Important. Please Read: This website is for the presentation of the historical uses of herbs and it’s contents are for informational purposes only. Never take any herb or health supplement without first consulting your doctor. Never take any herb or supplement without your doctor’s consent if you are pregnant, nursing or trying to get pregnant. Never give herbs or health supplements to children without first talking to their doctor. The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA. The herbs and supplements mentioned are not intended to cure, treat, diagnose or prevent disease. Always play it safe.
If you are pregnant or nursing: NEVER take any herbs or supplements without first checking with your doctor!
Also see Herbs Listed By Health Condition
Scientific Name: Agrimonia eupatoria
Common Names: Common agrimony, church steeples or sticklewort
Part Used: Aerial parts
Habitat: Agrimony is native to Europe, but can also be found in temperate climate in most parts of the Northern hemisphere.
Agrimony tea is soothing and good for sore throats. It is sometimes used by singers to gargle with. This herb is used to refresh and clear the throat. Agrimony is sometimes used for loose bowels as well. This herb is sometimes prescribed for fevers, digestive and bowel troubles, coughs and asthma. It can be used externally for skin sores.
CAUTION: This herb may make the skin more sensitive to sunlight and may increase the risk of sunburn. Do not take if pregnant or nursing or if you are planning to have surgery within two weeks.
See our Agrimony page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Medicago sativa
Common Names: Buffalo grass, chilean clover, lucerne
Part Used: Leaves, stems, sprouts
Habitat: Alfalfa is native to southwestern Asia and Southeastern Europe. Also grows in North America and North Africa.
Alfalfa is known as the “Father of all foods” for good reason. It’s loaded with important vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and protein. It’s roots go down as far as 30 feet to pull valuable nutrients from the earth. This plant is commonly used for arthritis, digestive problems, as a diuretic and for reducing high cholesterol. It’s a very inexpensive source of easily digested nutrients. Alfalfa is high in beta-carotene and builds the immune system. This plant also contains chlorophyll, which is good for reducing bad breath and body odor.
CAUTION: Pregnant and nursing women should not eat alfalfa seeds due to their content of stachydrine and homostachydrine (may promote menstruation or cause miscarriage). People in general should never eat alfalfa seeds. They contain high levels of the toxic amino acid canavanine. Alfalfa is high in vitamin K and may work as an anti-coagulant so it shouldn’t be taken by people taking blood thinning medication.
Scientific Name: Aloe vera
Common Names: Aloe, cape, barbados
Part Used: Leaves
Habitat: Aloe is native to the Mediterranean. It also grows in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The gel inside of the leaves of the Aloe plant can be used externally to treat minor burns, sun burn, cuts, scrapes and poison ivy. Aloe gel is good for moisturizing the skin and is a main ingredient of many skin care products. Many people use it to reduce acne and treat other skin problems.
CAUTION: Some people have taken Aloe internally as a laxative. The Mayo Clinic website states that this is not safe and can lead to severe cramping, diarrhea and dangerous imbalances of electrolytes even if used infrequently.
Scientific Name: Panax quinquefolius
Common Names: Ginseng, xi yang shen
Part Used: Root
Habitat: American Ginseng grows in the eastern part of North America and Canada.
American ginseng is an adaptogen. An adaptogen is a substance which is good for the body in general and protects against stress of all types. This type of ginseng has been used to strengthen the immune system, increase strength and stamina, treat digestive disorders, treat diabetes, treat ADHD and as a general tonic for wellness. Many people believe that the best American ginseng comes from the state of Wisconsin in the U.S. American ginseng is considered a cooling ginseng, where Korean ginseng has a more warming effect on the body.
CAUTION: American Ginseng should not be taken by people with high blood pressure or by women who are pregnant.
See our American Ginseng page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Phyllanthus emblica
Common Names: Indian gooseberry
Part Used: Fruit
Habitat: Amla is native to India
Amla is often used in the Ayurvedic medicine system of India. It is rich in vitamin C and also contains many other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Amla is often used to treat inflammation of the joints, fevers, urinary tract infections and to control blood sugar. It is high in fiber and may be helpful in treating constipation.
See our Amla page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Angelica archangelica
Common Names: Garden angelica, norwegian angelica, holy ghost, wild celery, masterwort
Part Used: Leaves, stems, seeds, roots
Habitat: Angelica grows in Asia, Europe and the eastern U.S.
Angelica has traditionally been used for menopausal troubles, flatulence, appetite loss, digestive problems, respiratory ailments and arthritis. Like it’s Chinese counterpart Angelica sinensis (dong quai), this herb is used by many women for the reproductive system. It is believed to be a hormonal regulator and uterine tonic. Angelica tea is often used to treat PMS as well.
CAUTION: Angelica is not recommended during pregnancy.
Scientific Name: Pimpinella anisum
Common Names: Anise
Part Used: Seeds
Habitat: Anise is native to Egypt
Anise tea is made from the plant’s seeds. Is has a strong licorice taste. Anise is consumed to improve digestion, prevent flatulence, reduce bad breath and to treat coughs.
Scientific Name: Arnica montana
Common Names: Leopard’s bane, mountain daisy, mountain arnica
Part Used: Flowers
Habitat: Arnica is native to central Asia, Siberia and Europe. Cultivated in North America.
Arnica is used externally as an ointment for sore muscles, sprains and bruises. It possesses anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-septic properties.
