Herbal Materia Medica


Latin Name:  Angelica archangelica

Family Name:  Umbelliferae

Common name:  Garden Angelica, Root of the Holy Ghost

Properties:  Carminative, anti-spasmodic, expectorant, diuretic, diaphoretic, Emmenagogue,

Uses:  Roots and stems are used medicinally; the stems and seeds are used in confectionery. Requires rich, moist garden soil in partial shade.  ‘Herb of the Angel’.  It was revealed to a Benedictine monk when he was pleading to God for a cure for the plague.  It was believed to protect against contagious diseases (including the plague) and to ward off evil spirits and enchantments, bestow long life, and even neutralize the bites of mad dogs.  People chewed the roots at the end of World War I to protect themselves from a worldwide influenza epidemic.  Associated with St. Michael it was also called “the root of the holy Ghost” to whom it appeared in a dream.  Under the ward of Michael, the Archangel for whom it was named, it was considered a panacea and was especially valued for warding off evil spirits.  For centuries angelica, has been brewed in Carmelite water a special long life elixir and is the main ingredient in Swedish bitters a famous tonic used for indigestion, headaches and general maladies.  Useful for coughs, bronchitis, and pleurisy, especially when they are accompanied by fever, colds or influenza.  The leaf can be used a s a compress in inflammations of the chest.  It has been shown to help ease rheumatic inflammations.

Preperation: Combine with chamomile for indigestion, flatulence and loss of appetite.  Combine with Coltsfoot and White Horehound for indigestion. Warming and decongesting it promotes circulation and energy throughout the body.  There are several varieties, Dong Quai is the female ginseng and is great used as a long-term tonic especially for the reproductive system.  Angelica is more specific for medicinal purposes as it has a stronger medicinal action.  Both are great for woman.



Latin Name:  Foenicumlum vulgare

Family name:  Umbelliferae

Common name:  Sweet Fennel, Wild Fennel

Properties:  Carminative, aromatic, anti-spasmodic, diuretic, stimulant, galactagogue, rubefacient, expectorant.

Uses:  Grows on dry fields and roadsides.  Fennel is a good stomach and intestinal remedy which relieves flatulence and colic while also stimulating the digestion and appetite.  It is like Aniseed in its calming effect on bronchitis and coughs.  Can be used to flavor cough remedies.  Increases the flow of milk in nursing mothers.  Externally the oil eases muscular and rheumatic pains.  The cooled infusion may be used to treat conjunctivitis and inflammation of the eyelids as a compress.

Preparation:  A tea made using one teaspoon of crushed seeds in a cup of boiled water, steeped twenty minutes can be used to treat colic, cramps, gas, and to expel mucus. Can be combined with strong laxative formulas to prevent griping.


Latin Name:  Scutellaria lateriflora L.

Family name:  Labiate

Common Names:  Blue Pimpernel, Blue Skullcap, Helmet flower, Hood wort, Mad-Dog Skullcap, Mad-dog Weed, Mad weed

Properties:  Emmenagogue, nervine, sedative.

Uses:  Grows in moist woods and swampy areas.  Used by Native Americans to promote menstruation and as a sedative.  Good for pre-menstrual tension.  It contains scutellarin, a flavonoid with sedative and antispasmodic properties.  Still used in modern medicine to prevent epileptic seizures.  It is one of the most effective herbs to use to withdraw from alcohol and drug use.  Relaxes nervous tension, induces inner calm, and counteracts sleeplessness.  Relaxes states of nervous tension while at the same time renewing and revivifying the central nervous system.  It may be used with complete safety and confidence in all exhausted and depressed conditions.  See The way of Herbs for dosage for withdrawal symptoms.  Should be collected late in the flowering period during August and September.  Combines well with Valerian.   Large doses may cause giddiness, confusion, twitching, and stupor.




Latin names:  German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) Hungarian Chamomile, Wild Chamomile, Single Chamomile

Family name:   Composite

Common names:  Manzanilla, Maythorn

Uses:  Its habitat is Roadsides and other waste places.  Flowers should be gathered between May and August when they are not wet with dew or Rain.  Has an erect, much branched cylindrical stem with light green leaves that are feathery.  Single daisy like flowers with an apple smell. Use the flowerheads.  Bitter spicy, aromatic, neutral.  Valid antispasmodic for relieving cramps. Calmative, Nervine, anodyne, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, carminative.  Studies show that it is a sedative and is anti-inflammatory. Useful in allaying arthritis and other conditions characterized by pain, heat, redness, and swelling.  Highly regarded for its digestive and calming properties.  Used for nervousness and irritability, anxiety and insomnia, digestive disorders such as indigestion and gastritis, mouthwash for inflammations of the mouth such as gingivitis and for bathing inflamed and sore eyes.  As a gargle for sore throats.  Inhalation for nasal catarrh.  As a carminative with relaxing properties it will ease flatulence and dyspeptic pain.  For teething and irritable children, menstrual cramps, and back pain.  High in calcium. The bitter German Chamomile is best for its anti-inflammatory properties.  A strong infusion of 1 oz. to 1 pint of water is one of the most effective treatments to relive pains including the pain of a slipped disc in the back, sciatica, and gout.


