Medicinal Herbs and Their Common Uses


The interest in medicinal herbs has been growing steadily over the last decade. The reasons for this shift are many, but some of the most common include a desire to treat common ailments naturally, fewer side-effects, lower cost, more gentle on the body, and the ability to grow them at home, or source them from the wilderness.

Medicinal herbs are generally defined as herbs, roots, or other plant parts which have beneficial health properties, when used correctly. Most of them are not for culinary use, event though they may have nutritional value. Many culinary herbs also have medicinal uses, which is seen as a value-added benefit to those who consume them. Garlic, oregano, rosemary, and cloves are a few examples of beneficial culinary herbs.

The list of medicinal herbs shown below is not inclusive of all medicinal herbs. It does, however, contain the more common ones, which are readily available from commercial sources. It does not contain culinary herbs, nor any medicinal herbs which are known to be dangerous or possibly toxic, if used incorrectly. This list should not be considered medical advice, nor is is a recommendation, or advice. Many people do not agree on the efficacy, dosage, or even the effectiveness of medicinal herbs. It is a personal choice on whether an individual chooses to use herbs in support of their overall health, or not. There are uses not listed here. It is intended as a starting point for understanding the many ways medicinal herbs can be used. Consult your physician or a licensed herbalist before using any type of medicinal herbs, as they may interfere with other medications or supplements.

Medicinal Herbs and Their Common Uses

Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria) –used for liver, kidney, stomach problems and diarrhea.

Alfalfa Leaf (Medicago sativa) – used for kidney conditions, bladder, and prostate conditions, as well as to increase urine flow. It is also used for high cholesterol, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, stomach issues, and thrombocytopenic purpura (a rare bleeding disorder). In times of upheaval, alfalfa will be highly sought as it is a source of vitamins A, C, E, calcium, potassium, phosphorous, and iron.

American Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) – used for anxiety, insomnia, diabetes, and weight loss.

Andrographis Herb (Andrographis paniculata) – used for the common cold, osteoarthritis, infection of the throat and tonsils, ulcerative colitis, and a general immune stimulant.

Angelica Root (Angelica archangelica) – used for heartburn, intestinal gas, loss of appetite, anorexia, overnight urination issues, arthritis, stroke, dementia, circulation problems, nervousness and anxiety, fever, plague, and trouble sleeping.

Arnica Flowers (Heterotheca inuloides) – one of the most common natural pain relievers, especially for osteoarthritis, sore throat, post-surgical pain, and general aches and pains. Arnica is also used for bleeding, bruising, and swelling after surgery.

Ashwagandha Root (Withania somnifera) – used as a general tonic to boost energy and reduce stress and anxiety. It may help boost testosterone and fertility for men. There are claims that it may be beneficial for certain cancers & Alzheimer’s disease.

Asafoetida (Ferula assa-foetida) – used to aid digestion and gas, as well as treat bronchitis and kidney stones.

Astragalus Root (Astragalus membranaceus) – also known as Huang Qi, this root is used for constipation, allergies, the common cold, and upper respiratory infections.

Ban Zhi Lian / Barbed Skullcap (Scutellaria barbata) – used with other herbs in traditional Chinese medicine to treat bacterial infections, hepatitis, and tumors.

Bergamot (Monarda) – used for high cholesterol, anxiety, mental alertness, and joint pain.

Black Cohosh Root (Actaea racemosa) – used for symptoms of menopause, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful menstruation, and osteoporosis.

Blue Lotus (Nymphaea caerulea) – used as a natural aphrodisiac, sleep aid, and anxiety reliever.

Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) – used for skin problems (itching, eczema), stomach problems, joint swelling, and anti-inflammatory.

Butterfly Pea (Clitoria ternatea) – used as a memory enhancer, brain booster, anti-stress, and calmative agent.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis) – used to speed healing, reduce pain and swelling from hemorrhoids, reduce skin inflammation, dermatitis, ear infections, diaper rash, acne, eczema, and rashes.

California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) – used for soothing nervous tension, pain reduction, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and bedwetting.

Celandine (Chelidonium majus) – used to stimulate bile flow, digestive health, infection fighting, and to reduce inflammation.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) – used to treat intestinal cramps, indigestion, to induce menstruation, as a sedative, diarrhea, colic, and to stimulate the appetite.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – used as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-allergenic, and has mild sedative properties.

Chai Hu (Bupleurum chinense; Radix) Bupleurum Root – used to nourish the liver and treat fever caused by colds, irregular menstruation, uterine prolapse, anal prolapse, hepatitis, and cholecystitis.

Chickweed (Stellaria media) – used for stomach and bowel problems, lung diseases, wounds and skin ulcers, and joint pain.

Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) – used for inflammation, insomnia, hepatitis, epilepsy, atherosclerosis, cancer, anxiety, tension, and stress relief.

