WARNING: the medical uses described below come from a variety of sources, both modern and historical. Herbal remedies should never be taken without the consent of a physician and none of the information below is meant as a substitute for conventional medicine. The author of this page assumes no liability for any harm that comes from using any of the remedies described below. Please note that people who are prone to topical allergies could have a reaction to herbal baths and teas. If you have a history of allergies, caution should be used with all herbal products. Additionally, if you are taking a prescription or over-the-counter medication, herbal treatments can sometimes have lethal side effects when they are taken in combination with one another. Never begin taking an herbal product without consulting a physician.

The use of plants for medicinal purposes is as old as civilisation, and the first known written record of curative plants was from a Sumerian herbal of 2200 BC. The Greek doctor Hippocrates listed some 400 herbs in common use in the 5th century BC, and Dioscorides, in the first century AD, wrote a herbal using 600 plants which became the basis for many later works. One of the most popular herbals ever written was by Culpeper in the seventeenth century.

Man has also been aware of the effects of scent on the body, mind and emotion from the beginning of civilisation. Flowers were utilised to attract love, food and protection. Fragrant plants were worn to heal the body. The most costly flowers were offered to gods and goddesses as sacrifices, and the use of aromatic incense is recorded from the earliest of times.

Worldwide, from antiquity to modern times, different cultures have found common as well as diverse uses for herbs and oils, and the myths, legends, folklore and medicines reflect this knowledge.

Achyranthes – OXKNEE (Achyranthes bidentata) - Traditional Chinese herb used to nourish the kidney and liver, drain 'dampness' and promote circulation. Prescribed for difficult urination, painful urethritis, suppressed menstruation. Commonly used to treat traumatic injuries, stiffness and pain of the lower back and loins and for weakness in the legs and feet. Do not use during pregnancy.

ACONITE (Aconitum napellus) - (Monkshood) Recognised as a poison since antiquity, especially to poison arrows. Contains aconitine, a useful sedative for many conditions. Not to be used without medical supervision. ADONIS (Adonis aestivalis) - According to Greek legends, flower sprang from the blood of Adonis. Formerly used as a cardiac stimulant like digitalis but is much stronger.

AGRIMONY (Agrimonia eupatoria) - Tea has great reputation as a wash for healing wounds and skin eruptions. Internally, tea is useful for liver, kidney and bladder problems.

AGRIMONY, CHINESE (Agrimonia pilosa) - Traditional Chinese remedy against parasites, including taenia, malaria plasmodia, schistosomomas and vaginal trichomonas. Antiparasitic compound agrimophol is 95% effective against taenia. Also used to stop bleeding and to prevent infection.

AGRIMONY, HEMP(Eupatorium cannabinum) - Good remedy for liver problems and to "purify" the blood.

AJMUD (Carum roxburgianum) - Indian spice seed used in curries, pickles and chutneys. Leaves are used as a substitute for parsley. Medicinally used as a carminative to relieve gas and gripping bowel pain. Also for dyspepsia, bronchitis and asthma.

AJOWAN (Carum copticum) - Used medicinally for sore throat, bronchitis and cough. Potent antifungal against pathogenic fungi.

ALFALFA (Medicago sativa) - Well known fodder plant. Infusion with mint is an excellent nutritious tea for daily use; rich in easily assimilated vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Alfalfa sprouts are popular in sandwiches and salads.

ALKANET (Anchusa officinalis) - Root decoction has blood cleansing action. Once used to treat rabies. Also used as a diuretic and to induce perspiration

ALLHEAL (Prunella vulgaris) - As name suggests, infusion is effective medicine for most internal and external wounds due to its astringent action. Also as a gargle for sore throat.

ALOE VERA(Aloe barbadensis) - The famous healing plant. Fresh leaves can be split and gel applied to treat minor burns, sunburn, wrinkles, insect bites, minor cuts, scratches, and skin irritations. The juice is also used internally for ulcers.

AMBRETTE SEED - The seed is used as a stimulant and to ease digestion. In Chinese medicine it is used to treat headache, and in Egypt the seeds are made into an emulsion with milk to treat itch.

ANEMONES - Believed to have sprung from the blood of the Greek god Adonis after he was mortally wounded by a boar, anemones were used to cure gout, leprosy and colds. Greek legends suggest that Anemos, the wind, sent his plants, the anemones, as heralds of spring. Native Americans of the Rocky Mountains saw wild anemones swaying in the breeze and called them "flower of the wind".

ANGELICA - Angelica has been extolled since antiquity for its curative powers. It strengthens the heart and stimulates the immune system. Chinese medicine uses at least ten varieties of angelica, known for its powers of fertility, fortifying the spirit and treating female disorders. Angelica has been linked with the Archangel Michael and has been called the Root of the Holy Ghost. It has also been associated with the Festival of the Annunciation and the Archangel Gabriel, as well as the Archangel Raphael.

ANISE (Pimpinella anisum) - Aids digestion and eases cough.

APPLE - The planet Venus is an attribute of the apple blossom, who's scent can be used to attract love and to dispel depression.

ARNICA, EUROPEAN (Arnica montana) - Famous Swiss herb used by the Aztecs as a poultice externally for bruises, burns, wounds and inflammations. It stimulates the peripheral blood supply when applied externally and is considered one of the best remedies for bruises and sprains. It is never taken internally because of toxicity levels.

ASH, PRICKLY (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis) - Stimulates the circulatory system. Useful in many chronic diseases such as rheumatism, skin diseases, varicose veins.

ASHWAGANDHA (Withania somnifera) - Highly regarded Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine herb sometimes called "Indian ginseng." It is the primary strengthening tonic in Ayurveda; used for everything from general weakness, rheumatism, insomnia, infertility, impotence and "weakness of the mind."

ASPARAGUS, CHINESE (Asparagus cochinchinensis) (A. lucidus) - Tubers are antibiotic and anti-inflammatory. Used to treat tuberculosis, bronchitis, dry cough, dry throat, diabetes and breast cancer. Tubers are boiled, peeled and sliced, and then dried in the sun. Tubers can also be preserved in sugar and eaten like candy.

ASTER, NEW ENGLAND (Aster novae-angliae) - Native people have used the roots of this plant for fever, catarrh and pain. The Iroquois used it as a 'love medicine' and as a 'smudging' herb to revive the unconscious.

MILKVETCH, CHINESE (Astragalus membranaceus) - One of the most important Chinese medicinal herbs, especially for its immune enhancing properties. Tonifies the spleen, especially in cases of fatigue. Boosts and tonifies qi (chi). Cardio-tonic; lowers blood pressure and blood sugar; improves circulation. Beneficial effect on kidneys, liver, and endocrine system.

AVENS (Geum urbanum) - Infusion is used to treat diarrhoea and indigestion. Also as an external application to wounds. Formerly used to add unique flavour to ale.

AZTEC SWEET HERB (Lippia dulcis) - Mexican herb used since at least the time of the Aztecs for coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, and colic. Leaves contain the intensely sweet compound hernandulcin (1000 times sweeter than sugar) but high camphor content makes them unsuitable for use as a sugar substitute.

BABY'S BREATH, MANCHURIAN (Gypsophila oldhamiana) - Root is used in Chinese medicine for jaundice, lung disease, rheumatism and typhoid fever. Used in cases of yin deficiency, especially in cases involving chronic low grade fever.

BAI ZHI (Angelica dahurica) - Root used in Chinese medicine to treat toothache and headache and externally for mastitis and infected wounds. Has antipyretic, analgesic and antibacterial action.

BAI ZHU (Atractylodes macrocephala) - Chinese medicinal herb noted for strengthening the spleen and building chi energy. Rhizomes are used to treat diarrhoea, fatigue, and lack of appetite and vomiting related to deficiencies of spleen or stomach.

BALLOON FLOWER (Platycodon grandiflorus) - Important herb of the Orient: cough remedy is prepared from the roots; wholesome young foliage added to salads.

BALM, LEMON (Melissa officinalis) - Fresh leaves burst of lemon when squeezed. A truly delightful tea made from the dried leaves is our favourite "anytime" tea as it both stimulates the heart and calms the nerves. We urge everyone to try it. Fresh chopped leaves are also interesting in salads, soups and stews. Proven effective against herpes.

AMERICAN BALM OF GILEAD (Populus balsamifera) - Not the true balm of Gilead mentioned in the Bible. The buds of this American tree are covered with a resinous material much like incense in odour. Has stimulant, tonic, and diuretic properties. Tincture used for chest, stomach, and kidney complaints, and for rheumatism. Ointment made with lard or oil is useful for bruises, swellings and some skin diseases.

BALSAM (Impatiens balsamina) - A medicinal herb in China where it is used to clear obstructions in the throat. Flowers mixed with alum are used to paint fingernails. Double and semi-double flowers in a wide colour range.

BAN XIA (Piniella ternata) - Tubers used in Chinese traditional medicine to combat conditions characterised by dampness and phlegm, such as fever, cough, and congestion. Also used to regulate the upward flow of chi and to control vomiting. Contains ephedrine.

BASIL, WILD (Clinopodium vulgare) - Has a faint thyme-like odour. Infusion of leaves makes a pleasant cordial tea. Helps overcome stomach weakness.

BAYBERRY  (Myrica pensylvanica) - Astringent action of root bark abates diarrhoea and haemorrhages; and as a gargle, soothes sore throat. Wax-covered berries are used to make aromatic candles and soap. Berries are boiled in water, freeing the wax that floats on top.

BDELLIUM (Commiphora africana) - (Gum bdellium) Closely related to myrrh and frankincense, this is the true source of the gum bdellium mentioned in the Old Testament. Used as a stomachic, carminative, for colds, and in Arab tribal rituals. Fragrant gum exudate is collected from incisions or spontaneous cracks in the bark.

BEARDTONGUE (Penstemon barbatus) - Considered a 'life medicine' by the Navajo people who have used it for menstrual pain, stomachache, wounds, swellings and coughs.

BEDSTRAW, YELLOW (Galium verum) - (Lady's bedstraw) Tops and roots are sources of yellow and red dyes. Decoction is useful for bladder and kidney complaints, and has the ability to curdle milk (hence its other name, "cheese rennet").

BELLADONNA (Atropa belladonna) - Source of atropine, valuable in treating eye diseases and spasms. External applications lessen local inflammation and pain. Do not use without medical supervision.

BENZOIN GUM (Styrax benzoin) - The balsamic gum of this tropical tree is used in potpourris and incense. Also useful antiseptic properties for skin poultices and tinctures.

BETHROOT (Trillium erectum) - (Red Trillium, Birthroot, Wakerobin) Important Native American herb. Tea made from the roots was used for menstrual problems, to induce labour, for menopause, and as an aphrodisiac. Also for coughs, bowel complaints, haemorrhages, asthma, lung disorders and for skin irritations.

BETONY (Stachys officinalis) - Good substitute for black tea; infusion resembles the taste and is caffeine-free. Helps relieve headache, and has general tonic action.

BILBERRY (Vaccinium myrtillus) - The leaves are sometimes used for coughs, and stomach and skin problems. Weak hypoglycaemic action has been useful in treatment of diabetes.

BISTORT (Polygonum bistorta) - (Snakeroot) Snakelike rhizomes are astringent, soothing and cooling; useful to reduce inflammation and control diarrhoea, dysentery and bleeding. Tea makes a good gargle or mouthwash. Young leaves and shoots are eaten like spinach.

BITTERSWEET (Solanum dulcamara) - Mostly used for external afflictions. Ointment made with chamomile is effective for swellings, bruises, sprains and corns. Combined with curled dock it helps skin diseases.

BLACK-EYED SUSAN (Rudbeckia hirta) - The plant and root have both been used by North American native tribes to treat a wide range of ailments, from worms in children, to snakebites and earaches.

BLOODFLOWER (Asclepias curassavica) - Used to induce vomiting and to expel worms; and has digitalis-like action on the heart. Interestingly, birds find monarch butterflies feeding on this plant foul to the taste, and never eat another again!

BOLDO (Peumus boldus) - Aromatic leathery leaves used as a diuretic, stomachic and sedative. Contains boldine, which stimulates the flow of bile and gastric juice and promotes the excretion of uric acid. Leaves are useful for urinary inflammation, sluggish liver function, liver or gall bladder pains, gallstones, and rheumatism. Widely used in South America for gonorrhoea.

BONESET (Eupatorium perfoliatum) - Excellent remedy for colds and intermittent fever, especially for flu. Medical evidence suggests that it enhances the immune system. Caution: contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids; not recommended for long term use.

BO-TREE (Ficus religiosa) - (Pipal) Sacred tree of Hindus and Buddhists; Buddha meditated non-stop for 7 years under a bo-tree until he reached liberation. Has anti-bacterial properties.

BORAGE (Borago officinalis) - Known as the "Herb of Gladness" for its exhilarating effect. Try adding chopped young leaves and flowers to salads or summer drinks. On those sweltering summer days, cool off with iced borage tea, adding honey and lemon juice to taste.

BROOM, DYER'S (Genista tinctoria) - Since earliest times used to dye wool bright yellow. Formerly recommended for gout and rheumatism.

BROOM, SCOTCH (Cytisus scoparius) - Infusion of the dried tops is recommended for dropsy as well as bladder and kidney diseases. Restores normal rhythm to feeble, irregular heartbeat but large doses cause respiratory paralysis. Said to be psychoactive; a related species is used by Yaqui Indians as a hallucinogen. Not recommended in the Pacific Northwest where it has become invasive.

BUCHU (Agathosma betulina) - South African herb used for urinary disorders, such as painful urination, cystitis and urethritis. Most important commercial source of the diuretic buchu.

BUCKTHORN (Rhamnus cathartica) - A cosmopolitan shrub whose bark is used as a purgative in the treatment of chronic constipation.

