known effects on the electrical conductivity of heart muscle and can potentially cause dangerous heart rhythms or interact with cardiac drugs. Sparteine is also known to cause uterine contractions and should be avoided during pregnancy. Life-threatening adverse effects have been associated with sparteine. Toxicity symptoms similar to nicotine poisoning: circulatory collapse, irregular heart beat, nausea, diarrhea, vertigo, headache, paralysis of respiratory and motor centers, convulsions, death.


SYMPTOMS: symptoms including dizziness, headache, weakness, fatigue, sleepiness, blurry vision, sweating, nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea and confusion. When smoked in cigarette form; headache, confusion, relaxation, and euphoria may occur. Driving or operating heavy machinery should be avoided. Smoking cigarettes containing scotch broom carries a risk of inhalation of fungal contaminants (aspergillus), with a possibility of resulting fungal pneumonia..   Topical (skin) use may cause irritation due to the presence of saponins.  Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:     Scotch broom should be avoided during pregnancy. Scotch broom contains the alkaloid sparteine, which is known to cause uterine contractions, and carries a risk of inducing abortion (abortifacient properties).  Scotch broom should be avoided during breastfeeding due to insufficient evidence and a hypothetical risk of serious toxicity.





CHINABERRY TREE /WHITE CEDAR   (Melia azedarach  L)  other related plants: M.azedarach var umbraculiformis, a horticultural form, is known as the Texas umbrella tree.


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING   frequently planted in the southern US as an ornamental. Originally native to south west Asia. DANGER    children have died from eating the berries and adults have died from making a brew out of the leaves. A resinous poison is in the fruit pulp, but amount may vary with the strain and growing conditions. 


SYMPTOMS   the irritant  activity of the plant is shown by vomiting and constipation or diarrheas . Difficulty in breathing, weakening heart activity and nervous depression or excitement and paralysis may develop. Symptoms may occur up to several hours and death may take place within a few days.


CAUTION:    should be considered highly dangerous. Be very wary of anyone who claims to be knowledgeable  of herbs and  uses Chinaberry or white cedar.




COLTSFOOT    TUSSILAGO FARFARA L. (ASTERACEAE) a/k/a  Ass's Foot, Bullsfoot , Hallfoot, Horsehoof ,Huki-Tanpopo, K'Uan Tung, Oksurukotu, Son-before-father, To Wu, and Tusilago


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING :  in the eastern United States from Minnesota south to Tennessee, east to North Carolina, and north to Maine . It occurs throughout southern Ontario, southern Quebec, and the Canadian Maritime provinces. It is also found in southwestern British Columbia and Vancouver Island and occasionally west of the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest Coltsfoot: Is used for coughs but contains alkaloids that cause liver cancer.


DANGERS AND SAFETY ISSUES:   Recent research shows anti-inflammatory activity, however, studies show that the use of coltsfoot as an herbal remedy has adverse effects, such as liver damage Despite evidence that coltsfoot does generally work, it is not without its problems. The leaves, and to a greater degree the buds and flowers, contain compounds called pyrrolizidine alkaloids. These compounds are known to damage the liver. They can cause liver cancer with extended exposure and may also cause the blood vessels of the liver to narrow dangerously. may cause serious liver disease if consumed over long periods of time  ( could be months) The pyrrolizidine alkaloids found in coltsfoot are known to have potential liver-toxic and cancer-promoting effects






COMMON PRIVET  (LIGUSTRUM VULGARE L)   other related plants:  L.lucidum Ait. (glossy privet)   and  L. Japonicum Thunb. And other species are also considered to have toxic berries.


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING extensively cultivated in Europe and North America as a hedge plant. This plant is  Native to Britain and Europe, often preferring calcareous soils.


DANGER    children have been poisoned by the attractive berries.


SYMPTOMS:  gastric irritation with vomiting and purging, followed in severe cases by death.  The active ingredient is the glycoside ligustrin







DAFFODIL  (NARCISSUS PSEUDO-NARCISSUS L)  other related plants:  all members of the genus Narcissus {about 30 species in all} are considered dangerous.  Many other commonly cultivated genera in this family, such as Galanthus, Amaryllis, Crinum, Nerine and Haemanthus are also said to contain toxic alkaloids.


MOST LIKELY TO BE SEEN GROWING  in Europe, Britain and north America.


DANGERS  Eating the bulbs by mistake for edible bulbs produces severe gastroenteritis with vomiting and purging. Trembling and convulsions may occur.




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 (


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






Herbalist should sell top quaility herbs


Did you read about Herbal-Supplement Scam: Tests Reveal Fake and Dangerous Ingredients According to YAHOO SHINE  OF NOV 4, 2013?  ”Findings of a recent study, using DNA analysis, suggest that many plant-based remedies on the market today may be made of cheap fillers, such as soy, rice, and wheat, or contain weeds or potentially harmful contaminants.”     Many of the herbal capsules that people purchased in drug stores and online are “contaminated with plant species not listed on the ingredients list, including some that were considered toxic or allergy producing, as well as other potentially hazardous substances”.  In  a 2010 study A lot of  the vitamins, etc.   tested positive for hazardous substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and pesticides. 


Speaking of which, I used to have a booth at the farmers market next to a man about 10 years older than myself.  He told  me that he adds arsenic to his fertilizer when planting his produce.  This  man was not an uneducated person by any means.   His real job was working at a newspaper company as the lead graphic artist.     


 People love  to complain about the FDA sticking its’ nose into food and farming operations.  But if you are observant, you’ll be able to see why.  Not everyone has the same sanitation and safety codes when they grow and harvest their produce, herbs, animals, what have you.  It can be years before the FDA receives enough complaints to take action. And adverse reactions are shockingly underreported.   


According to this article, you can also look for a "USP Verified" label, which means the manufacturer has voluntarily asked the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, a nonprofit organization that sets industry standards for medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements, to test the quality of its product.


When it comes to botanicals, quality control is difficult and all the more reason to sell them in the most natural state possible.   


I’m seeing some people selling their herbs in vegi capsules and really wonder why anyone would purchase herbs this way from an herbalist.   It seems to me that there is too much handling of the herb involved. Where do these people get the vegi capsules from in the first place?  Are they making them, themselves?  Then, how do these people fill these capsules?  Are they wearing gloves? Hair nets? What about their equipment?  And  can they offer a USP Verified label?    At least for the most part, companies who make and sell the herb and vitamin supplements have to follow sanitation codes, thanks to the FDA.  However, an herbalist working out of their home, doesn’t.   This is something to really think on.   Herbalist should be way above companies that are selling their vitamins and herbs in unsanitary conditions and using fillers in their products.   People rely on us to provide the best and that’s what we should be doing.







