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HERB FACTS

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Radish (Raphanus sativus)    Radish root stimulates the appetite and digestion.  The common red radish is eaten as a salad vegetable and an appetizer.  The juice of the black radish is drunk to counter gassy indigestion and constipation.  Radish juice has a tonic and laxative action on the intestines and indirectly stimulates the flow of bile.  Consuming radish generally results in improved digestion, but some people are sensitive to its acridity and robust action. It is crushed and used as a poultice for burns, bruises and smelly feet. The leaves, seeds and old roots are used in the treatment of asthma and other chest complaints.  The juice of the fresh leaves is diuretic and laxative.  In China, radish is eaten to relive abdominal distension.  The root is also prepared “dry-fried” to treat chest problems.  The seed is used to treat abdominal fullness, sour eructations, diarrhea caused by food congestion, phlegm with productive cough and wheezing.  Because of its neutral energy, it is very effective in breaking up congestion in patients with extreme heat.  Radishes are also an excellent food remedy for stone, gravel and scorbutic conditions. The plant contains raphanin, which is antibacterial and antifungal. It inhibits the growth of Staphylococcuc aureus, E. coli, streptococci, pneumococci etc. The plant also shows anti-tumor activity. 

Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida)  A poultice of the crushed plant has been used to treat poison sumac symptoms.  It has been used to treat gonorrhea, diarrhea, and other intestinal disturbances.  In Mexico, it is believed to be useful for treating intestinal worms and reducing fever.  The leaves are applied externally to insect bites and various skin complaints, internally they are used as a tea in the treatment of pneumonia, fevers, nausea, intestinal cramps, diarrhea and mucous discharges.  The juice of wilted leaves is disinfectant and is applied to infected toes.  A tea made from the roots is used in the treatment of menstrual disorders and stroke.  The pollen is harvested commercially and manufactured into pharmaceutical preparations for the treatment of allergies to the plant.  

Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea )   Ragwort is excellent when taken as an infusion for gouty conditions and rheumatic pains.  It usually gives great relief quickly.  Also very good for lung and bronchial infections.  Ragwort provides a stimulating and warming liniment preparation used externally on rheumatic muscles.  An emollient poultice is made from the leaves.  The juice of the plant is cooling and astringent, it is used as a wash in burns, sores, cancerous ulcers and eye inflammations. It makes a good gargle for ulcerated mouths and throats and is also said to take away the pain of a bee sting. Caution is advised here since the plant is poisonous and some people develop a rash from merely touching this plant.  A decoction of the root is said to be good for treating internal bruises and wounds. 

Ramps (Allium tricoccum )  As a spring tonic in native N. American medicine, and to treat colds, sore throat, and worms in children.  Traditionally the leaves were used in the treatment of colds and croup.  The warm juice of the leaves and bulb was used externally in the treatment of earaches.  A strong decoction of the root is emetic.

Ramsons (Allium ursinum) Although largely unknown in the United States, in 1989, A. ursinum was called "the new star" of garlic in the German health journal Therapiewoche (Therapy Week) and in 1992, was declared the European medicinal "Plant of the Year" by the Association for the Protection and Research on European Medicinal Plants.  Allium ursinum contains much more ajoene and an about twentyfold higher content of adenosine than its 'cultivated cousin.' Just these substances are the ones to which, according to recent studies, an essential part of the known allium effects such as reduction of cholesterine, inhibition of thombocyte-aggregation, drop in blood pressure, improvement of blood-rheology and fibrinolysis are attributed.  A. ursinum has all the benefits of the A. sativum products that are found on the market. However, A. ursinum has three advantages over this domesticated garlic: 1) It has more of the active substances ; 2) It has active substances not found in cultivated garlic, or found only when large quantities are taken; 3) It is odorless. What distinguishes wild garlic from its garlic relative is, above all, the aroma. Although fields of wild garlic can be identified from afar by their characteristic odor, you are generally spared from ‘garlic breath’ if you eat wild garlic leaves.  Wild garlic also regulates the digestion and prevents problems caused by the iron intake. Professor Holger Kiesewetter of the Homburg University Clinic has now found that one gram of wild garlic per day increases blood circulation and significantly improves blood flow.   Wild Garlic cleanses the blood and intestines. It improves the intestinal flora and is effective against acne, fungus and eczema. It also lowers high blood pressure, fights arteriosclerosis, and increases the body's immune system.  Because ramsons ease stomach pain and are tonic to the digestion, they have been used for diarrhea, colic, gas, indigestion and loss of appetite.  The whole herb is used in an infusion against threadworms, either ingested or given as an enema.  Ramsons are also thought to be beneficial for asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.  The juice is used as an aid to losing weight.  Applied externally, the juice is a mild irritant.  It stimulates local circulation and may be of benefit in treating rheumatic and arthritic joints.   

Raspberry (Rubus idaeus )   The leaf is the most valuable medicinal part of the raspberry and a tea is traditionally drunk by expectant mothers during the last three months of pregnancy to strengthen the uterus and to ease painful contractions during labor as well as checking any hemorrhage.  This action will occur if the herb is drunk regularly throughout pregnancy and also taken during labor. Although the specific mode of action is unknown, the leaves are thought to strengthen the longitudinal muscles of the uterus, increasing the force of contractions and thereby hastening childbirth.  The gentle astringency of raspberry leaves is also helpful for diarrhea in children, and an infusion makes a good mouthwash for ulcers and bleeding gums. It is used to treat irregular and excessive menstruation.   Externally, the leaves and roots are used as a gargle to treat tonsillitis and mouth inflammations, as a poultice and wash to treat sores, conjunctivitis, minor wounds, burns and varicose ulcers.  The fruit is antiscorbutic and diuretic. Fresh raspberry juice, mixed with a little honey, makes an excellent refrigerant beverage to be taken in the heat of a fever. Made into a syrup, it is said to have a beneficial effect on the heart.  The fruit is nutritious and mildly astringent.

Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium).....The plant was used as an antidote to snakebites. The roots were chewed and applied to the bite. The roots have been used medicinally for liver ailments, to increase urine flow, to induce vomiting, and to treat rattlesnake bite.  Very useful in dropsy, nephritic and calculus affections, also in scrofula and syphilis.  It is valuable as a diaphoretic and expectorant in pulmonary affections and used when Senega is not available.  There is some effect in treating inflammations and malaria.  The pulverized root is very effective in hemorrhoids and prolapsus.  Chewing the root results in increased saliva flow.   A liquid made from roots mashed in cold water was drunk to relieve muscular pains.  The roots have also been used for rheumatism, respiratory ailments, and kidney trouble.  A decoction of the roots has been found useful in cases of exhaustion from sexual depletion, with loss of erectile power, seminal emissions and orchitis. A tincture of the roots is used in the treatment of female reproductive disorders.       Rattlesnake master is reported to have bitter aromatic constituents.  No research seems to have been done on the effectiveness of rattlesnake master in the treatment on rattlesnake bites, but an extract of Eryngium creticum was found to be effective as an antivenum to the sting of the scorpion Leiurus quinuqestristus.  This Eryngium grows in Jordan, where it is used by people in rural areas for scorpion stings.

Rau Rom (Vietnamese Coriander  Polygonum odoratum)    The roots of the closely related Fo-ti, Polygonum multiflorum, are used in Chinese herbal medicine as a tonic and to stimulate hair growth, where it is often combined with other herbs, such as ginseng (panax sp.).  Used in southeastern Asia against nausea, fever and to promote urination  It is sometimes employed as an anaphrodisiac.  In Cambodia the twigs and leaves are used to stimulate urination and to combat fever and nausea.  In Vietnam the plant is used to treat wound and snake bite.  The dried rhizome has astringent and anti-inflammatory uses.  In Europe, an infusion from the rhizome has been used as a gargle for ulcers and gingevitis, and applied to cuts, sores and hemorrhoids.   

Red Angel's Trumpet (Brugmansia sanguinea)  Known extensively throughout South America for its medicinal virtues and ritually brewed with Trichocereous pachanoi as one interpretation of Cimora. ... In Ecuador it is currently being cultivated for scopolamine.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) Traditional Chinese physicians have long used red clover blossoms as an expectorant.  Russian folk healers recommend it for asthma.  Other cultures have used it externally in salves for skin sores and eye problems and internally as a diuretic to treat water retention and as a sedative, anti-inflammatory, cough medicine, and cancer treatment.  America’s 19th-century Eclectic physicians were great promoters of red clover. Their text, King’s American Dispensatory, called it “one of the few remedies which favorably influences pertussis [whooping cough]… possess[ing] a peculiar soothing property.” The Eclectics recommended red clover for cough, bronchitis, and tuberculosis but waxed truly enthusiastic about the herb as a cancer treatment: “It unquestionably retards the growth of carcinomata.”  During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, red clover was the major ingredient in many patent medicines.
            Red clover is used internally for skin complaints, especially eczema and psoriasis.  It may be used with complete safety in cases of childhood eczema, cancers of the breast, ovaries, and lymphatic system, chronic degenerative diseases, gout, whooping cough and dry cough.  Combined with chaparral in background treatment of cancer.  It has been given as part of a holistic treatment for breast tumors and fibroids, both associated with excess estrogen, because the herbal version competes with excess estrogen, allowing the body to come into balance.  The estrogenic effect may be of use in treating menopausal complaints.  Research has shown that the herb has a contraceptive effect in sheep.  Red clover blossoms have been long used in the form of a salve for the removal of external cancer and indolent ulcers.  A tea is also helpful to bathe the affected part, making it fresh daily.  It reduces the desire to smoke if chewed.  

Red Maple (Acer rubrum )  The bark was used by Native Americans  to make a decoction for treating eye ailments, because of its astringency.  The bark has been used as a treatment for worms, as a tonic, and in poultices for skin abrasions.  An infusion of the bark has been used to treat cramps and dysentery. 

Red Sage (Salvia viridis (syn Salvia horminum) )  Red Sage is the classic remedy for inflammations of the mouth, gums, tongue, throat and tonsils, its volatile oils soothing the mucous membranes.  It may be used internally and as a mouthwash, and as a gargle it will help laryngitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis and quinsy. It is a valuable carminative used in dyspepsia.  It reduces sweating when taken internally and may be used to reduce the production of breast milk.  As a compress it promotes the healing of wounds.  Red Sage stimulates the muscles of the uterus.

Redbud  (Cercis canadensis, C. siliquastrum)  The redbud’ inner bark and root can be made into a tea or decoction. This was used by different Native American Indian tribes to clear lung congestion, for whooping cough, to prevent nausea and vomiting, and to break fevers.  It has also been used for diarrhea, dysentery, and leukemia.   

Redroot Pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus The leaves have been used to stop internal hemorrhaging, diarrhea, and excessive menstrual flow. An infusion has been used to treat hoarseness.  The stems have treated ulcers and profuse menstrual flows.  In a wash, the flowers, leaves, and roots have been used as an astringent for wounds and sores, and used as a mouthwash for canker sores and sore gums.

