• Herbs are important to include in your diet because food is your best medicine.  Your bodies’ approximate 10 to 50 trillion cells require water, nutrients, and oxygen.  To be healthy, a daily intake of organic vegetables (raw and cooked), fruits, grains, beans, seeds, occasional meat or fish and pure water will supply the protein, complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, simple and complex sugars, vitamins, minerals and enzymes that you will need.  With the addition of herbs, you can assure that you are receiving all the vitamins and minerals that your body requires in a form that is easily assimilated by your body.  In addition, herbs are useful to address many specific health challenges that manifest because of stress, contamination, aging, etc. 

    Herbs are a great addition to your diet because they supply not only essential vitamins and minerals; but, secondary metabolites, resins, saponins, oleoresins, lactones, volatile oils, and many other nutrients that facilitate the absorption and usage of the basic nutrients required by your body.  As the body assimilates an herb; organs, nerves, and various structures will be nourished, strengthened, toned, or cleansed (depending upon the herb or combinations of herbs).  In this way, herbs assist the body to heal and regenerate itself. 

    According to their usage, herbs can be classified into different action categories.  The following is a list of some of the more familiar herbal categories.

    Alterative - Herbs that purify the blood.  These include:  Alfalfa, Barberry, Burdock, Cayenne, Echinacea, Eyebright, Garlic, Kelp, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Marshmallow, Nettles, Plantain, Red Clover, St. John’s Wort, Sassafras, Turkey Rhubarb, Uva Ursi and Yellow Dock.

    Antispasmodic - Herbs that are used for muscular spasms, cramps and convulsions.  The Antispasmodic herbs include Black Cohosh, Black Haw, Blue Cohosh, Calendula, Cascara Sagrada, Cayenne, Cramp Bark, Fennel, Garlic, Hawthorne Berry , Kava Kava, Lady’s Slipper, Lemon Balm, Lobelia, Motherwort, Mullein, Oat, Passion Flower, Peppermint, Pleurisy Root, Prickly Ash, Raspberry, Rue, Sage, Scullcap, Skunk Cabbage, Spearmint, Thyme, Vervain, and Wild Yam.

    Astringent - Herbs that tighten tone and constrict body tissues.  Their constricting qualities are due to polyphenols and tannins.  These herbs are effective in stopping the flow of blood or other secretions.  Astringents include: Bayberry, Beth Root, Blackberry, Black Walnut, Bugleweed, Calendula, Cayenne, Cleaver, Comfrey, Cramp Bark, Cranesbill, Dandelion, Elecampane, Ephedra, Eyebright, Fenugreek, Gravel Root, Hawthorne Berry, Horsetail, Juniper Berry, Mullein, Pipsissewa, Plantain, Prickly Ash, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Rose Hips, Rosemary, Sage, Shepherd’s Purse, Slippery Elm, Squaw vine, St. John’s Wort, Stone Root, Tormentil, Turkey Rhubarb, Uva Ursi, Vervain, Wild Cherry Bark, Witch Hazel, White Oak Bark, Yarrow, Yellow Dock, and Yerba Santa.

    Cardiac - Herbs that increase the power and function of the heart.  Cardiac herbs include Black Cohosh, Bugleweed, Cayenne, Hawthorne Berry, and Motherwort.

    Carminative - Herbs that stimulate the expulsion of gas from the gastrointestinal tract.  Carminatives also increase the tone of the musculature and stimulate peristalsis.  These herbs include Angelica, Anise, Caraway, Cardamom, Catnip, Cayenne , Celery, Chamomile, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Fennel, Garlic, Ginger, Juniper Berrry, Myrrh, Parsley, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Pleurisy Root, Rosemary, Sarsaparilla, Sassafras, Spearmint, Thyme, and Valerian root.

    Cathartic - Herbs that cause a rapid evacuation of the upper intestines and the bowels, by stimulating the intestines and colon to remove waste and toxins through bowel movements. Cathartic herbs include: Aloe, Cascara Sagrada, Mountain flax, and Rhubarb.

    Cholagogue - Herbs that promote the flow of bile.  Cholagogue herbs include Barberry, Beet, Bistort, Boneset, Cascara Sagrada, Cayenne , Damiana, Dandelion, Elecampane, Gentian, Goldenseal, Hops, Hyssop, Mandrake, (Olive Oil), Oregon Grape Root, Vervain, Wild Yam, Wormwood, and Yellow Dock.

