Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Horsetail-Equisetum Arvense
Also known as shavegrass, scouring rush, bottle brush, joint grass and pewterwort
Horsetail is in the horsetail family (imagine that..LOL  It has it's own family).  This particular species dates back millions of years (Paleozoic era-paleozoic actually means "ancient life" in greek).  It is found in two forms, one in which resembles that of a horse's tail (this is the part of the plant that has been used to wash pots and pans which is where "scouring rush" comes from).  The second form is the fertile portion of horsetail.  It looks like a slender stem with joints (joint grass) an a spore bearing strobilus (kind of like a pine cone top).  It is often found among the banks of rivers or other damp areas.  It is best collected between the months of June and September.
Meridians/Organs affected:  lungs, liver, gallbladder
Parts used:  leaves, stems
Properties:  analgesic, astringent, antiseptic, styptic, antimicrobial, tonic, diuretic, emmenogogue, diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory, alterative, antispasmodic
Used:  tincture, tea and in capsule form
It has been shown in labs to be effective against strep and other fungi and bacteria that can infect wounds.  Native Americans have used it for hundreds of years for skin injuries.  Perhaps it is best known for its use as a diuretic.  It aids the body in ridding itself of unwanted toxins n the system, kind of like an internal toilet flush if you will.  Due to this it has been used to great effect for prostate and urinary tract infections.
Horsetail is high in silica-a mineral that is needed for hair, teeth, nails and bone structure.  As such it has been used to help in the healing of bones and for osteoporosis.  It facilitates calcium absorption and is high in vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and zinc. 
Horsetail is an astringent herb so it tightens and tones certain tissues in the body.  It has been used in this capacity for such things as diarrhea, hemorrhoids, dysentery, entenorrhagia (intestinal hemorrhaging) and anal fistula (the medical dictionary defines this as: an abnormal opening on the cutaneous surface near the anus, usually resulting from local abscess of the crypt and common in Crohn's disease).
Horsetail has also been used for an eyewash for inflammation of the eyes.
The Doctrine of Signatures would say that horsetail is good for joint inflammation and gout due to its multiple joints that appear on the plant.  As such it has been used for rheumatoid like conditions.
Horsetail is also known as "bottle brush" which some think pertains to its ability to clean pots, pans, etc.  Actually it has a wonderful effect on cleansing the body's channels helping to some extent to guard against arteriosclerosis (fat deposits in the arteries).  Teas from horsetail have been taken for kidney and bladder complaints, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, stomach problems, menstrual irregularities, water retention, etc.  The plants have been used in poultices to aid in the healing of cuts, sores and wounds.  Their ashes (yes I did say ashes) have been applied to mouth sores (there is 80% more silica in the ash than in the fresh herb).
Contraindications:  Do not use horsetail in combination with high blood pressure medication, digitalis, heparin, corticosteroids or lithium.  If using it for extended periods of time (more than 1-2 weeks), one should add a thiamine supplement (B1) as horsetail can interfere with thiamine absorption (don't take thiamine and horsetail at the same time, spread them several hours apart).
Whatever the case may be, horsetail grows abundantly all around us if we just look close to our water supplies (generally where it can be found).  It should be considered for an herbal kit when thinking of urinary aids or bone aids.  It is such an amazing plant and so under utilized. 
As with all my other posts I have some links below to some other information/items of interest with regard to horsetail.   I also have recipes for using horsetail for a variety of medicinal purposes.  Please email me personally through this site if you wish to have those.  Be well and stay healthy!
You can also get horsetail grass/powder from the following companies (there are actually lots of companies but these are the two I use the most).
Mountain Rose Herbs - www.mountainroseherbs.com
Starwest Botanicals - www.starwest-botanicals.com



Black Walnut-(Juglans Nigra)

Also known as the common Black Walnut, Texas Walnut, California Walnut, English Walnut, Persian Walnut and Butternut (all versions of the walnut tree)

Meridians/Organs affected:  Colon (bark, leaves and nuts), Lungs (nuts), Kidneys (nuts), Brain (nuts), Skin (bark, leaves and hull)

Parts used:  bark, leaves, hulls, nuts


Bark:  astringent, detergent, purgative, anthelmintic, antifungal

Nut:  Tonic

Leaves:  Alterative

The walnut can often get anywhere from 50-150 feet high.  The furrowed bark is a dark, rich brown and the ridges are dull instead of shiny.  The leaves usually are 12-24 inches long with 13-23 leaflets on each.  When the leaves are crushed they have a spicy scent to them.

