Descriptions of some Healing Herbs

 

Comfrey, Symphytum officinale

Comfrey is a marvelous herb and is one of the best-known healing herbs of all times. Well known and widely used by early Greeks and Romans, its very name, symphytum, from the Greek symphyo means to "make grow together", referring to its traditional use of healing fractures. Comfrey relieves pain and inflammation caused by injuries and degeneration, especially the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Comfrey creams and oils can be used in arthritic pain relieving massages.
Comfrey salves, ointments and teas are best known for the topical treatment of burns, skin ulcerations, abrasions, lacerations, flea and insect bites, and just about any skin irritation. Comfrey's astringent tannins form a protective surface over wounds, that will promote healing. You may want to try comfrey or allantoin skin creams for diabetic sores. 
Fresh leaves can be applied to bruises, fractures, sprains, and other injuries. Many healing effects of comfrey are attributable to allantoin, a compound shown to speed cell production both inside and outside the body. Comfrey works so fast that many herbalists will add antibacterial herbs such as goldenseal or thyme to comfrey salves to prevent sealing bacteria inside a fast healing wound.
Constituents: tannin, rosmarinic acid, allantoin, steroidal saponins, mucilage, inulin, pyrrolizidine alkaloids, gum, carotene, glycosides, sugars, beta-sitosterol, triterpenoids, vitamin b-12, protein, zinc.
Arnica, Arnica montana
Arnica is an alpine herb with a long history of use in the folk medicine of Russia and the Swiss Alps.  Arnica is approved for use by the Commission E for external use in injury and for consequences of accidents, e.g., hematoma, dislocations, contusions, edema due to fracture, rheumatic muscle and joint pain. Arnica is available both as a herbal oil or homeopathic cream, however herbal preparations have shown much better results than homeopathic products when tested in lab studies.  Arnica oils and creams are one of the best known herbal sports medicines, arnica has dramatic results if used immediately after an injury. Arnica helps speed the healing process by moving waste-bound fluids out and moving cleansing fluids and platelets into the affected area. The anti-inflamatory properties of arnica are primarily due to its sesquiterpene lactones. These chemicals cause a reduction of inflammation by blocking the actions of pro-inflammatory cytokines.  Arnica is a great addition to your first aid kit, however it's use is limited to short durations because of allergic skin reactions when overused.

Constituents: volatile oil (containing thymol), resins, a bitter principle (arnicin), carotenoids, flavonoids.

Calendula officinalis
Calendula is a stunningly beautiful flower, the deep orange and yellow petals form a colorful contrast with the greenery in the herb garden. Is it little wonder that Calendula, called "Marygold", Marigold or "sunbride" in the herbals of the middle ages, was ascribed such magical powers and healing virtues? Calendula flower oil heals the skin so well, The German Commission E has verified the effectiveness of calendula in healing wounds and reducing inflammation.
Calendula is a particularly good treatment for cuts, scrapes, bruises, insect bites and minor wounds. Calendula is antifungal and so can help to cure thrush (Candida albicans).  The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of calendula make it a good face wash for dry, irritated skin and acne. Fresh calendula petals can also be infused in boiling water and used to treat minor infections, conjunctivitis, and mouth sores.
Constituents: carotenoids, resin, essential oil, flavonoids, sterol, bitter principle, saponins, mucilage

Meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria

Meadowsweet is a mild, but effective anti-inflammatory herb used to treat arthritis and other aches and pains.  Meadowsweet leaves and flowers contain salicylates, compounds that are converted by the body to aspirin.  Meadowsweet is especially helpful for those arthritis sufferers who have gastritis, (inflammation of the stomach lining) from years of taking NSAIDs.  While it may seem contradictory at first, since aspirin and salicylates are know for causing stomach upset, but years of observation and historic use confirm that meadowsweet is effective in a wide range of digestive problems, including diarrhea in children3. This makes a strong case for the whole herb being much more than just the sum of its "active" ingredients.1
Constituents: salicylic acid, flavone glycosides, essential oils, tannins.