    Demulcents - Are herbs that soften and relieve irritation of the mucous membranes. In addition to being used in conjunction with expectorant herbs they are often used as powders to bind medications when making pills.  The demulcents herbs include Agar Agar, Aloe Vera, Burdock Root, Chickweed, Coltsfoot, Comfrey Root, Cornsilk, Fenugreek, Flax Seed, Pimento, Irish Moss, Kelp, Licorice, Lungwort, Marshmallow, Mullein, Peach Bark, Psyllium Seed and Slippery Elm.

    Diaphoretic - Herbs that increase perspiration by dilating superficial capillaries and blood vessels.  There are 3 categories of diaphoretics: stimulating, neutral and relaxing.  Diaphoretic herbs include:  Angelica (stimulating), Blessed Thistle (stimulating), Blue Vervain (relaxing), Boneset (stimulating), Burdock Root (relaxing), Buchu (stimulating), Calendula (relaxing), Catnip (relaxing), Chamomile (relaxing), Elder Flower (stimulating), Ephedra (stimulating), Garlic (stimulating), Ginger (stimulating), Horehound (neutral), Horseradish (stimulating), Hyssop (stimulating), Lemon Balm (relaxing), Motherwort (relaxing), Mugwort (relaxing), Passion Flower (relaxing), Pennyroyal (stimulating), Peppermint (stimulating), Pleurisy Root (relaxing), Safflower (Neutral), Sarsaparilla (Neutral), Sassafras (neutral), Spearmint (stimulating), Thyme (relaxing), Vervain (relaxing), White Willow (relaxing), Wild Yam (relaxing), Yarrow (stimulating). 

    Diuretic - Are herbs that increase the flow of urine.  Diuretics include Blackberry, Black Cohosh, Blue Cohosh, Buchu, Burdock Root, Celery Seed, Chaparral, Cleaver, Cornsilk, Damiana, Dandelion, Elecampane, False Unicorn, Fennel, Gotu Kola, Gravel Root, Hawthorne Berry, Horseradish, Horsetail, Hydrangea, Juniper Berry, Kava Kava, Kelp, Marshmallow, Mistletoe, Mullein, Parsley, Pipsissewa, Plantain, Pleurisy root, Rosemary, Sassafras, Saw Palmetto, Senna, Shepherd’s Purse, Squaw Vine, St. John’s Wort, Stone Root, Uva Ursi, White Oak Bark and White Willow.

    Emmenagogue - Are herbs that promote menstrual flow.  These herbs should NEVER be used during pregnancy.  Emmenagogue herbs include Angelica, Beth Root, Black Cohosh, Black Haw, Blessed Thistle, Blue Cohosh, Chamomile, Damiana, Gentian, Goldenseal, Horsetail, Mistletoe (American), Motherwort, Mugwort, Myrrh, Pennyroyal, Prickly Ash, Rue, Safflower, Squaw Vine and Tansy.

    Expectorant - Herbs are those which facilitate the excretion of mucous from the throat and lungs. They are usually combined with Demulcents. Expectorants include Chaparral, Coltsfoot, Comfrey, Elecampane, Ephedra, Fennel, Fenugreek, Garlic, Horehound, Horseradish, Hyssop, Licorice, Lobelia, Lungwort, Mullein, Myrrh, Nettle, Parsley, Plantain, Pleurisy Root, Thyme, Vervain, Wild Cherry and Yerba Santa.

    Galactagogue - Are herbs that increase the secretion of milk of nursing mothers. Galactagogue herbs include Anise Seed, Blessed Thistle, Cumin, Dandelion, Fennel, Fenugreek, Raspberry, and Vervain.