There are several varieties of walnut.  Butternut, english walnut and black walnut are just some of them.  All walnuts are considered medicinal as they all have medicinal properties.  Butternut bark has been used as a laxative as has black walnut.  If wishing to use it for this purpose the DRIED bark should be used.  It is also good for dysentery, chronic constipation and congested liver. 

Black Walnut in particular has been used for many years for intestinal worms and parasites.  The husk, peel and shell of the black walnut are sudorific, especially when green.  A strong infusion of the bark can have a purging effect and the unripened nut is said to kill intestinal worms.

The ripe nut is considered to be a yang (warming) tonic.  The green husks and the leaves can be used in tea form for eczema and other skin issues.  The dried leaves and husks are very bitter and are best taken in capsule form.  (Some have used a strong tea of this herb to douse the garden with as it destroys worms and insects WHEREVER it is poured.  Be careful NOT to get it on your plants as it might kill them too...ever notice the ground around a black walnut tree?  It is devoid of life other than grass...which tells you how strong it can be). 

Walnut is one of the Bach Flower essences.  It is used for those who are easily influenced and need stability in their lives.  Walnut is considered to be the essence for inner stability and defensive strength.  It is said to give one thicker skin so they are not so easily swayed by others around them.

According to Bradford Angier, in his book Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, when the nuts are covered with the green husk during the summer, the bruised nut husks can be used to kill fish for food.  Something good to know when out in the wild and starving.  The nuts generally ripen around October and fall off the tree.  This is when they should be gathered and laid out to dry.  (When they are partially dried the outer husk comes off alot easier-use gloves or your hands will be dyed brown for quite some time.  Incidentally, the walnut is the first known dye to be used by man.  I found that quite interesting.)  Once outside their husk, allow the nuts to completely dry before shelling them.

Black walnut has been used for poison ivy, ringworm and a host of other skin maladies in tincture form.  It could feasibly be used as a poultice to the same effect (I would make a tea for this and soak a cloth in it to apply to the affected areas). The black walnut powder has been used on teeth to help restore enamel (brushing with it).

Besides killing and expelling worms, walnut has also been used as a remedy for poisonous bites, snake bites and rabid animal bites. 

The leaves or bark boiled in honey is great for lung issues, sores in the mouth and throat and as a stomach remedy.  Dipping your fingers in the tea and massaging yor scalp once a day is said to keep one's hair from falling out (and add some luster back to your hair...but don't do this if your hair is blond or light colored as it may darken the area).  An extract of the hulls is great for skin conditions, herpes, skin parasites, etc. when taken internally or used externally.  It has ben used in combination with other herbs for giardia (in capsule form with goldenseal root, wormwood, chaparral and licorice root).

Herbalists around the world also recognize it as a thyroid stimulant as it is rich in iodine.  It is also interesting to note that one pound of black walnuts has 100% more protein than an equal amount of salisbury steak.  Aside from walnuts being high in iron, they are also a good source of vitamins A, B, C and E. (If you are on blood thinners do NOT consume alot of walnuts.)  They are also a good source of linoleic, linolenic, salinolenic and oleic acids (your omegas-and as such are a wonderful asset to those wishing to maintain their coronary system).

Due to the fact that they are astringent in nature, they can be good for things like hemorrhoids or inflammatory conditions of the bowel.  (Possibly used as a tea and then used as an enema in the same form).

Whatever the case may be-this is an herb I keep in my herbal first aid kit.  It has come in handy many MANY times and I simply won't be caught without it.  Consider it when putting your own kits together for yourself or your loved ones. 

Below are some links to black walnut information and other items you might find useful.  I would also like to say I have recipes I use myself with black walnut so if you want those please email me personally through the site and I will send them to you. 









I might also add that you can get black walnut powder, bark, dried leaves, etc from the following companies...

Starwest Botanicals
Mountain Rose Herbs
Territorial Seed
Richters Garden Nursery
Nichols Nursery

Monday, March 18, 2013



Also known as Sambucus Nigra L. or Sambucus Canadensis L. in latin terms.  Most people however know it by Elderberry, American Elder, Pipe Tree, Black Elder and Common Elder.