St. Johns Wort,  Hypericum perforatum

St. Johns Wort has a demonstrated ability to act as an antidepressant in cases of mild depression and anxiety. St. John's Wort is a tonic for the entire nervous system. This action is most strongly linked to two phytochemicals, hyperforin and hypericin.  St. Johns was a useful member of the pharmacopoeia centuries before its use as an antidepressant was discovered. Drinking a cup of St Johns tea before bedtime can help children and adults troubled by incontinence, and M. Grieve recommended it be used in all pulmonary complaints, bladder troubles, in suppression of the urine, dysentery, worms, and diarrhea.
St. John's is also effective in the treatment of herpes lesions. Compresses soaked in a strong tea, the infused oil or a tincture can be applied to active lesions. The anti-viral activity of St. John can also be used to treat flu viruses (but not cold viruses)
The fresh flowers of St. Johns when infused in oil produce a beautiful and powerful red oil that is anti-inflammatory and analgesic. This therapeutic oil has so many uses that you can sum it up by saying if it hurts, soothe it with St. Johns Oil. Some of the skin care uses for this oil include healing burns and damaged skin.  Use St. Johns wort oil to calm the pain of sciatica, arthritis, fibromyalgia, muscle aches, PMS and breast tenderness.
Constituents: glycosides (including a red pigment, hypericin), flavonoids, tannins, resin, volatile oil.

Bay Laurel,  Laurus nobilis

Bay laurel wreathes once crowned the heads of ancient heroes and the leaves guided the predictions of the Delphic priestesses. Today bay laurel is best known as fragrant culinary herb often used to flavor soups and stews in Mediterranean cuisine, but bay is good kitchen medicine too.
Oil of bay, the fixed oil expressed from the berries, is used to treat arthritic aches and pains, lower back pain, earaches, and sore muscles and sprains. Bay leaves are the source of an essential oil with the same analgesic and warming properties. Bay laurel contains parthenolides, the same chemical in feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) that is thought to prevent migraine headaches
Constituents: the volatile oil contains pinene, geraniol, eugenol, cineol.

Motherwort,  Leonurus caridica L.

Chinese motherwort, known as yi-mu-cao, and the common European motherwort serve as excellent examples of plants used for parallel purposes by divergent cultures, whose uses are confirmed by modern research. This fascinating but still little-appreciated member of the mint family deserves greater attention in the West. In TCM motherwort was used to promote longevity and strengthen the heart, just as western herbal medicine considers motherwort to be one of the best heart tonics. Motherwort is used to promote blood circulation, lower cholesterol, slow a too rapid heart rate, and relieve stress on the heart muscle. It also is diuretic, and reduces swelling, helping to lower blood pressure. These medicinal actions are confirmed by science to be linked to the bitter glycosides as well as other phytochemicals that motherwort contains.
Motherwort is also one of the best tonic herbs for women. Motherwort is especially valuable in a wide range of female disorders (hence the name), allaying nervous irritability and inducing quiet and passivity of the whole nervous system. I find motherwort a good remedy for those times when you feel a generalized anxiety without any clear cut cause. The herb regulates the menses, and is a strong emmenagogue, helping to stimulate delayed periods and is an excellent remedy for menstrual cramps especially those accompanied by scanty menses.
Constituents: alkaloids (including leonurinine and stachydrine), bitter glycosides (leonurine and leonuridin), tannins, a volatile oil, vitamin A.