MISTLETOE  phoradendron spp.  of THE MISTLETOE FAMILY    (Phoradendron serotinum and Viscum album)


There are 2 plants with the common name “mistletoe” the American mistletoe (P. serotinum has a relatively lower toxicity compared to Viscum spp) and European mistletoe (V. album). Mistletoe is a parasitic perennial with white or translucent berries that can be quite sticky. They grow on the trunks and branches of deciduous trees. P. serotinum is widespread in the U.S., hence the American mistletoe moniker. V. album, endemic to much of Europe, can occasionally now be found in the U.S., mainly in California. These plants are common adornments and holiday symbols most commonly sold around Christmas time. All sections of P. serotinum are potentially harmful as they contain phoratoxin, a toxalbumin. Most ingestions result in little physical reaction, although some patients may experience gastrointestinal symptoms. The entire Viscum spp. plant is toxic. After a latent period of several hours, clinical effects from viscotoxins can develop. Bradycardia, delirium, as well as toxicity of the liver, central neverous system, kidney, and adrenals can also occur. Steeping the plant in hot water (“herbal tea”) may result in large amounts of ingested toxin    Mistletoe is well known for causing intestinal upset, as well as a sudden and severe drop in blood pressure, breathing problems, and even hallucinations. If a large enough amount of these plants are ingested, seizures and death may follow.


 Since mistletoe is much used for Christmas decorations, it should be kept out of the reach of young children.   SYMPTOMS:   eating the berries will cause acute stomach and intestinal pains, diarrhea, weak pulse, mental disturbances, and the collapse of blood vessels. Death has occurred within 10 hours after ingestion.


The leaves and berries of holly and mistletoe plants, even the dried plants, should be kept well out of your pet's reach


Mistletoe can cause significant vomiting and diarrhea, difficulty breathing, collapse, erratic behavior, hallucinations and death when ingested by pets




POINSETTIA   (Poinsettia pulcherrima R. Grah)  other related plants ornamentals 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 contain 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. This flowering plant, indigenous to Mexico and Central America, has large green and red leaves. 


 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 Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)


Poinsettias can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach and sometimes vomiting in pets.


 Poinsettia Plant Basics


 A lot of people have been led to believe that the poinsettia plant is deadly for pets and children, but this is actually an unlikely occurrence. The poinsettia plant’s brightly colored leaves contain a sap that is irritating to the tissues of the mouth and esophagus. If the leaves are ingested, they will often cause nausea and vomiting, but it would take a large amount of the plant’s material to cause poisoning, and most animals and children will not eat such a large enough amount because of the irritating taste and feel from the sap.


 However, if the plant has been treated with a pesticide, your pet or child could be at risk of becoming ill from ingesting the pesticide. The size of your pet and the amount of ingested plant material will be the determining factors for the severity of the poisoning. Young animals -- puppies and kittens -- are at the highest risk. Severe reactions to the plant or to the pesticide it has been treated with include seizures, coma, and in some cases, death.


 Maybe YOU did not spray your plants with anything, however, where you purchased them, whether at the nursery, Home Depot, Wal-Mart , etc, they may have sprayed the plants when the plants came in.  Even if THEY did not spray the plants, it is a sure bet that where your plants originate from did get sprayed with herbicides and pesticides.  Otherwise,  the grower risks losing his/her entire crop.  Something to think about.


Lilies and Daffodils


Lilies (Lilium, all spp.): Ingesting any part of the plant can cause complete kidney failure in 36-72 hours. First symptoms appear in a few hours and may include appetite suppression, lethargy, vomiting.  Cats are especially sensitive to lily poisoning, so be very careful to keep your cats away from lilies of any kind, including the Amaryllis, Easter lilies, and Stargazer lilies so often found in homes around the holidays.


 Both popular gift items at this time of year, plants in the lily and daffodil can be toxic to pets. In cats, Lilium and Hemerocallis genera lilies are the most dangerous. Eating even a small amount of the plant will have a severe impact on a cat's system, causing severe symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues, arrhythmia, and convulsions. Daffodils are also toxic to both dogs and cats, especially the bulbs.




.Holly and mistletoe are also popular holiday plants. These plants, along with their berries, have a greater toxicity level than the poinsettia


Holly (Ilex aquifolium and opaca)


There are 2 commonly distributed forms of the holly in the United States (U.S.): the English holly (Ilex aquifolium) and the American Holly (Ilex opaca). English and American holly are not to be confused with the South American Ilex species, Ilex paraguariensi and Ilex guayusa, which are commonly used to make teas and other drinks for their reported antioxidant properties and caffeine content.


These shrubs   (The ENGLISH HOLLY and the AMERICAN HOLLY)  are most commonly used as holiday decorations, although they can be found in gardens. Holly exposure accounts for the 3rd highest rate of genus-specific human plant exposure calls in 2010     The berries containing the toxin saponin are poisonous; the leaves are not   The toxic component of the berries is saponin. The primary potential biological effect of saponin is a negative interaction with cellular membranes. Saponins can cause hemolysis in erythrocytes and alterations in permeability of small intestinal mucosal cells. Most ingestions cause little or no toxicity. The primary clinical effects observed, which occur exclusively with large ingestions, include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and occasionally dermatitis. There can be allergic sensitization and worsening dermatitis with repeat exposures. Rarely, mydriasis, hyperthermia, and drowsiness have also been reported.


Poisonings most often occur in children, and most cases are harmless. In adults, one must eat 20-30 berries before becoming symptomatic, whereas children only have to consume 5.


Holly, commonly found during the Christmas season, can cause intense vomiting, diarrhea and depression in pets.



Bittersweet (Solanum dulcamara) and Jerusalem cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum)

 Bittersweet, or the woody nightshade, is a semi-woody perennial vine introduced from Europe. Common to the northern U.S. and southern Canada,  it has purple and yellow flowers with 5 spreading petals and red ovoid berries. The Jerusalem cherry, or Christmas orange, is a perennial grown as a decorative houseplant. Originating in the Middle East, it now flourishes in Hawaii and the Gulf Coast states. It also has 5-petaled flowers but typically has yellow-red-orange berries. Solanum-related poison center calls in general are common, and S. dulcamara alone made up the 22nd most species-specific U.S. poison center calls.


 In both of these plants the immature fruit is more poisonous than the still-toxic ripened fruit due to the glycoalkaloid solanine.  Solanine may exert toxicity through alteration of mitochondrial potassium and calcium transport, but this mechanism is speculative. In animals solanine exhibits cholinesterase activity and cardiac glycoside effects, but these effects are not seen in human poisoning.

 The clinical effects of solanine are primarily gastroenteritis and abdominal cramping. Salivation, bradycardia, tachycardia, hypotension, and altered mental status have also been documented. Symptoms usually occur several hours after ingestion and may persist for several days. The solanine effects seem more potent in children; in adults, solanine has little toxicity. While 1 source reported that just several bittersweet or Jerusalem cherry berries can prove fatal in children,


 Of the plants discussed thus far, it seems as though bittersweet and Jerusalem cherry constitute the most danger








Holiday Tinsel and Ornaments


Tinsel, while not toxic, is very attractive to pets, particularly cats. The shiny, dangling decoration reflects light and can move in the slightest draft — appearing to come alive to watchful critters.


The problem with tinsel is that once it’s consumed, it can cause serious injury to your pet. If not caught in time, this foreign body ingestion could actually be fatal as it twists and bunches inside your pet’s intestines. Immediate veterinary care is required



Christmas tree pine needles can produce oral irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, trembling and posterior weakness.


