120 MEDICINAL HERBS
Achillea millefolium Yarrow Bitter, astringent plant used internally for feverish colds & flu, indigestion, hypertension, menstrual problems, etc; externally, stops bleeding. Rhizomatous hardy perennial, 1-3′. Fields, roadsides – for any good, well-drained soil, sun. Propagate by division of rhizomes, or seed (needs light).
Acorus calamus Calamus, Sweet flag Aromatic, bitter, stimulant root used for indigestion, coughs & colds, endurance. Important Ayurvedic restorative for brain, nervous system. Hardy, colony-forming perennial herb; grassy-leaved, 1-3′. Wet soil, marsh or shallow water, full sun. Propagate by division of rhizomes.
Agrimonia eupatoria Agrimony Cooling, astringent plant used for digestive tonic, diarrhea, urinary infections, phlegm, to clear toxins; externally for wounds, skin inflammations, etc. Hardy perennial herb, 2′. Attractive compound leaves, yellow flowers. Well-drained to dry soil, sun. Propagate by sed sown in spring, or division.
Agropyron repens Quackgrass Rhizomes are a soothing, diuretic, urinary antiseptic, used for cystitus, prostatitis, gout, rheumatism, etc. Lowers blood cholesterol. Very invasive perennial grass, 2′. difficult to eradicate. Tolerates most soils, prefers sun. Propagate by division of rhizomes.
Albizia julibrissin Mimosa tree, He huan Bark and flowers are used for insomnia & irritability, flowers for poor memory, bark (internally & externally) for injuries, skin conditions, lung abcesses. Small, ornamental tree to 40′. Tolerant, prefers warmth, moisture and sun. Propagate by seed sown in spring (nick or hot water soak before sowing).
Allium fistulosum Welsh onion, Cong bai/xu Antibiotic, anti-inflammatory plant used in early stages of common cold (lowers fever by causing perspiration), also expectorant. Perennial food (scallions) Familiar green onion / scallion, 12″. Propagate by seed sown in flat in spring, transplant to rich, moist soil, full sun. Clumps may be divided.
Allium sativum Garlic Warming, antibiotic bulb; fights infection (colds, flu, etc), lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, heart attack risk. Externally for acne, fungus, etc Familiar culinary bulb, 12″. . Rich, light, well-drained soil, full sun. Propagate by individual cloves direct planted in autumn.
Allium tuberosum Chinese/garlic chive, jiu zi Seeds are a warming yang tonic used for impotence, incontinence, lower back soreness, etc. due to kidney deficiency. Leaves used as poultice, and edible Clump forming perennial, 12-18″, ornamental. Prefers rich soil, full sun. Propagate by seed sown in spring (may self-sow), or divide clumps.
Althaea officinalis Marshmallow Sothing, mucilaginous plant used for bronchitis, urinary tract infections, digestive problems; externally for injuries, skin inflammations, etc. All parts edible. Erect, hardy perennial herb, 3-5′. Prefers moist to wet soil and sun. Propagate by seed or division of clumps, autumn or early spring.
Arctium lappa Burdock, Niu bang (zi) Root alterative and blood-cleansing, for skin conditions due to internal toxicity (eczema, psoriasis). Seeds dispel wind heat (colds, fever, sore throat). Stout biennial to 6′ (2nd yr). Prefers deep, rich, moist soil, sun or part shade. Direct sow in spring, spacing 6″ (for roots) to 2′ (for seeds). Edible plant.
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Bearberry, kinikinik Astringent, antiseptic and diuretic herb used especially for urinary tract infections, cystitis, vaginitis, kidney and gallstones. Also in herbal smoking mixtures. Low (6″), creeping, evergren groundcover. Peaty or sandy, acid soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by division / layering; seed difficult, slow (1 year+)
Arnica montana Arnica Flowers stimulate circulation and reduce inflammation – used externally (only!) for bruises, sprains, dislocations, muscle pain, etc. Homeopathic Hardy perennial herb, 6″ (flowering to 18″), spreading by rhizomes. Moist, acid, sandy-peaty soil, full sun. Propagate by division or spring sown seed.
Artemisia vulgaris Mugwort, Ai ye, moxa Aromatic, bitter herb used for poor appetite & digestion, nerve tonic, female reproductive system (regulate menstruation, etc.), expels parasites. Moxa Rhizomatous hardy perennial herb, 2-3′; may be dangerously invasive. Most soils, sun – part shade. Propagate by division or spring sown seed.
Asclepias tuberosa Pleurisy root, Butterfly wd Root has diaphoretic, anti-spasmodic & expectorant properties; used for lung conditions (bronchitis, asthma, etc.), fevers. Poulticed on sores, bruises, etc. Hardy perennial herb, 2′, showy. Average to dry soil, sun. Propagate by seed sown autumn or early spring (cold aids germination), space 12″.