BUCKWHEAT (Fagopyrum esculentum) - Well known as a grain, cover crop and beeplant; not so well known is its medicinal value. The infusion made from the flowering tops is high in rutin which combats arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries and veins).

BUGLE, BRONZE (Ajuga reptans) - Astringent and mildly-analgesic aromatic herb used to treat wounds. Traditionally used to cleanse the liver.

BUGLOSS, VIPER'S (Echium vulgare) -  (Blueweed) Infusion of leaves is helpful for fevers, headaches and nervous complaints.

BUPLEURUM (Bupleurum falcatum) - (Chai Hu) Important Chinese tonic herb for the liver and circulatory system. Bitter roots help moderate emotional instability associated with sluggish liver function. Also useful for abdominal bloating, menstrual pain, haemorrhoids, herpes, fever and malaria.

BUR MARIGOLD (Bidens pilosa) - Chinese remedy for flu, colds, fever, sore throat, appendicitis, infectious hepatitis, gastroenteritis, malaria and haemorrhoids. Whole herb prepared in a decoction.

BURDOCK (Arctium lappa) - Roots of this common wild plant are said to have "blood-purifying" properties. Useful for skin diseases, including eczema. Recent medical evidence supports folkloric use for tumours. One of four herbs in the Essiac anti-cancer formula.

BURDOCK, JAPANESE (GOBO) (Arctium lappa 'Takinogawa Long') -  (Japanese Burdock) Japanese research shows that this variety has potent anti-tumour effects.

BURNET, SALAD (Poterium sanguisorba) - Nut-cucumber flavour of leaves is welcome in all salads with French dressing or mayonnaise. Also in soups, casseroles, herb vinegars and cream cheeses. Improves skin in facial treatments.

BURNET, SAXIFRAGE (Pimpinella saxifraga) - (Lesser Burnet) A tea made from the root and sweetened with honey was recommended for the bubonic plague! Used for stomach and intestinal inflammations, catarrh, cough and asthma.

BUTTERFLY-PEA (Clitoria ternatea) - Seeds and roots are used in India as a purgative; roots also as a cathartic and diuretic.

CALAMUS (Acorus calamus americanus) - (Sweet Flag) Medicinally useful for flatulent colic, gastritis and dyspepsia. This is the North American variety which lacks the carcinogen, cis-isoasarone, found in European varieties. Root powder is valuable as a fixative in potpourris. CALENDULA STANDARD PACIFIC (Calendula officinalis) -  (Pot Marigold) Flower petals give delicate flavour and strong colour to salads, omelettes and cheese, and is used as a saffron substitute for rice. Invaluable in first-aid skin lotions and ointments.

CAMPHOR TREE (Cinnamomum camphora) -  Source of camphor applied topically for inflammation, rheumatic pain, and sprains. Ingredient in Tiger Balm and other commercial ointments.

CANCER BUSH (Sutherlandia frustescens) - South African shrub with bitter, aromatic leaves used to treat cancer. Infusion made from the leaves is a traditional remedy for fever, chicken pox, flu, rheumatism, haemorrhoids, diarrhoea, and stomach and liver problems. Also makes an excellent wash for wounds.

CANDYTUFT, BITTER (Iberis amara) - Attractive milky white annual, commonly used in homoeopathy. All parts are very bitter. Used for gout, rheumatism, asthma, bronchitis, and dropsy.

CAPE ALOE - This is used to treat sinus congestion, asthma, bronchitis and chest colds. It can be made into a poultice to help treat a chronic itch. Mixed with witch hazel in a muslin bag and put in a warm bath, it helps soothe itching skin (caution: it may stain the bathtub, use bleach to clean).

CARAWAY (Carum carvi) - Spicy caraway seeds add European character to all cabbage dishes, including coleslaw and especially sauerkraut. Traditionally used in ryebread, buns and cakes, as well as in soups and stews. Fresh leaves, used as a garnish, add flavour to vegetables. Anti-flatulent.

CATNIP - Though it’s most popular use is for cats, it has many healing qualities in people. A tea made of catnip and chamomile is excellent to help calm and relax. It has been used in this combination to help those who suffer from insomnia and hyperactivity.

CAYENNE PEPPER, LONG SLIM (Capsicum annuum) - Valuable home remedy with stimulant, blood pressure-regulating, digestive and anti-flatulent properties. Ground pods and a little soap in water is a useful insect-repellent for the garden.

CLOVE-PINK (Dianthus caryophyllus 'Grenadin') - (Carnation) Clove-scented flowers were once used to flavour ales and wines, especially celebration cups at coronations, hence its name "carnation". Fragrance is valuable in potpourris and herb sachets.

CASCARA SAGRADA (Rhamnus purshiana) - Well known laxative or mild purgative.

CASTOR BEAN (Ricinus communis) - Oil extracted from seeds is a commonly used laxative for temporary constipation and acute diarrhoea. Caution: although the oil is safe, raw seeds are poisonous.

CATNIP (Nepeta cataria) - Favourite of cat lovers, for cats relish the intoxicating leaves. Tea is a popular nightcap, as it induces a good night's sleep. Remedy for colds and fevers.

CATNIP, JAPANESE (Schizonepeta tenuifolia) - (Jing jie) Chinese herb used to treat the common cold and its symptoms, chills, sore throat, and headaches. Helps to lower temperature and promote sweating. It also has an antibacterial action. Chinese herbalists say this herb expels 'wind' and promotes 'eruption.'

CATSFOOT (Antennaria dioica) - Ameliorates the appetite for it stimulates bile flow, gastric juices and pancreatic secretions.

CATS-CLAW (Uncaria tomentosa) - (Uña de Gato) Legendary cancer cure from the jungles of Central and South America. Has been used for at least 2000 years for cancer, diabetes, arthritis, rheumatism and gastric ulcers. The Ashaninka Indians of central Peru use the tea of the inner bark and root for 'bone pains', urinary inflammations, deep wounds, and post-partum recovery. They also rely on it as a contraceptive: it prevents pregnancy for up to four years. It is now the focus of research as an immunostimulant for use in AIDS and against other viral diseases such as herpes simplex, shingles and flu. A controlled six-year study suggests that it can delay the onset of AIDS symptoms in HIV-infected patients and reduce symptoms in AIDS patients. It is also being used with some success against cancer and leukemia. It possesses antioxidant flavonoids that are thought to help protect cells from the damaging effects of pollution, sun, chemotherapy and radiation. The name refers to 'claws' along the stem that hold onto trees as the vines climb up from the dark forest floor. This comes from a vine in the Peruvian Amazon. Native tribes use the inner bark and root to prepare medicinal teas in the form of a decoction to cure everything from tumours to colds.

CEDAR (Thuja occidentalis) -Used externally for skin conditions and muscular aches. Internally, the American Indians used it to promote menstruation and relieve headache. Can be toxic used internally.

CELANDINE (Chelidonium majus) - Latex juice mixed with vinegar is said to remove warts and corns. Decoction is useful for stomach pains and inflammation of the biliary duct.

CENTAURY (Centaurium erythaea) -Traditional European panacea for many complaints including lack of appetite, sluggish digestion and stomach disturbances. Highly useful during convalescence.

CHAMOMILE - Chamomile tea, made from the flowers, is very popular in Europe as an aid to digestion, especially after heavy meals. Its soothing and cleansing effect also makes the tea a beneficial skin wash.

CHAMOMILE (ROMAN) - This perennial herb has had a medicinal reputation in the Mediterranean region for over 2,000 years. It was used by the ancient Egyptians and the Moors, and it was one of the Saxons' nine sacred herbs, which they called maythen. It is used in the treatment of anorexia, vomiting, and numerous digestive complaints.

CHAPARRAL (Larrea tridentata) (L. mexicana) - (Creosote bush) Effective antibiotic against bacteria, viruses and other parasites. Has been included in folk and American Indian remedies for cancer.

CHASTETREE (Vitex agnus-castus) - So named because the seeds reputedly subdue the sexual urge and have long been used by monks to produce this effect. But be forewarned: some suggest the aromatic seeds have exactly the opposite effect! Whatever the effect on the libido, it is clear that it has an effect on hormonal balance. Recent German studies indicate that seed extracts regulate menstrual bleeding or too frequent menstruation, and may do this by stimulating progesterone and regulating oestrogen. In Germany, women who are stopping oral contraception, use chastetree to help re-establish normal menstruation and ovulation.

CHERRY, WILD (Prunus virginiana) -(Chokecherry) An infusion of the bark was once used in commercial cough mixtures. American Indians made a tea for diarrhoea and for its sedative properties.

CHERVIL - Chervil comes from the Greek 'to rejoice' because of its delightful scent. In folk medicine, this delicate annual herb is used to tone up the blood and nerves. It is used for mental depression and poor memory. The juice from the fresh herb is used to treat skin ailments such as eczema, abscesses and slow healing wounds.

CHICKWEED (Stellaria media) - A decoction is used to treat constipation. Fresh leaves used as a poultice for inflammations, ulcers, and abscesses. Fresh leaves are eaten as a delicacy in salads or cooked like spinach. Can be invasive.

CHICORY, WILD (Cichorium intybus) - A food and medicine plant, going back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, who used the roots and the young shoots in spring like dandelion. Has diuretic, tonic and laxative properties, and is said to protect the liver from effects of excessive coffee drinking. Leaves yield a dye of clear blue colour, much like the colour of its lovely daisy flowers.

CHINABERRY (Melia azedarach) - (Bead Tree) Beautiful tree, native of China and India; much cultivated in southern U.S. Bark used as an emetic and to expel worms. Hard nuts are used for making rosaries.

CHIVES (Allium) -The most delicate member of the onion family. Chopped leaves offer great improvement to salads, soups, vegetables, omelettes, and cheese dishes. Essential kitchen herb! Palatable as it is to humans, nasty insects stay away in droves from it and neighbouring plants.

CICELY, SWEET (Myrrhis odorata) - Sugar-saver. Sweet, anise-scented leaves and stalks (fresh or dried) add delightful flavour to sweets and desserts, saving about half the sugar. Of particular interest to diabetics.

CINNAMON - Records in stone indicate that the Egyptian Pharoah Rameses III offered 246 bundles and 86 measures of cinnamon to the gods and goddesses on one occasion, and on another occasion 3,036 logs of the same rare spice. Cinnamon was also used in embalming. Medicinally, cinnamon has been used for thousands of years in the East for such complaints as colds, flu, digestive, menstrual problems and as a general stimulant.

CINQUEFOIL (Potentilla recta) - Rhizomes are rich in tannin. Ideal for diarrhoea and as a soothing application to burns.

CITRONELLA GRASS (Cymbopogon nardus) - Source of the citronella oil used in perfumery, cosmetic and as a mosquito repellent.

CLARY (Salvia sclarea) - (Clary sage) Seeds soaked in water produce mucilaginous eye bath which safely removes particles, hence its name "clear eye" or "clary". Used as a fixative in potpourris.

CLIVERS (Galium aparine) - (Cleavers) Fresh juice or infusion is applied to skin diseases and eruptions with good success. Said to remove freckles.

CLOVER, RED (Trifolium pratense) - Many herbalists assert that the flowers taken as an infusion help prevent and even cure cancer. In his legendary book, Back to Eden, Jethro Kloss wrote, "Red clover is an exceedingly good remedy for cancer on any part of the body." Red clover is also efficacious for bronchial troubles, whooping cough, gastric troubles and ulcers. It is believed to be an anti-cancer agent. It also is often used in conjunction with other herbs to help promote their absorption into the body and lessen upset stomachs.

CLOVER SWEET - MELILOT (Melilotus officinalis) - Important forage crop. Medicinally, it prevents blood clotting. Salve or poultice is useful for swellings, boils, arthritis and rheumatism.

CNIDIUM (Cnidium monnieri) - (She Chuang) Chinese stimulant and aphrodisiac used to treat impotence. Also used as a vaginal wash against trichomoniasis, and to treat scabies and fungal diseases.

COCKLEBUR (Xanthium strumarium) -  (Burweed) Used for its sedative, diuretic and diaphoretic (sweat-inducing) properties. Used against chronic malaria and urinary problems. Roots are tonic, and effective against some cancers. Seed oil is edible.

COCKLEBUR, SIBERIAN (Xanthium sibiricum) - (Cang Er) Chinese herb used traditionally to treat headache and to dispel 'wind' and 'dampness'. Also used for pain of the extremities, sciatic neuralgia, ezcema and itching. Can be toxic if improperly used.

COCKSCOMB (Celosia cristata) (Childsii) - Brilliant orange or red crested flowers resemble a rooster's comb. Recognised in China as valuable for stopping haemorrhages and diarrhoea. Also helps to clear vision.

CODONOPSIS (Codonopsis pilosula) - (Dang Shen) Important Chinese medicinal herb similar in action to ginseng. Sweet tasting roots have been shown to boost red cell and haemoglobin counts in rabbits. Used as a tonic in anaemia, fatigue, shallow and strained breathing, poor appetite, dyspepsia, and diabetes.

COHOSH, BLACK (Cimicifuga racemosa) - North American woodland plant reputed to be effective against rheumatoid arthritis, sciatica, and uterine cramps. Has estrogenic, hypoglycaemic, sedative, and anti-flammatory properties.

COHOSH, BLUE (Caulophyllum thalictroides) - Much esteemed by the American Indians to aid labour, check excessive menstruation, and treat abdominal and urinary problems. Has potential as a contraceptive on account of its estrogenic properties. This herb is often used in the treatment of women who have had false labours and severe menstrual pain.

