Western Herbs

To begin with Hippocrates (468-377BC) the farther of medicine. Noteworthy,herbal medicine is the medicine of the ancestors and thus the oldest form of medicine ever practiced by mankind and it existed long before Hippocrates. Proven by many instances like the discovery of Neanderthal man’s grave in a cave in Iraq, who was buried with flower pollen scattered in the soil surrounded with clusters of flowers which was presumed to be his summer meals. And 60, 000 years after his death the plants were analyzed and were found to be coming from eight different species of flowering plants , they included Althea officinalis (Marshmallow) among others.

Marshmallow which is still in use today, the roots have a soothing effect on the irritated throat (Griggs) My assumption that it existed long before any writen records . But is noteworthy because, he is considered the founder of medicine based on rational science by rejecting superstition, he changed medicine from magic, vision, intuition to experimental. He promoted data and conducted experiments that showed that disease was a natural process and the chief role of the physician was to aid natural resistance of the body to overcome the metabolic imbalance and restore health and harmony to the organism.

Other Notable Figures Though Out History

Between 50 and 70 AD Pedanius Dioscorides, wrote the De Material Medica which provided a prototype herbal and pharmacopeia (prototype herbal and Pharmacopeia) He is said to have intended to establish a solid foundation on which future experience and experiment could build.

Theophrastus, the father of Botany he was known for accurate observation of medicinal plants.

Galen (131-200 AD) Clinical medicine was based on observation and experience. The resulting tightly integrated and comprehensive system , offering a complete medical philosophy dominated medicine thought the middle ages and until the beginning of the modern era .He also promoted humoral therapy , for more than 5000 years ,This theory states that illness is caused by an imbalance of humors and is treated with simples composites and entities .His writing led to the dip divide between traditional healers and conventional ( or modern day physicians )In my opinion he is to blame for the direction taken by medicine because he favored elaborate , costly medicines with complex compounds and following Galen, Doctors came to feel that the more elaborate and complex a remedy and the more ingredients piled into it, the better it was bound to be.

Ar Razi (869-925AD). He has two major works, Kitab al Mansur, which he composed for the Rayy ruler Mansur ibn Iraq and Kitab al hawi the comprehensive book in which he surveyed Greek, Syrian, early Arabic medicine as well as some Indian medical knowledge.

Ib said (Avicenna) 980-1037AD.He is said to have intersected Galen and Aristotle .He wrote the medieval text book of Galenic medicine the Qanun (the canon )as well as the central medieval statement of Aristotelian biology .

St Benedict (480AD-550).He wrote rules of the Benedict order. He is the founder of western monasticism.

Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). She was a visionary , a gentle revolutionists who excelled as abbess , visionary, scientist , physician , prophet , theologian , author and composer She demonstrated the importance of women’s contribution to the intellectual life of the middle ages

Dame tota also known as Trotulla of Salerno (1090-1200)Italian physician who worked in the 11th or 12th century in Salerno, Italy . He wrote three major medical treatise: Diseases of women, treatments for women, and women’s cosmetics. In medieval Europe, these texts were a major source for information on women’s health. Also one of the seven Salerno physicians who contributed to an encyclopedia of medical knowledge, on the treatment of illnesses

Albertus Magnus 1193-1280) also known as Saint Albert of Cologne was a Dominican. He is damous for his comprehensive knowledge and advocacy for the peaceful coexistence of science and religion. In the Catholic Church he is honored as the Doctor of the church

Thomas Aquinas (1201-1274) Summa Theologica originally written for the instruction for beginners, “time has shown that all believers can come to learn from enriching book”

Paracelsus (1493) (The revolutionist ).He promoted the concept of disease is a chemical abnormality treated with chemicals .An alchemist by trade, rejected occultism and pioneered use of chemicals and minerals in medicine, banned books of Avicenna, Galen and Hippocrates .His surgery is mostly that of based on that of Celsus , Paul of Aegina and Abulcasis.

Henry V111(1493-1541) was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death he is said to have his own royal set of apothecary equipment which he carried with him whenever he went for travels. He is said to have found plasters and ointments fascinating.

Lady Anne Clifford (1589 -1676) she was a patron of literature and due to her own writings in form of letters and the diary she kept from 1603 to 1616. She erected the countless pillar near Brougham, Cambria, she did a lot of alchemical experiments.

Gui Patin (1602-1672) the showdown in Paris .Guy Patin was French doctor and man of letters. Guy Patin was dean of the Faculty of medicine in Paris and Professor in the college de France starting in 1655.

Nicholas Culpeper (1616 -1654) translated the London pharmacopeia to Latin into English physicians an act of heresy to his class and all of English physicians.

William withering (1741-1799) Isolated digitalis from fox glove.

