Properties and Uses of Herbs
LAUREL, BAY LAUREL – Laurus nobilis (Lauraceae)
Native to the Mediterrenean region, bay laurel is know cultivated all over the world. Bay laurel was sacred to the gods Apollo and Aesculapius, who together oversaw healing and medicine. The herb was thought to be greatly protective and healing. An infusion of the leaves was taken for its warming and tonic effect on the stomach and bladder, and a plaster made from the leaves was used to relieve wasp and bee stings. Bay laurel is used mainly to treat upper digestive tract disorders and to ease arthritic aches and pains. It is settling to the stomach and has a tonic effect, stimulating the appetite and the secretion of digestive juices.
HEALINGPROPERTIES: Astringent, digestive.
LAVENDER – Lavandula officinalis syn. L. angustifolia (Labiatae)
Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region and is cultivated in France, Spain and elsewhere. It has been used for aromatic purposes by the Romans in washing water and baths. This herb has uses in culinary, cosmetics and medicine. It is effective to cure headaches, especially when related to stress, to clear depression associated with weakness and depression. Externally, lavender oil has been used as a stimulating liniment to help ease aches and pains of rheumatism.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Carminative, relieves muscle spasms, antidepressant, antiseptic and antibacterial, stimulates blood flow.
LEMON – Citrus Limon (Rutaceae)
A native from Asia, probably from India, it is now widely cultivated in Italy, California and Australia. Lemon was unknown to the ancient Greeks arriving in Europe probably brought by Roman soldiers returning from Asia Minor. It is one of the most important and versatile natural medicines for home use. A familiar food as well as a remedy, it has a high vitamin C content that helps improve resistance to infection, making it valuable for colds and flu. It is taken as a preventative for many conditions, including stomach infections, circulatory problems and arteriosclerosis. Lemon juice and oil are effective in killing germs. It decreases inflammation and improves digestion.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, anti-rheumatic, antibacterial, antioxidant, reduces fever.
MALVA, COMMON MALLOW – Malva silvestris (Malvaceae)
The young leaves and shoots of this plant have been eaten since at least the 8th century BC. The plant’s many uses gave rise to the Spanish adage, “A kitchen garden and mallow, sufficient medicines for a home.” The flowers and leaves are emollient and good for sensitive areas of the skin. It is applied as a poultice to reduce swelling and draw out toxins. Taken internally, the leaves reduce gut irritation and have a laxative effect. When common mallow is combined with eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), it makes a good remedy for coughs and other chest ailments.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, emollient, astringent, laxative.
MARJORAM,WILD MARJORAM – Origanum vulgare (Labiatae)
Native from Asia, marjoram cultivated commercially in several regions. Much used by the ancient Greeks, wild marjoram has had a more significant role in medicine than sweet marjoram (O. majorana). Marjoram tea is an age-old remedy to aid digestion, increase sweating and encourage menstruation. As a steam inhalant, marjoram clears the sinuses and helps relieve laryngitis. Wild marjoram helps settle flatulence and stimulates the flow of bile. Strongly antiseptic, it may be taken to treat respiratory conditions such as coughs, tonsillitis, bronchitis and asthma. The diluted oil can be applied to toothache or painful joints.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, digestive.
MATE- Hex paraguariensis syn. I. paraguensis (Aquifoliaceae)
Native to South America, probably to Paraguay, mate is a traditional South American tea that increases short-term physical and mental energy levels. It is taken as a fortifying beverage in much the same way as tea (Camellia sinensis) is consumed throughout Asia and Europe. Mate has properties similar to those of tea and coffee (Coffea arabica). It stimulates the nervous system, is mildly analgesic and diuretic. As a medicinal herb, mate is used to treat headaches, migraine, neuralgic and rheumatic pain, fatigue and mild depression. It has also been used in the treatment of diabetes.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Stimulant, diuretic, analgesic.
