Nigella sativa L. (Ranunculaceae) Black Caraway, Black Cumin, Fennel Flower, Nutmeg Flower, Roman Coriander (Medicine)

Medicinal Uses (Black Cumin) — This herb apparently may be even more important to the Muslims than to the Christians and Jews. According to an Arab proverb, “in the black seed is the medicine for every disease except death.” Small wonder that the literature regards it as carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, excitant, lactagogue, laxative, […]

Osmorhiza spp. (Apiaceae) Aniseroot, Clayton's Sweetroot, Hairy Sweet Cicely, Smooth Sweet Cicely, Wild Sweet Cicely (Medicine)

Unable to distinguish the two species in land, O. claytonii (Michx.) C. B. Clarke and O. longistylis (Torr.) DC., I have merged data from DEM and others for the two common land species, doubting that others can distinguish them any better than I can. Medicinal Uses (Sweetroot) — In his great topic, Moerman (1998) maintains […]

Laurus nobilis L. (Lauraceae) Bayleaf Laurel, Grecian Laurel, Laurel, Sweet Bay (Medicine)

Medicinal Uses (Bayleaf) — Regarded as aperitif, carminative, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, narcotic, nervine, stimulant, stomachic, and sudorific. Oleum lauri, the fixed oil derived from the fruits (as opposed to EO) is widely expressed and used in Turkey. It is used in massage for rheumatism and to kill body parasites. Vets use the oleum as an […]

Illicium verum Hook. f. (Illiciaceae) Chinese Star Anise (Medicine)

Medicinal Uses (Star Anise) — Reported to be analgesic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, lactagogue, pediculicide, piscicide, stimulant, stomachic, and vermifuge, star anise is also a folk remedy for back ailments, bladder ailments, croup, diarrhea, fever, nervousness, vomiting, and whooping cough. Used in cough medicines and cough drops, perhaps due to expectorants cineole and terpineol, […]

Juniperus communis L. (Cupressaceae) Juniper (Medicine)

Medicinal Uses (Juniper) — Reported to be carminative, cephalic, deobstruent, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, and stimulant. Berries, wood, and oil are used in folk remedies. The berries are sometimes chewed to alleviate halitosis. The Herbal PDR reports antidiabetic, antiexudative, and hypotensive activities in animals, antiviral effects in vitro. But MPI recounts less than mediocre […]

Kaempferia galanga L. (Zingiberaceae) Galanga (Medicine)

See also lesser and greater galangal (Alpinia galanga and A. officinarum). Medicinal Uses (Galanga) — Reported to be carminative, diuretic, expectorant, pectoral, pedicu-licide, stimulant, stomachic, and tonic. The rhizome, called “gisol,” has been used to treat sore throat. Philipinos use the plant for headache and parturition. They also mix the rhizome with oils as a […]

Gaultheria procumbens L. (Ericaceae) Box Berry, Checker Berry, Creeping Wintergreen, Mountain Tea, Teaberry, Wintergreen Teaberry (Medicine)

Medicinal Uses (Wintergreen) — I find the aroma of the methyl salicylate, the active main ingredient in wintergreen, very pleasant. I frequently use a boswellin cream with wintergreen when my knee acts up. In Maine, we make wintergreen tea, drinking it and applying it topically for chronic or temporary pain. There’s more than analgesic methyl-salicylate, […]

Hibiscus sabdariffa L. (Malvaceae) Indian Sorrel, Jamaica Sorrel, Kharkadi, Red Sorrel, Roselle (Medicine)

Medicinal Uses (Roselle) — Writing this at 6:00 a.m., January 1, 2001, starting the new millennium, I couldn’t help but be delighted at my new hangover remedy, possibly aphrodisiac, that just might prevent cancer, lower blood pressure and blood sugar, and could be a cosmetic for face peels. I call it “Kharkarindo,” reflecting its major […]

Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton (Zingiberaceae) Cardamon, Malabar or Mysore Cardamon (Medicine)

Synonym — Amomum cardamomum L. Medicinal Uses (Cardamon) — Ranked as the world’s third most expensive spice (saffron number one, vanilla number two), cardamom is almost as good a medicine as it is a spice, but there are cheaper alternatives. As McCormick (1981) notes, “the value of spices to Europeans in the late Middle Ages […]

Ferula assa-foetida L. (Apiaceae) ASAFETIDA (Medicine)

Medicinal Uses (Asafetida) — If you think medicines stink and spices smell good, you may regard asafetida as more medicine than food. Like those unrelated alliums, this is loaded with sulfureous medicinal compounds, some of which are called mercaptans. Some superstitious types hang asafetida (as was done with garlic) around the neck to ward off […]