Rest Harrow (Ononis spinosa )  For excess fluid retention, restharrow is best taken as a short-term treatment, in the form of an infusion.  The root contains a fixed oil that is anti-diuretic and an essential oil that is diuretic. If the diuretic action is required then the root should be infused and not decocted or the essential oil will be evaporated. It is also of value in treating gout and cystitis.  An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, inflammation of the bladder and kidneys, rheumatism and chronic skin disorders.  A cough mixture is made from

Resurrection Plant (Bryophyllum pinnatum)  Pounded fresh material is applied as a poultice for a variety of conditions: Sprains, eczema, infections, burns; carbuncle and erysipelas. Usually not taken internally. For boils, the whole leaf is pressed by hand, to and fro, until it becomes moist with the leaf extract. A small opening is made in the middle of the leaf which is then placed on the boil with hole over the pointing of the abscess

Rhatany (Krameria triandra)   Rhatany is a powerful astringent that was retained in the official pharmacopea until recently.  It may be used wherever an astringent is indicated, that is, in diarrhea, hemorrhoids, hemorrhages or as a styptic.  Rhatany is often found in herbal toothpastes and powders as it is especially good for bleeding gums. It can be used as a snuff with bloodroot to treat nasal polyps.  The plant’s astringency makes it effective when used in the form of an ointment, suppository, or wash for treating hemorrhoids.  Rhatany may also be applied to wounds to help staunch blood flow, to varicose veins, and over areas of capillary fragility that may be prone to easy bruising.   Gargle the tea or diluted tincture for acute or lingering sore throat.  It can be combined for this purpose with Yerba Mansa or Echinacea.  For diarrhea, combine with Silk Tassel (for cramps) and Echinacea (immunostimulant), and with either Trumpet Creeper, Desert Willow or Tonadora (for Candida) and Chaparro Amargosa (Protozoas).  For a hemorrhoidal salve and rectal fissure ointment, use either alone or with Echinacea flowers as a salve. 

Rhubarb Root  (Rheum palmatum)  For centuries the rhizome of the Turkey rhubarb was highly regarded by the Chinese for its medicinal properties.  Modern research has justified its reputation.  It contains anthraquinones, which have a purgative effect, and tannins and bitters which have the opposite effect.  If taken in small quantities the tonic, aperient effect predominates and it is therefore useful in cases of appetite loss and acute diarrhea.  Used to treat constipation, dysentery, hemorrhoids, portal congestion, pin/thread worms, skin eruptions from faulty elimination, blood in the stool and duodenal ulcers.  It has a truly cleansing action upon the gut, removing debris, and then astringing with antiseptic properties as well. It is used externally to promote healing, counteract blood clots and promote menstruation.  Stronger doses are laxative after 8-10 hours and are used to treat chronic constipation.  Rhubarb is included in some proprietary preparations and is also a component of herbal tea mixtures and digestive powders.  In 1987 a research team investigated extracts of 178 Chinese herbs for antibacterial activity against one of the major microorganisms in human intestinal flora.  Only Rhubarb was found to have significant activity.  The herb can be applied to burns, boils, and carbuncles.  It is a useful mouthwash for canker sores.  

Rice Paddy Herb (Limnophila aromatica)  In Asia, rau om is employed to treat many ailments.  In China, it is used for the treatment of intoxication and pain; in Indochina, to treat wounds; in Malaysia, chiefly as a poultice on sore legs, but also to promote appetite, and as an expectorant to clear mucus from the respiratory tract, and to treat fever; and in Indonesia, as an antiseptic or cleanser for worms.  The plant is also used in Asia for menstrual problems, wounds, dysentery, fever, elephantiasis, and indigestion. 

Rocambole (Allium scorodoprasum )  The bulb is used in the treatment of abscesses, amoebic dysentery, bronchitis, cholera, dysentery, influenza, skin diseases and TB.  

Rock Sweet Flag (Acorus gramineus )  An important herb in Chinese medicine for poor appetite, gastritis, excess mucus, and depression. Considered to be a warming herb and therefore not given to patients with a tendency to perspire excessively.  Stimulates the digestive system, clears the bronchial passages, relieves indigestion, and has mild sedative effects.  The root is powdered and applied to bleeding gums. It is also used internally in the treatment of depression and epilepsy.

Rocket (Hesperis matronalis )  The leaves are antiscorbutic, diaphoretic and diuretic

Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis)  A tea made from the dried fermented leaves tastes similar to oriental tea made from Camellia sinensis. It is less astringent, however, due to the lower tannin content. It is caffeine-free, but has a higher content of fluoride which might help to protect against tooth decay. Internally used for allergies, especially eczema, hay fever, and asthma in infants.  Externally used for skin infections and irritations.  Japanese research in the 1980s showed that rooibos contains a substance similar to the enzyme superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant compound thought to retard aging. Recent studies have reported rooibos tea as having antimutagenic and anti-HIV activity. The antimutagenic and antioxidant properties of Rooibos are far greater for unfermented shoot and leaf teas.

Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)   The leaves and flowers are used internally as a tonic tea for digestive and kidney functions.  Experimentally, an infusion decreases the viscosity of the blood, reduces blood pressure and stimulates intestinal peristalsis. The drink made by placing, the calyx in water, is said to be a folk remedy for cancer. Medicinally, leaves are emollient, and are much used in Guinea as a diuretic, refrigerant, and sedative; fruits are antiscorbutic; leaves, seeds, and ripe calyces are diuretic and antiscorbutic; and the succulent calyx, boiled in water, is used as a drink in bilious attacks. In Burma, the seed are used for debility, the leaves as emollient. Taiwanese regard the seed as diuretic, laxative, and tonic. Philippines use the bitter root as an aperitive and tonic. Angolans use the mucilaginous leaves as an emollient and as a soothing cough remedy. Central Africans poultice the leaves on abscesses. Alcoholics might consider one item: simulated ingestion of the plant extract decreased the rate of absorption of alcohol, lessening the intensity of alcohol effects in chickens.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)  Studies show rosemary leaves increase circulation, reduce headaches and fight bacterial and fungal infections.  It is considered one of the strongest natural antioxidents.    The flavonoid diosmin strengthens fragile blood vessels, possibly even more effectively than rutin.  German pharmacies sell rosemary ointment to rub on nerve and rheumatic pains and for heart problems.  A traditional European treatment for those suffering from poor circulation due to illness or lack of exercise is to drink rosemary extracted into white wine.   
           
Rosemary contains many compounds that are reported to prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain, usually a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.  Several if not all can be absorbed through the skin, and some probably cross the blood-brain barrier so using a using a final rinse of vinegar with rosemary essential oil added may be beneficial in prevention.   Of these antioxidants, at least four are known cataract fighters and Japanese researchers find it promising for removing wrinkles. 
               Rosemary is recommended for flatulence, heartburn and as a digestive.  It improves food absorption by stimulating digestion and the liver, intestinal tract and gallbladder.  It is also used to inhibit kidney- and bladder-stone formation. Studies on rosemary conducted in Paraguay show that it almost completely inhibits the enzyme urease which contributes to kidney stone formation.  It makes an antiseptic gargle for sore throats, gum problems and canker sores. Researchers speculate that rosemarinic acid might even be a good treatment for septic shock.  In addition, it inhibited, although didn't destroy, 87% of the cancer cells tested in a laboratory study.  Asthma sufferers used to smoke it with coltsfoot and eat bread that had been baked over rosemary wood.  
           
Research has shown that rosmaricine is a stimulant and mild analgesic.  The oil content varies within the plant.  It is analgesic and stimulant, especially when applied to the skin.  Rosemary's anti-inflammatory effect is due mainly to rosmarinic acid and flavonoids.   
           
As a warming herb, it stimulates circulation of blood to the head, improving concentration and memory.  It also eases headaches and migraine, and encourages hair growth by improving blood flow to the scalp.  It has been used to treat epilepsy and vertigo.  It aids recovery from long-term stress and chronic illness.  It is thought to stimulate the adrenal glands and is used specifically for debility, especially when accompanied by poor circulation and digestion. 

Roseroot (Rhodiola rosea)  Chinese medical practitioners describe adaptogens as "superior" plants that profoundly benefit the human body without dangerous side effects. While the most famous adaptogen is ginseng, cutting-edge research by top Russian doctors and scientists has shown that Arctic Root can ease more conditions, including stress, depression, heart disease and cancer                                                    .           Rhodiola rosea has been shown to shorten recovery time after prolonged workouts, to increase attention span, memory, strength, and anti-toxic action. Rhodiola rosea extract increases the level of enzymes, RNA, and proteins important to muscle recovery after exhaustive exercise.  It has also been shown to increase the levels of beta-endorphin in blood plasma which helps prevent the hormonal changes indicative of stress.  This effect has also been linked to maintaining an increased cardiac output and subsequently having a cardioprotective effect.  Studies using proofreading tests have demonstrated that Rhodiola rosea enhances memorization and concentration ability over prolonged periods.  Finally, Rhodiola has been shown to increase anti-tumor activity by increasing the body’s resistance to toxins.
                 
In Siberia it is said that "those who drink rhodiola tea regularly will live more than 100 years." Chinese emperors always looking for the secret to long life and immortality sent expeditions into Siberia to collect and bring back the plant. Being one of the most popular medicinal herbs of middle Asia, for many years Rhodiola was illegally trafficked across the Russian border to China  In Siberia it was taken regularly especially during the cold and wet winters to prevent sickness. In Mongolia it was used for the treatment of tuberculosis and cancer.      Formerly regarded as a scarce plant, researchers from Tomsk State University found significant stands of this valuable herb growing wild in Sibera at elevations of 5000 to 9000 feet above sea level.  Subsequent research has substantiated high live giving biological activity with no toxicity.    For the treatment of depression extracts of rhodiola, namely rosavin and salidroside, in animal studies seem to enhance the transport of serotonin precursors, tryptophan, and 5-hydroxytryptophan into the brain. Serotonin is a widely studied brain neurotransmitter chemical that is involved in many functions including, smooth muscle contraction, temperature regulation, appetite, pain perception, behavior, blood pressure and respiration.  When balanced, it imparts a a sense of contentment and mental ease. Either too much or too little serotonin on the other hand has been linked to various abnormal mental states such as clinical depression. Thus rhodiola has been used by Russian scientists alone or in combination with antidepressants to boost one's mental state, a boon in countries and seasons where one is deprived of adequate sun over prolonged periods of months. This leads to a condition known as SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder common to Northern European countries.
          Rhodiola has also been shown to be effective for cardiac problems caused or aggravated by stress. Its action for these conditions is in its ability to decrease the amount of catecholamines and corticosteroids released by the adrenal glands during stress. The abnormal presence of these stress hormones will subsequently raise blood pressure, cholesterol, potassium levels and increase risk factors for heart disease. Rhodiola has been found to decrease harmful blood lipids and thus decrease the risk of heart disease. It also decreases the amount of cyclic-AMP (c-AMP) released into cardiac cells. Cyclic AMP is related to ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the body's primary energy molecule. C-AMP acts as a 'second messenger' or liaison between the outer and inner environments of the cell. It assists in the uptake of more intracellular calcium into the heart thus promoting a greater potential for heart muscle contraction. Rhodiola thus regulates the heart beat and counteracts heart arrhythmias    As an adaptogen, rhodiola both stimulates and protects the immune system by reinstating homeostasis (metabolic balance) in the body. It also increases natural killer cell (NK) in the stomach and spleen. This action may be due to its ability to normalize hormones by modulating the release of glucocorticoid into the body.
             Rhodiola has potent antioxidant properties. By limiting the adverse effects of free radical damage, it is able to combat all the diseases associated with aging. The presence of free radicals is associated with cell mutagenicity, the immediate cause of cancer. Again, Russian researchers have found that the oral administration of rhodiola inhibited tumor growth in rats 39 percent and decreased metastasis by 50 percent. It improved urinary tissue and immunity in patients suffering with bladder cancer. In other experiments with various types of cancer, including adenocarcinoma (cancer of glandular tissue such as breast cancer) and lung carcinoma, the use of extracts of rhodiola rosea resulted in significant increased survival rate                 Like Siberian ginseng, rhodiola is routinely used by athletes to improve performance. While the mechanism is not completely understood, rhodiola seems to improve the ratio of muscle-fat and increases hemoglobin and erythrocytes levels in the blood.
             Many other benefits from the use of Rhodiola has been found including its ability to improve hearing, when applied to the gums to inhibit the progression of pyorrhea, to regulate blood sugar levels for diabetics and protect the liver from environmental toxin.
          Nearly 200 different rhodiola species have been identified. Only 14 have been subjected to biochemical study and it has been found that the chemical composition and pharmacological activity of rhodiola is definitely species related. Essentially rhodiola rosea counteracts the effects of stress that ultimately underlies the evolution of most diseases