    Mucilage - Herbs are those that have mucilaginous properties and are used to soothe inflamed tissues.  Mucilage herbs include Agar Agar, Chickweed, Comfrey Root, Flax Seed, Lungwort, Marshmallow Root, Mullein, and Slippery Elm.                                                                                                                                                               
    Nervine - Herbs that act as nerve tonics and feed, regulate, strengthen and regenerate nerve cells.  They act as either stimulants or sedatives with the result that they lessen aberration, irritability, or pain of the nervous system.  These herbs are not to be confused with inorganic narcotics or opiates that harm the nerves. The nervines include Lobelia, Scullcap (Skullcap), Velerian, Lady's Slipper or Nerve Root, Mistletoe, Wood Betony, Cramp Bark or High Cranberry, Hops, Black Cohosh or Black Snake Root and Wild Yam or Colic Root.

    Parasiticide - Herbs are those that kill and remove parasites from the skin.  They include Black Walnut, Chaparral, Echinacea, False Unicorn, Garlic, Gentian, Rue, Thyme and Wood Betony.

    Purgative - Herbs are those that stimulate or lubricate the large intestines to promote bowel movement.  These herbs include Buckthorn Bark, Senna, Mandrake Root, and ... although it is not an herb ... Castor Oil.

    Sialogogue - Herbs are those that promote and increase in the flow of saliva.  Sialagogue herbs include Black Pepper, Cayenne , Echinacea, Ginger, Licorice and Prickly Ash.

    Stimulant - Herbs are natural agents in assisting the functional activity of the body.  They increase energy and alertness.  They stimulate the central nervous system and most stimulants also increase the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.  In addition they increase blood pressure, heart rate and respiration.  The Stimulant herbs include  Angelica, Bayberry, Black Pepper, Blessed Thistle, Boneset, Cardamom, Cayenne, Celery, Clove, Devil’s Claw, Elder Flower, Elecampane, Ephedra, False Unicorn, Fennel, Fo-Ti, Garlic, Ginger, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Gravel Root, Horseradish, Hyssop, Juniper Berry, Mandrake, Mistletoe (European), Myrrh, Oat, Onion, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Prickly Ash, Raspberry, Red Clover, Rhubarb, Rosemary, Rue, Sassafras, Shepherd’s Purse, Spearmint, Tansy, Turkey Rhubarb, Valerian, Wild Cherry Bark, Yarrow and Yerba Santa.

    Stomachic - Herbs that strengthen the functions of the stomach.  They are usually bitter which increases salivation and improves digestion and appetite.  Stomachic herbs include Agrimony, Barberry, Blessed Thistle, Dandelion, Elecampane, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Hops, Juniper Berry, Mugwort, Peach Bark, Rhubarb, Rose Hips, Rue, Turkey Rhubarb, and Wormwood.

    Tonic - Herbs that increase energy and strengthen the body.  Tonic herbs increase the strength of the muscular and nervous system and improve digestion and assimilation.  The tonic herbs include Agrimony, Barberry, Beth Root, Black Haw, Blackberry Leaf, Blessed Thistle, Buchu, Buckthorn, Bugleweed, Burdock Root, Cascara Sagrada, Celery, Chamomile, Cleaver, Comfrey, Cranesbill, Damiana, Dandelion, Dong Quai, Elecampane, Eyebright, False Unicorn, Fenugreek, Fo-Ti, Garlic, Gentian, Ginseng, Goldenseal, Hawthorne Berry Hops, Horsetail, Irish Moss, Kava Kava, Lady’s Slipper, Lobelia, Lungwort, Mandrake, Mistletoe (American), Mistletoe (European), Motherwort, Mugwort, Oat, Oregon Grape, Parsley, Pipsissewa, Pleurisy Root, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Sarsaparilla, Saw Palmetto, Squaw Vine, Stone Root, Turkey Rhubarb, Uva Ursi, Valerian, White Poplar, Wild Cherry Bark, Wild Yam and Wormwood.

    Rubefacient - Herbs are those that are used externally to stimulate and increase blood flow to the skin by causing dilation of the capillaries.  Rubefacient herbs include Cayenne , Mustard Seed, Prickly Ash and Rue.

    Styptic Herbs that are used to stop bleeding or hemorrhaging.  Styptic herbs are usually astringents and may be used internally or externally.  They should never be used by persons taking blood thinning agents.  Styptic herbs include Beth Root Bistort, Blackberry, Cranesbill, Horsetail, Plantain, Tormentil, White Oak Bark, Witch Hazel and Yarrow.


    Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. ...

Mankind's Use of Herbs

In the beginning:  “And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.”  Ezekial 47:12

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