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Medicinal Uses

There are many hundreds of medicinal plants that can be grown in temperate climates and there are probably a great deal more with properties as yet undiscovered.

Just to look at a few of our more common herbs: thyme has been shown to slow down the ageing process by maintaining the vigour of our body cells; sage is an excellent antiseptic for treating mouth ulcers and sore throats; camomile is a safe treatment for childrens' stomach upsets and garlic contains fungicides and is used in the treatment of Candida.

The following leaflets examine the heath and nutritional benefits of plants in more detail:

  1. Plants for Health
  2. Fruit: Food of the Gods
  3. Green Gold - The Leaves of Life!
  4. Active Plant Components
  5. Plant Parts
Database
Top Rated 54 plants with the most useful medicinal properties.
Alternative and Complementary Medicine
  • Alterative  Causes a gradual beneficial change in the body, usually through improved nutrition and elimination, without having any marked specific action. ( 130 )
  • Aromatherapy  Plants whose essential oils are used in Aromatherapy. ( 37 )
  • Bach  Plants used in the Bach flower remedies. ( 38 )
  • Homeopathy  A plant used in homeopathic treatments. ( 133 )
Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi and Parasites
  • Anthelmintic  Expels parasites from the gut. ( 208 )
  • Antibacterial  Kills bacteria. ( 247 )
  • Antibiotic  An agent that inhibits or destroys a living organism. It usually refers to bacteria or other micro-organisms and is probably synonymous with Antibacterial ( 20 )
  • Antifungal  An agent that inhibits or destroys fungi. Used in the treatment of various fungal problems such as candida. ( 59 )
  • Antiviral  Treats virus diseases ( 28 )
  • Parasiticide  Treats external parasites such as ringworm This should perhaps be joined with Parasiticide in 'Other Uses'. ( 124 )
  • Vermifuge  Expels and kills internal parasites. ( 157 )
  • Warts  Used in the treatment of warts, corns etc. ( 53 )
Bites and Stings
  • Antidote  Counters poisoning. ( 134 )
  • Stings  Used in the treatment of stings and insect bites. ( 61 )
Bones
Bowles and Bladder
  • Antihaemorrhoidal  Treats haemorrhoids (piles). This would probably be best added to another heading. ( 19 )
  • Aperient  A mild laxative. ( 75 )
  • Carminative  Reduces flatulence and expels gas from the intestines. ( 340 )
  • Cathartic  A strong laxative but less violent than a purgative. ( 90 )
  • Hydrogogue  A purgative that causes an abundant watery discharge. ( 8 )
  • Laxative  Stimulates bowel movements in a fairly gentle manner. ( 305 )
  • Purgative  A drastic laxative causing a cleansing or watery evacuation of the bowels, usually with a griping pain. ( 167 )
Cancer
  • Antitumor  Preventing, or effective against, tumors, it is used in the treatment of cancer. Probably synonymous with Cytotoxic. ( 60 )
  • Cancer  Used in the treatment of cancer. ( 317 )
  • Cytostatic  Slows or controls the growth of tumours. ( 12 )
  • Cytotoxic  Destroys body cells. Used in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, where it is targeted against the cancer cells. ( 12 )
  • Resolvent  Breaks down tumors. This might be placed under antitumor. ( 44 )
Chest and Lungs
  • Antiasthmatic  Treats asthma. ( 87 )
  • Antitussive  Prevents or relieves coughing. ( 144 )
  • Decongestant  Removes phlegm and mucous, especially from the respiratory system. ( 11 )
  • Demulcent  Soothes, lubricates and softens irritated tissues, especially the mucous membranes. ( 179 )
  • Expectorant  Clears phlegm from the chest by inducing coughing. ( 450 )