Rose (Rosa spp)  Honey of Red Rose (Apothecary) was once an official pharmaceutical preparation in the US for sore mouths and throats.  Fill a jar with fresh, dry rose petals and clear honey.  Cover and leave in a warm place for one week then strain the mixture.  Sip a teaspoonful of the honey as required.  Rose vinegar was used for headaches, especially those brought on by heat.  The leaves are a mild, but seldom used, laxative.  In Greece, Hippocrates recommended rose flowers mixed with oil for diseases of the uterus.  Ayurvedic physicians use the petals in poultices to treat skin wounds and inflammations.  At various times, European herbalists recommended dried rose petal tea for headache, dizziness, mouth sores, and menstrual cramps.  Rose hips are a significant source of vitamin C. 

            TCM: Petals: dries cold, clear mucous discharges, relieves constrictive feelings of the chest and abdomen (stuck liver chi), treats poor appetite, harmonizes blood and is used for irregular menstruation and pain caused by blood stagnation.  Hips: used for diarrhea, enuresis, frequent urination, spermatorrhea and leucorrhea (all complaints of deficient kidney chi)  

Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia)    Rowan berries are astringent and rather acidic. The juice has been used medicinally as a gargle for sore throats and laryngitis, and its astringency was useful in treating hemorrhoids and excessive vaginal discharge. The fruit contains vitamin C and was formerly employed in the prevention of scurvy.  The fruit is antiscorbutic and astringent. It is normally used as a jam or an infusion to treat diarrhea and hemorrhoids. An infusion can also be used as a gargle for sore throats and as a wash to treat hemorrhoids and excessive vaginal discharge. The seeds contain cyanogenic glycosides which, in reaction with water, produce the extremely toxic prussic acid. In small quantities this acts as a stimulant to the respiratory system but in larger doses can cause respiratory failure and death. It is therefore best to remove the seeds when using the fruit medicinally or as a food.  Both the flowers and the fruit are aperient, mildly diuretic, laxative and emmenagogue. An infusion is used in the treatment of painful menstruation, constipation and kidney disorders. 

Royal Fern  (Osmunda regalis )  The mucilaginous roots, often boiled in water to produce royal fern jelly, once given to invalids as a nutritious, easily digested food, and also used to treat dysentery, coughs and pulmonary disorders.  The root is useful in the treatment of jaundice and removing obstructions of the viscera.  The fronds are used to make compresses for external application to wounds and rheumatic joints - for which purposes they are fairly effective. An infusion of the fronds, combined with wild ginger roots (Asarum species) has been used in the treatment of children with convulsions caused by intestinal worms.

Rue (Ruta graveolens) Rue was once an officially recognized treatment for hypertension, diabetes, and allergic reactions.  It’s primary reputation is that of an antispasmodic for smooth muscles. The action is attributed to the alkaloids arborine and arborinine, as well as to the coumarin rutamarin and componenets fo the essential oil.    It is still a popular folk medicine in countries like Mexico, Lebanon, Iran, India and China.  In traditional Chinese medicine, the leaves are applied to reduce inflammation from snakebites, insect bites, strains and sprains.  The rutin it contains strengthens fragile blood vessels and helps alleviate varicose veins, although using the whole plant has been found to work better.  Both an eyewash and a tea are suggested for soothing tired eyes and headaches from eyestrain, and the tea is also used to decrease the pain and inflammation of an earache.  Rue increases blood flow to the digestive tract, relaxes muscles and calms heart palpitations, nervous indigestion and colic.    The Unami medicine of India recommends rue not only to treat various physical conditions, but to improve mental clarity and as an anaphrodisiac—although the Polish consider it an aphrodisiac.  Rue is a well-known cold and menstrual cramp remedy in Latin America, where an ointment is also applied for gout and rheumatic pains, and strong tea compresses are placed on the chest for bronchitis. The infusion benefits coughs, cramp and colic.  The leaves are used in poultices and salves to relieve sciatica, gout and rheumatic pains.  Fresh leaves are placed on the temples to relieve headache.  Fomentations of the tea are placed on the chest to help bronchitis.  The juice or oil is placed in the ear to relieve earaches. It is used to kill intestinal parasites, and Arabs add it to suspect water to counteract any ill effects.   A strong infusion made by pouring a little boiling water on dried or fresh rue leaves can be dabbed on insect bites to bring relief.  

Rupturewort (Herniaria glabra )  The whole plant, gathered when in flower, is astringent, very actively diuretic and expectorant. It appears to have an antispasmodic effect upon the bladder and is used in the treatment of dropsy, catarrh of the bladder, cystitis and kidney stones. It has also gained a reputation for treating hernias. Externally, it has been used as a poultice to speed the healing of ulcers. The whole plant appears to have an antispasmodic effect on the bladder.

Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius)  The flowers are laxative and diuretic.  A tea was once given to children with fevers, measles and other eruptive skin diseases.  A paste made of the flowers and water was applied to boils. The petals were boiled with lamb and eaten to strengthen the heart.  In the southwest, Indians soak the flowers in water until the water is visibly yellow, then drink the decoction to reduce fever.   Internally for coronary artery disease, menstrual and menopausal problems and jaundice.  Externally for bruising, sprains, skin inflammations, wounds, and painful or paralyzed joints (flowers).  Safflower is also used to inhibit blood clotting.  For post-natal abdominal pain; clots or seepages of blood in abdominal region; traumatic injuries; stiffness and pain in joints.  The extracted oil of the herb is used in tui na massage.  The East Indians, who know it as koosumbha, also use safflower medicinally and employ the oil as the base of some Ayurvedic medicinal body oils.

TCM: The tincture is widely used in China on sprains and wounds to decrease inflammation.  The Chinese also use it combined with other herbs to treat problems relating to heart disease, circulation, menstruation and blood congestion.

Saffron (Crocus sativus)  Saffron has been cited as a remedy for such diverse ills.  In England and the US, penny packets of saffron threads were sold as recently as 50 years ago in pharmacies to cure measles.  Cheaper and superior herbs are easily found to replicate its ability to induce menstruation, treat period pain and chronic uterine bleeding and calm indigestion and colic.  In Chinese herbal medicine, saffron stigmas are occasionally used to treat painful obstructions of the chest, to stimulate menstruation and to relieve abdominal pain.  They regard it as a catalyst to be combined with other herbs.   It is one of the finest blood vitalizers known.  It counteracts inflammatory conditions associated with excess pitta (fire), while at the same time powerfully stimulating the circulation and regulating the spleen, liver and heart. It is very sattvic or spiritually balancing and gives “the energy of love, devotion and compassion.  Contains a blood pressure-lowering chemical called crocetin.  Some authorities even speculate that the low incidence of heart disease in Spain is due to that nation’s high saffron consumption.  

Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate ) -  a tea made of the leaves has been used to treat headache, stomachache, vomiting, diarrhea, sore throat, and as an antidote for poisoning.  Some Indians chewed the leaves to ease stomach gas.  A wash made of boiled and steeped leaves was used for treating bullet wounds and cuts, to bathe newborn babies, and as a hot poultice in treating rheumatism.  A poultice was also placed on the stomach to induce menstruation, to relieve colic and treat worms. The leaves are boiled in water and the steam inhaled as a decongestant.  Warm leaves may be applied to the neck to help a sore throat.  The leaves are pungent and have been preferred for making medicine among other sagebrushes. 

Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor)  The older herbalists held this plant in greater repute than it enjoys at the present day.  Pliny recommended a decoction of the plant beaten up with honey for diverse complaints.  Dodoens recommended it as a healer of wounds.  Gerard wrote that ‘it was a capital wound herb for all sorts of wounds, both of the head and body, either inward or outward, used either in juice or decoction of the herb, or by the powder of the herb or too, or the water of the distilled herb, or made into an ointment by itself or with other things to be kept.’  Turner advised the use of the herb, infused in wine or beer, for the cure of gout and rheumatism.

TCM: (Officinalis) Indicated for blood in stool and urine, bleeding, dysentery; bleeding hemorrhoids; menorrhagia.  The fresh root is pulverized, mixed with sesame oil and applied to burns, pruritus and eczema

Salep (Orchis mascula )  Once believed to have aphrodisiac powers, purple orchid is now seen as a nourishing vegetable somewhat similar to the potato.  Its current medicinal use is generally confined to the treatment of diarrhea and irritated gastrointestinal tracts in children.  Was once much used for kidney disorders.

Salvia Divinorum  Medicinal uses:  Traditional Mazatec healers have used Salvia divinorum to treat medical and psychiatric conditions conceptualized according to their traditional framework. Some of the conditions for which they use the herb are easily recognizable to Western medical practitioners (e.g colds, sore throats, constipation and diarrhea) and some are not, e.g. 'fat lambs belly' which is said to be due to a 'stone' put in the victims belly by means of evil witchcraft. Some alternative healers and herbalists are exploring possible uses for Salvia. The problems in objectively evaluating such efforts and 'sorting the wheat from the chaff' are considerable. There are no accepted uses for Salvia divinorum in standard medical practice at this time. A medical exploration of some possible uses suggested by Mazatec healing practice is in order in such areas as cough suppression (use to treat colds), and treatment of congestive heart failure and ascites (is 'fat lamb's belly' ascites?). Some other areas for exploration include Salvia aided psychotherapy (there is anecdotal material supporting its usefulness in resolving pathological grief), use of salvinorin as a brief acting general or dissociative anesthetic agent, use to provide pain relief, use in easing both the physical and mental suffering of  terminal patients as part of hospice care, and a possible antidepressant effect.

