Medicine Woman

  (Waynesville, North Carolina)
dangerous herbs, medicinal herbs, culinary herbs
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HERBAL PROPERTIES

PART  ONE

 

We often hear words such as aleratives,  anti

microbial , aperient, cholagogue and other strange

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

called actions or herbal properties. They refer to

the energetic pathway of how an herb affects the

body.  Every herb has more than one such action. 

Here we will find out some of the actions and

which herbs have these actions.  This is just

enough information to give you an idea of what

these terms mean and what herbs would be in

each category. Many herbs are in many different

categories, thus, making them easy to work with. 

This is by no means conclusive and I probably

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

Like I have mentioned before, herbalism is a hugh

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.

 

 

ADAPTOGENS   Enable the body to avoid

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

can adapt “around” the problem.   They help the

body deal with stress.  Adaptogens seem to

increase the threshold of resistance to damage

via support of adrenal gland and pituitary gland

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

can have a normalizing effect.

 

 

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

 

CIRCULATORY SYSTEM Adaptogen are Hawthorn, Lime blossom and garlic

 

For the RESPIRATORY SYSTEM: mullein

 

 

 

 

ALTERATIVES    are so called blood cleansers;

however, what they really do is act to alter the

body’s process of metabolism so that tissues can

best deal with the range of functions from

nutrition to elimination.  Many of the herbs with

this action improve the body’s ability to eliminate

waste from the body through the kidneys, liver,

lungs or skin.   They help assimilate nutrients and

eliminate metabolic waste products.  Alteratives

are good for skin diseases, arthritis and auto

immune problems.

 

EXAMPLES:   burdock root,   (for skin problems:

combine burdock root with red clover or yellow

dock *)  

  FOR THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM: use

Echinacea and marigold. Also nettles, alfalfa,

dandelion root, sarsaparilla 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

ANALGESICS   relieve pain.

 

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

 

 

 

ANTACIDS   neutralize excess stomach acid

 

EXAMPLES:  fennel, kelp, slippery elm

 

 

 

 

 ANTI ABORTIVES  inhibit simultaneous abortion and bleeding

 

EXAMPLES:   red raspberry, skullcap*, cramp bark*

 

 

 

ANTI ASTHMATICS   relieve wheezing

 

EXAMPLES:   mullein, lobelia*, wild cherry bark

 

 

 

ANTI BILIOUS       These herbs help the body to

remove excess bile and can thus aid in cases of

biliary and jaundice conditions.  Compare wirh

Cholagogues and Hepatics, with whom they are

often synonymous.

 

 

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

 

 

 

ANTI BIOTICS  is acutrally ANTI MICROBIAL  

 inhibit or destroy bacteria and viruses while

stimulating the body's immune response.  The

only time we should use anti biotic is in an

emergency.

 

EXAMPLE:  Echinacea, goldenseal, thyme, juniper berries

 

 

 

ANTI CATARRHALS  eliminate and help prevent

excess mucus formation (sinus area)  These are

used for ear, nose and throat infections.

 

EXAMPLE: golden rod * is one of the best plant

remedies we have for catarrhal states, especially

for upper respiratory catarrh, whether acute or

chronic. It may be used in combination with other

herbs in the treatment of influenza.  (for upper

respiratory  Echinacea, elder, golden rod)

 

Elder is another herb. Use the flowers ( may use

elder flowers with peppermint, yarrow or hyssop

for colds and fevers.)

Peppermint can be used widely wherever there is

excess mucous being secreted. Peppermint is

one of the best carminative agents available. 

Use with elder flowers and yarrow.

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

EXAMPLES:  black horehound,   ( combine with

meadowsweet and chamomile)

Lemon Balm    combine with hops, chamomile or

meadowsweet. For digestive trouble.  (for stress

and tension use lemon balm and lavender)

 

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

 

 

 

ANTI INFLAMMATORY   help the body to combat

inflammations Herbs mentioned  under

demulcents, emollients and vulneraries will often

act in this way, especially when they are applied

externally.

 

EXAMPLES:  chamomile, white willow bark , 

 

ANTI INFLAMMATORIES FOR DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE BODY:

 

CIRCULATORY SYSTEM: these herbs may be of

use for reducing inflammation in blood vessels:

lime, hawthorn berries, yarrow

 

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

 

URINARY SYSTEM: golden rod

 

MUSCLES AND SKELETON  willow bark, meadowsweet, feverfew.