Meridians/Organs affected:   Lungs, Liver, Stomach, Colon

Parts used:  flowers, leaves, bark, berries

Bark:  emetic, cathartic (remember the list of the properties of herbs I posted to the site)

Flowers:  diaphoretic, diuretic, exanthematous, alterative, emollient, discutient, rubrifacient, stimulant.

Flowers are gathered in June, leaves in July (8 am-10 am), bark in September (11 am-1pm), berries are gathered AFTER the first frost between 2 pm-4 pm.

Do not use fresh herb as poisoning may result-FOR THE RED ELDERBERRY VARIETY!

Elderberry description:  white or yellow flowers that develop into fruit; plant grows between 10-30 feet high.  Blooms April-June; fruits mid to later summer.

Pick bunches of elderberries when they are ripe and black but still firm and shiny.  The easiest way to strip them from their stems is to use a fork.  To harvest the flowers for drying, pick whole, sweet-smelling heads and spread them on brown paper, when dry, use a fork to strip the blossoms off the stems.

Elderberry is a member of the honeysuckle family.  The roots are not to be used as they can be toxic.  The bark from young trees (bark must be aged one (1) year or more) makes a strong laxative when gathered in autumn.  In small aounts it has been found to be helpful for renal and cardiac dropsy (dropsy = too much accumulation of diluted lymph fluid in the connective tissue of the peritoneal and/or pleural cavities of the body-AND it doesn't drain).  It can also be an emetic for jaundice or asthmatic type conditions where alot of mucus and/or phlegm is involved.  In the case of dropsy, one wine glassful of aged elder bark infusion every 3 hours until the bowels move or until urine is excreted is what has been reported as effective.  It is also used for epilepsy and to cleanse the stomach (as an emetic).

Tea made from the flowers is excellent for eye inflammation or twitching.  It is said to be a wonderful tonic and blood purifier.  It has been shown to build the system and is great for the kidneys and liver.  It is also been said to be a remedy for erysepilas (in children, a skin infection usually brought about by a form of strep).

With any skin disease, the tea should be taken both internally and used on the skin.  It is useful for fevers, headaches, rheumatism, syphilis, cholera and, when combined with peppermint, it is great for the flu.  Made into an ointment it is good for scalds, burns and most skin diseases.

Elderberryhas been used as a circulatory stimulant and an anti-hypertensive.  In fact, it is purported to be very good for the heart in general.  It contains capillarigenics (increases capillary health and their ability to transport blood), kaempferol (shown to be useful against HIV) and many anti-carcinogenic components.  There have been a series of studies conducted on elderberry extract with regards to the flu virus (Influenza A & B).  In all cases, those subjects taking elderberry extract (also known as Sambucol) experienced almost full recovery within 24-48 hours.

For hundreds of years, the gypsy people have used elderberries to treat the flu, colds and neuralgia.  The hot tea is soothing to the respiratory system and promotes sweating.  It has ben used to come success for skin inflammation (eczema, etc.).  Elderberries are a good source of vitamins A, B, C an B-17 (laetrile), plus calcium, potassium and iron.  The raw berry is said to be toxic but that is for the RED ELDERBERRY type but if you are concerned then cook your berries before using them or use them in tincture form only. 

Dried elderflowers have been used for making washes to treat blisters, hemorrhoids, arthritis, sores and rheumatism. 

The decocted inner bark was used topically by the Native Americans for dermatitis, skin ulcers and eczema.

It is interesting to note that the Shoshone indians referred to the Elder tree as a "tree of music" as they would make flutes from its stems.  It has also been referred to as the "tree of medicine" by several native american tribes.

There are several different recipes one could use with the Elderberry.  Some are purely cosmetic in nature, some are lovely for a hot afternoon and some are purely medcinal.  I have recipes for alot of different things using this amazing herb.  Please email me personally if you would like some of those.  In the meantime...this is an herb that is often overlooked by most.  I believe it is something that should be on everyone's herbal medicine shelf. 

Until next time...stay healthy and be happy!

P.S. The last photo is one of elderberries AFTER the first frost.
 Please find below some links regarding elderberries.

