Herbal & Medicinal Miscellany

 
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Herbal & Medicinal Miscellany

Mama Ravyn
Administrator
Alfalfa
Family: Leguminosae Genus: Medicago Species: Sativa
Also Known As: Buffalo Grass, Chilean Clover
Rx: leaves (not sprouts) in infusions, tablets and capsules
Alfalfa leaves have wonderful healing powers that can prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol and help prevent strokes.
Warnings: Alfalfa seeds should never be ingested as they contain high levels of amino acid canavanine. Some chemicals in alfalfa can also destroy red blood cells and people with anemia should use caution when ingesting it.

Allspice
Family: Myrtaceae Genus: Pimenta Species: Officinalis, Dioca
Also Known As: Clove Pepper, Pimento, Pimenta, Jamaican Pepper
Rx: cooking, oil for toothache, infusion for digestive aid
Allspice is used as a digestive aid, anesthetic, and pain reliever and has been used to treat flatulence and diabetes.
Warnings:Allspice oil should never be swallowed as it can cause nausea, vomiting, and even convulsions. The oil can also be irritating when applied externally to people with sensitive skin or those with eczema.


Aloe
Family: Liliaceae Genus: Aloe Species: Vera (and over 500 others)
Also Known As: Socotrine, Cape, Curaiao, Barbados, Zanzibar Aloe
Rx: cut mature (lower) leaves for burns, scalds, sunburns, or cosmetic benefits
Aloe is one of the most widely used herbs for burns, scalds, scrapes, sunburn, and an incredible infection fighter. It can also be used to smooth and beautify skin.
Warnings:Aloe latex is a very powerful laxative and may cause severe cramps and diarrhea. It should never be ingested by pregnant women as it may cause miscarriage.


Anise
Family: Umbelliferae Genus: Pimpinella Species: Anisum
Also Known As: Aniseed, Sweet Cumin
Rx: infusion of seeds, tinctures
It has been used as a cough remedy, digestive aid, and contains chemicals similar to estrogen, which may help with menopausal discomforts, and has been known to treat some cases of prostate cancer.
Warnings:If your doctor has advised you not to use birth control pills then you should seek the advise of a physician before using this herb because it contains estrogen.


Balm, Lemon
Family: Labiatae Genus: Melissa Species: Officinalis
Also Known As: Bee Balm, Balm, Sweet Balm, Melissa, Cure-all
Rx: leaves in bath, compress for wounds, infusion, tincture
You can use it to treat wounds, herpes, viral infections, and has been used as a digestive aid, and a tranquilizer. It can also be used to treat menstrual cramps or to promote menstruation.
Warnings:Anyone with a thyroid condition should avoid using this herb because it contains a thyroid-stimulating hormone, thyrotropin.


Basil
Family: Labiatae Genus: Ocimum Species: Basilicum, Sanctum
Also Known As: Sweet Basil, St. Josephwort
Rx: tincture or infusion for acne and general infection fighting
It as been used to treat intestinal parasites, acne, and stimulates the immune system.
Warnings:Tests have shown that basil may contain a chemical that has caused liver tumors in mice, although the cancer risks remain unclear and not even the most conservative herb critics advise caution when using it.


Bay
Family: Lauraceae Genus: Laurus Species: Nobilis
Also Known As: Sweet Bay, Green Bay, Laurel, Grecian or Roman Laurel
Rx: fresh leaves for wounds, infusion, tincture
Bay is not only used as a bug repellent, but has been known to soothe sore joints, treat infections, and when added to a bath may help with relaxation.
Warnings:External uses of bay should be avoided if you have sensitive skin as it may cause a rash.


Caraway
Family: Umbelliferae Genus: Caurm Species: Carvi
Also Known As: Carum
Rx: seeds in food, oil, infusion of seeds, tincture
Two chemicals in caraway seeds have been known to soothe the digestive tract and to help expel gas. It may also be used for relief of menstrual cramps due to the fact that caraway might relax the uterus.
Warnings:None


Catnip
Family: Labiatae Genus: Nepeta Species: Cataria
Also Known As: Catnep, Catswort, Catmint, Field Balm
Rx: infusion of flowers and leaves (for you not your cat!)
When used in teas, it is considered a cold and cough remedy because it relieves chest congestion and loosens phlegm. Catnip has long been used as a sedative, tranquilizer, digestive aid, menstruation promoter, and treatment for menstrual cramps, flatulence, and infant colic.
Warnings:Some people may experience upset stomach but Catnip is considered nontoxic.


Chamomile
Family: Compositae Genus: Matricaria, Anthemis Species: Chamomilla, Nobilis respectively
Also Known As: Camomile, Anthemis, Matricaria, Ground Apple
Rx: infusion or tincture of flowers, herbal bath
This herb is a highly used cure-all, and every household should seriously consider having it around. It has been used externally to treat wounds and inflammations, and internally for indigestion and ulcers. Chamomile is also used to relieve menstrual cramps, arthritis, and is an effective sedative.
Warnings:People who have previously suffered anaphylactic reactions from ragweed should think twice about using this herb as well as its close relative yarrow. Large amounts have caused some nausea and vomiting.


Chicory
Family: Compositae Genus: Cicorium Species: Intybus
Also Known As: Endive, Chickory
Rx: excellent salad addition, infusion, tincture
It is also known as endive, or chickory. Chicory is most commonly used to reduce the bitter taste of caffeine in coffee. It aids in cleansing the urinary tract, digestion, a mild laxative and is also taken for rheumatic conditions and gout.
Warnings:None


Cinnamon
Family: Lauraceae Genus: Cinnamomum Species: Zeylanicum, Cassia, Saigonicum
Also Known As: Ceylon Cinnamon, Saigon Cinnamon, Cassia
Rx: infusion of powdered herb, sprinkle cuts or scrapes for treatment
Cinnamon is used for infection prevention, pain relief, a digestive aid, and may help calm the uterus.
Warnings:Do not ingest cinnamon oil!!! It can cause nausea, vomiting, and possible kidney damage. When put on the skin, the oil may cause redness and burning.


Clove
Family: Myrtaceae Genus: Eugenia, Syzygium Species: Caryophyllata, Aromaticum respectively
Also Known As: Caryophyllus, Clavos
Rx: oil for toothache, infusion
It has been used for toothaches, oral hygiene, a digestive aid, and an infection fighter. It is also used to treat hernia, ringworm, and athlete's foot.
Warnings:Children under the age of 2 should never be given clove for medicinal purposes. The oil may cause stomach upset when swallowed, and used externally may cause rash.


Coriander
Family: Umbelliferae Genus: Corinadrum Species: Sativum
Also Known As: Cilantro, Chinese Parsley
Rx: infusion of seeds, sprinkle on cuts and scrapes
Used for indigestion, flatulence, and diarrhea, and externally for muscles and joint pains.
Warnings: If Coriander causes minor discomforts, such as stomach upsets or diarrhea, use less or stop using it.


Cranberry
Family: Ericaceae Genus: Vaccinium, Oxycoccus Species: Macerocarpon, Quadripetalus respectively
Also Known As: N/A
Rx: Juice, juice, juice!
Used for urinary tract infections (UTI), incontinence, high Vitamin C content
Warnings: None


Dandelion
Family: Compositae Genus: Taraxacum Species: Officinale
Also Known As: Wild Endive, Lion's Tooth, Piss-in-bed
Rx: #1 recommended salad addition, leaf infusion, root decoction, tincture, add to bath for prevention of yeast infection
Used for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), Weight Loss, High Blood Pressure, Congestive Heart Failure, Cancer Prevention, Yeast Infection, Digestive Aid
Eat fresh leaves in a salad (they are quite tasty). Chinese doctors have prescribed Dandelion for thousands of years to treat colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, ulcers, hepatitis, obesity, dental problems, itching and internal injuries. Quite simply a 'super' herb.
Warnings: May cause skin rash in sensitive cases. If Dandelion causes stomach upset or diarrhea, use less or stop using it.