Cinquefoil (Potentilla reptans) – used for inflammation, mouth ulcers, sore throat and cough.

Coltsfoot Leaf (Tussliago farfara) – used for asthma, cough, sore throat, swelling of the airways, and respiratory issues.

Comfrey Leaf (Symphytum officinale) – used for stomach ulcers, heavy menstruation, diarrhea, bloody urine, cough, bronchitis, cancer, angina, gum disease, sore throat.  Topically used for ulcers, wounds, muscle soreness, bruises, rheumatoid arthritis, varicose veins, gout, and fractures.

Common Mallow (Malva neglecta) – Used as a natural astringent, anti-inflammatory, and emollient, common mallow plants are used to soothe and soften skin. In times of upheaval this plant will be sought as it is high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium, and vitamins A and C.

Da Huang (Radix et Rhizoma Rhei) Chinese Rhubarb Root – used primarily for digestive complaints including constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, stomach pain, gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, and anal fissures.

Da Qing Ye (Isatis indigotica Fort) Isatis Leaf – uses include for acute parotitis, upper respiratory tract infection, encephalitis, hepatitis, lung abscess, psoriasis, dysentery, acute gastroenteritis, prostate cancer, and HIV.

Damiana Leaf Herb (Turnera diffusa) – used as an aphrodisiac, stress reducer, and for general stomach concerns.

Dandelion (Taraxacum) – leaves are used as a diuretic and laxative and also to improve digestion. The root is used to treat issues associated with the liver, kidneys, and the gallbladder.

Devil’s Claw Root (Harpagophytum procumbens) – used for back pain, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and other joint-related issues.

Dream Herb (Calea Zacatechichi) – used for appetite loss, constipation, various rashes, head pain, asthma symptoms, including cough, breathing problems, and high blood sugar.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) – used for treatment of the common cold, flu, mild  pain, inflammation, migraine headaches.

Eleuthero Root (Eleutherococcus senticosus) – used for overall immune system support.

Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) – used to treat fever, arthritis, and migraine headaches.

Geranium (Geranium maculatum) – used to treat conjunctivitis and moderate retina irritations, stomach disorders, diarrhea, and abnormal bleeding.

Germander (Teucrium chamaedrys) – used for stomach and intestinal issues, weight loss, fever, and oral hygiene.

Ginseng Root, American (Panax quinquefolius) – used for stress, to boost the immune system, an overall stimulant, and upper airway infection

Ginseng Root, Asian ginseng (Panax Ginseng) – used to boost energy, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, stress reduction, diabetes, and sexual dysfunction in men.

Gingko Leaf (Gingko biloba) – used mental stimulation, anxiety, dementia, leg pain caused by blood circulation problems, premenstrual symptoms, vision problems caused by glaucoma or diabetes, and vertigo.

Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale) – used for nausea, vomiting, stomach issues, dizziness, menstrual pain, arthritis, and to prevent morning sickness.

Goats Rue (Galega officinalis) – used for diabetes and to increase milk production in breast-feeding women.

Goldenrod (Solidago gigantea) – used for infections of the kidney, bladder, or urethra, bladder stones, kidney stones, joint pain, and hemorrhoids.

Gymnema Leaf (Gymnema Sylvestre) – used for diabetes, weight loss, obesity, and high cholesterol.

Hawthorn Berry (Crataegus monogyna) – used for heart conditions, angina, and high blood pressure.

Heal All Herb (Prunella vulgaris) – also known as Xia Ku Cao is used for inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, problems in the stomach and intestines, and sore throat.

Hops (Humulus lupulus) – used as a digestive aid, mild sedative, diuresis, and to treat menstrual irregularity.

Horehound (Marrubium vulgate) – used for the common cold, as an expectorant, for the treatment of intestinal parasites and as both a diaphoretic and diuretic.

Horny Goat Weed Herb (Epimedium) – used for sexual performance problems, erectile dysfunction, low libido, osteoporosis, and joint pain.

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) – used to treat edema, urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and topically to treat wounds.

Jasmine Flower (Jasminum officinale) – used for liver disease, pain due to cirrhosis, dysentery, to promote relaxation,  and as an aphrodisiac.

Klip Dagga (Leonotis Nepetifolia) – used for fevers, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, malaria, dysentery, a uterine cleanse, and snakebites.

Lavender (Lavandula) – used for anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, dementia, and as an antiseptic.

Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) – used for menstruation, menopause, weight loss, cough, flu, bleeding, inflammation, diarrhea, eczema, and other skin rashes.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) – used for anxiety, stress, insomnia, indigestion, and dementia.

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) – used for digestive disorders including gas and diarrhea, muscle damage, multiple sclerosis, and insomnia.

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) – used for eczema, inflammation, and mouth sores.