CAUTION: Arnica should never be taken internally. Not recommended for long term use as it may cause skin irritation.
Scientific Name: Withania Somnifera
Common Names: Winter cherry, indian ginseng, ajagandha
Part Used: Roots, leaves, seeds
Habitat: Ashwagandha grows in India, Africa and widely cultivated around the world
Ashwagandha is sometimes called “Indian ginseng” as it has many similar health properties. This herb is very popular in the Ayurvedic system of health in India. It is considered an adaptogen. It is commonly used to relieve stress and strengthen the immune system. It has the ability to strengthen the body and increase endurance. This herb has been used in India for over 3,000 years as a rejuvenator. The seeds of this plant are thought to have a diuretic effect, while the leaves possess anti-inflammatory, analgesic and sedative properties. The chemical components of the root have anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, immune strengthening and sedative properties. This is a great herb for athletes and active people that need to increase their energy, strength and stamina.
CAUTION: Ashwagandha is high iron content and should NEVER be taken by women during pregnancy. This herb may also have a mild depressant effect and should not be taken with sedatives or alcohol.
See our Ashwagandha page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Astragalus membranaceus
Common Names: Huang qi, yellow leader, milk vetch
Part Used: Roots, rhizomes
Habitat: Astragalus is native to Mongolia and China. Cultivated in the U.S. and Canada
Astragalus is one of the most popular herbs in the traditional Chinese medicine system. It has been in use for over 2000 years. This herb is most often used as a diuretic and for lowering high blood pressure. Many people use it to treat upper respiratory infections as well as the common cold, as it seems to increase the production of white blood cells. Traditionally, this astragalus has also been used to increase energy, strengthen the immune system, treat excessive sweating, ulcers and diarrhea.
See our Astragalus page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Bacopa Monnieri
Common Names: Brahmi, Thyme-leafed gratiola, Coastal Waterhyssop, Water hyssop
Part Used: Whole plant.
Habitat: Bacopa is native to India
Bacopa has been used as an effective brain tonic in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for thousands of years in India. It is beneficial to long and short term memory. The plant’s saponins and bacosides have a positive effect on the brain’s neurotransmitters and can help one to think faster. Bacopa is now being studied as a possible treatment for ADHD, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Bacopa is often used to treat depression, anxiety asthma, allergies and bronchitis. It also possess some anti-inflammatory properties.
See our Bacopa page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Common Names: Uva ursi, mountain box, bear’s grape, kinnikinnick
Part Used: Leaves
Habitat: Bearberry grows throughout the Northern Hemisphere
Bearberry is often taken as a tea. This herb is commonly used to treat urinary tract infections and inflammation of the urinary tract. It has astringent, diuretic and antiseptic properties.
CAUTION: This Bearberry can be toxic in high doses. Never take it if you are pregnant or if you have kidney disease. Do not give Bearberry to children.
Scientific Name: Monarda didyma
Common Names: Wswego tea, mountain mint, scarlet bergamot
Part Used: Leaves
Habitat: Bee Balm is native to North America
Bee Balm was often used by the Native Americans to treat intestinal problems, colic and flatulence. Tea made from this plant was used to induce sweating and break fevers. Bee balm is often used to treat the common cold and sore throat as well. The leaves of this plant are a good source of essential oil that contains thymol. Thymol is an antibiotic and often used as an ingredient in mouthwash.
Scientific Name: Entomophile pollen
Common Names: Honey bee pollen
Part Used: Pollen
Habitat: Bee pollen can be found on every continent except Antarctica
Though technically not a herb, bee pollen has been used by healers for thousands of years for it’s health properties. It’s rich in important vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and trace minerals. It is a great source of easily digested and highly absorbable nutrition. Many people take it to increase energy.
CAUTION: Never consume bee pollen if you are allergic to bee stings.
See our Bee Pollen page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Vaccinium mytillus
Common Names: European blueberry, huckleberry, whortleberry
Part Used: Leaves, fruits
Habitat: Bilberry grows in the warm regions of the Northern Hemisphere
Bilberry has been used for centuries by European healers to treat such things as stomach cramps, diarrhea and diabetes. Now bilberry is most often used to prevent night blindness. It seems to be able to strengthen the capillaries and protect them from free radical damage. This plant contains flavonoids called anthocyanosides. These are a powerful antioxidant. In the past, bilberry has also been used as a remedy for varicose veins, hemorrhoids and bruising.
See our Bilberry page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Prunus serotina
Common Names: Bird cherry, rum cherry
Part Used: Bark
Habitat: Black Cherry is native to North America
Native Americans used black cherry as a medicinal herb to treat coughs. The bark from the black cherry tree was often made into a tea or syrup and used to expel worms, heal ulcers and treat burns. They also used it as a remedy for sore throat, pneumonia and lack of appetite. Black Cherry bark contains a glycoside called prunasin. This substance quells spasms in the smooth muscles of the bronchioles, thus reducing the cough reflex.
Scientific Name: Cimicifuga racemosa
Common Names: Black snakeroot, macrotys, bugwort, bugbane
Part Used: Roots, rhizome
Habitat: Black Cohosh is native to North America
The Cherokee Indians used black cohosh as a diuretic and as a remedy for fatigue and tuberculosis. Other native Americans used this herb to treat menstrual irregularities, rheumatism and sore throat. Today, black cohosh is used mainly to reduce the severity of premenopausal and menopausal symptoms, such as excessive sweating, depression and hot flashes.