Samphire   (Crithmum maritimum) Though not currently much used in herbal medicine, samphire is a good diuretic and has potential as a treatment for obesity.  It has a high vitamin C and mineral content and is thought to relieve flatulence and to act as a digestive remedy. It was once recommended to cure kidney stones.  

Sampson's Snakeroot (
Gentiana villosa)  Sampson’s snakeroot is esteemed not only as an antidote for snakebite and bites from rabid dogs.  It has also been specified for the treatment of gout and rheumatism.  The plant’s foremost use, generally in the form of a tea, has been to stimulate the appetite and help digestion.  The plant contains bitter chemical substances that would have this effect.

Sandalwood (Santalum album)  Sandalwood is a classic for bladder infections.  It is taken to help the passing of stones, in kidney inflammations, and prostatitis.  The oil is cooling to the body and useful for fevers and infections when used as a massage.  The scent is calming, and helps focus the mind away from distracting chatter and creating the right mood for meditation..  Sandalwood has been used internally for chronic bronchitis and to treat gonorrhea and the urethral discharge that results.  Simmer one teaspoon of the wood per cup of water for 20 minutes, and take up to two cups a day in quarter-cup doses.  The alcohol tincture is 20-40 drops, 4 times a day, not with meals.  In Ayurvedic medicine, a paste of the wood is used to soothe rashes and itchy skin.  For nosebleeds, the oil can be smeared up into the nose using a finger saturated with the oil. 
          In Chinese medicine, sandalwood is held to be useful for chest and abdominal pain.  It is also used to treat vomiting, gonorrhea, choleraic difficulties and skin complaints.  Promotes the movement of qi and alleviates pain: for pain associated with stagnant qi in the chest and abdomen.  Contraindicated in cases of yin deficiency with heat signs.  The oil also stimulates the spleen, promotes white blood cell production and strengthens the immune system against infection. Very useful for chronic bronchitis, laryngitis, sore throat, hiccups and dry coughs. 
           
Emotionally, sandalwood is profoundly seductive, dispelling anxiety and depression.  It casts out cynicism and obsessional attitudes, especially strong ties with the past, effecting a cure in cases of sexual dysfunction.  It comforts and helps the dying to make peace with the world.  It is used to awaken the power of kundalini and to connect that energy with the highest enlightenment.   About the erotic quality of the oil, scientists have discovered a connection.  Sandalwood smells similar to light concentrations of androsterone, a substance very similar in chemical structure to the male hormone testosterone and is released in men’s underarm perspiration. 

Sandwort (Spergularia rubra)   :   This herb acts as a diuretic, stimulating functioning of the bladder, and is especially known in Malta for this use. It has been recommended for inflammation of the bladder as well as for bladder stones. The powdered herb is allowed to steep in a pint of boiling water in the preparation of one ounce of the powder to a pint of water. It has been recommended to be taken several times a day, perhaps a cup every two hours until relief is obtained. This should be accompanied by a mild diet with non-irritating foods such as barley water.  The plant contains a resinous aromatic substance that is probably the active principle. An infusion is thought to relax the muscle walls of the urinary tubules and so it is used in the treatment of kidney stones, acute and chronic cystitis and catarrh of the bladder. 

Sanicle (Sanicula europaea )  Wood sanicle used to be widely used as a herbal remedy and has a long-standing reputation for healing wounds and treating internal bleeding. The herb is traditionally thought to be detoxifying and has also been taken internally to treat skin problems. A potentially valuable plant, but it is little used in modern herbalism.  The herb is highly esteemed in the treatment of blood disorders, where it is usually given in combination with other herbs. It is also taken internally in the treatment of bleeding in the stomach and intestines, the coughing up of blood, nosebleeds, chest and lung complaints, dysentery, diarrhea etc. It can also be used as a mouth gargle for sore throats.
               It may also be of use in treating diarrhea and dysentery, bronchial and congestive problems, and sore throats.  This herb is traditionally thought to be detoxifying and has been taken internally for skin problems.  An old treatment for dropsy.  Externally, sanicle may be applied as a poultice or ointment for wounds, burns, chilblains, hemorrhoids, and inflamed skin and rashes.  As an astringent it is valuable for relieving leucorrhea.

Sarsaparilla (Smilax regelii)  Used to treat skin disorders, liver problems, rheumatism and hormone excesses.   Generally the best quality sarsaparilla is the Jamaican.  Honduran and Mexican are also very good.  The roots with the deeper orange-red color are considered to be of superior quality.  Sarsaparilla is excellent for chronic hepatic disorders, for venereal diseases like gonorrhea and syphilis, and for female leuchorrea, and herpes.  It combines well with other alteratives and especially with yellow dock, sassafras, burdock, dandelion and red clover.  It also is of some help for epilepsy and other nervous system disorders.  It is anti-inflammatory and cleansing and can bring relief to skin problems caused by blood impurities such as eczema, psoriasis and itchiness. Chinese tests indicate that sarsaparilla root, in combination with five other herbs, was tested as a treatment for syphilis.  Reportedly, 90% of the acute cases subsequently cleared. In Mexico, the root is still frequently consumed for its reputed tonic and aphrodisiac properties.  Native Amazonian peoples take sarsaparilla to improve virility and to treat menopausal problems.  It has a progesterogenic action, making it beneficial in premenstrual problems and debility and depression associated with menopause.  It has a tonic and specifically testosterogenic action on the body (stimulates the production of testosterone) and stimulates natural cortisone, leading to increased muscle bulk, and it has a potential use for impotence.     
                   The majority of Sarsaparilla's pharmacological properties and actions have been attributed to a pharmacologically active group of phytochemicals called steroids and saponins. The saponins have been reported to facilitate the absorption by the body of other drugs and phytochemicals which accounts for its history of use in herbal formulas as a bioavailability and herbal enhancement agent.

             Saponins and plant steroids found in many species of plants, including Sarsaparilla, can be chemically synthesized into human steroids like estrogen and testosterone. This chemical synthesization has never been documented to occur in the human body - only in the laboratory. Plant steroids and their actions in the human body are still a subject of much interest, too little research, and unfortunately, misinformation mainly for marketing purposes. Sarsaparilla has been erroneously touted to contain testosterone and/or other anabolic steroids. While it is a rich source of steroids and saponins, it has never been proven to have any anabolic effects, nor is testosterone found in sarsaparilla or any other plant source thus far. There is no known toxicity or side effects documented for sarsaparilla, however ingestion of large dosages of saponins may cause gastro-intestinal irritation. For psoriasis it will combine well with Burdock, Yellow Dock and Cleavers.

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)  Sassafras has traditionally been used for treating high blood pressure, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, menstrual and kidney problems.  The herb is listed in 1983 British Herbal Pharmacopoeia for head lice, cutaneous eruptions, rheumatic pains and gout, skin diseases and acne and ulcer.  Sassafras is an excellent warming diuretic, which makes it good for most arthritic conditions. Dosage is 10-30 drops of the tincture.  The root bark of sassafras improves digestion and increases sweating during flus, fevers and measles.  It is slightly laxative, and has been used to reduce high blood pressure and to decrease mother’s milk.  It is also a remedy for poison ivy and oak rash poison.  Native Americans used a wash of the bark to bathe infected sores and of the twigs as eyewash.  The plant’s disinfectant action makes a valuable mouthwash and dentrifice.  

Sassy Bark (Erythrophleum guineense)  It is much used by witchdoctors who use the smoke from it to stupefy.  Has laxative effects but is principally used as a narcotic. The hydrochloride has been used in dental surgery. Erythrophleine causes a slow, strong pulse, with a rise in the arterial pressure. Purging is probably due to local action on peristalsis, and vomiting, the result or influence on the nerve centers, as it occurs when the alkaloid is given hypodermically. It is asserted that it gives great relief in dyspnea, but is uncertain as a heart tonic. The powder is strongly sternutatory. It has been useful in mitral disease and dropsy, but disturbs the digestion even more than digitalis.

Savory (Satureja hortensis and S montana): Savory has aromatic and carminative properties, and though chiefly used as a culinary herb, it may be added to medicines for its aromatic and warming qualities.  It was formerly deemed a sovereign remedy for the colic and a cure for flatulence, on this account, and was also considered a good expectorant.  A mild tea made with a few crushed dried leaves and boiling water has a pleasant, warming effect and since savory, like rue, is reputed to sharpen the eyesight, use it also to relieve eyestrain due to overtiredness or bad lighting.  It will also help to disguise the flavor of unpalatable medicine, and a few leaves added to a bottle of white wine makes a refreshing tonic.  In an emergency crushed leaves of savory can be applied to bee strings to bring rapid relief.  In Elizabethan times, the leaves were crushed into poultices for the treatment of colds and chest ailments like asthma.  A tea of savory can be helpful for diarrhea and can also stimulate the appetite.  Cherokee Indians used the herb as a snuff to cure headaches.

Saw palmetto (Seronoa repens) A hexane extract of the berries has been shown to have antiandrogenic properties through a direct action on the estrogen receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme testosterone-5-alph-reductase. Subcutaneously administered extracts were strongly estrogenic in mice.  Furthermore, saw palmetto extract has been shown to prevent the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) as well as to inhibit DHT binding to cellular and nuclear receptor sites, thereby increasing the metabolism and excretion of DHT.  A double-blind placebo-controlled study evaluated the hormonal effects of saw palmetto extract given to men with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) for 3 months prior to operation.  The study found that saw palmetto displayed an estrogenic and antiprogesterone effect as determined by estrogen and progesterone receptor activity.

            Aids thyroid in regulating sexual development and normalizing the activity of those glands and organs.  Tonic.  Good for strengthening and body building.  For men, it treats enlarged and weakened prostate, impotence.  For women, it increases breast size and secreting ability, relieves ovarian and uterine irritability, frigidity. Stimulates appetite, improves digestion and increases assimilation of nutrients.  Expectorant, used for colds, head and nose congestion, asthma, bronchitis. Promotes urine flow, urinary antiseptic, good for infections of gastro-urinary tract.  Also used in diabetes.  Increases the tone of the bladder, allowing a better contraction and more complete expulsion of the contents, relieving any straining pain.  Nourishes the nervous system and aids assimilation of nutrients.  Nicknamed the "plant catheter" because it has the ability to strengthen the neck of the bladder.    Because saw palmetto blocks the formation of DHT which kills off hair follicles it's possible this can be used to prevent hair loss.  

Scammony Root (Ipomoea orizabensis )  One of the most effective purgatives known producing copious watery evacuations. In large doses it causes considerable pain, and its preparations should not be used by those suffering from gastric or intestinal inflammation.

Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)  Not used much by medical herbalists today, scarlet pimpernel has diuretic, sweat-inducing, and expectorant properties.  As an expectorant, it was used to stimulate the coughing up of mucus and help recovery from colds and flu.  It has been used to treat epilepsy and mental problems for 2,000 years, but there is little evidence to support its efficacy. A tincture prepared from the fresh plant is used to treat skin eruptions and ulcers, also as a cholagogic and diuretic. The whole herb can be taken internally or applied externally as a poultice. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, skin infections and disorders of the liver and gall bladder.

Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris )   Scot's pine has quite a wide range of medicinal uses, being valued especially for its antiseptic action and beneficial effect upon the respiratory system. It may be used in cases of bronchitis, sinustitis or upper respiratory catarrh, both as an inhalant and internally.  It may also be helpful in asthma.  The stimulating action gives the herb a role in the internal treatment of rheumatism and arthritis.  Scots pine branches and stems yield a thick resin, which is also antiseptic within the respiratory tract.  It is a valuable remedy in the treatment of kidney, bladder and rheumatic affections, and also in diseases of the mucous membranes. Externally it is used in the form of liniment plasters and inhalers.  The leaves and young shoots are antiseptic, diuretic and expectorant. They are used internally for their mildly antiseptic effect within the chest and are also used to treat rheumatism and arthritis. There is a tradition of adding the twigs to bath water to ease nervous debility and sleeplessness, as well as aiding the healing of cuts and soothing skin irritations.  The seeds are used for bronchitis, tuberculosis and bladder infections.  A decoction of the seeds may be applied to suppress excessive vaginal discharge.

Screwpine (Pandanus odoratissimus)  Screwpine is restorative, antihydrotic, deodorant, indolent and phylactic, promoting a feeling of wellbeing and acting as a counter to tropical lassitude.  A useful adjunct to oral hygiene as a breath sweetener, it is also used in local ritual, its sweetness symbolizing man’s better qualities.  Externally used as a poultice for boils (leaf bud)  

Scurvy Grass (Cochlearia officinalis )  The young plant, which has a general detoxicant effect and contains a wide range of minerals is taken as a spring tonic.  Like watercress, it has diuretic properties and is useful for any condition in which poor nutrition is a factor.  It can be used in the form of a juice as an antiseptic mouthwash for canker sores, and can also be applied externally to spots and pimples. Blood purification cures use it as an essential ingredient. An infusion of 8 parts leaves, 3 parts alcohol and 3 parts water, concentrated to two-thirds of its original volume, is an effective remedy for toothache when used on a cotton ball.  The fresh leaves are used in the treatment of rheumatics, dropsy, white fluor (vaginal discharge) and constipation.   

Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)  Sea buckthorn berries are very high in vitamin C.  They have been used to help improve resistance to infection.  The berries are mildly astringent, and a decoction of them has been used as a wash to treat skin irritation and eruptions. Medicinal uses of sea-buckthorn are well documented in Asia and Europe. Investigations on modern medicinal uses were initiated in Russia during the 1950's. Preparations of sea-buckthorn oils are recommended for external use in the case of burns, bed sores, and other skin complications induced by confinement to a bed or treatment with X-ray or radiation. Internally, sea-buckthorn is used for the treatment of stomach and duodenal ulcers. In the United Kingdom and Europe sea-buckthorn products are used in aromatherapy. Research in the late 1950's and early 1960's reported that 5-hydroxytryptamine (hippophan) isolated from sea-buckthorn bark inhibited tumor growth. More recently, clinical studies on the anti-tumor functions of sea-buckthorn oils conducted in China have been positive. Sea-buckthorn oil, juice or the extracts from oil, juice, leaves and bark have been used successfully to treat high blood lipid symptoms, eye diseases, gingivitis and cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. Sea-buckthorn was formally listed in the "Pharmacopoeia of China" in 1977.  The tender branches and leaves contain bioactive substances which are used to produce an oil that is quite distinct from the oil produced from the fruit. Yields of around 3% of oil are obtained. This oil is used as an ointment for treating burns.  The fruit is astringent and used as a tonic. The freshly-pressed juice is used in the treatment of colds, febrile conditions, exhaustion etc. The fruit is a very rich source of vitamins and minerals, especially in vitamins A, C and E, flavonoids and other bioactive compounds. It is also a fairly good source of essential fatty acids, which is fairly unusual for a fruit. It is being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer and also as a means of halting or reversing the growth of cancers. The juice is also a component of many vitamin-rich medicaments and cosmetic preparations such as face-creams and toothpastes. A decoction of the fruit has been used as a wash to treat skin irritation and eruptions.

Sea Holly (Eryngium maritimum)  Sea holly is used as a diuretic.  It is prescribed as a treatment for cystitis and urethritis, and taken as a means to alleviate kidney stones. It is unlikely that the herb actually dissolves established stones, but it probably helps retard their formation.  Sea holly is also used to treat enlargement or inflammation of the prostate gland, and may be of benefit in treating chest problems.  It will ease colic due to urinary problems as well as reducing hemorrhage.  

Sea Wormwood (Artemisia maritima)   These flower heads are especially effective against Ascaris lumbricoides, which are nematode worms similar to earthworms, white in color, that frequently infest the intestine of children.  These flowers have also proven effective against other intestinal parasites. Its medicinal virtues are similar to wormwood, A. absinthum, though milder in their action. It is used mainly as a tonic to the digestive system, in treating intermittent fevers and as a vermifuge

Seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera )  The fruits have been used to reduce fever.  The roots have been used to treat diarrhea.  The bark yields an extract known as “Jamaica kino,” used to treat dysentery. A gum from the bark is used for throat ailments.

Sedge (Cyperus rotundus )  Important in traditional Chinese medicine and also used in Ayurvedic medicine.  Bittersweet herb that relieves spasms and pain, acting mainly on the digestive system and uterus.  Internally used for digestive problems related to blocked liver energy and menstrual complaints including gas, bloating, food stagnation, colds caused by food congestion, depression and moodiness.  It is like Bupleurum in its power to regulate liver chi.   An essential oil in the tubers has antibiotic activity and has been shown to arrest the growth of Micrococcus pyrogenes.  The plant is rated 8th amongst 250 potential antifertility plants in China. The plant is used in the treatment of cervical cancer

Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris) All above-ground parts of the plant are useful. It can be used fresh, or dried for later use.  Make it into a tincture, an infusion, or an ointment for topical use.  Internally, selfheal has been used in Western medicine for hemorrhage and to decrease excessive menstruation.  Externally in Western medicine, used for minor injuries, sores, burns, bruises, sore throat, mouth inflammations, and hemorrhoids (whole plant).  The juice of a crushed stem or two will soothe nettle stings, minor bouts with poison ivy, insect bites and stings.  Because it contains the compound rosmarinic acid, it is used for treatment of Graves Disease as it helps suppress thyroid hormone production. Self-heal contains substances that are diuretic and act against tumors.  Lab tests indicate it may also be antibiotic, hypotensive and antimutagenic in action.  In making an oil infusion let the plants wilt for a full day to increase the shelf life of the oil.  Research: A 1993 Canadian study regarding HIV-1 found that a purified extract of Selfheal was able to significantly inhibit HIV-1 replication with very low toxicity.  The extract was able to inhibit HIV-1 in both lymph and blood.  Although prunellin was unable to prevent HIV-1 infection when cells were pretreated with the purified herbal extract, the virus’ ability to cause infection was dramatically decreased when it was saturated with prunellin.  The purified extract was also able to block cell-to-cell transmission of HIV-1.  Moreover, the extract was also able to interfere with the ability of HIV-1 to bind to CD4 cells. The researchers suggest that the purified extract antagonizes HIV-1 infection of susceptible cells by preventing viral attachment to the CD4 receptor. 

TCM: Indications: jaundice: sore and swollen eyeballs; over-sensitivity to light; headache and dizziness; gout; scrofula; high blood pressure.  In Chinese medicine it is often combined with Dendranthema x grandiflorum for headaches, high blood pressure, mumps, mastitis, conjunctivitis and hyperactivity in children related to liver energy problems (flowers).  Chinese research shows the herb to have a moderately strong antibiotic actions against a broad range of pathogens, including the Shigella species and e. coli strains of which can cause enteritis and urinary infections.  Studies also indicate that self-heal has a mildly dilating effect on the blood vessels, helping to lower blood pressure.  In China, self-heal is taken on its own or with Chrysanthemum for fevers, headaches, dizziness, and vertigo, and to soothe and calm inflamed and sore eyes.  It is thought to cool “liver fire” resulting from liver weakness, and is prescribed for infected and enlarged glands, especially the lymph nodes of the neck.  

Seneca Snakeroot (Polygala senega)  It has excellent expectorant effects which may be utilized in the treatment of bronchial asthma, especially where there is some difficulty with expectoration.  The root has a stimulant action on the bronchial mucous membranes, promoting the coughing up of mucus from the chest and thereby easing wheezing.   It has a general power of stimulating secretion, including saliva.  It may be used as a mouthwash and gargle in the treatment of pharyngitis and laryngitis.  A tea made from the bark has been drunk in order to bring about a miscarriage.

Senna  (Cassia senna (Senna alexandrina)  Also c. acutifolia (Alexandrian and Khartoum), C. angustifolia (Indian or Tintoum), C. marilandica (American))   Senna has always been specifically used for constipation.  It is particularly appropriate when a soft stool is required, for example, in cases of anal fissure.    The sennosides irritate the lining of the large intestine, causing the muscles to contract strongly, resulting in a bowel movement about 10 hours after the dose is taken.  They also stop fluid from being absorbed from the large bowel, helping to keep the stool soft.  As a cathartic, senna can cause griping and colic, and is therefore normally taken with aromatic, carminative herbs that relax the intestinal muscles.  Leaves are stronger in action than the  pods and are not as commonly used.  Senna pods, or the dried, ripe fruits, are milder in their effects than the leaflets, as the griping is largely due to the resin, and the pods contain none, but have about 25 per cent more cathartie acid and emodin than the leaves, without volatile oil. From 6 to 12 pods for the adult, or from 3 to 6 for the young or very aged, infused in a claret-glass of cold water, act mildly but thoroughly upon the whole intestine.  Similar in action to cascara sagrada, their slightly differenct chemistry does produce a few differences in action.  Whereas cascara is not activated until it reaches the intestines, senna glycosides are readily released by microflora of the stomach and it is about two thirds more active a laxative than cascara.  The pods are made into tablets and other preparations.  Senna is very unpleasant tasting and it is best to combine senna pods with aromatic, carminative herbs to increase palatability and reduce griping, e.g. cardamom, ginger or fennel.
TCM:
 Indicated for Wind or bilious colics; a laxative for non-inflammatory conditions of the intestinal tract.  To clear heat in the liver and brighten the eyes; to moisten the intestines and move feces.