Astragalus membranaceus Milkvetch, Huang qi Important tonic root, immune system (“defense energy”) stimulant; used for fatigue, poor appetite, spontaneous sweating due to deficiency, recuperation. Hardy perennial herb, multistalked,3′. Prefers light/well-drained, slightly alkaline soil, full sun. Propagate by seed sown direct or in flat, in spring, space 12″
Avena sativa Oats Nutritive, restorative, tonic herb/grain used especially for nervous system: depression, anxiety, etc. Also used externally for skin condittions and in cosmetics. Annual grain crop, 2-4′. Good soil and sun. Direct sow in autumn (mild winter areas) or early spring, harvest in green (milky) seed stage.
Baptisia tinctoria Wild indigo The bitter, antibacterial root stimulates immune system, used especially for head and throat infections. Also used externally formulcers, boils, wounds, etc. Hardy perennial herb, 3′, multistalked, attractive. Prefers average to dry, acid soil and sun. Sow seed in spring, direct or in pots (resents root disturbance)
Berberis vulgaris Barberry Bitter, aromatic plant used especially for liver and gallbladder (hepatitis, gallstones, etc.), also diarrhea, hypertension. Fruit is edible and medicinal. Hardy deciduous shrub to 10′, spiny. Prefers light shade and calcareous soil. Propagate by seed, division of suckers, or autumn cuttings.
Calendula officinalis Pot marigold Petals have astringent, antiseptic & anti-inflammatory properties, used internally for liver & gynecological problems, externally for variety of skin problems Hardy annual, 18″, showy orange/yellow flowers. For any good soil, prefers full sun. Direct sow early to late spring, thin to 6″. Often self-sows.
Capsella bursa-pastoris Shepherd’s purse Astringent, diuretic, antiseptic herb used especially to stop bleeding – internal (menstrual, post-partum) and external; also for cystitis. Often self-sows. Winter annual , flowering to 18″ from 6″ rosette. Appreciates good soil, sun to part shade. Best sown direct, autumn to early spring. Self-sows.
Caulophyllum thalictroides Blue cohosh Bitter root used especially to stimulate uterus and facilitate birth process, also used for menstrual problems, endometriosis, rheumatism, arthritis, etc Hardy perennial herb of rich woods, 2-3′ Moist humus-rich soil, deciduous shade. Seeds require.cold, warm, cold – emerge second spring.
Centella asiatica Gotu kola Rejuvinative, tonic plant with diurectic, detoxifying and immune stimulating properties. Promotes healing, retards senility. Aids spiritual practices. Tender, perennial herb, 6″. Moist to wet soil , sun or light shade . Prpogates by runners. Frost-susceptible, but easily overwintered indoors – keep wet
Chamaelirium luteum False unicorn root Tonic root mainly for female reproductive system, stimulating uterus & ovaries. For menstrual & menopausal problems, infertility, miscarrriage. Hardy perennial herb , to 18″ from 6″ rosette. Attractive wildflower of rich woods. Propagate by seed, autumn-early spring – stays small 1st year.
Chamaemelum nobile Chamomile, Roman Aromatic bitter flower used mainly for digestive (poor appetite, dyspepsia, etc.) and sedative (insomnia, anxiety) properties; soothing children, etc. Mat-forming , hardy perennial herb, 2″(6″ in bloom). Prefers well-drained soil and sun. Propagate by division or seed, sown autumn-early spring.
Chelidonium majus Celandine poppy Anti-inflammatory, cleansing, diuretic plant used internally for liver and gall bladder, etc; externally for variety of skin & eye problems, warts, tumors. Hardy perennial herb, 18″, attractive. Prefers rich, moist soil, light shade. Propagate by seed sown in flat in spring, space transplants 12″ , self sows
Chelone glabra Turtlehead Bitter, tonic plant especially for liver and digestive system; used for constipation, chronic liver disease, anorexia, indigestion, jaundice, etc. Upright hardy perennial herb to 3′, ornamental. Moist to wet soil, part shade. Propagate by seed sown in spring (requires light for germination).
Chenopodium ambrosioides Wormseed, Epazote Strongly aromatic herb with insecticidal properties, primarily used against intestinal worms. Cooked with beans to flavor and aid digestion . (epazote) Branching annual/perennial herb to 3′ +. Prefers good soil and sun. Easy from seed in spring, may self-sow excessively if allowed to.