CAUTION: Black cohosh is not the same as blue cohosh. Blue cohosh may be toxic and has not been tested for safety.
See our Black Cohosh page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Eupatorium perfoliatum
Common Names: Indian sage, feverwort, agueweed, sweat plant
Part Used: Leaves and flowers
Habitat: Boneset is native to North America
Boneset was used by the Native Americans to induce sweating and to treat colds, flu, arthritis, indigestion, loss of appetite, constipation, cholera, dengue, typhoid and malaria. This plant is still in use today to treat colds, flu, fever and minor inflammation.
CAUTION: Boneset may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if consumed in large amounts. NEVER consume fresh boneset. It is toxic. It must be dried before consuming. Do not use it if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. People who are allergic to ragweed should not consume boneset.
Scientific Name: Borago officinalis
Common Names: Burrage, beebread, star flower, bee Plant, talewort
Part Used: Flowers, seed oil
Habitat: Borage is native to Southern Europe
Borage is often used to treat fever, lung infections, inflammation of mucous membranes and as a diuretic. It may also be effective as a mild anti-depressant and sedative. Oil from Borage seeds are a rich source of gammalinolenic acid (GLA). GLA is a fatty acid used by the body to boost immunity and fight inflammation.
Scientific Name: Boswellia serrata
Common Names: Indian frankincense, Indian olibanum, dhup, and salai guggul
Part Used: Resin
Habitat: Boswellia is native to Africa and Asia
Boswellia has been used in the Ayurvedic medicine system of India for over 2,000 years. Ancient healers used it to treat conditions such as asthma, fevers, cardiovascular disorders, rheumatism, and diabetes. Today, this herb is mostly used to treat inflammation and pain of the joints. The tree’s resin contains boswellic acid that acts as a 5-LOX (5-lipoxygenase) inhibitor.
CAUTION: Boswellia may cause nausea and diarrhea, if taken in large quanities. Pregnant women should first talk to their doctor before taking this herb. It should not be taken by people with severe liver or kidney disease.
See our Boswellia page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Agathosma betulina
Common Names: Buchu, boegoe, bucco, bookoo, diosma
Part Used: Leaves
Habitat: Buchu is native to South Africa
Buchu is most often used as a stimulating tonic and a diuretic. It is now commonly used to treat urinary tract infections. In the past, this herb has also been used to treat arthritis, kidney stones and gout. It can also be used externally for bruises and sprains.
Scientific Name: Arctium Lappa
Common Names: Wild Burdock, gobo, burr, beggar’s buttons
Part Used: Seeds, leaves and roots
Habitat: Burdock grows in the United States, Europe, Japan and China
Burdock was used by the ancient Greeks to treat wounds and infections. This herb is loaded with beneficial vitamins and minerals and is often used to treat liver and digestive problems, urinary tract infections, ulcers, eczema, psoriasis and to boost energy and stamina. It has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and makes a good immune system booster and blood purifier.
Burdock is a strong detoxifier and could aggravate certain types of skin conditions before the healing process starts working. Burdock may interfere with several prescription drugs, like those for treating diabetes or blood sugar conditions. Pregnant or nursing women should talk with their doctor before taking this herb.
See our Burdock page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Petasites hybridus
Common Names: Common butterbur, coughwort, pestilence wort
Part Used: Leaves, rhizomes
Habitat: Butterbur is native to Asia and Europe
Butterbur has traditionally been used to treat coughs, urinary problems, fever and to expel intestinal parasites. Now this herb is mostly used as an anti-inflammatory agent and to treat migraine headaches. It is sometimes used to reduce smooth muscle spasms. Some studies have found butterbur effective in reducing bronchial spasms in people having bronchitis and asthma. Butterbur extract is often just as effective as prescription antihistamines for treating allergic rhinitis and hay fever.
Scientific Name: Calendula officinalis
Common Names: Pot marigold, poet’s mairgold, Cape Weed
Part Used: Flowers
Habitat: Calendula is native to the Mediterranean region
Historically, calendula was used to induce menstruation, break fevers, cure jaundice, treat open sores and for liver and stomach problems. It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used externally for sunburn and eczema. Today this herb is most often used externally to treat slow healing wounds and to promote tissue repair.
CAUTION: Do not take Calendula internally if pregnant or nursing. Could cause miscarriage.
Scientific Name: Frangula purshiana
Common Names: Cascara buckthron, california buckthory, sacred bark
Part Used: Bark
Habitat: Cascara Sagrada is native to the Pacific Northwest in North America
Cascara Sagrada was used by Native Americans as a laxative and to treat constipation, colitis, upset stomach, jaundice and hemorrhoids. Today it is sometimes used as a laxative.
CAUTION: Cascara Sagrada is not recognized as safe by the FDA. Cascara Sagrada is often to strong of a laxative and can cause intense stomach discomfort. A more gentle laxative, such as Psyllium is usually recommended. Do not take if pregnant.
Scientific Name: Nepeta cataria
Common Names: Catmint, catswort, catnep, catrup
Part Used: Flowers, Leaves
Habitat: Catnip is native to Asia and Europe
Medieval herbalists often used catnip to treat coughs, scalp irritations, bruises, restlessness and gas. Modern herbalists use this herb primarily to treat upset stomach, colic, colds, fever, flu and diarrhea. It is sometimes used to treat inflammation, allergies and as a mild sedative.