Saturday, March 16, 2013



Known also as Bramble, Dewberry and Cloudberry (and a host of others around the world I am sure).  There are several varieties of blackberries so if you are looking for a specific kind it is best to know the Latin name; Rubus villosus, Rubus fruticosus, Rubus allegheniesis and Rubus laciniatus. 

Blackberry is a member of the rose family actually.  Its compound leaves have five (+/-) plus or minus leaflets, which are toothed, and the white or pinkish flowers bloom/ripen mid to late summer.

Parts used:  berries, leaves and roots.  Standard infusion of the leaves; decoction of the root bark.  (An infusion is similar to making tea, put the leaves in a tea ball or bag and pour boiling water over them and let them steep anywhere from 5-15 minutes.  A decoction is made by slowly simmering the herb in water until half of it is gone (the fluid) and then adding more fluid and simmering some more until only about a cup remains.)

Systems affected:  Liver, Kidneys, Stomach and Intestines.

Leaves and root bark are: Yin (cooling) tonic to the body, blood nourishing, said to be hemostatic (to stop bleeding), antipyretic (reduces high temperature) and astringent (tightens and tones tissues).

Root bark:  has been used for diarrhea, dysentery and bleeding.

Leaves:  has been used for fevers, colds, sore throats, vaginal discharge, mucal (mucus) discharges.

Blackberries:  have been used for anemia and constipation.

Blackberry  has a high tannin content so a little goes a long way.  It shouldn't be taken for long periods of time due to this (meaning more than 1 week at a time) unless you choose to use milk with it.  The proteins in milk will bind with the tannins in blackberries and make them insoluble.  However, if you find you have mucuous producing issues (like me...I am an A blood type and we tend to produce excess mucus when eating certain things, dairy being one of them) then just stick to the 1 week at a time limit.  If you consume too much tannin, you can experience constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, thirst, liver, heart or kidney failure.  So when using blackberry, PLEASE use it for a limited time or ALWAYS use milk when consuming it as a tea or decoction. 

FYI:  Native Americans used the roots mixed with other plants for stomach aches, eye sores and backaches.  The Chinese have used it to increase circulation, they state it helps to relieve pain in the bones and muscles.  The early pioneers used it as a vinegar for arthritis and gout, and blackberries have been said to contain several anti-carcinogenic properties as well.

The Highlanders of Scotland felt that blackberry was blessed-they often made wreaths of it to ward off evil.  In Gaelic, blackberry is 'an druise bennaichte' which means "blessed bramble".  This is because they believed Jesus used a bramble switch to chase the money-changers out of the temple.

There are different types of blackberry crosses as well.  For instance, the Marionberry is a cross between two different types of blackberries.  A Youngberry is a cross between a blackberry and a dewberry (another variety of blackberry) and a Loganberry (named for Judge Logan who developed it) is a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry.  So...several different kinds and ALL very tasty. 

Blackberries are said to dissolve deposits in the alimentary system as well as in the kidneys.  The fruit has also been used to regulate menstrual cycles.  In some places the leaves are chewed to relieve headaches.  Crushed blackberry leaves have styptic like abilties so have been used for small cuts or wounds (the kind one might incur picking such berries as the thorns are OUCH. :) )  The main used of blackberry has been in tea form from the leaves for diarrhea.  And the unripe fruit (red or green) has been used for the same.  The leaf tea is similar in nature to green tea and gives a nice feel of relief to mouth sores or those who have issues with their gums.  When cool, the tea makes a nice skin tonic as well.

The leaves should be picked in spring and summer so they are fresh and green.  The can be used fresh (you will need to use twice as much fresh as you would dry) in tea or dried for winter.  Dry the leaves in a shady place or indoors until they are brittle and crumble easily.

The root should be gathered either before the plant flowers or after all the green material has died back in late fall (I might add that because plants are living things-if you are harvesting roots, please ask the plant for permission as you would be taking a life.  All living things have spirits and should be respected as such and most of the time if you ask permission they will give their lives willingly and you will not have to struggle to get them out of the ground.  The struggling you do with plants is mainly because they are not ready to be picked). Cut the roots from the plant, rinse and peel the root bark away.  Cut the root bark into strips and spread out on a screen to dry.

