HERBAL GLOSSARY

 

Agnus castus berry

This remedy uses several closely related plants: Agnus castus (Taraxacum officinale) also called Vitex, chaste tree (or chastetree), chasteberry, Abraham’s balm, lilac chaste tree, or monk’s pepper, Pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa), Chastetree berry (Vitex agnus-castus) False unicorn root (Chamaelirium luteum), Jamaica dogwood bark etc. This herb mixture has been widely used to treat seizures, headaches, and other health conditions. It has, also, been used for thousands of years to relieve the symptoms of menstrual disorders, such as premenstrual dysphoric disorder and premenstrual syndrome.

 

Alfalfa root

Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) name is the root of the modern scientific name for the alfalfa genus, Medicago. In ancient India, Ayurvedic texts prescribe the use of Alfalfa seeds and roots to treat many health conditions related to kidney, bladder, and prostate. There is no evidence that alfalfa may be useful to treat asthma, arthritis, and diabetes. Alfalfa stimulates the immune system and might have the same effects as the female hormone estrogen. It may, also, lower blood sugar iron. Alfalfa leaves are popular to use as treatment from kidney and urinary tract ailments. However, there is insufficient scientific evidence for its effectiveness.

 

Precaution: Due to its estrogen-like effect, Alfalfa should not be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

 

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera leaves are widely used to heal burns, wounds and other skin ailments. Aloe Vera has vitamins C, E, and zinc, which are important for wound healing. Additionally, it inhibits bradykinin, a mediator of pain and inflammation, and thromboxane, which also causes inflammation. Aloe Vera has certain antiseptic abilities. Aloe shows a positive effect in gastric ulcer treatment. Recently, it was shown the benefits of aloe treatment of HIV and herpes virus.

 

Astragalus root

Astragalus (Astragalus propinquus) has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to strengthen the immune system. In modern China, it is used to treat hepatitis and as an adjunctive therapy in cancer. Hepatic-protective effects of this herbal remedy made it helpful to treat liver’ abnormalities and to improve fat metabolism.

 

Precaution: Should not be used during pregnancy.

 

Bee pollen

Bee pollen is a pollen ball packed by honeybees into pellets called bee bread. It is field-gathered pollen from different flowers. It differs from pure pollen as honey bee secretions induce a fermentation process, where biochemical transformations occur. Since ancient times, Bee pollen, also called ambrosia, has been touted by herbalists as a treatment for a variety of medical conditions, including immune depression, weakness, wound healing etc… However, there is not enough evidence that bee pollen has health benefits other than as a source of nutritious protein.

 

Precaution: Bee pollen should not be used by highly allergic animals.

 

Blueberries

Blueberries are classified in the section Cyanococcus within the genus Vaccinium and include cranberries, bilberries, and huckleberries. Blueberries have anthocyanins, other polyphenols, and various phytochemicals. Blueberries have antioxidant activities and are rich in vitamins C. Traditional usage includes urinary tract ailments, healing of wounds and other health problems demanding a restoration of immune functions.

 

Catnip herb

Nepeta cataria, commonly known as catnip, catswort, and catmint, is a species of the genus Nepeta in the family Lamiaceae. Catnip has a history of use in traditional medicine for a variety of ailments. The plant has an obvious behavioral effect on felines (70% of cats are attracted to its odor while other 30% cats show similar reactions on other plants, for instance, valerian, silver vine, and Tatarian honeysuckle wood) because it has substances similar to cat pheromone. Effects of catnip on most domestic cats include rolling, pawing, and frisking. Different wild felines react to catnip the same way as domestic cats – common behaviors cats display when they sense the bruised leaves or stems of catnip are rubbing on the plant, rolling on the ground, pawing at it, licking it, and chewing it. Consuming the plant causes drooling, sleepiness, anxiety, leaping about and purring. Usage usually based on its sedative, calming effects.

 

Cat’s claw bark

Uncaria tomentosa in several languages is known as cat’s claw because of its claw-shaped thorns Its medicinal uses are: anti-inflammatory, antiviral; used for arthritis, dysentery, gastric ulcer, diabetes, cancer, and others. Cat’s claw bark has immune stimulant and shows anti-mutagenic activity.

 

Celery

Celery (Apium graveolens) is a marshland plant in the family Apiaceae that has been cultivated as a vegetable since antiquity for cooking and herbal medicine. In Eastern celery seed have been used widely as a spice and Ayurveda medicine. Aulus Cornelius Celsus wrote that celery seeds could relieve pain in around AD 30. It is still used as in ancient times for water retention (diuretic), arthritis, and inflammation, and has seen more recent uses for reducing blood pressure and muscle spasms and as a mosquito repellent.