The oils produced by fir trees can be irritating to a pet's mouth and stomach, causing excessive vomiting or drooling. The tree needles, meanwhile, may cause gastrointestinal irritation, obstruction and puncture.


If your dog or cat does manage to ingest any part of these holiday plants, call your veterinarian or poison control immediately to find out what you should do to minimize the damage.





West J Emerg Med. 2012 December


UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine






 Know Your Poisonous Plants by Wilma Roberts James



































































































































































Poisonous Plants of the United States

In  the United States there are in the neighborhood of 500 poisonous plants, flowers,  shrubs, and  herbs.  The majority of them will just create a bad rash or other reaction, or will make a person sick for a day or so.   But, there are some that are fatal.   However, in most cases, not ALL of the plant is poisonous.   In this article I will mention some plants that most people are familiar with and  will  explain what part of the plant is poisonous and the symptoms of poisoning that you should look for.






ANGEL’S TRUMPET  of the NIGHTSHADE FAMILY.  This is an ornamental shrub and has a sweet musk scent, with trumpet shaped white flowers that open at night.  Generally this plant grows outdoors in California and Florida.  THE PARTS THAT ARE POISONOUS  ARE:  leaves, juice and seeds.  Signs of poisoning :  the symptoms may appear in a few minutes after drinking a “tea” made from the plant, but not for several hours after eating the seeds, uncooked leaves or sucking the juice.  SYMPTOMS: extreme thirst, blurred vision, high fever, rapid and weak heartbeat; convulsions and coma.


BLEEDING HEART   of the FUMITORY FAMILY.  This is a perennial herb . ALL PARTS of this herb are poisonous.  SYMPTOMS:  nervous symptoms are trembling, loss of balance, staggering, weakness, difficulty in breathing and convulsions.



BUTTERCUP  of the CROWFOOT FAMILY .  This is a perennial herb and is the common buttercup found through the United States in fields, pastures and meadows.  ALL PARTS, except the seeds are poisonous.  SYMPTOMS OF POISONING: blisters or inflammation around the mouth, irritated, skin, stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, and jerking spasms, temporary blindness and convulsions.


CALADIUM  of the ARUM FAMILY. These are  either inside or outside  ornamentals .  There are about 12 to 14 species of this genius, and EVERY species of CALADIUM has a bitter poisonous juice .  ALL PARTS of this plant are poisonous.    SYMPTOMS : soon after eating a small amount of the leaves the mouth will burn and swell. There will be an intense burning inside the throat along with a disturbed stomach, vomiting and diarrhea. After the tongue and throat swell, breathing may become difficult. Due to the blocking of the air passage, death may occur.



DEATH CAMAS  of the LILY FAMILY  Zigadenus veneosus.   This is a perennial plant that  is grown from Canada, to Florida. You will find this plant also in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.  ALL PARTS of this plant are poisonous.  SYMPTOMS:   symptoms occur  from 1 ½ to 8 hours after eating parts of the plant.  They consist of abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, trembling, muscular weakness, struggling for breath, lowered body temperature, coma and death.



DUMCANE , Dieffenbachia  of THE ARUM FAMILY.   This is an evergreen foliage plant widely grown in greenhouses, homes , restaurants, and lobbies as potted ornamentals.  The LEAVES AND STEMS ARE POISONOUS.   SYMPTOMS:  Biting or chewing the stem or leaves produces intense burning and irritation of the lips, mouth and tongue. If these areas become swollen there will be intense pain, thus causing choking. The swelling can make the tongue motionless. Death may occur if the base of the tongue swells enough to block air passage of the throat.



ENGLISH HOLLY  of the HOLLY FAMILY  This is the familiar Christmas Holly and generally grows in Oregon and Washington state.  THE BERRIES are the poisonous part.  SYMPTOMS:   large amounts (I do not know what is considered as large amounts) causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and depression of the nervous system. The result may be fatal.


ENGLISH IVY  of the GINSENG FAMILY. This is an evergreen vine cultivated as a ground cover.  The LEAVES and BERRIES are poisonous.  SYMPTOMS:  sever  stomach pains, diarrhea, labored breathing, coma.  It is possibly fatal.



FOXGLOVE  of the FIGWORT FAMILY.  Poisonous parts are LEAVES, FLOWERS and SEEDS .  The leaves are the source of the drug digitalis. However, overdoses result in death.  Severe poisoning comes from eating the fresh or dried leaves which do not lose their toxicity by cooking.  SYMPTOMS: bloody diarrhea, severe headache, mental confusion, blurred vision, trembling, irregular heartbeat, convulsions and death.



HYDRANGEA   Hydrangea macrophylla  of the SAXIFRAGE FAMILY.   A/k/a hortensia.  commonly planted as an ornamental.  The BUDS, LEAVES and BRANCHES are poisonous.   SYMPTOMS;  diarrhea with blood, rapid breathing and heartbeat, nervous excitement, convulsions and can be fatal.


LILY OF THE VALLEY of the LILY FAMILY .   ALL PARTS ARE POISONOUS, especially the leaves, flower, berries and rootstocks.  They contain dangerous amounts of cardiac glycosides.  Even drinking the water from a vase containing a bouquet of lily of the valley  can cause death.  SYPMTOMS:  irregular heart and pulse beat, mental confusion, extreme weakness, depression and collapse of circulation and death. The reaction is much like that of digitalis.



More to follow later.


Information if from the book:  Know Your Poisonous Plants  by Wilma Roberts James



Horehound and Horsemint

The tendency to get herbs and their uses mixed up is not unusual at all.  That is why it is s especially important to know both the English name and the Latin name of the herb that we are using.  In this blog, I want to use two herbs: HORE HOUND and HORSEMINT that may seem the same, but are not.  


HOREHOUND  (hoarhound)


Marrubium vulgare (white or common horehound) of the MINT FAMILY  {Labiatae}


Common name: Marrubium



Description: This is a busy stem, leafy, and branching from the bottom to one or two feet in height. The leaves are roundish-ovate, rough and veiny above, wooly on the under surface, one or two inches in diameter; the flowers are small and white.



Hoar hound  originated in Europe, North Africa, and Asia,  but grows well here in the United States from Maine, to Texas to California and Oregon.  It grows on dry sandy fields, waste grounds and road sides, flowering from June to September.  The entire plant has a white or hoary appearance; the whole herb is medicinal and should be gathered before its efflorescence. It has a peculiar, rather agreeable, vinous balsamic odor, and a very bitter, aromatic, somewhat acrid and persistent taste.


Hoar hound is used as a stimulant, tonic, weak diaphoretic, decongestant , antiseptic, emmenagogue,  expectorant, and weak  diuretic. It is used in the form of a syrup, in ordinary colds , coughs, and fevers as well as for hoarseness. The warm infusion will promote perspiration and flow of urine. The cold infusion is an excellent tonic and will act as a purgative in large doses. Useful in many respiratory   disorders, but, specifically in  bronchitis and coughs.


In ancient times horehound was used in magic.  It was also used for hepatitis, tumors, tuberculosis, typhoid, paratyphoid, snakebite, worms, jaundice and bronchitis; to improve the eyesight, remove obstructions from the liver and spleen. My, my, such an impressive herb!  However,  recent research has narrowed the benefits of horehound down to just coughs, colds, hoarseness and such.   It won’t cure your cold or bronchitis, but, it will relieve your coughing fits and help greatly with hoarseness.