MELISSA, LEMON BALM – Melissa officinalis (Labiatae)
Lemon Balm has been cultivated in the Mediterranean region for more than 2,000 years. The Muslim herbalist Avicenna recommended lemon balm for heart problems. Its main action is as a tranquilizer. It calms nervous spasms, colics and hearth spasms. The hot tea promotes sweat that that is good for colds, flus and fevers. Its sedative actions have been used to help in the treatment of psychiatric problems, including dystonia. Lemon’s balm anti-histamine action is useful to treat eczema and headaches. Today, this sweet-smelling herb is still widely valued for its calming properties, and new research shows that it can help significantly in the treatment of cold sores.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Relaxant, antispasmodic, increases sweating, carminative, anti-viral, nerve tonic.
MISTLETOE – Viscum album (Loranthaceae)
Native to Europe and northern Asian, mistletoe is chiefly used to lower blood pressure and hearth rate, ease anxiety and promote sleep. In low doses it also relieves panic attacks, headaches, and improves the ability to concentrate. Mistletoe is also prescribed for tinnitus and epilepsy. It may be used to treat hyperactivity in children. Mistletoe contain viscotoxins that ihnibit tumors and stimulete the immune system. For this reason, research has been carried out on its potential use as a cancer treating plant .
HEALINGPROPERTIES: Tranquilizer, reduces pain, controls blood pressure.
MOTHERWORT – Leonurus cardiaca (Labiatae)
Native to Europe, motherworth has been used as a medicinal plant in early Greece, where it was used to calm pregnant women suffering from anxiety. The other prominent use of the herb is due to is action over the hearth by decreasing muscle spasms and lowering blood pressure. Other uses include the improvement of fertility, the relief of postpartum depression and menopause. Antispasmodic and sedative, the herb promotes relaxation rather than drowsiness. However, motherwort stimulate the muscles of the uterus, and is particularly suitable for delayed periods, period pain and premenstrual tension (especially if shock or distress is a factor).
HEALING PROPERTIES: Nervine, emmenagogue, anti-spasmodic, hepatic, hypotensive, cardiac tonic.
MYRRH – Commiphora molmol syn. C. myrrha (Burseraceae)
Native to north-east Africa, myrrh is mainly found in Ethiopia, Somalia, Saudi-Arabia, Iran and Thailand. Myrrh has been used in perfumes, incense and embalming. Its astringent, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties have been used to treat acne and boils as well as mild inflammatory conditions. It finds specific use in the treatment of infections in the mouth such as ulcers, gengivitis, phyorrea, as well as catarrhal problems associated with pharyngitis and sinusitis.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Stimulant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, astringent, expectorant, antispasmodic, carminative.
MYRTLE – Myrtus communis (Myrtaceae)
Myrtle is native to the Mediterranean region and is mainly cultivated for the extraction of its essential oil. Used in ancient Greece, the astringent, tonic and antiseptic properties of its leaves are used to heal wounds, or internally to remedy disorders of the digestive and urinary systems. The essential oil is antiseptic and anti-catarrhal, and is used to treat chest ailments.
HEALINGPROPERTIES: Antiseptic, astringent, expectorant.
NETTLE – Urtica dioica (Urticaceae)
Nettle occurs in Eurasia and is naturalized elsewhere, including America and is one of the most applicable plants found. Nettles have supplied fibers for cloth and paper since the Bronze Age into the 20th century. Throughout Europe, it has been used as a spring tonic and general detoxifying remedy. Nettle leaves contain iron and vitamin C, being used for treating anemia and poor circulation. Tea an poultice made from nettle leaves are used to treat eczema and skin conditions. Its astringent properties are used to stop bleeding. Today, nettle is used for hay fever, arthritis, anemia, and, surprisingly, even for nettle rash.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Diuretic, tonic, astringent, prevents hemorrhaging, anti-allergenic, reduces prostate enlargement (root).
