http://Herb Medicinal Directory
Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) has been used since ancient times. A remedy for eye ailments, leaves of this help stop bleeding and heal wounds. Chinese medicine often used Agrimony to treat menstrual difficulties, skin conditions, cough, sore throat, and diarrhea and incontinence
Aloe Ferox/Aloe Vera Intensely bitter, purgative herb that controls fungal infections. Anti-inflammatory, promotes healing. Destroys internal parasites and stimulates the uterus. Internally for Chronic constipation (especially following iron medication), poor appetite, digestive problems and in colonic irrigation) NOT to be given to patients with IBS or pregnant women). Externally scalds, burns, sunburn, wounds, eczema, prevent nail biting. To prevent griping in laxative formulas usually combine with Fennel. Used in cosmetic preparations.
Angelica (Angelica archangelica) Leaves, stems, roots and seeds are used. Relaxes spasms, increases perspiration, lowers fever, expectorant effects. Acts mainly on the bronchial, digestive, urinary and female reproductive systems. Is used for culinary use. Medicinally internally for digestive problems, gastric ulcers, anorexia, migraine sickness (can be combined with Chamomile) – bronchitis, catarrh, influenza combined with yarrow, chronic fatique, menstrual and obstetric problems. NOT given to pregnant women or patients with diabetes. Externally for rheumatic pain, neuralgia and pleurisy. Leaves make excellent China tea!
Western Mugwort (Artemisia ludoviciana) Louisiana Wormwood, Western Mugwort, The leaves are astringent. Used by the N. American Indians to induce sweating, curb pain and diarrhoea. A weak tea was used in the treatment of stomach ache and menstrual disorders. Externally, a wash of the leaves was applied to itching, rashes, swellings, boils, sores. The wash applied to eczema also as underarm deodorant.. A poultice of the leaves applied to spider bites, blisters and burst boils. A snuff of the crushed leaves has been used to treat headaches, the sinuses and nosebleeds.
Ashwaganda – Withania somniferum – The entire plant, including the Berries taken as a tea for chronic inflammatory diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and as a cancer preventative. It increases haemoglobin levels, restores vitality to those overworked and nervous exhaustion, and promotes a restful sleep. Its high iron content is useful for anaemia.
Asparagus – Asperula officinalis – The roots and shoots (asparagus) are used. It is a strong diuretic benefitting a variety of urinary problems, including cystitis. Useful in treating rheumatic conditions, helping the “flushing” of waste products accumulated in the joints out of the body in the urine. It is mildly laxative and sedative.
Basil clove perennial (Ocimum gratissimum) Used in making anti-bacterial medicines. It is known as Vana Tulsi in India. Leaves have been used for anti-diarrhea agent, conjunctivitis by instilling directly into the eyes; the leaf oil when mixed with alcohol is applied as a lotion for skin infections, internally for bronchitis.
Bay leaf (Laurus nobilis) Leaves are a preservative, important ingredient of bouquet garni, commonly added to sauces. Medicinally used for indigestion, poor appetite, colic, wind. Externally for dandruff, rheumatism, sprains, bruises, atonic ulcers and scabies. Insect repellent.
Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) Astringent, anti-bacterial herb, effective urinary antiseptic with diuretic action. Used internally for urinary infections (especially cystitis) and vaginitis. Often combined with Marsh mallow, Buchu.
Bergamot (Monarda didyma) Aromatic, stimulant, expextorant that lowers fever and benefits the digestion. Leaves infused as tea and give an Earl Grey Flavour to China tea (Angelica) and iced drinks. Used internally for monor digestive complaints.
Borage – Borago officinalis – Borage is a member of the Comfrey family. It’s especially effective for allergies. It stimulates the adrenal cortex to produce cortisone. The leaves taste a little like cucumber. Parts used: Leaves. And can be taken continuously.
Buchu (Agathosma crenulata syn. A. serratifolia, Diosma crenulata) Strong aromatic herb cleanses urinary system and increases perspiration, potent anti-septic and diuretic. Prostatitis and cystitis, digestive problems, gout, rheumatism, coughs, colds. Infused into vinegar deters insects applied to skin. Leaves enhance flavor of Cassis.
Bulbine – Bulbine frutescens – An indigenous herb to SA. The juicy leaf sap is used for the treatment of wounds, burns, scalds, bites, stings, rashes, itches, ringworm, eczema, psoriasis, cracked lips, herpes, Full SPF and sunburn. Can be used continuously.
Calendula – Calendula officinalis – A tea made from the flowers is antifungal, anti-viral, inflammatory problems of the digestive system, gastritis, peptic ulcers, colitis, detoxifies and great internally for fevers, infections, eczema and acne. Cleansing for the liver and gallbladder. Externally made into a cream – it astringes the capillaries explaining its effectiveness for wounds, cuts, inflammatory conditions, burns, sunburn, cracked nipples, acne, rashes, fungal problems such as ringworm & athelete’s foot, thrush; also for nappy rash and cradle cap and varicose veins.
Cancer Bush – Sutherlandia frutescans – An indigenous plant only found in SA. It is useful in either decoctions or tinctures for colds, influenza, chicken pox, diabetes, varicose veins, piles, inflammation, liver problems, backache, cancer, AIDS/HIV and rheumatism. Taken as a tea it boosts the immune system. Externally made into a tea or cream, it is a powerful wound healer. Leaves are used. Tastes very bitter. Can be used continuously. An alterative herb.
Carbrobrotis edulis (Sour fig) A valued Khoi-Khoi and San remedy adopted by most other ethnic groups in South Africa, preparations of the leaf juice are taken by mouth to check diarrhoea and to treat tuberculosis and applied externally to burn wounds, sores or to the oral mucosa to treat thrush and ulcers. A gargle/mouthwash is used for sore throat or gum infections.
Catnip – Nepeta cataria – Taken as a tea, is a sedative. Settles the stomach and stimulates sweating thus reducing fevers. Pleasant to take, effective for colds, flu and fever in children. It is anti-flatulent, helping to settle indigestion and colic. Treats headaches related to digestive problems. A tincture is beneficial as a friction rub for rheumatism and arthritis and can be made into an ointment for haemorrhoids.