In comparison to African traditional medicine , Western herbal medicine has this admirable renaissance which has given birth to such a respectable field and provided a platform for different practitioners to play fairly with organisations like the American herbalist guild , one can only but imagine what the future of Western herbalism will be .

Current elders

My teachers

List Of Some Western Herbs & Their Uses

ALFALFA – Heart disease, stroke, cancer, bad breath

ALOE:Externally – burns, wounds, inflammation. Internally – diabetes, constipation, blood sugar

ANGELICA (Dong Quai) – Menopause, respiratory problems, digestion, arthritis


APPLE – Constipation, diarrhea, cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes

ARNICA:Externally – Pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, acne, insect bites. Not for internal use.


ASTRAGALUS:Internally – Cancer, tonic, colds & flu, antiviral, antibacterial


BEARBERRY (Uva-ursi) – Urinary tract infections

BILBERRY:Internally – Serious eye conditions, opening arteries, throat inflammations, diarrhea, bruises



BLACKBERRY – Eye problems, diarrhea, hemorrhoids

BLACK COHOSH:Internally – PMS, menopause, mentrual aches

BLACK HAW – Menstrual cramps, fever, pains

BLUE COHOSH – Labor initiation

BONESET – Colds, flu



BUCHU – PMS, diuretic

BUCKTHORN – Constipation

BURDOCK:Detoxification, water retention


CALENDULA:Burns, sore throat, oral infections, wounds

CARAWAY – Digestion


CATNIP – Digestion, anxiety, infections, female issues

CAT’S CLAW:Arthritis, herpes, allergies, immune systems, cancer, anti-viral

CAYENNE:Externally – Arthritis, healed infections, shingles. Internally – Nutrition, antioxidant

CELERY – Gout, hypertension

CHAMOMILE:Wounds, indigestion, nausea, insomnia, anxiety

CHAPARRAL – Tooth decay, gum disease, arthritis

CHASTE TREE – PMS, menstrual problems



CINNAMON – Hypertension, antiseptic, digestion


CLOVE – Mouthwash, toothache

COCOA – Antioxidant, fatigue, depression

COFFEE – Fatigue, colds, flu, asthma

COMFREY – Wounds



CRANBERRY – Nutrition, Urinary tract infections



DILL – Stomach soother, UTI

DANDELION releases bile & water, eases indigestion & rheumatism. Click for much more on the benefits of dandelion.

DONG QUAI – Menstrual cramps, PMS, liver tonic

ECHINACEA – A great immune system booster

ELDERBERRY – Prevent, treat cold & bronchitis

ELECAMPINE – Asthma, emphysema, tuberculosis, antibacterial

EPHEDRA – Respiratory problems, obesity

EUCALYPTUS – Colds, flu


FAINTING: Broomweed, cardamom, coffee, ephedrine, eucalyptus, rosemary

FATIGUE: Astragalus, Ginseng

FEMALE FERTILITY: Info on female fertility herbs

FEVER: Bayberry, Meadowsweet, White willow

FIBROIDS: Burdock, Milk thistle

FIBROMYALGIA: Apply Cayenne. Ingest Devil’s claw, Ginkgo, St. John’s wort, Willow. Click for a complete discussion on fibromyalgia herbs.

FLATULENCE: Chamomile, fennel, Ginger, Peppermint

FOOD POISONING PREVENTION, TREATMENT: Angelica, sage, Cinnamon, Thyme, Garlic

FLU: Home remedies for flu // Herbal remedies for flu, pg1 // Herbs for flu, pg2

FUNGAL SKIN INFECTIONS: Apply Arnica, Garlic, Tea tree oil. Ingest Garlic


GALLSTONES: Artichoke, coffee, dandelion, turmeric, peppermint oil, milk thistleGAS: Dill

GENITAL WARTS: St. John’s wort, garlic, licorice

GERD (ACID REFLUX): Click for more info on herbal remedies for acid reflux // Update on home remedies for GERD

GIARDIASIS: Goldenseal, barberry

GINGIVITIS: Bloodroot, camomile, Echinacea, licorice, purslane, sage

GLAUCOMA: Bilberry, ginkgo, blackberry, cranberry, raspberry

GOUT: Celery, nettle, boswellia, celery seed, devil’s claw, turmeric. Click for much more on the best herbs for gout.

GRAVE’S DISEASE (Hyperthyroidism): Bugleweed, lemon balm, self-heal, kelp, verbena. Click for much more on herbal remedies for hyperthyroidism.

GUM DISEASE: Internal – Goldenseal, myrrh. External – Aloe, calendula

HAIR LOSS/PROBLEMS: Click here for more

HALITOSIS (bad breath): Click for helpful info on herbal remedies for bad breath

HANGOVER: Ginkgo, dandelion, willow. Click for our full page on home remedies for hangovers

HASHIMOTO’S THYROIDITIS: Click for our very informative page on herbs for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

HAY FEVER: Nettle, parsley, garlic, licorice, peppermint oil

HEADACHES: Cayenne, feverfew, ginger, meadowsweet, peppermint, white willow. For a great discussion on headaches & more herbal remedies for headaches CLICK HERE.