CAUTION: Do not take Catnip if you are pregnant or nursing. Catnip may stimulate the uterus and cause miscarriage. Do not give to children. Unsafe to smoke.
Scientific Name: Uncaria tomentosa
Common Names: Peruvian cat’s claw, hawk’s claw
Part Used: Bark, root
Habitat: Cat’s Claw is native to South and Central America
Cat’s claw has been used by the natives of Peru for centuries to treat conditions such as asthma, bone pain, arthritis, urinary tract infections, ulcers and intestinal problems. Today, this herb is most often used to boost the immune system and as an anti-inflammatory. It is often taken for rheumatism and even to treat HIV and cancer.
CAUTION: Do not take Cat’s Claw if pregnant or nursing. Do not give to children.
See our Cat’s Claw page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Capsicum annuum
Common Names: Red pepper, capsicum, chili pepper
Part Used: Fruit
Habitat: Cayenne is native to tropical regions of the Americas
Cayenne was used by Native Americans as a pain reliever and to halt infections. It was also used for toothache, arthritis and to aid digestion. This herb has anti-bacterial properties, can stimulate blood flow and is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Many people consume cayenne to maintain cardiovascular health. Studies suggest that it may be able to reduce triglyceride levels and platelet aggregation in the blood.
CAUTION: Hot peppers like Cayenne may irritate the skin. Use care when handling. Taking large amounts of Cayenne could cause stomach discomfort.
Scientific Name: Matricaria recutita
Common Names: German chamomile, wild chamomile
Part Used: Flower heads, oil
Habitat: Chamomile is native to Asia, Africa and Europe
Used by the ancient Egyptians for fever and chills, chamomile is still in wide use today. This plant is used for colic, indigestion, flatulence, bloating heartburn and to calm nervousness. Chamomile has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic, antibacterial and antispasmodic properties. Some people suffering from peptic ulcers find relief from drinking chamomile tea.
CAUTION: Chamomile may cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to ragweed or other plants in the daisy family.
See our Chamomile page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Larrea tridentata
Common Names: Creosote bush, stinkweed, gobernadora, hediondilla
Part Used: Leaves, twigs
Habitat: Chaparral is native to the U.S. and Mexico
Native Americans used chaparral for rheumatism, intestinal problems, colds, flu, bronchitis, diarrhea and urinary tract problems. They also chewed the twigs of this plant to relieve toothaches. Today chaparral is known to contain a powerful antioxidant and is being studied as a possible treatment for cancer.
Scientific Name: Vitex agnus-castus
Common Names: Chaste berry, vitex, agnus castus, monk’s pepper, Abraham’s balm
Part Used: Fruits
Habitat: The chaste tree is native to Southern Europe and Western Asia
For over 2,500 years the chaste tree has been used to treat gynecological problems such as relieving menstrual cramps, promoting normal menstruation and to treat a host of other menstrual disorders. Today it still used for these same conditions. It is most commonly used to treat the symptoms of PMS.
CAUTION: NEVER take chaste tree if you are pregnant. Should not be taken with any type of hormone therapy.
Scientific Name: Cichorium intybus
Common Names: Succory, wild succory, coffeeweed
Part Used: Whole herb
Habitat: Chicory is native to Asia, Europe and North America
Chicory was often used by the Native Americans for cleaning the blood, as a nerve tonic and diuretic. Today it is commonly used to treat loss of appetite and indigestion.
CAUTION: People with gallstones should not consume chicory.
Scientific Name: Cinnamonum verum
Common Names: Chinese cassia, ceylon cinnamon, saigon cinnamon
Part Used: Bark
Habitat: Cinnamon is native to India. Cultivated in Indonesia, Africa and South America.
Cinnamon is most often used to soothe digestion, treat colds, nausea and inflammation. Cinnamon’s essential oil has antifungal, antibacterial and antispasmodic properties.
Scientific Name: Lycopodium clavatum
Common Names: Ground pine, stag’s horn moss, wolf’s claw moss, running pine
Part Used: Whole plant
Habitat: Clubmoss is native to the Northern and Southern Hemispheres
Clubmoss has been used by ancient healers for over two thousand years. The druids used this plant as a laxative and purgative. Native Americans used it to treat postpartum pain, fever, weakness and to stop the bleeding of wounds. Today, clubmoss is used for kidney and urinary disorders, stomach upset, diarrhea and for treating skin conditions. This plant contains a substance called Huperzine which may be effective for memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease. More studies on clubmoss have to be done to determine it’s safety and effectiveness in this area.
Scientific Name: Symphytum officinale
Common Names: Knitbone, slippery root, blackwort
Part Used: Leaves, roots
Habitat: Comfrey is native to Europe and Asia
Comfrey was used as a poultice by the ancient Greeks to stop bleeding. They also drank it as a tea for diarrhea and bronchitis.
CAUTION: Never take comfrey internally. Even though it was recommended by ancient healers in the past it has recently been shown to cause severe liver damage.
Scientific Name: Cordyceps sinensis
Common Names: Caterpillar fungus, Zhiling, Cs-4
Part Used: Fruiting body
Habitat: Cordyceps mushrooms grows wild on the Himalayan Plateau
This mushroom has a long history of use in Chinese herbalism. It is considered a great tonic for building physical strength and endurance. There is a substance in cordyceps which dilates the lung’s airways, providing more oxygen to the blood. For this fact it is very popular with athletes. This healing mushroom is also used to treat asthma, cough and bronchitis. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties and has the ability to relax the bronchial walls. It’s a great immune system booster as well.