OLIVE – Olea europaea (Oleaceae)
The olive was probably first cultivated in Crete in around 3500 BC. The leaves have been used since those times to clean wounds. Olive leaves lower blood pressure and help to improve the function of the circulatory system. They are also mildly diuretic and may be used to treat conditions such as cystitis. Possessing some ability to lower blood sugar levels, the leaves have been taken for diabetes. The oil is nourishing and improves the balance of fats within the blood. It is traditionally taken with lemon juice in teaspoonful doses to treat gallstones. The oil has a generally protective action on the digestive tract and is useful for dry skin. Externally, it is a good, although sticky, carrier oil for essential oils.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Digestive, diuretic, anti-inflammatory.
PALMETTO, SAW PALMETTO – Sabal serrulata syn. Serenoa serrulata (Palmaceae)
Saw palmetto berries were eaten by Native North Americans and animals. According to legend, on seeing the animals grow “sleek and fat”, European settlers tried the berries and attributed medicinal properties to them. The fruit pulp was used as a tonic from the l9th century onwards, and today it is used to help in debility, for urinary tract problems and for reducing enlarged prostate glands.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Tonic, diuretic, sedative, anabolic.
PARSLEY – Petroselinum crispum (Umbelliferae)
Parsley is probably native from northern and central Europe and western Asia. It was known in ancient Greece and Rome – but more as a diuretic, digestive tonic and stimulant of the menstrual flow than as a salad herb. Parsley leaves, seed and root treat urinary tract infections and help eliminate kidney stones. It also stimulates appetite and increases blood flow to digestive organs, as well as reduces fevers. Parsley was introduced into Britain in 1548. Parsley has the unusual ability of masking strong odors, that of garlic in particular (which is one of reason for the herb’s frequent use as a garnish in cookery). Parsley root is more commonly prescribed than the seeds or leaves in herbal medicine. It is taken as a treatment for flatulence, cystitis and rheumatic conditions. Parsley is also valued as a promoter of menstruation, being helpful both in stimulating a delayed period and in relieving menstrual pain.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Digestive, diuretic.
PASSIFLORA, PASSION FLOWER – Passiflora incarnata (Passifloraceae)
Passiflora is natural from the north America. Its name comes from its beautiful flowers, thought to represent Christ’s crucifixion – 5 stamens for the 5 wounds, 3 styles for the 3 nails and white and purple-blue colors for purity and heaven. The herb has valuable sedative and tranquilizing properties and has a long use as a medicine in Central and North American herbal traditions, being taken in Mexico for insomnia epilepsy and hysteria. The leaves are an ingredient in many pharmaceutical products to treat nervous disorders such as heart palpitations, anxiety, convulsions and sometimes high blood pressure. It is also used to prevent spasms from whooping cough, asthma and other diseases.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, hypotensive sedative, tranquilizing.
PATCHOULI – Pogostemon cablin syn. P. patchouli (Labiatae)
Native to Malaysia and the Philippines, Patchouli is now cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. Patchouli has been used extensively in Asian medicine, apperaring in the Chinese, Indian and Arabic traditions. The oil is widely employed as a fragrance and, in India, as an insect repellent. Patchouli is used in herbal medicine in Asia as an aphrodisiac, antidepressant and antiseptic. It is also employed for headaches and fever. Patchouli essential oil is used in aromatherapy to treat skin complaints. It is thought to have a regenerative effect on skin tone and to help clear conditions such as eczema and acne. The oil may also be used for varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, aromatic, antidepressant.
PEONIA, WHITE PEONY – Paeonia lactiflora syn. P. albiflora (Paeoniaceae)
Native to the southern Europe and the Mediterranean, peony is widely cultivated as a garden plant. Peony’s history of medicinal use in China stretches back for at least 1,500 years. It is known most widely as one of the herbs used to make “Four Things Soup”, a women’s tonic, and it is also a remedy for gynecological problems and for cramp, pain and dizziness. Traditionally, it is considered that women who take the herb on a regular basis become as radiant as the flower itself.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antispasmodic, tonic, astringent, analgesic.