COLTSFOOT (Tussilago farfara) - Popular remedy for coughs, colds, hoarseness, bronchitis and bronchial asthma. Also useful in herbal smoking mixtures designed for the relief of asthma and bronchitis. Used as a treatment to soothe mucous membranes. A salve of coltsfoot can be applied to the chest and throat for such treatments.

COLUMBINE (Aquilegia vulgaris) - Long-time garden favourite with exotic drooping flowers in various shades of red, blue, yellow and white. Formerly used for treating running sores and urinary and liver ailments. Has narcotic properties; not to be used without medical supervision.

COMFREY (Symphytum) - Comfreys are among the most important medicinal herbs. They contain allantoin, a hormone-like substance that stimulates cell division, making the comfreys valuable for healing wounds, ulcers and broken bones. Tea and poultices of leaves or roots are used. Comfreys are nutritional herbs, rich in calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins and trace elements. Important fodder and green manure crop as well. PLEASE NOTE: Due to low level concentrations of pyrrolidine alkaloids found in the leaves and roots, comfrey should not be used internally. These alkaloids are reported to have caused liver damage when consumed over a long period of time. External use is safe, however, because the offending alkaloids are not absorbed through the skin.

COMPASS PLANT (Silphium laciniatum) – American Indian herb, used as a general tonic, emetic, diuretic, and for coughs, asthma and gonorrhoea.

CONEFLOWER, YELLOW (Ratibida columnifera) - Native wildflower used by the Navajo and Cheyenne Indians as an analgesic for chest pains, wounds and fevers. Also used as a treatment for poison ivy.

CORNFLOWER (Centaurea cyanus) - Striking brilliant blue blossoms, infused in water, have both curative and calming action for nervous disorders. Eyewash is reputed to strengthen weak eyes.

COTTON (Gossypium herbaceum) -This and other species of Gossypium are the sources of the eminently useful cotton fibre. The root bark once gained notoriety as a powerful abortifacient, particularly in the southern United States. Contains gossypol, which research has revealed has important anti-parasitic and antiviral effects, and has shown promise as a male anti-fertility drug in studies conducted in China by the World Health Organisation.

COWSLIP (Primula veris) (P. officinalis) - A most attractive English wildflower with bright yellow sweet-smelling, drooping blossoms in early spring. Tea made from any part of the plant was once a common remedy for pain and insomnia.

CRANESBILL, WILD (Geranium maculatum) - (Wild Geranium) Root is astringent owing to its high tannin content. Excellent for diarrhoea, piles, external bleeding, dysentery, and as a gargle. Folk remedy for cancer. Also useful for treating animals, especially or diarrhoea.

CROWN VETCH (Coronilla varia) - The plant is being tested as a substitute for purple foxglove in the treatment of heart disorders. Used in folk medicine to treat disorders of the prostate. Should not be used without medical supervision.

CUCUMBER, CHINESE (Trichosanthes kirilowii) - (Gua lou; tien hua fen; Chinese snake gourd) Source of anti-HIV agent, Compound Q (GLQ223), extracted from the root. Recent in vitro laboratory studies with Compound Q showed great promise for AIDS treatment because it selectively kills only infected cells, leaving healthy cells untouched; clinical trials are not yet conclusive, however. Used in China to treat angina pectoris, to reduce phlegm, and since 300 A.D. to induce abortions.

DAISY, ENGLISH  (Bellis perennis) - Tea is employed as a gentle laxative; also for stomach and intestinal problems. Helps heal inflamed swellings and burns. In Wales during the Middle Ages, daisies were used to cure insanity, remove warts, treat smallpox, tumours, jaundice, boils and skin disease. In England, remedies were brewed from daisies to treat broken bones and bruises. From this came the old folk names of bruisewort and banewort. Wort was a name for medicinal plants and bane was an English form of the word bone.

DAISY, OX-EYE (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum) - Employed to relieve chronic cough, asthma and nervous excitability.

DAMIANA (Turnera diffusa) - Said to be an aphrodisiac. Used in Mexico for tea, and to flavour candies, baked goods and the Guadalajara liqueur called Damiana. This is used as an antidepressant to relieve anxiety. Steep 1 teaspoon for 5 – 8 mins for relaxation.

DANDELION (Taraxacum officinale) - Universally despised as a pesky weed, the lowly dandelion is actually one of the more useful herbs around. Dried roots are very popular as a coffee substitute. Promotes bile secretion.

DANDELION, FRENCH (Taraxacum officinale sativum) - Thick-leaved Improved' The lowly weed has been improved as an edible green. This strain features tender fleshy leaves very high in iron, ideal for spring salads or cooked like spinach.

DEAD-NETTLE, PURPLE (Lamium purpureum) - (Purple Archangel) Attractive beeplant and medicinal. Unlike its nasty distant cousin, the stinging nettle, this nettle does not sting which explains the name. Flowers and foliage stop haemorrhages; tea is useful against chills as it acts on the kidneys and induces sweating.

DEVIL'S CLAW (Harpagophytum procumbens) - Clinical studies in Germany suggest that this native of southern Africa has anti-inflammatory properties. Has been recommended for arthritis, rheumatism, and other conditions.

DEVILS CLUB (Oplopanax horridus) - Used by the native North Americans for a wide variety of ailments. The roots and bark have been used for indigestion, stomach pains, bowel cramps, rheumatism, sores, swellings and as a tonic and blood purifier. It was also used in rituals because it had 'magical' powers and 'protective charm'.

- Dill, which is an annual of the cow parsley family was a popular general purpose drug in the Middle Ages. Its name is believed to be derived from old Norse dilla, to lull, from its soothing properties. Dill water has been used for centuries as a tonic for colicky babies and was once thought equally effective in driving out witches (not that it did-of course).

DOCK, BROADLEAF (Rumex obtusifolius) - Used by the Iroquois, Delaware and Chippewa Indians as a blood purifier, tonic for jaundice, and as a contraceptive.

DOCK, CURLED (Rumex crispus) - (Yellow dock) Ointment for skin eruptions and itchy skin is made by boiling roots in vinegar, then mixing softened pulp with lard or petroleum jelly.

DONG QUAI (Angelica polymorpha sinensis) (A. sinensis) - (Dang Gui, Chinese angelica) This is the most important herb in China, used more often and in larger quantities then even ginseng or licorice. The thick root lowers blood pressure, strengthens the heart, increases coronary flow, moderates arythmia and improves circulation. It is strongly antibacterial, analgesic and anti-inflammatory, and it is used widely to regulate menstruation, to treat hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver, shingles and to relieve the pain of rheumatism. No herb has so many documented medicinal uses!

DROPWORT (Filipendula vulgaris) (F. hexapetala) - According to Culpeper, the root powder in white wine is a good remedy for kidney afflictions. Also for many types of respiratory problems.

DUSTY MILLER (Senecio cineraria) - One or two drops of fresh juice dropped into the eye is said to remove cataract.

ECHINACEA (Echinacea purpurea) - (Coneflower) Highly regarded blood purifier used in the treatment of diseases caused by impurities. Said to increase bodily resistance to infection by strengthening the immune system.

ECLIPTA (Eclipta alba (E. prostrata) - (Mo-han-lian) Chinese medicinal herb. Liver and kidney tonic; prescribed for dizziness, blurry vision, headache, and premature greying of hair. Extract applied to the scalp promotes hair growth, and taken internally, blackens the hair, beard and eyebrows. Also astringent haemostatic.

ELDER (Sambucus nigra) - Elderflower tea promotes perspiration, often prescribed for colds and rheumatic complaints.

ELECAMPANE (Inula helenium) - Dried root preparations quiet coughing, stimulate digestion, and tone the stomach.

ELM, SLIPPERY (Ulmus rubra) (U. fulva) - Native American tree with a very mucilaginous inner bark. One of the four ingredients of the famous anti-cancer remedy, Essiac®. Tea made from the inner bark is used for sore throats, indigestion, stomach ulcers, coughs, diarrhoea and dysentery.

EPAZOTE (Chenopodium ambrosioides) - (Wormseed) Strong scented foliage highly esteemed in Mexico and Guatemala for seasoning corn, black beans, mushrooms, fish and shellfish. Wormseed oil is frequently prescribed to expel intestinal parasites.

EPHEDRA (Ephedra nevadensis) - (Mormon Tea) Contains traces of ephedrine, a nerve stimulant resembling adrenalins. Has tonic effects, improves kidney action, and relieves asthma.

EPHEDRA, GREEN (Ephedra viridis) - (Jointfir, Desert tea, Mormon tea) Reported to contain some ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, both potent central nervous system stimulants. Indigenous folk remedy for colds and headache, and for urinary and venereal diseases. California Indians so cherished the tea for general use that it was always available. Pleasant thirst-quenching tea. Add approx. 1/8 tsp to an 8oz beverage (preferably hot) to clear sinuses.

EUCALYPTUS (Eucalyptus globulus) - Cough drops and sore throat lozenges are made with the oil. Powerful antiseptic. Helps deodorise the air when grown indoors. This well known healing herb is used to help relieve a variety of ailments. When added to a simmering pot, it is effective in clearing the nasal passages and is effective as an insect repellent. Used in the bath it helps to relieve muscle aches.

EUCOMMIA (Eucommia ulmoides)
- (Du zhong; Chinese rubber tree) The bark contains 3% rubber which is easily seen when the bark fibres are pulled apart. A mild but long lasting remedy for high blood pressure. Used in Chinese medicine as a liver and kidney tonic, a diuretic, and to prevent miscarriage.

EVENING PRIMROSE (Oenothera biennis)
- Oil in seeds contains gammalinolenic acid (GLA), a precursor of prostaglandin E1. The latter is very active biologically regulating such functions as the vessel and immune systems. By supplementing the diet with GLA, one can bypass a blockage of prostaglandin E1 production caused by aging, poor diet, or alcoholism. Chronic complaints such as PMS disappear. Roots can be eaten as a vegetable; shoots as a salad.

EVERLASTING (Helichrysum arenarium) - European wildflower with cute yellow flowers resembling cat's paws. Spicy, aromatic dried flowers keep colour well; often added to commercial herbal teas for colour. Useful for dyspeptic disorders.

EYEBRIGHT (Euphrasia officinalis) - Popular remedy for eye inflammation, eyestrain and other eye problems. Weak infusion is used as an eyewash; also taken internally.

SWEET FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare dulce) - Chopped leaves are excellent with oily fish, such as mackerel, eel and salmon, for they improve digestibility. Also in soups, salads and stews. Fennel tea is given to infants for its calming and anti-flatulent effects.

FEVERFEW (Tanacetum (Chrysanthemum) parthenium) - A medical survey in England indicates that 1 to 4 leaves of feverfew infused in a tea or eaten in a sandwich daily reduce the number and severity of migraine attacks in some sufferers. It even has pleasant side effects including a sense of well-being, lack of tension and relief from arthritis.Approx. 0.4% parthenolide.

FIGWORT (Scrophularia nodosa)
- Tincture or ointment is good skin medication for rashes, scratches, bruises and other minor wounds.

FLAG, LICORICE (Acorus gramineus 'Licorice') - All parts of the plant burst with an absolutely stunning licorice scent when squeezed. Used in Thai cooking, and deserving of experimentation wherever a new flavour twist is desired. Important Chinese medicinal herb used to treat lack of appetite, gastritis, and depression.

FLAX (Linum usitatissimum) - Source of strong fibre used in linen cloth. Linseed poultice is valuable for rheumatism and infections.

FLOSSFLOWER (Ageratum conyzoides)
- Used in Nepal and India for skin diseases, and to stop bleeding.

FO-TI (Polygonum multiflorum) - (He-shou-wu) Legendary Oriental "Elixir of Life" said to possess fantastic rejuvenating properties. Some believe fo-ti was used by a certain Professor Li Chung Yun who lived to the ripe old age of 256! So the story goes, early in life Li developed the penchant for taking a daily concoction containing the "elixir of life." He is said to have outlived 23 wives, and left behind 11 generations of descendants when he died in 1933. Virility- and longevity-promoting prowess aside, fo-ti is one of the most widely used tonic herbs in traditional Chinese medicine. Roots are used to restore blood, liver and kidneys, and is prescribed for conditions as varied as vertigo, insomnia, lumbago, and constipation. Recent evidence shows it to be effective against high blood pressure and hardening of the veins and arteries.

FORSYTHIA (Forsythia suspensa) - (Lian Qiao) Important Chinese antibacterial herb used to treat flu and cold. Forsythiaside found in the fruits is effective against a wide spectrum of bacteria and fungi. Also effective against inflammations and helps to reduce fever and boost immunity.

FOXGLOVE, PURPLE (Digitalis purpurea) - Source of digitalis, important for its stimulating and regulating action on the heart, but too powerful to use without medical supervision. Foxglove was discovered in the 1700's to stimulate the kidneys to release excess fluid, and a tea brewed from the foxglove leaves was used in treating Dropsy, a disease in which water accumulates in the body and causes it to swell up. Ancient Greeks and Romans used the juice of the foxglove for sprains and bruises.

FRANKINCENSE - Frankincense has been used since antiquity as incense in India, China and in the West by the Catholic Church. It was used in ancient Egypt in rejuvenating face-mask, cosmetics and perfumes. Medicinally, the small tree with white or pale pink flowers has been used for a variety of complaints including syphilis, rheumatism and respiratory tract infections.

GARDENIA (Gardenia jasminoides) - (Cape jasmine, Zhi Zi) Flowers used to flavour Chinese tea and are source of important essential oil used in perfumery. Fruits are used in Chinese medicine for fever, high blood pressure, insomnia, hepatitis and for sprains, swellings and bruises.