  • Pectoral  Relieves respiratory diseases, a remedy for chest diseases. ( 178 )
Ear, Nose and Throat and Eyes
  • Errhine  Produces sneezing. ( 4 )
  • Mouthwash  Treats problems such as mouth ulcers. ( 10 )
  • Mydriatic  Dilates the pupils of the eyes. ( 9 )
  • Odontalgic  Treats toothache (temporary measure only) and other problems of the teeth and gums. ( 128 )
  • Ophthalmic  Treats eye complaints. ( 261 )
  • Sialagogue  Stimulates the secretion of saliva. ( 42 )
  • Sternutatory  Promotes sneezing and nasal discharges. ( 20 )
Fevers
General Well Being
  • Antiscorbutic  A plant rich in vitamin C that is used to counteract scurvy. ( 87 )
  • Balsamic  A healing and soothing agent. ( 13 )
  • Nutritive  A food for convalescents to help restore strength. ( 40 )
  • Tonic  Improves general health. Slower acting than a stimulant, it brings steady improvement. ( 703 )
Heart and Blood
  • Anticholesterolemic  Prevents the build up of cholesterol. ( 45 )
  • Anticoagulant  Removes blood clots. ( 22 )
  • Blood purifier  Purifies the blood. ( 45 )
  • Blood tonic  Is this any different to a blood purifier? ( 40 )
  • Cardiac  Used in the treatment of heart problems. ( 109 )
  • Cardiotonic  A tonic for the heart. ( 142 )
  • Haemolytic  Breaks down red blood corpuscles to separate haemoglobin. ( 11 )
  • Hypoglycaemic  Reduces the levels of sugar in the blood. ( 86 )
  • Hypotensive  Reduces blood pressure, it is used in the treatment of high blood pressure ( 158 )
  • Vasoconstrictor  Narrows the blood vessels, thereby increasing blood pressure. ( 24 )
  • Vasodilator  Widens the blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure. ( 79 )
Infectious Diseases
  • Antiperiodic  Counteracts recurring illnesses such as malaria. ( 78 )
  • Antiscrophulatic  Counteracts scrofula. (TB, especially of the lymph glands) ( 16 )
  • TB  Plants used in the treatment of tuberculosis ( 66 )
  • VD  Used in the treatment of venereal disease ( 93 )
Liver, Kidneys, and other internal bits
  • Antibilious  Corrects the secretions of bile. ( 7 )
  • Cholagogue  Increases the flow of bile and its discharge from the body. ( 142 )
  • Diuretic  Acts on the kidneys, promoting the flow of urine. ( 1010 )
  • Haemostatic  Controls internal bleeding. ( 132 )
  • Hepatic  Acts on the liver (for better or worse!). ( 76 )
  • Kidney  Used in the treatment of kidney diseases ( 69 )
  • Lithontripic  Removes stones from the kidney, bladder etc. ( 51 )
Nerves and Muscles
  • Antispasmodic  Relaxes muscular spasms and cramps, calming nervous irritation. ( 393 )
  • Nervine  Stimulates and calms the nerves. ( 100 )
Other medicinal uses
  • Antidandruff  Treats dandruff. ( 30 )
  • Antihydrotic  Reduces perspiration. ( 6 )
  • Antiphlogistic  Reduces inflammation. ( 135 )
  • Antivinous  Treats addiction to alcohol ( 11 )
  • Appetizer  Improves the appetite ( 107 )
  • Aromatic  Having an agreeable odour and stimulant qualities. ( 85 )
  • Astringent  Produces contraction in living tissue, reducing the flow of secretions and discharges of blood, mucus, diarrhoea etc. ( 851 )
  • Bitter  Increases the appetite and stimulates digestion by acting on the mucous membranes of the mouth. Also increases the flow of bile, stimulates repair of the gut wall lining and regulates the secretion of insulin and glucogen. ( 82 )
  • Deodorant  Masks smells. Is this medicinal? ( 32 )
  • Diaphoretic  Induces perspiration. ( 427 )
  • Emollient  Softens the skin, causing warmth and moisture. ( 118 )
  • Enuresis  Treats bed wetting. ( 7 )
  • Hallucinogenic  Causes the mind to hallucinate. ( 27 )
  • Hypnotic  Induces sleep. ( 69 )
