Oils, Herbal Properties, and Their History
The compiler of this information has no medical expertise. This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat any illness, disease, or injured condition of the body. Herbs and Essential oils may be a powerful adjunct to conventional medical practice but are not a replacement for regular health care. Neither the compiler of this information nor the maker or distributor of essential oils assumes responsibility for use. The decision to use, or not to use, any of this information is the sole responsibility of the reader. If needed, please consult a healthcare professional.
Agnus-Castus is also known as chaste berry, chaste tree, monk’s pepper, or vitex. It’s a restorative herb – a good all around balancing herb for women. Often used to treat menopause and PMS.
Agrimony is also known as cocklebur or stickle-wort. It’s an astringent herb and can be used to stop bleeding. It’s also used for urinary infections as well as intestinal tract infections.
Alfalfa is also known as lucerne. It’s a nutritious and restorative tonic. It’s rich in beta-carotene, vitamins C, D, E, and k, as well as minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron.
Precaution: Do not eat alfalfa seeds – it is the leaves and sprouts that should and can be used.
Many parts of the almond plant are used. The kernel can be used as a safe and natural alternative to dry soaps and shampoo. The oil has skin nourishing qualities. Some studies have shown that using almond oil in your diet may lower your cholesterol level.
In recent times, aloe vera was used for its healing qualities, especially on burns.
Aloe can be used in many ways! When taken internally, aloe vera can relieve constipation as it is beneficial to the liver. When used externally, it is good for burns, cuts, and scrapes.
Precaution: Aloe vera should not be taken internally by pregnant women.
It is a very versatile herb as a tonic as a remedy for many types of ailments. It promotes good circulation and warms the body. In women, it has been used to relieve menstrual cramps. Other uses are to relieve stomachaches and indigestion.
Angelica can be used both internally and externally. External use can be for muscle spasms, rheumatic pain, and stomach cramps.
The Essential Oil, White Angelica is a combination of many oils, used during ancient times to increase the Aura.
Precaution: Women who are pregnant should not take Angelica internally. As it may increase blood sugar levels, people with diabetes should not use it.
Aniseed is often known because of its licorice flavor. Used as far back as ancient Egyptian times, it helps with digestive disorders, colds, colic, nausea, and flatulence.
Taken externally, aniseed may be helpful in treating lice and scabies.
It’s also known as Wolf’s bane or less commonly as leopard’s bane and used as an oil or liniment for bruises, strains, aches, and swelling.
Precaution: Arnica should NOT be taken internally and used only on injuries without broken skin or bleeding. It should be discontinued if a rash develops.
Not often thought of as an “herb,” nonetheless artichokes have many good herbal qualities. Eating them is a good way to reduce your cholesterol level, and stimulate the flow of bile from the liver. Artichokes have often been used in the treatment of liver disease, kidney disease, and diabetes. It is a natural diuretic which can reduce excess water weight.
Many people are familiar with asparagus and eat the shoots. However, the root has been used as an herbal treatment since ancient times.
In Chinese herbal medicine, the root is used as a tonic in small doses. It is believed that it helps enhance feelings of compassion and love.
In India, it has been used as a tonic as a hormone balance for women.
The root does contain steroidal glycosides, which may well account for its reputation for giving positive feelings.
It is also a diuretic and has been used to increase the flow of urine, a urinary tract soother, and tonic.
It also has the reputation of being a nutritive tonic that relieves some of the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome, tuberculosis, and recently for AIDS.
This is a Chinese herb which has been used to give resistance to disease. It’s also been used to treat diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
Astragalus has a warming effect on the body.
It is generally used in combination with other herbs.
BALM OF GILEAD
This herbal remedy often used for the treatment of upper respiratory infections and colds has been mentioned in the Bible.
This herb from poplar trees is soothing to the mucous membranes. Generally, it is combined with coltsfoot, which is a cough suppressant.
Sometimes known as jaundice berry, Barberry contains berberine which is an infection-fighting agent. It has antibiotic qualities, therefore is often used for sore throat infections, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, gallbladder infections, liver problems as well as yeast infections.