GARLIC(Allium) - To the people of the Mediterranean, garlic conjures up such gourmet delights as escargots, Caesar salad and garlic bread. Garlic need not offend; it is often enough to rub the utensils with a clove, adding subtle flavour. Many use garlic shoots and leaves as chives or green onion tops, being sweeter and more subtle than the cloves. Recognised medicinally, garlic capsules are sold for the treatment of high blood pressure. It is also a proven antibiotic owing to its high sulfur content. Garlic inter-planted with other crops will help repel insect pests.

 GAYFEATHER (Liatris spicata) - Tuberous roots make a soothing tea valuable in kidney diseases or as a gargle for sore throat.

GENTIAN (Gentiana lutea) - Famous European alpine herb unrivalled as a bitter tonic. Root tincture made with brandy strengthens the human system, particularly in cases of weak digestion and lack of appetite.

GERMANDER (Teucrium chamaedrys) - Infusion quiets upset stomach and promotes appetite. Once enjoyed considerable reputation in the treatment of gout.

GINGER (Zingiber officinale) - One of the oldest known and most widely consumed spices: in the East the fresh roots are prominent in numerous savoury dishes of meat, poultry and fish, while in the West ground dried ginger is a traditional baking and pudding spice. The Chinese have long recognised its potent stimulating and digestive properties; even today it is still the best home remedy for flatulence, nausea, nervous diarrhoea, indigestion and dysentery. This is widely known for its ability to calm upset stomachs. It is most effective in tea form, not in carbonated ginger ale.

GINGER, WILD (Asarum canadense) - North American woodland native with aromatic roots used like true ginger. Important American Indian remedy for indigestion, coughs, colds, fever, sore throat, flatulence, and nervous conditions. Has anti-tumour compound aristolochic acid.

GINKGO (Ginkgo biloba) - (Maidenhair Tree) In the West, the male tree is preferred because the female produces a foul-smelling fruit. However, the fruit contains a delicious nut, which is a delicacy in China roasted or added to rice dishes. Medicinally, ginkgo is rapidly gaining a reputation as a brain tonic. According to recent European studies, the leaf extract increases blood supply to the brain and improves neural functioning and memory.

GINSENG - Few among the many medicinal plants in the world possess ginseng's near-legendary status. Going back thousands of years, its history of use in the Orient records therapeutic properties so wide ranging that it was at first dismissed by Western doctors as a "panacea." Undaunted by medical scepticism its popularity in the West has risen steadily.

Scientific evidence is now emerging in support of many of the claims made for ginseng. Russian researchers have confirmed ginseng's powerful tonic properties. Taken when "run-down," ginseng restores both physical and mental functions back to peak efficiency and with regular use it improves resistance to disease and stress. Its stimulant action is distinct from that of chemical stimulants, such as amphetamines, for it does not overexcite or disturb sleep in normal doses. Russian studies also demonstrate
that ginseng stimulates the gonads, or sex glands, without the harmful side effects common to synthetic hormones. Other research suggests that ginseng can regulate blood pressure and lower blood cholesterol levels.

Too often store-bought ginseng has lost much of its potency in storage and processing, leading only to disappointment. We have found that a slice of the fresh root chewed daily is the best way to take ginseng.

GIPSYWORT (Lycopus europeaus) - Yields a permanent black dye for wool and silk, Formerly used by gypsies to darken their skin. Utilised in the treatment of palpitations of the heart.

GLADIOLUS - In the 1500's a mash of gladiolus roots was used for drawing out splinters and thorns, and the dried seed pods, ground to a powder and mixed with goat or donkey milk, was used to treat colic.
 GOAT'S RUE (Galega officinalis) - Has supportive action in lowering blood sugar in diabetics.

GOLDENROD, SWEET (Solidago odora) - Pleasant tasting tea was formerly used medicinally for stomach and bowel complaints.

GOLDENSEAL (Hydrastis canadensis) - North American woodplant plant becoming increasingly rare due to its popularity for many internal and external conditions. Contains the alkaloid hydrastine which acts on the mucous membranes to alleviate catarrhal conditions such as sore gums, gastritis, nasal congestion, etc.

GOOD KING HENRY (Chenopodium bonus-henricus) - Wholesome potherb. Shoots gathered when 12cm/5" high are peeled, boiled and eaten like asparagus. Young tender leaves are prepared like spinach. Excellent remedy for indigestion.

GOTU KOLA (Hydrocotyle asiatica )(Centella asiatica) - Small creeping tropical plant used for centuries in India. Believed to have remarkable rejuvenating properties. One or two freshly chopped leaves daily in salads or liquefied in juice are said to be sufficient to revitalise the cells of the brain and to retard the aging process. Research shows that it is valuable for the treatment of burns, wounds, scars and varicose veins because it stimulates the development of connective tissue.

GOURD, SNAKE (Trichosanthes anguina) - (Serpent gourd) An unusual cucumber with long, white speckled fruits that actually resemble snakes. Widely grown as a vegetable in India and the Orient. Roots and seeds are used to expel worms and to treat diarrhoea and syphilis.

Gravelroot - JOE-PYE WEED (Eupatorium purpureum) - Indians and pioneers used it to induce sweating to break fevers. Valuable remedy for kidney problems.

GOUTWEED, VARIEGATED (Aegopodium podograria 'Variegata') - Young leaves have a distinctive flavour, used in soups, salads and as cooked greens. Has sedative, diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. Traditionally used for gout, sciatica, arthritis and rheumatism.

GREEK MOUNTAIN TEA (Sideritis syriaca) - (Ironwort) Traditional tea consumed throughout Greece to treat the common cold. Sold in dried form in most Greek markets worldwide. Sideritis species have proven anti-inflammatory properties; research into anti-arthritic and antimicrobial uses is ongoing.

GRIFFONIA (Griffonia simplicifolia)
- Anti-depression herb from Africa. Seeds are an important source of the amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), a precursor for the natural synthesis of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a brain neuro-transmitter that directly affects depression and other conditions. Griffonia extracts are used to treat depression, insomnia, obesity, jet lag, anxiety, fibromyalgia and obsessive-compulsive behaviour. Studies show that the effect of 5-HTP on depression is dramatic. In weight control, 5-HTP removes the craving for carbohydrates by boosting serotonin levels in the same way that eating excessive carbohydrates does. The seeds are also a source for lectins used in medical science. In African folklore, the herb is reputed to be an aphrodisiac, as well as an antibiotic and as a remedy for diarrhoea, vomiting, and stomach ache.

GROMWELL (Lithospermum officinale) - European medicinal herb of old. Similar species used by North American Indians as a tea for spasms and "irrationality" and in China as an external emollient for eczema, abscesses and burns.

GROUND IVY (Glechoma hederacea) - (Alehoof) Balsamic leaves make an excellent cooling tea, known as "Gill tea," for the dog days of summer. Useful for kidney problems, indigestion, as a poultice for ulcers and cancers, and as a "blood purifier."

GUAVA (Psidium guajava) - Bears sweet; juicy, highly flavoured fruits, in a fine balance between acid, sugar and pectin. Eaten fresh, or in jellies, preserves and pastes. Rich source of vitamins A, B and C.

GUM ARABIC (Acacia senegal) - Source of important resin. Has protective, soothing effect on inflamed mucous membranes. Used in lozenges for sore throat and cough, and for diarrhoea and dysentery. In the food industry it is used as a stabiliser, emulsifier and flavour fixative, and it is common in chewing gum and candy.

GUMPLANT (Grindelia robusta)
- Efficacious for colds, coughs, nasal congestion and bronchial irritations. Also utilised as a healing wash for burns, rashes, blisters and poison ivy.

MOUSE-EAR HAWKWEED (Hieracium pilosella) - The whole plant has potent but under-appreciated astringent, expectorant and diuretic properties. Used for all respiratory problems including asthma, bronchitis, excess mucus, and cough. Also against flu, inflamed kidneys, and diarrhoea.

HEARTSEASE (Viola tricolor) - Old English favourite. Charming purple, lavender and yellow flowers held former romantic connotations between courting couples. Medicinally for dropsy, respiratory catarrh and skin eruptions.

HEARTSEED (Cardiospermum halicacabum) - (Kanphuti, Balloon vine) Leaves are mixed in castor oil to treat stiff limbs, rheumatism and lumbago. Root has diaphoretic, diuretic and laxative properties. Leaf juice is used for earache. Cooked and eaten in India and Africa. Decorative heart-shaped seeds used for necklaces.

HELIOTROPE (Heliotropium arborescens) - Cultivated for perfumery and for scenting bathing waters. Has been used for "clergyman's sore throat."

HEMLOCK, POISON (Conium maculatum) - In the fresh state all parts are very poisonous. Juice was used in early times to execute criminals. Socrates is the most notable to die in this manner. Under proper directions it is a useful sedative for cases of nervous motor disturbances. The active principle, coniine, has provided to be an effective insecticide against aphids and blowflies.

HENBANE (Hyoscyamus niger) - Powerful cerebral and spinal sedative used since remote ages to induce sleep and allay pains. Often an ingredient in witches' brews for its power of throwing victims into convulsions.

HENNA (Lawsonia inermis) - Utilised since earliest times to tint hair, fingernails, skin, and fabrics, orange-brown.

HERB ROBERT (Geranium robertianum) - A tea made from the herb is recommended as part of the fresh vegetable juice diet devised to combat cancer by Rudolf Breuss.

HOLLYHOCK (Alcea rosea) - As a gargle, the dried flower tea helps soothe oral inflammations.

HONESTY (Lunaria annua)
- (Money Plant) Curiously, it symbolises both honesty and money. When dried its silver dollar-like seedpods make attractive winter decorations. Edible leaves can be added to salads.

HOPS (Humulus lupulus) - Well known flavouring for beer. Important medicinally for its calming effect. A pillow stuffed with hops flowers will overcome insomnia.

HOREHOUND (Marrubium vulgare) - Horehound candies, once the sovereign remedy for coughs, are still remembered by some. Infusion is useful for weak stomach, lack of appetite and persistent bronchitis.

HORSETAIL (Equisetum arvense) - Has been used against bleeding ulcers, excessive menstrual flow, mouth and gum inflammations. Its effects probably derive from its high content of silicic compounds, which promote the coagulation of blood.

HOUNDSTONGUE (Cynoglossum officinale) - Astringent leaf and root infusion formerly used for cough, colds, diarrhoea and dysentery. Leaf poultice useful for insect bites, burns, bruises and piles. Not recommended for prolonged internal use due to potentially carcinogenic alkaloids.

HOUSELEEK (Sempervivum tectorum) - Gelatinous leaves used as a soothing poultice on burns and various skin diseases. Juice eases the pain of earache.

HYACINTH BEAN (Lablab purpureus (Dolichos lablab)) - (Lablab) Most of this legume vine from India is edible: the pods, leaves, flowers, dried seeds, sprouted seeds and roots are all commonly eaten in India. In traditional Chinese medicine it is used as a tonic and for the treatment of dysentery, bloody stools and 'summer heat disorders'.

HYDRANGEA, AMERICAN (Hydrangea arborescens) - (Seven barks) Long used as a mild diuretic. Prevents and expels bladder and kidney stones.

HYSSOP (Hyssopus officinalis) - Decorative plant with a refreshing aromatic scent. Slightly bitter leaves are finely chopped on salad, game meats, soups and stews. Helps digestion. Essential oil used in perfumery.

Indian Tobacco - LOBELIA (Lobelia inflata) - In small doses lobelia acts as a stimulant, especially on the respiratory system. In larger doses it acts as a nerve depressant, and is useful for asthma and whooping cough. Excessive doses can cause severe depression.

INDRAJAO (Wrightia tinctoria) - (Mitha indarjou, Dudhi) Pungent fresh leaves quickly relieve toothaches. Leaves, flowers and fruits are source of a kind of indigo called pala-indigo. White, close-grained wood looks like ivory and is much used for carving and wood-turning.

IRIS - Irises grow wild over much of the eastern Mediterranean region, growing in yellow, blue and striped variations. Perhaps it was the blue of the sky or the stripes of the rainbow that caused the ancient Greeks to name the flower for Iris, goddess of the Rainbow. As a sacred flower, the Iris was credited with great healing powers and was widely used in ancient medicine. In the first century AD, the Greek physician Dioscorides wrote a book in which he summed up all knowledge about medicinal plants. He recommended iris root drunk with honey, vinegar or wine for coughs, colds, indigestion and sciatica. He also wrote that it was useful as a poultice for tumours and ulcers, broken bones and headache. The Iris remained a mainstay of herbal medicine down through the time when Puritans settled in New England, and as late as 1938 were listed in the US Pharmacopoeia, the official list of approved drugs.

JACOB'S LADDER (Polemonium caeruleum) - Leaflets are assembled in ladder form. Remedy for nervous complaints, headaches and palpitations of the heart.

Jimson Weed -
STRAMONIUM (Datura stramonium) - Sometimes given for spasmodic coughing and bronchial asthma. Leaves steeped in water are said to induce visions along with giddiness and delirium. May cause brain damage or death in large doses. Safe for external use, however; place tea-soaked cloth on sores to relieve pain.

JOJOBA (Simmondsia chinensis) - Oil squeezed from the nuts has proved so valuable it is called the new "liquid gold" of the West, and jojoba "prospectors" are banking on its future. Used in cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, and as a top-quality industrial lubricant that may replace sperm whale oil. Used in shampoos; believed to arrest hair loss and induce new growth.

JUNIPER (Juniperus communis) - Once considered an important spice, the berries are still used in certain preserved meats, liqueurs and especially gin. Used as a urinary antiseptic in cystitis, it is also used to detoxify the body.

KANTIKARI (Solanum xanthocarpum (S. surattense)) - (Yellow-berried nightshade) Root is an expectorant; used in Ayurvedic medicine for cough, asthma, chest pain. Also used for flatulence, sore throat, and toothache. Has high concentration of solasodine, a starting material for the manufacture of cortisone and sex hormones. Bitter fruits are used in Indian curries.