Dill
Family: Umbelliferae Genus: Anethum Species: Graveolens
Also Known As: N/A
Rx: chew seed for fresh breath, infusion or tincture, add to bath to for prevention of urinary tract infections
In addition to its preservative action, Dill is an infection fighter and soothing digestive aid. Used for stomach problems, flatulence, urinary tract infection (UTI)
Warnings: May cause skin rash in sensitive individuals.


Echinacea
Family: Compositae Genus: Echinacea Species: Angustifolia, Purpurea
Also Known As: Coneflower, Purple Coneflower
Rx: tincture or decoction of the ROOTS
The best kept secret of the west. This is our A#1 recommended herb due to its high immune system boost. Echinacea kills a wide variety of disease causing viruses and bacteria, it fights infection and strengthens tissues. It may prevent infection by seriously boosting ones immune system. It is known to help the body in fighting off colds and flu. It is a treatment for yeast infections and actually can reduce the future onset of. It helps preserve white blood cells, is a confirmed wound healer as it prevents germs from penetrating tissues, and may have anti-arthritic properties. It is simply the most productive herb off all time.
Warnings:often causes one's tongue to tingle, this is not harmful.


Eucalyptus
Family: Myrtaceae Genus: Eucalyptus Species: Globulus
Also Known As: Gum Tree, Blue Gum, Australian Fever Tree
Rx: boil leaves as an inhalant, oil on cuts and scrapes, infusion from leaves NOT OIL, add leaves to bath
Eucalyptol is the chemical that gives Eucalyptus its healing properties. It loosens phlegm, kills influenza, and may help bacterial bronchitis. An effective treatment for minor cuts and scrapes and it even repels cockroaches!
Warnings:Do NOT ingest Eucalyptus oil, it is highly poisonous. Fatalities have been reported from ingestion of as little as a teaspoon. KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN!


Fennel
Family: Umbelliferae Genus: Foeniculum Species: Vulgare, Vulgare Dulce
Also Known As: Finocchio, Carosella, Florence Fennel
Rx: chew seeds for a digestive aid, infusion, tincture
Fennel relaxes the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract and also helps expel gas. Used in Germany for infant colic. Traditionally used to stimulate the uterus into menstruation. This herb may also help fight prostate cancer.
Warnings:Since Fennel has a mild estrogenic effect, do not use if you are currently taking birth control pills, have a history of abnormal blood clotting, or estrogen dependent breast tumors. Do NOT ingest Fennel Oil, seeds are fine but the oil may cause nausea, vomiting, and possibly seizures.


Feverfew
Family: Compositae Genus: Chrysanthemum, Matricaria, Tanacetum Species: Parthenium
Also Known As: Ferbrifuge Plant, Wild Quinine, Bachelor's Button
Rx: chew leaves for migraine control, premade pills and tablets also work well for headaches, infusion, tincture
Got a headache, maybe a chronic migraine? Feverfew may well be your answer. Seventy percent of patients in scientific studies show a significant improvement in their migraine headaches even when standard medical treatment showed no results. Also traditionally used for gynecological purposes. This herb may reduce high blood pressure, and is a great digestive aid after meals.
Warnings:may cause sores inside the mouth, do not take if you have a clotting disorder. Remember that Feverfew does not CURE migraines, it suppresses them.


Garlic
Family: Amaryllidacae Genus: Allium Species: Sativum
Also Known As: Stinking Rose, Heal-all, Poor Man's Treacle
Rx: use cloves in cooking, crush and encapsulate or use premade tablets, infusion, tincture
Garlic is the worlds second oldest medicine, and is the traditional 'WONDER DRUG'. Many people don't realize that onion has almost as much medicinal value as garlic does. Battle wounds in WWI were treated with garlic juice. Recommended for colds, coughs, flu, fever, bronchitis, ringworm, intestinal worms, elevated cholesterol, and general internal organ problems. No standard medication can match Garlic on the cardiovascular scale. Garlic DEFINITELY reduces blood pressure, cholesterol, and reduces internal clots which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. Garlic reduces blood sugar and therefore helps diabetes sufferers. It may help eliminate lead and heavy metals in the bloodstream, has helped leprosy patients, fights cancer, helps AIDS patients...nuff sed, USE IT!
Warnings:Allergy sufferers may develop a rash from touching or eating the herb. If this is the case, discontinue. If you have a clotting disorder, consult a physician before using Garlic.


Ginger
Family: Zingiberaceae Genus: Zingiber Species: Officinale
Also Known As: Asian, African, American Ginger
Rx: cooking, capsules for motion sickness; tea, infusion, or ginger-ale for digestive aid.
This herb helps with motion and morning sickness. It is a very good digestive aid, may ease menstrual cramps, helps arthritis, is traditionally used in the orient for colds and flu, and is excellent for reducing cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and preventing internal blood clots (a.k.a heart attacks)
Warnings:large doses MIGHT cause a miscarriage although there are no scientific reports backing this up.


Ginkgo
Family: Ginkgoaceae Genus: Ginkgo Species: Biloba
Also Known As: Maidenhair Tree
Rx: leaves brewed as tea, infusion
The Earth's oldest tree, it's a given that this herb helps the elderly the most. Ginkgo increases blood flow to the brain which can prevent strokes and heart attacks, improve memory, help impotence and chronic dizziness. It is also known to help with macular degeneration (blindness), circulation, asthma, tinnitus, and deafness. A fine example of the need to preserve the Earth's natural resources.
Warnings:Do not use if you have a clotting disorder, do not take in very large amounts as diarrhea, vomiting, and irritability can occur.


Ginseng
Family: Araliaceae Genus: Panax, Eleutherococcus Species: Ginseng and Quinquefolius, Senticosus
Also Known As: Root of Immortality, Man Root, Life Root, Seng Seng
Rx: It is very important to use mature roots (over 6 years old). Use root powder teas, capsules or tablets. You can also make a decoction from dried pulverized root.
This herb helps the bodies resistance, boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol, lowers blood sugars, reduces heart attacks, protects the liver, helps the appetite, and helps cancer patients with radiation therapy.
Warnings:Rare cases of insomnia, allergy symptoms, breast soreness. Do not use if you have high blood pressure, fever, asthma, emphysema, or cardiac arrhythmia.


Horehound
Family: Labiatae Genus: Marrubium Species: Vulgare
Also Known As: Marrubium, Hoarhound, White Horehound
Rx: flowers and leaves in infusion or tincture for cough remedy
A popular herbal cough remedy and expectorant for almost 2,000 years, Horehound is good for minor respiratory problems, coughs, colds, and bronchitis
Warnings:those with heart disease should not use this herb


Hyssop
Family: Labiatae Genus: Hyssopus Species: Officinalis
Also Known As: N/A
Rx: flowers and leaves as a compress for cold sores and genital herpes, infusion, tincture
Hyssop inhibits the growth of herpes simplex virus. Scientists agree it is a 'reasonably effective' treatment for cough and irritation of colds and flu.
Warnings:DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT..... PERIOD! Again always positively identify the herbs you use. H. Officinalis is the correct herb, it's name sharing cousins (G. Officinalis, genus' Agastache and Bacopa) should not be ingested.