This well could be one of the most useful herbs for many kinds of infections.
The bark of the root or stem is used.
Precaution: It should not be taken by women who are pregnant. It also should be taken in small doses – as larger doses can cause nausea, vomiting and a decrease in blood pressure. It is recommended that one should not take this herb without the supervision of a qualified herbalist.
Bayberry is also commonly known as waxberry, candleberry, and wax myrtle. It contains an antibiotic chemical called myricitrin. It is useful for fighting bacteria. Good for reducing fever and in treating diarrhea.
It is often combined with ginger to treat digestive tract problems. Used externally it very useful for applying to wounds for faster healing.
Precaution: Bayberry should be used in small doses as larger doses can cause nausea and vomiting.
Bistort is also known as adderwort, dragon weed, snakeweed, or English serpentary. It is an astringent herb used for helping to control or stop bleeding. It is very powerful in treating digestive problems. It can also be used as a bottle of mouthwash to combat gum disease. Other uses include as a douche for treating vaginal discharge.
Precaution: If using as a douche, one should not use it too often. Pregnant women should not use as a douche.
Black cohosh is also known as black snakeroot, bugbane and rattle root. It is a remedy for nervous conditions and women’s health ailments. It is a good muscle relaxer. Often used to relieve labor pains, as well as cramps and tension. It is very effective for use in the treatment of respiratory problems and also improves the circulation.
Precaution: Black cohosh is one of the more powerful herbs and should be taken under the supervision of a qualified herbalist. Do not take it while pregnant unless administered by a herbalist or obstetrician.
Native American Indians have long used Black Haw which is also known as sweet viburnum. It is used to treat women’s reproductive system ailments. Often used to diminish menstrual cramps. It is often combined with other herbs in the treatment of women’s health ailments.
Blessed thistle is used in for treatment of stomach, liver, kidney and lung problems. Blessed thistle is also often used to correct hormonal imbalances that cause irregular cycles.
It also stimulates your memory, improves appetite as well as relieving stomach cramps, gas and indigestion.
Precaution: Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take Blessed Thistle.
Also known as feverwort and thoroughwort, it is used in treating fevers and flu symptoms as well as constipation.
Buchu is used for the treatment of urinary and prostate problems. Often combined with uva ursi for treatment of prostate enlargement. Precaution: If you have kidney problems such as pain while urinating, blood in your urine do not take Buchu.
Also known as bardane, beggar’s buttons, lappa and thorny burr. It contains chemicals which kill bacteria and fungi.
Burdock is rich in iron and often used as a blood purifier and in ridding the body of toxins.
Precautions: This is an herb which should only be used with the supervision of a qualified herbalist. Burdock is very powerful and needs to be taken in small doses. Overdoses can increase symptoms and can be dangerous.
Also, women who are pregnant or nursing should not use Burdock.
Also known as a sweet broom, Butcher’s broom has steroid-like qualities and is often used to relieve swelling and inflammation.
Calendula is good for healing wounds when taken either internally or externally. It is from the same family of herbs as arnica. However, Calendula is not toxic like arnica so that it may be taken internally.
It is used to heal gastritis and duodenal ulcers, break fevers and reduce menstrual cramps when taken internally.
Calendula is good for burns that helps speed the healing of cuts and wounds when used externally. It is helpful for earaches when used as an oil.
Precautions: Pregnant women should not take Calendula as it is a uterine stimulant.
Cascara sagrada is also known as buckthorn. It is a very effective, gentle laxative. It is often combined with a bulk type laxative.
It is also used as a tonic to stimulate the digestive system and is good for reducing intestinal gas, colitis, and hemorrhoids.
Precaution: Women who are pregnant should not use Cascara sagrada – or any other laxative type herbs. Also, one should begin with a small dose as excessive amounts can cause diarrhea and cramps.
This herb, of course, is famous for its effects upon cats, but it also has many beneficial uses for humans! It is a particularly mild herb with sedative effects. Often it is combined with other herbs such as chamomile and lemon balm.