KAVA KAVA (Piper methysticum) - Traditional Polynesian drink made from the roots has a calming effect. Now one of the biggest selling herbs in North America because it is effective against stress and promotes mental awareness.

KNOTGRASS (Polygonum aviculare) - (Bian Xu) Astringent herb used in Europe to stop bronchial catarrh and to treat inflamed membranes of the mouth and throat. Tea useful for diarrhoea, dysentery, cough and haemorrhages. In China it is considered diuretic, antibacterial and effective against worms. Seeds ground into flour for pancakes and cookies.

KOMBUCHA (Bacterium, Saccharomyces, Pichia, Acetobacter and others)
- Sometimes referred to as a mushroom, but is actually a symbiotic culture of a variety of bacteria and yeasts. Produces a wonderful lightly fermented tea that is taking North America by storm. Brewed with sweetened black, green or herbal tea, the floating kombucha 'fungus' produces a tasty, slightly alcoholic (0.5%), carbonated drink in days. It's as easy to make as yogurt, and much easier to make than beer or wine. The health-giving benefits have been known in the Orient since at least 400 A.D. In this century it has been studied in Russia and Germany where considerable anecdotal evidence has emerged suggesting that kombucha tea can treat cancer. Live cultures are shipped with complete instructions for home brewing.

KUDZU (Pueraria lobata (P. thunbergiana) - (Ge Gen) Chinese vine used to relieve thirst, fevers, flu, and vomiting. Its long use in China to treat alcoholism was backed up in recent animal studies at Harvard: injections of daidzin, an active principle of the root, reduced alcohol consumption by more than 50%.

LABDANUM - one of the early aromatic substances of the ancient world. Externally used in plasters, the gum was also used to promote menstruation and to treat diarrhoea and dysentery.

LACEFLOWER (Ammi majus) - (Bishopsweed) Known to the ancient Egyptians as a treatment for certain skin diseases, this humble wild plant of the Nile valley was recently catapulted to the forefront of modern medical research, showing great promise in cancer and AIDS therapy.

LADY'S MANTLE (Alchemilla vulgaris) - Beneficial for menstrual disorders, lack of appetite, rheumatism, stomach ailments, disorders of the muscles.

LAMB'S EAR, WOOLLY (Stachys byzantina) - Formerly used to bandage wounds.

LANTERN, CHINESE (Physalis alkekengi) - Edible berries are borne inside fascinating orange chinese lantern-like calyces. Berries are eaten raw, or in preserves and pies. Recommended for fevers and gout.

LARKSPUR (Consolida (Delphinium) orientalis) - All parts have insecticidal and parasitical action and were used by soldiers during the American Revolutionary war to kill body lice.

LASERWORT (Saposhnikoba divaricata) (Siler divaricatum, Ledebouriella div.) -  (Fang feng) Important Chinese remedy for colds, fevers and sinus problems, especially those of a persistent "wind-moist" nature. Roots are analgesic, antipyretic, and antibacterial. Also used to harmonise the spleen and liver, and to treat migraine and rheumatoid arthritis. Close relative to parsley; aromatic leaves are eaten as a potherb in northern China.

LEADWORT (Plumbago zeylanica) - Roots are source of plumbagin, shown to reduce tumour growth in rats and has strong antimicrobial and antifungal activity. Traditionally used externally in India and Africa for abdominal tumours, warts, parasitic skin diseases, leprosy, worms and to induce abortions. Poisonous if ingested.

LEMON (Citrus limon)
- Dried peel is used in potpourri, and for varicose veins, haemorrhoids, kidney stones, fevers.

LEMON BALM - Paracelsus called this herb the Elixir of Life. It is one of the earliest known medicinal herbs, and was particularly associated with nervous disorders, the heart and emotions.

LEMONGRASS (Cymbopogon citratus) - (West Indian lemongrass) Delightful lemon-scented grass cultivated throughout the tropics and subtropics and in greenhouses. The tangy enlarged leaf bases are essential in Thai and Vietnamese dishes. Leaves are used to flavour fish, soups, curries and sauces. They also make a wonderful pleasant tea, consumed hot or cold.

LEMONGRASS, EAST INDIAN (Cymbopogon flexuosus) - (East Indian lemongrass) Source of lemongrass oil used to flavour teas, ice cream, candy, pastries, desserts, and chewing gum - among its many uses. Also important in cosmetics and perfumery. Easy to grow and will produce a good crop of leaves to make tea and to add to potpourris.

LEOPARD LILY (Belamcanda chinensis) - (She-gan) Chinese medicinal. Used for throat conditions, cough, wheezing, bronchitis and mumps.

LESPEDEZA (Lespedeza capitata) - (Round-headed Bush Clover) Medical evidence shows plant has anti-tumour activity and lowers blood cholesterol. American Indians burned dried stems on skin to relieve neuralgia and rheumatism.

LETTUCE, WILD (Lactuca virosa)
- Dried milky juice, called lactucarium or lettuce opium, was once used to induce sleep and to treat nervous disorders.

LILY OF THE VALLEY (Convallaria majalis) - Strengthens and regulates the heart, but not to be used without medical supervision.

LION'S EAR (Leonotis nepetifolia) - African folk remedy of former prominence. Used by the Hottentots of Africa for its mild psycho-active properties.

LIVE-FOREVER (Sedum telephium) - (Orpine Stonecrop) Fleshy leaves boiled in milk are used to stimulate the kidneys. Also used for diarrhoea, piles, haemorrhages, and has a reputation as an anti-cancer herb. The juice mixed with vegetable oil has been used to heal burns.

LIVERWORT (Hepatica acutiloba) - Small woodland native of eastern North America known as a liver tonic. Tea made from the leaves and flowers used to treat problems of the liver, gallbladder, kidneys and bladder. Stops gastric bleeding and vomiting of blood.

LOBELIA (Lobelia inflata) - (Indian Tobacco) In small doses lobelia acts as a stimulant, especially on the respiratory system. In larger doses it acts as a nerve depressant, and is useful for asthma and whooping cough. Excessive doses can cause severe depression.

LOBELIA, GREAT (Lobelia siphilitica) - Employed by Indians along with mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) to treat venereal disease.

LOMATIUM (Lomatium dissectum) - (Cough Root) Parsnip-like native of Western North America. Important cold and cough remedy among Paiute, Shoshone and Washoe Indians. Also for veneral disease, ceremonial medicine, rheumatism, and wounds.

LOOSESTRIFE, PURPLE (Lythrum salicaria) - Medical research suggests it has potent hypoglycaemic (lowers blood sugar) and hepatoprotective properties.

LOVEAPPLE (Solanum aculeatissimum) - (Soda-apple Nightshade) In India, pounded roots are applied to gums to relieve toothache, and the smoke of burning seeds is inhaled to treat nose ulcers. Source of starting materials for the manufacture of steroids.

LUFFA (Luffa aegyptica) - (Loofah) Known as the 'dishcloth gourd' because the dried over-ripe fruits can be used to scrub dishes. Wonderful for bath and shower as it invigorates the skin without harsh abrasion. Used in Chinese cuisine as a vegetable and in medicine for rheumatic pains.

MADAR (Calotropis gigantea) - Widely used Indian and Nepali medicinal herb with rose-purple flowers. Root bark used for dysentery, skin diseases, and as substitute for the emetic drug, ipecacuanha. Leaves and flowers used for fevers, colds, cough, and asthma.

MADDER (Rubia tinctorium) - Important dyeplant. Roots are source of the best and most enduring red dye of any plant. For wood, cotton, linen and silk.

MADDER, INDIAN (Rubia cordifolia)
- Traditional maroon dye for robes of Tibetan Buddhist monks. Used to stop nosebleeds and other haemorrhages, for blood disorders and to reduce fever.

GINKGO (Ginkgo biloba) - (Maidenhair Tree) Medicinally, ginkgo is rapidly gaining a reputation as a brain tonic. According to recent European studies, the leaf extract increases blood supply to the brain and improves neural functioning and memory.

MAIKOA (Brugmansia (Datura) spp.) - The tree Daturas used by aborigines of the western Amazon as source of ritualistic hallucinogens and medicines.

MAITAKE (Grifola frondosa) - Known in Japan as the 'King of Mushrooms' where it is doubly treasured for its excellent eating qualities and its remarkable medicinal properties. Research has shown that this plant has a powerful effect on the immune system due to a unique polysaccharide, beta-1,6-glucan. Researchers are optimistic maitake can help treat cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and HIV. Also regarded as a first-class adaptogen, an agent that helps the body to adapt to emotional and physical stress.

MALLOW, COMMON (Malva sylvestris) - The infusion made from the pink flowers or leaves is used externally to moisturise and tone the skin and internally to soothe mucous membranes irritated and inflamed by coughs, stomach upsets and other intestinal problems.

MALLOW, CURLED (Malva verticillata crispa) - Leaves are prepared in many ways: boiled, fried, roasted, or even dried, served with soy sauce. It is one of the earliest domesticated plants of China. Like most of the mallows, it has soothing, anti-inflammatory and laxative properties. Useful for gastrointestinal problems, coughs and bronchitis.

MALLOW, MUSK (Malva moschata) - Useful for inflammations of the alimentary, urinary and respiratory systems.

EUROPEAN MANDRAKE (Mandragora officinarum)
- The fabled mandrake has a lore of mystery and magic dating back to the ancient Greeks who used it as an anaesthetic for surgery. There were many superstitions associated with its humanlike roots, variously claimed to avert misfortune when worn as an amulet or to expel demons from the maniacal.

MANUKA (Leptospermum scoparium) - Attractive New Zealand shrub called the "Tea Plant" by Captain Cook because of the agreeably bitter tea his men made from the leaves. Traditional Maori remedy for kidney and bladder complaints, and to combat the miseries of the common cold.

MARALROOT (Leuzea carthamoides 'Lujza') - (Leuza) Siberian perennial with remarkable metabolic and tonic effects. Has been studied by Russian scientists used in the Russian athletic training program for decades. A potent ''adaptogen'' that helps athletes increases endurance, reflexes and concentration, and helps them to recover faster from exertion. Studies show that the root extract greatly increases the work capacity of muscles and normalises blood sugar levels quickly after exertion, and improves memory and learning. Contains ecdysteroids which have anabolic-like growth promoting effects without the side effects associated with drugs.

MARIGOLD (Tagetes)
- The marigolds have surprising properties and uses. Most are familiar with their horticultural value as bedding plants, and their insect-repelling properties are well known, but few would suspect a role as culinary and tea herbs in some Latin American countries.

MARJORAM, COMMON (Origanum vulgare)
- (Wild Oregano) Medicinal variety of oregano lacking true oregano's familiar aroma and flavour. Used for upset stomach, headache, cough, and diarrhoea. Also as gargle for mouth and throat inflammations. Since ancient Roman times, marjoram has been believed to promote longevity. The goddess Venus is said to have bestowed upon the plant its fragrance. It is used to allay anxieties and grief.

MARSHMALLOW (Althaea officinalis) - Noted for soothing irritations and inflammations of the skin, throat, eyes, lungs and urinary organs. The root is often mixed with other herbs such as parsley, fennel root, honey, barley flour and/or various oils for the treatment of many different ailments. In medicinal history, its use was broad and varied. A poultice made of marshmallow root and applied to insect bites takes away pain and swelling. Boiled in oil and applied to the skin, it was said to “taketh away all roughness of the skin, dandruff, or dry scabs in the head and preserveth the hair from falling off.”

MASTERWORT (Peucedanum ostrutium) - Roots are used to promote the appetite by stimulating the secretion of digestive juices. Also a mild cardiac stimulant and antispasmodic.

MAYAPPLE (Podophyllum peltatum)
- A derivative of this herb is medically proven against certain cancers. Used by the American Indians to treat hepatitis, syphilis, fevers, constipation, etc. Poison.

MEADOWSWEET (Filipendula ulmaria) - Useful for flu, gout, rheumatism, arthritis, fever, etc. Once added to herbal beers and wine.

MELILOT (Melilotus officinalis)
- (Sweet Clover) Medicinally, it prevents blood clotting. Salve or poultice is useful for swellings, boils, arthritis and rheumatism.

MILKVETCH, CHINESE (Astragalus membranaceus) - (Chinese Astragalus; Huang Qi) One of the most important Chinese medicinal herbs, especially for its immune enhancing properties. Tonifies the spleen, especially in cases of fatigue. Boosts and tonifies qi (chi). Cardiotonic; lowers blood pressure and blood sugar; improves circulation. Beneficial effect on kidneys, liver, and endocrine system.

MILKWEED (Asclepias syriaca) - Apt name as all parts exude a milky juice when cut. Young shoots are eaten like asparagus. Silk-like down of seeds is used to stuff pillows. Root and rhizome are anodyne (pain killing). Used for asthma, painful cough and scrofula.

MORNING GLORY (Ipomoea tricolor) 'Heavenly Blue' - Used by the Aztecs as a hallucinogen in religious ceremonies.

MOTHERWORT (Leonurus cardiaca) - Especially valuable for PMS, menstrual pain and delayed menstruation. Gentle sedative. Helps calm the entire nervous system. Strengthens the heart and often prescribed for palpitations.

MOTHERWORT, SIBERIAN (Leonurus sibiricus) - (Yi-mu-cao) Medicinal herb, valued especially in Chinese medicine. Used as an emmenagogue, diuretic, and vasodilator.

MUCUNA (Mucuna pruriens) - Ayurvedic medicinal herb used traditionally as a nerve tonic. In a recent clinical trial Parkinson's sufferers treated with crushed seeds regained some mobility with fewer side effects than conventional drugs.