Parts used: leaves and tops.


Horehound drops are a candy/cough medicine made from Marrubium vulgare



WHITE WOOLY HOREHOUND ( Marrubium incanum)  this is a perennial, 2 to 3 feet tall and 15 inches wide, with hairy leaves and whorls of white flowers in summer. 


Parts used: leaves and flowers for coughs and colds.




 BLACK HOREHOUND ( Ballota nigra)       Labiatae   a/k/a  Stinking  Horehound


This is a generally unattractive herb distinguished by its strong and objectionable  odor.   Thus, the name stinking horehound. This herb is also  rejected by cattle.  


Native of  Europe and United States.  Found in wasteland, hedgerows and on walls; prefers nitrogen –rich , moist, rather loose soil.  This is generally a wild plant.



This is a strong smelling perennial with angular branched hairy stems, 40-100 cm high, bearing heart-shaped leaves, crenulated, 2-5 cm long, opposite and often turning black after flowering;  whorls of typical labiate purple flowers borne in axils;  appearing mid summer to late autumn.


 Black horehound contains chemicals that affect the brain. There is some concern that black horehound might affect treatment for Parkinson’s disease.


Black horehound may affect the menstrual cycle, and this could threaten the pregnancy


Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders: Black horehound contains chemicals that affect the brain. There is some concern that black horehound might harm people with schizophrenia and psychotic disorders.



GREEK HOREHOUND (Ballota acetabulosa) Lamiaceae family    native to Southeast Greece, Crete, and West Turkey


It is a compact, evergreen subshrub growing to 0.5 metres (20 in). Upright woolly grey shoots turn to rounded grey-green leaves, bearing whorls of small pink flowers with funnel-shaped green calyces in late summer and autumn. It is tolerant of poor soil and drought, and often used in cultivation as groundcover




HORSE MINT (Monarda Punctata) A/K/A  Spotted beebalm, Spotted horsemint, Dotted horsemint. Some people have a tendency  to use this herb interchangeably with Bee balm or Mountain mint (Pycnanthemum spp), but, even though the BEE BALM, MOUNTAIN MINT and the HORSEMINT  are of the MINT FAMILY, they are not one and the same herb.


 This is a perennial plant , growing 2 to 6 feet high; stems are branched, downy leaves 2 to 3 inches long, lanceolate, serrate, punctate.  The flowers are actually small and arranged in a whorl around the stem; repeated a great many times up the stalk.  Each whorl is subtended by showy bracts - modified leaves that look like flower petals.  In dotted horsemint, these bracts range in color from deep lavender to a very pale lavender. The flowers themselves are white with lavender spots.


This appears to be a native Florida herb.


 Parts used are the leaves and tops.


Horsemint is aromatic, pungent and bitter and contains volatile oil. It is useful as a carminative and diuretic in flatulent colic and nausea.




The Herbalist  by  Joseph E Meyer  1932


Rodale’s Iluustrated Encyclopeia of Herbs


Wilflowers in Color by Arthur Stupka


The Encyclopeida of Herbs and Herblism  by  Malcom Stuart


Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Herbal Anatomy


ANNUAL PLANTS spring from the seed, make their full growth  and then die at the end of a season.


A BIENNIAL PLANT does not flower the first year, but produces leaves only. The second year of its growth it flowers, after which it dies. The carrot and parsnip are examples of biennials


A PERENNIAL PLANT lives for more than two years. If the plant retains its leaves during the winter, it is known as an EVERGREEN; if the leaves fall upon the approach of cold weather, it is said to be DECIDUOUS.


AN HERB is a plant having a soft stem which dies down to the ground after the plant has reached it full growth.


A SHRUB is a plant which has a woody stem, grows to a height of twenty-five to thirty feet or less, and branches near the ground.


A  TREE has a woody stem, is higher than a shrub and does NOT branch near the ground.


  A  STOLON is a form of a branch which curves or falls down to the ground, where they often strike root.


A CLIMBING PLANT is any plant using an external support to raise itself above the ground. The term “vine” is used for certain climbing plants.



A  SUCKER is a branch of subterraneous origin, which, after running horizontally and emitting roots in its course, at length rises out of  the ground and forms an erect stem, which soon becomes an independent plant.  Examples are roses, raspberries, mints.


A RUNNER is a prostrate, slender branch sent off from the base of the parent stem.


An OFFSET is a similar but shorter branch, with a tuft of leaves at the end, as in the house-leek.


A SPINE  is a short and imperfectly developed branch of a woody plant, as exhibited in the honey-locust.


A TENDRIL is commonly a slender leafless branch, capable of coiling spirally, like grapevines.


WHORLED  several stems, leaves or flowers, arising in a ring around the stem.













Definition of The ROOT.     The ROOT of a plant is that portion which is usually found in the earth, the stem and leaves being in the air.  The point of union is called the collar or neck of the plant.


ADVENTITIOUS  ROOT   is a root developing on a part of a plant (stem) other than a root.


ANTHROPOMORPHIC  shaped like a human being


AREIAL ROOTS are those emitted from the stem into the open air.


A BULB  is an extremely abbreviated stem clothed with scales, such as a lily.


A CORM  swollen base of a stem, not consisting of layers.


A  CONICAL ROOT is one where it tapers regularly from the crown to the apex, as that of a carrot.


A  FASCICULATED ROOT is  a root where some of the fibers or branches are thickened.


The FIBROUS ROOT  is one composed of many spreading branches.


A  FUSIFORM ROOT  is a root that tapers up as well as down, such as the radish.


A  NAPIFORM ROOT is more swollen at the base, and becomes broader rather than long, such as a turnip. 


A  PALMATE ROOT is when these knobs are branched.


A  RHIZOME, swollen underground stem lasting more than one year


ROOT STOCK  swollen underground part of a plant.


TAPROOT  is the main root


A  TUBER swollen underground portion of a root or stem.


A TUBERIFEROUS ROOT is when some of the branches assume the form of a rounded knob, such as the potato.













Definition of STEM:      The  STEM is that portion of the plant which grows in an opposite direction from the root, seeing the light and exposing itself to the air. 


All flowering plants posses stems.



The stem of an herb does not become woody, but dies down to the ground at least after flowering.


The  stem of  tree is usually called the trunk.


The stem in grasses is the cuim.


Those stems which are too weak to stand erect are said to be decumbent, procumbent and prostrate.












The leaf is commonly raised on an unexpanded part or stalk which is call the petiole, while the expanded portion is termed the lamina, limb or blade. When the vessels or fibers of the leaves expand immediately on leaving the stem, the leaf is said to be sessile. In such cases the petiole is absent. When the blade consists of a single piece, the leaf is simple; when composed of two or three more with a branched petiole, the leaf is compound.



The distribution of the veins or framework of the leaf in the blade is termed venation.



A linear leaf is an elongated shape with nearly parallel sides.


A lanceolate leaf has the form of a lance ;  wide in the middle and gradually tapering  at each end.


An ovate leaf is oval shaped.


an obovate leaf  is one having the veins more developed beyond the middle of the blade.