Juniper
Family: Cupressaceae Genus: Juniperus Species: Communis
Also Known As: Geneva, Genvrier
Rx: infusion of berries for arthritis or female regularity
The source of gin, this herb also increases urine production (a diuretic) - making it a treatment for PMS, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure. Recommended for arthritis.
Warnings:Long term use can cause kidney damage. If you have a kidney infection or kidney problems you should not use this herb. One-third of hay fever sufferers develop allergy symptoms from exposure to Juniper.


Kelp
Family: Fucaceae Genus: Fucus, Laminaria, Macrocystis, Nereocystis Species: Versiculosus (Fucus), various (Others)
Also Known As: Fucus, Seawrack, Cutweed, Bladderwrack, Wakame, Hijiki, Kombu, Arame
A natural source of iodine, now known as a radiation protector, protection from heavy metals, reducer of heart disease, and an infection fighter.
Rx: take tablets (herb is unpleasant), infusion
Warnings: None


Lavender
Genus: Lavendula Species: Angustifolia
Also Known As: English Lavender
Rx: flowers in bath, general aromatherapy
The all time fragrant herb, Lavender makes a great bath addition. The Greeks and Romans bathed in lavender scented water and it was from the Latin word, lavo (to wash) that the herb took its name. While not technically a medicinal herb, the calming properties of its aroma are well founded.
Warnings: None


Marjoram
Family: Labiatae Genus: Origanum Species: Majorana, others
Also Known As: Oregano(many palates cannot tell the difference!), Knotted Marjoram
Rx: sprinkle dried powdered herb on cold sores or genital herpes, infusion or tincture for its stomach soothing potential
An excellent digestive aid and herpes fighter, this one of the most confused herbs on the planet. The Oregano on your spice rack might be Marjoram! All Marjoram species are called Oregano but only a few of the fifty are ever called Marjoram.
Warnings:None


Mint
Family: Labiatae Genus: Mentha Species: Piperita (Peppermint), Cardiaca (Spearmint), Spicata, Viridis, Aquatica
Also Known As: Numerous kinds of mint
Rx: Peppermint oil for wounds, burns etc., infusion of any dried mint for decongestant, tincture
The after dinner mint soothes the stomach. Peppermint produces Menthol. Menthol is a key anesthetic (e.g. Ben-Gay), the vapors are an incredible decongestant (e.g. Vick's VapoRub), is germicidal, and helps morning sickness a great deal. Those wishing to alleviate morning sickness should use only dilute tea concentrations for reasons shown below. Peppermint is a hybrid of Spearmint and is the more potent due to the high menthol factor. Spearmint contains Carvone in comparison to Menthol. While not nearly as effective, Spearmint is much safer.
Warnings:on rare occasions the fragrance of mint oil has caused gagging in children. Pure Menthol, ingested, is POISONOUS. A teaspoon can be FATAL. DO NOT ingest Peppermint oil or Menthol.


Mistletoe
Family: Loranthaceae Genus: Viscum, Phoradendron Species: Album, Serotinum
Also Known As: Lignum Crucis, Herbe de la Croix, Viscum
Rx: leaves in DILUTED infusion, tincture for high blood pressure
Mistletoe, the kissing plant, has the ability to slow the pulse, lower blood pressure and stimulate gastrointestinal and uterine contractions.
Warnings:should be administered only by a qualified herbal/medicinal doctor. TWO BERRIES CAN KILL A CHILD. Keep away from children. This herb is highly toxic. Pregnant women should not use it. This herb is known (unfortunately) for its abortion inducing properties.
The dose needed to induce abortion is enough to kill you.


Myrrh
Family: Burseraceae Genus: Commiphora Species: Abyssinica, Myrrha
Also Known As: Balsamodendron
Rx: steep powdered herb for mouthwash, infusion, tincture
Myrrh makes an excellent mouthwash, toothpaste, and fights bacteria
Warnings:large amounts may have violent laxative action


Nettle
Family: Urticaceae Genus: Urtica Species: Dioica
Also Known As: Stinging Nettle, Common Nettle, Greater Nettle
Rx: process plant matter in juicer, infusion, tincture
An effective cure for gout, Nettle is also good for the symptoms of hay fever, scurvy, PMS, and helps heart patients.
Warnings:When I was a child, I must have fallen into Nettle a hundred times. USE THICK GLOVES. If you doubt the cruelty of natures own protections just touch one of these plants. Large doses of Nettle tea may cause stomach irritation.


Oregano (see Marjoram)


Parsley
Family: Umbelliferae Genus: Petroselinum Species: Crispum, Hortense, Sativum
Also Known As: Rock Selinon
Rx: a few sprigs for fresh breath, infusion of leaves and seeds, tincture
The seeds and the leaves of this plant contain the oil that is known to curb high blood pressure, help with fever, freshen breath, help with allergies and help heart patients.
Warnings: do not use to promote weight loss


Pepper, Red
Family: Solanaceae Genus: Capsicum Species: Annuum, Frutescens
Also Known As: Hot pepper, most of the pepper family including bell pepper
Rx: cooking, infusion
It is a good digestive aid, can relieve infectious diarrhea (and can bring on noninfectious diarrhea if too many hot peppers are ingested), helps chronic pain when used externally, is the best shingles reliever, helps headaches, and tastes great!
Warnings: can burn the eyes, mouth and skin


Rosemary
Family: Labiatae Genus: Rosmarinus Species: Officinalis
Also Known As: Rosemarine, Incensier
Rx: cooking, excellent tea, infusion, tincture
In ancient times people wrapped their meat with Rosemary to prevent spoilage. Rosemary is a natural preservative. Rosemary can prevent food poisoning, is a digestive aid, is a good decongestant and can kill bacteria. If you enjoy using Rosemary in your cooking, use more.
Warnings: do not ingest Rosemary oil, in large amounts, poisoning can occur


Saffron
Family: Iridaceae Genus: Crocus Species: Sativus
Also Known As: Spanish Saffron
Rx: 12 to 15 stigmas per cup of boiling water
Since it takes 75,000 flowers to make one pound of Saffron, this herb is very expensive. Heart attack patients may actually save money using this as it is much cheaper than some clot dissolving drugs injected to treat heart attack. It can help to control some risk factors for heart disease. It also reduces cholesterol, de-clogs the arteries, and lowers blood pressure.
Warnings: unless you are pregnant, just the high cost


Sage
Family: Labiatae Genus: Salvia Species:Officinalis
Also Known As: All types of Sage
Rx: crushed fresh leaves for cuts and wounds, infusion of dried leaves, tincture
Sage is the premiere anti-perspirant, cutting perspiration by up to 50 percent. It is a great fighter against infection, a good preservative, a digestive aid, can reduce blood sugar and helps a sore throat! And its flavor in meats and sausage is unrivaled.
Warnings: rare cases of inflammation of the lips and lining of the mouth. Sage oil should not be ingested.