MUGWORT - A bath made of mugwort, chamomile and agrimony is said to help alleviate menstrual cramps.

MULBERRY (Morus nigra) - Handsome tree bearing sweet, juicy berries that make fine conserves and wine. Rootbark decoction is a traditional remedy for tapeworms.

MULLEIN (Verbascum thapsus)
- Good remedy for coughs, hoarseness and bronchitis.

MYROBALAN (Phyllanthus emblica) - Ayurvedic panacea of such renown that it became a metaphorical symbol of healing in Indian medical tantra. Use dates back thousands of years; still used for anti-dysentery, antibiotic and liver tonic properties.

NASTURTIUM, CLIMBING (Tropaeolum majus) - Young leaves make a pleasant pepper substitute in pepper-restricted diets. They have unusually high vitamin C content. Immature green seeds can substitute for capers, and in tossed salads flowers add an interesting touch.

NEEM (Azadirachta indica (Melia azadirachta) - Native to India, this common tree is a ready source of green twigs used as tooth brushes that release gum-protecting anti-bacterial compounds. The oil from the seeds is used to treat leprosy and skin diseases, and the leaves are used in poultices to treat wounds. The bark is employed to treat fever, nausea, and vomiting and skin diseases. Extracts are widely employed in medicinal lotions, shampoos, soaps, creams, hair tonics, gargles, and toothpaste. Azadirachtin, a constituent of the plant, is an insect anti-feedant, repellent, and insecticide.

-  or orange blossom flowers, have many folk associations. They were used in bridal bouquets and to calm nervous apprehension before the bridal couple retired to the marriage bed.

NETTLE, STINGING (Urtica dioica) - Drying or cooking removes stinging effect of the leaves. Can be used in salt-reduced diets, as they contain a salt which is not a burden on the system. Cooked young shoots, rich in iron, are commonly eaten as tonic spring greens. Important bio-dynamic herb: increasing the potency of neighbouring herbs, and stimulating humus formation.
NIGELLA (Nigella damascena) - (Love-in-a-mist) Seeds used in curries and bread, although near cousin black cumin is better. Seeds stored with clothing repels insects. Valued in perfumery trade.

NIGHTSHADE, INDIAN (Solanum khasianum) - Berries are important commercial source of the glycoalkaloid solasodine, a raw material used for the production of steroidal drugs. Studies on rabbits show it can prevent ovulation. Related species have traditional use for stomach pain and night blindness in rural India.

OAK, WHITE (Quercus alba) - Due to its astringent quality, an infusion is used internally or externally for haemorrhoids, menstrual problems, varicose veins, and as a gargle for sore throat.

OAT (Avena sativa) - Grain is, of course, an important staple food, but the straw is also medicinal: for neuralgia and irritated skin conditions.

Old Man - (SOUTHERNWOOD) (Artemisia abrotanum) - Leaves can be used in sachets and potpourris, and as a moth repellent. Try a leaf in salads or throw on the fire to refresh the air.

OLOLIUQUI (Rivea corymbosa)
- (Mexican Morning Glory) Sacred hallucinogenic herb used by the Aztecs in divinatory rituals. Once thought to be exterminated by the Spaniards in their zeal to exorcise "demonic" practices, the plant and the rituals were found preserved in the mountains among the Mazatec Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico.

- Orris was used in ancient Greek and Rome in perfumery, and its medicinal qualities were held in high esteem. The fresh root causes nausea and vomiting in large doses.

OSAGE-ORANGE (Maclura pomifera) - Source of yellow, gold and khaki dyes. Boiled root decoction was once used to bathe irritated eyes.

OSHA (Ligusticum porteri)
- Native American herb found in upland meadows and ravines in the southern Rocky Mountains. Leading herbalists say it can be used like Echinacea for the treatment of colds, flu, sore throat and upper respiratory congestion. Antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it useful as a treatment for general infections. Stimulates circulation, kidneys, and the uterus.

OXKNEE (Achyranthes bidentata) - (Niu xi, Achyranthes) Traditional Chinese herb used to nourish the kidney and liver, drain 'dampness' and promote circulation. Prescribed for difficult urination, painful urethritis, suppressed menstruation. Commonly used to treat traumatic injuries, stiffness and pain of the lower back and loins and for weakness in the legs and feet. Do not use during pregnancy.

OXKNEE, SICHUAN (Cyathula officinalis)
- (Chuan niu xi) Chinese root used to treat pain due to 'wind-dampness' to clear atrophy and spasm of the lower extremities, much like the previous species. Do not use during pregnancy.

OXLIP (Primula elatior) - Root tea stops catarrh and acts to expel phlegm. Excellent for colds and coughs.

PALMAROSA (Cymbopogon martinii motia) - (Geranium grass, rosha grass) Wonderfully scented grass from India whose leaves emit a clear, pleasing aroma of rose geranium when crushed. Excellent for potpourris. Widely used in cosmetics, soaps and perfumes. Oil is used also in medicines for lumbago and skin problems, and in mosquito repellents.

PAPAYA (Carica papaya) - The famous dessert melon of the tropics. Both the fruits and leaves are high in papain, an enzyme that aids digestion and is used in meat tenderiser.

PASQUE FLOWER (Anemone pulsatilla) - Valuable in correcting membrane disorders of the respiratory and digestive passages.

PASSION FLOWER (Passiflora x alatocaerulea cv.) - The odd flowers are a religious symbol, said to suggest the Crucifixion scene, but to some the enlarged, erect reproductive organs are a visual aphrodisiac! Brewed as a tea, it is good for insomnia but does not produce the hang-over effect of other treatments. It is also considered to be an aphrodisiac when brewed as a tea.

PASSION FLOWER, AMERICAN (Passiflora incarnata) - (Maypop) Important sedative used to treat insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, nervous disorders -- especially in children. It is very safe; no side effects or contraindications are known. The herb is taken as a tea or in tablet or tincture form.

PATCHOULI (Pogostemon patchouli) - One of the definitive perfumes of the Orient and of India in particular. Widely used in perfumes and soaps, and even to perfume India ink. Leaves are excellent in potpourris and sachets.

PELLITORY (Parietaria judaica) (P. officinalis) - (Pellitory-of-the-Wall) Cooling and soothing herb with diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties. Whole flowering plant used to treat chronic urinary diseases, cystitis, and bladder and kidney stones.

PENNYROYAL (Mentha pulegium) - Strong minty odour. Used in earlier times to flavour puddings and sauces. Tea is still used today to ease headache. Has insect repelling properties. This is used as a mild dilatory. It also works well hand in hand with other medicines to help combat colds and flu (use only in small amounts!)

PEPPERMINT - Mints have been cultivated since antiquity in Japan and China. In Egypt a type of peppermint has been found in tombs dating from 1000 BC. Used as a flavouring agent, it has also been used medicinally for such ailments as digestive problems, sore throat and toothaches. It has also been known as far back as the Roman writer Pliny as a scent for rousing the conscious mind.

PERIWINKLE (Vinca minor) - Astringent and sedative properties. Formerly used for diarrhoea and haemorrhages. Known as 'violet of the sorcerers' in France where it was once hung at entrances to ward off evil spirits and witches.

PERIWINKLE, MADAGASCAR (Catharanthus roseus) (Vinca rosea) - Source of several anti-cancer alkaloids used in treating leukemia and other forms of cancer. Has been employed as a tea for diabetics.

PHYSIC NUT (Jatropha curcas) - (Termite plant; babantsi) Seeds and leaves have a strong purgative action and should not be used internally. Used externally for skin parasites, venereal disease, herpes, and as a dressing for wounds. Poisonous if taken internally.

PIG'S EARS (Cotyledon spp.)
- (Plakkies) Excellent wart remedy, widely recommended even by medical doctors, in South Africa. Works on pets too. Thick, fleshy, grey-green leaves are sliced lengthwise and placed cut side on the wart for 8-12 hours daily. Eventually warts soften and drop or rub off.

PIMPERNEL (Anagallis arvensis) - Reputation for treating depression, melancholy, and allied mental disorders. Scarlet, white or blue flowers close when bad weather is imminent, hence the name "weatherglass."

PINE, WHITE (Pinus strobus) - The inner bark taken as a tea or syrup is an excellent native American Indian remedy for coughs and congestion still in use today.

PIPSISSEWA (Chimaphila umbellata) - Traditionally used by North American Indians for kidney and bladder ailments.

GREATER PLANTAIN (Plantago major) - Common weed in lawns and in pathways. Familiar broad leaves have astringent, diuretic and expectorant properties. Valuable for respiratory and gastrointestinal problems such as asthma, bronchitis, and diarrhoea. Also helpful for bladder problems and ulcers. Used externally for skin problems, including ringworm, shingles, and varicose ulcers. Squeezing fresh leaves on insect bites and stings relieves pain and itching almost immediately.

CHINESE PLANTAIN (Plantago asiatica)
- (Che qian) Very similar to greater plantain (P. major), having the same broad leaves. Seeds are used to promote urination and to clear heat. Specially noted for correcting eye problems caused by deficient liver and kidneys (such as dry eyes or cataracts) or excess heat in the liver channel (such as red, painful, swollen eyes). Also useful for diarrhoea and in obstetrics to reposition the foetus before birth.
PLANTAIN (Plantago lanceolata)
- (Ribgrass) Leaf juice is reputed to have blood-cleansing properties, to strengthen weak lungs, and to fight colds, diarrhoea and similar digestive complaints. Poultice of fresh leaves on wounds prevents infection. Used in medicinal history as a blood detoxifier and for poison ivy, snake bites, bee stings and mosquito bites. Most treatments call for the fresh leaves to be bruised and applied to the wound.

PLEURISY ROOT (Asclepias tuberosa) - (Butterfly Weed) Roots act specifically on the lungs as an expectorant and anti-inflammatory. Valuable for all chest complaints, including pleurisy.

POKEROOT (Phytolacca americana) - (Pokeweed) Young unfolded leaves (older leaves are poisonous) are boiled. Powdered roots were used in a poultice by early settlers to treat cancerous ulcers. Used to treat rheumatism, arthritis and respiratory infections.

POMEGRANATE, DWARF (Punica granatum 'Nana') - Considered an excellent remedy for tapeworms since the time of the Greeks. A red dye is produced from fruit skins and flowers.

POPPY, CALIFORNIA (Eschscholzia californica)
- Mildly narcotic colourless juice was used by Californian Indians to treat toothache.

POPPY, OPIUM (Papaver somniferum) - Source of opium and the narcotic alkaloids, morphine and codeine, used to control pain, coughs and diarrhoea. Opium has been used and abused for centuries for its painkilling and euphoric properties. For palliative care, morphine is now the pain-killer of choice but is highly addictive. As significant as the plant is medicinally, it is far more important for its culinary uses. Its seeds, which do not contain alkaloids, are widely used as 'poppy seeds' on breads, cakes, bagels, and in Middle Eastern delicacies such as halva. The seeds also yield a good quality oil used for salads and to make soap, ointments and paints.
PRAIRIE-CLOVER (Petalostemum candidum)
- Navajo remedy for stomachache, abdominal pain, diarrhoea and fever. The Navajo and Pawnee Indians regarded the roots as a 'life medicine' and panacea.

ASH, PRICKLY (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis)
- Stimulates the circulatory system. Useful in many chronic diseases such as rheumatism, skin diseases, varicose veins.

PRINCE'S FEATHER (Polygonum orientale) - (Shui Hong) Antibacterial: used to treat infection and remove 'heat'. Also useful against flatulence and cancer of the stomach, intestines and liver.

PRIVET, CHINESE (Ligustrum lucidum) - (Nepal Privet; Nu-zhen-zi) Chinese medicinal herb. Invigorates the liver and kidney; for tinnitus, blurred vision, dizziness, premature greying, and helps enhance white cell counts, especially after radio- or chemotherapy.

PSYLLIUM, INDIAN (Plantago ovata) -  (Isphaghula, Blond psyllium) Important remedy for constipation and problems of the bowel, including irritable bowel syndrome. The mucilaginous seed coats lubricate and cleanse the intestines, acting as a mild laxative. Popular prepared laxatives such as Metamucil are made from the seeds.

PUMPKIN, STYRIAN (Cucurbita pepo styriaca) - Hull-less seeds yield a medicinally-active oil used in Central Europe for inflammations, hypertrophy of the prostate, and for arteriosclerosis. Has high vitamin E content, and like evening primrose stimulates the synthesis of prostaglandins.

PYRETHRUM (Tanacetum (Chrysanthemum) cinerariifolium) - Source of one of the safest of all insecticides. White daisy flowers contain pyrethrins which act directly on the nervous systems of aphids, mites, leafhoppers, cabbageworms and other insects. Will not harm fish, waterfowl, plants or mammals. To make pyrethrum spray, mix 1 tblsp freshly ground dried flowers with 2 qt. (2 litres) hot water. Add a little soap and let stand.

QUASSIA (Picrasma excelsa) - The infusion makes a good insecticidal spray for garden and household use, especially for lice on pets. Important West Indian folk remedy for conditions as varied as fever, malaria, snakebite, dysentery, gonorrhoea, and carcinoma.

QUEEN ANNE'S LACE (Daucus carota) - (Wild Carrot) Infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, chronic kidney disease and bladder afflictions. Leaves applied with honey soothe external sores and ulcers.

QUININE, WILD (Parthenium integrifolium) - American prairie native used medicinally by Indians. Diuretic for kidney and bladder complaints, and for gonorrhoea. There is evidence it may have immune- enhancing properties like Echinacea (to which it is a common adulterant).

RAMPION (Campanula rapunculus)
- So tasty are the roots that there is a Grimm tale about the unfortunate child Rapunzel (German for 'rampion')who was given up to a witch after her father was caught stealing roots from the witch's garden.