Celandine greater (Chelidonium majus) Juice mixed with milk for eye ailments, cataracts, strained or failing vision, spots on the cornea, and bleeding or detached retina. Maria Treben describes how to pick the leaf stems and gently wash, crush the wet stem between fingers, apply juice to closed eyelids, 2-3 times a day. Lie down applying juice, allow eyes to rest, closed for several minutes, so herb has time to do its healing work. Juice isn’t rubbed into the eyes, the eyes receive benefit from it, when rubbed over eyelids. Maria also recommended at bedtime to place washed, lightly crushed leaves over the closed eyelids, held in place with a folded, soft cloth. She mentions, when using on the eyes, not to use the flower stems of the plant, as the juice in these stems is very thick. Modern uses: This plant should not be used for self-medication and is contraindicated in pregnancy. The herb is used by professional herbalists as a cholagogue and hepatic tonic. It purifies the blood, increases urine production, but in overdosage it will purge. The fresh juice is still considered to be an effective application for corns and warts. It is used as an eye lotion to remove film on the eyes. Chewing the root relieves toothache. Treating the liver a few drops of the juice are taken in sweetened water.
Chamomile – Matricaria recucita – Taken for digestive problems, suitable for children, pain, indigestion, nausea, acidity, heartburn, gastritis, wind, bloating, colic. Used also for hiatus hernia, peptic ulcer, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. It’s a strong anti-spasmodic; relaxes tense, aching muscles and eases period pain. Removes irritability and promotes sleep, especially in children. Beneficial for morning sickness but no more than 5 cups a day. Parts used: 7-10 flowers in a mug of boiling water.
Chaste Tree (Vitex agnes castus) Pungent, bitter-sweet, slightly astringent. Relaxant herb that regulates hormonal functions, promotes lactation, relieves spasms and pain. Internally seeds used for menstrual and menopausal problems. Was given to Monks to keep their testosterone under control!
Chilli species– Capsicum sp – Taken as a tea/capsule increases metabolism, effective on the circulatory system as it feeds the vital elements into the cell structure of capillaries, veins, arteries and helps adjust blood pressure to normal levels. Cleans the arteries, helping to rid the body of the bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Great for the stomach and the intestinal tract, rebuilding the tissue in the stomach, facilitating healing with stomach and intestinal ulcers, curing heart disease, cancer, tuberculosis, infertility, rheumatism, leukemia, regulates the flow of blood from the head to the feet so that the pressure is equalized. Alleviates allergies, muscle cramp, improves digestion, gives more pep and energy, and helps wound healing with minimal scar tissue. Can be taken continuously.
Comfrey – Symphytum officinale – The name is indicative to what Comfrey does – ‘con-firma, meaning the bone is “made firm”, Symphytum derived from the Greek for “to unite” and knit bone speaks for itself. All aerial parts are used, it is not to be taken internally. Comfrey contains allantoin which speeds up the skin’s cell regeneration to heal in a third of the time. Normally a cream is made and applied to cuts, bruises, sprains, swelling, broken bones, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, acne, boils. The fresh leaves can be applied to any swelling/bruising by placing them bruised between two piece of muslin, boiling water poured onto the fabic/comfrey and bandaged on to the area as hot as can be tolerated and re-applied 3 times a day. It contains huge amounts of Vitamin B12, so is valuable on the compost heap as well.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) Apart from the obvious culinary uses. Medicinally used for minor digestive problems. Externally for haemorrhoids and painful joints. Seeds reduce griping in laxative preparations. Oil adds to flavor of Gin and Chartreuse.
Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale – Can be a pest in the garden, but medicinally is hugely valuable for the liver & kidneys. The whole plant can be taken as a tea as a detoxifier, it is diuretic, treats high blood pressure. Works principally on the liver and gall bladder and helps remove waste products, working on the kidneys removing toxins in the urine. Also valuable for constipation, skin problems such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, and arthritic conditions such as osteoarthritis and gout. Prevents gallstones.
Echinacea – Echinacea purpurea – Taken as a tincture it stimulates the immune sytem to counter both bacterial and viral infections, inhibiting the ability of viruses to enter the body and take over the cells. It is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It is used extensively in HIV/AIDS. Very effective as a gargle for throat infections and asthma. Whole plant is used. Only to be taken at the onset of illness and stopped when feeling better otherwise it becomes ineffective.
Elder – Sambuccus nigra – Infused flowering tops in a tea for coughs, colds and flu, infusion is relaxing and produces mild perspiration that helps reduce fever. Also tone the mucous linings of the nose and throat, chronic catarrh, ear infections, sinusitis, allergies and candidiasis, hay fever (especially if taken prior to hayfever season consistently). Strongly diuretic acts as a detoxifier for removal of waste products. Berries rich in Vitamin C, made into a syrup for coughs, rheumatism, erysipelas, laxative and also help diarrhea.
Euphorbia peplus (Petty spurge) This is a weed and is in most gardens. It is known to be the main ingredient in Euphodix which, in its medicinal form, costs a vast amount to treat Melanomas. In the garden break off the stem. It yields a milky sap. Apply that to the said melanoma, carcinoma once a day for 5 – 7 days. After this period your skin will have formed a blister, then a scab. After peeling when ripe, it yields totally new skin growth underneath. Melanoma gone.
Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis) This is an alterative herb that regulates hormonal systems. Take internally for premenstrual & menopausal syndromes, eczema, acne, brittle nails, hyperactivity in children, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease, alcohol related liver damage & multiple sclerosis. Often used in cosmetics.
Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata syn. C. oxyacantha) Fruits used. Sweet and sour, warming herb. Improves peripheral circulation and regulates heart rate, blood pressure and coronary blood flow. Internally for circulatory disorders and heart disease of all kinds. Often combined with Scutelaria laterifolia.
Feverfew – Tanacetum parthenium – Feverfew is a prophylactic herb. Four leaves per day can be chewed fresh for migraines (especially associated with menstruation!) and arthritic joint pain. It is a natural panacea and anti inflammatory. It lowers temperatures and cools the body. Induces menstruation, given in childbirth to expel the placenta. It has to be taken regularly everyday in order to be effective.