PEPPERMINT – Mentha piperita (Labiatae)
Peppermint’s origin is a mystery, but it has been in existence for a long time – dried leaves were found in Egyptian pyramids dating from around 1000 BC. It was highly valued by the Greeks and Romans, but only became popular in Western Europe in the 18th Century. Peppermint tea helps with indigestion and relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract. Peppermint’s chief therapeutic value lies in its ability to relieve wind, flatulence, bloating and colic, though it has many other applications. Studies have shown that it relieves colon spasms and helps to cure ulcers. Peppermint also eases nervous headaches. Menthol, its main constituent, has antibacterial properties. Externally, the essential oil is used in balms and liniments to stimulate hot and cold nerve endings and increase local blood flow.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Carminative, relieves muscle spasms, increases sweating, stimulates secretion of bile, antiseptic.
PEPPER – Piper nigrum (Piperaceae)
Native to south-western India, pepper is now cultivated in tropical regions around the world. Praised as a spice and a medicine since ancient times, pepper was a vital commodity in world trade for thousands of years. Pepper has a stimulant and antiseptic effect on the digestive tract and the circulatory system. Pepper is commonly taken, either alone or in combination with other herbs and spices, to warm the body, or to improve digestive function in cases of nausea, stomach ache, flatulence, bloating, constipation or lack of appetite. The essential oil eases rheumatic pain and toothache. It is antiseptic and antibacterial, and reduces fever.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antibacterial, antiseptic, digestive, reduces fever.
RADISH – Raphanus sativus (Cruciferae)
Radish probably is native from southern Asia. It has been used for medicinal purposes by the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Chinese. Radish stimulates the appetite and the digestion. The juice of the black radish is drunk to counter gassy indigestion and constipation. Black radish juice has a tonic and laxative action on the intestines, and indirectly stimulates the flow of bile. Consuming radish generally results in improved digestion, but some people are sensitive to its acridity and strong action. In China, radish is eaten to relieve abdominal distention.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Digestive, mild laxative.
RAUVOLFIA, INDIAN SNAKEROOT – Rauvolfia serpentina (Apocynaceae)
Rauvolfia is native to southern and south-eastern Asia, including India, Malaysia and Indonesia. Indian snakeroot contains reserpine, a substance now widely used to lower blood pressure and lessen some symptoms of mental illness. The root has a pronounced sedative and depressant effect on the sympathetic nervous system. By reducing the system’s activity, the herb brings about the lowering of blood pressure. It may also be used to treat anxiety and insomnia, as well as more serious mental health problems such as psychosis.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antidepressant, lowers blood pressure.
RHUBARB, CHINESE RHUBARB – Rheum palmatum (Polysonaceae)
Native to China and Tibet, chinese rhubarb is now grown also in the West. The use of chinese rhubarb has been reported in the 1st century AD in China and it has been cultivated in the West since the 18th century. Its main use is as a laxative safe even for young children due to its gentle action. It is also extremely effective in the treatment for many digestive problems. Paradoxically, it is a laxative when taken in large doses but has a constipating effect in small measures. The rhizome has an astringent, unpleasant taste.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Laxative, constipating, astringent, eases stomach pain, antibacterial.
ROSE – Rosa gallica (Rosaceae)
The rose comes originally from Asia Minor, where it is cultivated mostly in Bulgaria, Iran and India. Rosewater was prepared by the Arab physician Avicenna (AD 980-1037) during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the rose was esteemed as a remedy for depression. The rose is currently little used in herbal medicine, but it is probably time for a re-evaluation of its medicinal benefits. The essential oil, called “attar of rose”, is used in aromatherapy as a mildly sedative, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory remedy. Rose petals and their preparations have a similar action. They also reduce high cholesterol levels. Rosewater is mildly astringent and makes a valuable lotion for inflamed and sore eyes.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Aromatic, antidepressant,, sedative, anti-inflammatory.
ROSEMARY – Rosmarinus officinalis (Labiatae)
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean region. Rosemary is a well-known and greatly valued herb that is native to southern Europe. It has been used since antiquity to improve and strengthen the memory. Rosemary leaves increase circulation, reduce headaches and have anti-bacterial and fungal properties. Rosemary improves food absorbtion by stimulating digestion, the liver, the intestinal tract, and the gallbladder. It also is used in antiseptic gargles for sore throats, gum problems and canker sores. Rosemary has a long-standing reputation as a tonic, invigorating herb, imparting a zest for life that is to some degree reflected in its distinctive aromatic taste.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Tonic, stimulant, astringent, nervine, anti-inflammatory, carminative.