RAMSONS (Allium ursinum) - (Wild Garlic, Bärlauch) Of considerable medicinal interest. The fresh flowering herb is used like garlic to treat high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries but with stronger effect. Recommended as a tonic in spring when the leaves are most potent. Edible leaves are used in salads, sandwiches and any dish where a garlic flavour is desirable.

RASPBERRY (Rubus idaeus)
- Leaves have astringent and laxative properties, useful in painful menstruation and diarrhoea.

RAUWOLFIA (Rauvolfia serpentina) - Famous tranquilliser plant of India, where for 3000 years it has been used to treat mental illness. Long ignored by the West, until the 1950s, but now its active constituent, reserpine, is prescribed for its powerful hypnotic and sedative properties.

REISHI MUSHROOM (Ganoderma lucidum) - (Ling-zhi) The legendary Oriental mushroom of immortality, a single stalk of which could bring even a dead man back to life! It is still in great use as a tonic and for the treatment of obesity, angina pectoris, bronchitis, hepatitis and insomnia. Scientific evidence is building that suggests that reishi has hypotensive, anti-tumour, hypoglycaemic and immonostimulatory activity.

RESTHARROW (Ononis spinosa) - Good diuretic without usual harmful side effects. Effective for dropsy, rheumatism, gout and kidney and bladder disorders.

RHUBARB, CHINESE (Rheum palmatum) - (Turkey Rhubarb) Esteemed in China for 5000 years as a safe purgative. Action is brisk, healthy and non-constipating. Recent studies show it to have marked anti-tumour properties. One of 4 ingredients in the Essiac anti-cancer formula.

ROCKET, SWEET (Hesperis matronalis) - This is the flower of deceit, giving off its lovely perfume only in the evening. When in flower, it is used as a gland stimulant and an aphrodisiac. Leaves picked before it blooms are nutritious salad greens.

ROSE - The ancient Greeks wore garlands of roses to cure headaches. Cabbage rose was used for a wide range of disorders, playing an essential part in the medical knowledge of the Middle Ages. The symbolism of the rose is associated with Venus, the Goddess of love and beauty. After Europe's conversion to the Christian religion, the symbol of the rose was deemed unsuitable for the Virgin Mary, because of its past associations with the lustier Venus, Bacchus and other classical deities. The purer lily was adopted in its place for Mary.

ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus) - One of the most fragrant of herbs with many unexpected uses. A little freshly chopped rosemary is interesting with orange sections, appealing in dumplings, biscuits, preserves, and has few equals for poultry stuffing. Most notable with lamb and pork. Excellent homemade shampoos, hair and skin rinses are made with rosemary tea. Rosemary is one of the earliest plants used for food, medicine and magic. Sprigs of rosemary were burned at shrines ancient Greece, and used in the Middle Ages to drive away evil spirits and to protect against plague. It was believed to remove the effects of poison, assuage gout, make hair grow and to improve sanity. Rosemary is a symbol of fidelity and was sown into bridal bouquets.

ROSEROOT (Rhodiola rosea) (Sedum rosea) - (Golden root) Fascinating "new" medicinal herb first studied by the Russians decades ago. Roseroot is only the second North American herb after ginseng to be recognised as an 'adaptogen', a herb with the ability to restore the body and mind after physical and mental exertion and stress. Its rose-scented roots contain unique compounds that are thought to account for the adaptogenic properties. Russian research also shows that the roots improve learning and memory, and act as a tonic. In folkloric medicine, the leaves were used like aloe to treat cuts and burns, and the Eskimos used a decoction of the flowers for stomach ache and intestinal discomfort, and for tuberculosis.
 STANDARD RUE (Ruta graveolens) - Pungent bitter leaves used sparingly in stews, salads, sandwiches and vegetable juice. Two chewed will quickly relieve nervous headache. In early times judges relied on fresh sprigs of rue to repel fleas brought into court by prisoners.

RUE, SYRIAN (Peganum harmala) - Source of the famous dye "Turkish Red", a characteristic colour of Persian carpets. In Egypt, the oil expressed from the seeds is said to be an aphrodisiac. Seeds possess hallucinogenic alkaloids.

RUPTUREWORT (Herniaria glabra) - Valuable for urinary problems as it increases sodium and urea emission without increasing urine flow. Helps to relieve kidney and bladder pains.

SADADHATURA (Datura metel) (Datura alba) - Used in India like stramonium in treatment of asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis. Poultice of leaves used for rheumatic swellings of the joints, lumbago, and painful tumours.

SAGE (Salvia) - The old proverb, 'Why should a man die whilst sage grows in his garden?' attests to great medicinal repute once held by sage. Best known today is garden sage, the flavouring variety appreciated in cuisines throughout the world. Sage tea gargle is valuable for sore throat.

WHITE SAGE (Salvia apiana) - Important ceremonial herb among the California Indians, used for purification much like wormwood (Artemisia ludoviciana). Roots were used for afterbirth to heal and to clean the womb. Leaves were smoked, taken as a tea, or used in sweat lodges to cure colds. Brew a tea of white sage leaves for 3 – 5 minutes to purify the body of toxins. The white sage can be mixed with peppermint, spearmint or chamomile to taste. Boil 1oz of leaves in one quart of water for 10 mins and add to bath water to purify the skin.

SPANISH SAGE (Salvia lavandulifolia) - (Lavender Sage) In Spain this is the only sage used in cooking. It has smaller leaves, and stronger flavour and aroma than garden sage (S. officinalis). The oil is distilled and harvested commercially. It is also a popular anti-diabetic used throughout Spain. Studies confirm that it is effective for blood sugar, lowering without affecting insulin levels.

WOODSAGE (Teucrium scorodonia) - Used for flatulence and indigestion and as a hops substitute for beer.
 SAGEBRUSH, SILVER (Artemisia cana) - (Blue sage) Native of the Sierra Nevada and area north to Canada. Strongly aromatic. Used by the Montana Indians as a general tonic, to restore hair, and as a dermatological aid.

ST JOHNSWORT(Hypericum spp.) - Noted for its calming effect, valuable for nervous disorders such as insomnia, depression and bed-wetting. The oil has remarkable soothing and healing action when rubbed into painful joints and strained muscles. Hypericin, thought to be the active constituent, has known antiviral properties and is under investigation as a possible treatment for HIV. Recently touted as a natural alternative to the antidepressant drug, Prozac. Take the powdered form the same way as ephedra or take two herbal supplement pills (1 in the morning, 1 in the evening) to alleviate depression. It is also used in the treatment of anxiety, apathy, sleep disturbances, anorexia and the feeling of worthlessness. Combined with kava kava and/or ginkgo biloba, a very effective tea can be made that compares very favourably with antidepressant drugs.

SAMPHIRE (Crithium maritimum) - (Sea Fennel) Aromatic herb found growing along European seashores. Succulent leaves are delicious boiled with salt and pickled in vinegar and spices. Herbalists have long extolled the beneficial effects of pickled samphire on the digestive system. Has potential in the treatment of obesity. Good diuretic.

SANDALWOOD - The word sandalwood is derived from the Sanskrit chandana. The scent of sandalwood has been used for thousands of years to induce calm, spirituality and peace. Temples built of sandalwood centuries ago still emit the scent of the wood.

SAN PEDRO CACTUS (Trichocereus pachanoi) - Tall stately cactus from Peru and Bolivia where it is widely grown and used by brujos for divination and prophecies.SANTOLINA (Santolina chamaecyparissus) - (Lavender Cotton) Leaf oils are used in perfume. Hang dried bunches in closets to repel moths.

SANTONICA (Artemisia chamaemelifolia) (A. maritima) - (Sea Wormwood, Levant Wormseed) One of the oldest remedies for worms, especially suited for children.

- In medicinal history it was considered to be a plant of “healing quality, howsoever used”. It was taken as an antidote to poisons, the treatment of colds, flus and the “French disease”. It is commonly used in making a drink similar to root beer which is used to aid in digestion (ginger was often added not only for taste but for its digestive values).

SASSAFRAS (Sassafras albidum) - Probably among the first American plant drugs to reach Europe. The oil extracted from the aromatic root bark was used as a food flavour, but due to possible liver and kidney toxicity, it has fallen into disfavour. Tea is still popular in the Appalachians.

SAW PALMETTO (Serenoa repens) - Traditional remedy for prostate enlargement and inflammation. Also colds, asthma, and bronchitis. Tea made from berries is a general tonic for convalescents.

SCHISANDRA (Schisandra chinensis) - (Wu-wei-zi) Chinese medicinal; astringent and demulcent berries are used to treat nervous conditions, chronic cough, asthma, thirst, too frequent urination, and diarrhoea. Sometimes referred to as 'Chinese Prozac'. Has adaptogenic and immune-enhancing properties similar to ginseng.

SCOTCH PINE - a tall evergreen tree, was used by the Native Americans to prevent scurvy, and to stuff mattresses to repel lice and fleas.

SCULLCAP (Scutellaria lateriflora) - Effective, reliable remedy for headache and neuralgia. Good sedative for insomnia, restlessness, hysteria and convulsions.

SCULLCAP, BAIKAL (Scutellaria baicalensis) - (Huang-qin) Important Chinese medicinal herb: prescribed for fevers, colds, hypertension, insomnia, headaches, hepatitis, diphtheria, shingles, and other ailments. Many of its traditional uses are supported by clinical studies.

SCURVYGRASS (Cochlearia officinalis) - Pungent member of the mustard family. In former times it was used on sea voyages to prevent scurvy. It was also considered helpful in cases of underfunction of liver and mucus in the bladder. Fresh leaves make a healthful addition to salads.

SEA BUCKTHORN (Hippophae rhamnoides) - North Eurasian tree of increasing economic importance. Orange berries are rich source of vitamins A and C, and make pleasing sauces, jellies and marmalades. The juice is used as a sweetener for herbal teas. Decoction used to treat skin eruptions.

SEA LAVENDER (Limonium latifolium) - Graceful sprays of small mid-blue papery blossoms last for months in dried flower arrangements or potpourris. Astringent tonic useful for diarrhoea and dysentery.

SEAHOLLY (Eryngium campestre) - (Eryngo) Grown for its roots, which are both edible and medicinal. Fleshy roots, dug in autumn and boiled and roasted, taste like chestnuts. In the 16th and 17th centuries the candied roots, called "kissing comforts," were considered aphrodisiac, and were given, with all due discretion, to older people suffering from "loss of vital force" and shortness of breath. Was prescribed for chronic nervousness and kidney and bladder disease.

SEA-ONION (Ornithogalum caudatum) - A fascinating onion-like medicinal herb for sunny windows. Known as the "pregnant onion", for bulges develop on its sides where eventually baby bulbs burst through the skin. Juice of the leaves is claimed to be as effective as aloe vera in treating cuts and sores.

SENNA, AMERICAN (Cassia marilandica) - Effective laxative much in use by American herbalists. Usually taken in combination with with coriander to prevent cramps. Also used to expel worms and for fevers.

SENNA, CHINESE (Cassia tora) - (Jue-ming-zi) Excellent laxative: safe and effective for chronic constipation. Promotes clear vision, and relieves swelling, soreness and redness of the eyes caused by liver inflammation. Also used for high blood pressure, headaches, and dizziness.

SHA YUAN (Astragalus chinensis)
- (Chinese milkvetch) Differs from Astragalus membranaceus (see Milkvetch, Chinese) in that the seeds are medicinal, not the roots. Seeds tonify the liver and kidney, helping to restore poor vision caused by deficient functioning of those organs. Relieves yang deficient symptoms such as lower back pain, tinnitus, spermatorrhoea, premature ejaculation and urinary problems.

SOAPWORT (Saponaria officinalis) - Excellent shampoos, skin rinses and washes for delicate fabrics are made by steeping roots in water. Lathers like soap when agitated. Skin rinse helps to relieve itchiness.

SOLOMONS SEAL (Polygonatum biflorum) - American Indians used the root for upset stomach, excessive menstruation, general debility, lung problems, cough, insomnia, and as a laxative. Has also been used for rheumatism, arthritis and skin irritations. This has been used externally to aid in the healing of cuts and bruises.

SPEEDWELL (Veronica officinalis) - Infusion is useful for coughs and catarrh. As a lotion it is effective on skin eruptions and slow-healing wounds.

SPEEDWELL, GARDEN (Veronica longifolia) - Once highly esteemed in Europe for respiratory problems.

SPIKENARD (Aralia racemosa) - Detoxifying herb. Useful for asthma, rheumatism, skin problems such as eczema.

STAR ANISE - has been used in Chinese medicine for over 1300 years for its stimulating effect on the digestive and respiratory systems.

STEVIA (Stevia rebaudiana) - Remarkable herbal sugar substitute! Contains stevioside, hundreds of times sweeter than sugar but without the calories. Leaf powder can be used in place of sugar in drinks, baked goods, desserts, preserves, etc. Has a pleasant flavour of its own that never dominates or overwhelms to which it is added.

STONEROOT (Collinsia canadensis) - American folk remedy for indigestion, diarrhoea and dysentery.

STRAMONIUM (Datura stramonium) - (Jimson Weed) Sometimes given for spasmodic coughing and bronchial asthma. Leaves steeped in water are said to induce visions along with giddiness and delirium. May cause brain damage or death in large doses. Safe for external use, however; place tea-soaked cloth on sores to relieve pain.

WILD STRAWBERRY (Fragaria vesca) - Infusion of leaves and rootstock is effective for diarrhoea, dysentery and problems of the urinary tract. Especially useful for convalescents and children. Cultivated varieties are much less potent medicinally.

SUMAC, SWEET (Rhus aromatica) - Indian remedy for colds, bleeding, stomach aches, and gripe.