 

 

 

ANTI LITHIC   are herbs that prevent the

formation of stones or gravel in the urinary

system and can help the body in the removal of

those already formed.   Anti lithics should always

be used with demulcents and anti microbial

herbs.  There were no herbs listed that I would

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

pellitory of the wall (Parietaria diffusa); buchu,

bearberry , juniper, hydrangea (Hydrangea

arborescens); parsley piert (Aphanes arvensis);

gravel root, couchgrass, stone root, sea holly,

wild carrot

 

 

ANTI MICROBIAL   herbs can help the body to

destroy or resist pathogenic microorganisms.  It

is a mistake to talk about remedies being

“anti biotic” as this literally means anti life.

Many plants with this action are also anti

inflammatory and  anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti

viral.  The only time we should ever use anti

biotic is in an emergency. 

 

EXAMPLES:  Echinacea is the prime remedy to

help the body rid itself of microbial infections. It is

effective against both bacterial and viral attacks,

by supporting the body’s own immunity.   Used

with yarrow it will effectively stop cystitis.

 

OTHER Herbs THAT AR ANTI MICROBIAL: 

aniseed, caraway, cayenne, clove, coriander,

eucalyptus, garlic, juniper, marigold, marjoram,

peppermint, plantain (not internally), rosemary,

sage, thyme.

 

 

 

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

 

EXAMPLES: elder flowers, peppermint, basil, skullcap*

 

 

 

ANTI SEPTICS  inhibit bacteria growth both internally and externally

 

EXAMPLES:   thyme, sage

 

 

 

ANTI SPASMODICS  relax muscle spasms and cramps

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

APERIENT      is a mild and gentle form of

laxative. aperients work in such a way that only

the natural bowel movements and functions are

promotes.

 

EXAMPLES:   Rhubarb root Rheum palmatum

(not the garden rhubarb that we make pies and

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

dock root*,  dandelion root, burdock root,

cleavers.

 

 

 

 

APHRODISIACS  rejuvenate sexual organs and their functions

 

 

EXAMPLES:  ginseng, garlic

 

 

AROMATIC  herbs have a strong and often

pleasant odor, which can stimulate the digestive

system.  and are useful in aromatherapy. 

 

EXAMPLES:  aniseed, , fennel, caraway, white

horehound, lemon balm, basil, caraway,

cardamom, celery chamomile, cinnamon, cloves,

coriander, dill, fennel, hyssop, ginger,

meadowsweet, peppermint, rosemary, sage

 

 

 

ASTRINGENTS  

 ( a/k/a  ANTI HAEMORRHAGIC) dry up 

discharges, swollen tonsils, and hemorrhoids. 

They are also wound healing and act as a barrier

against infection.  Int the gut, they reduce

inflammation and inhibit diarrhoes and are widely

used in the various diseases of digestion. They

are symptomatic, not preventative.

 

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

oak bark, blackberry leaves, self heal, turmeric,

ginger, meadowsweet, comfrey  (not internally) ,

marshmallow root , yarrow (not internally)

 

 

 

 

BITTER   These are herbs that have a

predominately bitter taste.  Because of Bitter

herbs wide effect on the body’s physiology they

help enormously in treating the body as an

integrated whole. 

 

EXAMPLES:  yarrow (not internally), dandelion

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

valerian*, white horehound,  greater celandine*,

barberry*, balmony*,  boldo,  golden seal,

centaury*, chicory, mugwort, blessed thistle,

willow bark

 

 

 

 

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

 

EXAMPLES:

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

CARMINATIVES  relieve gas and intestinal

stagnation, while increasing circulation.  These

aromatic spices can be used daily to promote

better digestion, assimilation, and elimination

 

WARMING CARMINATIVES work best for people

who have weak digestion

EXAMPLE:  anise, basil, bay leaves, ginger,

cinnamon, cloves

 

COOLING CARMINATIVES work well for people

who get toxic headaches from the foods they eat

or overeat.

 

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

 

 

 

 

CHOLAGOGUES  promote bile flow and stimulate peristalsis

 

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

 

 

 

DEMULCENTS soothe inflamed tissue

 

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

 

 

DIAPHORETICS  promote sweating as a warm

tea and act as diuretic when served cold. Primary

action is on the respiratory system and sinuses. 

 

EXAMPLES: ginger, flaxseed, sage

 

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

 

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

 

RELAXING (COOLING) DIAPHORETICS  reduce

fevers and remove toxins from the skin. They

perform well at the onset of acute symptoms of

hysteria.

 

EXAMPLES: catnip, chamomile, chrysanthemum,

peppermints, elder flowers, yarrow flowers,

boneset

 

 

 

 

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