Sesame (Sesamum indicum) Sesame is principally used as food and flavoring agent in China, but it is also taken to redress “states of deficiency,” especially those affecting the liver and kidneys.  The seeds are prescribed for problems such as dizziness, tinnitus, and blurred vision (when due to anemia).  Because of their lubricating effect within the digestive tract, the seeds are also considered a remedy for “dry” constipation.  The seeds have a marked ability to stimulate breast-milk production.  Sesame seed oil benefits the skin and is used as a base for cosmetics.  A decoction of the root is used in various traditions to treat coughs and asthma.  In experiments undertaken using laboratory animals, sesame seeds have been shown to lower blood sugar levels and also to raise the levels of stored carbohydrates (glycogen).  The presence of various principles (sesamin and sesamol) gives the oil, rich in unsaturated oils, an anti-oxidant property.  The leaves are used in bladder and kidney troubles and in Africa are administered to children for a variety of upsets including dysentery, diarrhoea and wind.  Eye and skin lotions are also prepared from the leaves, which are believed detoxicant. 

Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus)  The premier herb for women in Ayurveda, shatavari is similar to dong quai in its action and effects, but is not a “connoisseur herb” like dong quai, so it’s not as expensive.   Internally for infertility, loss of libido, threatened miscarriage, menopausal problems, hyperacidity, stomach ulcers, dysentery, and bronchial infections.  It increases milk, semen and nurtures the mucous membranes.  It both nourishes and cleanses the blood and the female reproductive organs.  It is a good food for menopause or for those who have had hysterectomies, as it supplies many female hormones.  It nourishes the ovum and increases fertility, yet its quality is sattvic and aids in love and devotion. Three grams of the powder can be taken in one cup of warm milk sweetened with raw sugar.  It’s especially good for pitta types.   Externally for stiffness in joints and neck.  The most important herb in Ayurvedic medicine for women.  Used internally by Australian Aborigines for digestive upsets and externally for sores.

Sheep’s Sorrel (Rumex acetosella): Leaf tea of  this common European alien traditionally used for fevers, inflammation, scurvy.  Sheep’s sorrel is a detoxifying herb, the fresh juice having a pronounced diuretic effect.  It has been used as a liver stimulant and blood alterative that is useful in treating skin disorders and various other metabolic imbalances.  Fresh leaves considered cooling. The leaves poulticed (after roasting) are used for tumors, wens, folk cancer remedy.  Root tea used for diarrhea, excessive menstrual bleeding.  The leaves are mildly laxative and holds out potential as a long-term treatment for chronic disease, in particular that of the gastrointestinal tract.

Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris or Thlaspi bursa-pastoris) When dried and infused, it yields a tea as a specific for stopping hemorrhages of the stomach, lungs, and especially of the kidneys.  Its antiscorbutic, stimulant and diuretic action caused it to be much used in kidney complaints and dropsy.  Used to stop heavy menstruation.  A tincture made from the fresh herb and taken every hour or two is one of the most effective hemostatics.  To make a styptic solution, boil 3 oz of herb in two pints of hot water.  Internal dose is 2 tsp every four hours.  To make a healing ointment, simmer for a half hour one heaping Tbsp of ground plaintain and shepherd’s purse leaves in 4 oz of lard or suet.  Strain into containers.  An astringent herb, it disinfects the urinary tract in cases of cystitis, and is taken for diarrhea. Because of its reputed stimulant, diuretic, and antiscorbutic action, the weed has been much used in the treatment of numerous kidney complaints.   Also for hypertension and postpartum bleeding.  Research suggests that the plant is anti-inflammatory and reduces fever.  The secret of Capsella’s blood-clotting ability is its content of vitamin K.  For an almost instant arrest of nosebleed, many people simply soak a cotton swab with the freshly expressed juice of shepherd’s purse and insert it into the affected nostril.  Many people take an infusion as a refreshing spring tonic, in the belief that it relieves such circulatory disturbances as hypertension, varicose veins, arteriosclerosis and hemorrhoids.    European herbalists have found that a sitz bath infused with shepherd’s purse is particularly soothing for hemorrhoid sufferers.  Shepherd’s purse also plays an important role in a mixture recommended for bed-wetting. 

Siberian Ginseng  (Eleutherococcus senticosus)  There has been much research into Siberian ginseng in Russia since the 1950s, although the exact method by which it stimulates stamina and resistance to stress is not yet understood.  Siberian ginseng seems to have a general tonic effect on the body, in particular on the adrenal glands, helping the body to withstand heat, cold, infection, other physical stresses and radiation.  It has even been given to astronauts to counter the effects of weightlessness.  Athletes have experienced as much as a 9% improvement in stamina when taking Siberian ginseng.  Siberian ginseng is given to improve mental resilience, for example, during exams, and to reduce the effects of physical stress, for example during athletic training.  Siberian ginseng is most effective in the treatment of prolonged exhaustion and debility, resulting from overwork and long-term stress.  The herb also stimulates immune resistance and can be taken in convalescence to aid recovery from chronic illness.  As a general tonic, Siberian ginseng helps both to prevent infection and to maintain well-being.  It is also used in treatments for impotence.  Eleuthero root happens to be anti-yeast and immune supportive. 

Silver Birch (Betula pendula (B. verrucosa, B. alba))  An infusion made with silver birch leaves hastens the removal of waste products in the urine, and is beneficial for kidney stones and bladder stones, rheumatic conditions, and gout. To obtain the full diuretic effect herbalists add a pinch of baking soda to the infusion which promotes the extraction of the diuretic hyperoside. The leaves are also used, in combination with diuretic herbs, to reduce fluid retention and swelling.  Silver birch sap is a mild diuretic.  Preserved with cloves and cinnamon, the sap was once taken to treat skin diseases like acne as well as rheumatism and gout.  A decoction of silver birch bark can be used as a lotion for chronic skin problems.  The bark can also be macerated in oil and applied to rheumatic joints.  A decoction of the bark has been used to allay intermittent fevers.  Dry distillation of fresh birch wood yields birch tar, which is used in soothing ointments for skin ailments. 

Silverweed  (Potentilla anserine) The dried flowering stems are used medicinally.  The drugs contain chiefly flavonoid compounds and catechol tannins as well as constipating, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, which also determine their use in the treatment of chronic nonspecific diarrheas, especially when accompanied by indigestion.  They are used primarily for those who do not tolerate sulfa drugs.  It used to be found in formulas for uterine and stomach spasms and was added to douche formulas.  Their occasional recommended use to relieve menstrual pains is, however, ineffective.  The dried flowering stems are prepared in the form of a briefly steeped infusion—one teaspoon of the crumbled drug to one cup boiling water.  The alcohol extract from the roots of both species (20-30 drops in a glass of water) is used externally with success for gargling to relieve sore throats or for swabbing inflamed gums and to tighten spongy gums and loose teeth and where there is inflammations of the mouth such as gingivitis or apthous ulcers.  Both hemorrhoids and poison oak can be treated topically with the tea. 

Skirret  (Sium sisarum) Fresh young shoots are said by Culpeper to be a “wholesome food, of a cleansing nature, and easy digestion, provoking urine.”  May also help relieve chest complaints.  The root is diuretic and cleansing, and useful for removing obstructions from the bladder. It is serviceable against dropsy by causing plenty of urine and helps liver disorders and the jaundice. The young shoots are a pleasant and wholesome food of easy digestion.

Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus (Spathyema foetida))  The roots are a traditional folk remedy for tight coughs, bronchitis and catarrh.  It acts as a mild sedative and has been employed to treat nervous disorders.  As employed in respiratory and nervous disorders, rheumatism, and dropsy, the rootstock was official in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1882.  Skunk cabbage may be used whenever there is a tense or spasmodic condition in the lungs.  It will act to relax and ease irritable coughs.  It may be used in asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough. As a diaphoretic it will aid the body during fevers. Less commonly, skunk cabbage is used as a treatment for epilepsy, headaches, vertigo, and rheumatic problems and as a means to stop bleeding.  The leaves can be used fresh as a vulnerary. 

Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva)   A tea of the moist inner bark was taken for digestive problems, particularly diarrhea, since it is rich in a soothing mucilage. It will soothe and astringe at the same time.  After the inner bark has been soaked in warm water, it produces a mucilage that has been used to soften the skin and protect it from chapping and to hasten the healing of skin wounds.  It makes a soothing and nourishing food and herbalists consider it one of the best remedies for healing inflammations of the gastro-intestinal tract. It may be used in gastritis, gastric or duodenal ulcer, enteritis, colitis and the like.  It is a useful remedy for urinary problems such as chronic cystitis.  Slippery elm has been used to treat all manner of chest conditions and has a soothing effect on everything from coughs and bronchitis to pleurisy and tuberculosis.  The powdered bark, commonly known as slippery elm food, may be sold commercially as a nourishing drink for convalescents and those recovering from gastro-intestinal illnesses.  Externally the bark makes an excellent poultice for use in cases of burns, boils, abscesses or ulcers.  It works very well as a “drawing” poultice for boils and splinters.  Native Americans used the bark, beaten to a pulp, to treat gunshot wounds and help remove bullets.  They also used it to treat fever, diarrhea, and respiratory infections, and made a tea from boiled roots to assist women in childbirth.

Smartweed  (Polygonum hydropiper)   Water pepper is a vasoconstrictor.  The flowering heads and leaves are mostly used but occasionally the fresh roots too.  Principally it is used as an infusion to stem bleeding and relieve menstrual pain.  A cold water infusion used to be prescribed for gravel, dysentery, coughs, sore throats, colds, and gout.  A fomentation is good for chronic ulcers and bleeding tumors.  Some of the old herbalists thought it effective in nervous diseases like vertigo, lethargy, apoplexy and palsy.  Dried leaves and tops were boiled in water to make a wash used for sore mouth in nursing mothers.  The plant was also used for internal bleeding and uterine disorders and to promote menstrual flow.  In combination with tonics and gum myrrh, it is said to have cured epilepsy - probably dependent on some uterine derangement. The infusion in cold water, which may be readily prepared from the fluid extract, has been found serviceable in gravel, dysentery, gout, sore mouths, colds and coughs, and mixed with wheat bran, in bowel complaints. Antiseptic and desiccant virtues are also claimed for it. The fresh leaves, bruised with those of the Mayweed (Anthemis cotula), and moistened with a few drops of oil of turpentine, make a speedy vesicant. Simmered in water and vinegar, it has proved useful in gangrenous, or mortified conditions. The extract, in the form of infusion or fomentation, has been beneficially applied in chronic ulcers and hemorrhoidal tumors, also as a wash in chronic erysipetalous inflammations, and as a fomentation in flatulent colic. A hot decoction made from the whole plant has been used in America as a remedy for cholera, a sheet being soaked in it and wrapped round the patient immediately the symptoms start.