As you can see there are several different leaf patterns for blackberries.  This will also help you find a certain variety if you are looking for something in particular.  When picking berries, leaves or harvesting the bark please wear leather (THEY MUST BE LEATHER) gloves as they will protect your hands from getting cut and scratched up from the protruding thorns found on wild blackberries.
You can purchase blackberry plants from several different places (Miller Nurseries, Stark Brothers, Pine Tree Garden Seeds, Berries Unlimited, etc.  Just do an online search and you should be able to find them easily enough.  Or if you wish to just buy the blackberry leaves or root that has been dried there are plenty of online herbal stores one can purchase those from some of which are Mountain Rose Herbs, Starwest Botanicals, Pacific Botanicals, etc).
Blackberries are so amazing in their health benefits and potential.  I love them and use them often.  Please feel free to email me for some of my personal favorite recipes using blackberry plants for a number of things.  I would be more than happy to share them with you.
Below are some links to books that have information about blackberries in them mostly from a culinary standpoint but the third one does talk some of its medicinal uses.  Most of the recipes I use are for medicinal purposes so please email me personally if you would like those.
Happy Harvesting!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Doctrine of Signatures

Wikipedia has this to say about the Doctrine of Signatures.
"The doctrine of signatures is a philosophy shared by herbalists from the time of Dioscurides and Galen. This doctrine states that herbs that resemble various parts of the body can be used to treat ailments of that part of the body. Although the doctrine of signatures was formalized in early modern times, the theme of natural objects' shapes having significance is a very old one and is not confined to Western thought. Examples include the plants liverwort; snakeroot, an antidote for snake venom; lungwort; bloodroot; toothwort; and wormwood, to expel intestinal parasites. The occasional resemblance of mandrake root to a human body has led to its being ascribed great significance (and supernatural powers) since ancient times and in many places.[4] The 17th-century botanist and herbalist William Coles (1626–1662), author of The Art of Simpling and Adam in Eden, stated that walnuts were good for curing head ailments because in his opinion, "they Have the perfect Signatures of the Head". Regarding Hypericum, he wrote, "The little holes whereof the leaves of Saint Johns wort are full, doe resemble all the pores of the skin and therefore it is profitable for all hurts and wounds that can happen thereunto."[3] Nicholas Culpeper's often-reprinted Complete Herbal takes the doctrine of signatures as common knowledge, and its influence can still be detected in modern herbal lore.[citation needed]

[edit] Some -wort plants and their signatures

  • Lousewort, Pedicularis - thought to be useful in repelling lice
  • Spleenwort, Asplenium - thought to be useful in treating the spleen
  • Liverwort, Marchantiophyta - thought to be useful in treating the liver
  • Toothwort, Dentaria - thought to be useful in treating tooth ailments
  • Hedge woundwort, thought to have antiseptic qualities
  • Lungwort - thought to be useful in treating pulmonary infections "
Jude's Herbal Home Remedies (Jude C. Williams, MH) has a section that talks about plants with signatures.  I have included some of it below for your benefit

Herbs with Yellow Flowers-generally are thought to be good for the liver, gallbladder and urinary system as they tend to be diuretic and flush the body of toxins and infections.

Herbs with Red Flowers-generally are thought to be blood purifiers, alterative and astringent in nature.  Some are also thought to have antibacterial qualities.

Herbs with Blue or Purple Flowers-generally are thought to be sedative or relaxing in nature.  They have some calming effects on the body and some are also considered to be blood purifiers as well.

Herbs that grow in areas with alot of gravel-generally are thought to be good for illnesses where gallstones or kidney stones are a problem.  It is believed that herbs of this nature help in removing accumulations from the alimentary and bronchial systems.

Herbs found growing in mucky, swampy or wet ground-generally believed to be good for conditions with excess mucus.

Herbs that grow near fast moving water-generally are thought to be diuretic in nature and help to flush the body of waste.

Herbs with a soft texture to them-generally are thought to be good for swollen or inflamed areas.

Herbs with thorns or that are prickly-generally thought to help with sharp pains in the body and are said to be tonic in nature for all organs.

Herbs that cling to themselves-generally are said to help the body remove excess hardened mucus in the inner systems.

Herbs that are also vines-generally are said to be good for the blood and nervous systems.

Herbs that have thin, thread-like roots and stems-generally are said to be good for skin issues.

