Hypericum p e r f o r

St John's wort has become well known as an herb for treating depression and SAD, but it is far more than that. An antiseptic wound herb of ancient repute, it was the main plant of St John, the sun herb of midsummer and a protector against evil and unseen influences. In modern terms, it strengthens the nervous system and the digestion, protects the liver, is antiviral and reduces pain it is a plant for support through life-cycle changes. Clusiaceae (Hypericaceae) St John's wort family...

Use yarrow for

Yarrow is our favorite remedy for nosebleeds, and it's well worth keeping a patch by the back door if anyone in your family suffers from them. Simply pick a few fresh leaves - available year round, though at their best in spring and the fall - and rub them between your hands to bruise them, releasing the aromatic oil. Roll the leaves into a nasal plug, insert into the affected nostril and leave until the bleeding completely stops before gently removing the plug. Julie's father suffered a really...

Mint tea

Fresh mint is better than dried to use for tea. Put a couple of sprigs in a teapot and pour in a cupful of boiling water. Cover and let infuse for a few minutes before straining and But when you do not have fresh mint available, dried is still good. Dry the leaves on a screen outdoors or in a warm cupboard, until they crumble in the fingers. Use a teaspoonful per cup. Dried mint is a very useful addition to other medicinal herb teas, to make them taste better. Water can be deliciously and...

Salix alba S fr

Willow bark contains salicin and other aspirin-like compounds. It is used to treat pain and inflammation, but does not have the stomach-irritating or blood-thinning effects of aspirin. Willow helps to lower fevers, and can be used as a gentle pain reliever for headaches, arthritis, gout, rheumatism, muscle aches, and lower back pain. Description Tall deciduous trees that frequently hybridize with each other. Habitat Mainly riverbanks and other wet areas. Distribution Willows are found all...

Use plantain for

Ribwort is the number one field remedy for insect stings and bites. Hoary plantain (Plantago media) (right) is the most beautiful plantain, with pale lilac flowers A crushed leaf rubbed onto the painful area will bring relief at once -it's almost miraculous. Greater plantain also works for pain relief, but the leaves are tougher and not as juicy, so choose ribwort first if it is available. We find that any plantain, applied immediately, is effective for nettle stings and prefer it to dock leaf....

Wood betony

S t a c h y s osfyBiiiect i on na i officinalis Wood betony, often referred to simply as betony, was a significant remedy from ancient times. A Roman physician wrote a whole book extolling its virtues, and it was the herb of choice for exorcising demons and protection against all kinds of evil in the Middle Ages. Wood betony is a nerve tonic, and through its action on the solar plexus has a wide range of benefits, especially on the digestion. It also improves circulation, and is excellent for...

Skin creams

Creams are made by mixing a water-based preparation with an oil-based one, to make an emulsion. Creams are absorbed into the skin more rapidly than ointments, but have the disadvantages of being more difficult to make and not keeping as well. Essential oils can be added to help preserve creams, and they keep best if refrigerated. Nettle, from Woodville's Medical Botany (1790-3) The simplest poultice is mashed fresh herb put on to the skin, as when you crush a ribwort leaf and apply it to a wasp...

L a c t u c a v i r o s a

If you grew up with Beatrix Potter, you know from the Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies that eating flowering lettuces makes you sleepy. Our garden lettuces have been bred to reduce their bitterness, and as a result have far less of a soporific effect than does wild lettuce. Asteraceae (Compositae) Daisy family Description Prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola ) is a 3-4 ft tall biennial with broad gray-green leaves and arrays of small, pale yellow flowers. Great (or greater) prickly lettuce, bitter...

Use meadowsweet for

The flowers and tops yield a beneficial herb tea or tincture that is particularly good for an upset stomach and diarrhea, and the whole plant was a traditional strewing herb of medieval and Tudor times. Charles I's herbalist, John Parkinson, wrote in 1640 because both flowers and herbes are of so pleasing a sweete sent, many doe much delight therein, to have it layd in their Chambers, Parlars, & c. and Queene Elizabeth of famous memory, did more desire it then any other sweet herbe to strew...

Equipment needed

You don't need any special equipment for making your own herbal medicines. You probably already have most of what you need. Kitchen basics like a teapot, measuring cups, saucepans, and a blender are all useful, as are jam-making supplies such as a jelly bag and jam jars. A mortar and pestle are useful but not essential. You'll need jars and bottles, and labels for these. It is a good idea to have a notebook to write down your experiences, so you'll have a record for yourself and can repeat...