 

Chamomile

 

Chamomile is the common name for several daisy-like plants of the family Asteraceae commonly used to make herb infusions and medicinal uses for its anti-anxiety properties, ability to interact with parts of coagulant system and certain role as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. It may interact with anti-arrhythmic agents and antihypertensive agents in animals. Most common applications: sleep aid, gastrointestinal conditions such as upset stomach, gas, and diarrhea.

 

Precaution: Be aware of a possibility of interactions with sedative agents, antibiotic agents, and anti-anxiety agents; while chamomile shows some anti-inflammatory effects by itself, it is not recommended that it be taken concurrently with aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

 

Chaparral herb

Chaparral (Larrea tridentata) is a species of flowering annual plant in the aster family. Its leaves and twigs are used by Native Americans to make a herbal tea used for a variety of conditions, including arthritis, cancer and a number of others.

 

Precaution: Chaparral herb should not be used if an animal has liver problems and kidney failure.

 

Cranberry

Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) used historically as a vulnerary and for urinary disorders, diarrhea, diabetes, stomach ailments, and liver problems. Modern usage has concentrated on urinary tract related problems.

 

Damiana herb

Turnere diffusa genus Turnera exhibits strong anxiolytic properties. It has a long history of being used as an aphrodisiac. Stimulates activity, enhance muscular strength.

 

Dandelion root

Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants the family Asteraceae, which consists of species commonly known as dandelions. It contains several pharmacologically active compounds. Dandelion is used as an herbal remedy in Europe, North America, and China. It has been used in herbal medicine to treat rheumatism, infections (especially in the urinary tract), gallbladder and liver problems (stimulates bile flow), for weight loss and as a mild diuretic. Also, it can be used to treat dyspepsia Dandelion has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years to treat inflammation, swollen lymph nodes, cysts, and abscesses, as well detoxifying the kidney and liver. Empiric traditional application in humans of dandelion to treat digestive disorders is supported by pharmacological investigations. Several studies have shown further health-promoting properties of either dandelion extracts or individual compounds extracted from dandelion leaves or roots, e.g. anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and anti-oxidative activities.

 

Devil’s claw root

Two species native to southern Africa Harpagophytum procumbent and H. zeyheri belongs to a genus in sesame family. Folk medicine uses this remedy to treat pain, pregnancy complication and skin disorders. It has appetite-stimulating and mildly analgesic actions. Its clinical applications include rheumatic and joint disorders, liver and bladder disorders, allergies, lumbago, gastrointestinal problems, and headaches.

 

 

Dill seed

Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an annual herb in the celery family Apiaceae. Antibacterial activity against two species of Staphylococcus was proved scientifically.

 

Echinacea purpurea tops

 

Elderberry

Sambucus is a genus of an annual herb in the family Adoxaceae. The various species are commonly called elder or elderberry. Practitioners of traditional medicine have used black elderberry for hundreds of years, including a wine intended for treating rheumatism and pain from a traumatic injury. Berries and leaves have traditionally been used to treat pain, swelling, infections, coughs, and skin conditions and, more recently, flu, common cold, fevers, constipation, and sinus infections.

 

Eleuthero root

Eleutherococcus setaceous originates from Northeastern Asia. It may be colloquially called Siberian ginseng. Extracts from the root of Eleutherococcus senticosus have a formidable reputation in traditional medicine for providing health effects mostly as an anti-microbial, antidepressant and anti-stress agent. It also demonstrates certain diuretic properties.

 

Precaution: Contraindicated in a patient with high blood pressure, sleep disorder; may produce an adverse reaction with other medications.

 

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of flowering trees. Its leaves and can be used as an antiseptic, for deodorizing, and as a cough treatment. It has insect repellent properties. It is a principal source of eucalyptus oil worldwide – commonly used as an over-the-counter cough and cold medications, as well as for an analgesic.

 

Juniper berry

A juniper berry is not exactly a berry, but the female seed cone produced by the various species of junipers which has a berry-like appearance. The cones from a handful of species, especially Juniperus communis, are used as a spice. In traditional medicine, juniper berry was used as an antimicrobial and antifungal remedy and for female birth control.

 

Precaution: Juniper berry may increase the risk of miscarriage and bleeding disorder.