Cimicifuga racemosa Black cohosh Bitter, tonic root withestrogenic, sedative, anti-inflammatory properties. Used for menstrual and menopausal problems, anxiety attacks, bronchitis. Hardy perennial herb/wildflower of rich woods, to 6′ (in bloom). Propagate by seed sown late summer (requires warm-cold-warm to germinate)
Codonopsis pilosula Dang shen Sweet, nutritious, tonic root, increasingly substituted for the more demanding ginseng, for low energy , debility, poor appetite & digestion, etc. Hardy herbaceous, perennial, twining vine, to 6′. Prefers rich, well-drained soil, part shade. Propagate by seed sown early spring, direct or in flat.
Dioscorea batatas Cinnamon vine, Chin. yam Nutritious , tonic tuber, acting primarily on spleen, kidneys and lungs. Used for low energy, poor digestion, asthma & cough, frequent urination . Strong, twining, herbaceous perennial vine, 20′ . Any goood soil, sun – part shade. Easily propagated by aerial tubers, may become weedy
Dioscorea villosa Wild yam Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic root used for menstrual & labor pain, colitis, gastritis, etc. Also for galll bladder complaints, asthma, arthritis. Twining herbaceous perennial vine, 15′. Woodland herb, prefers good soil, part shade. Sow seed in winter – early spring (cold aids germination).
Echinacea purpurea Purple coneflower Alterative, antibiotic and antiviral plant used especially for immune system stimulation (for colds and flu, also most infections and inflammations). Showy, hardy perennial herb, 2-3′. Prefers rich moist soil and sun-light shade. Propagate by division or seed sown in early spring; space plants 12″
Eclipta prostrata/alba False daisy Tonic herb for liver & kidney yin deficeiency (premature aging: tinnitus, vision problems); also used to control internal bleeding. Benefits hair. Lax, tender, annual herb to 12″, spreading. Moist to wet soil, sun. Sow in flat in spring, transplant when soil warms, spacing 12″ apart
Eschscholzia californica California poppy Sedative, anti-spasmodic plant with pain relieving properties. For nervous tension, anxiety and insomnia. Helps calm overexcited, sleepless children. Ornamental annual herb to 18″. Prefers good garden soil and full sun. Best sown direct – dislikes transplanting – in early spring, spacing 12″
Eupatorium perfoliatum Boneset Bitter plant used for colds, influenza, bronchitis, etc. Promotes sweating to lower fever, stimulates immune system, expectorant and antispasmodic. Upright hardy perennial herb to 4′, attractive. Rich moist soil and sun. Propagate by division or seed – sow on surface of flat in spring, keep moist.
Eupatorium purpureum Joe Pye weed, Gravel root Cleansing, diuretic, root used for kidney & urinary problems (stones, cystitus, urethritis), menstrual and labor pain, rheumatism. Immune properties. Giant, showy, hardy root perennial herb to 10′ . ‘Queen of the meadow’, prefers rich, moist soil and sun . Sow in spring, space plants 2′ apart.
Filipendula ulmaria Meadowsweet Aromatic astringent plant with antacid and pain relieving properties. Used for hyperacidity & heartburn, gastritis, ulcers; also rheumatism and flu. Attractive hardy perennial herb 2-4′, bushy . Prefers damp rich soil and light shade. Divide, or sow in flat in spring, do not cover , keep moist.
Foeniculum vulgare Fennel Aromatic plant with antispasmodic properties. Seeds promotes digestion and lactation, root used for urinary problems. Relieves colic and griping cramps. Hardy perennial plant, 4′, feathery leaves & yellow flowers. Tolerates most soils, sun. Sow direct in spring, thinning to 2′ spacing.
Geranium maculatum Wild geraniium Astringent, antiseptic plant used for diarrhea (children, elderly), ulcers, colitis, internal bleeding, excessive menstruation. Externally for hemorrhoids. Attractive hardy perennial herb/wildflower, 1-2′. Woods edges: prefers rich, moist soil, part shade, Best sown outdoors in autumn, or divide clumps
Ginkgo biloba Ginkgo Bittersweet, astringent plant, leaves relax blood vessels and promote circulation to brain and extremities; seeds used for asthma, coughs, incontinence. Hardy deciduous tree, 100’+. Adaptable, prefers moist soil & sun. Sow recent seed in spring, grow in container for 1 or 2 years before setting out.
Humulus lupulus Hops Bitter flowers with sedative properties used for insomnia, anxiety, irritability (but not depression ), nervous indigestion, irritable bowel; contains estrogen. High climbing, twining, hardy herbaceous perennial vine. Prefers rich moist soil, sun-part shade. Propagate by division from female plants spring.