Chamomile, Matricaria recutita

Because of its extraordinarily gentle effectiveness, chamomile is the first herb of choice for many home remedies. The seemingly endless list of uses for chamomile can all be traced to its effects on the nervous system and digestive system, as well as its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Chamomile is a great herb to grow in the garden or buy in bulk, because there are so many different and amazing uses for it. Besides being one of my all time favorite evening herbal teas, dried chamomile flowers in a simple muslin bag make a wonderful, relaxing bath. I also love that sweet, apple aroma in herb pillows.
Womens Heath Chamomile is a mild but effective remedy for delayed menstruation and irregular menstruation, and is especially helpful in these conditions that may be triggered by stress, anxiety, and tension. Chamomile contains spiroether, a very strong antispasmodic agent that relaxes aching, tense muscles and alleviates premenstrual pain.
Emotional Healing : Chamomile calms anxiety, eases stress and may have a positive effect on attention deficit disorder (ADD).Chamomile tea and chamomile oil are safe for children and babies who have trouble sleeping or are under stress.
Digestive Tonic : The bitter principles in chamomile make it an excellent tonic for the liver and digestive system. The bittersweet flavor stimulate the gastric juices, and help to settle the stomach. Chamomile teas can be used as part of a treatment program for irritable bowel syndrome because of its antispasmodic properties. Chamomile's anti-inflammatory actions soothe inflammation throughout the digestive tract. Chamomile is more effective for nausea and morning sickness when used with ginger. Steep chamomile for at least 20 minutes to more thoroughly extract the bitters.
Beautiful skin and hair: Chamomile contains compounds that are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory; one of these, the lovely blue chamazulene, is noted for promoting tissue regeneration. The anti-inflammatory effect of the essential oil applied topically improves skin regeneration. The anti-inflammatory effect of the essential oil applied topically improves skin regeneration and a cold compress does wonders for puffy eyes. Cooled chamomile tea used as a hair rinse brings on the highlights in blonde or light colored hair. Add lemon juice to enhance the effect. Chamomile flower extracts are helpful in managing eczema .
Constituents: volatile oil (containing chamazulene, farnesene, bisabolol), flavonoids (including rutin and quercimertrin), coumarins, plant acids (including valerianic acid), fatty acids, cyanogenic glycosides, salicylate derivatives.

Peppermint, Mentha piperita

Peppermint's uplifting aroma wafting up from a hot cup of tea can start to settle an upset stomach even before you drink it. Peppermint's antispasmodic effect calms nausea and helps prevent gas and bloating after a heavy meal. Peppermint is often combined with caraway to help indigestion. Peppermint is a first herb of choice for treatment of colds and flu because it acts to relieve multiple symptoms at once: congestion, headaches and muscle aches, nausea and fever. You can drink a hot cup of peppermint tea, diffuse the essential oil in the sick room to ease the breath and kill germs, and use the oil in chest and throat massages. Peppermint also makes a good additive for a foot bath.
Constituents: volatile oils (composed mainly of menthol, menthone, and menthylacetate), flavonoids, tocopherols, carotenoids, betaine, choline, azulenes, rosmarinic acid.

Spearmint,  Mentha spicata

Spearmint has much the same properties as peppermint, but is milder and good for use with children's complaints. Spearmint tea will relieve hiccough, flatulence as well as indigestion. Sweetened spearmint herb tea is an excellent remedy to use in case of colds, congestion, or just as a pleasant beverage.
Constituents: small amounts of essential oil containing about 50% carvone, rosmarinic acid.

Bee Balm, Monarda didyma (Bergamot)

Colonists brewed a black tea from Mondara and named it Oswego, perhaps after the Native American town where they first found it growing. They used it to relieve colic, fevers and colds, and the lemon scented oil was used to scent soaps. Both useful and pretty, bee balm soon became an early garden favorite.  Today bee balm continues to be a most useful herb to use in both animals and humans. Like most mints, bee balm has a special affinity towards the digestive tract. Bee balm has excellent antibacterial qualities that make it useful for treating infections.
Constituents: thymol, carvacrol, rosemarnic acid.

Catnip,  Nepeta cataria

A harmless high for felines, and beneficial for humans. Catnip leaves contain considerable quantities of vitamins C and E, both excellent antioxidants. The primary phytochemicals, nepetalactone isomers, are mild sedatives, somewhat like the active ingredients in valerian. Catnip is a potent sleep-inducer for humans. It soothes the nervous system and can safely help get a restless child off to sleep. Catnip calms without affecting you the next day.  Catnip teas have long been used in traditional herbal medicine to quell digestive disturbances, and help stimulate menstruation.
Constituents: volatile oil (comprising carvacrol, nepetol, thymol, nepetalactone, citronellol, geraniol); tannins, rosmarinic acid

Oregano,  Origanum vulgare

When Americans think of oregano, we think first and foremost of pizza sauce. Many would be surprised to learn that oregano is ranked first among the culinary herbs in antioxidant power. Many of the medicinal properties of oregano can be attributed to the anti-inflamatory, antibacterial and antioxidant compounds it contains, including carvacrol, thymol and rosmarinic acid. These compounds have shown strong indications both in practice and in clinical studies that they offer protection against cancers, heart disease and stroke.   There is evidence to suggest that this may be due in part to the inhibition of COX-2 inflammation.
Oregano is effective for a wide range of conditions including colds and viral infections, digestive upsets, pain relief, and respiratory problems. Warming oregano can also be used to bring on menses and ease painful menstruation.
Constituents: carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, caryophyllene, rosmarinic acid

Plantain,  Plantago major, lanceolata L.

