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Herbology 101 - Herbal Remedies and Herb Information

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Ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi)

(Latin American Spanish, from Quechua ayawasca: aya (spirit, ancestor) + wasca (vine).)

1. A tropical vine Banisteriopsis spp. native to the Amazon region, noted for its hallucinogenic properties;
2. Any of various hallucinogenic drinks (psychoactive infusions or decoctions) pr   (more info - Ayahuasca)
WARNING: May cause intense vomiting and occasional diarrhea. MAOIs have potentially lethal dietary and drug interactions.

Bacopa (Bacopa monniera)

Also called: Brahmi, Water Hyssop
Parts used: the entire plant
Bacopa is a low-growing (creeping marsh) plant with small white flowers. You might even have it in your aquarium.
Bacopa has been in use in India for centuries, treating such diverse ailments as acne, inflammation,    (more info - Bacopa)
WARNING: Women with high estrogen levels should avoid taking Bacopa.

Bala (Bala)

Balloon Flower (Balloon Flower)

Balm of Gilead (Balm of Gilead)

Balmony (Balmony)

Balsam (Abies balsamea)

Parts used: root, bark, sap
Also called: Canada Balsam, whitespruce, European silver fir, Fir Pine
A common ingredient in hair conditioners, balsam has been used to prevent dryness and condition the scalp by Aboriginal People in North America for centuries. It is also used to treat ch   (more info - Balsam)
WARNING: Do Not use essential oil undiluted; may cause skin irritation.

Bananas (Musa)

1. Any of several tropical and subtropical treelike herbs of the genus Musa having a terminal crown of large entire leaves and usually bearing hanging clusters of elongated fruits.
2. The elongated crescent-shaped yellow fruit with soft sweet flesh of the banana tree.

The banan   (more info - Bananas)
WARNING: Individuals with a latex allergy may experience a reaction to bananas.

Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)

The stem bark, root bark and berries are the parts that are used; Bark is gathered in both spring and fall, but the berries are collected only in the fall. Decoctions made of the bark is taken (internally) for a variety of liver ailments, and applied as a topical toner for its astrigent properties.   (more info - Barberry)
WARNING: Do not take while pregnant

Basil (Ocimum bascilicum)

Use: Leaves, Flowers.
Varieties: Sweet, Greek, Holy, Lemon, Thai, and Lime.
Everyone is familiar with Basil as a culinary staple, but herbalists also recommend drinking it as a tea for nausea, gas pains and dysentary. A bushy, easily grown annual, basil is an excellent plant for gro   (more info - Basil)
WARNING: Do not use essential oil during pregnancy

Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri)

A relative of yams, Tacca chantrieri grow wild in the tropical forest in Yunnan Province, China, where they can get as tall as 36 inches (~0.91 meters). They grow best in well-drained soil and high humidity but are hardy down to -3C.

They get their name from the black flowers that are   (more info - Bat Flower)

Bay (Laurus nobilis)

see Bay Laurel

Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis)

Bay Laurel is a common herb in cooking, often just called Bay Leaves. It is a small tree which grows to about 15-20 feet tall in mild climates, it is an excellent container plant (do not overwater). Bay Laurel is sometimes added to toothpaste and deodorant because of its antibacterial action. Used t   (more info - Bay Laurel)
WARNING: Be sure it is Bay Laurel, as certain other Laurel plants are poisonous People with allergies should be aware that this is a plant to which people are often allergic. May cause skin irritation when u...more

Bayberry (Bayberry)

beetroot (Beta vulgaris)

1. A biennial plant of the genus Beta, which produces an edible root the first year and seed the second year.
2. The root of plants of the genus Beta, different species and varieties of which are used for the table, for feeding stock, or in making sugar.

Beetroots are part of t   (more info - beetroot)
WARNING: All parts of the beet plant contain oxalic acid. Beet greens and Swiss chard are both considered high oxalate foods which have been implicated on the formation of kidney stones.

Benzoin ( Styrax benzoin)

Bergamot Orange (Citrus bergamia)

1. A small tree of the Orange family (Citrus bergamia), having a roundish or pear-shaped fruit, from the rind of which an essential oil of delicious odor is extracted, much prized as a perfume.
2. The fruit of this tree.