Ginger Bush (Tetradenia riparia) The plant is used for the relief of chest complaints, stomach ache and malaria. Inhaling the scent of the crushed leaves is said to relieve headaches.
Golden Rod – Solidago virgaurea/Canadensis – The flowers are taken as a tea for the urinary tract. Antioxidant, diuretic and stringent. Used for nephritis and more commonly, cystitis. Flushes out the kidney and bladder stones. Its saponins act specifically against Candida fungus, the cause of vaginal and oral thrush. Especially gentle for children. Externally used as a mouth wash or douche for thrush.
Grenadilla Although nice to eat. Whole plant and fruit used, Internally used for nervous tension, insomnia, irrititability, tension headache, asthmas, IBS, premenstrual tension, nervous tachycardia, hypertension, shingles. Combines well with Valerian, Chamomile and Hops for insomnia.
Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacea) Also known as Alehoof. Whole plant used. Internally for catarrh, sinusitis, ear infections, bronchitis, gastritis, cystitis. Externally for throat and mouth and haemmhoroids. Also a ground cover.
Helychryssum petiolare (imphepho) Ailments such as coughs, colds & infections are treated with this herb. Leaves used by rastafarians to make an infusion to treat asthma, chest problems & high blood pressure. The smoke of the burning leaves is inhaled as a pain reliever. Leaves widely used on wounds to prevent infection. Khoikoi used the leaves and flowers as bedding (hence the nickname ‘Hottentotsgooiegoed’. Burning a mixture of Wildeals and Helychryssum makes a pleasant insect repellent. Effective in keeping flies and mosquitoes away.
Honeysuckle Lonicera japonica) Regarded as an alterative.. Internally for acute rheumatoid arthritis, mumps, hepatitis (stems) upper respiratory tract infections, including pneumonia, dysentery (flower and stems) high fevers, conjunctivitis, throat inflammations, childhood infections (measles/chicken pox) boils, nettle rash, infected wounds, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, urinary tract infections, mastitis, breast cancer (flowers)
Horseradish (Amoracia rusticana) every part of the plant has some medicinal value. Tea made from root used as an expectorant, tea from its flowers used for the common cold. Poultice made of its roots to externally treat joint discomfort. Raw leaves a natural analgesic, pressed against the forehead eliminates headache pain. Infusion of root has antibiotic properties which are effective against pathogenic fungi. A perennial plant, horseradish is related to mustard, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables. The most interesting health benefit of horseradish is of its anticancer effects. Contains more than 10-fold higher glucosinolates than broccoli! A little dab on your steak will go a long way to providing important health benefits.
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) Stems are used. Astringent, healing herb that acts mainly on the genito-urinary system and controls both internal and external bleeding. Internally for prostatitis, incontinence, cystitis, urethritis. Often used with Hydrangea arborescens for prostate problems. Internally and externally for haemorrhage. An irritant and restricted to short time use. Chemistry of plant unusual containing alkaloids and various minerals. Rich in silica (Plant was used for scouring pots in middle ages)
Hyssop – Hyssopus officinalus – The name Hyssop derives from the Hebrew ezob, or Holy Herb. It was used for purifying temples and the ritual cleansing of lepers. The mould that produces penicillin grows on its leaf. To infuse large sprigs of hyssop in ‘just off the boil’ water will make a natural antibiotic wash for any ailment. Internally as a tea, cream or tincture, it is used to treat all respiratory infections especially where there is excessive mucous production. It encourages more mucous production, and at the same time gently stimulates expectoration. This combined action clears congested phlegm.
Job’s Tears (Coix lacryma jobi) Fruits are used. Reduces inflammation, relieves pain & spasms, lowers fever, controls bacterial and fungal infections. Spleen tonic, sedative effects, large doses reduce blood pressure. Used internally for arthritis (especially rheumatoid arthritis) urinary problems, lung abscesses, diarrhoea associated with spleen weakness, liquor from fermented seeds is given for rheumatic pain. Not given to pregnant ladies.
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium cannabinum) Whole plant is used. Aromatic herb, diuretic, tonic effect, stimulating immune system, arresting growth of tumours. Internally for arthritis, rheumatism, feverisg colds, flu,. Excess purgative and emetic. Externally for ulcers, sores and as an insect repellent for animals. Used in homeopathic tinctures for flu.
Ladies bedstraw (Gallium verum) Aterative and diuretic, release spasms. Internally used for kidney and bladder complaints. Foliage yields a yellow dye, used to colour cheese and butter.
Lady’s Mantle (Achemilla mollis) Whole plant is used controlling bleeding and discharge, internally for excessive or irregular menstruation, menopausal problems, diarrhoea. Externally for vaginal discharge and vulval itching.
Lavender – Lavandula officinalis syn.angustifolia sp.- An infusion and used a s a wash is antibacterial and powerfully antiseptic. It calms the nervous system, aiding sleep and reducing irritability, headaches, depression and migraine. Reduces muscle tension and relieves griping wind. Soothes indigestion and colic. It alleviates asthma, especially linked to nervousness. A sprig of lavender under the pillow, or the essential oil burning in the room at night, aids sleep.
Lemon Balm – Melissa officinalis – Infused into boiling water, it lifts the spirits. Taken regularly it relieves stress and anxiety by calming the nervous system. It is beneficial for depression. It inhibits Thyroid action.
Lemon Grass (Cympobogon flexuosus) Oil is used in perfumes. A digestive herb, especially for children and minor feverish ailments. Externally for ringworm, lice, athelete’s foot, scabies. The leaves and leaf stalks are used in Eastern cuisine.
Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) The essential oil is both insecticidal and bactericidal. Internally for feverish colds, indigestion. In aromatherapy for nervous and digestive problems, acne, boils and cysts.
Lovage (Levisticum officinale) Parts used leaf, stem, seed, oil. For digestion, relaxes spasms, increases perspiration, diurectic, expectorant, effective against many diseasecausing organisms. Internally for colic, wind, poor appetite, kidney stones, cystitis, painful menstruation, slow labour. Externally sore throat and apthous (ulcers that form on the mucous membrane) ulcers. Oil used commercial food flavouring and alcoholic drinks.
Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) Member of Boraginacea family. Internally coughs, bronchitis, catarrh, haemorrhoids, diarrhea. Externally wounds, eyewash.
Marjoram sweet (Oreganum marjorana) Internally bronchial complaints, tension headcahes, insomnia, anxiety, minor digestive upsets, painful menstruation, Externally for bronchial congestion, muscular pain, arthritis, sprains and stiff joints. Delicious culinary herb!
Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) A sweet, mucilaginous herb that soothes and soften tissues, has expectorant effects and controls bacterial infection. Internally for inflammation, ulceration of the digestive tract, hiatus hernia, bronchitis, catarrh, asthma, whooping cough, cystitis (roots) and for urinary tract infections, coughs. Externally for boils, abscesses, eye and skin inflammations, insect bites, splinters, minor injuries, gingivitis, mastitis, gangrene. Often combine with Comfrey for digestive complaints.
Melianthus major (Kruitjie roer-me-nie) although toxic when taken internally, it is used medicinally by the local people. Mostly used to make poultices and decoctions that are applied directly to wounds, bruises, headache, backache and rheumatic joints. Applied directly to animals wounds, it acts as a miraculous healer, swelling, kicks, bites.
Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) Whole plant and seeds used, a bitter, diuretic, tonic herb that regenerate liver cells, stimulates bile flow and relaxes spasms. Internally for liver and gall bladder disease, jaundice cirrhosis, hepatitis and poisoning by alcohol, drugs and chemicals.
Mint Spearmint and varieties (Mentha species) Apart from being a wonderful, refreshing herb that stimulates the taste buds, used internally for indigestion, colic, wind, hiccups and feverish childhood illnesses. Combine with Balotta nigra for upper respiritatory tract infections.
Mugwort (Artemisa vulgaris) Mugwort has an affinity for the female reproductive system and is used as a uterine stimulant that can bring on delayed menstruation and help restore a woman’s natural monthly cycle. As all the bitter herbs, mugwort is an excellent digestive stimulant and is quite effective taken before or after heavy meals to alleviate gas and bloating. One of the more interesting traditional uses of mugwort is that of a dream herb. It is often used as one of the main ingredients in sleep pillows, and it said to bring the dreamer more lucid dreams. Mugwort is also often used as a smudging (burning) ceremonial herb. It is mildly sedative and useful in calming frayed nerves and easing stress. A combination of agrimony, mugwort and vinegar is an excellent treatment for sciatica or muscular stiffness.
Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) Whole plant, leaves & flowers used. Cooling, mucilaginous herb that soothes and lubricates tissues, promotes healing, expectorant diuretic, analgesic and anti-septic effects. Internally for coughs, whooping cough, bronchitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, tracheitis, asthma, flu, respiratory, catarrh, tuberculosis, urinary tract, infections, nervous tension and insomnia. Externally for earache (flowers in Olive oi), sores, wounds, boils, rheumatic pain, haemorrhoids, chilblains. Combines well with Marrubium vulgare for bronchitis.
Myrtle (Myrtus communis) Whole plant, leaves, fruits used. Aromatic, astringent herb that is ant-septic and an effective decongestant. Leaves give flavor to pork, lamb and small birds. Fruits used as spice middle east. Internally for urine infections (as a substitute for Agathosma crenulata) vaginal discharge, bronchila congestion, sinusitis,dry coughs. Externally for acne (OIL) gum infections and haemorrhoids.
Nasturtium – Nasturtium leaves and flowers can be chewed raw, added to salads or placed into sandwiches as they are extremely high in Vitamin C. At the onset of a tickling feeling in the back of the throat, eat 5 Nasturtium leaves, an hour later eat 4, and so on, the symptoms will disappear.
Oregano (Oregano marjorana var: hirtum) Internally bronchial complaints, tension headcahes, insomnia, anxiety, minor digestive upsets, painful menstruation, Externally for bronchial congestion, muscular pain, arthritis, sprains and stiff joints. Delicious culinary herb!
Ou Vroue Tee (Geranium incanum) Expel afterbirth, start milk flow. Ease cystitis, bladder infections, venereal diseases. Menstrual related ailments in woman. Colic, diarrhea, fever, bronchitis. Lotion for washing itchy, dry skin. Rinse for hair that gets oily very quickly. Scalp treatment for dandruff, flaky scalp, psoriases of the scalp
Passionflower (Passiflora caerulea) Whole plant and fruit used, Internally used for nervous tension, insomnia, irrititability, tension headache, asthmas, IBS, premenstrual tension, nervous tachycardia, hypertension, shingles. Combines well with Valerian, Chamomile and Hops for insomnia.
Pelargonium Nutmeg (fragrans) Leaves used externally for rubbing aching feet or legs. Leaves can also be infused to make herb flavoured lemonades.
Pelargonium peppermint (tormentosa) As a poultice for bruises and sprains. Infused into boiling water makes a refreshing peppermint tea. Great landscaping plant with it’s soft, furry leaves and delicate white flowers.
Pelargonium reniforme P. sidoides and P. reniforme are marketed as Umckaloaba or Zucol for bronchitis and pharyngitis. The plant species has also been investigated for use in treating gastritis. Despite a murky beginning in early 20th century herbal promotions, there appears to be some evidence for efficacy in treating bronchitis due to Pelargonium’s direct antibiotic effect and host immune stimulation.
Pelargonium Rose (graveolens) Internally for premenstrual and menopausal problems, nausea, tonsillitis, poor circulation. Externally for acne, haemorrhoids, eczema, bruises, ringworm and lice. This Pelargonium is one of my favourites to flavour vinegars, desserts, custards and making lemonade by infusing the leaves. Or to place leaves at the bottom of a cake pan, pour cake mixture over and bake as normal. The cake is infused with the taste of Attar of Roses.