Savory
Family: Labiatae Genus: Satureja Species: Hortensis, Montana
Also Known As: White Thyme, Bean Herb
A great culinary herb, Savory has great soothing properties for children, it is a great expectorant and digestive aid and is subtle enough for use with children.
Rx: infusion of leaves for childhood colds
Warnings: None


Skullcap
Family: Labiatae Genus: Scutellaria Species: Lateriflora
Also Known As: Quaker Bonnet, Mad Dog Weed, Hoodwort, Helmet Flower
Rx: use leaf infusion for tranquilizing effects
European medical experts now accept skullcap's potential usefulness as a tranquilizer and sedative, and it is used in many commercial sleep preparations that are widely available in Europe.
Warnings: large doses may result in confusion, giddiness, twitching, and possible convulsions


Tarragon
Family: Compositae Genus: Artemisia Species: Dracunculus
Also Known As: Dragon Herb, Estragon, French or Russian Tarragon
Rx: chew fresh leaves for toothache, apply fresh leaves to cuts and wounds, infusion of leaves, tincture
A wonderful treatment for toothache, Tarragon is a great anesthetic and prevents infections.
Warnings: those with history of Cancer should not use this herb


Tea
Family: Theaceae Genus: Camellia Species: Sinensis
Also Known As: Green Tea, Black Tea
Rx: typical leaf infusion
From the Orient, to the United Kingdom, Tea is widely used for its calming effects. Tea includes stimulants that help colds, congestion, asthma, diarrhea, tooth decay and helps prevent tissue damage from radiation therapy. Tea only grows in India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia and is imported around the world. Green Tea is simply the dried leaf, Black Tea is dried and then fermented.
Warnings: Caffeine addiction, problems associated with Caffeine


Thyme
Family: Labiatae Genus: Thymus Species: Vulgaris, Serpyllum
Also Known As: Mother of Thyme, Common or Garden Thyme, Wild, Creeping or Mother Thyme
As well as a culinary delight, Thyme fights several disease causing bacteria and viruses. It is a good digestive aid, helps menstrual cramps and is a great cough remedy. Germany uses it today to treat whoop, whooping cough and emphysema.
Rx: fresh leaves for cuts and wounds, tincture for antiseptic, infusion of leaves for the stomach, cough or menstrual symptoms.
Warnings: Do not ingest Thyme oil, it can lead to headache, nausea, vomiting, weakness, thyroid impairment, and heart and respiratory depression.


Valerian
Family: Valerianaceae Genus: Valeriana Species: Officinalis
Also Known As: Phu, Heal-all, Garden Valerian
Rx: infusion of root for sedative properties, tincture
The quite smelly and pungent Valerian is a powerful sedative that was even listed as a tranquilizer in the National Formulary until 1950. A great replacement for users of valium, Valerian can also reduce high blood pressure.
Warnings: large doses may cause headache, giddiness, blurred vision, restlessness, nausea, and morning grogginess.


Vervain
Family: Verbenaceae Genus: Verbena Species: Officinalis, Hastata
Also Known As: Indian Hyssop, Blue Vervain, Verbena, Enchanter's Herb
Rx: infusion of leaves for headache and arthritis, tincture
'Take two Vervain and call me in the morning' is how it should be said. Vervain is a great substitute for aspirin as it has similar effects. Vervain outside of being a very mild laxative is mainly used for mild pain relief.
Warnings: anyone with a history of heart problems should not use this herb


Witch Hazel
Family: Hamamelidaceae Genus: Hamamelis Species: Virginiana
Also Known As: Hamamelis, Snapping Hazelnut, Winterbloom
Rx: astringent decoction of leaves and twigs, astringent gargle
A primary astringent in the herbal world, Witch Hazel has antiseptic, anesthetic, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties. The clear, pungent extract is a standard for cuts, bruises, hemorrhoids, and sore muscles. It is one of this nation's most widely used healing herbs. It is much better to find fresh Witch Hazel than rely on commercial products containing it.
Warnings: may be used externally on anyone but dilute for children.


Yarrow
Family: Compositae Genus: Achillea Species: Millefolium
Also Known As: Bloodwort, Nose Bleed, Thousand Weed, Milfoil, Soldier's Woundwort
An excellent wound treatment, Yarrow has many healing properties, is a good digestive aid, helps menstrual cramps, and is a mild sedative.
Rx: use fresh leaves and flowers for cuts and scrapes, infusion for calming and menstrual easing effects, tincture
Warnings: large doses may turn urine brown. This is not harmful.




edible weeds: http://books.google.com/books?id=_ocFaW5bu7cC&pg=PA126&lpg=PA126&dq=edible+medicago+lupulina&source=web&ots=1caaNYwtcP&sig=273PNAafStg5t3LGMzgdIroXXrU&hl=en#PPP1,M1

essential oil distiller:
I found this on ehow...I havnt attempted to make it yet, but am planning to. I thought someone may find it useful. ;)
http://www.ehow.com/how_2051569_essential-oil-distiller.html

Make an Essentail Oil Distiller

Instructions
Things You’ll Need:

2 clean plastic milk jugs
190;-inch copper piping
Metal tea kettle with no opening at the top
Rubber stopper
Ice
Liquid sealant
A drill and 3/4 (19mm) drill bit
Plant material
Tennis ball can
Meat thermometer
Glass container

Step 1
Take the first milk jug and drill a hole in the lid large enough to just fit the copper tubing. Drill another hole near the bottom of the jug.

Step 2
Cut the top off the second milk jug and drill a hole in the bottom large enough to fit the copper
piping through.

Step 3
Cut the copper tubing. You will need one piece long enough to run from the kettle stopper to the first milk jug. The second piece will run from the first milk jug to the second and coil through it.

Step 4
Coil the one piece of copper piping seven or eight times around the tennis ball can. Leave one end long enough to travel from the first milk jug to the second. The other end should be straight and left just long enough to exit the second milk jug.

Step 5
Put the stopper in the tea kettle and poke the meat thermometer through.

Step 6
Get a 3/4-inch (19 mm) drill bit, to drill a hole in the stopper.

Step 7
Fill your first milk jug with your plant material and screw on the lid.

Step 8
Put one end of the straight copper pipe through the tea kettle and put the other end through the lid of the first milk jug.

Step 9
Take the coiled piece of copper pipe and place the long straight end into the hole at the bottom of the first jug. Place the coiled portion of the copper pipe into the second milk jug. Run the other straight end out the drilled hole. Feed enough pipe through to reach your glass container which will hold the oils produced from your essential oil distiller.

Step 10
Seal all the openings of your essential oil distiller with sealant.

Step 11
Fill the second jug with ice water. This will cause the vapor to condense.

Step 12
Place the glass container under the copper pipe running out of the bottom of the second milk jug. This container will capture the essential oil once the distillation process is complete.

Step 13
Fill the kettle with water and place it on the stove on high heat.

Step 14
The water will begin to boil and cause steam to penetrate the plant material. This steam will, in turn, capture the essential oils. The copper piping through the ice will cool the steam and separate the oils from the water.


Tips & Warnings
Drying your plants before hand will increase the yield of each batch as you can fit more dried plants into the milk jug at one time.

Let plants dry naturally out of the direct sun.

Do not let the temperature of the water exceed 175 degrees F or your water will evaporate.
http://www.ehow.com/how_2051569_essential-oil-distiller.html

natural aphrodesiacs
Asafetida - This Central Asian spice is also a mild stimulant. Asafetida can be eaten or burned as an incense and is considered the best aphrodisiac from Tibetan Medicine.

Ashwagandha - is considered the king of herbs and is also India's most potent hot plant. It is used equally by men and women, widely prescribed by physicians for adults with low libid and to improve sexual function.

Belladonna - Atropa Belladonna is known as Nightshade or the "witch's plant," The Greek Thessalian witches combine Belladonna root with wine to make powerful love drinks. Fresh berries are eaten, leaves smoked. However, an overdose will lead to death via respiratory paralysis.

Betel palm - Areca Catechu is a strong stimulant. Betel seeds are eaten, which contain alkaloids that have a stimulating effect on the entire body. Betel seed is a traditional aphrodisiac in Ayurvedic medicine.