HEART DISEASE: Alfalfa, evening primrose, garlic, ginger, gonkgo, hawthorn, green tea, motherwort, onion. For more great info on heart disease & a complete list of herbs for heart health, click here.

HEARTBURN: Aloe, licorice root, cabbage juice

HEMORRHOIDS: External-witch hazel, horse chestnut, slippery elm, mullein; Internal-horse chestnut, butcher’s broom. Click for complete info on herbal remedies for hemorrhoids

HEPATITIS: Licorice, milk thistle

HERPES: External-lemon balm, licorice, St John’s wort, comfrey, peppermint; Internal-echinacea, garlic, ginseng, lemon balm, licorice. Click for our page on herbal remedies for herpes

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE: Garlic, hawthorn, dandelion, ginger, turmeric, valerian. For more helpful info on herbs for hypertension click here. Click for best specific herbs for high blood pressure. Click for best all natural foods for HBP.

HIGH CHOLESTEROL: Alfalfa, artichoke, Cat’s claw, garlic, ginger, hawthorn, psyllium, tea, turmeric. For a great discussion on reducing bad cholesterol & raising good cholesterol, text click here.


HIV Infection (AIDS): Licorice, oregano, St. John’s-wort, aloe, astragalus

HIVES: Internal- chamomile, licorice, stinging nettle. External- Aloe, chamomile, nettle, parsley, yarrow

HYPERTHYROIDISM: Click for much more on herbal remedies for hyperthyroidism.

HYPOTHYROIDISM: Internal- Variety of bitters, bladderwack, myrhh (extrernal too) Click for our complete page on herbs for hypothyroidism.

IMPOTENCE: Ginkgo, ginsengINDIGESTION: Chamomile, ginger, licorice, peppermint

INFERTILITY(female): Click 4 best female fertility herbs

INFERTILITY(male): Click 4 best male fertility herbs

INFLAMMATION: Click for more on top anti-inflammatory herbs.


INFLUENZA: Elder, licorice root

INSECT BITES & STINGS: Internal – Aloe, echinacea, plaintain, tea, witch hazel

INSOMNIA: Kava-kava, chamomile, valerian, passionflower, hop, yarrow. Click for our complete page on herbal remedies for insomnia

INTERMITTENT CLAUDICATION: Garlic, ginger, ginkgo, hawthorn

INTESTINAL PARASITES: Epazote, garlic, ginger


KIDNEYS: Home remedies for kidney // Herbal kidney remedies, Pg2 // Home remedies for kidney stones, Pg1 // Herbal remedies for kidney stones, Pg2 // Herbs for kidney stones, Pg3 // Home remedies for kidney infection

LARYNGITIS: Cardamom, ginger, horehound, mallow, mullein

LEAD POISONING: Apple, garlic

LEPROSY: Garlic, Gotu kola

LICE: Home remedies for lice // More herbs for lice

LIVER DISEASE: Licorice, green tea, dandelion, artichoke, turmeric, peppers

LYME DISEASE: Bupleurum, Echinacea, garlic, licorice


MALE FERTILITY: Click 4 best male fertility herbs


MEMORY PROBLEMS: Ginkgo, Siberian ginseng, water hyssop

MENOPAUSE: Black cohosh, dang gui, St.-John’s-wort. Click for much more on herbal remedies for menopause.

MENSTRUAL PROBLEMS: Black cohosh, cramp bark, black haw, feverfew, vitex, yarrow

MESOTHELIOMA: Click for mesothelioma facts & herbal remedies.

MIGRAINE: Feverfew. Click for much more on herbal remedies for migraines.

MORNING SICKNESS: Chamomile, ginger, peppermint

MOTION SICKNESS: Fennel, ginger, peppermint

MOUTH SORES: Blackberry

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: Black currant, evening primrose, flaxseed, ginkgo, purslane


NAUSEA: Catnip, chamomile, ginger, lemon balm, peppermint

NERVE PAIN: Corydalis, Jamaican dogwood, St.-John’s-wort, cayenne

OBESITY: Herbal weight loss remedies // Update on natural herbs for weight loss

OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER (OCD): Bergamot oil, California poppy, kava-kava, St.-John’s-wort, valerian

OSTEOARTHRITIS: Home remedies for osteoarthritis, pg1 // Herbal remedies for osteoarthritis, pg2 // Natural remedies for osteoarthritis, pg3

OSTEOPOROSIS: Click for best herbs for osteoporosis

PAIN: Meadowsweet, passionflower, red pepper (one of the home remedies that works for many conditions), white willow, clove. Click for more on herbal pain remedies