Plantain leaves are best used fresh, the plant can be put in the blender roots and all. The macerated fresh leaves are put on bee stings and used for skin irritations, malignant ulcers, and burns, and to stop bleeding in minor cuts. Important constituents of plantain are the gluside aucubin and allantoin.

Constituents: allantoin, apigenin,ascorbic-acid,aucubin,caffeic-acid, cinnamic-acid,citric-acid, mucilage, luteolin,oleanolic-acid,p-coumaric-acid, salicylic-acid,tannin,ursolic-acid,vanillic-acid.

Castor,  Ricinus communis

One of the most time honored home remedies for constipation, castor oil was the bane of childhood for those of us who were subjected to a daily dose of this rather vile tasting oil.  But don't let that dissuade you from using castor oil externally, it is a wonderful analgesic oil when applied externally for all kinds of pain including: sore muscles and arthritis pain, bruising, lower back pain, and nerve damage.  Castor oil packs are well suited to the slow relief of chronic pain and swelling.  Castor oil forms a protective surface when used in cosmetic and skin care formulations that acts as a protective barrier for skin.
Constituents: alpha-tocopherol,chlorogenic-acid, gamma-tocopherol , ricinoleic-acid

Sage,  Salvia officinalis

The tradition of using sage in the culinary arts of Thanksgiving began with the early American colonists, but don't let tradition limit your use of this classic herb to turkey stuffing. Sage is an excellent digestive herb when used for seasoning on meals of rich meats and fowl, which can be hard on the digestive system. The colonists also considered sage a valuable remedy for colds and fevers in the harsh New England winters. There is something very grounding and relaxing about a hot cup of sage tea with lemon, sipped slowly while the winter holds court outside your warm home. The cold and sniffles you felt coming on melt away in the fragrant steam. Sage has excellent antibacterial and astringent properties, which explains it popular use in gargles for sore throats, gingivitis and sore gums. A strong sage tea or tincture diluted with water can be used.
Sage is an excellent natural disinfectant and deodorizer, drying perspiration and helping to eliminate body odor. Extracts of sage are used in personal skin care for its capacity to heal the skin as well.
Sage is a well-regarded herb for women and can be especially helpful for relieving the hot flashes of menopause, and slowing heavy menstrual bleeding. Sage is also a good herbal tea for drying up breast milk for weaning.  Chinese medicine uses red sage, Salvia miltiorrhiza, combined with dan-gui (dong quai), to regulate menstrual flow.
Using sage to darken greying hair comes down to us from the gypsies, and I can personally attest to the fact that it works. What I like about it is the subtle effect, just a gradual darkening that doesn't leave you with ugly gray roots. Sage also leaves the hair feeling soft and shiny, and the scalp invigorated. Sage does not stop at making you look younger, it can also help prevent those "senior moments" as well. Both clinical studies and traditional wisdom agree that sage (Salvia officinalis) or Spanish sage (S. lavandulifolia) has positive effects on memory and concentration in both older people with cognitive problems and younger people with AD.
Constituents: volatile oils (including thujone, cineole, borneol, linalool, camphor, pinene), oestrogenic substances, salvin and carnosic acid, flavonoids, phenolic acids, rosmarinic acid & tannin.

Jojoba,  Simmondsia chinensis

The structure of jojoba oil closely resembles that of your own skin sebum, your skins own lubricating medium.  This gives jojoba a natural affinity to the skin, and is readily absorbed without making the skin feel greasy or tacky nor does it clog the pores.  It has exceptional skin-softening properties, as well as the ability to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, promoting skin suppleness while assisting with the rejuvenation of the skin.  You will find jojoba oil is many high-end anti-aging creams and lotions, but the oil stands well on it's own in skin care and is a favorite carrier oil in aromatherapy.