Soapwort   (Saponaria officinalis)   Soapwort’s main internal use is as an expectorant.  Its strongly irritant action within the gut is thought to stimulate the cough reflex and increase the production of a more fluid mucus within the respiratory passages.  Consequently, the plant is prescribed for the treatment of bronchitis, coughs and some cases of asthma.  Soapwort may be taken for other problems including rheumatic and arthritic pain.  A decoction of the root and, to a lesser extent, an infusion of the aerial parts of the herb make soothing washes for eczema and other itchy skin conditions. It is also effective when applied to poison ivy and poison oak, especially in combination with other herbs, such as mugwort.  It was once taken internally to help eliminate toxins from the liver, and in India, a specially prepared root is used to increase mother’s milk.  It is reported to have an effect upon gallstones

Solomon Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum also P. odoratum (syn P. officinale))   Combined with other remedies, Solomon's Seal is given in pulmonary consumption and bleeding of the lungs. It is also useful for menstrual irregularities, cramps, leucorrhea and many of the other ailments classified by most early herbals under the broad heading of “female complaints.” The infusion of 1 oz. to a pint of boiling water is taken in wineglassful doses and is also used as an injection. It is a mucilaginous tonic, very healing and restorative, and is good in inflammations of the stomach and bowels, piles, and chronic dysentery.  A strong decoction given every two or three hours has been found to cure erysipelas, if at the same time applied externally to the affected parts.  The powdered roots make a poultice for bruises, piles, inflammations and tumors.  Like arnica, it is believed to prevent excessive bruising and to stimulate tissue repair. The bruised roots were used as a popular cure for black eyes, mixed with cream. The bruised leaves made into a stiff ointment with lard served the same purpose.    A decoction of the root in wine was considered a suitable beverage for persons with broken bones, 'as it disposes the bones to knit.'  The flowers and roots used as snuff are celebrated for their power of inducing sneezing and thereby relieving head affections. They also had a wide vogue as aphrodisiacs, for love philtres and potions.  A tea made from the crushed leaves was used as a contraceptive.               In Chinese herbal medicine, it is considered a yin tonic and is thought to be particularly applicable to problems affecting the respiratory system—sore throats, dry and irritable coughs, bronchial congestion and chest pain.  Also for heart disease, tuberculosis, and to encourage the secretion of body fluids.  In Ayurvedic medicine, internally it is used as a rejuvenative and aphrodisiac: one of eight root herbs known as ashtavarga, used for infertility, insufficient lactation, chronic wasting diseases, and bleeding disorders related to kidney weakness.  Given with warm milk and ghee as a tonic.

Sorrel  (Rumex acetosa)  High in Vitamin C--- ½ cup chopped fresh sorrel leaves provides 54% of the daily requirement for a healthy adult.  The dark green leaves of Rumex are a good source of the yellow carotenoid pigment, beta-carotene, the vitamin A precursor in deep yellow fruits and vegetables.  Vitamin A also protects your eyes.  ½ cup chopped fresh Rumex leaves provides 67% of the vitamin A a healthy woman needs each day and 54% of the requirements for a healthy man.
           
Sorrel leaves act as a diuretic. Research has shown them to be a mild antiseptic and a light laxative.  Sorrel was also once a popular “spring cure,” usually in form of sorrel soup.  Raw, the leaves are a cooling agent for fevers and relieve thirst.
              A tea made from sorrel root was long recommended by herbalists as a diuretic, but is use is inadvisable because of the plant’s potential toxicity.  A leaf tea has also figured in herbal medicine as an appetite stimulant, a scurvy preventive, and an antiseptic; it is also somewhat laxative.  A tea of leaves also appears in herbal literature as a coolant for fever.  Infuse as a tea to treat kidney and liver ailments.  Apply to mouth ulcers, boils and infected wounds.

Southernwood   (Artemisia abrotanum)   Southernwood encourages menstruation, is antiseptic and kills intestinal worms.  It was used to treat liver, spleen and stomach problems.  It is seldom used medicinally today, except in Germany, where poultices are placed on wounds, splinters and skin conditions and it is employed occasionally to treat frostbite.  Its constituents have been shown to stimulate the gallbladder and bile, which improves digestion and liver functions.  The leaves are mixed with other herbs in aromatic baths and is said to counter sleepiness. 

Spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana)  Traditionally, the root of spiderwort was used by the Cherokees as a folk cancer remedy. A tea of the root was considered laxative.  It was also mashed, and applied as a poultice on insect bites.  A tea of the leaves was drunk by the Cherokees for stomachache from overeating.  The root of T. occidentalis served the Meskwaki as a diuretic.  Insanity was treated with spiderwort. A gum exudes from the root.  The treatment consisted of making an incision on the head, then inserting a piece of the gum into the wound as a remedy for craziness.

Spikenard, American    (Aralia racemosa)  Spikenard is considered a tonic, like sarsaparilla.  Spikenard’s roots have treated a long list of complaints including indigestion, dysentery, blood diseases, syphilis, various skin conditions (including ringworm), as well as gout, rheumatism, local pains, and some heart problems.  It was an important blood purifying tea, particularly during pregnancy.  Herbalists still use it to balance women’s cycles, including helping with premenstrual syndrome.  Its actions are similar to those attributed to sarsaparilla’s progesteronelike constituents, although hormonal activity in spikenard has not been proven.  A pleasant-tasting syrup was made with spikenard and elecampane for lung conditions like whooping cough, asthma, and general coughs.  A root poultice was chewed and applied to wounds, and a solution mixed with wild ginger was placed on fractured limbs.  The berry juice was dropped into the ear canal to ease earache.  The herb encourages sweating and is a stimulant and detoxifying.

Spikenard  (Nardostachys jatamansi syn N. grandiflora)  Internally used for nervous indigestion, insomnia, depression, and tension headaches.  Externally for rashes and as a deodorant.

Traditional Ayurvedic Uses: Jatamansi helps enhance and balance all aspects of mental functioning, including: comprehension (Dhi), memory (Dhriti) and recollection (Smriti).  It has a particular effect of calming the emotions, nerves and brain cells to aid with excessive worries.  Jatamansi works as an indirect aid to natural nerve regeneration.  It helps balance and coordinate Prana Vata (which governs the mind) and Sadhaka Pitta (which governs the emotions).  It also has a longterm effect on Tarpaka Kapha -- coordination of the laws of nature that govern health of the sinus cavities, head and cerebral-spinal fluids. This acts to stabilize the emotions.

Star Anise (Illicium verun)    Star anise is used in the East to relieve colic and rheumatism and to flavor cough medicines.  It warms the abdomen, dispels gas, regulates energy, treats belching, vomiting, abdominal pains and hernia

Stone Root (Collinsonia Canadensis) : Usually combined with other herbs, the root of stone root is used to strengthen weak veins, such as varicose veins by reducing back pressure in the veins. .   It also tones and improves the functioning of mucous membranes throughout the body, but particularly in the pelvic region.  It is suggested for use when there is insufficient circulation in the pelvic region and a sense of “heaviness.”  It has a tonic action upon the bowels and is nearly specific for hemorrhoids caused by constipation with vascular blockage.  It is known to have a near specific affinity for problems of the rectum and anus.  It is given for rectal pains and inflammation; and for dysentery with accompanying rectal problems.  It treats anal fistulae, rectal ulcers and pockets and nervous conditions affecting the rectum.  Diuretic and tonic, stone root is employed in the treatment of kidney stones.  It is also prescribed to counteract fluid retention.  A syrup was once advised for inflammation or constriction of the throat., especially in cases of laryngitis and chronic coughs and also for middle ear disorders.  Indigestion, especially when accompanied by constipation, is often remedied by stone root.  A sedative, it relieves muscle spasms, especially those in the digestive tract.  The root has occasionally been used as a remedy for headaches caused by digestive sluggishness.  An external poultice of the fresh leaves or roots is placed on wounds, sores, bruises, inflammation as well as for the relief of poison oak and ivy dermatitis. 

Sumac  (Rhus coriaria)   In the Middle East, a sour drink is made from the fruit to relieve stomach upsets.

Sumac, Smooth  (Rhus glabra) 19th century American physicians frequently prescribed preparations made from Sumac.  The berries have refrigerant and diuretic properties, and are used in bowel complaints and febrile disorders.  A drug made from the dried ripe fruit is a component of gargles.  The bark also has healing properties.  A dose of 1 teaspoonful of the bark decocted in boiling water and taken a mouthful at a time relieves throat irritations.  The bark may be boiled in milk and used as a healing wash for minor burns in the absence of more potent remedies.  The bark of the roots was simmered with lard and the resulting salve was used to heal burns without leaving scars.  Spirituous infusions of Sumac were rubbed on the limbs to relieve rheumatism and aching muscles, and small balls of the gummy sap inserted into tooth cavities relieved the pain of toothache.  Decoctions in large doses are said to be cathartic in effect.   The seeds are used as a styptic.  All parts of the plant yield tannin which is medicinally valuable and dyes which are used in the leather industry.

Sweet Birch  (Betula lenta)    The cambium (the layer directly under the bark) is eaten in the spring, cut into strips like vermicelli.  The bark, in the form of an infusion is used as a general stimulant and to promote sweating.  As a decoction or syrup, it is used as a tonic for dysentery and is said to be useful in genito-urinary irritation.  The flavor of wintergreen and birch bark, in the form of a tea, was popular with Native Americans and European settlers.  The juice of the leaves once made a gargle for mouth sores.  Throughout the centuries, the sap has been used in making medicinal wine and were made into a diuretic tea.  Also an ingredient in skin lotions. 

Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata)    Grieve says, Sweet Cicely was described by old herbalists as 'so harmless, you cannot use it amiss'.  It was recommended as a gentle stimulant for digestive upsets and useful for coughs and consumption and was said to be particularly good as a tonic for girls between 15 and 18.  A decoction of the antiseptic roots was used for snake and dog bites and an ointment was used to ease gout and soothe wounds and ulcers.  The roots have been used as a cough remedy and as a diuretic.  The seeds and leaves possess mild expectorant, carminative, stomachic and diuretic qualities.  The essential oil contains anethole.  Sweet cicely is employed in folk medicine in some parts of the world, but its uses have not been tested scientifically.  It does seem to increase appetite and decrease flatulence, and we know the roots are antiseptic. All parts of the plant were used in medicine and the roots were boiled until tender and given to the elderly to eat, it was believed to strengthen the digestion.  

Sweet Woodruff     Galium odoratum (Asperula odorata): One reason that woodruff leaves were added to wines was because they aid the digestion and are helpful in treating liver obstructions and hepatitis.  At one time, woodruff leaves made a popular diuretic and remedy to reduce bladder stones.  Woodruff reduces inflammation and the asperuloside it contains has been suggested as a starting point for manufacturing prostaglandin drugs. The herb also provides coumarin, used to produce anticoagulant drugs.  Considered a light sedative, it comes in handy for treating nervous tension, especially in the elderly and children. Woodruff was much used as a medicine in the Middle Ages.   The fresh leaves, bruised and applied to cuts and wounds, were said to have a healing effect, and formerly a strong decoction of the fresh herb was used as a cordial and stomachic.

Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala)   The seeds of which can be taken internally in minute doses, providing a valuable Ayurvedic remedy against depression.  They have also been taken to treat eye disorders and to stimulate breast-milk production.  In central Asia, harmala root is a popular medicinal remedy, used in the treatment of rheumatism and nervous conditions.