Also see monarda as it is often referred to as 'wild berg   (more info - Bergamot Orange)
WARNING: May cause photosensitivity (redness of the skin) after exposure to ultraviolet light (due to the chemical bergapten, and possibly also citropten, bergamottin, geranial, and neral).

Bethroot (Bethroot)

Bhumyamalaki (phyllanthus niruri)

Also called: Bhoomi Amalaki, Cane Peas Senna, Pitirishi, Carry-me-seed, Shka-nin-du, Hurricane Weed, Chanca Piedra (Shatter Stone).
Parts used: entire plant.
Bhumyamalaki is also called "Chanca Piedra" a Spanish phrase meaning "stone breaker". The Aboriginal Peoples of the Amazon, whe   (more info - Bhumyamalaki)
WARNING: Do not use while pregnant. Do not use in conjunction with Insulin. Do not use in conjunction with diuretics. Do not use in conjunction with heart medications.

Bibhitaki (Bibhitaki)

Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)

Also known as Hurtleberry, Dwarf bilberry, bog bilberry, European blueberry, huckleberry, and whortleberry.

As a deep purple fruit, bilberries contain anthocyanin pigments. Bilberries are recognized as a good source of flavonoids, some of which have antioxidant activity, and consumpti   (more info - Bilberry)
WARNING: Bilberry may exacerbate the risk of bleeding if used in conjunction with anticoagulants.

Biota (Biota)

Birch, Sweet (Betula lenta)

Bistort (Bistort)

Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia)

Bitter melon is a tropical and subtropical vine of the family Cucurbitaceae, widely grown in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean for its edible fruit, which is among the most bitter of all fruits. Its many varieties differ substantially in the shape and bitterness of the fruit.

Bitter mel   (more info - Bitter Melon)
WARNING: People with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) should not take bitter melon, because it may trigger or worsen the problem.

Bitter Orange (Citrus aurantium)

Also called: Neroli, Petitgrain, Orange, Bitter Orange Peel

Parts used: flowers, flower oils, essential oil from the peel, fruit, essential oil from the leaves, seeds.

This multi-purpose citrus fruit tree is a long-appreciated blessing. The refreshing fruit which now g   (more info - Bitter Orange)
WARNING: Topical use may cause photosensitivity.

Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa)

Also called: Bugbane, Squawroot, black snakeroot, fairy candle, rattleroot, rattleweed, Actaea racemosa.
Use: roots
This plant is not related to Blue Cohosh, but has similar medicinal properties.

Black Cohosh is a perennial shrub, growing a little over a metre high, in    (more info - Black Cohosh)
WARNING: - Do not use while pregnant or lactating. - May cause headaches, abdominal pain, and/or dizziness. - Do not take for a period greater than 6 months, as it is suspected to accelerate breast cancer gr...more

Black Haw (Black Haw)

Black Horehound (Ballota nigra L.)

Also called: black archangel, fetid horehound, stinking horehound
Parts used: aerial parts
Sometimes called "Black Stinking Horehound" because of its awful smell, Black Horehound is not visually appealing either. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but has been transplanted to o   (more info - Black Horehound)
WARNING: Do not take in large quantities while pregnant.

Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum)

Parts used: fruit, oils
Black Pepper has been used culinarily and medicinally for millennia. It has been the cause of wars and exploration.

Black Pepper has a warming effect, both internally and topically. Used in creams or salves, pepper can be a good muscle relaxant; use    (more info - Black Pepper)
WARNING: Do not use the essential undiluted on the skin as it will cause irritation.

Black Walnuts (Juglans)

1. Any of various trees of the genus Juglans. The seven or eight known species are all native to the north temperate zone.
2. The nut of any of the various walnut trees having a wrinkled two-lobed seed with a hard shell.

Walnuts are thick-shelled, and nearly globular drupes. Wa   (more info - Black Walnuts)
WARNING: Walnuts and other tree nuts are important food-allergen sources that have the potential to be associated with life-threatening, IgE-mediated systemic reactions in some individuals. ...more

Blackberries (Rubus)

A bramble of any of various bushes of the genus Rubus with sweet edible black or dark purple berries that usually do not separate from the receptacle; the large sweet black or very dark purple edible aggregate fruit of the blackberry bush.