Hydrangea arborescens Wild hydrangea Antiseptic, soothing, diurectic root used for kidney & bladder stones, cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis, etc. Hardy perennial shrub, 4-6′, attractive. Rich woods native: prefers humus soil and some shade. Sow in spring, pressing seed into surface, keep moist
Hydrastis canadensis Goldenseal Bittter, alterative root with antibiotic, anti-inflammatory properties. Used internally & externally for infection; also digesstive & menstrual problems. Colonial, hardy perennial herb, 12″. Rich woods native ;humus-rich soil, part-full shade. Seed needs 2 winters, never drying out; or divide from colony
Hypericum perforatum St. John’s wort Sedative, anti-inflammatory herb, for anxiety,nervous tension, PMS. Oil used esternally for wounds (esp. with nerve damage), sores, burns, earache. Hardy perennial herb, 2′, spreading by runners. Well-drained to dry, sandy soil; sun. Divide, or sow on surface (add sand to starting mix) keep moist.
Hyssopus officinalis Hyssop Bitter, tonic plant primarily used as a sedative & expectorant for colds, flu, bronchitis. Promotes sweating to lower fever, antiviral, aids digestive system. Hardy perennial subshrub to 2′, attractive. Well-drained to dry, neutral to alkaline soil, full sun. Propagate by summer cuttings or spring sown seed.
Inula helenium Elecampane Bitter tonic root with alterative, expectorant, antibacterial, immune stimulating and anti-inflammatory properties. Primarily for cough, lung problems. Giant hardy perennial herb, to 10′, ornamental. Rich, moist, well -drained soil and sun-light shade. Sow in flat in spring, covering shallowly. Space 2′.
Isatis tinctoria Woad Bitter, cooling plant used to ‘clear heat and relieve toxicity.’ Useful for any feverish disease, especially epidemic, and sore swollen throat as in mumps. Hardy biennial plant, 2-4′ (2nd year), attractive in bloom. Rich, well-drained soil in sun. Sow direct, autumn or spring, thin to 12-18″ apart.
Juniperus communis Juniper Bitter, aromatic fruit with antiseptic and diuretic action. Used for cystitus, urethritis, kidney inflammation; also to stimulate digestion and appetite. Hardy evergreen shrub or small tree. Tolerates most soils, sun or light shade. Propagate by autumn cuttings, seed germination difficult.
Lactuca serriola, virosa Wild lettuce Bitter plant with sedative, expectorant and pain relieving properties. Used for insomnia and anxiety, also coughs and bronchitis. Upright hardy biennial herb to 5′. Tolerates dry soil, sun to light shade. Sow direct in autumn or spring, thin to 12″ spacing.
Lavendula angustofolia Lavender Fragrant, aromatic, tonic flowers with antispasmodic, antidepressant, circulatory stimulant properties. Used for anxiety, tension headaches, indigestion. Hardy perennial subshrub to 2′. Well-drained, neutral soil, full sun. Propagate by cuttings, or seed sown in flats, early spring (cold aids germination)
Leonurus cardiaca Motherwort, American Bitter plant with sedative & antispasmodic properties. Uterine stimulant & relaxant, cardiac & nerve tonic . For heart palpitation, menstrual problems. Upright, hardy perennial herb to 4′. Good soil, sun to light shade. Propagate by division or seed (may be sown direct); self-sows
Leonurus sibiricus Motherwort, Siberian Bitter, diurectic plant which regulates mensruation, improves blood circulation, stimulates uterus andfights infection. Seeds used for sore, red eyes. Upright, hardy biennial herb to 6′ (2nd year). Tolerant, prefers rich, moist soil, sun-part shade. Easily propagated by seed sown in spring, self-sows.
Lycopus Virginicus Bugleweed Bitter plant, mild sedative, astringent. Used for excessive menstruation, rapid pulse, chronic lung problemsand, especially, overactive thyroid. Hardy perennial herb, 1-2′. Prefers good, moist to wet soil, part shade. Sow in flat in spring, transplant seedlings spacing 6-12″ apart.
Marrubium vulgare Horehound Bitter, aromatic plant, with expectorant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Used primarily for lungs: coughs, bronchitis, etc. Hardy perennial plant, 1-2′, bushy. Well-drained to dry soil, full sun. Propagate by division, or by seed sown direct or in flat in spring. Spacing 12″
Matricaria recutita Chamomile, German Aromatic bitter flower, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. For stomach disorders (promotes gastric secretions), common cold, childhood complaints. Upright, branching annual herb to 2′. Good garden soil, full sun. May be sown direct, autumn or spring, or sow in flat & transplant, spacing 3-6″.
Melissa officinalis Lemon balm Aromatic plant with sedative, cooling and antibiotic properties. Used for nervous disorders & associated indigestion (adults & children), hyperthyroid. Hardy perennial herb, 1-2′. Prefers rich, moist soil, sun-light shade. Propagate by division, or seed sown autumn-early spring (cold aids germination).
Mentha x piperita Peppermint Aromatic plant with stimulant, antispasmodic and antiseptic properties. Used for digestive disorders, colds & flu, nervous headaches; also externally. Stoloniferous hardy perennial herb, 2-3′. Rich, damp soil, sun-part shade. Propagate from stolons, autumn or spring; or by seed in spring.