I have several plants growing in my herb garden, and it’s fun to watch my cats lie face down in them!
Because it is such a mild herb, it is often used for hyperactive children.
It is also used in treating colds, fevers, bronchitis, and diarrhea.
Cayenne is generally thought of as it’s spicy flavor. However, it has many healing effects. It’s good for digestion, the circulation, and the heart. It is rich in Vitamin C and antioxidants.
Used externally, it makes an excellent poultice for arthritis, rheumatism, and inflammations of many kinds.
Precaution: It is not a good idea to use cayenne if you have hemorrhoids or have stomach or intestinal ulcers. When used externally, it should not be used for extended periods of time.
Chaparral is also known as greasewood or stinkweed. It is one of nature’s natural antibiotics and has even been used by the medical community.
Studies have shown that Chaparral may well reduce the risks of cancer due to the chemical make up of Chaparral. Chaparral contains NDGA, which is believed by some to prevent cancer.
Precaution: Although Chaparral is a natural antibiotic, it should be used only with supervision from a qualified herbalist. Long-term use of Chaparral has been linked to kidney damage and lymph problems, therefore should be used with caution. Women who are pregnant or young children should not use Chaparral.
Cleavers is also known as bedstraw, clivers, and goosegrass. It is a natural diuretic and excellent for treatment of swollen glands, tonsillitis, and adenoids. It may be used both internally and externally.
Cloves is another herb commonly found in kitchens for its flavor! Cloves contain the chemical called eugenol which gives anesthetic and antiseptic qualities. You will find clove oil used in many commercial types of mouthwash.
Cloves are used both as the dried flower (what we know as cloves) as well as in oil and extract.
Cloves are often used in many other herbal mixtures to make them more flavorful palatable.
The Essential Oil is anti-infectious, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic, and antiseptic. It is used in European hospitals for dental infections, viral hepatitis, bacterial colitis, cholera, amoebic dysentery, infectious acne, nerves, cystitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, flu, tuberculosis, hypertension, thyroid dysfunction, and fatigue.
Also known as coughwort or horse hoof is a natural cough suppressant and expectorant that has been used for thousands of years. Precaution: This herb contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are chemicals that when used in large amounts may cause liver problems or cancer. Therefore, it is advisable to consult an experienced, knowledgeable herbalist before taking Coltsfoot.
Do not take Coltsfoot if you have a history of any liver disease or alcoholism. Pregnant women should not take Coltsfoot.
This herb is also known as knitbone and is known as a healing herb. It contains antioxidant nutrients that can help prevent cancer. On the flip side, it does have some toxic ingredients.
Used as an ointment, it is good for sores, bruises, or abrasions.
Precautions: Comfrey is another herb that should only be used under the care of a trained and qualified herbalist. Not recommended for internal use.
Do not take Comfrey if you are pregnant, have a history of liver disease, or are an alcoholic.
Cramp bark is well named as it helps relieve cramps as well as muscle spasms. It has often been used to relieve menstrual cramps, as well as cramps during pregnancy. It is often combined with other herbs.
Cranberry is well known for its use in preventing urinary tract infections, especially in women.
Precaution: Although very effective in the prevention of urinary tract infections, antibiotics may be necessary if symptoms persist. Always consist your healthcare practitioner.
Cranesbill is effective in treating burns, hemorrhoids, as well as diarrhea. It can be helpful in treating bleeding disorders.
Damiana has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac, which may be the result of it contains alkaloids that act as the male hormone testosterone.
Damiana is also used as a tonic for the nervous system to relieve anxiety. It should be noted that small amounts should be used, as larger doses can be overstimulating.
Dandelion has been widely used for many years. The leaves are a natural diuretic and good for when you feel bloated. Women may find it extremely useful for pre-menstrual bloating.>
The root of the dandelion is a good liver tonic and also contains antioxidants and vitamins.
Devil’s Claw is effective as an anti-inflammatory thereby making it useful for arthritic pains. It has a cortisone type of effect on swollen joints.