The fruit is not a true berry; botanically it   (more info - Blackberries)

Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum)

Any of various deciduous shrubs of the genus Ribes bearing currants and its black, strong-flavored, tonic fruit containing several seeds dense in nutrients (notably Vitamin C).

There are many cultivars of blackcurrant.

The fruit has extraordinarily high vitamin C conten   (more info - Blackcurrant)

Bladderwrack (Bladderwrack)

Blessed Thistle (Blessed Thistle)

Bletilla (Bletilla)

Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)

In the same family as the Barberry, this plant is also known as Papoose Root. A perennial that can reach almost a metre high, it is a colourful plant with a purplish stem and greenish, yellow and purple flowers. The root decoction is taken as a tea, usually by pregnant women late in the pregnanc   (more info - Blue Cohosh)
WARNING: Seeds are poisonous.

Blue Flag (Blue Flag)

Blue Vervain (Blue Vervain)

Blue Violet (Blue Violet)

Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus)

Also known as Hurtleberry, Dwarf bilberry, bog bilberry, European blueberry, huckleberry, and whortleberry. Blueberries are loosely related to cranberries and bilberries.

Blueberries are high in anthocyanins, flavonols, and tannins, all of which have been found to inhibit the developm   (more info - Blueberry)
WARNING: Blueberry may exacerbate the risk of bleeding if used in conjunction with anticoagulants. Blueberries sold as 'wild' blueberries, may simply be low bush varieties and still have been exposed to pes...more

Bogbean (Buckbean) (Bogbean (Buckbean))

Boldo (Boldo)

Boneset (Boneset)

Borage (Borago officinalis)

A mucilaginous, hairy blue-flowered European annual herb long used in herbal medicine and eaten raw as salad greens or cooked like spinach. The leaves flavor sauces and punches; young leaves eaten in salads or cooked.

Use: leaves, flowers

An excellent container plant, b   (more info - Borage)

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis)

1. A tree (Artocarpus incisa) native to Pacific Islands (but cultivated in tropical regions elsewhere) and having edible fruit with a texture like bread;
2. The round seedless or seeded fruit of the breadfruit tree with a bread-like texture; eaten boiled or baked or roasted or ground into flo   (more info - Breadfruit)

broccoli (Brassica oleracea)

A cruciferous plant of the cabbage species (Brassica oleracea), with dense clusters of tight green flower buds resembling the cauliflower. The 'curd', or flowering head, is the part used for food. The Brassica family also includes arugula, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, mustard, turnips, watercress, ra   (more info - broccoli)
WARNING: Raw brassica vegetables contain goitrogens, which can suppress the function of the thyroid gland and induce the formation of a goiter by interfering with iodine uptak...more

Broccoli rabe (Brassica rapa)

A green cruciferous vegetable. The edible parts are the leaves, buds, and stems. The buds somewhat resemble broccoli, but do not form a large head. It is known for its slightly bitter taste, and is particularly associated with Italian and Portuguese cuisines.

In Italy, it is called ci   (more info - Broccoli rabe)

Buchu (Buchu)

Buckthorn (Rhamnus)

1. A shrub or shrubby tree of the genus Rhamnus; fruits are source of yellow dyes or pigments. They are native throughout the temperate and subtropical Northern Hemisphere, and also more locally in the subtropical Southern Hemisphere in parts of Africa and South America;2. Also: any shrub or small t   (more info - Buckthorn)

Buddleia (Buddleia)

Bugleweed (Bugleweed)

Bupleurum (Bupleurum)

Burdock (Burdock)

Bushy Knotweed (Polygonum ramosissimum)

An herbaceous annual plant species native to most of North America. It is often used in place of Chinese knotweed (Polygonum multiflorum) or Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum).   (more info - Bushy Knotweed)

Butcher's Broom (Butcher's Broom)

cabbage (Brassica oleracea)

Any of various cultivars of the genus Brassica oleracea grown for their edible leaves or flowers. Cabbage is an esculent vegetable of many varieties, derived from the wild Brassica of Europe. The common cabbage has a compact head of leaves. The cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc., are sometimes clas   (more info - cabbage)
WARNING: Raw brassica vegetables contain goitrogens, which can suppress the function of the thyroid gland and induce the formation of a goiter by interfering with iodine uptak...more

cauliflower (Brassica oleracea)

A cruciferous plant having a large edible head of crowded white flower buds; the compact head of typically white undeveloped flowers, though purple, orange, and green varieties are available.

