Angelica Angelica archangelica
Angelica has a long tradition of use as a general tonic herb for women, children, and the elderly. It is said to strengthen the heart and provide an antidote against general debility. According to legend, Angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the plague. All parts of the plant were believed effective against evil spirits, and Angelica was held in such esteem that it was called 'The Root of the Holy Ghost.' In America it was used by the Iroquois and other tribes in ceremonial medicine, and in traditional lore an infusion of smashed roots was used as wash to remove ghosts from the house.
NOTE The fresh root of Angelica is not edible, said to be poisonous. Do not use while pregnant or breastfeeding without consulting your doctor.
Boneset Eupatorium perfoliatum
Boneset gets its name from its ability to "break bone fever." Used by North American Indians for stomach problems, colds, and fevers, in addition to arthritis and rheumatic ailments. Boneset has also been used to treat influenza, and is said to alleviate pain and reduce fever associated with such imbalance. European settlers used it as a cure-all. Boneset’s odor is weak, but its taste is extremely bitter.
NOTE Boneset is toxic in high doses.
Calendula Calendula officinalis
The flower petals of the Calendula plant have been used for medicinal purposes since at least the 12th century. Native to Mediterranean countries, Calendula is now cultivated across the globe. Calendula is typically added to salves and other topical preparations and has been shown to speed the healing of wounds, where it appears to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial effects.
Chamomile Matricaria recutita
It is said that the Egyptians dedicated Chamomile to their sun god and valued it over all other herbs for its healing qualities. Due to its sedative and relaxing properties Chamomile was an ingredient in some love potions of the middle ages. Chamomile flowers are used in alternative medicine as an anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, nervine, stomachic, tonic, and vasodilator. The anti-inflammatory properties make it good for rheumatism, arthritis, and other painful swellings.
Echinacea Echinaceae purpurea
Echinacea has been used in North America for more than 400 years to treat infections and wounds, and as a general "cure-all." Today, people use Echinacea to shorten the duration of the common cold and flu and reduce symptoms, such as sore throat (pharyngitis), cough, and fever. Many herbalists also recommend echinacea to help boost the immune system and help the body fight infections. Echinacea is well known for its anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Feverfew Chrysanthemum parthenium
Feverfew was first introduced to North America by European settlers in the 17th century, and has long been used to treat headaches and inflammation. Especially renowned as a treatment for migraines, Feverfew has also been used for menstrual problems such as cramping and irregularity. It can also be taken for problems such as joint pain and rheumatism.
NOTE Feverfew should not be used during pregnancy because of the stimulant action on the womb. The fresh leaves may cause mouth ulcers in sensitive people.
Mullein Verbascum olympicum
The Greeks, Romans, British and Native Americans have all used Mullein to treat a number of respiratory conditions, from a mild cough to bronchitis and asthma. The dried stalks of Mullein have also been used as torches. The flowers can be used to create bright yellow or green dyes, which were used by the ancient Romans to color hair, according to "Healing Teas" by Marie Nadine Antol. Greek mythology holds that Ulysses carried Mullein to protect himself from the evil Circe. For these purposes the leaves can be smoked or used to prepare tea.
NOTE Mullein causes allergic reactions in a small population.
Nettle Urtica dioica
In medieval Europe Stinging nettle was used as a diuretic (to rid the body of excess water) and to treat joint pain. Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anemia. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate, for urinary tract infections, for hay fever, or in compresses or creams for treating joint pain, sprains and strains, tendonitis, and insect bites.
NOTE Do not use while pregnant or breastfeeding without consulting your doctor. Stinging nettle should never be applied to an open wound. Be careful when handling the nettle plant because touching it can cause an allergic rash. Occasional side effects include mild stomach upset, fluid retention, and hives or rash (mainly from topical use).
Pleurisy Root Asclepias tuberosa
Some Native American legends tell of the roots being used as a body wash for lifting and running strength. Also used as a drug in chant lotion, and as a ceremonial emetic. Asclepias tuberosa has a long history of use as a valuable alternative medicine and is one of the most important of the indigenous American species. Butterfly Weed is used internally in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, chronic rheumatism, and as an expectorant. It has a specific action on the lungs, making it a valuable medicinal herb in all chest complaints and in the treatment of many lung diseases.
Skullcap Scutellaria lateriflora
Skullcap was well known among the Cherokee and other Native American healers as a strong emmenagogue and female medicinal herb. Today Skullcap is recognized as a powerful medicinal herb, used in alternative medicine as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, slightly astringent, emmenagogue, febrifuge, nervine, sedative and tonic.
NOTE Should be used with some caution since in overdose it causes giddiness, stupor, confusion and twitching. Skullcap has been linked to liver damage, though it is suspected that the source of damage was actually from Germander being substituted for Skullcap. Use in moderation and avoid if you have liver problems.
Spikenard Aralia racemosa
Spikenard was a popular herb among American Indians, who gathered its pleasantly scented roots for a variety of medicinal uses. Herbalists record that the Cherokees drank Spikenard tea for backache and that the Shawnees used it to treat gas pains, coughs, asthma, and chest pains. Other tribes gave the tea to women in labor to make childbirth swifter and less painful. The Micmacs reportedly applied a salve of spikenard to cuts and wounds, while the Ojibwas used the root in a poultice for healing broken bones. Early settlers used the juice from the dark purple berries and oil from the seeds. Medical practitioners in the 19th century prescribed the root to treat gout, rheumatism, syphilis, and other diseases in which it was deemed necessary to "purify the blood." More recently, Spikenard has gained popularity as an adaptogen, sharing many common properties with its close relative American Ginseng.
Tobacco Nicotiana rustica
Nicotiana rustica is also known as Sacred Tobacco, Mapacho, Aztec tobacco and a host of other names. It originated in Mexico but was widely cultivated throughout the Americas by native peoples for ceremonial purposes. Mapacho is considered very sacred by Amazonian shamans and is employed alone or in combination with other plants in shamanic practices. Some shamans drink the juice of tobacco leaves alone as a source of visions. Mapacho is used extensively in healing practices and is considered a medicine, not a health hazard, when used properly. The Tukanoan peoples of the Vaupés often rub a decoction of the leaves briskly over sprains and bruises. Amongst the Witotos and Boras, fresh leaves are crushed and poulticed over boils and infected wounds. Tikuna men mix the crushed leaves with the oil from palms to rub into the hair to prevent balding. The Jivaros take tobacco juice therapeutically for indisposition, chills and snake bites. In many tribes tobacco snuff may be employed medicinally for a variety of ills, particularly to treat pulmonary ailments.
The herbal information on this web site is intended for educational purposes only. It is not the intention of the editor to advise on health care. Please see a medical professional about any health concerns you have.
Disclaimer - These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information on this web site is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.
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