Borrachero - A strong inebriant from Columbia. An aphrodisiac decoctions is made from the fresh leaves. All parts of the plant contain highly active tropane alkaloids, with 80% scopolamine.

Calamus -A sexual stimulant in high doses, but also a skin irritant. Calamus oil can be added to tea or even better, a bath to promote erection.

Cardamom is a sensual spice considered to have aphrodisiac properties. With a peculiar nature; it cools the body when it is hot, and warms it when it is cold. Cleopatra is said to have used cardamom in her baths.

Cayenne - Also known as capsicum, it plays a very large role in blood circulation. When cayenne is ingested, it dilates blood vessels. This allows increased blood flow throughout the body, especially in the major organs. The male penis benefits greatly from the ingestion of cayenne. It is a widely held belief that cayenne aids in longer lasting erections, with stronger ejaculations and more intense orgasms.

Cistanches - One of the more popular and more potent, yin-yang tonic herbs is found in many formulas designed to strengthen sexual function. Cistanches has been widely used to alter the fertility of both sexes. The ancient classics indicate that Cistanches increases both the flow of yang energy and blood flow to the genitals.

Cnidium Seeds -An excellent sexual tonic, stimulant and longevity herb increases fertility, prevents premature ejaculation and weak sexual potency. Cnidium seed was often used in combination with Cuscuta seed in aphrodisiac formulations, since the two herbs work well combined.

Damiana - Damiana grows in Mexico, Central America and the southern parts of California and is known to increase the sharpness of a female orgasm. Damiana leaf has been used by the Mayan Indians and the natives of Mexico for generations and is considered one of the safest of the aphrodisiac herbs.

Ginseng - recent studies have suggested that ginsenoside components including phytoestrogen have an effect on human libido. However this is a fact known to both Native Americans and ancient Chinese medicine perhaps for millennia.

Horny Goat Weed - Also known as Yin Yang Huo. Benefits are known to stimulate sexual desire, increases sexual activity, increase sperm production and increase sexual stamina.


Horsetail -Equisetum Myriochaetum is from Central America and contains mostly silica. Horsetail is used to stimulate immune system and an infusion made out of fresh stalks improves erections.

Kava-Kava - A well known Polynesian invigorator that increases performance. The ritual drink is made from the roots, and after fermentation, the composition changes creating psychotropic and aphrodisiac qualities.


Liquorice Root - Liquorice is famous for creating balance and synergy in herbal formulas. It also acts on the glands, especially the adrenals to optimize hormone levels. The adrenals produce sex hormones and are directly involved with a healthy sex drive. Lowered adrenal function can lead to loss of libido, less energy and poorer sexual response.

Lovage -Levisticum Officinale is a stimulant that is ingested as a spice. The fresh roots of lovage are used to prepare a love drink that makes a woman melt!

Mace and Nutmeg - Mace and nutmeg are two different spices from the same fruit. Nutmeg is the dried kernel and mace the dried shell which surrounds the seed.

Nutmeg is more aromatic, sweeter and more delicate than mace and it is believed to impart strength and enhance sexual prowess. It is used in love magic. The main component is myristicin, a component of the "love drug" MDMA or ecstasy.


Morning Glory - A strong psychedelic plant of prophecy when seeds are ingested. Seeds were considered the home of God. Used in pre Columbian times for gynecological problems, divinatory and religious purposes. A person would have to ingest 100-300 morning glory seeds to be comparable to 200-300 micrograms of LSD, a 4-14 hour experience. Seeds contain lysergic acid derivatives that cause uterine contractions.


Prickly poppy -A narcotic when smoked it was as an analgesic by the Mayas and Aztecs. The dried leaves and flowers are smoked as an aphrodisiac.


Rosemary --Rosmarinus Officinales has a strong erotic effect upon the skin. Mostly ingested as spice, rosemary can be added to a bath or wine. Contains essential oils with psychotropic effects.

Saffron --Crocus Sativus can be used as a stimulant or inebriant depending on dosage. Sun dried filaments ingested stimulates sexual desires for women. Essential oil evokes long, distinctive orgasms. In high doses however, saffron oil is abortive and toxic.


Sassafras -Sassafras Albidium is a mild psychedelic, empathogen and root cortex used for brewing love drinks. It was the love tree of American Indians and it contains safrole, the basis of modern love drug MDMA.
The oil is well suited for erotic massage as well. *Do not take more then 100mg of Sassafras oil, or side effects may occur.

Saw Palmetto -Serenoa Serrulata promotes circulation in the genitals. The fruits can be eaten or the fermented juice made into a love drink. Contains fatty acids, essential oils and estrogen-like compounds.

Ylang-ylang - Cananga Odorata originates from Southwest Asia used as an oil. Ylang-ylang is inhaled, can be used internally or externally for impotency and frigidity. Mixed with coconut oil, it creates a highly erotic body lotion.

Yarrow - Asteraceaea Compositae is a stimulant, love tonic and an additive for wine or tea. Used in geomancy and to support a spiritual vision quest. As an aphrodisiac yarrow is chewed raw or drunk as a tea few hours before intercourse.

Yohimbine - Pausinystalia Yohimbe is native to West Africa and is used by Men. Yohimbine improves sexual function, increases proneness to arousal but also can induce nervousness, anxiety, insomnia and mild hypertension.
~from lifeinitaly.com

Other Herbs & Plants:
Fo-Ti (natice to China)
Tribulus Terrestris (native to China)
Tongkat Ali (native to Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia)
Maca
Muira Puama (native to Brazil)
Ambergris
Arugula (Rocket) (Eruca sativa)
Atta laevigata
Balut
Borojo (Borojoa patinoi)
Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulating alkaloid, and helps the brain produce feel-good serotonin
Damiana (Turnera diffusa)
Epimedium grandiflorum (Horny Goat Weed)
Eurycoma longifolia
Ginkgo biloba
Ginseng
Kelp
Lettuce, considered an aphrodisiac in Ancient Egypt. Eaten by the sexually potent God of Chaos, Seth.
Maca
Mucuna pruriens
Onion
Oysters Raw oysters are very high in zinc which raises sperm and testosterone production.
Pumpkin
Socratea exorrhiza
Spanish fly (cantharidin)
Tribulus terrestris
Yohimbine

A great source for information on aphrodisiacs is Aphrodisiology.com

medicinal herbs guide
http://www.herbsguide.net/

chinese herb database
http://www.herbasin.com/herb/engsort/a-eng.htm

dragons blood: sacred draecana
Dragon's Blood
PHARMACEUTICAL NAME:Sanguis Draconis
BOTANICAL NAME:Dracaena Cochinensis
COMPOSITION:Resin of Dracaena Cochinensis(extraced from sap)

*also known as unicorn blood<---immortality, healing legends.(Tang Dynasty Herbal Foundation Cannon (Tang Ben Cao, 659 AD)


HISTORY and FACTS
from: Dragons Blood Medicinal

Dragon’s Blood, originally named Qilin Jie in the Tang Dynasty Herbal Foundation Cannon (Tang Ben Cao 659AD), has a history of 1,500 years in clinical treatment. It’s origin began during a journey on the Silk Road from the Western Asian country of Persia. An ambassador traveled by camel to the ancient Chinese capital of Changan (now, in modern day Xian, Shanxi province). Carrying Qilin Jie and other valuable medicines, he respectfully presented them to the Tang dynasty emperor. He then proceeded to expound upon the origin of the magical medicine he held in his hands:

“Since antiquity, shepherds and hunters have made trips into the primeval forests and scaled steep mountainsides where injuries to people and livestock were common. One day in the mountains, a shepherd was taking his cattle into the mountains when the lead cow stepped into a hole and fell down a cliff. The shepherd noticed the cow licking the tree sap from the tree trunk it had just fallen on and broken, then applying the sap to its bleeding wound. Unexpectedly, the wound stopped bleeding. The cow then continued to eat the tree leaves. Within a short time, the cow miraculously turned over and stood up.