Pelargonium sidoides P. sidoides and P. reniforme are marketed as Umckaloaba or Zucol for bronchitis and pharyngitis. The plant species has also been investigated for use in treating gastritis. Despite a murky beginning in early 20th century herbal promotions, there appears to be some evidence for efficacy in treating bronchitis due to Pelargonium’s direct antibiotic effect and host immune stimulation.
PennyWort (also know as Gotu Kola) – Centella asiatica – Taken as a tea it rejuvenates concentration and memory. Taken for fertility, poor digestion and rheumatism. It is also used topically for skin problems/ wounds. It assists children with Attention Deficit Disorder. Can be taken continuously. Parts used: Leaves. Makes a fabulous Ground cover.
Peppermint – Mentha piperita – Peppermint has a strong aroma. It literally clears the sinuses and is excellent taken as a tea for depression, sadness, or just a lovely tasting tea to take. Also used for stomach and digestive pain. For sinusitis, place a handful of leaves into a bowl, pour boiling water over the leaves, and place your nose over the steam, with a towel over your head, and inhale as deeply and as long as possible, it’s strong so may take your breath away at first. But it is fantastic for clearing the nasal and sinus passages.
Pig’s Ear – Cotyledon orbiculata (indigenous)- The fleshy part of the leaf is applied to corns and warts to soften and remove them. As ingle leaf is eaten as a vermifuge (expels worms). The warmed leaf juice is used as drops for earache and tootheache. It can be applied as a hot poultice to treat boils, earache or infected/not infected inflammation. It draws an infection like betadine. Juice is also used to treat epilepsy.
Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum cinnerariifolium) The dried seed heads are used infused into boiling water and a little sunlight liquid, when cooled spray immediately on non-wanted insects. Spot spray as can kill good bugs. Totally safe for animals. It paralyses the nervous system of the insect.
Rhubarb Roots harvested in Autumn from plants that are at least six years old, then dried for later use. Also used as an anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitumor, aperient, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, diuretic, laxative, purgative, stomachic and tonic. Contain anthraquinones which have a purgative effect, the tannins/bitters have an effect opposite to an astringent. Internally in small doses, acts as an astringent tonic for digestive system, larger doses acts as very mild laxative. Root taken internally for chronic constipation, diarrhea, liver & gall bladder, hemorrhoids, menstrual problems, skin eruptions due toxins. Externally, root used to treat burns. Enhances appetite taken before meals in small amounts, promotes blood circulation, relieves pain in injury or inflammation, inhibits intestinal infections. reduce auto-immune reactions. Useful in treating Hepatitis B.
Rose Hip/Dog Rose (Rosa canina) Fruits/Hips used. Acidic, astringent, tonic herbs, rich in vitamins. Internally for colds, flu, minor infectious diseases, scurvy, diarrhea and gastritis.Syrup made of fruits as powerful cough syrup containing high amounts of Vit. C.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – Taken as a tea, it has a similar action to that of coffee. Used to poor circulation, raises low blood pressure, valuable for fainting and weakness associated with deficient circulation. Aids recovery from long term stress and chronic illness, stimulating the adrenal glands for debility in poor circulation and digestion. It improves hair growth by improving blood flow to the scalp. Can be taken continuously. Parts used: Stem and leaves
Rue/Wynruit (Ruta graveolens) Rue extract is potentially useful as a potassium channel blocker. It has been used to treat many neuromuscular problems and to stimulate the onset of menstruation. Because rue has an antispasmodic effect at relatively low doses, it should be taken with caution. Rutin is responsible for the bitter taste (7 to 8% in the dried leaves). Rutin is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial and helps to protect against free radicals. It has been used to treat varicose veins and has a tradition of improving eyesight. Rue is valued simply for its ability to ward off pests and is one of the ingredients in the Vinegar of the Four Thieves, a formula made famous during the plague years in Europe. You can still make good use of rue today as a flea repellent and to discourage slugs and beetles in the garden. Used in small amounts rue can ease headaches, especially those caused by nervous tension. The leaves can be applied externally in poultice form to relieve sciatica. Preparation Methods & Dosage :Dried leaves can be used in teas, fresh leaves can be used in poultices. Chew a fresh leaf to dispel a headache. Use only very small amounts, and only on occasion. The essential oil is poisonous, and should never be ingested. Grow rue to help ward off pests from invading your garden.
Sage – Salvia officinalis – (Broad leaf Sage and Clevelandii Sage are just as effective) Parts used: Leaves. One thumb spring of sage leaves infused into a mug of boiling water is taken for sore throats, colds, hot flushes and to aid the memory. This can be taken continuously, all it will do is improve your health and your memory. It contains Thujone which stimulates the memory, and isoflavones for hormonal balancing.
Sage Clary (Salvia schlarea) Has a special affinity with the female system in general and is recommended for women who are experiencing hot flashes, pain and tension associated with menopause, menstrual problems and PMS. Oil’s contains sclareol which has an estrogen-like structure, contributing to clary’s effectiveness in returning balance to the female reproductive system, antispasmodic properties relieve pain and menstrual cramping in massage oil blends. Use on a regular basis in baths or perfumes to revitalize and rejuvenate the body and mind. Has reputation for creating a sense of euphoria, and in times past was used in beer and wine to heighten the effects of the alcohol. Essential oil used to treat depressive states and used as sedative in nervous, anxious states of mind. Massage with clary sage oil is profoundly relaxing with a sensual quality making it beneficial for frigidity partly due to its hormonal aphrodisiacal influence.
Sage wild brown/blue – Salvia indigenous sp.- Taken as a tea for colds, influenza, asthma, bronchitis, hoarseness, heart trouble, hysteria, insomnia, typhoid, fever, headaches, liver problems. Externally a tincture can be made for piles and as a muscle liniment rub for aching and stiff, sore tension, muscle pain.
