Herb Glossary

Herb Glossary

herbs

An herb is a plant that is used for medicinal purposes, aromatherapy, spices for cooking, and relaxation. Herbs can be purchased in many forms; including fresh or dried products, liquid or solid extracts, tablets, capsules, powders, or tea bags.

The actual plant, leaves, stems, oils from the herb, roots, flowers, and resin can be used in various ways to provide a wide range of both physical and mental health benefits, and to improve rest, relaxation, and a sense of calmness.

In addition, many individuals enjoy cooking with herbs as they not only provide and enhance the flavor of a meal, but provide countless nutritional benefits as well.

Herbs have been used for thousands of years to treat injuries, illnesses, and virtually any condition that is detrimental to the human body or mind. Many of the pharmaceuticals currently available to physicians have a long history of use as herbal remedies, including opium, aspirin, digitalis, and quinine.

The World Health Organization (WHO) approximates that as high as 80% of the world’s population presently use herbal medicine for some aspect of primary health care. While many individuals view herbal remedies as a safer alternative to prescription drugs, individuals considering herbs for serious medical conditions should consult a medical professional that is trained in herbal medicine.

Alfalfa

Also called Buffalo Grass or Chilean Clover, which is a sativa that can prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, and prevent stroke. Alfalfa is known to promote a healthy menstrual cycle and stimulate lactation.

Allspice

Also called Clove Pepper, Pimento, Pimenta, Jamaican Pepper and is often used to add flavor to food. Allspice is commonly used as a digestive aide, to combat fatigue, to treat cold symptoms and suppress the effects of diabetes.

Aloe

Aloe vera is primarily used to facilitate the body’s ability to heal externally. When applied to the skin, aloe vera has a soothing, healing effect and is commonly used to treat burns, scalds, sunburn and infection.

Anise

Also known as Aniseed, and Sweet Cumin. Anise is known to aide in digestion and alleviate flatulence. Anise is commonly used as an expectorant, loosening mucus from the chest and throat and is even used as a sleep aide.

Balm, Lemon

Lemon balm is used to enhance the body’s natural sleep cycle. Lemon balm, in aromatherapy, is used to treat depression. It can also be ingested to reduce cold symptoms, upset stomach, and treat wounds and viral infections.

Basil

Basil is a delicious, healthy herb that is commonly added to food and has been proven to contain antioxidants, prevent cancer, ward off viruses and infections, treat intestinal parasites, acne, and stimulate the immune system.

Bay

Bay leaves are known to balance blood sugar levels, treat bacterial infections and gastric ulcers, alleviate headaches. Bay leaves also have fungicidal properties, soothes sore joints, and can even be used as a bug repellent.

Caraway

Also known as Carum, the seeds can be used to soothe the digestive tract. Caraway aides in digestion, expels gas, and improves blood flow and liver function. It may also stimulate appetites in individuals with eating disorders.

Catnip

Also called catmint, is used to treat nervousness, insomnia, and anxiety. Catnip aides in the digestive process, acts as a mild sedative to induce feelings of relaxation, and can be consumed as a tea to treat colds and coughs.

Chamomile

Also known as Camomile, Anthemis, Matricaria, and Ground Apple, is typically used as a cure-all remedy. However, chamomile is primarily used as a digestive aide, a sleep inducer, and has even as a mild pain reliever.

Chicory

Also know as Endive or Chickory, chicory promotes proper urinary tract and digestive function. Chicory has been shown to prevent, and even eliminate, intestinal worms. It also combats eating disorders by stimulating the appetite.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has a multitude of health benefits, including proper urinary tract function, improved memory, improved digestion, and clearer skin. Cinnamon is also used to soothe toothaches, improve oral hygiene, and fight infection.

Clove

Cloves are typically used as a topical pain reliever, most commonly in dentistry, and to aide the digestive process and reduce inflammation. Clove can also be used as an antiseptic, and to treats diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Coriander

Also known as Cilantro or Chinese Parsley, many ethnic groups add coriander to their meals. Coriander can be consumed internally to reduce symptoms associated with indigestion and diarrhea and externally to reduce muscle/joint pain.