 

Fennel seed

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. Fennel seeds are considered quite useful for relieving various ailments, ranging from congestion and stomach gas to asthma and diabetes. The seeds have powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants, the most potent of them being anethole, which makes them highly nutritious and powerful. The seeds are beneficial for skin and hair.

 

Fenugreek seed

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) is an annual plant in the family Fabaceae. In traditional medicine, fenugreek is thought to promote digestion, induce labor, and reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. Also, fenugreek is thought to increase breast milk supply in nursing mothers.

 

Flaxseed

Flax (Linum usitatissimum), also known as common flax or linseed, is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. Consuming of flaxseed or its derivatives may reduce weight, total and LDL-cholesterol in the blood. Also, the consumption of flaxseed produced small reductions in blood pressure. Flaxseed supplementation showed some reduction in c-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation).

 

Fo-ti root

Chinese traditional medicine considers fo-ti roots as a tonic and the remedy to intensify natural hair color. It might even restore hair color after it starts greying due to age.

 

Garlic

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a species in the onion genus, Allium. It has broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against bacteria, viruses, fungi, and intestinal parasites. It might prevent atherosclerosis, lower cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Beside cardiovascular benefits, it might be helpful to prevent and treat cancers of the upper digestive tract. It also has monoamine oxidase inhibitor, so it might be used as an antidepressant or anxiolytic. Epidemiological studies found garlic intake to be associated with decreased risk of prostate cancer.

 

Ginkgo leaf

Ginkgo is a genus of highly unusual non-flowering plants. The Ginkgo (Ginkgoales) is a living fossil. In herbalism, it is considered to be a stimulant of brain function – memory, learning, activity. Its traditional herbal actions: circulatory stimulant, antidepressant, anti-thrombotic. Ginkgo also widely used to treat asthma, bronchitis, fatigue, and tinnitus.

 

Goat’s rue             

Galega officinalis, commonly known as galega, goat’s-rue, French lilac, Italian fitch, or professor-weed, is an herbaceous plant in the Faboideae subfamily. Although not thoroughly studied with 21st-century methods, G. officinalis has been analyzed for its constituents, which include galegine, hydroxygalegine, several guanidine derivatives, such as 4-hydroxygalegine flavones, flavone glycosides, kaempferol, and quercetin. In addition to its purported effect to lower blood glucose levels and induce diuresis, goat’s rue was used as an herbal tonic in folk medicine practices of medieval Europe to treat bubonic plague, worms, and snake bites. Once used in traditional medicine over centuries, G. officinalis is at the foundation of the biguanide class of antidiabetic drugs, which also included phenformin and buformin. G. officinalis contains the phytochemicals, galegine, and guanidine, both of which decrease blood sugar, The study of galegine and related molecules in the first half of the 20th century led to the development of oral antidiabetic drugs. Research on other compounds related to guanidine, including biguanide, led ultimately to the discovery of metformin (trade name, Glucophage), used in the 21st century for management of diabetes by decreasing liver glucose production and increasing insulin sensitivity of body tissues. Several reputable studies showed a significant positive effect of goat’s rue on longevity and quality of life while aging.

 

Gotu kola herb

Centella Asiatica, commonly known as Centella, Asiatic pennywort or Gotu Kola, is a herbaceous, frost-tender perennial plant in the flowering plant family Apiaceae.

In traditional medicine, C. asiatica has been used to treat various disorders and minor wounds and to encourage lactation. In Āyurveda, C. asiatica is known as maṇḍukaparṇi or maṇḍukī and is classified as a vegetable in the Carakasaṃhitā with supposed rejuvenating properties.

 

Precaution: Using Gutu kola herb topically may result in skin irritation; the herb may have adverse effects on liver function when used over many months.

 

Kelp

Kelps are large brown algae seaweeds that make up the order Laminariales. Due to a high content of iodium, magnesium, and other minerals, it is the best supplement for hair growth and repair. Many breeders are sure that adding kelp to dog’s and cat’s food helps grow a long, shiny coat.

 

 

Hibiscus flower     

Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, Malvaceae. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is described as having several medical uses in Indian Ayurveda. It has been claimed that sour teas derived from Hibiscus may lower blood pressure. While the mechanism is not well understood, earlier animal studies have shown both an inhibitory effect of H. sabdariffa on muscle tone and the anti-fertility effects of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, respectively. The extract of H. sabdariffa has been shown to stimulate contraction of the rat bladder and uterus. The Hibiscus rosa-sinensis is also thought to have emmenagogue effects which can stimulate menstruation and, in some women, cause an abortion. Due to the documented adverse effects in animal studies and the reported pharmacological properties, the H. sabdariffa and H.rosa-sinensis are not recommended for use during pregnancy. Additionally, these herbs are not recommended while breastfeeding.