Salvia divining (Salvia divinorum) .Traditionally, the Mazatec Indians roll the fresh leaves of the plant into a cigar-like ‘quid’, which is then sucked or chewed while retaining the juice in the mouth to increase absorption of the active ingredient. Alternatively, the fresh foliage is crushed by hand or ground on a milling stone which can be used for making a drinkable infusion. At least six fresh leaves are needed to achieve noticeable effects, which manifest after about 10 minutes and lasts for 45 minutes or longer. For recreational use, the most common way of administration is smoking the crushed dried leaves from a pipe or water bong, providing short-lasting (15–20 minute) hallucinations within a minute. Typically, 0.25–0.75 gram leaf material is smoked. Chewing the bitter leaves as a quid gives a longer lasting effect and the typical dosages to produce mild to medium effects are 10–30 grams of fresh leaves or 2–5 grams of dried leaves. Sublingual application of aqueous ethanol tinctures made from leaves results in an onset taking 5–10 minutes and lasting up to 2 hours.Drinking tea made by steeping the leaves in hot water is relatively ineffective because salvinorin A is readily degraded in the gastrointestinal tract. Vaporisation of the dried leaves or extracts without burning requires special devices and rather high temperatures (>200 oC) and is not a typical method of use. Health risks of inhaling the vapours of pure salvinorin A are high because the inhaled amount cannot be controlled. This can lead to an ‘overdose’, in the form of psychotic disturbances.
Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparris) The leaves and flowering tops are antispasmodic, disinfectant, emmenagogue, stimulant and vermifuge. When finely ground and applied to insect stings or bites, the plant will immediately ease the pain. Applied to surface wounds, it will hasten the healing process by encouraging the formation of scar tissue. The leaves and flowering stems are harvested in the summer and dried for later use
Savoury Winter (Satureja Montana) Called Bone-Kruit. A culinary herb adding flavour to vegetables/beans by adding a handful of leaves/stems to the boiling water, it removes the flatulent properties of the vegetable. Whole plant is antiseptic, antimicrobial, aromatic, carminative, digestive, expectorant and stomachic. Used internally, Winter Savory is an excellent remedy for different types of gastro-intestinal problems. Used in treatment of colic, flatulence, gastro-enteritis, dyspepsia, nausea and diarrhea. Helpful in cases of bronchial congestion, sore throat and menstrual disorders and cramps. The aqueous extract of Winter Savory has documented strong anti-HIV-1 activity. Used externally, when rubbed onto bee or wasp stings, it can bring instant relief.
Sea Holly (Eryngium planum) Whole plant including roots and seed used. The roots taste similar to asparagus and is used as an aphrodisiac. The whole plant is diuretic. And used in the treatment of whooping cough.
Self heal (Prunella vulgaris) Heal-All is edible and medicinal, used in salads, soups, stews, boiled as pot herb. Used as an alternative medicine for centuries on just about every continent in the world, and for just about every ailment known to man, Heal-All is something of a panacea, it has medicinal uses that are constant. Constituents are Betulinic-acid, D-Camphor, Delphinidin, Hyperoside, Manganese, Oleanolic-acid, Rosmarinic-acid, Rutin, Ursolic-acid, and Tannins. Whole plant is medicinal as alterative, antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, hypotensive, stomachic, styptic, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. A cold water infusion of the freshly chopped or dried or powdered leaves is tasty and refreshing. Weak infusion excellent medicinal eye wash for sties and pinkeye. Internally as a medicinal tea in the treatment of fevers, diarrhoea, sore mouth and throat, internal bleeding, and weaknesses of the liver and heart. Clinical analysis shows it to have an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi, which supports its use as an alternative medicine internally and externally as an antibiotic and for hard to heal wounds and diseases. It is showing promise in research for cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and many other maladies.
Scull Cap (Scutelaria laterifolia) Powerful medicinal herb. Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, slightly astringent, emmanagogue, febrifuge, nervine, sedative, tonic, mental disorders. Nervous conditions: Epilepsy, insomnia, hysteria, delerium tremens, withdrawal from drugs. Infusion promotes menstruation, heals throat infections, nervousness, aches, neuralgia, headache arising from incessant coughing, pain, inducing sleep. Currently being used as alternative medicine for ADD and a number of nervous conditions. Combined with Valerian, excellent for giving dogs who suffer from travel sickness and epilepsy,
Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) The common name of this member of the carnation family indicates it’s traditional use in washing; the roots, leaves and flowers produce a lather on contact with water. It has an ancient reputation for treating skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, boils, and acne. Taken internally these saponins are a mild irritant to the respiratory and digestive systems making soapwort an expectorant and laxative in small doses. Soapwort’s use for gout and rheumatism is probably effective because of the anti-inflammatory and depurative properties of it’s saponin content. All aerial parts can be roughly chopped and simmered in a stainless steel of enamel saucepan preferably with pure water for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, Can be used as a shampoo, cleaning fine linens and tapestry…or bathing the dog!
Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) Sorrel is used for reducing sudden and ongoing pain and swelling (inflammation) of the nasal passages and respiratory tract, for treating bacterial infections along with conventional medicines, and for increasing urine flow (as a diuretic). Sorrel is also an ingredient in the herbal cancer treatment Essiac. In combination with gentian root, European elder flower, verbena, and cowslip flower, sorrel is used orally for maintaining healthy sinuses and treating sinusitis. Sorrel contains tannins, which have a drying effect to reduce mucous production.
Southernwood – Artemisia abrotanum – The leaves rubbed onto the skin is a strong insect repellant, especially for mosquitoes. It is grown in hen houses to repel the insects habitually residing in chicken feathers. A tea can be made and taken as a tonic for the stomach and intestines. Its other nickname is ‘Lad’s Love’ as it is known to stimulate hair growth, either made into a tea and applied to the scalp, or infused into a light oil.
Spekboom (Portulacca afra) This is a versatile plant and is used in a variety of ways ranging from cooking to medicinal remedies. The leaves add a delightful taste to salads and stews. These leaves are also sucked to treat over-exhaustion and dehydration due to its thirst quenching characteristic. It is also believed that chewing the leaves promotes the flow of breast milk. Leaf poultices are applied to blisters, corns, acne, insect bites, sunburn and aching feet. High blood sugar levels are apparently effectively treated by chewing the leaves several times a day
Speedwell (Veronica officinalis) Speedwell is considered to be diuretic, expectorant, stomachic, tonic. Speedwell was once a highly regarded in England as a healthy, relaxing, herbal tea and tonic. As with most astringent, bitter herbs, an infusion of speedwell can be used as a wash for troubled skin. Recent studies have shown Speedwell tea may be an effective preventative treatment for ulcers. It is most often used been used for coughs and congestion. In modern herbal medicine, speedwell tea, brewed from the dried flowering plant, sometimes serves as a cough remedy or as a lotion for irritated or infected skin.
Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) Stevia is a herbal sweetener that is good for you, stevia leaf adds no calories, and has no harmful side effects. The sweet leaves of this plant are a pleasant and guilt free alternative to sugar. The active photochemical in stevia leaves, stevioside, is at least one hundred times sweeter than sugar, the exact amount varies from leaf to leaf and plant to plant. There have been some studies, mostly animal, that suggest that stevia may be able to lower blood sugar and has a place in the prevention and treatment of type II diabetes1. Stevia’s value for anyone wishing to cut down on calories from sugar as part of a healthy diet is unquestionable.
St John’s wort – Hypericum perfoliatum – A tea is made from the whole plant for depression, and for viral infections. It is a tonic for nervous problems, anxiety, tension and insomnia – particularly depression associated with menopause, it eases the symptoms of hormonal change. Also valuable for the liver and gall bladder. The oil of SJW is used for wounds, burns, cramps and nerve pain. Oil can be taken internally for gastric inflammation and peptic ulcers. Warning: Not to be taken along with allopathic anti-depressants.
Stinging nettle (Urva ursi) Stinging nettle is an astringent, diuretic, tonic, anodyne, pectoral, rubefacient, styptic, anthelmintic, nutritive, alterative, hemetic, anti-rheumatic, anti-allergenic, anti-lithic/lithotriptic, haemostatic, stimulant, decongestant, herpatic, febrifuge, kidney depurative/nephritic, galactagogue, hypoglycemic, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, and anti-histamine. Nettle leaf is among the most valuable herbal remedies. Because of its many nutrients, stinging nettle is traditionally used as a spring tonic. It is a slow-acting nutritive herb that gently cleanses the body of metabolic wastes. It is one of the safest alteratives, especially in the treatment of chronic disorders that require long-term treatment. It has a gentle, stimulating effect on the lymphatic system, enhancing the excretion of wastes through the kidneys. Nettle’s iron content makes it a wonderful blood builder, and the presence of vitamin C aids in the iron absorption. As a hemetic (an herb rich in iron), this is an excellent herb for anemia and fatigue, especially in women. It promotes the process of protein transanimation in the liver, effectively utilizing digested proteins, while simultaneously preventing them from being discharged through the body as waste products.
Strawberry (Fragaria species) Apart from being a delicious fruit, Taken internally for diarrhea, digestive upsets, and gout (Leaves and roots). Externally for sunburn, skin blemishes, reducing freckles, discoloured teeth (juice) The photo on the right is the yellow fruit, photo on the right is the red fruit. Both make splendid ground covers and also useful in hanging baskets or pots.
Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua) Sweet wormwood is the source of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ‘Qing Hao’, which has been used for more than 2,000 years to alleviate fevers. In TCM it is often prescribed in combination with other herbs to treat (in addition to fevers) jaundice, headache, dizziness and nosebleeds. Scientific research into the anti-malarial activity of sweet wormwood began in the early 1970s in response to the increasing resistance to established anti-malarial drugs of the protozoan parasites which cause malaria (Plasmodium species). The chemical artemisinin, which occurs naturally in the leaves of sweet wormwood, is a potent anti-malarial agent, and can kill the most deadly malarial parasite, Plasmodium falciparum (it is selectively toxic to the asexual erythrocyte stage of the parasites). Artemisinin extracted from sweet wormwood has become extremely important in treating malaria, since resistance to many other anti-malarials has become widespread.
Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus) Sweet flag, or calamus has been used since ancient times. Traditionally calamus was used for its effects on the digestive system and the lungs. This herb eliminates phlegm, clears congestion, and tranquilizes the mind. Traditional uses include :amnesia, heart palpitations, insomnia, tinnitus, chronic bronchitis, and bronchial asthma. The root oil is strong and fragrant, its taste warm, bitterish, pungent and aromatic. Its active principles are taken up by boiling water. It is a thick, pale yellow liquid, and has a high toxicity. In Europe calamus is used as a digestive aid, helping to counter acidity and ease heartburn and dyspepsia. The root is also chewed to help toothache and to help stop smoking. Acorus can blunt gastric upset during the acute phase of drug withdrawal..
Tarragon French (Artemisia drancunculus) Tarragon herb has been used in various traditional medicines for stimulating the appetite and as a remedy for anorexia, dyspepsia, flatulence, and hiccups.The essential oil, eugenol in the herb has been in therapeutic use in dentistry as a local-anesthetic and antiseptic for toothache complaints. Tarragon tea may help cure insomnia. N.B. The Russian tarragon isn’t worth bothering about as it’s taste is insipid.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Aromatic, anti-septic, expectorant, increases perspiration, stimulates immune system. Bacterial and fungal infections. Oil non irritant. Externally for thrush, vaginal infection, acne, athlete’s foot, verruca’s, warts, insect bites, cold sores, nits, (Lice)
Teuchrium chamaedrys (Wall germander) Internally for loss of appetite, gall bladder and digestive disorders, summer diarrrhoea in children gout, rheumatoid arthritis, nasal catarrh, bronchitis (including snake bites)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) Powerful anti-septic, Internally for dry coughs, whooping cough, bronchitis, bronchial catarrh, asthma, laryngitis, indigestion, gastritis, diarrhea, enuresis in children. Externally for tonsillitis, gum disease, rheumatism, arthritis, fungal infections. Oil used in aromatherapy for aches and pains, exhaustion, depression, upper respiratory tract infection, skin and scalp complaints.
Tulbaghia violacea (Wild Garlic) The whole plant is edible, tastes strongly of garlic and has exactly the same components as normal garlic. Anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and extremely valuable in maintaining good health.