Precaution: Pregnant women should not use Devil’s Claw.
Often thought of as a flavoring spice, it is also a natural preservative and makes a wonderful digestive aid. It is mild enough to be used for children suffering from gas or colic.
Dill is rich in minerals and is very aromatic and pungent. I have some growing in my herb garden. Took a while to get started, but once it did, it grew by leaps and bounds!
Often thought of like the “women’s ginseng,” it is very effective in treating women’s gynecological problems. It is a very effective balancing herb.
Precaution: Pregnant women should not use dong quai, or while experiencing heavy menstrual flow.
Even people who aren’t “in to” herbs may well know about Echinacea! It has excellent immune boosting as well as healing qualities. It is a best used as a preventative type of herb…taking before the fact. However, taking it during a bad cold or flu can help to relieve the symptoms.
Good, quality Echinacea will cause slight a tingling sensation on your tongue, but this is normal.
Elder has been used for centuries for the treatment of colds. It is also good for treatment of upper respiratory problems, hay fever, sinusitis, and congestion. Externally, the elder is effective for burns, cuts, scrapes, rashes, and bruises.
This herb is also known as horseheal, scabwort, velvet dock and wild sunflower. Another herb that has been used for many centuries, it is used for many kinds of respiratory problems such as bronchitis and asthma.
Some use it for the treatment of emphysema and whooping cough. It is a good expectorant and has both stimulating and calming qualities.
Precaution: Elecampane may raise the blood sugar so people who have diabetes should avoid its use.
Ephedra may well be the oldest herbal remedy in existence and has been used widely by many cultures. It has been used to treat upper respiratory problems, asthma, bronchitis, as well as allergies.
Many of the commercial products for asthma, bronchitis, and allergies contain the same alkaloids that are present in Ephedra.
Precaution: Pregnant women or women who are nursing should not use Ephedra.
Since Ephedra is also a stimulant since one of its components is ephedrine. It is on the list of banned substances by the US Olympics.
People with high blood pressure should not take this herb, as well as anyone who has heart disease, thyroid problems, glaucoma, or diabetes.
It is one of those herbs that it is highly advised to consult a trained herbalist before using.
Evening primrose is sometimes known as sundrops. It is effective in treating a multitude of ailments. The American Indians used it for treating women’s menstrual problems – especially to alleviate bloating and PMS symptoms.
Precaution: Women who are pregnant should not take Evening Primrose.
Eyebright is aptly named as it has been used for centuries to treat eye ailments. It is an effective and safe remedy when used for eyedrops.
Especially good to reduce itchy eyes and sinuses accompanied by colds and allergies.
FALSE UNICORN ROOT
This herb is also known as helonias root. It is an especially good tonic for women’s reproductive systems. False Unicorn is a precursor of the hormone estrogen.
Fennel, also known as Carosella or finocchio has long been used as a digestive aid. It relieves cramps, indigestions as well as gas.
This is herb may well help reduce cholesterol and high levels of blood sugar. Fenugreek also contains a chemical which has an estrogen-like effect. Women who are not pregnant may help to bring on their menses by using Fennel.
Used externally, it can aid in reducing muscle aches, as well as facilitating healing of wounds.
Since it is a uterine stimulant, pregnant women should not take Fenugreek.
Other names for Feverfew are midsummer daisy and featherfew. It is very beneficial to migraine sufferers as it is felt that it both reduces the severity and the occurrence of migraines. There are some studies which validate its effectiveness for migraines.
Pregnant women should not take feverfew, nor people who have blood clotting problems.
Fo-Ti is a Chinese herb – usually called “ho shou wu.” It is used as a tonic to improve longevity. Many believe this herb to be an aphrodisiac as well as increasing fertility.
Garlic is probably one of the world’s oldest remedies as well as one of the most versatile! It’s been used widely by healers in many cultures. Today many companies offer odor-free capsules.
Gentian is a tonic, albeit a bitter tasting one that helps in digestion. It is good to pack when traveling in countries where dysentery is a problem.