Use wild rose for

Rose hips and petals (the leaves are not used much) offer support to the body's immune system and help fight infection in the digestive tract they are also diuretic, i.e., assist in elimination of wastes through the urinary system, as well as cooling to the body, bringing down fevers and reducing heat on the skin in the form of rashes and inflammations. This threefold action - supporting immunity, helping elimination, and being cooling - makes rose a superb natural reliever of cold and flu...

Armoracia rustic

Horseradish root is hot and pungent, and the same qualities that make it the chosen accompaniment to roast beef also power its medicinal uses. It stimulates digestion, is an active eliminator of the waste products of fevers and colds, clears the sinuses, and is warming for rheumatism and muscle aches. Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) Cabbage family Description A perennial, which forms large patches. The leaves are dock-like, but bright green with parallel veins and wavy edges, and often full of holes...

Use mullein for

Mullein's soft fuzzy leaves give a hint of its soothing qualities for internal use. Its particular affinity is for the respiratory system, but it also calms and strengthens the nerves, digestion, and urinary system. It is good for swollen glands, and helps relieve pain in general. Think of mullein tea for easing throat and chest problems, especially dry and irritable coughs. It can quickly soothe an irritating tickle at the back of the throat. Mullein flower oil is the best natural remedy for...

Use horsetail for

A key virtue of horsetail is that its silica is water-soluble, meaning that it can be readily transported around the body in solution form. Taken as a tea or syrup, it reaches your nails and joints, hair, and skin externally it makes a good poultice and hair rinse, or can be added to the bath or body lotion. Horsetail may help if you have weak or brittle nails, thin hair with split ends, chronic cystitis or bladder irritation, multiple allergies, or weak joints and connective tissue. A young...

Use mint for

Finding that mint cleaned the breath and settled the digestion, Romans of classical times valued it they didn't have chocolate, but they did have after-dinner mint They also brought mint to Britain. Perhaps, indeed, chewing mint leaves is superior, given that our chocolate mint doesn't contain any of the herb, and precious little of its oil. It's also moot whether it'd be better for us to clean our teeth on freshly picked mint than use a spurious mint toothpaste. The savor or smell of the water...

R u m e x c r i s p u s

Curled dock and broad-leaved dock are among the five official injurious weeds in Britain, but curled or yellow dock has long-recognized redeeming qualities as a detoxifying liver and bowel herb, a laxative, and a blood cleanser. The root is effective for many chronic toxic skin conditions, including acne and boils, eczema and sunburn, not forgetting the most famous use of dock leaves for relieving the burning caused by nettle stings. Description A perennial dock growing to a yard tall. Leaves...

Plantain seed

The seeds and husks can be ground in a coffee grinder before use, or used whole. Dose 1 teaspoonful sprinkled on food, once to three times daily. Greater plantain (Plantago major) in flower Finding a swathe of ramsons (bear garlic) in a dark wood is one of the joys of early spring, with the bright green leaves and strong garlic smell tempting you to gather for the pot. This is also a wonderful medicine for the digestive tract, and helps keep the heart and circulatio healthy. Ramsons cleanses...

Maria Trebens Take On Parlinsons Diseas

The small-flowered willowherbs are a specific remedy for prostate problems, including benign prostate hyperplasia (BHP). Plants in this informal group help shrink the tissues, arrest cell proliferation, and normalize urinary function. Small-flowered willowherbs are also effective for a wide range of bladder and urinary problems, for women as well as men, with the astringent and diuretic action serving to tone and also detoxify the urinary tract. Description Perennials growing up to about 2 ft,...

Wood betony tea

Use 2 teaspoonfuls of the fresh herb or 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb per cup of boiling water, and leave to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Dose 3 cups a day, or 1 cup at bedtime to relax for a good Put fresh wood betony herb in a blender with enough vodka or brandy to cover. Blend briefly, then pour into a jar and put in a cool dark place for a week. Strain off the liquid, bottle, and label. Dose Wood betony often works very well in drop doses. Take 5-10 drops in a little water three times a...

A prayer for picking vervain

Growing on the ground On the Mount of Calvary There wast thou found Thou helpest many a grief, Vervain is such a delicate plant that it is easy to overlook, but its medicinal power is belied by its humble appearance. Tincturing it is always surprising, as a few skinny stalks of pale lilac or white flowers yield a strong, dark, almost black, brew. Vervain has a rich past, both magical and medicinal, sacred and secular. It was an important herb to the Druids and Romans. Picking was always...

P l a n t a g o major

Common weeds of footpaths and lawns, the plantains were once celebrated as magical herbs in pre-Christian times, and have followed European settlers around the world. Plantain is the best first-aid remedy for insect stings, and quickly deals with bites, cuts, and ulcers. It is widely available, safe to use and effective for a number of common ailments including old coughs, bronchitis, sore throats and irritable digestive tracts. Description Perennial plants with a rosette of ribbed leaves and...