See our Cordyceps page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Taraxacum officinale
Common Names: Lion’s tooth, blowball, fairy clock, wetweed, priests Crown
Part Used: Leaves, flowers, root
Habitat: Dandelion is native to Europe and Asia but grow all over the world
The dandelion was in use as far back as ancient China for it’s medicinal properties. It was used as a potent diuretic and detoxifying herb. Other common uses of this plant were to treat breast inflammation, digestive disorders, appendicitis and to stimulate milk flow. European herbalists used dandelion as a remedy for eye problems, diarrhea, diabetes and fever.
Scientific Name: Angelica sinensis
Common Names: Dang gui, tang-kuei, danggui, Chinese angelica
Part Used: Root
Habitat: This herb is native to China, Japan, and Korea
Often called female ginseng in China, Dong Quai is very popular with women there. It is used as a remedy for menstrual cycle disorder and to treat symptoms such as bleeding of the uterus and menstruation pain. It is helpful for relieving vaginal dryness, hot flashes, mood swings and PMS.
CAUTION: Never take Dong Quai if pregnant. Taking this herb could stimulate contractions of the uterus, which could lead to miscarriage.
See our Dong Quai page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Echinacea purpurea
Common Names: Purple coneflower, coneflower, purple encinacea
Part Used: Roots, leaves and flowers
Habitat: Echinacea is native to Central and Eastern North America
Echinacea is very popular for treating colds and flu. This herb is a great immune system booster. Many people enjoy it as a healthy tea. Some of it’s other uses are for treating sore throat and upper respiratory tract infections. It is a good detoxifier and has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties.
See our Echinacea page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Polygonum Multiflorum
Common Names: He Shou Wu, climbing knotweed, flowery knotweed, Chinese cornbind, polygonum flower
Part Used: Root
Habitat: Fo-Ti is native to China
Fo-Ti is a famous longevity herb that has been in constant use in China for thousands of years. It is very popular with older men and is said to be able to turn one’s hair back to it’s youthful color and appearance. This herb is also used to strengthen the lower back and knees. It can be used to strengthen the bones, tendons and muscles as well as to nourish blood.
CAUTION: Fo-Ti could cause stomach upset and diarrhea if taken in very large amounts.
See our Fo-Ti page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Ginkgo biloba
Common Names: Ginkgo, bao gou, Yin-hsing, Maidenhair tree
Part Used: Leaves and seeds
Habitat: Ginkgo biloba is native China but is also cultivated in Japan, France and the southern United States.
Ginkgo Biloba improves the flow of blood to the brain and increases oxygen to the brain cells. It is often used as an effective cognitive enhancer and memory booster.
Ginkgo possesses anti-coagulating properties and prevents the formation of blood clots. This could in turn reduce risk of stroke. This herb contains powerful antioxidants. Its terpenoids and flavonoids protect the body from free radical damage and cell oxidation.
CAUTION: Ginkgo can sometimes cause headaches and dizziness if taken in large doses. You should not take ginkgo if you are taking anti-depressants such as MAOI or SRRI medicines.
See our Ginkgo Biloba page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Centella asictica
Common Names: Centella, Indian pennywort, Brahmi, Luei gong gen
Part Used: Leaves, Stems
Habitat: Gotu Kola grows in Africa, North and South America, Asia, Australia and Madagascar
Gotu Kola has been used historically to relieve congestion from upper respiratory infections and colds and for wound healing. It is very popular for treating varicose veins and memory loss.
CAUTION: Gotu Kola should NEVER be taken by women who are trying to get pregnant. It should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women or children without talking to your doctor first. May cause sensitivity to sunlight and should never be taken by people with skin cancer.
See our Gotu Kola page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Gynostemma Pentaphyllum
Common Names: Jiaogulan, southern ginseng, miracle herb, longevity herb, miracle tea, Jiao Gu Lan
Part Used: Leaves
Habitat: Gynostemma is native to Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam
Gynostemma (Jiaogulan) is an adaptogen. It can bring you body into a state of balance. This herb is great for increasing strength and protecting the body and mind against stress. Gynostemma can boost the functioning of the immune system and is good for the digestive and cardiovascular systems.
CAUTION: Gynostemma should not be taken with herbs or medicines that affect immune system suppression or blood clotting.
See our Gynostemma page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Ocimum Sanctum
Common Names: Tulsi, Sacred basil, Surasa, Tulasi, Kemangen
Part Used: Leaves, Stems
Habitat: Holy Basil is native to India
Holy Basil is used for reducing stress, anxiety and depression. It promotes health and wellbeing and protects the body and mind in a very positive way. It is also known to enhance cerebral circulation and improve memory.
CAUTION: Holy Basil has the ability to thin the blood and should not be taken along with blood thinning medications. It should not by taken by persons with hypoglycemia. It may decrease fertility and should never be taken by women trying to get pregnant. Never take if pregnant or nursing without first consulting your doctor.
See our Holy Basil page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Piper Methysticum
Common Names: Kava, awa, ava pepper
Part Used: Rhizome, roots
Habitat: Kava grows on the Pacific Islands
Kava has been used by the people of the Pacific islands for hundreds of years as a natural anti-anxiety treatment. It has a very calming effect and puts most people in a good mood. It has also been used as a diuretic and to treat urinary problems, arthritis, asthma and upset stomach. It is very popular in Germany and often prescribed as the first line of treatment for anxiety disorders.