A cuneiform  ( or cuneate)     leaf is wedge shaped


A cordate leaf is heart shaped


A reniform is kidney shaped


A sagittate leaf is arrow shaped


 A hastate leaf  is shaped like the head of a spear with sharp basal lobes spreading away from the base of the petiole


A peltate leaf is shaped like a shield


A serrate leaf  is one in which the margin is beset with sharp teeth, which point forward towards the apex.


A dentate leaf   these teeth are NOT directed towards the apex


A crenate leaf has rounded teeth


A sinuate leaf has alternate concavities and convexities (wavy)



a pinnate leaf is shaped like a feather


a pectinate leaf has very close and narrow divisions, like the teeth of a comb.


A lyrate leaf has the shape of a lyre


A runcinate leaf is  a lyrate leaf with sharp lobes pointing towards the base, like a dandelion leave.


A palmate leaf  resembles the hand


a pedate leaf  looks like a bird's foot


leaves which arise directly from a rootstock, not from an aerial stem are said to be radical


Rosette leaves are clustered at ground level

Sessil    leaves have no stalk

Truncate leaves are cut off straight across.


When a leaf at its outer edge has no dentations it is said to be entire.

When the leaf terminates in an acute angle it is acute, when in an obuse angle it is obtuse.  An obtuse leaf with the apex slightly depressed is retuse, or if more strongly notched emarginate.


An obovate leaf with a wider or more conspicuous notch at the apex becomes obcordate, being a cordate leaf inverted.


When the apex is cut off by a straight transverse line the leaf is truncate, when abruptly terminated by a small projecting  point it is mucronate; and when an acute leaf has a narrowed apex it is acuminate.


In ferns the leaves are called fronds.



The organs of a flower are of two sorts.

1)                  the leaves ( or envelopes).

2)                  Those peculiar organs having no resemblance to the envelopes.


The envelopes are of two kinds (or occupy two rows, one above or within the other) :

      1)  the lower or outer row is termed the Calyx, and commonly exhibits the green color of the leaves.


      2)  the inner row, which is usually of more delicate texture and forms the most showy part of the flower, is termed the Corolla.


The several parts of the leaves of the Corolla are called Petals, and the leaves of the Calyx are also called  Sepals.


The floral envelopes are collectively called the Perianth.


The essential organs enclosed within a floral envelope are also of two kinds and occupy two rows one within the other. The first of these, those next within the petals, are the Stamens. A stamen consists of a stalk called the Filament, which bears on its summit a rounded body termed the Anther, filled with a substance called the Pollen.


The seed bearing organs occupy the center or summit of a flower, and are called Pistils.  A pistil is distinguished into three parts;

1)   the ovary containing the ovales (ovule)

2)   the style, or columnar prolongation of the ovary

3)                  the stigma or termination of the style.


All the organs of the flower are situated on, or grow out of the apex of the flower stalk, into which they are inserted and which is called the Torus or Receptacle.


A plant is said to be monoecious, where the stamens and pistils are in separate flowers on the same individual , dioecious, where they occupy separate flowers on different individuals, and polygamous where the stamens and pistils are separate in some flowers and untied in others, either on the same or two or three different plants.




Glossary part 4

This is part 4 and the last of the GLOSSARY that I had started earlier.  I do hope that you enjoy this as much as I do! 


For those who have shown interest in reading all 4 parts of my GLOSSARY,   Thanks, very much!






 GLOSSARY  PART 4    J  through W






JAUNDICE   yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes, or whites of the eyes, caused by a buildup of bilirubin ( a bile pigment) in the skin









LEECH  An Anglo-Saxon word for a healer. The art of the leech is leechcraft or leechdom




LEECHBOOK  An Anglo-Saxon book of medicine.





LETHARGY  A feeling of tiredness, drowsiness or lack of energy.




LITER   A metric unit of volume equal to 1,000 cubic centimeters or  1.05 quarts liquid measure




LITHOTRIPTIC  an agent that dissolves urinary calculi  (stones)



LYMPH  fluid contained in lymphatic vessels, which flows through the lymphatic system to be returned to the blood.



LYMPH NODE   one of many rounded structures, ranging from the size of a pinhead to a grape, that filter out bacteria and other toxic substances to stop them from entering the bloodstream and causing infection.  Lyme nodes also produce lymphocytes, a type of blood cell.

















MALABSORPTION   Impaired absorption of nutrients most often a result of diarrhea.



MENORRHAGIA   excessive loss of blood during menstrual periods.



METABOLISM  the sum of all biochemical reactions in the body, including anabolism (building of complex chemicals from less complex ones) and catabolism ( breakdown of complex substances into simpler ones).



METRORRHAGIA   Normal uterine bleeding at an abnormal time.



MICROGRAM  A unit a weight in the metric system that's one-millionth of a gram or one   one-thousandth (0.001) of a milligram



MILILITER  A unit of volume  in the metric system that's one  one-thousandth (0.001) of a liter.



MINIM   a unit of capacity in the British imperial system that's one six - hundredth (0.06) of a milliliter



MUCILAGINOUS  Substance that is slimy, gooey, sticky.  It has the property of moistening, soothing, and helping heal skin and mucous membranes.   Soothing to all inflammation




MUSCLE RELAXANT   a drug that reduces tension in the muscles, commonly used to treat muscle spasms resulting from muscle, bone, or joint injury



MUTATION  an alteration in a cell's DNA caused by a disruption in cell division or by exposure to a cancer-causing substance or certain other substances.



MYELIN SHEATH   a white fatty substance that surrounds nerve cells to aid in nerve impulse transmission










NARCOTIC   Substance that lessens pain by causing depression of the central nervous system.  Causes stupor and numbness.



NATUROPATHY  An alternative system of medical practice that combines a mainstream understanding of human physiology and disease with alternative remedies, such as herbal and nutritional therapies, acupuncture, hydrotherapy and counseling. Naturopathic doctors favor natural treatments aimed at stimulating the body's own healing ability over drugs and surgery



NAUSEANT  produces vomiting




NEPHRITIS   inflammation of the kidney; the glomeruli, tubules and interstitial tissue may be affected.



NERVINE   strengthens functional activity of nervous system; may be stimulants or sedative.



NEURALGIA  pain in and originating along nerve fibers.



NSAID       Non steroidal  anti inflammatory drug       This is a drug that reduces inflammation n and controls pain without the use of steroids. Examples are Advil, Indocin, Orudis and Naprosyn










OPHTHALMICUM  a remedy for eye diseases



OXYTOCIC   agent that stimulates contractions accelerating childbirth.












PARASITICIDE   an agent that kills parasites and worms



PARTURIENT  stimulates uterine contraction which induce and assist labor.



PECTORAL  a remedy for chest affections



PERISTALSIS  the alternate contraction and relaxation of the walls of a tubular structure by means of which its contents are moved onward, characteristic of the intestinal tract, ureter, etc




PHENOTHIAZINE  a drug used to control psychosis or ease vomiting



PHYTOMEDICINE  herbal medicine



PHARMACOPOEIA   a list of drugs and formulas



POULTICE   A warm, damp pack of herbs applied to a wound or sprain to draw the blood and relieve pain.




