Short List of Herbs for Basic Medicine
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Jenna
Posted on: January 17, 2006

Is there a short list of medicinal plants that covers general medicine? I want to use herbs, but everything seems to use a different plant, and I can’t afford to buy 50-100 plants.

I don’t know of a short list of herbs for general medicine. Here are some of my basic herbs for first aid:

Arnica cream or gel: anti-inflammatory, analgesic; for bruises, sprains, strains & fractures, apply immediately to decrease swelling; muscle aches and pains; rheumatic joints.

Cayenne powder: use in physical shock, sprains, sore throat & upper respiratory problems. Cayenne is antibacterial, antiseptic, stimulates digestion and encourages circulation and perspiration, antispasmodic for the relief of pain. Externally, sterilizes wound and stops bleeding.

Cinnamon powder: use for diarrhea, parasitic infection. Encourages blood circulation, antispasmodic, warming digestive used to treat nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, gastroenteritis. Avoid in pregnancy.

Cloves: use for toothache. The dried clove flower bud is anaesthetic, antiseptic and mildly antifungal. Cloves are also a warming digestive and can be used in digestive teas. Avoid in pregnancy.

Echinacea tincture: As a wash for wounds; cools inflammation; use for colds & flu, cuts and scrapes, poisonous bites; to prevent and treat illness. Antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, immune stimulant. Used for any infection including that of the blood, skin, kidney and urinary tract.

Fennel seed: digestive, anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, anti-microbial, expectorant; use for indigestion, gas, griping pains. Use cooled tea externally for infected eye.

Lavender essential oil: Pain relieving, antibacterial, antidepressant, antispasmodic, digestive, circulatory stimulant, relaxant, nervous system tonic, inhalant. Use for burns, stress, headache, sleeplessness.

Peppermint herb: Use for fever, sinus problems. Peppermint is cooling, digestive, anti-spasmodic, painkilling and promotes sweating. Inhalation relieves nasal congestion. Also relieves nausea, including morning sickness. Do not give to babies or small children.

Psyllium seeds: use for constipation. Psyllium seeds are soothing and act as a bulk laxative. Also used for irritable bowel, colitis and dysentry.

Salt: Use for diarrhea, leeches; as a gargle for sore throat and mouth sores. Salt causes the fluid to be released from whatever it comes in contact with. In case of food poisoning, drink a little warm salt water, several times an hour if necessary.

Slippery elm balls with ginger: use for diarrhea, constipation, gastritis, indigestion, heartburn, nausea, travel sickness, stomach upset, sore throat. Slippery Elm bark powder is soothing, healing and nutritious. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, digestive and antispasmodic - the ideal remedy for nausea and travel sickness.

Tea Tree oil: use for leeches, head lice, cold sores, warts, wounds, cuts, insect bites & fungal infection (athletes foot); on tampon to treat vaginal infection. Steam for chest inhalation.

Valerian tincture: relieves cramps, spasms; used for sleeplessness, muscle aches and pains, nervousness or nervous shock. Relaxant, anti-spasmodic, mild pain reliever. Also used for bronchial spasms, tension headache and migraines.

Yarrow herb: Use in fever, sinus problems. Yarrow is anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, astringent, urinary antiseptic, promotes sweating and digestion, cools fevers. Also useful in colds, hay fever and other catarrhal (mucus, phlegm) problems.

If you are planning to grow your own herbs, the following are easy to grow or collect from the wild (depending on the area you live in) and very useful medicinally. Most herbs are used for more than one purpose. You need to have a good herbal reference book such as David Hoffman’s "The New Holistic Herbal".

* Basil (Ocinum basilicum) minimum

* Bergamot (Monarda didyma & Monarda fistulosa)

* Calendula officinalis

* Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

* Comfrey (Symphytum officinale)

* Echinacea angustifolia (or purpurea)

* Feverfew (Tanacetum psrthenium)

* Goldenrod (Solidago virgauria) (?? Maybe not)

* Hops (Humulus lupulus)

* Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)

* Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)

* Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)

* Marshmallow (Althea officinalis)

* Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)

* Motherwort (Leonuris cardiaca)

* Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)

* Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

* Red clover ((Trifolium pratense)

* Sage (Salvia officinalis)

* Saint John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum)

* Tarragon, French (Artemesia dracunculus)

* Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) English and Wild (T. serphyllum)

* Valerian (Valreiana officinalis)

* Wormwood (Artemesia absinthum)

* Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

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