THIS IS PART TWO:
We often hear words such as aleratives, anti
microbial , aperient, cholagogue and other strange
sounding names. But, what are they? These are all
called actions or herbal properties. They refer to the
energetic pathway of how an herb affects the body.
Every herb has more than one such action.
Here we will find out some of the actions and which
herbs have these actions. This is just enough
information to give you an idea of what these terms
mean and what herbs would be in each category. Many
herbs are in many different categories, thus, making them easy to work with.
This is by no means conclusive and I probably won’t be
able to list every herb in every category.
Like I have mentioned before, herbalism is a huge
field. Also, I am mentioning herbs that have been
used and some people have found them to work.
This does not mean that I necessarily condone the use
of some of these herbs. For herbs that I really would
not use myself I have an * just after the herb.
DIAPORETIC this is an action that aids the skin in the
elimination of toxins and promotes perspiration.
Commonly used as an aid in the relief of common
colds. Diaphoretics act most favorably when
administered hot, before bedtime.
EXAMPLES: angelica*, bayberry, blessed thistle,
Boneset, catnip, cayenne, chamomile, elder flowers,
garlic, ginger, golden rod, hawthorn, hyssop, linden
flowers, lime blossom, peppermint, sassafras root,
thyme, white horehound, yarrow
DIURETIC increases the elimination of urine from the
body. The fastest action generally is obtained by liquid
diuretics taken on an empty stomach and taken during
the day. Physical exertion retards the effects of
EXAMPLES; agrimony* , bearberry* , bilberry,
boneset, borage, broom, buchu, burdock root, celery
seed, corn silk*, couch grass*, dandelion leaf, , elder,
Hawthorn berries, horse tail, juniper, lime blossom,
parsley , saw palmetto, yarrow
EMETIC herbs cause one to vomit. The main use of
emetics is as a first aid treatment of poisoning, where
they will empty the stomach content. .Most emetics
work through irritation, either of the stomach or the
EXAMPLES: blood root*, boneset, elder flowers, white horehound, Echinacea, lobelia* senga*, squill*
EMMENAGOGUE Stimulate menstrual flow and activity. This term is often employed in the wider
context of tonics to the female reproductive systems.
EXAMPLES: beth root*, black haw*, blessed thistle,
chamomile, chaste tree*, cramp bark, fenugreek,
gentian*, ginger, golden seal, juniper berry, calendula,
motherwort, mugwort, parsley, pasque flower*,
pennyroyal*, peppermint, raspberry, sage, rosemary,
rue*, southernwood*, squaw vine*, tansy* , vervian*,
EMOLLIENT herbs are applied to the skin to soften,
soothe or protect it. They act externally in a manner
similar to the way demulcents act internally. Emollients
should NOT be used externally.
EXAMPLES: borage, chickweed*, coltsfoot*, comfrey,
elecampane*, fenugreek, flax seed, licorice,
marshmallow, mullein, oatmeal, plantain, slippery elm bark.
EXPECTORANT support the body in the removal of
excess amounts of mucus from the respiratory system.
Expectorants are often combines with DEMULCENTS .
EXAMPLES: aniseed, Balm of Gilead, balsam, blood
root*, coltsfoot*, comfrey (never used comfrey
internally), elder flower, elecampane*, garlic, golden
seal, hyssop, Iceland moss*, Irish moss*, licorice,
lobelia*, lungwort, marshmallow, mullein, pleurisy root,
senega*, skunk cabbage (if you’re brave), squill*,
thuja*, thyme, vervain*,white or black horehound, wild
FEBRIFUGE a/k/a ANTI PYRETIC they bring down fevers.
EXAMPLE : angelica*, blessed thistle, boneset,
borage, cayenne, elder flower, hyssop, pennyroyal*,
peppermint, raspberry, sage, vervain*
GALACTAGOGUE help increase the flow of breast milk
EXAMPLES: aniseed, blessed thistle, centaury*, fennel seed, goat’s rue*
HEPATIC aid the liver by toning and strengthening it, and increases the flow of bile.
EXAMPLE : agrimoney*, aloe* (not internally), balmony*, barberry*, boldo, cascara segrada*, celery
seed, centaury*, clevers*, dandelion root or leave,
elecampane*, fennel, fringe tree, gentian*, golden seal,
horseradish, hyssop, lemon balm, milk thistle,
motherwort, Mountain Grape, yarrow, yellow dock*
HYPNOTIC these herbs are meant to induce sleep,
but, not in a hypnotic trance as in a “high”. I believe
these would be used in an instance of helping a person
to go into a deep sleep so that the body can heal.