RUE – Ruta graveolens (Rutaceae)
Rue is native to Southern Europe. In ancient Greece and Egypt, rue was employed to stimulate menstrual bleeding, to induce abortion and to strengthen the eyesight. The rutin contained in the plant helps to strengthen fragile blood vessels and alleviates varicose veins. Rue is also used due to its antispasmodic properties, especially in the digestive system where it eases griping and bowel tension. The easing of spasms gives it a role in the stopping of spasmodic coughs. In European herbal medicine, rue has also been taken to treat conditions as varied as hysteria, epilepsy, vertigo, colic, intestinal worms, poisoning and eye problems. The latter use is well founded, as an infusion used as an eyewash brings quick relief to strained and tired eyes, and reputedly improves the eyesight.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antispasmodic, increases peripheral blood circulation, relieves eye tension.
SAGE, CLARY CLARY SAGE – Salvia sclarea (Labiatae)
Clary sage has been perceived both as a weaker version of its close relative, sage (S. officinalis), and as a significant herb in its own right. Since the seeds were once commonly used to treat eye problems, it was also known as “clear eye”. An antispasmodic and aromatic plant, clary sage is used today mainly to treat digestive problems such as wind and indigestion. It is also regarded as a tonic, calming herb that helps relieve period pain and premenstrual problems. Owing to its estrogen-stimulating action, it is most effective when levels of this hormone are low.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Astringent, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, estrogenic, reduces sweating, tonic.
SAGE – Salvia officinalis (Labiatae)
Sage grows from north to central Spain to the west of Balkans and Asia Minor. It was used in Crete in 1600 AD to clear throat inflammation, one of its most popular uses today. Its leaves are a well-known cold germ and flu fighter. It has been found to be very effective to reduce many physical emissions like sweating and is an excellent remedy for sore throats, poor digestion and irregular periods. It is also taken as a gently stimulating tonic. It has a slightly warm, noticeably bitter and astringent taste.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Astringent, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, estrogenic, reduces sweating, tonic.
SANDALWOOD – Santalum album (Santalaceae) ,br>Native to eastern India, sandalwood is cultivated in South-East Asia for the extraction of wood and essential oil. Sandalwood’s aroma as been highly esteemed in China and India for thousands of year. The heartwood is most often used in perfumery, but it has also been taken as a remedy in China since around AD 500. Sandalwood and its essential oil are used for their antiseptic properties in treating genito-urinary conditions such as cystitis and gonorrhea. In India, a paste of the wood is used to soothe rashes and itchy skin. In China, sandalwood is held to be useful for chest and abdominal pain.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, aromatic.
SARSAPARILLA – Smilax spp. (Liliaceae)
Sarsaparilla is found in the tropical forest of the world, especially in Mexico, Peru and Brazil. There are more than 200 known species. Brought from the New World to Spain in 1563, sarsaparilla was heralded as a cure for syphilis. In Mexico, the herb has traditionally been used to treat a variety of skin problems. Sarsaparilla is anti-inflammatory and cleansing, and can bring relief to skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and general itchiness, and help treat rheumatism, rheumatoid, arthritis and gout. Sarsaparilla also has a progesterogenic action, making it beneficial in pre-menstrual problems, and menopausal conditions such as debility and depression. In Mexico the root is still frequently consumed for its reputed tonic and aphrodisiac properties. Native Amazonian peoples take sarsaparilla to improve virility and to treat menopausal problems.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic.