CAUTION: Some studies suggest that Kava could harm the liver. Never take this herb if you are pregnant or nursing. Could cause dry mouth and dizziness it taken in high doses.
See our Kava page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Panax ginseng
Common Names: Korean ginseng, Asian ginseng, Oriental ginseng, Man root, root of immortality, Asiatic ginger
Part Used: Root
Habitat: Korean ginseng is native to Korea and China
Korean ginseng is an adaptogen. An adaptogen can help your body and mind handle stress better. This is an energizing herb often taken by people to ward off fatigue, increase strength, stamina and sharpen mental abilities. This herb is believed to lower cholesterol and may be helpful in treating diabetes and depression. Korean ginseng is a good immune system booster. Since it has a warming effect on the body, it’s best taken in the winter months.
CAUTION: Taking large doses or prolonged use may not be good for people having high blood pressure. Taking high doses of this type of ginseng may cause irritability.
See our Korean Ginseng page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Cymbopogon citratus
Common Names: Silky heads, fever grass, barbed wire grass, tanglad, hierba Luisa, citronella grass or gavati chaha
Part Used: Grass
Habitat: Lemongrass is native to tropical Asia and India
Lemongrass is used to treat many health conditions, such as cancer, stomach problems, nervous disorders, fevers, arthritis, flu, gas, pain and others. Lemongrass tea is a relaxing beverage that helps reduce anxiety and promotes sound sleep. Used externally, it can treat skin problems and keep the skin moist and clear.
CAUTION: Lemongrass should NOT be taken if pregnant since it has uterine stimulating properties.
See our Lemongrass page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Licorice Root, Chinese
Scientific Name: Glycyrrhiza Uralensis
Common Names: Guo Lao, sweat herb, sweet wood, beauty grass, elf grass, pink grass
Part Used: Root
Habitat: Chinese licorice root is native to Asia
Chinese licorice root is very popular in the Chinese medicine system. It is added to many herbal formulas to enhance their effectiveness. Licorice is great to detoxify the body. It is able to remove over 1,200 toxins.
CAUTION: Do not take Chinese Licorice root if you suffer from heart disease or high blood pressure. Do NOT take if Pregnant or nursing. May cause the retention of water.
See our Chinese Licorice Root page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Hericium erinaceus
Common Names: Satyr’s beard, Hedgehog mushroom, Bearded hedgehog, Bearded tooth, Old man’s beard, Sheep’s head, Bear’s head, Monkey’s Head, Hedgehog, Pom Pom and Japanese yamabushitake
Part Used: Fruiting Body
Habitat: The Lion’s mane mushroom grows in Europe, Asia, and parts of North America
The Lion’s mane mushroom is used to boost the immune system, promote digestive and colon health, improve the memory and relieve depression and anxiety. It is also used to lower blood pressure and stimulate the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor. It is being considered as a treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
See our Lion’s Mane page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Lycium barbarum
Common Names: Goji, wolfberry
Part Used: Fruit
Habitat: Lycium grows in Northwestern China and Tibet
Lycium fruit has been consumed for centuries in China for its sweet taste and health giving properties. The berries from the Lycium plant are one of the most nutritious foods on earth. Besides supplying many vitamins and minerals to the body, these berries are often eaten for their high antioxidant value. Eating Lycium berries every day is believed to keep a person healthy well into old age.
CAUTION: Do not take if you have low blood pressure. Lycium can effect how quickly the liver breaks down some medications.
See our Lycium Fruit page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Lepidium meyenii
Common Names: Peruvian ginseng
Part Used: Root
Habitat: Maca is native to Peru
Maca is an adaptogen and helps the body cope with stress. This root is rich in vitamins, minerals, good fats, plant sterols and amino acids. Some people refer to it as a “superfood”. The people of Peru found that consuming maca root could greatly enhance physical strength and stamina as well as boost the libido. It’s a great overall energy booster and is popular with athletes. Maca is beneficial to the nervous system and is calming to the nerves. Today, this herb is mostly used for increasing energy and balancing the hormones.
CAUTION: Maca has a high iodine content and should not be consumed by people having thyroid disease. It has stimulant properties and could possibly raise the heart rate. It may not be safe for pregnant women to use maca supplements. More research is needed.
See our Maca Root page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Silybum marianum
Common Names: Silymarin, Marian Thistle, Mediterranean Thistle, Mary Thistle
Part Used: Seeds
Habitat: Milk Thistle is native to Europe
Milk thistle is a great protector of the liver and gallbladder. It can detoxify the blood and is often taken to treat cancer.
See our Milk Thistle for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Grifola frondosa
Common Names: King of Mushrooms, Cloud Mushroom, Dancing Mushroom, Grifola, Hen of the Woods, Shelf Fungi
Part Used: Root
Habitat: Maitake is native to China and Japan
The Maitake mushroom contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is thought to be helpful in treating cancer and auto immune disorders.
See our Maitake page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Rhodiola Rosea
Common Names: Golden Root, Arctic Root, Arctic Rose, Roseroot, Aaron’s Rod
Part Used: Root
Habitat: Rhodiola is native Siberia
Rhodiola rosea is very popular with Russian astronauts and athletes due to its ability to enhance physical strength and endurance. Also, taking rhodiola will allow the body to use less oxygen on a cellular level. Besides its beneficial effects on the body, this herb is often used to keep the mind sharp and improve memory. It is now gaining popularity as a natural anti-depressant. Rhodiola is considered an adaptogen. This means that it helps protect the body from all types of stress.