The brassica oleracea family also includes cabbage, brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, and col   (more info - cauliflower)
WARNING: Raw brassica vegetables contain goitrogens, which can suppress the function of the thyroid gland and induce the formation of a goiter by interfering with iodine uptak...more

Chang Shan (Dichroa febrifuga)

A flowering plant in the family Hydrangeaceae with a long history in traditional Chinese medicine. It produces an extract febrifugine, which in turn is used to create halofuginone that is used in veterinary medicine. Another active ingredient is isofebrifugine.

Chang Shan is consider   (more info - Chang Shan)

Cornsilk (Zea mays)

Elongated stigmas of the corn plant, called silks, emerge from the whorl of husk leaves at the end of the ear. They are often pale yellow and 7 in (178 mm) in length, like tufts of hair in appearance. At the end of each is a carpel, which may develop into a "kernel" if fertilized by a pollen grain.<   (more info - Cornsilk)

Frankincense (Boswellia cateri)

Also called: Frankincense tears, Olibanum
Parts used: resin from the tree

A fragrant, aromatic gum resin obtained from various East Indian, Arabian, or East African trees of the genus Boswellia; formerly valued for worship and for embalming and fumigation. A less valuable, com   (more info - Frankincense)
WARNING: Extracts may induce minor gastrointestinal distress.

Kale (Brassica oleracea)

A European cruciferous herb, and form of hardy cabbage with coarse curly leaves that do not form a head, being nearly the original or wild form of the species. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically. Cousins to the group in   (more info - Kale)
WARNING: Raw brassica vegetables contain goitrogens, which can suppress the function of the thyroid gland and induce the formation of a goiter by interfering with iodine uptak...more

Karite (Butyrospermum parkii)

See: shea

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

A bushy perennial Old World mint (in the family Lamiaceae) having small white or yellowish flowers and fragrant lemon-flavored leaves; the lemony leaves of this plant that are used for a tisane or in soups or fruit punches.

It is often confused with bee balm (which is genus Monarda).<   (more info - Lemon Balm)
WARNING: Lemon balm is believed to inhibit the absorption of the thyroid medication thyroxine.

Mustard (Brassica)

1. Any of several cruciferous plants of the genus Brassica;
2. The leaves of the mustard plant eaten as cooked greens;
3. A pungent powder or paste prepared from ground mustard seeds, used as a condiment and a rubefacient.

There are also many herbs of the same family (th   (more info - Mustard)
WARNING: Raw brassica vegetables contain goitrogens, which can suppress the function of the thyroid gland and induce the formation of a goiter by interfering with iodine uptak...more

rapeseed (Brassica napus L.)

The seed of rape plants (from rapa, Latin for turnip); source of an edible oil.

The bright yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage/broccoli family). Rapeseed leaves and stems are also edible, similar to those of the related bok choy or kale.

(more info - rapeseed)
WARNING: Some estimates place current levels of GMO canola at 90% of the global crop.

Shae (Butyrospermum parkii)

see Shea

Shea (Butyrospermum parkii)

Also called: Shae, Vitellaria paradoxa, Vitellaria, Karite

A tropical African tree having oily seeds that yield shea butter (also "shae butter" or "karite butter"). When the large green seeds ripen they fall from the tree and are collected by hand. They have a fleshy, edible, sweet    (more info - Shea)

Turnips (Brassica campestris)

A widely cultivated cruciferous plant having a large fleshy edible white or yellow root, Brassica rapa, sometimes used interchangeably to describe rutabagas Brassica napobrassica in Canada.

The turnip is a cruciferous vegetable of the family Brassicaceae, and a relative of the radish,   (more info - Turnips)
WARNING: Raw brassica vegetables contain goitrogens, which can suppress the function of the thyroid gland and induce the formation of a goiter by interfering with iodine uptak...more

Wild Indigo (Baptisia australis)

A flowering plant in the family Fabaceae (legumes). It is native to much of central and eastern North America and is particularly common in the Midwest, but it has also been introduced well beyond its natural range. Naturally it can be found growing wild at the borders of woods, along streams or in    (more info - Wild Indigo)


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