Mitchella repens Partridge berry Bitter, astringent plant diuretic. Used for menstrual problems and birth: strengthens contractions & soothes pain; also nerves & irritability. Creeping, evergreen, hardy perennial groundcover, 6″. Moist, acid, humus soil and shade. Propagate by division, or seed sown autumn-early spring.
Morus alba Mulberry, white Leaves used for feverish colds; fruit tonifies liver, kidneys & vital essence; root bark for asthma, ‘hot’ coughs; twigs relieve pain, anti-rheumatic. Hardy deciduous tree to 50′. Tolerates most soils and situations, sun-light shade. Propagate by seed (requires cold period) or dormant cuttings.
Nepeta cataria Catnip Bitter astringent plant with sedative properties. Promotes sweating – lowers fever (colds & flu). Also infant colic & diarrhea, irritability. Hardy perennial plant, 2-3′,bushy. Tolerant, prefers sun to light shade & well-drained to dry soil. Propagate by seed (easy, self-sows), or division.
Ocimum basilicum Basil Warming, aromatic, restorative plant. Lowers fever (colds, flu ), relaxes spasms, improves digestion. For gastrointestinal complaints, headache. Tender annual , 2′. Good garden soil (moist, well drained), full sun. Easily propagated from seed sown in warm soil – direct or transplant.
Ophiopogon japonicus Lily turf Sweet, soothing tonic tuber with sedative properties. Controls cough, lubricates bronchial & digestive tracts, treats irritability &insomnia. Hardy evergreen perennial with grass-like leaves, used as ground cover. Good soil, sun-pt. shade Prop. by division or seed (cold aids germination).
Origanum vulgare Oregano Pungent, aromatic, warming plant – antispasmodic, antiseptic. For colds & flu, stomach upset, cough. Stimulates uterus: for painful menstruation. Hardy perennial herb, 2′. Prefers well-drained, neutral soil and full sun. Propagate by division of clumps, cuttings or seed sown in warm soil.
Paeonia lactiflora Peony Bitter, cooling, tonic root, relaxes muscle spasms, relieves pain, builds blood. Used for a variety of female reproductive disorders. Hardy perennial herb, 3′, shrubbby, ornamental. Rich moist soil, full sun-part shade. Propagate by division of crowns (autumn) or seed (slow).
Panax quinquefolius Ginseng, American Bittersweet, cooling, tonic root which counteracts weakness & fatigue, aids recovery, improves response to stress. Used against fever & for lungs. Hardy perennial herb, 12″. Rich deciduous wooods (requires shade). Propagate by seed – must never dry out, germinates second spring.
Papaver somniferum Poppy Bitter, narcotic, sedative plant, which relieves pain and relaxes spasms, controls coughing and diarrhea. Upright winter annual, 2-4′, ornamental. Good garden soil, full sun. Direct sow in autumn (in mild winter areas) or early spring. Self-sows.
Passiflora incarnata Passion flower, Maypop Bitter, cooling plant with sedative pain-relieving antispasmodic properties. Used for anxiety, nervous & premenstrual tension, insomnia, etc. Hardy perennial woody vine to 30′, suckering , ornamental. Prefers sandy soil, sun. Propagate by division, cuttings or seed (heat improves germination)
Perilla frutescens Perilla, shiso, zi su Both leaves & fruit (seeds) are used to regulate vital energy. Leaves for colds with chill, headache, mastitis; Fruit for cough, asthma, constipation. Tender upright annual, 2-3′. Tolerant, prefers moist rich soil, sun-light shade. Direct sow in warm soil; will self-sow.
Petroselinum crispum Parsley Bitter, aromatic plant which is diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, emmmenagogue. For cystitis, prostratitis, indigestion, menstrual problems Hardy biennial, 1-2′. Prefers rich, moist, well-drained soil and sun. Sow in spring, direct or in flat; slow to germinate.
Phytolacca americana Pokeweed Bitter, pungent plant , alterative & anti-inflammatory, stimulates immune & lymph systems, clears toxins. For swollen glands, rheumatism, arthritis. Stout perennial herb to 10′ attractive. Rich soil, sun or light shade. Propagate by seed sown in spring; self-sows and potentially weedy.
Pimpinella anisum Anise Sweet, warming plant with stimulant & expectorant properties. Improves digestion, promotes lactation. For coughs, colds, colic, flatulence, etc. Slender annual, 2′. Prefers well-drained to sandy, neutral to alkaline soil and sun. Needs heat to ripen seeds. Direct sow in warm soil.