SWEETGRASS (Hierochloe odorata) - Traditional Amerindian ceremonial grass used in peace and healing rituals. Vanilla-like scent.

SWEETROOT (Osmorhiza occidentalis) - (Anise root) Native people of California used the sweet tasting roots for stomach ache, indigestion, gas pains, flu, colds, pneumonia and pulmonary disorders.

TAMARIND (Tamarindus indica) - Tropical fruit and timber tree used widely in the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries. Tart fruits are commonly used in Indian curries, sauces, chutneys and beverages, and in Indian medicine for their carminative and laxative properties. Cooling tea made from leaves is useful for fevers, dysentery and morning sickness. Poultice of fresh leaves helps reduce swellings and boils and relieves pain.

TANSY (Tanacetum vulgare) - Pretty yellow button flowers were once used by the Indians to induce abortion. Now used in various cosmetic preparations. Repels ants from counters or around baseboard. Repels cockroaches as well.

TARRAGON - In medicinal history tarragon was used to gently aid in the beginning of the menstrual cycle.

TEA (Camellia sinensis) (Thea sinensis) - (Cha; Chai) The world's most important caffeine beverage. At least 3 billion people are regular drinkers. Its use goes back as far as 2700 B.C., but it was not until the 3rd century A.D. that China's tea-drinking culture began to develop and it was around 800 A.D. that tea was introduced to Japan. Tea stimulates the central nervous system, is diuretic and astringent, relaxes smooth muscles, and increases coronary flow. It has significant anti-cancer and antioxidant effects and even has been shown to prevent tooth decay on account of its high fluoride content.

TEASEL, FULLER'S (Dipsacus sativus) - Comb-like flowerheads were once used for raising nap on woollen cloth. Excellent in dried arrangements. Water trapped in leaf basins is valued as an eyewash.

TEA TREE (Melaleuca alternifolia) - Worldwide demand for the antiseptic oil distilled from the leaves has exploded over the past decade. The oil has proven antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties which makes it valuable for skin infections, burns, bruises, cuts, herpes, warts, yeast infections, gingivitis and many other conditions requiring a powerful antiseptic. Can be applied directly on sensitive tissues without irritation. Australian aborigines have long used the crushed leaves for skin infections. The English explorer Captain Cook brewed a spicy and refreshing tea from the leaves.

TEPHROSIA (Tephrosia candida) - Seeds are a source of the insecticide, rotenone. The bark and leaves are used by fishermen in traditional societies to poison fish so they can be easily scooped from the surface of the water. Often grown on coffee, tea and rubber plantations for green manure, windbreak and shade.

THISTLE, BLESSED (Cnicus benedictus) - Main value is a tonic, particularly for the digestive system. Said to improve circulation and blood, thereby strengthening the brain and memory.

THISTLE, MILK (Silybum marianum) - Its glossy leaves are painted with veins of creamy white which, according to tradition, originated from the milk of the Virgin, which once fell upon a plant. Important tonic herb for the liver.

THISTLE, SILVER (Carlina acaulis) - (Carline thistle) Root is used as a liver, gall bladder and kidney tonic, and an ingredient in Swedish Bitters. Extracts used to treat herpes and skin rashes.

TOBACCO (Nicotiana tabacum) - Tobacco of commerce. A good insect-repelling spray is made by steeping leaves in water for 24 hours, then adding a little soap as wetting agent.

TOBACCO, WILD (Nicotiana rustica) - Originally grown and smoked by the Indians. Now the chief source of nicotine sulfate, an important insecticide for the control of aphids, thrips, whiteflies and mites.

TOLOACHE (Datura inoxia) - Long history of use as a hallucinogen by the Mexican Indians. The effects of this plant are well described by Castaneda in The Teachings of Don Juan.

TOOTHACHE PLANT (Spilanthes acmella) - Australian aborigines use leaves for toothaches. Antibiotic against candida. Eaten fresh like cress.

TORMENTIL (Potentilla tormentilla) - Astringent rootstocks are excellent for haemorrhages, enteritis, diarrhoea, and as a gargle for sore throats.

TRIBULUS (Tribulus terrestris) - (Caltrop, puncturevine, goatshead) Spiny burrs adhere to shoes, tires and fur, which accounts for its proliferation around the world. Considered an important diuretic herb in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, it is recommended for urinary problems, kidney and lower back pains and as an aphrodisiac. Recent clinical research indicates that it improves and prolongs male erection and increases sperm counts. This is associated with increased testosterone levels. The effect on testosterone is also the reason why bodybuilders are using Tribulus as a natural alternative to chemical anabolic steroids.

TUMERIC (Curcuma domestica) - Familiar spice; essential in south Asian cuisine, especially curry powders. Gives yellow colour to prepared mustards. Recent evidence suggests turmeric possess potent anti-cancer properties.

TURTLEHEAD (Chelone glabra) - (Balmony) Used for poor appetite, indigestion, general debility, constipation, piles, worms. Good tonic during convalescence.

UVA URSI (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) - (Bearberry) Used for kidney and bladder infections on account of its diuretic and antiseptic properties.

VALERIAN (Valeriana officinalis) - This was used in medicinal history to treat a myriad of conditions including asthma, the plague, gas, chest colds, sores and other wounds. Excellent sedative action. Widely used to allay pain, nervous unrest, migraine, and insomnia.

VANILLA GRASS (Anthoxanthum odoratum) - (Sweet vernal grass) European grass with a sweet vanilla aroma, similar to woodruff. Pollen causes hay fever, but interestingly, a tincture of its flowers in wine is said to give immediate relief from hay fever.

LEMON VERBENA (Aloysia triphylla) (Lippia citriodora) - This plant is a "must"! Its sweet, strongly lemon-flavoured leaves blend well with most other tea herbs. Leaves enhance all drinks, salads, jellies, sauces, soups, fish or meat dishes and desserts that call for lemon as an ingredient or a garnish.

VERVAIN (Verbena officinalis) - Aphrodisiac said to "secure the favour of the ladies". Historically associated with sorcerers and witches, bestowing magical powers to those who use it. Slightly bitter tisane is of very old usage as a digestive and sedative nightcap. Also in Chinese medicine.

BLUE VERVAIN (Verbena hastata) - Has a tranquillising effect; useful for insomnia and other nervous conditions.

VETIVER GRASS (Vetiveria zizanioides) - (Khus-khus) Coarse grass native to India. Sweet scented roots widely used to make woven handicrafts. Distilled oil described as "woodsy" and "earthy" is used in oriental fragrances. Oil repels flies, cockroaches, lice, and bedbugs. Promoted worldwide as an erosion control plant. With roots penetrating as deep as 3 m, vetiver withstands drought easily and is not easily dislodged by erosion. In as little as 20 years, vetiver hedges have been known to transform deserts into mature forests.

VICKS PLANT (Plectranthus purpuratus) - An apt name, as the odour of the fleshy leaves closely resembles that of the chest cold remedy, and is used for the purpose.

VIRGINS BOWER (Clematis virginiana) - Infusion of the leaves and flowers is used to relieve severe headaches. Sometimes used to make ointments for sores, skin ulcers and itchy skin. Can cause dermatitis or stomach upset in some sensitive people.

VISNAGA (Ammi visnaga) - (Honeyplant) Seeds contain active compounds khellin and visnadin used to treat angina pectoris, muscle spasm, gastrointestinal cramp, colic, painful menstruation and bronchial asthma.

VITEX (Vitex negundo heterophylla) - Used for headache, dizziness, coughs and mental unrest.

VOACANGA (Voacanga africana) - (Ofuruma, Kokiyar) Important medicinal plant in African healing rituals. Stem bark and root are used to treat mental disorders. The bark is analgesic and has a local anaesthetic effect, and the latex can be applied to carious teeth. Contains alkaloids with cardiotonic and hypotensive action.

WAHOO (Euonymous atropurpurea) - Eastern North American shrub has digitalis-like cardiac effect. Formerly used as a diuretic,  laxative, tonic and expectorant.

BLACK WALNUT (Juglans nigra) - Bark and leaves are astringent and laxative. Useful for skin problems such as herpes, eczema, and ulcers.

WATERCRESS - Known as Berro to the Aztecs, watercress is applied to the temples to cure headaches.

WATERLEAF (Talinum triangulare) - (Leaf ginseng, Surinam spinach) Young leaves and tender stems have a slightly sour taste. Can be chopped and added in salads, or parboiled, steamed, sauteed or added to soups. Should not be overcooked or it gets too soft and mucilaginous. In Indonesia, this herb is as highly regarded as ginseng, giving the whole body a strengthening boost. In Chinese medicine, the roots of a related species are used to treat general debility in the same way as ginseng.

WATERPEPPER (Polygonum hydropiper 'Fastigiatum') - (Azabu-tade, Cultivated Smartweed) Popular Japanese herb used for sushi. Peppery flavour is hot, but does not linger. Served on sashimi (sliced raw fish), tempura, and sushi. This herb has lots of potential for experimentation!

WHITE WILLOW (Salix alba) - Astringent bark is a traditional remedy for diarrhoea, fever, arthritis and rheumatism. Has an aspirin-like compound.

WILLOW HERB (Epilobium parviflorum) - Praised in Treben's Health From God's Garden for inflammation of the prostate gland, bladder and kidney disorders. An ingredient of Swedish Bitters.

WINTERGREEN - Once crushed and mixed with any mint and 2 cups of denatured alcohol, it becomes an excellent massage tool for sore muscles. It has often been used as a topical treatment for all kinds of skin and muscular ailments. A small amount of wintergreen mixed with mint and black tea can be used as a general remedy for many ailments. It is also used in incenses for healing. Used for headaches and other aches and pains, inflammations and acute rheumatism. Common flavouring for chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash.

WITCH HAZEL - Applying a tincture made of witch hazel to the skin makes an excellent treatment for insect bites, itchy and irritated skin and as an astringent for oily skin. 4oz placed in a muslin bag and put in a hot bath helps to cleanse and purify the skin. It is often used to treat the itch of eczema and psoriasis.

WOAD (Isatis tinctoria) - For ages the main source of blue dye in Europe, until the introduction of indigo in the 17th century. Contains the same dyestuff as indigo, though in lower concentration. Because it is hardy (unlike indigo) woad is still grown for natural dyeing.

CHINESE WOAD (Baphicacanthus cusia) - (Da Qing) Contains indican and isatin B, both of which can be converted to indigo. Considered antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. Leaves and roots are effective against flu, encephalitis, measles, hepatitis, and mumps.

CHINESE WOLFBERRY (Lycium barbarum) - (Gou-gi-zi; Matrimony Vine) Chinese culinary and medicinal herb. Used to strengthen muscles and bone, liver function, to restore "vital essences," and to improve vision. Increases white blood cell counts, and stimulates tissue development. Young leaves and shoots are popular as cooked greens in Canton. Sweet berries are eaten raw as a snack or added to soups and stews.

SWEET WOODRUFF (Galium odoratum) (Asperula odorata) - Vanilla-scented leaves are essential in Maybowl, a traditional German punch. Helpful for migraine, nervous conditions, stomach pain. Needs shade.

WOODSAGE (Teucrium scorodonia) - Used for flatulence and indigestion and as a hops substitute for beer.

WOOLLYGRASS (Imperata cylindrica) - (Bai-mao-gen) Chinese medicinal herb used for all cases of "heat excess." Strong haemostatic action: immediately stops bleeding wounds and suppresses bruises. Also diuretic and antibacterial.

WORMSEED-EPAZOTE (Chenopodium ambrosioides) - Strong scented foliage highly esteemed in Mexico and Guatemala for seasoning corn, black beans, mushrooms, fish and shellfish. Wormseed oil is frequently prescribed to expel intestinal parasites.

WORMWOOD (Artemisia absinthium) - Bitter leaves were important in absinth, vermouth, and other liqueurs. Has great reputation for stimulating the appetite and improving digestion. One of the oldest known remedies for worms.

WILD YAM (Dioscorea villosa) - Contains diosgenin, an important raw material for the pharmaceutical industry, used to prepare many steroid hormones, including contraceptives and corticosteroids. American Indians used it for labour pains. A traditional remedy for gastrointestinal ailments, asthma.

YARROW (Achillea) -  is said to date back to Achilles, who used it to treat injuries caused by iron weapons. It is an age-old herb medicine used for a variety of complaints including fever, respiratory infections, digestive problems and nervous tension. Externally it is used for sores, rashes and wounds. The yarrow stalks are traditionally used for divination in the Chinese classic, the I Ching. Impressive all-round natural remedies without equal. Owing to their bitter principles, they have the reputation as general fortifiers, helping to build the body's natural resistance. They improve digestion, circulation, and the functions of the liver, gall bladder, and kidneys. They are valuable wound herbs for cuts and make excellent cosmetic lotions for cleansing and beautifying the skin.

YERBA MANSA (Anemopsis californica) - (Swamp root) Infusion made from the aromatic, peppery roots used by Indians of the American Southwest as a general pain reliever and a treatment for stomach ulcers, chest congestion and colds.

YERBA MATE (Ilex paraguariensis) - Mate tea is a popular South American beverage. More stimulating than coffee or tea. Very rich in vitamins and minerals.

YERBA SANTA (Eriodictyon californicum) - Excellent expectorant; useful for colds, laryngitis, bronchitis.

YLANG YLANG - In Indonesia, the flowers of the ylang ylang are spread on the bed of newly married couples. In the Victorian age the oil was used in the hair product Macassar oil. The soothing scent of ylang ylang is considered an aphrodisiac as well as an anti-depressant.

YUCCA (Yucca glauca) - Roots contain 2% saponin, a soapy substance valuable in shampoos; leaves a fine sheen to hair. Easy to use: chopped roots are soaked in water and stirred to a lather.