EXAMPLES: chamomile, lime blossom, vervain*,
hops, skullcap*, valerian*, Jamaican dogwood*,
passion flower*, black haw*, cramp bark
LAXATIVE these herbs promote the evacuation of the bowels
EXAMPLES: balmony*, barberry*, buckthorn*,
burdock root, cascara sangrada*, clevers*, dandelion
root, flax seed, fringetree*, Mountain Grape, yellow
Personally, I think the best ones to use to get the
plumbing system moving are four sticks of licorice
candy and handful red grapes every day! Easy!
NERVINES a/k/a RELAXANTS these herbs tend to abate or relax temporarily, non-serious nervous
irritation, due to excitement, strain or fatigue. Nervines
are beneficial in toning and strengthening the nervous system.
EXAMPLES: black cohosh*, black haw*, blue
cohosh*, bugleweed*, chamomile, cramp bark,
damiana*, ginseng, hops, kola*, lavender, lemon balm,
lime blossom, lobelia*, mistletoe*, motherwort*, oat
straw, pasque flower*, passion flower*, peppermint,
red clover, rosemary, skullcap*, valerian*, vervain*
OXYTOCIC stimulate the contraction of the uterus
and can help in childbirth for reasons such as: to
induce labor, in the removal of retained placenta and
management of post-partum bleeding. However, some
of these medicines have harmful side effects and
when taken in large quantities can lead to the death of
the unborn baby and/or uterine rupture, and other
longer term effects on the mother or baby. ( i.e you
might not want to fool around with this type of thing)
I personally would not use the following, however,
raspberry leaf, partridge berry and stinging nettle would
likely be safe enough to use.
This I found at US National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
however, once again, I personally would not advise
using the herbs. According to the just mentioned
website; “to induce labour (blue cohosh, black cohosh
and beth root) . Preparations of black cohosh root
(Actaea racemosa [Nutt.] L.), Goldenseal root
(Hydrastis canadensis L.) and Chaste tree fruits (Vitex
agnus-castus L.) are listed in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia
and are available as dietary supplements to be used
for premenstrual stress syndrome, as emmenagogue
agents and for gynaecological problems”
HOWEVER, My findings come up with the facts
that: BLUE COHOSH is potentially toxic effect by
constricting the coronary blood vessels, thus
exerting a toxic effect on the cardiac muscle and
causes internal spasms. BLACK COHOSH can
cause nausea and vomiting; low blood pressure
and Black cohosh should not be taken at all, for
any reason, by a pregnant woman!. BETHROOT
a/k/a birth root can cause vomiting and has toxic
effects on the heart. Bethroot may stimulate the
uterus, but, not in the way one might desire! Little
scientific evidence supports bethroot’s traditional
uses in promoting childbirth and delivery or
managing postpartum bleeding. CHASTE TREE
side effects include abdominal pain, cramping,
diarrhea, headache, increased blood flow in the
vagina area, uterine bleeding. GOLDENSEAL
ROOT causes excessive sleepiness, slows down
breathing , reduced mental alertness , tingling in
the arms and legs, paralysis, seizure, slow pulse,
I delivered two of my babies at home and the placenta
held back on the first one. So, after ½ hour of this
stuff, I simply put a (throw up pan or wash basinJ) in
between the toilet seat to catch the placenta and made
myself an 8 oz glass of orange juice and 2
tablespoons of caster oil. Trust me, it works and fast!
The placenta was not torn anywhere. End of problem! J
IF A WOMAN IN LABOR IS HAVING DIFFICULTY
DELIVERING, SHE SHOULD BY ALL MEANS GO
TO A HOSPITAL. THERE ARE SOME THINGS
THAT HERBS CAN NOT DO. You’re messing
around with two lives! (particularly if you really
don’t know what the heck you are doing!)
PECTORAL These herbs have the general
strengthening and healing effect on the respiratory
system, in other words, good for the lungs. These
herbs are used to strengthen a weak chest.
EXAMPLES: elecampane*, mullein, white horehound,
coltsfoot*, yarrow, cayenne, lobelia*, blood root*,
sage, thyme, marshmallow, licorice, elder, hyssop, garlic.
PART THREE TO FOLLOW
You can find excellant quality and safe herbs, herb teas, bath herbs and salves in my store here on LOCAL HARVEST!
Local Harvest.com . Look for
SPICES & HERBS BY ELAYNN
THE HERBAL HANDBOOK by David Hoffman
COMMON SENSE J by SPICES & HERBS BY ELAYNN
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3407953
THE COMPLETE ISSUSTRATED HOLISTIC HERBAL by David Hoffman
THE HERBALIST by Joseph E.. Meyer
THE LITTLE HERB ENCYLOPEDIA by Jack Ritchason N.D
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO HERBAL MEDICINE by Charles W. Fetrow and Juan R. Avila both pharmD
THE HONEST HERBAL by Varro E. Tyler