Plantago major Plantain Astringent, diuretic herb,antibacterial, expectorant, promotes healing. Internally for bronchitis, cystitis, diarrhea. Externally for wounds, stings, etc. Hardy perennial herb, 12″. For any good soil, sun or light shade. Propagate by seed sown in spring, or division. Self-sows, may become weedy.
Platycodon grandiflorus Balloon flower Bitter, pungent, tonic root/food with expectorant action. Used primarily for coughs, bronchitis, lung abcess, throat infections, etc. Upright, multistalked perennial plant,2-3′, ornamental. Rich, well-drained to sandy soil,sun. Propagate by seed – cold period aids germination.
Polygonum multiflorum Fo ti Bittersweet, tonic root, rejuvenates liver & reproductive systems, supplements blood & vital energy. Menstrual & menopausal complaints, aging. Rampant perennial vine, 20’+. Rich, moist, well-drained to sandy soil, sun. Propagate by cuttings or division. Invasive when established.
Portulaca oleracea Purslane Sour, cooling plant/food, diuretic, antibacterial, clears toxins. Rich source of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, omega3 fatty acids: to boost immunity. Spreading annual, 6-12″. Succeeds in any good soil and full sun. Sow direct when soil is warm; self-sows and may become weedy.
Primula veris Cowslip primrose Sedative, expectorant herb, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory. Used for bronchitis, insomnia, headache; soothes restless children. Hardy perennial herb, 12″. Spring wildflower preferring rich, damp, neutral-alkaline soil, part shade, Propagate by seed (cold aids germination), division.
Prunella vulgaris Self-heal, healall Astringent, diuretic herb which lowers fever & blood pressure, anti-bacterial. For hemorrhage, excess menstruation. Also used externally. Hardy perennial herb, 1-2′. Moist, well-drained soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by seed sown in early spring, or division of clumps.
Ptelea trifoliata Hop tree, wafer ash Bitter, pungent, tonic bark, which lowers fever, improves digestion and expels parasites (worms). Used for fevers, digestive problems. Hardy small tree, 10-20′, fragrant in bloom. Moist, well-drained soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by seed (cold period aids germination).
Pueraria lobata Kudzu Sweet, cooling tonic root, increases perspiration, relieves pain, soothes digestion. For colds, flu, fever, indigestion, neck and shoulder tension. Hardy, woody vine, 50’+, rampant and invasive. Prefers warm, rich, sandy soil and sun. Propagate by division, cuttings or seed (scarify or hot-water soak).
Raphanus sativus Radish Pungent seed which improves digestion, also expectorant & antibiotic. Primarily used for indigestion, abdominal bloating, diarrhea, ‘food stagnation’. Hardy annual, 1-3′. Succeeds in any good garden soil, likes full sun. Propagate by seed direct sown in cool season.
Rosa rugosa Japanese rose Aromatic, tonic fruit. Fruits are a source of vit. C & flavonoids. Flowers for poor appetite and digestion, excessive menstration. Hardy, suckering shrub to 6′, ornamental. Rich soil (tolerates sandy, seaside), sun or light shade. Propagate by division or seed sown in autumn.
Rosmarinus officinalis Rosemary Aromatic herb with restorative, antispasmodic and pain relieving properties. For depression, migraine, poor circulation, nervous indigestion, memory. Tender evergreen shrub, 3′. Well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil, full sun. Propagate by cuttings, or seed (sow in flat in warm soil).
Rubus idaeus Rasberry Astringent leaf used primarily to tone the uterus during pregnancy in preparation for birth. Also used for diarrhea and externally: eyewash & gargle Hardy, spreading shrub, 6+, invasive. For any good soil, sun or light shade. Propagate by division of suckers or seed, sown in spring.
Rumex crispus Yellow/curled dock Bitter, cooling, astringent root which stimulates liver & gall bladder, clears toxins. Used for liver and chronic skin disorders, anemia. Hardy, perennial herb, flowering to 3′ form 12″ rosette. Tolerant, prefers good soil and sun. Propagate by seed direct sown in spring, germination erratic.
Salix alba, nigra, etc Willow Bitter, astringent, cooling bark which relieves pain and lowers fever, anti-inflammatory. For rheumatism, arthritis, headache, feverish illnesses. Hardy deciduous trees preferring moist to wet soil (streamsides), and full sun. Propagate by cuttings struck in wet soil, summer or winter.
Salvia officinalis Sage Astringent herb: antiseptic, antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory. Suppresses perspiration and lactation. Indigestion, depression, anxiety, menopause. Hardy perennial shrub, 2′. Prefers well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil, full sun. Propagate by cuttings or seed sown in spring (cold aids germination).
Sambucus nigra Elderberry Leaves, bark, flowers &fruit used. Treat colds & flu, fever, constipation, rheumatism, arthritis. Externally for injuries & inflammation, mouth, eyes. Hardy, suckering shrub/small tree to 10′. Rich, moist soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by division or seed (spring sown in compost-rich soil).