Roman Chamomile (Anthems nobilin L.) Common Chamomile, English Chamomile, True Chamomile,

Composite Family, Composite

Roman Chamomile is frequently confused with German chamomile.  They are members of the same family, and do resemble each other. Both have pale green feathery leaves, both produce daisy like flowers, and both have an apple like fragrance.  Both have the same healing properties.  The German chamomile is stronger and more effective in relieving pain.

Name:  Cayenne

Latin Name:  Capsicum minimum & related species

Family Name:  Solanaceae

Common Names: Chilies, Bird’s Eye

Properties:  Stimulant astringent, carminative, hemostatic, antispasmodic

Uses:  Use the fruit.  Stimulates the body’s natural defense system. Has antiseptic properties and is an excellent circulatory herb.  One of the best heart tonics.  Excellent carminative, stimulating the digestive process and helping with congestion and constipation.  It’s hot simulating properties make it perfect for breaking up congestion in the body, clearing mucus, moving blood and dispelling Internal and External Cold and Cold Dampness. It treats headaches, cramping or pains of the stomach and bowels, indigestion, poor appetite, gas, arthritis, diabetic neuropathy and atherosclerosis. In small gradual doses, it can heal stomach ulcers and inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori pathogen.  It also stimulated energy and vitality and counteracts depression.  Rich in vitamin A and C. Can be used as first aid remedy for the first sign of colds, flu, indigestion, bleeding or that “low” feeling.  Capsaicin also signals the brain to release endorphins, the body’s “feel good” hormones.   Can be sprinkled on a wound externally to stop bleeding like yarrow without burning the skin.  Also, arrests internal hemorrhaging internally and externally by normalizing circulation, making it well suited for those with high or low blood pressure.  Long history as a heart herb.  Used by Dr. Christopher and Jethro Kloss.  May be taken daily as a stimulant for the heart, circulation and for preventing heart attacks and strokes.  It is good for atherosclerosis and blood clotting.  Add to formulas as a stimulant to carry herbs quickly and effectively throughout the body and potentizing other herbs in the formula like how Chinese use ginger.  The spicy taste bypasses the liver detoxification process.  Externally the tincture or oil rubbed on toothaches, cramps, sprains, muscle pain and stiffness, swellings and sore joints heals and stops pain.  Found in many over the counter pain relief formulas. For arthritis apply to painful areas, then wrap in flannel cloth and keep in place throughout the night.  Oil can be used topically to alleviate the pain of trigeminal and post-hepatic neuralgia (shingles).  Use as a gargle for laryngitis and sore throat, a pinch diluted in water as an eye wash to improve circulation and vision.  Careful it stings.  Use sparingly in formulas.  The burning feeling it creates is superficial and not harmful.  Warning use with caution and sparingly.  Wear gloves when handling.  In large amounts, it can cause stomach convulsions.  A little goes a long way. Caution in pregnancy.

Name:  Cinnamon

Latin Name:  Cinnamomum zeylanicum and related species

Family Name:  Lauraceae

Common Names:

Properties: Bark is Stimulating, astringent, demulcent, analgesic and carminative.  Twigs are diaphoretic, aromatic, stimulant, astringent, and stomachic

Uses: One of the world’s oldest spices. One of the five ingredients in five spice powder.  Medicinally the inner bark of the cinnamon tree (cassia) strongly warms, raising vitality, stimulating circulation and clearing congestion.  Treats a variety of problems due to circulation.  Cinnamon bark also “leads the body’s metabolism fires back to their source.  Alleviating symptoms of a hot upper body and a cold lower body, such as flushing and sweating face and weak and cold lower extremities and diarrhea.  Common kitchen cinnamon is also warming.  Mixed with milk, it alleviates diarrhea in elderly and with honey forms a delicious paste that keeps one warm in winter and improves digestion, eliminates gas and clears mucus in the chest.  It is a well- respected digestive aid, particularly for cases of overeating, bloating, and sluggish digestion, and one of the best herbs around for stabilizing blood sugar levels.  Antiviral and antifungal.  A mild emmenagogue making it useful in cases of sluggish and painful menstruation.  Used to sweeten and warm medicinal formulas.