The shepherd crawled down into the valley to assist his cow; he also suffered from injuries on his hands and feet caused by the sharp rocks and brambles on the climb down. He applied the blood red tree sap to his injuries and immediately the wounds stopped bleeding and the pain ceased. The shepherd carried this coagulated, dried tree sap back to the village, and preached about its magical effectiveness. From then on, the people regarded the tree sap as a miracle bestowed by heaven.”


The Ming dynasty medical scholar Li Shizhen, one of the great pharmacologists of China, in his Herbal Foundation Compendium (Ben Cao Gang Mu), written in 1578 and published in 1593, renamed this herbal medicine, Long Xue Jie, what is now known as Dragon’s Blood. He later referred to Dragon’s Blood as the “quicken blood miracle elixir”. In this medical classic he ascribes to Dragon’s Blood the following functions; break accumulations of blood, alleviate pain, engender flesh, eliminate pathogenic qi of the 5 viscera, supplement vacuity, boost yang essence, disperse various malign sores and scab sores, and dissipate static blood pain.

The Dragon Blood tree is called, “the botanical symbol of longevity” in China. In 1968, Feng Daode, the widely known geography scholar went to the African island of Madagascar. During his research of the island, he discovered a tree that had its trunk broken in a storm. Its height was 18 meters (49.4’) and almost 5 meters (13.7’) in diameter. Counting the age rings of the trunk revealed the tree’s incredible age of at least 8,000 years. In the botanical world, it is one of the oldest trees. This tree was blown down in 1861 by a tropical storm.

Prior to 1972, China was completely dependent on imported Dragon’s Blood; therefore, it was expensive and primarily used in the manufacture of patent herbal medicines. In 1972, Cai Xiyao, a famous Chinese botanist discovered the precious Dragon’s Blood trees in a thick rainforest in the Xishuanbanna prefecture of Southern Yunnan province. These trees provided the raw material for the development of Dragon’s Blood in China.

Found in the tropics, this evergreen arbor has an average height of 10-20 meters and a strong, large diameter trunk, which is usually Y-shaped. It has many branches and long sword-like leaves. The leaves are distributed densely on the top of the tree forming a canopy. It blooms white flowers and bears yellow fruit. A new tree blooms every several decades, and several hundred years to reach maturity; therefore, it is very rare. The tree’s sap is dark red. When dried, it resembles dried, coagulated blood, hence the name, Dragon’s Blood. The resin is harvested from the bark of wild trees in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, and Xishuangbanna (Yunnan province, China) and has extremely low levels of impurities (see Certificates of Analysis). Insects living in the bark damage the cortex and cause the tree to “bleed” resin. Eventually the bark sloughs off and is collected for extraction of the resin. Pesticides are not used as this would kill the insects living in the bark and interfere with the collection process. The resin is extracted with the use of ethyl alcohol under completely contained conditions in a clean room environment.

In China, Yunnan Baiyao, or “Yunnan province white medicine” has long been renowned for it’s effectiveness in the treatment of pain, swelling, and bleeding of traumatic injury. It’s formula is a trade secret, however most know that Notoginseng (san qi) is it’s chief medicinal. It also has quicken blood, transform stasis, staunch bleeding, and stabilize pain functions. Unbeknownst to many, Dragon’s Blood is also known as Yunnan Hongyao, or “Yunnan province red medicine”.

for Dragon Tree seeds, alchemy-works.com has them.
Dragon Trees take AGES to mature.

herb/drug interactions
Herb/Drug Interactions courtesy of Green Earth Herbs

There has been a lot of media interest lately about the potential for herb-drug interactions. More and more people who are taking prescription drugs are using herbs as well setting up at least the potential for problems to occur. The incidence of herb-drug interactions is small when compared to the problem of drug-drug interactions but it is advisable to be aware of the potential anytime you consider taking an herbal remedy. It is especially important to let your doctor know if you are scheduling surgery as many of the drugs used in surgical procedures can be affected by herbals.

Some herbs will modify absorption of drugs when mixed together in the stomach and intestines. This may either increase or decrease absorption of drugs which could make the drugs toxic or ineffective. Aloe gel, Marshmallow root, Psyllium seed husks and Slippery elm are high in fiber that can impair drug absorption. Black walnut hull, Horse chestnut, Raspberry leaves, Tea and White willow contain tannins that may cause some drugs to precipitate and make then unabsorbable.

Bladderwrack, Kelp, and other seaweeds are high in iodine which can cause the same problem as tannins. Black pepper, Cayenne and Ginger are pungent herbs which are known to enhance the absorption of many drugs. To avoid problems with any of these herbs take them at least 1 hour before or 2 hours after drug dosing.

Some herbs may potentiate drugs being taken for cardiac problems. Lily of the Valley, Pleurisy root, and Scotch broom contain cardiac glycosides which have the same action as digoxin and should not be taken together. Butternut, Cascara sagrada, Rhubarb root, Senna and Yellow dock are strong cathartic laxatives that may alter heart rate. Coffee, Guarana, Horsetail, Licorice root, and Tea enhance urinary excretion of potassium the loss of which can exacerbate a heart problem.

Another group of herbs could potentiate sedative or tranquilizing drugs. These herbs include Black cohosh, California poppy, Hops, Kava, Motherwort, Skullcap, St John's wort, and Valerian.

If you are a diabetic you should be aware of herbs that can modify blood sugar levels. Aloe vera, Bilberry, Burdock root, Fenugreek, Garlic, Ginseng, Olive leaf, and Psyllium seed are known to lower blood sugar levels. Then there are those herbs that can increase blood sugar levels including Coffee, Guarana, Ma huang (Ephedra), Rosemary and Tea.

One type of interaction potential that can be a problem especially during surgical procedures are those herbs that can modify effects of anticoagulants. Cayenne, Garlic, Ginger, Ginkgo, and Turmeric are blood platelet aggregation inhibitors. Aggregation of platelets is one of the first steps in the process of blood coagulation. Some herbs and vegetables are high in vitamin K. Vitamin K can counteract the effects of anticoagulants. These plants include Alfalfa, Beets, Broccoli, Parsley, and Stinging nettles.

Many people are now taking prescription and over-the-counter drugs that reduce stomach acid production (Zantac, Axid, Prilosec, Tagamet). Herbs that are stomach acid-secretion stimulants could counteract these drugs. These include Cayenne, Cinnamon, Coffee, Dandelion, Devil's claw, Ginger, Goldenseal. and Yarrow.

Finally, the herb receiving the most attention lately is St John's wort. There have been quite a few reports of dramatically decreased blood levels of certain drugs when taken at the same time as St John's wort. The herb increases activity of an enzyme system responsible for detoxification (metabolism) of some drugs in the liver. The drug Cyclosporine is used to prevent rejection of implanted organs. Blood levels of this drug have been reduced by 40-60% when St John's wort is used. Indanivir is a drug used to treat AIDS. Some AIDS patients may also use St John's wort for its (weak) antiviral activity. In these patients blood levels of Indanivir have dropped dramatically. Other drugs whose metabolism may be increased are Carbamazepine, Corticosteroids, Erythromycin, Lidocaine, Lovastatin, Methadone, Nifedipine, and Quinidine. Some hormones are also affected by this increased enzyme activity. They include Estradiol, Estriol, Testosterone, and Cortisol.