Cranberry

Cranberries are commonly used to maintain a healthy urinary tract. Cranberries fight gum disease, ulcers, atherosclerosis, physical signs of aging, and even cancer. Cranberries also contain a large number of vitamins and minerals.

Dandelion

Dandelion is commonly used as an appetite stimulant and diuretic. Dandelion reduces water retention and promotes a healthy urinary tract. Dandelions aide with digestion, weight loss,high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure.

Dill

Dill is a delicious herb with a large array of health benefits. Dill contains several important minerals, antioxidants, and proteins. Dill is commonly used to relieve an upset stomach, fight harmful bacteria, and may even lower cholesterol levels.

Echinacea

Echinacea is most commonly used to bolster the immune system, reduce the duration of colds, and fight harmful bacteria. Echinacea is thought to reduce the severity and longevity of an influenza (flu) virus.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is typically used as a decongestant and cold symptom reducer. Eucalyptus oil can be applied externally to relieve and heal burns and wounds. Eucalyptus is also used by campers and hikers as an insect repellent.

Fennel

Fennel is generally used to bolster the body’s digestive system by relaxing the muscle lining of the digestive tract. Fennel can also be used to treat kidney stones, menopausal problems, obesity, and nausea.

Feverfew

Also known as Ferbrifuge Plant, Wild Quinine, or Bachelor’s Button, feverfew is primarily used to treat individuals who experience migraine headaches. In addition, feverfew has been shown to treat psoriasis and arthritis.

Garlic

Garlic is a powerful herb that bolsters the immune system. Garlic acts as a natural antibiotic and antioxidant and is known to lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, and prevent cancer.

Ginger

Ginger acts as a digestive aide and is known to calm the stomach. It also works as an appetite stimulant and reduces the effects associated with nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness, and menstrual cramps.

Ginkgo

Ginkgo bolsters the circulatory system and increases blood flow to the brain which can prevent strokes, heart attacks, improve memory, and eliminate impotence and chronic dizziness. Ginkgo is also used to treat Alzeheimer’s disease.

Ginseng

Ginseng stimulates the immune system and may be effective in the treatment of diabete, angina, and even HIV and AIDS. It also lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels, reduces the probability of a heart attack, and protects the liver.

Horehound

Horehound is used to treat indigestion and cold symptoms. It is an expectorant and will serve to alleviate chest and sinus congestion. Horehound can also be applied externally to aide in healing minor wounds and sores.

Hyssop

Hyssop is primarily used to bolster the cardiovascular system and to treat cold and flu symptoms. Hyssop may improve digestion, alleviate anxiety, regulate blood pressure. Externally, hyssop is used to treat a black eye or insect bite.

Juniper

Also known as Geneva and Genvrier, juniper berries are primarily used to bolster the urinary tract. Juniper berries may also reduce blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and relieve pain and inflammation when used externally.

Kelp

Kelp strengthens the immune system, bolsters liver function, aides digestion, stimulates metabolism, reduces hair loss, lowers cholesterol, and combats infection. Kelp provides protection from heavy metals and reduces heart disease.

Lavender

Lavender is a fragrant herb commonly used to promote mental calmness and healthy sleeping patterns. Lavender oil is used in massage and to treat depression and can be massaged into the scalp to reduce hair loss.

Marijuana

Marijuana, also called Cannabis, is a controversial herb used for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Medically, marijuana is typically used to treat nausea related to chemotherapy, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS.

Marjoram (Oregano)

Marjoram, also known as oregano, supports healthy digestion and may aide in stabilizing sleep patterns. When applied externally, marjoram can relieve pain, aches, and even be used to treat cold sores and genital herpes.