 

Hops flower

Hops are the flowers (also called seed cones or strobiles) of the hop plant Humulus lupulus. Hops may be used in herbal medicine in a way similar to valerian, as a treatment for anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia. A pillow filled with hops is a popular folk remedy for sleeplessness, and animal research has shown a sedative effect. The relaxing effect of hops may be due, in part, to the specific degradation product from alpha acids, 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol, as demonstrated by nighttime consumption of non-alcoholic beer. 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol is structurally similar to tert-amyl alcohol which was historically used as an anesthetic. Hops tend to be unstable when exposed to light or air and lose their potency after a few months of storage.

 

 

Hyssop Herb

Hyssopus officinalis known as hyssop but rather to one of a number of different herbs, including Origanum syriacum (Syrian oregano, commonly referred to as “bible hyssop”),

Hyssopus officinalis or hyssop is a herbaceous plant of the genus Hyssopus native to Southern Europe, the Middle East, and the region surrounding the Caspian Sea. Due to its properties as an antiseptic, cough reliever, and expectorant, it is commonly used as a medicinal plant. In herbal medicine, hyssop is believed to have soothing, expectorant, and cough suppressant properties. Hyssop has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to increase circulation and to treat multiple conditions such as coughing and sore throat. Hyssop can stimulate the gastrointestinal system.

               

Licorice root

Licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra) root has a long history of medicinal usage in Eastern and Western medicine. Uses include stomach ulcer, bronchitis, and sore throat, as well as infections caused by viruses, such as hepatitis. Liquorice has been used in Ayurveda for rejuvenation, and in the belief, it may aid jaundice or other diseases. It is used as an expectorant in traditional medicine in Egypt.

 

Precaution: Licorice should not be used during pregnancy

 

Marshmallow root

Althaea Officinalis (marsh-mallow is a perennial species. The leaves, flowers and the root of A. Officinalis (marshmallow) have been used in traditional herbal medicine. This use is reflected in the name of the genus, which comes from the Greek  (althein), meaning “to heal.“ Marshmallow is traditionally used as relief for irritation of mucous membranes, including use as a gargle for mouth and throat ulcers and gastric ulcers. The root was used over 2000 years as food and a medicine – for a sore throat.

 

Milk thistle seed

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) has other common names like cardus marianus, blessed milkthistle, Marian thistle, Mary thistle, Saint Mary’s Thistle, Mediterranean milk thistle, variegated thistle, and Scotch thistle. Milk thistle has been used for several purposes including treatment of liver disease, prevention and treatment of cancer, and supportive treatment of poisoning from death cap mushrooms. Milk thistle appears to stimulate prolactin due to possible estrogenic activity.

 

Precaution: Because of the high content of potassium, milk thistle may be toxic for sheep and other ruminants.

 

Neem leaf

Azadirachta indica, commonly known as neem, nimtree or Indian lilac is a tree in the mahogany family Meliaceae. Products made from neem trees have been used in India for over two millennia for their medicinal properties. Neem products are believed by Siddha and Ayurvedic practitioners to be anthelmintic, antifungal, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, contraceptive, and sedative. It is considered a major component in Siddha medicine and Ayurvedic and Unani medicine and is particularly prescribed for skin diseases. Neem oil is also used for healthy hair, to improve liver function, detoxify the blood, and balance blood sugar levels. Neem leaves have also been used to treat skin diseases like eczema, psoriasis, etc. Short-term use of neem is safe in adults, while long-term use may harm the kidneys or liver in young animals.

 

Olive leaf

Olive leaf is the leaf of the olive tree (Olea europaea). Olive oil is well known for its flavor and possible health benefits. Historically the benefits of olive leaves have been used in traditional medicine practices as folk remedies for the treatment of various illnesses. Plants in the Mediterranean have developed elevated levels of polyphenols as a protection mechanism against environmental stressors. Some of these compounds display antioxidant properties.

Parsley root

Parsley or garden parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a species of flowering plant in the family Apiaceae. It has a definite uterotonic effect.

 

Pau d’arco bark

The bark of the Pau d’arco tree Handroanthus impetiginosus. Taheebo is the common name for the inner bark of the Red or Purple Lapacho tree. The Red Lapacho’s purple-colored inner bark was one of the main medicines used by the Incas and has been used for over 1,000 years by the Kallawaya. Lapacho is promoted as a treatment for several human ailments, including cancer. This remedy has strong antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal activities.