Sanguisorba officinalis Burnet Bitter, cooling, astringent herb: controls bleeding, promotes healing, anti-inflammatory , antibiotic. Diarrhea, hemorrhage. Externally; burns, sores. Hardy, perennial herb, 2′, attractive. Prefers rich, moist neutral soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by seed sown in early spring, or division.
Satureja hortensis Savory, summer Warming, astringent herb which is natiseptic and expectorant, improves digestion, stimulates uterus. For indigestion, nausea, menstrual disorders. Annual, 1-2′. Tolerant, prefers well-drained to dry, neutral to alkaline soil and full sun. Direct sow when soil has warmed.
Schisandra chinensis Schisandra Sweet-sour, astringent, warming fruit, tonic to kidney, heart, nervous & immune systems. Used for cough, asthma, urinary & reproductive disorders. Hardy, high-climbing, woody vine, dioecious. Prefers moist rich soil, part shade. Propagate by seed (cold aids germination), cuttings or division.
Scrophularia nodosa Figwort Altertive, diuretic root, relieves pain, stimulates liver, heart & circulation. Internally & externally for chronic skin diseases, mastitis, swollen lymph. Hardy perennial herb to 3′, bushy. Good, moist to wet soil, light shade. Propagate by seed sown in spring, or division.
Scutellaria lateriflora Mad dog skullcap Bitter, tonic herb with sedative, antispasmodic prooperities, lowers fever. Used for nervous complaints, insomnia, irritability, drug withdrawal. Hardy perennial herb, 1-2′, spreading by rhizomes. Prefers rich, damp-wet soil, light shade. Propagate by seed sown in spring, or division.
Senecio aureus Liferoot, golden ragwort Bitter, astringent, diuretic plant; stimulates uterus, controls bleeding. Used for failure to menstruate, menopausal complaints, prolonged labor, etc. Hardy perennial herb, 2-3′. Prefers moist soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by seed sown autumn to early spring.
Silybum marianum Milk thistle Bitter, tonic, diuretic seed which regenerates liver and aids digestion. Used for liver & gallbladder (cirrhosis, hepatitis), appetite stimulant. Hardy annual or biennial (winter annual) to 5′, ornamental, very prickly. Rich, well-drained soil, sun. Direct sow, autumn or early spring.
Stellaria media Chickweed Soothing, cooling plant which promotes healing and relieves itching. Internally for rheumatism, arthritis; externally for itching skin conditions. Winter annual, 6-12″, spreading. Prefers rich, moist, cool soil, sun to part shade. Direct sow, autumn or early spring; self-sows, may become weedy.
Symphytum officinale Comfrey Mucilaginous, cooling plant: expectorant, astringent, anti-inflammatory, soothing & healing. Used externaly for fractures, skin problems, etc. Hardy perennial herb, 3′, multi-stalked. Rich, moist soil, sun to light shade. Propagate by division or root cuttings. Difficult to remove once established.
Tanacetum parthenium Feverfew Bitter, cooling, tonic herb which relieves pain and lowers fever, anti-spasmodic. Used for headaches (esp. migraine), rheumatism & arthritis, menstrual. Hardy, short-lived perennial herb, 2′. Well-drained to dry soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by seed sown (on surface) in spring, or division. Self-sows.
Taraxacum officinale Dandelion Bittersweet, cooling plant, diuretic & laxative, stimulates liver & improves digestion. For gall bladder & urinary disorders, chronic skin problems. Hardy perennial herb, 12″. Tolerant, prefers rich, well-drained soil, full sun. Sow direct or in flat, in spring. Self-sowing and frequently weedy.
Thymus vulgaris Thyme Aromatic, warming herb; astringent, expectorant, antiseptic & antifungal. For bronchitis & asthma, indigestion & diarrhea; also used externally. Hardy perennial, 6″, attractive groundcover. Prefers well-drained, neutral-alkaline soil, full sun. Propagate by division or sow in flat in spring.
Trifolium pratense Red clover Sweet, cooling flowers are alterative, expectorant, antispasmodic. Internally for skin complaints (psoriasis, eczema), cancer, cough. Also used externally. Hardy perennial herb 20 2′. Tolerant, prefers fertile, well-drained soil, full sun. Direct sow, early spring to autumn. Soil builder (fixes nitrogen)
Tussilago farfara Coltsfoot Soothing, bittersweet herb is expectorant, antispasmodic & anti-inflammatory. Primarily for cough and lung conditions; also in herbal smoking mixtures. Stoloniferous, hardy perennial herb to 12″. Prefers rich, moist to wet soil and sun. Propagate by fresh seed sown on surface in spring, or division.