Mint

Mint is used to aide the digestive process, relieve congestion and cold symptoms, and reduce stomach nausea and morning sickness. When used externally, mint relieves pain related to insect bites and sunburn.

Mistletoe

Also known as Lignum Crucis, Herbe de la Croix, and Viscum, mistletoe stimulates the immune system and reduces high blood pressure. Also, studies have shown that mistletoe may prevent healthy cells from turning into cancerous cells.

Myrrh

Myrrh protects the stomach’s natural mucus lining, provides stimulation for the thyroid gland, and fights inflammation and fever. Myrrh is used as a toothpaste and/or mouthwash, prevents gum disease, and kills bacteria in the mouth.

Nettle

Nettle acts as a diuretic, promoting a healthy urinary tract and preventing water retention. It serves to lower the blood pressure, reduce inflammation, relieve arthritis pain, and reduce the symptoms of hay fever, scurvy, and PMS.

Parsley

Parsley serves as a diuretic, allowing the body to discharge urine and prevent water retention. It also helps to stimulate menstrual flow, lower blood pressure, reduce fevers, aide digestion, and freshen breath when eaten.

Pepper, Red

Also known as Piper Nigrum, red peppers aide in digestion, relieve diarrhea, increase metabolism and burn fat, improve circulation, alleviate nerve pain, combat headaches, and possibly even fight cancer.

Rosemary

Rosemary promotes healthy digestion and circulation. It is used to fight cold symptoms and congestion, kill bacteria, bolster memory, eliminate flatulence, and improve cardiovascular function. Rosemary is also a food preservative.

Saffron

Saffron supports the digestive process and relieves gas and acidity levels. Saffron may also relieve menstrual pain, reduce cholesterol, de-clog arteries, lower blood pressure, and reduce the symptoms of asthma and depression.

Sage

Sage supports improvements in brain function, including concentration and memory. Sage also prevents kidney stones, regulates menstruation, improves digestion, combats infection, and acts as an antiperspirant to reduce sweating.

Savory

Also known as White Thyme or Bean Herb, savory aides the digestive system, stimulates the appetite, provides relief from diarrhea, and eliminates flatulence. Savory eliminates excess mucus and combats common flu/cold symptoms.

Skullcap

Skullcap is primarily used as a sleeping aide, either as a sedative or mild tranquilizer, to eliminate insomnia, paralysis, and/or anxiety. In addition, skullcap also increases blood flow to the brain, and alleviates muscle spasms.

Tarragon

Tarragon supports healthy digestion, prevents heart disease, lowers blood pressure, stimulates appetite, prevents infections, and is used as a mild sedative. Externally, it has a numbing effect that relieves toothaches and insect strings.

Tea

Tea leaves are used to eliminate bacteria, colds, congestion, diarrhea, tooth decay, and to reduce the symptoms of asthma. Depending on the type of tea, either a calming effect or a heightened level of alertness may be achieved.

Thyme

Thyme is antibacterial and combats viruses and bacteria. Thyme is also effective in fighting cold and bronchitis symptoms, reducing inflammation of the throat, improving digestion, suppressing the common cough.

Valerian

Valerian has been shown to work as a sleeping aide, eliminating insomnia and promoting a regular rest cycle. In addition, the herb may relieve anxiety and nervousness, and treat muscle spasms, and reduce high blood pressure.

Vervain

Also known as Indian Hyssop, Blue Vervain, Verbena, and Enchanter’s Herb, vervain provides minor pain relief and is used to reduce symptoms related to the common cold. Vervain is used to treat depression, exhaustion, and fatigue.

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is used to alleviate gastrointestinal problems, regulate menstruation, and heal wounds and burns when used topically. It provides relief for hemorrhoids, cuts, bruises, colds, fever, diarrhea, and sore muscles.

Yarrow

Yarrow is used to regulate the menstrual cycle, reduce menstrual cramps, support healthy digestion, improve the circulatory system, and as a mild sedative. Applied topically, yarrow soothes hemorrhoids, rashes, and minor wounds.

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