PRECURSOR  starts a chain reaction which accelerates growth.



PROPHYLACTIC   any agent or regimen that contributes to the prevention of infection and disease.



PROSTAGLANDIN    hormone like substance that has a wide range of functions including acting as chemical messenger and causing uterine contractions.


PRURITUS  itching; an inflammation of the skin that produces itching



PSYCHOACTIVE   a consciousness-altering herb, often hallucinogenic or narcotic



PULMONARY EDEMA  a condition in which fluid builds up in the spaces outside the lung's blood vessels.



PUNGENT    penetrating or sharp to the taste



PURGATIVE   Laxative       Causes watery evacuation of intestinal contents



PUTREFACTION  decomposition of organic matter, especially proteins, by the action of bacteria, resulting in the formation of foul smelling compounds.




PSA  TEST   PROTATE SPECIFIC ANTIGEN  TEST   a blood test that measures the level of protein produced by prostate gland cells.  The PSA  test is used to help detect prostate diseases.










REFRIGERANT   an herb that cools the blood and thus reduces fever



RELAXANT   relaxes nerves and muscles; relieves tension



RESOLVENT   that which reduces inflammation or swelling.



RESTORATIVE   an agent that is effective in the regaining of health and strength; restores normal physiological activity



RHINITIS   inflammation of the sinus membranes beginning in the mucous membranes of the nose (rhino means  “nose”)



RUBEFACIENT  stimulates blood flow to the skin thus  producing redness of the skin

















SEDATIVE   an herb that calms or tranquilizes  specific organs or systems; cardiac, nervous, cerebral, spinal



SIALAGOGUE  an agent that stimulates the secretion of saliva



SOPORIFIC  inducing sleep



SIMPLE   A single herb given as a remedy



SPASMOLYTIC    antispasmodic



STILL ROOM  BOOK  An eighteenth century privately kept book f herbal recipes.



STIMULANT   increases internal heat, dispels internal chill and strengthens metabolism and circulation  ( can produce a sense of well being)



STOMACHIC   an herb that aids  and strengthens the stomach function



STYPTIC  a blood staunching herb  ( stops hemorrhage)




SUDORIFIC  produces sweat



SUFFUMIGATION  An application of smoke or fumes.        Incense



SYSTEMIC  relating to or affecting the entire body









TAENIFUGE  agent that expels tapeworms



TANNIN   active plant constituents that combined with proteins; stringent .  Astringent compounds in plants that protect the plant from yeasts, being eaten, and bacterial decay.



TAPEWORM   any of several ribbon like worms that infest the intestines




TINCTURE  A mixture of herbal extract and alcohol.  Useful  because of the preservative and extractive properties of alcohol on herbs.



TISANE  a French word for an herb tea.



TONIC   restoring, nourishing and supporting for the entire body; a substance that exerts a gentle strengthening effect on the body. 



TOPICAL USE   application of a drug or an herbal product to the skin and surface tissues of the body.  (Ointments,  solutions, dusting powders, nasal drops, rectal and vaginal suppositories, ear and eye drops )



TOXIN   a poisonous substance of animal or plant origin



TRITURATION  a process of rubbing herbs and spices down to a fine powder and blending them.










UNGUENT   An archaic term for ointment or salves.



UREMIA    toxic condition associating  the renal insufficiency produced by the retention in the blood of nitrogenous substances normally excreted by the kidney.



URINARY ANTISEPTIC  substance that is antiseptic to the urinary tract.



UTERINE TONIFIER  substance that has a strengthening activity on the tissues of the uterus.










VAGINITIS   inflammation of the vagina, from irritation or infection



VASOCONSTRICTOR   an agent that narrows blood vessel openings, restricting the flow of blood through them



VASODILATOR  cases relaxation of blood vessels



VERMIFUGE  worm expellant




VERTIGO  the sensation of spinning or dizziness



VOLATILE  quickly evaporating



VULNERARY  assists in healing f wounds by protecting against infection and stimulating cell growth








WORT   from the Old English  wyrt,  meaning a root or plant. In herbalism, an herb, usually used as a combined term.   e.g  St John's wort,   liverwort.





Here is part three of my glossary that I would like to share with you:



ECZEMA             chronic skin inflammation

EDEMA                     accumulation of fluid in tissues (swelling)

EMETIC                  produces vomiting

EMMENAGOGUE                induces monthly

EMOLLIENT                  softens and soothes inflamed parts

(when used internally it is called a demulcent)

ENTERITIS                 inflammation of the small intestine

ENTERVATE                      to deprive of strength, vigor; to weaken physically and mentally

EPSTEIN-BARR VIRUS                  the virus that causes infectious mononucleosis and that is associated with Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal cancer.

ESCULENT                     edible

ESTROGEN              hormone that exert female characteristics

EXANTHEMATOUS              remedy for skin eruptions and diseases

EXPECTORANT            substance that causes mucus in the lungs and bronchial passages to come out more easily, usually through coughing ( or encourages the loosening and removal of phlegm from the respiratory tract.)


FEBRIFUGE         reduces fevers

FISTULA                    an abnormal passage between two internal organs, or from an organ to the surface of the body

FLACCID                 not firm or stiff; limp; lacking in force or vigor

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION            The U.S federal agency that protects the public against health hazards from food and food additives and ensure the safety and effectiveness of drugs, medical devices, and dietary supplements.

FORMULATION                  a drug product prepared according to a specific composition

FREE RADICAL               A molecule containing an odd number of electrons. Some researchers believe free radicals may play a role in cancer development by interacting with DNA and impairing normal cell function


CALACTOGOGUE                  agent that promotes the flow of milk


GALLBLADDER                the pear-shaped organ located just under the liver that acts as a bile reservoir.

GASTRITIS inflammation of the stomach lining ( intestinal tract)

GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISEASE               Inflammation of the esophagus caused by back-flow of acid from the stomach. Its main symptom is chronic heartburn

GIARDIA                    a genus of flagellate protozoa some of which are parasitic in the intestinal tract of man and domestic animal; transmitted by ingestion of cysts in fecal contaminated water and food; interfere with the absorption of facts; boiling water inactivates them

GINGIVITIS                       inflammation of the gums

GLAUCOMA                a condition in which the pressure of the fluid in the eye is so high that it causes damage


GOITER                   an enlargement of the thyroid gland that causes swelling in the front of the neck

GOUT                   inflammation of joints caused by uric acid crystals lodging in them.

GRAIN                   the smallest unit of weight in the apothecary system, equivalent to 0.06 gram

GRAM                       the basic unit of weight in the metric system, equivalent to 1/1000 of a kilogram or three one hundredths (0.03) of an ounce


HEART ATTACK                sudden blockage of one or more of the arteries that supply blood to the heart, causing damage to the heart muscle

HEMATURIA                  blood in the urine

HEMOLYTIC                      a substance which destroys red blood cells

HEMORRHAGE                  bleeding, usually rapid and significant

HEMORRHOID                an abnormally swollen vein beneath the lining of the anal canal or near the anus that may cause itching, pain or bleeding

HEMOSTATIC                    stop bleeding

HEPATIC              herbs that support and stimulate the liver, gall bladder and spleen and increase the flow of bile.