Use mugwort for

Burning mugwort can dispel midges and other summer biting insects, a quality sometimes suggested as a source of its name (Old Saxon muggia wort or midge plant). A case is made too for the Saxon moughte, a moth or maggot, referring to mugwort's ability to keep away moths from clothes. The thirteenth-century Physicians of Myddfai in central Wales knew mugwort as a useful insecticide to destroy flies, let the mugwort be put in a place where they are frequent and they will die. Our own favorite...

Solanaceae Nightshade family

Description An arching, floppy shrub with small leaves, and purple flowers, followed by scarlet berries in the fall. Habitat Hedgerows, gardens, and near the sea, growing on a variety of soils. Distribution Native to Asia and possibly to eastern Europe. Found in most European countries and widely distributed in North America. Related species Lycium chinense (Chinese tea plant, Chinese desert thorn) and L. barbarum (Duke of Argyll's tea plant, matrimony vine) are very similar and may be used...

Berry brandy pot

Start out with bilberries, placing them in the bottom of a jar or crock and then pouring on enough brandy (or whisky) to cover. You can, of course fill the whole jar with bilberries, or you can leave room and repeat the process with other berries in layers as they come into season - raspberries, blackberries, elderberries, and lycium berries. Leave until winter and enjoy as a rather alcoholic treat, which will be packed with antioxidants and do your eyes and your veins a world of good. The...

Galium a p a r i n e

Also known as goose grass, clivers, and sticky-willy, this common roadside plant clambers all over hedges and other plants in a green mass in high summer. It sends up bright green shoots from January onward, being one of the first plants to sprout. Cleavers is a wonderfully gentle lymphatic cleanser and a fantastic spring tonic, helping clean up our system after winter. It soothes irritated membranes of the urinary tract and promotes urine flow, and is useful for many mouth and throat problems....

E lyt rig asyiypmius r e p e n s Agropyro T r i t i c u m r e p e n s

This invasive grass is both gardener's or farmer's foe and herbalist's friend. The couch grass rhizomes that gardeners hate possess soothing, diuretic, and antibiotic qualities that have long been valued for making a tea to treat urinary problems, including cystitis, kidney stones, and prostate enlargement. Description A grass, up to 3 feet tall, with a thin flowering spike, dark green pointed leaves, and untidy creeping rhizomes. Habitat Lawns and gardens, roadsides and fields. Distribution...

Use teasel for

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, teasel root tonifies the liver and kidneys and works on painful lower backs and knees, weak legs, cartilage and joints. It is also held to promote circulation and reduce inflammation. American herbalists William LeSassier and Matthew Wood have built on these uses and found in practice that the teasel (introduced from Europe) is, in Wood's words, invaluable for joint injury and chronic inflammation of the muscles. It is indicated for fibromyalgia, chronic...

Esculushippocas

Familiar for its nuts, called conkers, horse chestnut is a beautiful introduced ornamental tree. It also has significant medicinal uses, particularly for supporting weakened veins, as in varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and capillary fragility. It is used for two Bach Flower Essences and in commerical quantities for allopathic and homeopathic remedies for irregularities of the veins. It also has some surprising other uses. Hippocastanaceae Horse chestnut family Description A tall tree, up to 130...

L a m i u m album

White deadnettle is a uterine tonic with an ability to stop loss of fluids from the body, whether excessive menstrual flow, abnormal vaginal discharge, diarrhea, or a runny nose. The leaves and flowers can be eaten, raw or cooked. The flowers are full of nectar, enjoyed by insects and children alike, and the leaves can be used as a poultice for cuts and splinters. The white deadnettle is so named because it resembles a stinging nettle, but has no stinging hairs. Other old names, such as deaf,...

Blackberry

Blackberry or bramble is one of the most familiar and also most aggressive of berry plants. The protective spines demand respect, but the berries and leaves offer medicinal rewards that repay the inevitable scratches of picking. Description A thorny, sprawling bush with white or pink flowers and black berries. Habitat Widespread in hedgerows, woods, and on waste ground. Distribution Widespread. Native to temperate Europe but naturalized in North America and Australasia. Related species...

A n g u s a n g u s t i o n a n

This beautiful native plant is stunning enough to be grown in any garden and yet is considered a weed. It has not been used much in medicine in recent years but was a favorite of the American Eclectic physicians in treating diarrhea and typhoid. Its soothing, astringent, and tonic action is wonderful for all sorts of intestinal irritation, and it makes a good mouthwash. Rosebay willowherb is one of Europe's largest and most beautiful wildflowers. In North America, it is called fireweed because...