Valerian – Valeriana officinalis – The root is used. Valerian is the main ingredient of all tranquilizers, Valium, Valoid etc. Especially good taken as a tea for people who find it difficult to switch off. Beneficial for almost any stress ralted condition. It relaxes over contracted muscles and is helpful for shoulder and neck tension, asthma, colic, irritable bowel syndrome, period pain and muscle spasms, cramps.
Vanilla Grass Sweet vernal grass Aromatic herb that stimulates the circulation and relieves pain and spasms. Has the scent of New Mown hay because of the coumarin glycosides the leaves contain. Internally as a nasal lotion, for hay fever. Externally for painful joints, chilblains, nervous exhaustion and insomnia. Leaves infused in alcohol leave a lovely, grassy flavour and makes you happy!
Vetiver grass (Vetiveria zizanoides) The oil has a heavy, earthy aroma and repels flies, cockroaches, bedbugs and clothes moths. Parts used Roots and oil. Aromatic, sedative, anti-septic herb that increases production of red corpuscles. Internally for nervous and circulatory problems. Externally for Lice.
Violet Family – Viola sp – Five flowers can be eaten at any time for a headache. The leaves and the flowers are used as an infusion or syrup for treating headaches, coughs, chest colds and catarrh. Also used to treat breast and stomach cancer. The flowers are yummy when crystallized, also for adding to salads and as a garnish.
Horehound White– Marrubium vulgare/ Wild Catmint – Ballota nigra (indigenous) – Both can be taken as an infusion or a decoction and kept in the fridge, Horehound is for the chest. Used for tubercolosis, asthma and coughs, especially nagging coughs, wheezing, bronchitis, bronchiectasis (a damaged air passage within the lung) bronchial asthma, non productive coughs and whooping cough. It causes the secretion of more fluid mucous, readily cleared by coughing. It also regulates the heart rhythm. The leaves are used. Normally used for a particular ailment.
Wildeals – Artemisia afra – Wildeals is an indigenous plant to South Africa. It is one of the most widely used traditional medicines in S.A. Taken as a tea for coughs, colds, influenza, reducing fever, loss of appetite, colic, headache, earache, malaria, intestinal worms. Placing leaves in a blocked nose to clear the nasal passages. It tastes bitter, so honey added is recommended. It can also be infused in alcohol, like brandy etc. It is presently being investigated to treat Alzheimers due to its high Thujone content. Parts used: Leaves. Warning: Should not be taken for more than 7 – 10 days.
Wildedagga (Leonotis leonorus) (Lion’s ear, Wildedagga) An external application of an infusion made with the leaves is believed to soothe various conditions such as eczema, itchiness, insect bites and muscular pains. Decoctions are taken internally to treat coughs, colds and influenza.
Wormwood – Artemisia absynthemum – Absinth means ‘ without sweetness’. Taken as a tea for the stomach and the gall bladder. It is taken in small doses and sipped, the intensely bitter taste playing an important part in its therapeutic effect. Also contains Thujone, the brain/memory stimulator. It increases stomach acid and bile production and therefore improves digestion and the absorption of nutrients, making it helpful for a number of conditions including anaemia. It is a vermifuge (expels worms), an insect repellant and used for malaria.
Yarrow – Achillea millefolium – A powerful styptic – (stopping bleeding). Bruised leaves can be applied anywhere for any bleeding including nose bleeds. The leaves taken as a tea are powerful for regulating the menstrual flow, reduces menstrual heavy bleeding, eases period pain, internal bleeding, and has an antispasmodic action. It helps hayfever, cystitis, weak digestion, colds, flu, lowers high blood pressure, improves venous circulation and tones varicose veins. Also breaks and reduces fevers by inducing sweating. Added to the compost heap in broken handfuls to layers within, decomposes the heap in a third of the time. Can be taken continuously. Also come in many different shades of pinks and yellows.
This method is used for the more woody herbs/roots. Important to use a stainless steel or an enamel saucepan. The herb material is covered with cool water, brought to the boil then simmered ON THE STOVE for 15 to 60 minutes depending on the type of material. Usually 1 part herb to 5 parts water. Decoctions are mainly for external use. Ointments and creams are decoctions using oils, wax or fats instead of a water base.
HERB INFUSED VINEGARS:
Steeping herbs in vinegar is a wonderfully easy way to make flavourful dressings and gifts for fine food loving friends.
With a herbal vinegar, it is not that important which culinary herb you decide upon, as they all are very tasty when infused in a vinegar. Many people think making a herb vinegar is hugely complicated, it’s not! It’s easy!! The important part is choosing good vinegar, like wine, apple, malt or balsamic vinegars. The spirit vinegars tend to be quite tart on the taste buds.
One large 3 litre open necked jar. This is optional, the most important aspect is to have a wide necked jar with a lid.
Collect your aromatic herb material, rinse leaves and literally pack into the large jar as full as possible. By adding colourful, edible flowers, the vinegar will take the colour from the flower or leaves, such as Dark Opal basil, the vinegar will extract the colour.
Add the vinegar filling to the top. Replace the lid and leave in the sun for 5 – 7 days.
If you prefer to have a stronger flavor to your vinegar, after two weeks take out the infused herb and add more fresh herb of the same and leave for a further two weeks in a sunny place.
Strain the vinegar through a coffee filter into a funnel twice until vinegar is clear.
A wide mouthed glass jar or bottle is filled loosely with your chosen chopped herb material and is then filled to the top with alcohol (pure or Witblitz as long as it is more than 43% proof). The bottle is placed in a cool, dark spot, preferably use a dark brown bottle, and shaken every day for two to three weeks then the alcohol or tincture is strained off. To make a stronger infusion replace the herb material with more of the same and repeat the process.
An infusion is exactly as if you are making a cup of tea! A thumb sprig of herb material is placed in a cup of boiled water and left to steep for five minutes. Honey can be added and then sipped liked a tea.
There are many herbs that can be taken on a daily basis, if preferred 3 times a day but there are other herbs that cannot be taken over a long period of time such as the Artemisia’s.
Lemon balm is an anti-anxiety herb and can be taken several times a day. It is a member of the mint family although it is not invasive but does self seed itself. The taste of the tea is a gentle lemon flavour and really does help towards stress and anxiety.