Fissures in the bark of certain trees-generally these are said to help with skin disorders.

Herbs that resemble or are named for body parts-generally are said to be good for those parts of the body they resemble.

Herbs whose roots resemble the human torso-these are said to be aphrodisiac in nature and help with sterility.

Herbs that resemble the human head-generally are believed to help with headaches, nervous disorders, etc.

Herbs that attract bees-generally these are believed to be good for insect bites or stings.

Strong smelling herbs-generally are said to be good at disinfecting or antiseptic in nature.

There are many sites online that can tell you plenty about the doctrine of signatures.  Even wikipedia talks about it although they take the mass view and state it as being purely superstitious and has no scientific proof to it.  However, I would like to say that is not an entirely true statement on their part as there is much evidence showing how plants work for us now. 

For instance, a tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are good for the heart and blood. Sweet potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index so as such are good for people with diabetes.  A walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums, even the wrinkles on the nuts are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three dozen neuro-transmitters for brain function. So there are many many foods that follow this doctrine and people are beginning to see more and more how effective they can be when used appropriately. 

It is a shame that allopathic medicine does not teach much about nutrition or alternative medicine.  I believe if more doctors integrated their practices to include such things they would have far more success with their patients. 

I will be posting more things from henceforth about individual herbs and/or foods that can be used for a variety of things.  I will also post recipes that might come in handy for those of you experimenting at home with some of these things in order to benefit yourself or those you love in some capacity. 


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Properties of Herbs

I believe that some of the most important things to know about herbs aside from their name, is of course, their properties.  In other words, if I am out and about and need an herb for something, it is best to know WHAT the herb does and HOW it is best used.  So these things are called "Properties".  I am going to list an overall list of properties below that one should memorize for later use when dealing with an herb or herbs in general.  I will also post some links for some amazing books I highly recommend purchasing and reading before going off on your own.  They are all wonderful investments and although some may be expensive they are well worth it over time.   So, without further adieu..

Absorbents: Herbs used to absorb diseased tissues.

Alteratives:  Herbs used to alter nutritive and excretory processes (over a gradual period) and to restore normal body functioning.

Analgesics:  Herbs used to lessen pain when taken orally.

Anaphrodisiacs:  Herbs used to lessen sexual desire and function.

Antacids:  Hebs used to neutralize acid in the stomach and intestinal tract.

Anthelmintics:  Herbs used to expel intestinal worms.

Antiabortives:  Herbs used to counteract abortion or abortive tendencies.

Antiarthritics:  Herbs used to relieve and help arthitic conditions.

Antiasthmatics:  Herbs used to relieve asthma or asthmatic conditions.

Antibilious:  Herbs used to eliminate jaundice or jaundice-like conditions.

Anticatarrhal:  Herbs which help catarrh conditions (excess mucus).

Antiemetics:  Herbs used to prevent or relieve vomiting and nausea.

Antihydropics:  Herbs used to eliminate excess body fluids.

Antilithics:  Herbs used to pevent the buildup of deposits (stones) in the urinary system.

Antiperiodics:  Herbs used to relieve malarial-type chills and fevers.

Antiphlogistics:  Herbs used to reduce swelling or inflammation.

Antipyretics:  Herbs used to reduce high (excessive) temperatures.

Antirheumatics:  Herbs used to relieve or help rheumatic conditions.

Antiscorbutics:  Herbs used to prevent scurvy.

Antiscrofulous:  Herbs used for tubercular conditions of the lymph nodes.

Antiseptics:  Herbs used to counter the decay of cells and formation of pus and infection.

Antispasmodics:  Herbs used for excessive involuntary muscular contractions.

Antisyphilics:  Herbs used for syphilis and venereal diseases.

Antivenomous:  Herbs used for mineral, animal and vegetable poisons.

Antizymotics:  Herbs used to destroy bacterial organisms.

Aperient or Laxatives:  Herbs used to evacuate the bowels.

Aromatics:  Herbs that stimulate the olfactory senses and the gastrointestinal mucous membrane.

Astringents:  Herbs that contract the cell walls, condense tissues and stop discharges.

Aphrodisiacs:  Herbs used to correct impotence and strengthen sexual desire and power.