Urtica dioica Nettles Astringent plant is tonic, nutritive, diuretic. Controls bleeding (uterine, menstrual), also for skin complaints (eczema), arthritis, anemia, etc. Hardy perennial herb, 4’+, spreading by roots. Prefers rich (humus, nitrogen), moist soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by division or seed (in flat, spring)
Valeriana officinalis Valerian Bittersweet root is sedative, anispasmodic, aids digestion and relieves pain. For insomnia, anxiety, nervous disorders including nervous indigestion, etc. Hardy perennial herb, 4’+, attractive, fragrant. Prefers rich moist soil, sun or light shade. Propagate by seed sown in flat in spring, or division
Verbascum thapsus Mullein Bitter, mucilaginous plant is expectorant, promotes healing. Primarily for cough & lung problems; also externally (sores, earache) and in smoking mixtures Stout, upright, hardy biennial to 8′, ornamental. Tolerant, prefers fertile, well-drained soil and sun. Propagate by seed sown in spring – will self-sow
Verbena hastata Blue vervain Bitter plant with alterative properties used for liver and respiratory disorders, menstrual complaints, indigestion, colds & flu, etc. Hardy annual or perennial herb, 2-4′, ornamental purple blooms. For average soil, sun or part shade. Sow seed in early spring (cold aids germination).
Verbena officinalis Vervain Bitter, cooling plant, astringent diuretic, anti-inflammatory, calming, promotes lactation. Used for nervous & menstrual complaints. Magical associations Hardy annual / short-lived perennial herb, 2-3′. Well-drained soil and sun. Propagate by seed (sown in spring), division, or stem cuttings
Veronicastrum virginicum Culver’s root Bitter root with tonic, laxative and antispasmodic actions. Used primarily for liver and gall bladder complaints and to aid digestion. Rhizomatous hardy perennial herb, 3-5′, attractive. Prefers well-drained, moist soil, sun to part shade. Propagate by division or seed (cold aids germination)
Viburnum opulus / pruni- folium Crampbark Bitter, astringent bark is sedative & antispasmodic, regulates uterine function. For menstrual, ovarian & post-partum pain, muscle cramps, miscarriage Hardy, deciduous shrub/tree, 15’+. Adaptable, prefer rich moist soil, sun or part shade. Propagate by cuttings or seed (requires several warm-cold cycles)
Viola tricolor Heart’s ease Cooling, bittersweet herb is anti-inflammatory, expectorant, promotes healing. Uses include cough, rheumatism, fevers, skin conditions (eczema), etc. Hardy annual / short-lived perennial herb, 12″, attractive. Moist, well-drained soil, sun-part shade; likes cool. Propagate by seed (autumn-spring); self-sows.
Vitex agnus-castus Chasteberry Pungent, bittersweet which regulates hormones. Primarily for gynecological problems including menstrual, menopausal (depression), breasts, etc. Deciduous shrub to 15’x15′, ornamental. Borderline hardy in zone 6. Tolerates poor, dry soil, prefers sun. Sow seed in spring, grow in container 1st year.
Withania somnifera Ashwaganda Warming, bittersweet root is tonic and sedative. Primary rejuvenative in Ayurvedic medicine: used for aging, debility, convalescence, insomnia,infertlity, etc Tender, evergreen shrub to 5′, often grown as annual. Prefers fertile, well-drained soil, sun. Sow seed in spring and set out when soil has warmed.
Xanthorhiza simplicissima Yellow root Bitter root is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, immune stimulant and uterine tonic. A more easily grown substitute for (endangered) goldenseal. Hardy shrub, 2-3′, spreading by roots, attractive ground cover. Streamsides, low woods: prefers damp soil, sun/part shade. Prop. by division, root cuttings
Zea mays Corn silk Sweet silk is soothing and diuretic. Used for cystitis, urethritis, prostratitis,etc. Prevents formation of urinary stones Tender annual to 6’+. The familiar grain / vegetable. Prefers rich soil and full sun. Direct sow in spring when soil has warmed.
Zingiber officinalis Ginger Pungent, warming root is stimulant, expectorant and antispasmodic. Used for digestive problems (nausea), cough, colds & flu, circulatory problems, etc. Tender, rhizomatous perennial herb, 3’+. Prefers rich, moist, well-drained, neutral soil; sun to part shade. Divide roots (from grocery), plant in warm soil.
Ziziphus jujuba Jujube Sweet/sour fruit is soothing, sedative and tonic. Used for insomnia, digestive & nervous problems. Harmonizes herb formulas & neutralizes sids effects Hardy, deciduous small tree to 30′. Adaptable, fruits best in hot, dry areas. Propagate from root suckers, cuttings, or seed (difficult).
Monthly Archives: July 2011
120 MEDICINAL HERBS