Thyme,  Thymus vulgaris

Thyme is another member of the venerable Lamiaceae, the mint family, that has been used since the earliest times as a medicinal herb. Thyme is one of the best herbs to use as a cough and cold remedy, addressing all your cold symptoms in a holistic way. Thyme acts both as an expectorant to clear the lungs of congestion and as a antitussive, calming coughing spasms. Thyme tea will settle the stomach, help you sleep, soothe a sore throat, relieve aches and pains, and encourage your body to sweat, helping to eliminate toxins and bring down a fever. Drinking a warm thyme tea sweetened with thyme honey is a pleasant and tasty way to get these benefits. Thyme essential oil can also be used in room diffusers. This long list of medicinal actions is attributed mainly to the essential oil components, thymol and carvacrol, which are highly antiseptic. Thyme oil can be used to treat cuts and wounds to prevent and treat infections when diluted with a carrier oil.
Constituents: thymol and carvacrol, rosmarinic acid.

Valerian,  Valeriana officinalis

Valerian is without doubt the most widely recognized herbal sedative. It is used by herbalists for insomnia, nervous anxiety, and to help the body relax in the presence of pain.  Although valerian is potent, and has an effect similar to drugs like Valium,  it is neither habit-forming nor addictive. Valerian puts you to sleep but doesn't cause a morning hangover, interact with alcohol, or lead to addiction. Research shows that extracts of the root not only help you fall asleep faster but also improve sleep quality. Valerian has a tonic effect on the heart when used in combination with hawthorn.  Valerian herb can also calm coughs when used in combination with mullein, and lemon balm.  Valerian relaxes smooth muscles making it an idea remedy for cramps.
Constituents: acetic acid, ascorbic acid, beta-ionone, calcium, caffeic acid, magnesium, manganese, quercitin, valeric acid

Myrrh,  Commiphora myrrha


Many ancient texts extol the healing properties of Myrrh as a cleansing, purifying agent and it continues to be a proven and popular remedy today. In the early 20th century myrrh was still being used in hospitals to treat bed sores. Myrrh's antifungal, antiseptic and astringent actions make it a specific in the treatment of infections in the mouth such as mouth ulcers, gingivitis, and phyorrhoea.  Used as a gargle it can help with laryngitis and respiratory complaints; it is both expectorant and a stimulant of circulation and finds many uses in the treatment of the common cold. Externally it is healing and antiseptic for wounds and abrasions and can be applied diluted with a carrier oil or used sparingly as a tincture. Myrrh is a useful agent for treating thrush, (Candida albicans) and athlete's foot fungal infections.
Constituents: volatile oil, about 8%, (containing heerabolene, limonene, dipentene, pinene, eugenol, cinamal-dehyde, cuminaldehyde, etc), resins, up to 40% (including commiphoric acids), gum (about 50%).

Lemongrass, Cymopogon citratus, C.flexuosus


Lemongrass is a well known medicinal herb in the east, as well as being widely used in Thai, Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Caribbean cooking.  In Ayurvedic medicine a preparation of lemon grass with pepper has been used for relief of menstrual troubles and nausea. Lemon grass is a mild diuretic and a digestive stimulant that promotes digestion of fats.
Constituents: citral, citronellol, dipentene, geraniol, limonene, linalool, nyrcene.

Echinacea,  Echinacea angustifolia


Herbalists do not agree on which species is best, E.purpurea,, E. pallida, or E.angustifolia, but all variants have phytochemicals that improve the immune system. There are dozens of dozens of biochemical compounds that act in therapeutic synergy in this complex plant that support disease resistance in several ways. However, taking echinacea when a cold or infection has already become serious may be fighting a losing battle. Echinacea is most effect when taken at the first onset of cold, sinus, gum inflammation or other infection symptoms.
Echinacea has a numbing sensation that relieves the pain of cold sores, and also offers some protection against herpes simplex viruses.  Echinacea acts against Candida albicans, the microorganism that causes most yeast infection. Echinacea is a mild antiseptic on its own, but when fighting an established virus, combining echinacea with antiseptic herbs such as goldenseal or Oregon grape enhances the effectiveness of the treatment.
A few drops of echinacea tincture or a skin wash made from fresh flowers in a quick and effective way to reduce itching and take the sting out of insect bites and hives.
Constituents: essential oil (including humulene and caryophylene), glycoside, polysaccharide, polyacetylenes, isobutylalklamines, resin, betaine, inulin, sesquiterpene.