Balsamics:  Herbs that soothe and lessen inflamed areas.

Bitters:  Herbs having a bitter taste but act as stimulating tonics to the gastrointestinal mucuous membranes.

Calefacients:  Herbs used to increase circulation.

Cardiac Depressants:  Herbs that are sedatives to the heart.

Cardiac Stimulants:  Herbs used to increase the heart's action.

Carminatives:  Herbs containing a volatile oil that increases peristalsis and relieves gas.

Cathartics:  Herbs that are purgatives to the intestinal tract, stimulating bowel movements with SOME irritation and griping.  (For some people.)

Caustics:  Herbs that burn or destroy living tissues.

Cell Proliferants:  Herbs that promote rapid healing and restoration.

Cephalics:  Herbs that are beneficial to the healing of cerebral conitions and diseases.

Cholagogues:  Herbs used to promote the flow and discharge of bile and produce purging of the bowels.

Condiments:  Herbs used to season and flavor foods.

Coloring Agents:  Herbs used for coloring and dying purposes.

Cordials:  Herbs that warm the stomach and stimulate the heart.

Correctives:  Herbs used to alter and lessen the severity of the actions of other herbs such as cathartics or purgatives.

Cosmetics:  Herbs which are used for the skin to improve complexion and tonification.

Counter-irritants:  Herbs that may cause irritation in a local area but be therapeutic in another area more deep-seated.

Demulcents:  Herbs with mucilagenous qualities that soothe and protect inflamed internal surfaces and tissues.

Dental Anodynes:  Herbs used for toothache pain.

Deobstruents:  Herbs that remove alimentary obstructions from the body. (The canal that extends from th mouth to the anus.)

Deodorants:  Herbs to eliminate odor.

Depresso-Motors:  Herbs used to diminish muscular movement by action on the spinal centers.

Depurants:  Herbs that clean the blood by promoting eliminative functions.

Dessicants:  Herbs which are able to dry surfaces by absorbing moisture.

Detergents:  Herbs that are cleansing to wounds, ulcers or the skin itself.

Diaphoretics:  Herbs that induce perspiration and increase elimination through the skin.

Digestants:  Herbs that aid in the digestion of foods.

Diluents:  Herbs that dilute excretions and secretions.

Discutients:  Herbs that dispel or dissolve tumores and abnormal tissue growth.

Disinfectants:  Herbs that eliminate or destroy noxious or toxic elements of decaying matter, thus preventing the spread of infection.

Diuretics:  Herbs that increase the flow of urine.

Drastics:  Herbs that produce violent cramping, watery stools and griping pain.

Emetics:  Herbs that induce vomiting.

Emmenogogues:  Herbs that are helpful to the female reproductive organs assisting in the normal flow of menstruation.

Emollients:  Herbs that are softening, soothing and protecting to the skin.

Errhines:  Herbs that increase nasal secretios from the sinuses.

Exanthematous:  Herbs that are healing to skin diseases and/or skin eruptions.

Excito-Motors:  Herbs that increase motor flex or spinal activity.

Expectorants:  Herbs that promote the discharge of mucus secretions from bronchio-pulmonary passages.

Febrifuges:  Herbs that reduce fever.

Galactogogues:  Herbs that increase the secretion of milk.

Galactophyga:  Herbs that diminish or stop milk production.

Hemetics:  Herbs that build and enrich the blood.

Hemostatics:  Herbs that stop hemorrhaging and/or internal bleeding.

Hepatics:  Herbs used to strengthen, stimulate and tone the liver, and used to increase bile flow.

Herpatics:  Herbs that are healing to skin eruptions and scaling diseases.

Hypnotics:  Herbs that are powerful nervine relaxants and sedatives.

Insecticides:  Herbs that are used to destroy and/or eliminate insects.

Irritants:  Herbs that produce a greater or lesser degree of vascular excitement when applied to the skin.

Lithotriptics:  Herbs that dissolve and discharge urinary and kidney stones.

Local anesthetics:  Herbs that deaden or numb pain when applied locally (topically) to a surface.  (Also called and Anodyne.)

Maturating:  Herbs that promote the ripening of tumors, ulcers, boils, etc. (Brings them to a head faster.)

Mucilages:  Herbs that have mucus producing properties and abilities.

Mydriatics:  Herbs that cause dilation of the pupils.