Crataegus m o n o g s y C oxyacantha

Hawthorn is a superb heart and circulatory tonic, protecting and strengthening the heart muscle and its blood supply. It improves blood circulation around the body, and can be used to treat a wide range of circulatory problems. Hawthorn also affects the emotional side of what we think of as heart, by calming and reducing anxiety, helping with bad dreams and insomnia, and smoothing menopausal mood swings. Description Thorny shrubs or small trees with clusters of white or pink flowers in spring...

R u b u s i d a e u s

Generally known as red raspberry in North America, raspberry leaf tea is well recognized for strengthening the uterus prior to childbirth, and for relieving painful periods. It is also an effective and soothing remedy for flu and fevers, helping reduce the aches and pains that go with them. This tea is a good source of readily assimilated calcium and other minerals, making it a health-enhancing alternative to regular tea. Raspberries, especially wild ones, are very high in salvestrols, a class...

Lamiaceae Labiatae Deadnettle family

Description A creeping perennial with downy leaves and violet flowers, reaching up to a foot tall. Distribution Found virtually worldwide in temperate areas. Widespread in North America. Related species Cutleaved self-heal (P. laciniata) has creamy white flowers and is found on dry lime soils. Parts used Flowers and leaves, dry flower spikes. To be short, it serveth for the same that Bugle Ajuga reptans doth, and in the world there are not two better wound herbs, as hath bin often proved. the...

P a r i e t a r i sa yPn u d a fi i P officinalis

This little and overlooked wild plant is a noted tonic for the kidneys and bladder. It is soothing and increases the flow of urine, while also reducing inflammation and helping dissolve kidney stones. Herbalists use the tea for a range of urinary problems. Description A redstemmed perennial with tiny white flowers, growing mainly on walls, to about 2 feet high. Forms dense patches locally. Habitat Walls, stony places, hedgebanks, and gardens. Distribution Native to Europe and north Africa,...

Agrimony tincture

To make agrimony tincture, pick the flowers and leaves on a bright sunny day. Pack them into a glass jar large enough to hold your harvest - clean jam jars work well - and pour in enough brandy or vodka to cover them. Put the lid on the jar and keep it in a dark cupboard for six weeks, shaking it every few days. Strain off the liquid, bottle, and label. Amber or blue glass bottles will protect your tincture from UV light. If you use clear glass bottles, you will need to keep your tincture in a...

Use red clover for

The best-known use of all for clover is of course the luck of finding a rare four-leafed one. In some folk traditions, the three leaves represented faith, hope, and charity (love), and the fourth was God's grace in everyday terms, it meant luck. Nowadays you can order a plastic-sealed lucky four-leaved clover online (some sites offer organically grown ones). Who gets the luck, one wonders - probably the seller. Your luck may be more certain if you use clover herbally. Red clover works gently to...

Use St Johns wort for

What we find interesting is that modern uses of the plant, as we will outline, differ so much from the more traditional uses. Look at Parkinson's list of its benefits right few herbalists will now use St John's wort to dissolve tumors. Mrs Grieve, writing in 1931, says it is good for pulmonary complaints, bladder problems, diarrhea, jaundice, and nervous depression, among others. When the light shines through the leaves of perforate St John's wort, the oil glands look like holes hence...

Notes to the te

Full citation given in first reference only, thereafter author and page number. Orginal year of publication is in square brackets place of publication London unless otherwise noted Preface viii Boerhaave's hat Chris Howkins, The Elder The Mother Tree of Folklore Addlestone, Surrey, 1996 , 28. Introduction ix Hew DV Prendergast amp Helen Sanderson, Britain's Wild Harvest The Commercial Uses of Wild Plants and Fungi 2004 , 64. Harvesting from the wild x James Green, The Herbal Medicine-Makers...

Use comfrey for

In the past, comfrey was widely used for healing ulceration in the digestive tract, as it is mucilaginous and soothing as well as healing. It was also used for bronchitis and other chest complaints, to soothe the irritation and promote expectoration of mucus. Today, other herbs tend to be preferred for these conditions, owing to the possible dangers of the pyrrolizidine alkaloids contained in comfrey - see box on page 40. Comfrey nonetheless remains valuable as one of the best herbs for healing...

S t e l l a r i a media

This is the best-known herbal remedy for itchy skin and hot skin inflammations of various types. Chickweed is a soothing, nutritious, and cooling herb, with a reputation for clearing stubborn, long-lasting bodily conditions. It has special affinities for the eyes, lungs, and chest, and can be eaten as a food. As you'll see, it is far more than chickenfeed Description A floppy, sprawling annual plant with soft green leaves and tiny star-like white flowers. Habitat Gardens, hedgebanks, and waste...