HEPATITIS                         inflammation of the liver

HERPETIC                   a remedy for skin diseases of all types

HERNIA                the projection or out pouching of an organ or a part of an organ through the wall that normally contains it.

HISTAMINE              a chemical found in all tissues that causes tiny arteries called capillaries to widen, makes smooth muscles contract, increases the heart rate, causes blood pressure to drop, and promotes secretion of stomach acids. Histamine is formed and released during allergic reactions.

HIVES        Itchy, raised, red areas of inflamed skin caused by an allergic reaction

HOMEOSTASIS                      equilibrium of internal environment

HYDRAGOGUE                   promotes watery evacuation of the bowels

HYPERTENSIVE                    used to increase blood pressure

HYPNOTIC                   induces sleep

HYPOGLYCEMIA           abnormal concentration of sugar in the blood ( low blood sugar)

HYPOTENSIVE                     used to reduce blood pressure



IMMUNOSTIMULANT              a substance that stimulates the immune system's health and ability to respond to disease either gradually or quickly

INCONTINENCE                 the inability to control urination or defecation

INDOLENT                           sluggish; casing little or no pain

INFUSION               An extremely strong tea made with either hot or cold water and and herb

IRRITANT                  induces a local inflammation

INTERFERON                   a potent immune enhancing substance that is produced by the body's cells to fight off viral infection and cancer


GLOSSARY Part 2 B thro D



Here is the second series of my glossary regarding the meanings of the words used.

Starting with THE LETTER B

BACTERICIDE destroys bacteria

BARBITURATE A drug that causes sedation, a hypnotic state, or both. Barbiturates can be addictive.

BENZODIAZEPINE A drug used to treat anxiety or sleeping disorders, to relax muscles, or to control seizures.

BETA BLOCKER A drug that decreases the rate and force of heart contractions and widens blood vessels, helping to reduce blood pressure. Beta blockers typically are prescribed for people with coronary artery disease, angina ( (chest pains caused by heart problems), irregular heartbeats, or a history of heart attacks.

BILIRUBIN the breakdown product of the hemoglobin molecule of red blood cells

BINDER A substance added to a drug or herbal product to hold together the product's ingredients.

BIOFLAVONOID One of a group of naturally occurring plant compounds needed to strengthen tiny blood vessels called capillaries. Some researches believe bioflavonoids may help protect against cancer and infection.

BIOMEDICINE A system of medicine based on the principles of natural sciences.

BITTER TONIC an herb or a group of herbs that stimulates the digestive processes.

BLOOD CLEANSER an agent that cleanses the blood

BLOOD PURIFIER an agent that cleanses the blood as well as enhancing the blood by increasing the nutrient value.

BLOOD PURIFIER An herb that stimulates the digestive and excretory processes of the body to aid in the elimination of waste products.

BLOOD THINNER A drug tat prevents blood clotting ( heparin, coumadin, warfarin)

BRONCHITIS Inflammation of bronchial mucous membranes.


CALMATIVE gently clams nerves

CANDIDA yeast-like fungi

CANDIDA ALBICANS the fungus responsible for monilial infections, such as thrush, vaginitis and sometimes systemic infections

CANDIDIASIS any disease condition caused by the yeast CANDIDA ALBICANS. It is commonly found on the skin and in the mouth, vagina, and rectum. Overuse of antibiotics and anti inflammatory drugs, which interfere with the normal metabolic checks and balances of the body, has caused many people to suffer from candidiasis and allowed the once rare disease to become something of a national celebrity.

CARDIAC heart tonic or restorative

CARDIOACTIVE a substance that acts directly on the muscles of the heart

CARDIOTONIC substance that regulates or strengthens heart action and metabolism; whatever the condition of the heart, a cardiotonic brings it back to a normal range of action.

CARMINATIVE relieves intestinal gas pain and distension; promotes peristalsis

CARBUNCLE painful infection of the skin and subcutaneous tissues with production and discharge of pus and dead tissue, similar to a boil (faruncle) but more severe and with multiple sinus formation; usually caused by Staphylococcus aureus.

CATAPLASM another name for poultice

CATARRH inflammation of a mucous membrane, especially of the nose and throat, with discharge

CATHARTIC a strong laxative which causes rapid evacuation

CELL PROLIFERATOR enhances the formation of new tissue to speed the healing process

CEPHALIC remedies used in diseases of the head

CHOLAGOGUE stimulates bile flow from the gall bladder and bile ducts into the duodenum

( induces gall bladder contraction)

CHOLERETIC substance that encourages the liver to produce bile

CHRONIC designating a disease showing little change or of slow progression; opposite of acute

CIMCIFUGA to drive away bugs, neutralizes rattlesnake bites, scorpion stings

COLIC spasmodic pain effecting smooth muscle, such a the intestines, gall bladder or urinary tract

COLITIS inflammation of the colon

COLON the main part of the large intestine, which connects the small intestine with the rectum. It converts what's left of consumed food into stool by removing water and salts.

COMPOUND a substance made up or two or more ingredients

COMPRESS a soft pad usually mad of cloth, that's used to apply heat, cold, or drugs or herbs to the surface of a body area.

COUNTERIRRITANT causing irritation in one part to relieve pain in another part

CYST an abnormal lump or swelling, filled with fluid or semi solid cheesy material in any body organ or tissue

CYSTITIS inflammation of the inner lining of the bladder. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection


DEBILITY weakness of tonicity in functions or organs of the body.

DECOCTION a substance prepared by boiling

DECONGESTANT a substance that acts to break up congestion

DEHYDRATION deficient in fluids

DEMENTIA an organic mental syndrome marked by general loss of intellectual abilities, with chronic personality disintegration confusion, disorientation and stupor.

DEMULCENT soothing to mucous membranes ( lubricates and coats the stomach and intestine linings.)

DEOBSTRUENT removes obstruction

DEPURANT stimulates excretions

DEPURATIVE purifies the blood

DETERGENT cleansing to boils, ulcers, and wounds

DISCUTIENT dissolves and heals tumors

DIAPHORETIC stimulates sweating


DIURETIC acts to increase the flow of urine.

DIVERTICULI pathological sac like out pouchings of the wall of the colon

DOCTRINE OF SIGNATURES in herbal medicine, the primitive method of determining which plants should be used for which aliments, based on the plant's resemblance to the ailment. For example, the heart shaped leaves for heart conditions and plants with red flowers for bleeding disorders.

DRAM a unit of weigh equivalent to 1/8 ounce or 60 grains

DRASTIC a very active cathartic which produces a violent peristalsis

DUODENUM the beginning of the small intestine; lies just below the stomach.

DYSMENORRHEA painful menstruation

DYSPEPSIA poor digestion, often with heart burn and stomach acid reflux

DYSPNEA sense of difficulty in breathing, often associated with lung or heart disease.




I thought I would share with you friends some of the meanings to words that we herbalists often throw around when describing some of our products . So, I've compiled a list of words in the “ A” section and their meanings. I'll continue to add more starting with “B' in the next couple of days. I hope that this list is helpful.