See our Rhodiola Rosea page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Serenoa repens
Common Names: Sabal palm, palmetto berry, sabal fructus, cabbage palm, American dwarf palm tree
Part Used: Fruit
Habitat: Saw Palmetto grows in the islands of the West Indies and Southeastern United States
Saw palmetto is a very popular herb with men over 40. It is often used to treat Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and it’s symptoms, like painful urination and the need to urinate frequently. Another popular use of this herb is to treat male pattern baldness by reducing the body’s levels of dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Too much DHT is believed to be what causes hair loss.
CAUTION: Do not take Saw palmetto if you take any blood thinning medication or if you have hemophilia, ulcers, or if you are planning any type of surgery. Taking this herb may increase the risk of bleeding.
See our Saw Palmetto page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Schizandra chinensis
Common Names: Schisandra, Five flavor berry, Omicha, Wu wei zi, Magnolia vine
Part Used: Fruit
Habitat: Schizandra is native to northern China
Schizandra berries are an adaptogen. Eating them may help you adapt to mental and physical stress more easily. It is packed with nutrition and gives one more energy. It is very beneficial to the skin.
CAUTION: Schizandra should not be taken by people who have gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD), epilepsy, peptic ulcers or high brain (intracranial) pressure.
See our Schizandra page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Asphaltum
Common Names: Mineral Pitch, Vegetable Asphalt
Part Used: The resin
Habitat: Shilajit can be found in the Himalayan area, Nepal and Tibet.
Shilajit contains many vitamins and minerals and is often taken to increase longevity.
CAUTION: Do not take Shilajit if you suffer from gout. It can increase uric acid in the body. Children, pregnant or nursing mothers should always seek the advice of their doctor before taking.
See our Shilajit page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Eleutherococcus senticosus
Common Names: Siberian ginseng, eleuthero
Part Used: Root
Habitat: Siberian Ginseng is native to Russia, China and Korea
Siberian ginseng (Eleuthero) is considered an energizer and stress reducer. It has been used for hundreds of years as a invigorating tonic herb. It is a powerful adaptogen that can normalize the body and bring it back into balance.
It has been very popular with the Russian athletes and cosmonauts for its ability to protect the body and mind from stress and increase the capacity for hard mental and physical work. Many students take this type of ginseng for its beneficial effects. It is believed to help a person think more clearly and remember facts more easily.
CAUTION: If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor before taking Siberian ginseng.
See our Siberian Ginseng page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Scutellaria lateriflora
Common Names: Mad dog, quaker bonnet, hoodwort, helmet flower, blue pimpernel
Part Used: The whole plant
Habitat: Skullcap grows in Europe, Asia, Canada and the United States
Skullcap is an ancient sleep aid remedy. It can greatly reduce anxiety and nervousness. It is often called nature’s tranquilizer. Besides its use as a sleep aid, many people take it to relieve muscle spasms and twitches, lower blood pressure and cholesterol. This herb also possesses anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful for treating arthritis and joint pain.
CAUTION: DO NOT TAKE while pregnant. Skullcap could cause miscarriage! Large doses of this herb may be harmful and could cause liver damage.
See our Skullcap page for more in-depth information and pictures.
St. John’s Wort
Scientific Name: Hypericum perforatum
Common Names: Johnswort, goat weed, hard hay, amber, klamath weed
Habitat: St. John’s Wort grows in Europe, The United States and Australia
St. John’s Wort is known as Nature’s anti-depressant. It is often used to treat depression and anxiety. It functions as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). This allows more serotonin to stay where it’s needed to keep you feeling less depressed and anxious. This herb is also used to help quit smoking. St. John’s work possesses antiviral properties and can be used externally to treat wounds.
CAUTION: This herb can exacerbate sunburn in fair skinned people.
See our St. John’s Wort page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Pfaffia paniculata
Common Names: Brazilian ginseng, Para Todo
Part Used: Root
Habitat: Suma root is native to Latin America, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Panama and Venezuela
Suma is often called Brazilian ginseng due to it’s ability to increase strength and stamina. Like all adaptogens, suma is good for reducing the ill effects of stress. This herb balances the hormones and is commonly taken to strengthen the adrenal glands. Suma contains germanium and so can boost the immune system. It contains many vitamins and minerals and has anti-inflammatory properties as well.
CAUTION: Suma could cause nausea if taken in large amounts.
See our Suma Root page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Curcuma longa
Common Names: Indian saffron, Jiang huang, Haridra
Part Used: Root
Habitat: Turmeric is native to India
Turmeric contains a powerful antioxidant called curcumin and is a great natural liver detoxifier.
CAUTION: Do NOT take Turmeric if pregnant or nursing. May possibly stimulate the uterus or promote a menstrual period. Should not be taken by people taking blood thinning medicine, as it can slow blood clotting. Could cause upset stomach, heartburn or nausea if taken in large amounts.
See our Turmeric page for more in-depth information and pictures.