This is a very safe herb but should be avoided by pregnant women.
Ginger is well known for its abilities to help soothe indigestion. After all, Ginger Ale comes from Ginger! Ginger is also an effective remedy for motion sickness.
Ginger is a safe herb, but if it causes heartburn, you should decrease the dosage.
It has been used in the East for thousands of years. It is used for relief from arthritis, rheumatism, sprains, muscular aches and pains, catarrh, congestion, coughs, sinusitis, sore throats, diarrhea, colic, cramps, indigestion, loss of appetite, motion sickness, fever, chills, and infectious disease.
Also known as the Maidenhair tree, this is one of the world’s oldest trees. Used widely in Europe to improve the blood flow to the body. Often used to prevent strokes, heart attacks, circulation problems, especially with diabetics, and for stimulation of the memory.
Ginko should not be used by those with blood clotting problems. Do not overdose as large quantities can cause nausea and diarrhea.
Also known as Chinese Panacea or Panax. This is yet another herb used in very ancient times. It has reported aphrodisiac properties. Good as a tonic for those who have digestive problems. Also used for the aged.
Also known as Galega. It is an herb that has been used to regulate sugar levels in the body.
Goat’s Rue is a powerful herb and is best used under the supervision of a trained herbalist.
Also known as Yellow Root. Probably one of the more well known medicinal herbs. Good for the digestive system, colds, flu. Good for flatulence problems.
Also known as sheep rot, Indian Pennywort, water pennywort, and marsh pennywort. Long used by Chinese and Indian healers for longevity. Has also been used to improve circulation in the leg, and to expedite the healing of wounds.
Also known as May Tree. Often used for heart conditions, and is reported to be a very effective tonic for a myriad of cardiac problems.
Most people associate hops with beer as they are used to add flavor and preserve it. Hops are used medicinally for stomach ailments and as an aid to sleep.
This herb should be used with caution! Formally used as a tonic. Claimed to be good for rheumatoid ills. Consult a trained herbalist before using this herb.
It’s also known as Scouring Rushes. A very powerful astringent with diuretic properties. Good for kidney problems. Often used for cleaning – such as polishing or scouring as it has an abrasive action.
Used as a stimulant. Often used for women and those suffering from kidney problems.
Used for women to ease heavy menstrual bleeding.
Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family and is very aromatic. It is especially mild and has often been used to treat colic in young children. Used for many children’s ailments of colds and flu, as well as to settle the stomach of adults.
Often used in cough syrups as it helps expectoration. Also a gentle laxitive.
Often used in the treatment of asthma and whooping cough. It is both an expectorant and a stimulant.
Marigold is good as a first-aid treatment for cuts and burns. An ointment made from Marigold is often used as a treatment for varicose veins. Has also been used to relieve indigestion, soothe ulcers, and regulate menstrual periods. You will find Marigold in many medicines that treat conjunctivitis. It should not be used by pregnant women.
It’s also known as bridewort. Meadowsweet was used in the first aspirin formulated by German scientists. The name Meadowsweet comes from the fact that it is a very fragrant herb. Today, it is used as an alternative to commercial aspirin for relief of pain and inflammation. It should not be used on children, and best used by adults.
Also known as St. Mary’s Thistle, it has often been used as a liver tonic. Contains a substance known as silymarin that increases the flow of bile from the liver, which helps break down poisons in the body.
Motherwort has been used to stabilize heart functions. Used to quiet nervous tension and anxiety. For women, it can decrease hot flashes. It should not be used by pregnant women.
Ah, mints! One of the favorite kinds of herbs, although one should be careful not to plant it in the ground unless you won’t mind it taking over!
It is versatile and helps to reduce fevers, candida, nausea, vomiting, and aids in respiratory function. It may be used in water for flavoring and helps in cooling the body during hot summer days. Peppermint has been found to improve mental accuracy and soothe the respiratory system. It may also relieve nausea, fever, vomiting and acid stomach. Also, it is used for air and water purification.
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