Szechuan Pepper  (Zanthoxylum piperitum (Xanthoxylum piperitum))   The berries of Zanthoxylum species are carminative and anti-spasmodic.  The ground bark of a related species (Z americanum) is an old-fashioned remedy for toothache.  Both bark and berries are stimulants and they are used in traditional medicines and herbal cures to purify the blood, promote digestion and as an anti-rheumatic.

T 

Tamarind   (Tamarindus indica (T. officinalis))  Tamarind is a wholesale and cleansing fruit that improves digestion, relieves gas, soothes sore throats and acts mildly laxative because of its acids and potassium bitartrate content.  In Ayurvedic medicine, it is given to improve the appetite and to strengthen the stomach.  It is also used to relieve constipation, however, mixed with cumin and sugar tamarind is also prescribed as a treatment for dysentery.  In the West Indies it is used for urinary troubles.  In southern India, tamarind soup is taken to treat colds and other ailments that cause the production of excessive mucus.  In Chinese medicine, tamarind is considered a cooling herb, appropriate for treating the condition known as “summer heat.”    The Ananga Ranga mentions the use of tamarind for enhancing sexual enjoyment by the female.  Its antiseptic properties are well recognized in the East, where a tamarind preparation is used as an eyewash and ulcer treatment.  A tamarind paste is said to relieve rheumatism.  It is used in many regions of Africa in similar ways.  In Nigeria and the Ivory Coast it is included in leprosy remedies.  In the U.K. an extract is utilized as a binding agent for tablets.  In Latin America, tamarind juice is the chaser of choice when you’re drinking alcoholic beverages.  That’s because it has a reputation for preventing hangover.  A study showed that extracts of tamarind prevented liver damage in experimental animals that were given liver-damaging chemicals.   The fruit is also given for loss of appetite and vomiting in pregnancy.

Tansy  (Tanacetum vulgare)  Flowers are used.  In the past tansy was a great cure-all, and was often used in gypsy medicine.  It was said that its juice aided conception.  The constituent thujone kills intestinal roundworms and threadworms, scabies and heals other infected skin conditions.  Very small doses have been used to treat epilepsy and to encourage menstruation.  It is a strong remedy to promote delayed or stopped menstruation.  The oil is externally applied to treat injuries, bruises and rheumatic complaints. In Scotland, an infusion of the dried flowers and seeds (1/2 to 1 teaspoonful, two or three times a day) is given for gout. The roots when preserved with honey or sugar, have also been reputed to be of special service against gout, if eaten fasting every day for a certain time.  From 1 to 4 drops of the essential oil may be safely given in cases of epilepsy, but excessive doses have produced seizures.  Tansy has been used externally with benefit for some eruptive diseases of the skin, and the green leaves, pounded and applied, will relieve sprains and allay the swelling.  A hot infusion, as a fomentation to sprained and rheumatic parts, will give relief.   Certain populations of tansy contain some of the same anti-migraine compounds as feverfew (parthenolide). Chemical analysis is necessary to determine its presence.

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) Pliny thought tarragon prevented fatigue and during the Middle Ages the faithful put it in their shoes before setting out on pilgrimages.   Leaves have been used to stimulate appetite (especially when it has been lost because of illness), settle an upset stomach, promote the menses and as a diuretic. Chewed to numb a toothache and before eating bitter medicine  Taking the tea before going to bed could help with insomnia.  In warmer climes it is used to treat threadworms in children

Thyme  (Thymus spp)  Thyme’s main medicinal role is in treating coughs (including whooping cough) and clearing congestion.  It makes an excellent gargle or mouthwash for sore throats and infected gums.  Many pharmaceutical gargles, cough drops, mouthwashes, and vapor rubs contain thyme’s constituent thymol, which destroys bacteria, some fungus, and the shingles virus (herpes zoster).  Participants in a study who rinse twice daily with Listerine™, containing thymol (with eucalyptol and menthol), found they developed 34% less gum inflammation and new plaque formation.  Thyme improves digestion, relaxing smooth muscels.  It reduces the prostaglandins responsible for many menstrual cramps.  Thyme also helps destroy intestinal parasites (especially hookworms and roundworms).  Used externally for infected wounds.  Soothing sedative action on nerves. Expectorant, reduces spasms.  Induces perspiration to break fever and aid in beginning of colds.  Strengthens lungs.  Good for headache. Used for uterine problems.  Will help bring on delayed or suppressed menstruation. Eases difficult or painful menstruation.  Good for stomach weakness and cramps, indigestion, gas,

Tolu Balsam   (Myroxylon balsamum var. balsamum)   The balsam works primarily on the respiratory mucous membranes and is good for chronic catarrh and non-inflammatory chest complaints, laryngitis and croup.  It is used as a flavor and mild expectorant in cough syrups and lozenges.  As an ingredient in compound benzoin tincture and similar formulations, it is helpful in the treatment of cracked nipples, lips, cuts, bedsores, etc.
            The leaves and fruits of M. pereirae have been used by indigenous tribes of Mexico and Central America and the bitter resin employed for asthma, catarrh, rheumatism, and external wounds and the Choco Indian use the powdered bark as an underarm deodorant. The sap of M. balsamum has had indigenous uses for colds, and lung ailments, and the Amazon rainforest tribes have employed it for abscesses, asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, headache, rheumatism, sores, sprains, tuberculosis, venereal diseases, and wounds. The indigenous use of Balsam of Peru led to its export to Europe in the 17 century where it was first documented in the German pharmacopeia and to its use as a bactericide, fungicide and parasiticide in cases of scabies, ringworm, pediculosis, granulations, superficial ulcerations, wounds, bed sores, diaper rash and chilblains. The vapor from the balsam dissolved in ether when inhaled, is beneficial in chronic catarrh and other noninflammatory chest complaints. The best form is that of an emulsion, made by titurating the balsam with mucilage and loaf sugar, and adding water.  

             
Balsam of Tolu was included in the US Pharmacopeia in 1820 as well and used similarly in addition to an antitussive and respiratory used for lozenges for coughs and sore throats, in cough syrups and as a vapor inhalant for respiratory ailments with documented antiseptic and expectorant properties.

Tonka Bean (Dipteryx odorata)  Coumarin is cardiac, tonic and narcotic and the fluid extract is used in whooping cough, but large doses cause paralysis of the heart.  Coumarin derivatives are used as anti-coagulants. Also Carminative, Diaphoretic, Febrifuge, Stimulant, Stomachic.  Classified by FDA as Class 3 herb (To be used only under the supervision of an expert qualified in the appropriate use of this substance).  Allowed in alcoholic beverages in Canada if coumarin-free.

Tormentil Potentilla erecta (Potentilla tormentilla, Tormentilla erecta)  Internally used for diarrhea, enteritis, Crohn’s disease, mucous colitis, ulcerative colitis, gastritis, diverticulitis, peptic ulcer, and inflammation of the colon.  Externally for hemorrhoids, vaginal discharge, sore throat, mouth ulcers, cuts, sores, ulcers, burns, sunburn, frostbite, and shingles.  Care is needed in topical application of strong tannins, which can cause scarring.

Tulip (Tulipa edulis)  The bulb is made into a paste and topically applied for lymphatic cancers, nodules, sores, ulcers, boils, and toxic swellings.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa)  Turmeric is a choleretic, an agent that stimulates the liver to increase its production of bile.  This yellow brown or green fluid helps emulsify fats in your duodenum and increases peristalsis, the rhythmic contractions that move food through your gastrointestinal tract.
           
Turmeric is also a cholagogue, an agent that stimulates the gallbladder and biliary duct to discharge bile and increases your body’s excretion of cholesterol.  Turmeric is useful for preventing and treating gallstones, according to Commission E.  In one study, mice with experimentally induced gallstones were placed on special feed containing a modest amount of curcumin, and within five weeks their gallstone volume had dropped 45%.  After ten weeks they had 80% fewer gallstones than untreated mice.  Choleretics and cholagogues are ordinarily beneficial for healthy people but may pose some problems for people with gallbladder or liver disease.  
            The fleshy tuber-like rhizome is used. It contains a volatile oil and a water-soluble yellow pigment.  Its usefulness as a gallbladder remedy in the narrower sense has been demonstrated.  The cholagogue and choleretic action is quite powerful, and recent investigations have shown it to be primarily due to the yellow pigment. The drug is prescribed as a tea or infusion
           
The people of Java call this plant temoe lavak.  In India and other Asian countries it has a long tradition as a popular remedy for jaundice and liver disease. There is no doubt that it can be effective, particularly where bile flow needs to be thoroughly stimulated, but it is doubtful if it achieves more than our native drugs, and indeed unlikely, as it is not always indicated.  Above all it lacks spasmolytic and carminative properties.  The yellow pigment has a marked irritant effect on the gastric mucosa, so that caution in indicated where there is a tendency to hyperacidity or where there is simple irritable stomach. 
           
To treat minor wounds, wash them with soap and water, then sprinkle on some powdered herb and bandage.  For an infusion to help aid digestion and possibly help promote heart health, use 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder per cup of warm milk.  Drink up to 3 cups a day.  These infusions may also offer a measure of protection to the liver and help ease the inflammation of arthritis.  Turmeric tastes pleasantly aromatic, but in large amounts, it becomes somewhat bitter.
           
Turmeric regulates the menses, relieves menstrual pains and helps reduce uterine tumors.  Used externally or internally, turmeric promotes healing in cases of trauma or injury.  In India, it’s a traditional ulcer treatment and in animal studies it’s been shown to stimulate the stomach lining to produce more protective mucus.  
           
In Chinese medicine, turmeric invigorates the blood and unblocks menstruation; for chest or abdominal pain, amenorrhea, or dysmenorrhea due to blood stasis caused by cold from deficiency.  Also used for pain and swelling due to trauma.  It promotes the movement of qi and alleviates pain; for epigastric and abdominal pain due to stagnant qi.  It expels wind and promotes the movement of blood; for wind-dampness painful obstruction with blood stasis, especially in the shoulders.  Contraindicated in cases of blood deficiency without stagnant qi or blood stasis.  
           
Research shows:  Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It has an even stronger action than hydrocortisone, according to research studies conducted between 1971 and 1991. 
           
When applied to the skin and exposed to sunlight, turmeric is strongly antibacterial. Curcumin is the constituent responsible for this action.  Curcumin is also more strongly antioxidant than vitamin E.  In lab and animal studies, it’s been shown to protect LDL cholesterol from being “oxidized.  In India, in 1992, researchers gave ten healthy volunteers a half a gram of turmeric a day for seven days.  That’s an amount you might get in your diet if it includes curry.  They measured the level of oxidative by-products of blood cholesterol.  After a week, it fell 33%.  Blood cholesterol fell, too, by 12%.  Turmeric can also dilate blood vessels, so it may lower blood pressure as it’s done in animal studies.   Research is also being done with HIV.   Turmeric may be a valuable preventive remedy for those at risk of developing cancer.

 

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