PARASITES: agrimony, barberry, Echinacea, garlic

PARKINSON’S DISEASE: Fava bean, velvet bean, ginkgo, grapeseed, evening primrose

PINKEYE AND STIES: (also termed conjunctivitis), Barberry, eyebright, yarrow, mullein. Click4More on home remedies for conjuctivitis (Pink eye)

PNEUMONIA: Astragalus, Baikal skullcap, dandelion, echinacea, goldenseal, garlic, mullein

POISON IVY, OAK, SUMAC: Aloe, jewelweed, plantain, soapwort, grindelia. Click for our page on best home remedies for poison ivy

PREGNANCY & DELIVERY: Click for top herbs for pregnancy

Also see our list of herbs to avoid during pregnancy

PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (PMS): Black cohosh, dandelion, evening primrose, nettle, parsley, sarsaparilla, uva-ursi, chasteberry

PROSTATE CONDITIONS: Prostate herbs, Pg 1 // Herbal remedies for prostate, Pg 2 // Herbal remedies for prostate cancer

PSORIASIS: Echinacea, gotu kola, bishop’s weed, red pepper. Click for page 1 on herbal remedies for psoriasis // Page 2 on home remedies for psoriasis

REYNAUD’S: Evening primrose, garlic, ginkgo, bilberry, cayenne pepper

RHEUMATOID ARHTRITIS: Click for best herbal remedies for rheumatoid arthritis

RINGWORM: pau d’arco, tea tree oil

ROSACEA: Home remedies for rosacea // Best herbs for rosacea, pg2 // Herbal remedies for rosacea, pg3

SCABIES: Click for our umbrella page on home remedies for scabies. Click for page on herbal remedies for scabies

SCIATICA: Hayseed, stinging nettle, willow, wintergreen


SHINGLES: Lemon balm, red pepper, licorice. Click for best herbal remedies for shingles.

SINUS: Herbal remedies for sinus problems // Sinus infection home remedies // Home remedies for nasal congestion // Home remedies for sinusitis

SKIN PROBLEMS: Evening primrose, aloe

SMOKING ADDICTION: Licorice, red clover, coltsfoot, elecampane, mullein. Best herbs to quit smoking

SNORING: Top herbal remedies for snoring, Click here

SORES: Calendula, comfrey, dragon’s blood

SORE THROAT: Eucalyptus, honeysuckle, fenugreek, licorice, marshmallow, mullein, sage, slippery elm

SPORTS INJURIES/PAIN: Cayenne, ginger, kava-kava, turmeric, arnica, comfrey

STIES: Echinacea, goldenseal, potato, thyme

STRESS: catnip, celery, chamomile, ginseng, kava, motherwort, passionflower, yarrow, valerian. Click for more valuable info & herbs for stress relief


STROKE PREVENTION, TREATMENT: Bilberry, blackberry, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, turmeric, white willow, pigweed, hawthorn

SUNBURN: Home remedies for sunburn // Herbal remedies for sunburn

SWELLING: Ginger, pineapple, turmeric

THYROID: Herbal thyroid remedies info page

THRUSH: click for best home remedies for thrush

TINNITUS (EAR RINGING): Ginkgo, (contact us for more info to this herbal remedy guide on tinnitus)

TONSILLITIS: Echinacea, garlic, honeysuckle, sage

TOOTHACHE: Home toothache remedies, Part 1 // Best toothache home remedies, Part 2

TOOTH DECAY: Tea, bay, licorice. Best herbal medicine for pain needing root canal?

TUBERCULOSIS: Echinacea, forsythia, garlic, honeysuckle, licorice

USNEA: problems w/ lungs, intestines, throat, sinuses, urinary and reproductive tract., antibiotic, anti-fungal. One of the great Chinese medical herbs.

UVA URSI: urinary tract infections, cystitis (bladder inflammation), kidney stones

VALERIAN: insomnia, anxiety, muscle spasms, hbp

VERVAIN: pain, inflammation, constipation

VITEX: PMS & other female conditions

WILLOW BARK: fever, pain, inflammation, heart problems, stroke, women’s issues. Commonly used by consumers who use herbs as medicines instead of OTCs.

WITCH HAZEL: hemorrhoids, skin problems, sunburn

YARROW: urinary infections, high blood pressure, women’s issues, heart problems, wounds, diarrhea, stress, anxiety, digestion. Click for more on the wondrous yarrow herb

YELLOW DOCK: digestion skin conditions, constipation, liver detox



Zee, Barbara Van der. Green pharmacy: the history and evolution of Western herbal medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1991. Print.

Reeds, Karen. “Herbs and Herbalism in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and: Pristina Medicamenta: Ancient and Medieval Medical Botany (review).” Bulletin of the History of Medicine75.3 (2001): 560-62. Web.

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