Horsetail,  Equisetum arvense


The primary use of the horsetail is as a diuretic. Gently stimulating increased urinary flow, horsetail helps "flush" infectious bacteria out of the bladder without altering the body's balance of electrolytes. The powdered form of the herb is better when electrolytes may be depleted. It's also the form of the herb being investigated as a treatment for age-related memory impairment.
While horsetail is accepted in herbal traditions as a proven herb to maintain healthy skin, nails and hair, the supposition that silica is main active ingredient responsible for these properties is questioned by some modern herbalists. The objective evidence is sorely lacking both for the bioavailability of silica and the role silicon plays in the body. This is not to say horsetail is not effective, but rather calls into question the mechanism by which this most ancient of plants affects human metabolism.
Constituents: primarily silica and potassium salts, small amounts of nicotine. horsetail from european sources contains the anti-allergy compound quercetin.

Lavender,  Lavandula spp


Lavender has some powerful properties for such a gentle, sweet smelling flower. Lavender can lift your spirits, help you sleep, relieve pain, kill germs, heal burns and rashes, and help keep annoying insects at bay.
In the evening lavender comes into its own, the relaxing and sedative aroma of lavender has an almost immediate effect as soon as it hits the sensitive membranes inside your nose.  Soaking in a lavender scented bath relaxes away mild depression and anxiety and may even lower high blood pressure.  Regular lavender baths are recommended throughout a woman's pregnancy.
Clinical trials confirm the conventional wisdom that lavender relaxes the body in the presence of pain, most likely by reducing anxiety levels. A calm mental state makes pain more bearable, lessening its impact by reducing the perception of pain.  Massage with lavender oil at tender trigger points reduces the pain and tension of fibromyalgia in long-term sufferers.Lavender combines well with the analgesic power of rosemary to relieve all types of pain: arthritis, sore muscles, and nerve pain. Lavender can also be used in a massage oil to relieve the pain and arthritic stiffness older dogs, (but not cats).
Lavender is well regarded for its skin healing properties as well.  It's effectiveness in treating burns was first discovered by French biochemist René Gattefossé when he cooled his hand in a handy vat of lavender after burning it in a lab accident. This storied burn healed so quickly, and without scarring, that it is often cited as a seminal event in the birth a modern aromatherapy.  To make a all purpose remedy for scalds, burns, and sunburns: apply a cloth wet with witch hazel, then apply a few drops of lavender essential oil directly to the burn.
Constituents: volatile oil (up to 1.5%, containing linabol, linalyl acetate, lavendulyl acetate, terpinenol, cineole, camphor, borneol, pinene, limonene), tannins, coumarins (coumarin, umbelliferone, hemiarin), flavonoids, triterpenoids, rosmarinic acid.

Apple,  Malus domestica


Apple cider vinegar is such a useful and versatile substance, truly no household should be without it. You can't go wrong with something that is good to eat, prevents hair loss, softens skin, and cleans and disinfects the bathroom to boot. When it is made from whole, crushed apples vinegar contains all the nutrition of apples, with some added enzymes and amino acids formed by fermentation.  The mother of all home remedies for arthritis is 3 tablespoons of ACV mixed with honey every day. This simple remedy has so much anecdotal evidence of its benefit that I can think of no reason for anyone with arthritis not to try it. If nothing else cut down on calories by substituting a fresh vinaigrette salad dressing with herbs for the calorie laden, bottled kind to help increase weight loss. Vinegar is often touted for its alkalizing, effect as a balance to the many acid-producing foods we tend to overeat, like meats and grains. There is some disagreement over whether vinegar, which is an acidic substance, makes the body more acidic, which acts to prevent food poisoning by killing harmful bacteria, or whether it indeed has alkalizing, effect on the body. In any case, there is wide agreement that two or three tablespoons of vinegar as a daily tonic works to decrease inflammation, increase metabolism, and may help to alleviate the crippling pain of arthritis.
The entire apple tree is useful in home and herbal medicine. In addition to the fruit of the apple tree, its bark, flowers, and leaves all have healthy properties. Herbalists use the apple tree much like its cousin the rose, for its astringent properties. The inner bark of the apple tree as well as blossoms are an astringent tonic, and can be used as an infusion for sore throats. The wild crab apple tree is considered better than modern cultivars for use in herbal medicine.