  • Irritant  Causes irritation or abnormal sensitivity in living tissue. ( 25 )
  • Miscellany  Various medicinal actions that need more clarification. ( 255 )
  • Refrigerant  Cools the body. ( 60 )
  • Restorative  Restores consciousness or normal physiological activity. ( 16 )
  • Rubefacient  A counter-irritant and external stimulant, it produces inflammation and redness of the skin. ( 84 )
  • Sedative  Gently calms, reducing nervousness, distress and irritation. ( 301 )
  • Stimulant  Excites or quickens activity of the physiological processes. Faster acting than a tonic but differing from a narcotic in that it does not give a false sense of well-being. ( 314 )
Pain Relief
  • Anaesthetic  Numbs the feeling in a local or general area of the body. ( 25 )
  • Analgesic  Relieves pain. ( 244 )
  • Anodyne  Relieves pain, it is milder than an analgesic. ( 288 )
  • Lenitive  Soothing, palliative. ( 16 )
  • Narcotic  Relieves pain, induces drowsiness and gives a sense of well-being. ( 82 )
Sex and Reproduction
  • Abortifacient  Causes an abortion. ( 57 )
  • Anaphrodisiac  Reduces sexual desire. ( 8 )
  • Aphrodisiac  Increases the sexual appetite. ( 89 )
  • Birthing aid  Used in facilitating birth, but not just to cause uterine contrctions. ( 60 )
  • Contraceptive  Prevents fertilization occurring in females. ( 70 )
  • Emmenagogue  Promotes or increases the menstrual flow. In early stages of pregnancy it can induce an abortion. ( 277 )
  • Galactofuge  Stops or reduces the flow of milk in a nursing mother. ( 15 )
  • Galactogogue  Promotes the flow of milk in a nursing mother. ( 117 )
  • Infertility  Used in treating problems of human fertility. ( 22 )
  • Oxytoxic  Hastens parturition and stimulates uterine contractions. See also birthing aids. ( 40 )
  • Uterine tonic  A tonic for the uterus. See also oxytoxic. ( 14 )
  • Women's complaints  A very vague title, it deals with a miscellany of problems peculiar to the female sex. ( 89 )
Skin, Hands and Feet
  • Acrid  Causes heat and irritation when applied to the skin. ( 12 )
  • Antidermatosic  Prevents or cures skin complaints. ( 1 )
  • Antipruritic  Treats itching of the skin. ( 49 )
  • Foot care  Plants that are used in various ways to treat foot problems. ( 13 )
  • Skin  Plants used in miscellaneous treatments for the skin. ( 262 )
  • Vesicant  A blistering agent. ( 9 )
Stomach
  • Antacid  Counters excess acidity in the stomach. ( 1 )
  • Antiemetic  Prevents vomiting. ( 58 )
  • Digestive  Aids digestion. ( 132 )
  • Emetic  Induces vomiting. ( 227 )
  • Stomachic  Aids and improves the action of the stomach. ( 492 )
Treatment of Wounds and Bruises
  • Antiecchymotic  Prevents or treats bruising. ( 8 )
  • Antiseptic  Preventing sepsis, decay or putrefaction, it destroys or arrests the growth of micro-organisms. ( 341 )
  • Detergent  A cleansing agent, used on wounds etc. It removes dead and diseased matter. ( 24 )
  • Disinfectant  Used for cleaning wounds. ( 51 )
  • Plaster  Used in the treatment of broken bones. ( 7 )
  • Poultice  A moist, usually warm or hot, mass of plant material applied to the skin in the treatment of burns etc. ( 431 )
  • Salve  Soothes and heals damaged skin. ( 143 )
  • Styptic  An astringent that stops bleeding by contracting the blood vessels. ( 88 )
  • Vulnerary  Promotes the healing of wounds. ( 199 )
Whole Body
  • Adaptogen  Helps the body 'rise' to normal stress situations, thus preventing the many chronic degenerative diseases. ( 19 )
  • Deobstruent  Clears obstructions from the natural ducts of the body. ( 48 )
  • Depurative  Eliminates toxins and purifies the system, especially the blood. ( 199 )