Most herbs can be used safely with drugs. But it is always a good idea to check with a knowledgeable source about potential interactions, especially if you are taking drugs in one of the above categories.


Herb-Drug Interactions

Aloe vera

Aloe may alter gastrointestinal absorption of some drugs by causing shorter GI transit time. It is advisable to separate administration from other medication.

Dried, powdered aloe leaf:

Cardiac glycosides: Theoretically, overuse of aloe increases the risk of adverse effects from the cardiac glycosides, such as digoxin.

Antiarrhythmic drugs: Overuse of aloe can increase risk of drug toxocity.

Diuretics: Overuse of aloe can compound potassium loss.

Corticosteroids: Overuse of aloe can compound potassium loss.

Aloe gel:

Diabetes therapy: Diabetic patients using aloe products should have their blood sugars monitored closely due to the possibility of aloe having hypoglycemic effects.

Hydrocortisone: Theoretically, concomitant topical usemight increase anti-inflammatory effects.



Black Cohosh

Antihypertensives: A 1962 study (Genazzani, et al; Nature, 194(5), 544-545, 1962) isolated the chemical actein which was shown to have a hypotensive effect in rabbits and cats. Patients taking medication to control blood pressure should be cautioned about the concomitant use of black cohosh because of the potential for an additive hypotensive effect.



Cayenne

MAOIs, Antihypertensive drugs: Theoretically, cayenne can interfere with activity of these drugs by increasing catecholamine secretion.

Hepatically metabolized drugs: Theoretically, cayenne can increase metabolism ofdrugs by increasing glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and adipose lipase activity.

Barbiturates and other sedative drugs: Theoretically, concomitant use can cause additive effects and side effects.

ACE inhibitors: Topically applied capsaicin might be involved with contributing to the cough reflex in patients using an ACE inhibitor.

Theophylline: Theoretically, using cayenne before or at the same time as theophylline might enhance theophylline absorption and blood levels.

Aspirin: Powdered chili taken thirty minutes before aspirin might reduce gastric mucosal damage.

Acid-inhibiting drugs: Theoretically, due to claims that cayenne increases stomach acid, it might interfere with antacids, sucralfate, H-2 antagonists, or proton-pump inhibitors.

Anticoagulants: Some animal studies have shown cayenne to have a fibrinolytic action which may potentiate anticoagulant drugs.



Chamomile

Anticoagulants: Chamomile contains small amounts of coumarin (in the range 0.000002% - 0.00002%). Theoretically, caution should be used in patients using anticoagulant therapy.

Benzodiazepines; Theoretically, concomitant use with benzodiazepines might cause additive effects and side effects.

Ethyl alcohol: Theoretically, liquid extract of chamomile might help prevent ulcer formation caused by ethyl alcohol.

Indomethacin: Theoretically, bisabolol, a constituent of the volatile oil in chamomile, might prevent ulcer formation caused by indomethacin.

Drugs with sedative properties: Theoretically, concomitant use with drugs with sedative properties can cause additive effects and side effects.



Echinacea

Immunosupressive drugs: Theoretically, echinacea may interfere with immunosupressant therapy.

Econazole nitrate: Concomitant use of echinacea and topical econazole can decrease the recurrence rate of vaginal candida infections.



Ephedra

Amitryptyline: Can block the hypertensive effects of ephedrine.

Dexamethasone: Ephedrine increases the clearance and reduces effectiveness of dexamethasone.

Diabetes therapy: Monitor blood glucose levels closely as ephedrine has a hyperglycimic effect and is a peripheral vasoconstrictor.

Digitalis: Theoretically, can cause cardiac arrhythmias.

MAOIs: Ephedrine can induce toxicity with MAOIs including tranylcypromine, selegiline, phenelzine and moclobemide. Can cause hypertension.

Methylxanthines: Theoretically, concomitant use of caffeine or theophylline can increase the stimulatory and adverse effects. Can also enhance thermogenesis and weight loss.

Oxytocin: Concomitant use with ephedra can cause hypertension.

Reserpine: Indirect sympathomimetic effects of ephedrine such as mydriasis and hypertension are antagonized by reserpine.

Urinary acidifiers such as ammonium chloride can increase ephedrine excretion.

Uirinary alkalinizers such as sodium bicarbonate can slow ephedrine excretion.



Feverfew

Anticoagulants, antiplatelet drugs: Feverfew inhibits platelet aggregation and secretion so it theoretically may potentiate anticoagulants.

NSAIDs: Theoretically can decrease the effectiveness of feverfew.



Garlic

Warfarin: Since garlic can cause alteration of platelet function, it may potentiate the action of warfarin and other anticoagulants.

Insulin: Insulin dose may require adjustment due to possible hypoglycemin effects of garlic.

Hypoglycemic drugs: Theoretically, garlic might increase effects and adverse effects of oral hypoglycemic drugs.



Ginger

Acid-inhibiting drugs: Theoretically, due to claims that ginger increases stomach acid, it might interfere with antacids, sucralfate, H-2 antagonists, or proton-pump inhibitors.

Anticoagulants, antiplatelet drugs: Theoretically, excessive amounts of ginger might increase the effect or the risk of bleeding.

Barbiturates: Theoretically, ginger may enhance barbiturate effects.

Antihypertensives: Theoretically, due to purported hypertensive or hypotensive effects, ginger might interfere with blood pressure therapy.

Cyclophosphamide: Theoretically, cyclophoshamide-induced vomiting might be prevented by prior administration of ginger.

Cardiac drugs: Theoretically, due to purported inotropic effect, ginger can interfere with cardiac drug therapy.

Diabetes drugs: Theoretically, due to purported hypoglycemic effect, ginger might interfere with diabetes therapy.



Ginkgo

Insulin: May raise blood glucose levels enough to alter insulin requirements in diabetics.

Anticoagulants: Due to the presence of blood serum platelet aggregation inhibitors, GBE may potentiate the effect of anticoagulants. In a recent case, a 70-year old male had been taking aspirin (one 325 mg tablet daily) for three years following coronary bypass surgery. He began taking two 40 mg tablets of GBE (50:1 extract), and one week later exhibited blurred vision with a red streak visible inside the eye. The patient had no previous history of eye disorders or recent eye trauma. The patient stopped taking the GBE, but continued to take the aspirin. No bleeding recurred over a three month follow-up period (Rosenblatt,et al,New Engl J Med, 336;15:1108,1997).

MAOI: Theoretically may potentiate monoamine oxidase inhibitors (such as tranylcypromine).

Papaverine: May potentiate papaverine intracavernosal injection for impotence.

Cyclosporin: Theoretically, ginkgo may prevent cyclosporin-induced nephrotoxicity.

Thiazide diuretics: Ginkgo can increase blood pressure used concomitantly with a thiazide diuretic.

SSRIs: GBE can reverse fluoxetine or sertraline-induced sexual dysfunction



Ginseng

Antipsychotic drugs: Theoretically, American ginseng can interfere with antipsychotic drugs.

Hormones: Theoretically, it can interfere with hormone therapy.

MAO inhibitors: There is one case report of insomnia, headache and tremors with concomitant phenylzine and ginseng. There is also one case report of hypomania with phenylzine and ginseng.

Stimulant drugs: Theoretically, concomitant use of ginseng can potentiate the activity of stimulant drugs. One study of caffeine used with 3 grams daily average of ginseng found a 1 in 6 chance of hypertension.