Scientific Name: Valerian officinalis
Common Names: St. George’s Herb, Set Well, Vandal Root, Fragrant Valerian, English Valerian, Amantilla
Part Used: Root
Habitat: Valerian is native to Western Europe, Asia and North America
Valerian is an ancient remedy for insomnia and a great stress buster. Many people find it an effective treatment for anxiety as well. The active components in this herb increase the production of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). The brain needs GABA to get to sleep faster and relax.
CAUTION: Valerian root should not be taken while pregnant. Do not give to children.
See our Valerian Root page for more in-depth information and pictures.
More herbal quick facts coming soon. See the right sidebar for links to the most popular herbs and herb articles.
Be sure to see our Herb Articles section during your visit.
To use our herbs list encyclopedia to look up a herb and learn more about how it can benefit you, just click on one of the category links. You may always return to the home page by clicking on the title “Herbs List” at the top of the page.
On each page, one herb (with picture) is featured. We list the scientific and common names of the herb as well as it’s history and traditional healing properties. We’ll also list any possible side effects of taking the herb. At the bottom of each herb page we’ll have some links to scientific studies if you’d like to read them.
A Few Recommendations
On occasion, we also recommend a few high quality health supplements Bill or I have personally tried and found effective. You can be sure, we will never recommend any product we have not personally taken ourselves or performed in-depth research on.
What Are Herbs?
Herbs are truly a gift from nature. They are very versatile and can be used as food, medicine and health supplements. Webster’s dictionary describes a herb as a plant with a fleshy stem. While this is true, herbalist also consider the following as herbs.
- Tree and vine Bark
- Flower pollen collected by Bees
- Berries or Fruit
- Plant oil and resin
- Seeds and nuts and their husks or shells
- Some types of foods such as garlic
Herbs have been used since the beginning of human history as a food source and to cure specific aliments, increase strength and endurance and to improve overall health. Ancient people gathered local herbs for food and discovered that each herb also possessed specific healing properties.
For example: Ginseng was found to increase physical and mental strength and endurance. Reshie mushroom was found to calm the mind and spirit and so on.
There are several major healing systems that use herbs for their medicinal properties. Ayurvedic Formulas from India, Traditional Chinese medicine from China and Native American remedies from The United States Of America.
Each culture independently discovered the herbs in there area that were beneficial to health and could treat specific health conditions. They built their healing herbs list over centuries of trial and error. An example would be a herb for increased energy from China would be ginseng. In Peru, they used maca root. In the United States they consumed bee pollen. And in India they used ashwagandha. Now, with the speed of the internet, we can learn about and buy any herb from any one of these powerful healing systems.
Why Take Herbs?
If you want to dramatically improve all aspect of your health, herbs and herbal supplements can help. Herbs are a natural means of preventing and curing many types of ailments and diseases. About 25% of prescription medicine has at least one herbal component in it. These are most often potent herbal extracts. An example would be aspirin, that was first created from white willow bark.
It’s important to remember that herbs are not medicine. They are food. A very high quality food that contains a highly assimilable form of vitamins, minerals and elements that balance the body in a beneficial manner. This fact makes herbs generally much safer to take that prescription drugs.
It seems that every day modern medicine is telling us to take more prescription drugs. Yes, there’s a drug for everything. While some drugs are very useful and do save lives, there is a limit to how many of these the body can withstand. I believe that taking herbs whenever possible is the better and more healthy way to go. There are many herbs that work as well or better than prescription medicine for certain conditions. An example would be taking ginger rather than Dramamine. In scientific tests, ginger was found to be more effective in preventing motion sickness.
What Are The Side Effects Of Herbs?
Since herbs are food, there are generally no dangerous side effects of using them in there natural state. If they are herbal extracts, they are more potent then the raw herb and should be taken in smaller doses to get the desired effects. Some herbs have a cleansing and detoxifying effect on the body and can cause diarrhea and nausea if taken in large quantity. Don’t worry. It’s good to cleanse the body of toxins. Just start off slowly and you’ll get the best long term results.
How Soon Will I Experience The Health Benefits Of Taking Herbs?
This is impossible to say. Everyone is different and in a different state of health when they start taking herbs. If you’re very ill, they may take a while longer to bring about the desired results than if you were already healthy when you started taking the herbs.
When Is The Best Time To Take Herbs?
Since herbs are food and not medicine, you can take them any time you want. Of course you wouldn’t want to take an energizing herb like ginseng right at bedtime or sedative herbs first thing in the morning. You can decide for yourself if you prefer to take herbs with or without a meal. Do what works best for you. Some herbs work better on an empty stomach. You’ll have to read the label on the supplement bottle to see what is the recommended way of taking them.
No matter what it is we’re doing, it’s always best to play it safe. Never take herbs or any health supplement without first talking it over with your doctor. Especially if you are pregnant or nursing, taking medication or are suffering from a disease or illness. Never give a child any herb or health supplement without first talking to your child’s doctor. Even though herbs are all natural and usually safe when taken in moderation, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
A Note From Our Editors
Hi. My name is Miranda Barros. Welcome to our website. My husband Bill and I are the editors here at HerbsList.net. We’ve been taking herbal supplements for over 25 years and have learned a lot about them through trial and error. Now, we’d like to share our passion for herbs with you, and hopefully pass on a little useful information along the way. We truly hope this information about herbs will help you discover the wonderful health benefits that are available to you right now. Thank’s for reading and please set a bookmark, as we’ll be adding more information to our herbs list on a regular basis.
Miranda & Bill Barros
(Herbs List Editors)