Constituents: acetic-acid, alpha-linolenic-acid, benzoic-acid, benzyl-acetate, caffeic-acid, calcium-oxalate, chlorogenic-acid , ferulic-acid, geraniol, hyperoside, isoquercitrin, lactic-acid,lutein,p-coumaric-acid, protocatechuic-acid, quercetin, rutin, sugar, ursolic-a

Lemon Balm,  Melissa officinalis


Herbalists refer to the plant as lemon balm, aromatherapists use the botanical name melissa, both refer to the same plant, Melissa officinalis. Lemon balm is an aromatic mint with a venerable reputation for having calming properties. Lemon balm can be very helpful for those times when nerves, headaches and/or mild depression are preventing you from relaxing and getting a good nights sleep. Combined with valerian, it may even be more beneficial than many prescription sleep aids.  Lemon balm's sedative and analgesic properties make it a favorite remedy for women having cramping, painful periods or any kind of stomach upset.
Lemon balm has antibacterial and antiviral properties, and like all of its mint family relatives, a cup of hot lemon balm tea induces perspiration to help break a fever. Lemon balm extracts are also effective against herpes, cold sores and mumps viruses.
Constituents: volatile oils (citral, citronellal, eugenol acetate, geraniol and other components), polyphenols, tannin, flavonoids, rosmarinic acid, triterpenoids.

Solomons Seal,  Polygonatum biflorum


Polygonatum has been used medicinally by many diverse folk traditions. Polygonatum has been used by Native American healers and in ancient Chinese medicine in lung, stomach and skin complaints.
Constituents: convallamarin, convallarin, quercitol, vitamin a.

Red Clover,  Trifolium pratense


Red clover contains an impressive array of vitamins and trace minerals in synergy with many active medical compounds, including a strong concentration of isoflavones.  Isoflavones are a type of flavonoids found in plants that act like estrogen in mammals. These isoflavones are also found in many plants in the (FABACEAE) or pea family like soybeans, red clover, alfalfa, garden peas, beans, licorice and kudzu. These phytoestrogens exert a weak estrogenic effect due to their ability to bind estrogen receptors. This is of special interest to women in relieving the symptoms of menopause and providing protection against osteoporosis by helping to maintain bone density. These compounds have shown promise in studies for their protective effects against cancer of the breast.
Red clover maintains a strong following among traditional herbalists as a blood purifying depurative that has been used safely and effectively for hundreds, if not thousands of years in clinical practice. Red clover has been used traditionally to treat respiratory and skin problems such as cases of childhood eczema, and can be effective for other chronic skin conditions as well.
Vervain,  Verbena hastata, V. officinalis
Vervain has been useful to herbal healers for many centuries of recorded history, both in the Europe (Verbena officinalis) and in North America, (V. hastata), yet there is a dearth of human studies with this herb.  Vervain's healing properties are attributed primarily to its bitter and stimulating effect on the liver and other organs, as well as its relaxing effect on the nervous system. Vervain is useful in many diseases as a pain reliever and natural tranquilizer, an expectorant used to treat chronic bronchitis, and an antirheumatic used to relive joint pain. Herbalists consider vervain especially helpful when depression is related to chronic illness. As an added benefit, it can help to heal any damage that has occurred to the liver.
Constituents: tannin

Hyssop,  Hyssopus officinalis


Hyssop is a good expectorant and antiviral herb commonly used to treat respiratory conditions such as influenza, sinus infections, colds, and bronchitis.  Most of its medicinal properties are attributed to the essential oil of hyssop. Hyssop oil can be diffused in a sickroom to help control germs and clear the air. Hyysop can also be used externally to treat burns and bruises. Hyssop is a nervine, and can be used to calm anxiety. The herbs bitter principle, marrubin, also contributes to its use as a digestive stimulant.
Constituents: volatile oil ,pinocamphone, isopinocamphone, pinenes, camphene, and terpinene),hyssopin, tannin, flavonoids, insolic acid, oleonolic acid, a bitter substance (marrubiin), resin, gum.