ABORTIFACIENT: A substance that induces abortion, premature expulsion of the fetus

ACE INHIBITOR a drug that blocks the formation of natural body chemical, thus relaxing blood vessels and decreasing water and salt retention. It's used to lower blood pressure or manage heart failure.

ACUTE an illness that comes on quickly, has severe symptoms and a generally short duration. e.g., measles or colds. The opposite of chronic

ADAPTOGEN an agent that increases resistance to stress

ADRENALINE a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that produce the “fight or flight” response. A/k/a epinephrine.

ALTERATIVE: cleansing, stimulating, efficient removal of waste products

AMENORRHEA absence or suppression of menstruation

ANALGESIC: relieves pain

ANAPHRODISIAC subdues sexual desire

ANAPHYLAXIS a severe, life threatening allergic reaction marked by flushing, hives, itching, swelling of the lips and eyelids, throat tightening, sudden hoarseness, nausea and vomiting. It can start within seconds of exposure to an allergy causing substance and can cause death within minutes unless treated immediately.

ANDROGEN hormones that stimulate male characteristics

ANESTHETIC deadens sensation and reduces pain

ANODYNE reduces pain

ANTAGONIST opposes the action of other medicines

ANTHELMINTIC A substance that can help to destroy and expel intestinal parasites

ANTI BACTERIAL destroys or stops the growth of bacterial infections

ANTI BILIOUS reduces biliary or jaundice condition

ANTIBIOTIC kills disease causing bacteria or prevents bacteria from reproducing.

ANTI CATARRHAL eliminates mucus conditions

ANTICOAGULANT slowing or stopping the clotting of blood

ANTI DEPRESSANT prevents or relieves symptoms of mental depression

ANTIDOTE a substance used to counteract a poison

ANTI EMETIC lessons nausea and prevents or relieves vomiting.

ANTI FUNGAL destroying or preventing the growth of fungi

ANTI GALACTAGOGUE prevents or decreases secretion of milk

ANTI HEMORRHAGIC stops bleeding and hemorrhaging

ANTI HEPATOXIC prevents toxins from negatively affecting the liver

ANTI HISTAMINE a drug that blocks the action of histamine, a body chemical released by the immune system, by binding to histamine receptors in various body tissues. In the nose, it stops histamines from making the nasal blood vessels expand ( the cause of runny nose)

ANTI HYPERTENSIVE lowers the blood pressure

ANTI INFLAMMATORY reduces inflammation and associated symptoms such as pain and swelling.

ANTI LITHIC prevents or relieves stones in the urinary organs

ANTI MICROBIAL destroys or prevents the growth of micro organisms

ANTI MUTAGENIC reduces or interferes with mutagenic activity of other substances

ANTI NEOPLASTIC prevents the growth of abnormal or cancerous cells

ANTI OXIDANT a substance such as vitamin E, that works alone or in a group to destroy disease causing substances called free radicals.

ANTI PERIODIC preventing regular recurrences of a disease or symptoms.

ANTI PHLOGISTIC reduces inflammation

ANTI PYRETIC reduces fever

ANTI RHEUMATIC prevents or relieves rheumatism

ANTI SEPTIC a substance used to destroy harmful microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoa) or to inhibit their growth.

ANTI SPASMODIC relieves or prevents spasms of muscles and associated tissues

ANTI SYPHILITIC cures or relieves syphilis or venereal diseases.

ANTI THROMBOTIC prevents blood clots

ANTI TOXIC neutralizes a poison form the system

ANTI TUSSIVE: reduces or relieves coughs

ANTI VIRAL opposes the action of a virus

APERIENT mild laxative without purging

APERITIVE herbs that stimulate the appetite

APHRODISIAC stimulates sexual arousal

AROMATIC A substance containing volatile oils that have a strong and stimulating scent

ASTRINGENT has constricting or binding effect ; checks hemorrhages

ATONIC without normal tension or tone




A lot of people like to make bath teas or bath herbs for themselves. Some of the recipes that I've seen however, are way too much for a single bath. It seems that people think the same way with herbs as they do with medicine. If a little works good, a lot should work even better! This is a dangerous attitude to have. Herbs are potent, just as medicine is potent. Whenever I make up a formula it is just the right amount for a certain amount of small bath teas. 

If a large (5 x 7) bath tea is just tossed into a tub full of water, the very first bath is dangerous for you to take! Look at the color of your bath water! Is it a rust, or bright green or can you see bright color at all? If you can, there are TOO MUCH herbs in your bath! And, you should not get in that tub!

A small tea bag or muslin bag (3 x 5) is all you need for one ½ to ¾ full bath tub. And that same tea bag can be used one more time! You will see a very light color in your bath water,such as; light green or light yellow, but, your bath water color shouldn't change dramatically. You also should not spend more than 20 minutes in your herbal bath. Nor, should you be using other soaps, bubble bath products or what have you. When you step out of the tub, take a rough towel and dry yourself. Do not use lotions, otherwise you have just destroyed the good of the herbs.

The only time a large tea bag can be used is if you make it in a concentrate form; using 2 gallons of water, heat the water til boiling; drop ONE large tea bag in and let it steep NO MORE THAN 5 MINUTES. Take the bag out of the water. Let the water cool and pour the water into 2 glass gallon containers. When you want to take a bath, use NOT MORE THAN 1 cup of the concentrate that you just made, in a tub full of water.

That is the correct way to use a large (5 x 7) bath tea.




Some years ago, I saw a picture of some huge ice lights adorning a walkway. It was just a picture and it was not the main object of the picture, but, it was pretty just the same. I showed it to my husband and he figured out how to make the “lights”. After that, we did this every winter when we lived in Maine. I thought, I would share it with you and maybe some of you would also like to do this.

I named them NORWEGIAN CANDLES, maybe that is their name anyway, I don't know.

The outcome that you want is:

all along a walkway or even drive way, big huge ice candles on either side.

This is how you do it. Get the kids, because this is fun!


1) A 5 gallon empty plastic bucket, no holes, and preferably with a handle on it.

2) water

3) candles that are either long or big round ones. You can find these in any store. Just buy a few for now, after you get the hang of this, you can figure out what size you want. The candles don't have to be scented. You only need ONE candle per ice light.

You need to mark where you want your NORWEGIAN CANDLES to be. I suggest spacing them at least 3 feet from each other.


1) take your bucket and fill it full of water.

2) Leave it out side, preferably near your site, until absolutely frozen around the edges and thick

3) when frozen put the bucket over your first marked site and slowly, turn it upside down.

Generally the middle part will be hollow. You may have to coax the ice out, don't be rough, you want the entire piece.

4) get your candle, situate it right in the middle in the hole of your ice and light it. ( your candle goes INSIDE and DOWN in your ice. The ice looks something like a coffee mug, with a bottom of ice and yet deep enough to put the candle, so that the wind does not blow it out. )

Continue with the rest of your marked places

Only light the  NORWEGIAN CANDLES  at night. It may take a few days, depending on how many buckets you have around, to get all the NORWEGIAN CANDLES   that you want.

As long as it stays cold out, you will have your NORWEGIAN CANDLES  all winter long. Obviously, you will have to replenish your candles as they burn completely down.

I hope you enjoy your NORWEGIAN CANDLES as much as I did!

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