 

Precaution: It is recommended for short-term use.

Poppy seed

Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the poppy (Papaver somniferum). Although the drug opium is produced by “milking” latex from the unripe fruits (“seed pods”) rather than from the seeds, all parts of the plant can contain or carry the opium alkaloids, especially morphine and codeine. Poppy seeds have long been used as a folk remedy to aid sleeping, promote fertility and wealth.

 

Sarsaparilla root

Sarsaparilla represented by several species of plants, of the genus Smilax. Support skin, kidney, and urinary tract health. Used in herbal health tonics in Europe since the 16th century, sarsaparilla root is now revered for its ability to promote stomach, kidney, skin, respiratory and urinary tract health.

Senna leaf              

Senna (from Arabic sanā), the sennas, is a large genus of flowering plants in the legume family Fabaceae. Senna is considered to be a bowel stimulant on the myenteric plexus of the colon to induce peristaltic contractions and decrease water absorption from inside the colon, effects that would provide relief from constipation.

 

Shavegrass

Equisetum arvense, the field horsetail or common horsetail, is an herbaceous perennial plant in the Equisetopsida (the horsetails), E. arvense has been used in traditional Austrian herbal medicine internally as tea, or externally as baths or compresses, for treatment of disorders of the skin, locomotor system, kidneys and urinary tract, rheumatism

and gout.

Skullcap Herb

Scutellaria lateriflora, known commonly as blue skullcap, mad dog skullcap, and side-flowering skullcap, is a hardy perennial herb of the mint family, Lamiaceae.  Its extracts are used in herbal medicine intended to be a mild sedative and sleep promoter  Diterpenes isolated from S. barbata had cytotoxic activity against three human cancer cell lines in vitro. A number of the flavones found in S. lateriflora have been reported to selectively bind with high affinity to central benzodiazepine receptor sites, leading to the view that the flavones exert anxiolytic.

 

St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) widely used within herbalism for depression. It was evaluated for use as an antidepressant with ambiguous results.

     

Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longaperennial flowering plant of the ginger family Zingiberaceae has been long used in traditional medicine. Its constituent, curcumin is considering the main agent for therapy. Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Turmeric has been used as an attempted treatment for a variety of internal disorders, such as indigestion, throat infections, common colds, or liver ailments. Recently, several scientific researches found it to have significant benefits for joints and physical activity; its cancer-protective action retribution prolongs life.

 

Valerian root

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Caprifoliaceae) is a perennial flowering plant. A crude extract of valerian root has sedative and anxiolytic effects and is commonly sold in dietary supplement capsules to promote sleep. Valerian is a common traditional medicine used for treating insomnia or anxiety disorders to relieve mild nervous tension.

Because the compounds in valerian produce central nervous system depression, they should not be used with other depressants, such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, opiates, or antihistamine drugs.

 

Precaution: Valerian root should be avoided during pregnancy

 

White oak bark

Quercus alba, the white oak, is one of the preeminent hardwoods of eastern and central North America.

 

White willow bark

Willows is a form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and mild regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The leaves and bark of the tree have been mentioned in ancient texts from Assyria, and Egypt as a remedy for aches and fever, and in Ancient Greece the physician Hippocrates wrote about its medicinal properties in the fifth century BC. It gives temporary pain relief. Salicin is metabolized into salicylic acid in the animal body and is a precursor of aspirin, which gave rise to the important class of drugs known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

 

Uva ursi leaf

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi is a plant species of the genus Arctostaphylos (manzanita). Its common names include kinnikinnick and pinemat manzanita, and it is one of several related species referred to as bearberry. Arctostaphylos uva-ursi leaves contain the glycoside arbutin which metabolizes to form hydroquinone, a potential liver toxin. Bearberry extracts have been used in traditional medicine in the belief the treatment alleviates urinary tract infections.

 

Yohimbe Bark

Pausinystalia johimbe, (Rubiaceae), common name Yohimbe, is a plant species native to western and central Africa  Extracts from yohimbe have been used in traditional medicine in West Africa as a strong aphrodisiac. Extracts from the bark of yohimbe are used as a general tonic for erectile dysfunction. Yohimbine is used in veterinary medicine to reverse sedation in dogs, elk or deer.

 

Precaution:  Yohimbe, particularly in high doses, may induce high blood pressure, increased heart rate, headaches, nausea, tremors, and sleeplessness.

 

 

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