Lobelia (Lobelia inflata) – used for asthma, bronchitis, and whooping cough.

Mandrake Root (Podophyllum peltatum) – used as a laxative and a purgative.

Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) – used for stomach ulcers, diarrhea, and constipation.

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) – used for colds, heartburn, arthritis, and bladder infections.

Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum) – used to treat various liver conditions, including hepatitis and cirrhosis, and diabetes.

Mistletoe Leaf (Viscum album) – used to treat epilepsy, infertility, hypertension, and arthritis.

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) – used for heart conditions, symptoms of menopause and menstruation, anxiety, and high blood pressure.

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) – use for stomach and intestinal conditions, irregular periods, to increase energy, and topically to reduce bruising and scarring.

Mullein Leaf (Verbascum thapsus) – used for respiratory disorders such as asthma, coughs, tuberculosis, and related respiratory problems. Also used for hemorrhoids, burns, bruises, and gout.

Nettle Leaf (Urtica dioica) – used for hay fever, asthma, diarrhea, osteoarthritis, circulation problems, diabetes, fluid retention, and symptoms of enlarged prostate.

Oatstraw (Avena sativa) – used for osteoporosis, to strengthen he nervous system, and useful for menopausal symptoms particularly insomnia, depression, anxiety, memory loss, restless leg.

Olive Leaf (Olea Europaea) – used as an antihypertensive, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiatherogenic, hypoglycemic, and hypocholesterolemia.

Osha Root (Ligusticum porteri) – used as an immune booster and aid for coughs, pneumonia, colds, bronchitis, and the flu. It’s also used to relieve indigestion, lung diseases, body aches, and sore throat.

Oregon Grape Root (Mahonia aquifolium) – used for psoriasis, eczema, topical dermatitis, and stomach problems.

Plantain (Plantago major) – used to reduce inflammation, improve digestion, and promote wound healing.

Passion Flower (Passiflora incarnate) – used for anxiety, insomnia, stress, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and mild pain relief.

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – used for stomach pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), indigestion, spasms in the bowel, cracked nipples, bed sores, and tension headache.

Primrose, Evening (Primula vulgaris) – used for asthma, eczema, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), hepatitis B, high cholesterol, liver cancer, breast pain, obesity, symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and psoriasis.

Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) – used to support pregnancy by shortening labor and reducing complications, promotes breast-milk production, and lowers blood sugar levels. In times of upheaval this plant will be sought as it is high in antioxidants, high in fiber, flavonoids, vitamins A, C, E, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and potassium.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) – used for menopause symptoms, asthma, whooping cough, and arthritis.

Red Root (Ceanothus americana) – used for sluggish lymph functionality.

Rose Hips (Rosa canina) – used for rheumatoid arthritis, fever, diarrhea, upset stomach, infections, and the common cold. In times of upheaval this plant will be sought after due to it being fiber and vitamin C.

Sarsaparilla Root, Indian (Hemedismus indicus) – used as a demulcent, aphrodisiac, diuretic, and to treat leukoderma, syphilis, indigestion, anorexia, rheumatism, hemicrania and several kidney and liver disorders.

Saw Palmetto (Serenoa repens) – used to improve overall prostate health in men, to balance hormone levels, prevent hair loss in men, and improve urinary function.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) – used for memory, digestion, osteoarthritis, nausea and vomiting after surgery.

Sorrel, Sheep (Rumex acetosella) – used for poor eyesight, skin infections, overall immune system health, a mild laxative, and digestion. In times of upheaval this plant will be sought after due to it being high in Vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, protein, and Vitamin A.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) – used to treat mild to moderate depression and related symptoms such as anxiety or insomnia.

Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum) – used for lung, heart, stomach, liver, gallbladder, and urinary disorders.

Uva Ursi Leaf (Arctostaphylos uva ursi) – used for infections of the kidney, bladder, or urethra (urinary tract infections or UTIs) and inflammation of the urinary tract.

Valerian Root (Valeriana wallichii) – used for sleep disorders, insomnia, anxiety, and psychological stress.

White Sage (Salvia apiana) – Used as an antibacterial, to reduce inflammation, and digestive health.

Wild Lettuce (Lactuca virosa) – used for whooping cough, asthma, urinary tract problems, insomnia, restlessness, excitability in children, painful menstrual periods, excessive sex drive in women (nymphomania), muscular or joint pains, poor circulation, and swollen genitals in men (priapism).

Yarrow Leaf (Achillea millefolium) – used for diarrhea, gas, asthma, colds, runny nose, arthritis, wounds, skin healing, and liver disorders.

Additional Reading

Magickal Properties of Herbs, Nuts, and Branches used in Spellwork

What Grows in the Devil’s Garden? Surprising Names of Herbs & Plants

Herbs and Your Sex Life – Libido, ED, Stamina, Performance and More

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