SCOTS PINE – Pinus sylvestris (Pinaceae)
Native to the mountainous regions of Europe and north and west Asia. Its oil, extracted from the leaves, is added to disinfectants and other preparations. Scots pine leaves, taken internally, have a mildly antiseptic effect within the chest, and may also be used for arthritic and rheumatic problems. Essential oil from the leaves may be taken for asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory infections, and for digestive disorders such as wind. Scots pine branches and stems yield a thick resin, which is also antiseptic within the respiratory tract. The seeds yield an essential oil with diuretic and respiratory-stimulant properties.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, diuretic and anti-rheumatic.
SESAME – Sesamum indicum (Pedaliaceae)
Native to Africa, sesame is now cultivated in many tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world. In ancient Egypt, the seeds were eaten and also pressed to yield oil, which was burned in lamps and used to make ointments. Sesame is used in China to redress afflictions of the liver and kidneys. The seeds are prescribed for problems such as dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and blurred vision. Owing to their lubricating effect within the digestive tract, the seeds are also considered a remedy for constipation. Sesame seed oil benefits the skin and is used as a base for cosmetics. A decoction of the root is used in various traditions to treat coughs and asthma.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Digestive, aromatic, antispasmodic.
ST JOHN’S WORT – Hypericum perforatum (Guttiferae)
The plant is native to Europe but is widely cultivated elsewhere. St. John’s wort flowers at the time of the summer solstice, and in medieval Europe it was considered to have powerful magical properties that enabled it to repel evil. The most well-known action of St. John’s wort is in repairing nerve damage and reducing pain and inflammation. It is taken to relieve the pain of menstrual cramps, sciatica and arthritis. Th oils is applied to inflammations, sprains, bruises and varicose veins. St. John’s wort is also used to treat circulation problems, bronchitis and gout.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antidepressant, antispasmodic, astringent, sedative, relieves pain, anti-viral.
TARRAGON – Artemisia dracunculus (Compositae)
Tarragon is probably native of southern Europe or the steppes of Asia. Historians believe that tarragon reached Europe brought into Spain by invading Mongols. Tarragon is widely used as a herb in cooking. In French, it is sometimes known as herbe au dragon, because of its reputed ability to cure serpent bites. While tarragon stimulates the digestion, it is reputed to be a mild sedative and has been taken to aid sleep. With its mild menstruation-inducing properties, it is taken if periods are delayed. The root has traditionally been applied to aching teeth.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, digestive.
TEA TREE – Malaleuca alternifolia (Myrtaceae)
Tea tree is native to Australia and is now cultivated extensively. Tea tree, and in particular its essential oil, is one of the most important natural antiseptics. Useful for stings, burns, wounds and skin infections of all kinds, the herb merits a place in every medicine chest. Its therapeutic properties were first researched during the 1920s and it is now widely used in Europe and the US, as well as in Australia.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral.
THYME – Thymus vulgaris (Labiatae)
Thyme occurs in the west Mediterranean to the southwest Italy. The herb was known to the Sumerians, used by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Thyme was praised by the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper (1616-1654) as “a notable strengthener of the lungs”. Its main medicinal application is in treating coughs and clearing congestion. Many current formulas for mouth washes and vapor rubs contain thymol, one of the constituents found in thyme. It also improves digestion, destroys intestinal parasites and is an excellent antiseptic and tonic.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, tonic, relieves muscle spasm, expectorant.
TURMERIC – Curcuma longa syn. C. domestica (Zingiberaceae)
Turmeric is native to India and southern Asia where it is extensively cultivated. Best known for its bright yellow color and spicy taste to lovers of Indian food, its medicinal value is not so well known. However, recent research has confirmed the effects traditionally associated in ancient practices in the treatment of digestive and liver problems. The herb has also been shown to inhibit blood-clotting, relieve inflammatory conditions and help lower cholesterol levels.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Stimulates secretion of bile, anti-inflammatory, eases stomach pain, antioxidant, antibacterial.
VALERIAN – Valeriana officinalis (Valerianaceae)
Valerian is native to Europe and western Asia. The medicinal properties of valerian were well known at least since Roman times. Valerian root is a general tranquilizer used for relieving nervous tension, insomnia and headaches. Valerian decreases muscular spasm, being useful in cases of nervous digestion, bowel syndrome, stomach and menstrual cramps. Valerian helps relieve stress and has become an increasingly popular remedy in recent decades. It is a safe, non-addictive relaxant that reduces nervous tension and anxiety and promotes restful sleep.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Sedative, relaxant, relieves muscle spasm, relieves anxiety, lowers blood pressure.