Warfarin: Theoretically, ginseng may potentiate anticoagulant therapy. There is one case report of a decreased international normalization ratio (INR) associated with the addition of Panax ginseng to warfarin therapy



Goldenseal

Acid-inhibiting drugs: Theoretically, due to claims that goldenseal increases stomach acid, it might interfere with antacids, sucralfate, H-2 antagonists, or proton-pump inhibitors.

Barbiturates: Theoretically, goldenseal might potentiate barbiturate-induced sleep time.

Antihypertensives: Theoretically, large amounts of goldenseal might interfere with blood pressure control due to vasoconstrictive action of the constituent hydrastine.

Heparin: Theoretically, goldenseal can inhibit anticoagulant effects due to the constituent berberine.

Drugs with sedative properties: Theoretically, concomitant use with drugs with sedative properties might cause additive effects and side effects.



Hawthorn

Digoxin: Hawthorn might have a synergistic effect with digoxin requiring a dosage adjustment if used concurrently.

Coronary vasodilators: Using hawthorn with theophylline, caffeine, papaverine, sodium nitrate, adenosine, epinephrine and other coronary vasodilators might cause additive vasodilatory effects.

Cardiovascular drugs: Hawthorn might potentiate or interfere with conventional drug therapy for heart failure, hypertension, angina, and arrhythmias

CNS depressants: Concomitant use of hawthorn and CNS depressants might have additive effects.



Kava

CNS depressants: May potentiate action of alcohol, barbiturates or other psychoactive pharmaceuticals. A recent case was reported in the summer 1997 issue of Medical Herbalism in which a patient was admited in a lethargic and disoriented state, possibly due to an interaction between kava and the drug alprazolam (Xanax). The patient was also taking cimetidine which is known to reduce hepatic clearance of alprazolam and increase circulating levels of the drug.

Levodopa: One report of concomitant use associated with reduced efficacy of levodopa, possibly due to dopamine antagonism



Licorice

Antihypertensive drugs: Theoretically, sodium and water retention due to licorice might diminsh the effect of antihypertensive therapy.

Aspirin: Theoretically, concomitant use might reduce damage to the gastrointestinal mucosa.

Corticosteroids: Concomitant use might potentiate the duration of activity of drugs such as hydrocortisone and triamcinolone.

Cardiac glycosides: Large doses of licorice during digoxin therapy can cause potassium loss, increasing the risk of cardiac toxicity.

Cimetidine: Theoretically, concomitant use might provide additive gastrointestinal protection from ulcerative damage.

Diuretics: Licorice may potentiate potassium loss effects of thiazide diuretics.

Hormones: Theoretically, licorice might interfere with estrogen or anti-estrogen therapy due to estrogenic and anti-estrogenic effects.

Insulin: May be synergistic with licorice extract glycyrhhizin in causing hypokalemia and sodium retention.

NSAIDs: Theoretically, concomitant use can compound NSAID sodium and water retention.



Milk thistle

Aspirin: Theoretically, altered aspirin metabolism in individuals with liver cirrhosis might be improved with concomitant use of milk thistle.

Hepatotoxic drugs: Silymarin can help prevent liver damage caused by drugs, including butyrophenones, phenothiazines, phenytoin, acetominophen, alcohol, and halothane.

Cisplatin: Theoretically, concomitant administration of the constituent, silibinin, might help prevent kidney damage.



Saw palmetto

Oral contraceptives, hormonal therapy: Concomitant use with saw palmetto can interfere with oral contraceptives and hormone therapy.



St John's wort

Antidepressants: Until the mechanism of action is completely elucidated, caution should be used when hypericum is used in conjunction with other psychoactive medications. Patients should be monitored for any side effects.

Birth control pills: St John's wort induces p450 microsomal enzyme system in liver which is responsible for clearing estrogen from system. Theoretically, this could reduce effectiveness of birth control pills.

Cyclosporin: St. John's wort induces p450 microsomal enzyme system in liver lowering cyclosporin levels by 50-70% within 2 weeks.

Indinavir: St. John's wort induces p450 microsomal enzyme system in liver lowering blood levels of indinavir by 60-80% rendering it therapeutically ineffective.

SSRIs: Concomitant use of St. John's wort is contraindicted because it can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome. There is one case report of serotonism (headache, sweating, dizziness and agitation) when used concurrently with paroxetine.

MAO inhibitors: Due to the uncertainty of MAO inhibition, foods and medications known to interact with MAO inhibitors should be avoided as a safety measure. These include tyramine containing foods such as aged cheeses, wines, pickled herring and medications such as levodopa.

Ephedrine alkaloids: Reports of postsurgical hypotensive crises with patients taking "natural" diet products containing high levels of ephedrine alkaloids concomitantly with St. John's wort. Thoought to be due to depletion of epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Meperidine: Reports of postsurgical hypertensive crises in patients taking St. Johns wort and administered meperidine during surgery.



Valerian

Alcohol: Theoretically, valerian can potentiate the effects of alcohol.

Barbiturates: Theoretically, concomitant use of valerian with barbiturates can cause additive therapeutic and adverse effects.

Benzodiazepines: Theoretically, concomitant use with benzodiazepines can cause additive therapeutic and adverse effects. Due to affinity of valerian extracts and valepotriates with GABA and benzodiazepine receptor sites (in vitro) and diminshment of diazepam withdrawal effects caused by sufficiently large doses of valepotriates (in rat models), valerian may be helpful in withdrawal from benzodiazepine drugs.
Vinegar of the Four Thieves *
This is one of the most interesting legends in the fascinating history of herbalism. There is a possibility that this remedy was used and devised by an apothecary, Richard Forthave, and that the success and usefulness of the remedy created its own myth. This recipe has been in use for centuries, but the legend has it that it was discovered during a devastating bubonic plague.

Four thieves who had safely ransacked empty plagueridden houses were caught by policemen and brought before the French judges in Marseilles. The judges wondered aloud how these thieves had resisted the plague, especially since they were in and out of plague infested homes.

"We drink and wash with this vinegar preparation every few hours," they answered. In return for giving the recipe, the thieves were given their freedom.

There are several Four Thieves vinegars. This recipe was extracted from the notebook of a Virginia housewife. She combined a handful of each of the antidisease herbs and steeped them in apple cider vinegar. After the initial two week steeping (a vinegar tincture), she added garlic buds.

This aromatic and antibacterial vinegar is an excellent wash for floors, walls, sinks, bedsteads, pots, and pans, in sickrooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. It will offset a dampweather smell in a house and be a helpful floor and wall wash in a room overcrowded with people.

Externally, this vinegar may be used in small proportions in a bath or diluted for body wash. Ordinary apple cider vinegars may be used in undiluted state if desired, but some of the herbs in this recipe are too strong for the skin, and the vinegar must be diluted.

Internally, the dose is a teaspoon at a time in water no more than one tablespoon an hour (3 teaspoons make up a tablespoon). This acts as a preventive during an epidemic. If you are caught in a flu epidemic you will also want to read the recipe listed in the Cayenne Pepper section and the cinnamon bark preventive.

Vinegar of the Four Thieves

2-quarts apple cider vinegar
2-tablespoons lavender
2-tablespoons rosemary
2-tablespoons sage
2-tablespoons wormwood
2-tablespoons rue
2-tablespoons mint
2 -tablespoons garlic buds

Combine the dried herbs (except the garlic), and steep in the vinegar in the sun for two weeks. Strain and rebottle.