Myotics:  Herbs that cause contraction of the ciliary (of or relating to the lens) muscles of the pupil.

Narcotics:  Herbs that are powerful topical pain killers and relaxants/sedatives.

Nauseants:  Herbs that produce nausea or an inclination to vomit.

Nephritics:  Herbs that are used to influence and assist the kidneys.

Nervines:  Herbs that are tonic to the nerves.

Nutritives:  Herbs that are nourishing and building to the body.

Ophthalmics:  Herbs that are for diseases and disorders of the eyes.

Parasiticides:  Herbs that destroy and/or kill parasites in the body.

Parturients:  Herbs that induce or assist labor and promote childbirth.

Pectorals:  Herbs that are healing to the bronchial-pulmonary region.

Peristaltics:  Herbs that stimulate peristalsis or muscular contraction to aid in digestion and evacuation of the bowels.

Protectives:  Herbs that serve as protective cover to inflamed or injuredareas when applied locally.

Pungents:  Herbs that cause a pricking, sharp or penetrating sensation to the sensory organs.

Refrigerants:  Herbs that have cooling properties, lower body temperature and relieve thirst.

Resolvents:  Herbs that promote the breakup of inflammatory depostis and the movement of them to the excretory system.

Rubefacients:  Herbs that, when applied locally, cause capillary dilation and skin redness.  (This is something that draws blood from deeper tissues to the surface of the skin-thereby relieving internal inflammation and/or congestion.)

Sedatives:  Herbs that tend to calm and/or tranquilize the body.

Sialagogues:  Herbs that promote salive secretion.

Soporifics:  Herbs that induce sleep.

Sternutatories:  Herbs which irritate the nasal passages causing on to sneeze.

Stimulants:  Herbs that increas the functional activity and energy of the body.

Stomachics:  Herbs that are stimulating tonics to the stomach.

Styptics:  Herbs that tighten the blood vessels when applied to an external surface-thus stopping local bleeding or hemorrhaging.

Sudorifics:  Herbs that stimulate the sweat glands and produce profuse perspiration when taken hot or act as a tonic when taken cold.

Taeniafuges/Taeniacides:  Herbs that expel and/or kill tapeworms in the intestines.

Tonics:  Herbs that add nutrition to the body and increase tone, strength and energy.

Vulneraries:  Herbs that promote the healing of wounds and cuts.

Listed below are a few links to books I think are fantastic when starting out with herbs in general.  Please take time to look at the links and think about purchasing some of them as any book is a wonderful investment for your own knowledge down the road.

From the Shepherd's Purse: The Identification, Preparation and Use of Medicinal Plants. 1990 Edition (Medical Botany, Volume I: Plant Taxonomy Approach) -

The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook-

Jude's Herbal Home Remedies-

The Way of Herbs-

Planetary Herbology-

Intro to The Herb Hound Blog

I have created this blog for the sole purpose of being able to educate others on foods and herbs that might one day become our answer to what ails us. 

Let me tell you a bit about me.  I was born and raised in a small farming town in Idaho.  I was plagued with health issues since childhood, one of which they said was PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome for those of you who don't know what that means...:) )  I went on a series of medications to help correct the severity of my problems but they only proved to make it worse, not better.  I had been interested in natural medicine since my youth and after 5 years of enduring pharmaceutical hell I undertook the task of making myself well...I got sick of being a guinea pig.  I know there are many of you out there who feel the same.  Don't get me wrong...there is a place in life for allopathic medicine, but I also believe the bulk of what is wrong with most of us can be taken care of through proper diet and educating ourselves about what is around us in nature that could help us down the road.  So...hence this blog.

I would like to help educate people through this blog about herbs, and food in general so that YOU can make a more informed decision about your health and your own health care.  I will be writing something each week in hopes that people will learn or gain some knowledge that might help them down the road when there is perhaps no access to medical help or when we lose it altogether due to new health care plans etc.  I can only pray that what I choose to do now through this will help people down the road. 

Wishing each of you a long and healthy road ahead!


"Let food be your medicine" -Dr. V. G. Rocine (Dr.Bernard Jensen's Mentor)
"When diet is wrong, medicine is of no use.  When diet is correct, medicine is of no need." -Ayurvedic Proverb