VERBENA – Verbena officinalis (Verbenaceae)
Native of Europe, verbena is extensively cultivated in other countries. Verbena has long been credited with magical properties and was used in ceremonies by the Romans, Druids of ancient Britain and Gaul. It is a traditional herbal medicine in both China and Europe. Verbena is used in mouth washes for infected gums and as a poultice for hemorrhoids. A tea has been used as a nerve tonic, to treat insomnia and to help digestion. D It has tonic, restorative properties, and is used to relieve stress and anxiety, and to improve digestive function.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Nervine, tonic, mild sedative, stimulates bile secretion, mild bitter.
WHITE WILLOW – Salix alba (Salicaceae)
White willow is native to Europe but is also found in North Africa and Asia. White willow is an excellent remedy for arthritic and rheumatic pain, affecting the joints like knees and hips. Famous as the original source of salicylic acid, first isolated in 1838 and synthetically produced in the laboratory in 1899, white willow and closely related species have been used for thousands of years in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America to relieve joint pain and manage fevers. The Greek physician Discorides in the 1st century AD, suggested taking “willow leaves, mashed with a little pepper and drunk with wine” to relieve lower back pain.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, reduces fever, anti-rheumatic, astringent.
WORMWOOD – Artemisia absinthium (Compositae)
Native to Europe, wormwood was called absintium by the Romans, what means “bitter”. Wormwood leave’s primary uses is to stimulate the gallbladder, help prevent and release stones, and to adjust digestive malfunctions. It also increases bile secretion and is useful in expelling intestinal worms. It is taken in small doses and sipped, the intensely bitter taste playing an important part in its therapeutic effect. In the past, wormwood was one of the main flavorings of vermouth (whose name derives from the German for wormwood).
HEALING PROPERTIES: Aromatic bitter, stimulates secretion of bile, anti-inflammatory, eliminates worms, eases stomach pains, mild antidepressant.
WILD THYME – Thymus serpyllum (Labiatae)
Thyme is native to the west Mediterranean to southwest Italy. Like its close relative thyme (Thymus vulgaris), wild thyme is strongly antiseptic and anti-fungal. It may be taken as an infusion or syrup to treat flu and colds, sore throats, coughs, whooping cough, chest infections, and bronchitis. Wild thyme has anti-catarrhal properties and helps clear a stuffy nose, sinusitis, ear congestion and related complaints. It has been used to expel thread worms and roundworms in children, and is used to settle wind and colic. Wild thyme’s antispasmodic action makes it useful and is used to settle wind and colic. Wild thyme is also used in herbal baths and pillows.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, anti-fungal, antispasmodic.
YARROW – Achillea millefolium (Compositae)
Yarrow is a native European plant, with a long history as a wound healer. In classical times, it was known as herba militaris, being used to staunch war wounds. It has long been taken as a strengthening bitter tonic and all kinds of bitter drinks have been made from it. Yarrow helps recovery from colds and flu and is beneficial for hay fever. It is also helpful for menstrual problems and circulatory disorders.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antispasmodic, astringent, bitter tonic, increases sweating, lowers blood pressure, reduces fever, mild diuretic and urinary antiseptic.
YLANG -YLANG – Canananga odorata syn. Canangium odoratum (Annonaceae)
Ylang-ylang is native to Indonesia and the Philippines. The flowers are a traditional adornment in the Far East. Their scent is thought to have aphrodisiac qualities. The flowers and essential oil are sedative and antiseptic. The oil has a soothing effect, and its main therapeutic uses are to slow an excessively fast heart rate and to lower blood pressure. With its reputation as an aphrodisiac, ylang-ylang may be helpful in treating impotence.
HEALING PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, aromatic, regulates blood pressure
From the Website, Coven of the Goddess.com